Please find here all the reports from the 'Annual Parish Meeting' held just after Easter, so you can see what all the groups associated with the church did last year! Hopefully this might inspire you to join one of them, or to start a new group that will meet a new need.
To see the annual accounts - click on this link to access a .pdf file - you may need Adobe Acrobat to read it.
What’s Happened at St Peter’s Church Balsall Common in the Past Year (2016-7)
Vicar’s annual report
I present now my 12th report as your Vicar.
First, thank you all for your continuing support for Christ’s ministry in this place and for your collective devotion to Our Lord Jesus. 2016 has been a year where my work among you has changed and this is largely due to the fact that the ministry team has expanded with Claire our CFM, Moira our Reader and various others taking responsibility for different things.
I report on the spiritual and pastoral side while other matters are covered elsewhere.
First the worship
The worshipping life of our church has developed and continues to be varied.
The SWITCH service once a month continues to evolve and is increasingly lay led with a variety of people leading different parts of the service. It continues attracting young families. The planning team works hard to provide a variety of themes and activities and teaching.
We continued with café style worship on the 5th Sundays of the month followed by the later 11.00am communion.
A new venture was the afternoon tea-time service once a month which we call ‘Lighthouse’. This enables new families, who often are unable to make morning services due to Sunday football or rugby, to come to church. Claire and her team organise these and I serve the coffee and tea. We now have a regular band who leads the worship at Lighthouse.
Other services during the year included,
- the Churches Together Christmas event where carols were sung during the Coffee Together morning led by Kim and our choir.
- Blessing of school bags at the beginning of term
- A repeat of the fresh fruit and veg. Harvest service
- Baptism anniversary Sunday
- Christingle & Nativity,
- Nine lessons and carols,
- a special evensong for the Day of Remembering (All Souls)
- weddings and baptisms
- A short period of prayer and worship before ‘Tea on Thursday’, for the benefit of some people from Harper Fields and others who join them, once every two months
- I’m tempted to add the Pet Service, The Cross of Christ music for Holy Week, and our Easter celebration last Sunday but strictly speaking they should be reported on next year as this report is for the 2016 calendar year
The number of different people worshipping is increasing even though it seems that congregation numbers are static. This is partly due to additional and different types of worship and the fact that the pattern of attendance for many now is not weekly.We have welcomed many new people at the different services. Last Christmas we had the largest numbers over the different services that we have had at least since I have been here (and yes I did check back in the registers).With this in the back of my mind and through something I read, the idea came for an Easter Celebration which we held last week.
Junior church numbers vary week by week so we have to remain flexible about the groupings. We now have a good team of volunteers on rota, each offering a variety of activities, presentations and styles for nurturing our little ones. We began having children process in at the beginning of the service with a prayer before they go off for their groups. This I hope helps us all to feel one together. It is always a joy to hear each Sunday from the groups what they have been up to.
I truly believe that worshipping together, with others, and in different ways enriches our experience of worship and broadens our minds of God’s glory.
Other events of spiritual nourishment.
During the year there have been various other events such as the quiet mornings and Lenten Breakfasts, and the Tuesday morning prayers for the parish. These have supplemented the ongoing regular groups that pray, study and discuss matters of faith. During the last year a series on ‘parenting teenagers’ has been run. Refresh, two Exploring Faith groups, Women’s bible study, Prayer group, and Mothers’ Union have continued to meet. Also a Start course has been run. They all provide opportunity for question, sharing and discovery about the faith and are a valuable addition to our life together as a church. I am immensely grateful to all those who lead and faithfully meet in these groups.
We must also include of course, the groups for our young people. SPY, Frogs and JAM which each provide time of learning and praying together in an appropriate age related way. We also now have a Year 7+ group meeting fortnightly for fun and bible study. This is run together with the Methodist and BRG and to date has attracted a dozen or so teenagers.
A children’s week was held in the summer with great success.
It is important to pray and learn together beyond Sunday worship and to share together in a small groups. None of these are closed groups and you are most welcome to join in and so deepen your faith in God. We are always open to the possibility of new groups forming.
Our Children and Families Missioner, aka Claire is now halfway through the diocesan funded part of her work. We have seen the fruit of her labour but if we want to see this continue, remembering the diocese see it as at least a five year project, it is essential we continue to support her and the work practically and financially. In just 12 months time we need to be confident there will be sufficient funds through regular giving and in the specially set up CFM fund to be able to commit to further years of this important and valuable ministry among families in our community. We as Christians are in the business of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to all generations. The Diocese are investing in our parish and ministry and we rejoice in that but we now have a responsibility to ensure we make our own investment so this work can continue beyond the diocesan financial support.
I also at this point want to thank Malcolm and Jonathan, the wardens, and others (too many to mention) for all the work they have done and do, and for the support they give, so often in the background.
