St Peter / Balsall Common

Please find here all the reports from the 'Annual Parish Meeting', 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 (2018-19)

ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON

60th ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING

 held on Sunday 8 April 2019

Vicar’s annual report to the AGM of St Peter’s Balsall Common

I present now my 14th 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. Particular thanks must go to Moira who has unstintingly supported me in leading this parish and sharing the preaching.Without her dedication and encouragement St Peter’s would not be where it is today.

We are very glad now to have Alison Bennett and Chris Price training to be readers alongside Moira.We pray for them as they train.

And while I’m on the thankyou’s I want to thank Malcolm, our warden who has so valiantly carried on single-handedly in this role for most of the past year. I know it hasn’t always been easy.There are also many others (too many to mention) that have worked incredibly hard to ensure all that we do happens and for them we are thankful.

I report now on the spiritual and pastoral side while other matters are covered elsewhere.

First the worship

The worshipping life of our church continues to be varied.

The SWITCH service once a month is now prepared and led by an excellent team.It continues attracting young families many of which take part in leading. The planning team works hard to provide a variety of themes and activities and teaching.

We continued with Café Church on the 5th Sundays of the month, some including communion others non-eucharistic.I am eternally grateful for all who work behind the scenes to make this happen.

The ‘Lighthouse’ service provides an easily accessible service for those who are unable to make a morning service. In the last year we saw new people take a lead alongside Claire and now Livia.

Other services during the year included,

Church Wardens Report 2018 – 2019

This year has been quite a learning curve. Going from being number two Church Warden to being the only Church Warden was a strange experience.I must take the opportunity to thank the team of Sides Persons for their unstinting support which has made the weekly tasks much more manageable and enjoyable.Special thanks go to Margaret Eyre for the times that she has made herself available as Deputy Warden and provided cover when a Sides Person has suddenly become unavailable.

The Wardens role includes completing various surveys for the diocese including Statistics for Mission.Once again we were able to report encouraging attendance figures for our Easter and Christmas services.The annual inventory and terrier for all the moveable items in the church was completed in March.My thanks go to Peter and Guy for all their time and patience in helping me locate many items.Please let us know if you borrow an item and return them as soon as you can.If you are not sure where an item should be located please ask.

The Quinquennial inspection was carried out in March 2018 and its report duly delivered. The church was given a very positive and encouraging report.There were issues concerning the roof, the bell tower and pointing up in some areas.The smaller issues have been tackled and plans are ongoing to deal with the more expensive items.Various quotes have been requested for the work and we hope work will begin in the near future.A new bell rope has been obtained and should be installed very soon.

The rotas for Sides Persons have been completed and implemented.My thanks to all those who volunteer to arrive early on Sundays to serve our congregation.The friendly and cheerful welcome makes such a difference.The rota for church cleaning has also been produced and implemented.My thanks to the volunteers who work so hard cleaning the church so that all who attend will see it at its best.

Malcolm Leighton, Church Warden

PCC Secretary

This is my first report as PCC Secretary at St Peter’s as I was newly elected to the PCC at last year’s AGM.

Much of the activities and discussions of the PCC have been communicated in the AGM reports from the Church groups, so I apologise if anything is repeated here.

The PCC has sat for 6 meetings over the past year, including an extraordinary meeting held in August.At the first meeting in May four newly elected members were welcomed, and the customary elections were held for the various posts of the PCC.

The focus of the earlier meetings in the year was on the Church Families Missioner (CFM) role at St Peter’s, which culminated in the employment of Livia Baciu to replace Claire Reid.

The updated Safeguarding policy and the Drugs policy were reviewed and approved in November, and the Treasurer regularly presented reports throughout the year.

The People and Places Framework, an initiative on the future of C of E parishes and churches in the Birmingham Diocese was introduced to the PCC in the autumn, and has been discussed at meetings since.Last month the PCC hosted an open meeting with invited guest, Archdeacon Simon Heathfield, to introduce St Peter’s to the complexities of the framework.It is expected that there will be further discussions and meetings in the future on this subject.

Members of the PCC are working towards attaining at least a bronze level award, if not the silver award, in the Ecochurch initiative, pending completion of the appropriate paperwork.

The Treasurer’s report and annual accounts were prepared for audit and presented to the PCC at the January meeting; these were accepted subject to audit.

I would like to thank the Chairman and Committee members for making me feel so welcome on the PCC, during my first year.

Susan Clinton, Honorary Secretary PCC

REPORTS OF CHURCH GROUPS TO THE AGM OF  ST PETER’S, BALSALL COMMON

SUNDAY 7 APRIL 2019

Afternoon Tea and Cakes:

I have been really encouraged by the growth in our Afternoon Teas and Cakes, which started very much as a service to those who live alone in our community, and who might welcome the opportunity to have a chat over a cup of tea and homemade cake. This has now been running for 3 years and is a real outreach to many in our community who are not part of our regular congregation.

We meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month between 2.30 and 4pm and now have about 30-35 people coming. We do not charge, but people are very generous with donations which more than cover our costs. Over the last 12 months we raised £209.44

On alternate months we also have a short service of familiar hymns, a reading and prayers, and this has proved increasingly popular both with the residents of Harper Fields and a growing number of other people.

I feel that the Tea and Cakes 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. Thanks also to Eileen Lamb who plays for the services and the members of our choir who come and support the services with their singing.

Moira Johnson

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 would to like have more members to help support the bereaved of Balsall Common.Please speak to me if you would like to know more about becoming a bereavement visitor, full training given.

Margaret L Eyre, Bereavement Care Project Co-ordinator

Churches Together

Churches Together meet four times a year. There are members representing St Peter’s Church, The Methodist Church, St Mary’s Church- Temple Balsall, St John Baptist- Berkswell, St Swithin’s Church –Barston and Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic Church.

During the past year our activities have included:-

Coventry Refuge and Migrant Centre

DEC Indonesian Tsunami Appeal

Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid

Hosanna Children’s Pilgrimage Trust

Share

Hall Green Child Contact Centre

Eileen Lamb/ Claire Laland (Secretaries for CTBB), 27/03/2019

Children & Families Missioner (CFM)

2018 was a successful year for St Peter’s