I still take assemblies at the primary school at least once a term which gives opportunity of bringing the Christian message to a wider audience. This was supplemented greatly by the pop up Easter experience last month (whoops I’ve gone again into 2017).
In the community I and Moira take services at Harperfields Care home, Sunrise Care home in Knowle and other home communions.It is lovely to see residents from Harper Fields visiting the church for afternoon tea, and a little service every other month.
I personally continue to draw support from our Cluster group (Hampton, Temple Balsall, Barston and Berkswell) through the clergy group that meet for sharing, reflecting and prayer, and through the wider Deanery Clergy Chapter and the Bishop’s study days. I also attended the triennial Swanwick clergy conference and a day conference on Baptism.
Say-1-4-Me is now in its fourth round with a faithful team going out each second Saturday of the month. This continues to be a fulfilling part of our outreach and offers our prayer support for many.As part of this we visit the new people as they move into the new housing development on Kenilworth Road. So far we have a wedding, and a ‘bumps and babies’ member from this.
We took our part in the village fete again last year.
We have seen Joan Francis and Joe Goodram, both home communicants join the heavenly realms along with Brigit Johnson, Betty Oliver and Betty Godfree. We are also aware that other congregation members have been bereaved during the last year.They will be sadly missed and remembered by many and I remind you all to be supportive of all the bereaved in our midst.The bereavement support group have a valuable ministry among us and I know that they would welcome additional visitors to join them.
There are many other things I could report on but I don’t want to make this too long and seem like a list. As we go into the future we have to be open to new ways of being Church alongside existing forms. Reaching out to people where they and their interests are and finding fresh expressions of proclaiming the gospel has to be constantly on our agenda. These things must involve our prayer, dedication, and commitment both in time and resources. I ask your continued support in our shared and evolving ministry to the people of Balsall Common and beyond. We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ so let us be fired up with His Spirit to grow His kingdom on earth.
I remain your faithful servant in Christ for the foreseeable future if you are all willing to continue working with me in this community.
Father Peter April ‘17
Church Wardens Report 2016-2017
Another exciting year of growth and welcoming new people to our wide range of services has passed since our previous report .
Our induction service took place at St Helens this year with Simon Heathfield giving an encouraging talk to help us on our way as Wardens, and it was great to have Malcolm officially join me in the role and thank you to him for all his help. We had a short time with Simon to discuss any issues and concerns but also expressed our joy at being allocated a Children’s and Families’ Missioner here at St Peter’s.
The warden’s role includes completing various surveys for the diocese including Statistics for Mission where we were able to report some significant and encouraging increases in attendance figures including over 400 people to our Christmas services! Our most recent Lighthouse service was the annual Pet service and it was great to see every seat taken and everything from a mouse to a horse turn up!
We have completed the Inventory and Terrier for all the moveable items in the church. Please could you let us know if you borrow an item as some are hard to track down. So please return items and if you’re not sure where they go please ask one of us or a Sidesperson, thank you.
In terms of maintenance of the buildings we have a few well known issues that need attention and for which we will need to raise sufficient funds, the repointing of brick work, repairs to the bell tower and the replacement of the bell rope or the installation of a digital system as well as replacement of the stone cross should we decide. It has been great to replace the fire doors in the hall as well as the ‘side’ door. These should eliminate draughts, and users of the hall will hopefully enjoy a more comfortable experience. We still have Ian taking care of the grounds and now Stuart taking care of the hall cleaning, however, we would still like to find a volunteer to look after hall maintenance.
Rotas for Sideperson have been completed and we would like to thank everyone who helps in this way by turning up early for services and coping with different tasks including ringing the gong in the absence of the bell rope!
The rota for cleaning has also been completed and we would like to thank all those who help with this important and vital work. First impressions count for a lot as we welcome new people so it’s great to have so many volunteers and thank you to the new ones who have joined this year.
Jonathan Reid & Malcolm Leighton.
Report of the PCC Secretary
The PCC has dealt with many varied issues over the past year and I present a brief overview here.We met on six occasions, inMay, July, September, November, February and March.
Many of the items discussed by the PCC, such as the committee reports, are dealt with under specific headings on the agenda.I am really excited by the growing number of reports from Church groups which are included in the AGM packs. We have more than ever this year, including new reports from The Rock @ St Peter’s, Lighthouse, 3D Plus and Churches Together Young People’s Group.This is a reflection on how our Church is growing to serve our community. I would encourage you to read the reports at your leisure; they will be available online shortly (Editor's Note - here they are!).
At the May meeting the customary elections were held for the various posts of the PCC and committees. We discussed our Lone Worker Policy. This policy, together with the Health and Safety Policy, is available in the folder located by the first aid boxes in the Church and in the hall. I would encourage all lone workers in the Church to familiarise themselves with the policy.
In July the PCC reviewed the Fire Risk Policy, and the Safeguarding policy. Safeguarding appeared on the agenda again later in the year with Mark Johnson, Parish Safeguarding Coordinator briefing the PCC on the new requirements set out by the Church of England.The Church is required to produce an annual Safeguarding statement. This is included in the AGM packs.
The Parish Giving Scheme was a recurrent item on the agenda this year. In July Eileen Lamb and Peter Lee presented this new Diocesan initiative to the PCC for their full consideration. Following further discussion a proposal to join the Parish Giving Scheme – Birmingham Diocese, was formally made at the November Meeting and unanimously carried. Plans for launching the scheme were outlined including inviting Amanda Homer, Diocesan Advisor to give a presentation to the congregation today.
Another recurring item was the ongoing upgrading and maintenance of St Peter's Hall. During the year the PCC received quotes and agreed funding for the hall floor to be sanded down and re-sealed, and for replacement Fire Doors and an external back door to be installed. Following the requests for tenders new contracts were awarded for the hall cleaning and grounds maintenance. Other improvements include the purchase of new crockery and the replacement of the hall curtains. The PCC would like to pass on their thanks to Chris Hornsby for her hard work as bookings secretary. Once again the accounts for the hall are a testimony to her success. Currently, Fr Peter, as Acting Hall Manager is undertaking the management of the hall, with volunteers assisting in various areas. However the PCC are concerned this should only be a temporary measure and are keen to sign up someone to take over the role of Hall Manager. Anyone who is interested in serving the Church in this position is encouraged to speak to Fr Peter.
The Church also requires some maintenance works and the PCC are currently awaiting quotes for repairs to the Bell Tower, replacement of the bell, and roof repairs including the replacement of the Stone Cross. The launch of a Roof and Bell Fund to facilitate this work is proposed.
The Treasurer presented the accounts for 2016 at the March meeting. The accounts for 2016 were provisionally approved pending being audited.
I would like to thank the committee and Chairman for their continued support.
Chris Price - PCC Secretary
I have now been licensed since January 2015. Over the last 12 months I feel that I have been able to gain more experience and clarify my role at St Peter’s. I met with Peter in January this year to review how I can best contribute to the life of our church.
Reader ministry is primarily one of teaching and preaching within a pastoral context. Having started out by preaching every 6 weeks I have now increased this to once a month. We also agreed that I should increase my role in SWiTCH by leading more of these services and also take a more active role in the monthly service at Harper Fields. I am actively involved in the planning of Café Church services. When Peter is away I visit those who have Home Communion and take the Reserved Sacrament to them. I find this a great privilege.
I attended a Church of England day course entitled “Taking Funerals seriously” where we were challenged as a church to become more pro-active in letting people know what we can offer when somebody dies, and what a valuable form of outreach this is. We were made aware of the increasing numbers of lay celebrants who actively advertise. It was suggested that we all go and talk to our local Funeral Directors and give them some of the excellent leaflets which the Church of England produces. Following this, Peter and I met with Michael Deeley and he was very happy to take some of the leaflets – some of these are also on the information table in church.
I have taken 5 funerals this year and assisted in another one and have very much felt that these have been a very important part of what I can offer.
I feel that part of my role is to encourage lay participation in the growth of our church. I meet with the small group leaders approximately once a term and also offer informal support as needed. I feel that it is also important to try and identify potential new leaders in various capacities and to give them support.
The Afternoon Tea and Cakes which started in February 2015 has continued to be very successful and Harper Fields now come and bring a number of their residents. They requested a short service in church and we now provide this every 2 months in addition to our monthly regular event. We have a short service of familiar hymns, a reading and prayers and this has been very much appreciated by the residents and others who come. I feel that this is a great opportunity for our church to reach out to our local community and am very grateful for the help of so many willing church members who bake cakes, serve the tea and wash up.
I have also attended various courses organised by the Diocese such as Growing Gifts and the Learning for Discipleship Course, where I have completed a 10 week course on Matthew’s Gospel. I attended the Level 3 course on Safeguarding of Children & Vulnerable Adults. I am also a member of the CME (Continuing Ministerial Education) committee which plans the programme for ongoing training of Readers in Birmingham Diocese. I enjoy this, as I get to meet with other Readers and it is good to have an input into the Education Programme.
Peter, Claire and I meet every 2 weeks to review what has been happening in our church, and to plan for the next few weeks and beyond. I would like to thank all members of St Peter’s for the support and encouragement which I have received and especially Peter for his continuing support and help.
This group meets every 2 weeks in the Baptistry on Tuesday evenings. I feel that small groups provide a safe space within the church community where we can get to know each other better, can support each other and allow each of us to ask the questions that we struggle with. The topics which we discuss are generally chosen by the group – often as a result of things we don’t completely understand and want to go into in more depth.
I think that all our members really value the support of the group and have grown and developed in our faith. Each person brings something different to our group, and new members are always welcome
Afternoon Tea and Cakes
We started our monthly Afternoon Tea and Cakes in February 2015 as we became more aware of how many of our congregation live alone. We also realised that there are many people in our local community who also live on their own.
We meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month between 2.30 and 4pm and on average 20-30 people come and enjoy tea from china cups and saucers, and of course there is homemade cake. We have seen more people who are not regular members of our congregation coming and this is very encouraging. We do not charge, but people are very generous with donations which more than cover our costs.
A group from Harper Fields have started to come each month and it is lovely to welcome them into our church. We have been very pleased to see Stella Buchan, who is now a resident at Harper Fields and who was a very regular member at St Peter’s for many years, also enjoying these visits.
I feel that this is a great opportunity for our church to reach out to our local community, and am very grateful for the help of so many willing church members who bake cakes, serve the tea and wash up.
CFM – Report of the Children & Families Missioner
It is scary to think that I’m nearly half way through my initial 3 years as a CFM at St. Peter’s!
I have made great strides within the Primary School this year. I’m really encouraged with how involved I’m allowed to be, especially in the light that it is not a Church of England school. The highlight of the year has been the Pop-Up Easter Experience that we’ve just held at St. Peter’s Church, welcoming in around 120 year 1 children, 90 year 4 children and 30 year 6 children. What an opportunity to share the real meaning of Easter with all these children, the staff and the parent helpers.
I see from my report last year that my hopes were to set up The Rock and Lighthouse. I’m greatly encouraged with the support I’ve had in setting these up, thank you, and the way in which new families and children are coming along. We also ran a Rock Holiday Club last summer, which was specifically aimed at teaching children about Jesus.We had 24 children over the 3 days it ran and I plan on doing another holiday club this summer.
Please can I encourage you to keep supporting these things? As a missioner my place of work is not predominantly in church on a Sunday morning. It is sharing Jesus’ love with children and families where they are at, and as such is largely unseen by the Sunday morning congregation. There are many stories I could tell of how God is working miracles in the lives of children and families in our village.
The Rock @ St. Peter’s
Helpers:Claire Reid, Audrey Davis, Beatrice Bennett
David Doyle, Karen Boulton, Sophie Bolton
Jane Coogan, Alla Pavuk, Maria Morris
Luke Rollinson (D of E volunteer), Mark McGann
Alice Hawkins, Val Winters, Julie Trend
Jenn Trend, Father Peter, Allan Dearley-Davidson
We now have 62 children registered for this weekly youth club for years 5 and 6, with around 40 children coming each week. The club runs on a Thursday evening from 3.30pm – 5.45pm. The children pay £2 entry (to include pizza) and there is also a tuck shop. We are thankful that we can use the hall free of charge, which has meant a profit of over £1000 for the CFM fund since we started last spring.
We are blessed with a fantastic team of dedicated helpers as you can see!
Activities include table tennis, pool/snooker, table football, outdoor games on the field (rounders, football, rugby), smoothie making, pizza making, Easter card making, Mother’s day card making, drama, science experiments, making posters to put up in school to advertise church events and making props for our Christmas services.
With the majority of helpers being Christians, we see this as a form of outreach to these children with Christ underpinning all that we do.
Following the pilot for this last June, Lighthouse has been running on the 2nd Sunday of each month (apart from January) beginning in September. It starts at 4.30pm with the service itself finishing at 5.30pm, followed then by a picnic tea.
This is an all age interactive worship service aimed at bringing all generations of the family together to learn more about God and to have fun as they worship Him.The time that it is held allows for sports clubs in the morning and creates an opportunity for families to come together and enjoy time out in the business of life.
The planning team consists of
Claire Reid, Beatrice Bennett, Emily Coles
Alla Pavuk, Amy Kershaw
We meet monthly to plan the following month’s service.
The band is made up of a pianist (Graham Robinson) who is competent in leading worship from a previous church – that was a real answer to prayer! Gary Marsh, a lead guitarist who attends Knowle Church but wants to support us in this venture, Judith Wilson on violin, well known at St. Peter’s, Jamie Reid on drums and Beatrice Bennett, Alison Bennett, Jaime Doyle and Emily Coles singing.
The themes have been varied but relevant, for example we looked at ‘Love’ in February and ‘Time’ in October when the clocks went back. We really enjoyed hosting another Pet Service in March and we’re encompassing the Palm Sunday Procession in April.
We are really encouraged to be welcoming in new families to this service and seeing numbers grow. We had over 70 people at our last service.
Bumps and Babies – Baby Café
Fridays 10-11.30am in the baptistery.
Helpers:Claire Reid, Margaret Eyre
Moira Johnson, Alla Pavuk
Bumps and Babies provides a perfect environment to deepen relationships with mums and grandparents. We have been thrilled to be a part of the Baptism of some of these children and welcome their families to the SWITCH and Lighthouse services, through inviting them to come along at Bumps and Babies.
Numbers fluctuate, and we have agreed to publicise it more widely after the Easter break to encourage more to come along. However, the quieter mornings give opportunity to get to know the mums better and have some good conversations.
Helpers:Claire Reid, Emily Coles, Joan Lancaster
Jaime Doyle, Megan Leighton Anne Williams
Beatrice Bennett, Becky Powell
Amy and Chris Kershaw
Chris Price (SPY), Mark Johnson (SPY)
We now have a strong team of helpers (as above), which has grown in the last year. Amy Kershaw now acts as the coordinator of FROGS/JAM with Chris Price and Mark Johnson organising SPY. We have been pleased to welcome new families and children to the 9.30am service
Aligning our session topics with the sermon theme has worked really well, allowing children and parents to talk about what they’ve learnt together.
Having children at the beginning of the service, involving them in the carrying of the cross, candles and gospel is also working well, and is something they really enjoy being a part of.
With some preparation we would also like to involve the children in praying for the adults in church before they leave to go to their groups, as well as Father Peter praying for the children. Following on from our ‘Faith-full Generation’ conference in March, which was a very inspirational day, we were encouraged to let the children help out with even more tasks, in some cases by pairing them up with adult, such as helping to get names on a rota, or standing at the church doorway as people leave, to shake their hand give them a smile and invite them over to the hall for refreshments.
The Nativity was a great success, with around 20 children taking part, written by Chris Hunnisett with support from Eileen Lamb and Becky Powell. All ages of children were involved in this, which worked well.
We are looking forward to the puppet show that the children are presently working on together, ready for the Easter Celebration on April 16th. Becky came up with this brilliant idea!
Deanery Synod (Solihull Deanery)
The best thing about the Deanery Synod is that we get to meet people from all the neighbouring parishes, and to find out what is going on at their churches. What’s even nicer is to feel that we at St Peter’s are doing stuff that they are interested in – and sometimes, even impressed by! Over the past couple of years, Duncan Ballard as Area Dean has injected new life into the role of the Deanery Synod, wanting it to be a proactive body and not just a talking shop. It did feel that the role of the Deanery Synod was becoming once again an important link between the Diocese and parishes.
Last year, the Deanery meetings were a bit sparse, after our annual social event, which was a picnic at Bickenhill.Your representatives did not disgrace you at the skittles challenge! We then met in September at Hobs Moat, and learned about developments in strategy and funding for the Diocese – including concern being expressed about the ‘dramatic drop’ in both weddings and funerals being conducted by the Church of England. Not only does the church lose income to competitor ‘celebrants’, but also, we lose the chance of contact and outreach to people with the message of Christ. We were also told about the procedures in the borough for ‘emergency preparedness’ in the event of a major incident – and how the churches were central to much of this.
Subsequently, we learned that Duncan Ballard was leaving Hampton in Arden, and the role of Area Dean has not yet been re-filled, so we have not actually met again!
Your Deanery representatives:
Mark Johnson, Pam Deanshaw, Chris Hunnisett and Peter Lee
With Eileen Lamb (Diocesan Synod member)
The issue of safeguarding has become much more high profile since some national scandals. I hope we are all much more aware of the risks – and of the importance of taking the matter seriously.This does mean that we have had to tighten up on our checks on volunteers, and the Church of England nationally has introduced new procedures and checks, all of which we comply with. I, the Vicar and Moira as Reader have attended Level 3 training, and Gordon James has been updated on in respect of Adult safeguarding matters. Claire Reid has also had training in her role as CFM. We have updated our website information, and posters and leaflets are being made available to ensure that anyone who has a concern, will know who to contact and what to do. I’ve also run a couple of sessions for the volunteers working with children to update them, and over the next year, all the PCC will have to go on a training session.
As of this year, the Church of England requires PCC members and all volunteers and paid workers who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults to attend safeguarding training every three years. We are also expecting all new recruits and all the PCC to complete a Confidential Declaration and if their role requires it, to undergo a ‘Disclosure & Barring’ check (what used to be called a CRB check).
Birmingham has a new Advisor to the Bishop, who used to work in the West Midlands Police Child Protection Unit, and she sends out occasional warnings about suspicious people who have been noted hanging around churches in the city.
Mark Johnson – Parish Safeguarding Coordinator
Our Communications are under constant review, and we’ve been working to make sure that the website and social media presence give out the right messages about our church. In addition to the main Twitter and Facebook account, Claire Reid has begun a new Facebook page ‘spcbalsall for kids’, which carries pictures and information about the work she is doing with children and families. We also share a Facebook page with the other churches running the Churches Together Youth Group for Secondary school (Year7+) pupils.You will also be aware that a questionnaire has been used to find what people think about the Church magazine.
On our new website www.spcbalsall.church we are uploading news reports, the Vicar’s monthly letter, our weekly news-sheet and other items. Several housebound people have found the ability to find the newsletter online, or to have it e-mailed to them, to be useful. Our Facebook page has 135 followers; and there are 99 Followers of our Twitter feed. I’m in discussion with the Hall manager to make sure we do the best to advertise our Hall and the activities that go on there.
We have recently set up a Google linked website, which means that anyone using Google or GoogleMaps is likely to see our material. In the first 100 days it was open, we were seen by 123 searchers, 11 people used Google to get directions to the church, and one person used the app to make a phone call to us! We also have a Gmail e-mail address ( email@example.com) which can be used to save putting private addresses out in public.This gets quite a few enquiries about church activities, and we’ve also been sent information about people who feature on our war memorial plaque, to add to our archives.
There are also plans to develop the use of e-mailed newsletters and updates for specific groups and activities, which will be managed by our new part-time Parish Administrator, Alla Pavuk.
Congregation members have continued to volunteer to write a column for the Bugle magazine – more volunteers are always welcome.
- Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SPCBalsall,
- Also consider www.facebook.com/spcbalsallforkids
- and for Teenagers: www.facebook.com/CTTBYouthGroup
- Follow us on Twitter:@SPCBalsall
- Check and Bookmark the website –www.spcbalsall.church
Note – We would like to make sure that all our activities get the publicity they need. But, we cannot advertise events that we are not asked to give coverage to. We would prefer it if you could supply the words you’d like used to describe your activity – and perhaps a picture or two – which will need to be in the right format or it takes too much work to upload. If you want your activity to be featured, please look at the existing website material and talk to me about what you want to add!
Mark Johnson: (Webmaster)
Report to the PCC from the Diocesan Synod - March 2017
There are three meetings a year of the Diocesan Synod.
Here is a brief summary of subjects discussed during the past year:-
Thursday 14th July 2016 at the Church of St John & St Peter, Ladywood
- Transforming Church: Growing Younger
- Proceedings of the General Synod
- Under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic Members
- AGM to adopt the 2015 Annual Report and Financial Statements
Saturday 26th November 2016 at St Stephen’s Church Selly Park
- Transforming Church; Growing Younger
- Strategic Development Funding Application
- Diocesan Multi Academy Trust
- Eco Diocese
- Human Sexuality (update on General Synod ‘Shared conversations’)
- Deanery Synod Representatives 2017 – 2020
Saturday 25th March 2017 at St Barnabas’ Church, Erdington
- Report from General Synod
- Birmingham Malawi Partnership
- Transforming Church – Shaping the Future – this took the form of a day conference sharing and discussing the following topics:-
New Christian communities
Children, youth and families
Leadership and discipleship
Mission and evangelism in diverse contexts
Report on Churches Together in Balsall & Berkswell 2016- 2017
- One World Week October 2016 – the theme was ‘Including You’. An Indian Buffet provided by The Bengal Brasserie was followed by an inspiring talk from Shari Brown from the charity ‘Restore’.
- Project Host – Sue Webb outlined the idea of people hosting small groups for coffee or meals. Donations given would be sent to help the Syrian refugee children – directed through Save the Children. This would be a project for November for most churches. However St Peter’s Church hosted a ‘Pop in Breakfast’ which raised £368 and a Curry Evening which raised £567 during February and March 2017 as we were involved in raising money for Malawi during November.
- Visit to the Mosque in Walsall – Saturday 15th October 2016 – this was uplifting and inspiring and showed how much more can be achieved with mutual understanding and respect.
- Unity Octave – A service was held at St Peter’s Church on Sunday 22nd January 2017. The theme was – ‘Crossing Barriers’.
- Women’s World Day of Prayer – A service was held at St Mary’s Church, Temple Balsall on Friday 3rd March 2017. The theme was ‘Am I being unfair to you?’ and the service was prepared by the women of The Philippines. The service was at 11am and was followed by a light lunch.
- Quiet Mornings – These are always very well received. The 2016 programme was as follows:-
Easter/Pentecost – led by Revd. Andrew Charlesworth
Harvest – led by Revd. Duncan Ballard
Advent – to be led by Revd. Mark Bratton
- Coffee Together – The Christmas Coffee Together was again very well received. After great uncertainty about the future of The Jubilee Centre a new committee was set up and Coffee Together is able to continue for the foreseeable future.
- Christmas Service details for all member churches were sent to The Bugle and published in the December edition 2016.
- Easter service details for all member churches were sent to The Bugle and published in the March edition.
- Lent Breakfasts – Theme – ‘Knowing God with the whole of our being’. Mark had organised another series of uplifting talks. The breakfasts were, as ever, very popular.
- Good Friday Walk of Witness – this took the usual form starting at St Peter’s and ending at The Methodist Church. The posters which were bought last year were displayed in The Methodist Church Hall along with the explanations given by the artists.
- The Simple Lunch held after The Walk of Witness was provided by St Peter’s Church
- Christian Aid – total raised for the village, through both house to house collections and church collections, was £2235.38
Eileen Lamb & Claire Laland (Joint Secretaries)
Churches Together Young People's Group
St Peter's and the other churches in Balsall Common have set up a young people's group for ages 11+. This has been recognised as an essential need now as younger children move into their secondary school years and suitable activities remain scarce. To date there have been between 15 and 17 young people and activities have ranged from food tasting to pancake racing with a good sprinkling of Dodge ball, table tennis and snooker. Each session also has a Bible race or similar fun faith activity and a religious or pastoral theme. Such sessions have included taking action in Lent rather than giving things up and saying thank you and being grateful. The group meets once per fortnight.
Sian Foster and Judith Wilson
Music Report – 2016-2017
I thank everyone for their support with the music at St Peter’s – the Senior and Junior Choirs continue to flourish, practising on most Thursday evenings throughout the year.
There has been no change at all within the group of senior choristers – though we do continue to hope that more folk will join us – we are in particular need of tenors and basses, as well as sopranos and altos (!) ... no audition required ... just a willingness to participate in as many services and events as can be managed.
The Nine Lessons and Carols was well-appreciated by those who attended the service – we’ve kept up the joint choirs (ie along with Hampton’s seniors and juniors) which seems to work well.At Easter, (2017), we led ‘The Cross of Christ’ service at St Peter’s on Palm Sunday which was appreciated by the congregation who were there.
Choral Evensong continues on the first Sunday of most months; it is a service which those who attend say is an enjoyable and relaxing time.
My thanks go to all the congregation for their support in 9.30am, (especially those who don’t chatter during communion whilst the choir and some of the congregation are singing!!), 11am and 6pm services as well as those who support the ‘one-offs’ !!
The Junior Choir are down to just seven children.We are very grateful to three of the older children (Lynne Ye Evans, Maddy Birtles and Milly Webb) who have sung with us for a number of years but have now left because they have studying to do for their A-levels ... I wish them all the very best in their forthcoming exams and for their future time at University.The children who attend at the moment are aged between 8 and 17 – we would be so pleased if more children joined ... if you are aged 7 to 18 and fancy a good sing, learn new songs and have some fun, do come along and give it a go, please. (... and over 18s could join the Senior Choir?!!).
As always, I must thank Jamie Reid for his continued support in playing drumkit for Switch services and similar. Thanks too, to Eileen Lamb for covering for me when I’m away or ill and to my brothers Anton and Louis, and to Steve Blaber for their massive support with services of all kinds ... thanks guys!! More recently, within the Lighthouse Service services, my thanks go to Graham Robinson who has filled the ‘vacancy’ for keyboard/piano player in the Band that leads the music (I teach most Sundays so can’t attend those services usually). Also thanks to all the other instrumentalists and vocalists who perform too.
Thank you, again, to Pat Eyre and Miriam Griffiths and all those who help set up refreshments for after the ‘bigger’ services during the year – we are all very grateful.
Thanks to Father Peter, Moira Johnson and Claire Reid for their support, too.
Just three concerns then ... (i) more folk to join the Senior Choir (no-one has joined for a number of years!!) and (ii) more children to join the Junior Choir ... PLEASE! And finally, more congregation to try to attend Evensong services and the Christmas and Easter services ... the choirs deserve a ‘packed church’ for all their hard work!!
KA RawsonFriday 14th April 2017
Balsall Common Bereavement Care Service
The Bereavement Group offers comfort, support with the aim of helping individuals’ in our church and wider community who have experienced bereavement.
Again, this year we held a remembering service combined with Evensong at All Souls tide. In the service there was time for reflection and the lighting of candles for those we knew but are no longer with us.
We are a very small group and are pleased to have welcomed one new visitor this year, but we still have room for more. Please speak to me if you are interested in becoming bereavement visitor, full training given.
Margaret L Eyre
Bereavement Care Project Co-ordinator
Women’s Bible Study
Alternate Sunday evenings 7.30-9.30pm
This group is aimed at women who want to explore faith and what it means for them in their life on a day-to-day basis. It’s a time for questions and taking things to a deeper level.
It continues to be a real support network for all of us, practically, spiritually and emotionally.There are now 12 of us that meet, including myself – which is double the number from last years report!
It has been a really exciting year watching this group grow, as we disciple each other.
We have looked at various studies over the year. Presently we are back to following the NOOMA series which has proved really popular, relevant and up to date as it tackles issues we face day by day.
Monday morning prayer group.
We meet on alternate Monday mornings, 10.00 to around 11.30 a.m. at 10 Arden Close. There are normally 5 to 8 of us. It's an informal time and we would be pleased to see you, regularly or occasionally, even if it's just for a short time or to share your prayer requests with us.
Dorothy and Peter Allcock. Tel 531912.
Tuesday Exploring Faith Group
Every other Tuesday a small group of us explore what it means to be a Christian. We meet at 6 Wilton Road at 7.45pm for coffee/tea and biscuits. We start exploring our faith at 8pm and try to finish by 9.30pm.
We would welcome some ‘new blood’ into the group. It doesn’t matter if you can’t make every session – just come when you can. For more details please speak to Eileen Lamb (534601)
Summer 2016: Faith, Hope and Love (A York Course)
We spent five sessions thinking about what it means to be a Christian believer in the twenty first century.
- Believing and trusting
- The peace of God
- Faith into love
- The greatest of these
- All shall be well
Autumn 2016 : Making Room (A York Course)
Leading up to Advent we spent eight sessions discussing the challenge of making room in our lives for other people, for things that matter, and for God.
There were four topics but each provoked two sessions of discussion.
- Making room for the newcomer
- Making room for the stranger
- Making room for what really matters
- Making room for God
Spring 2017: Receiving Christ in five different ways (A York Course)
Leading up to Lent we spent five sessions discussing what it means to us to receive Christ
- Receiving Christ as children of God
- Receiving Christ in the stranger and the needy
- Receiving Christ in Holy Communion
- Receiving Christ through prayer and fellowship
- Receiving Christ in you the hope of glory
Eileen Lamb 21/03/17
3D plus is a new study group of 9 people which began in September 2016.During 2015/16 we had studied together under Moira’s leadership to compete the 3D course.We decided that we would like to continue as a group under out own steam, hence the name 3Dplus.
We meet fortnightly on a Wednesday in the Baptistery at 7.30. We have used 2 study courses so far. From September 2016-December 2016 we studied a Scripture Union course “The Coming of Christ” and during January 2017 – April 2017 we have studied a York course “Receiving Christ”.
We have been pleased to welcome one new member to our group so far and hope to go from strength to strength.
Christine Hunnisett April 2017
Exploring Faith (Wednesday Night Group)
This past year up to eight of us have met regularly to ponder, wonder and discuss a range of themes and passages of scripture. For example we have covered two of the York courses, Tough Talk which looked at difficult sayings of Jesus and an Advent course Living in the Light. We have just completed a Lent Course called Returning Home which explored some world religions and the messages we as Christians could take from them to deepen our own faith.
Our group continues to be relaxed and supportive where we can feel confident to express our thoughts and views sometimes.
New members are always welcome to join us.
Friends at St Peter’s
During the year we had a varied programme covering many subjects. We had illustrated talks on Knowle, Round the World Clipper Voyage and the River Teme. We learnt about the work of a Crime Scene Investigator and the Guide Dogs for the Blind. We were entertained by the lives of Frank Muir and Denis Norden and remembered living in the 50’s. We held our usual New Year Party, had a trip to The Jewellery Quarter and Christmas lunch at Haigs.
St Peter’s Guild
As usual, we have been responsible for the Church Flower Arranging and organising the Pies & Punch after the 9 Lessons and Carols Service.
St Peter’s Mothers’ Union
Members of Mothers’ Union play an active part in church life as well as that of Mothers’ Union. Members are involved in SWITCH, Lighthouse and Café Church as well as being intercessors at the main service. We facilitated the travelling Mary and Joseph and the Sheep Trail. There was a good response to both of these with shopkeepers keen to host sheep. Mothers’ Union provided a small prize for the winner, Thomas McGordon, who found the most sheep. Chris Price continues to keep the Baptism Album which has proved popular with new parents. Sue Webb visits the prison every week and Alison Bennett has started training for this.
There were several successful fundraising events including a summer dinner at Bengal Brasserie, a film evening at home of Alison Bennett, a stall at Village Fair, Cake stall and Christmas hamper raffle. The cake stall enabled us to send 18 Christmas gift bags to Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid. We are grateful to members of the congregation for their support for this project. We sent £670 to Overseas Fund, Relief Fund and Literacy and Financial Education Fund which included £250 from a members’ birthday.
Members and friends continue to knit and sew for various Mothers’ Union projects as well as to send to Malawi.
Although only a small branch we are very active but would welcome some new members. It is not always necessary to come to meetings if you become a member. You just have to believe in the importance of family life. Subscriptions cost only £21 a year – all of which goes to the Diocese and Central Mothers’ Union to facilitate the various projects. Please speak to one of the members if you might be interested in joining – you would be very welcome and we are sure you will enjoy.
St Peter’s Mothers’ Union Branch Committee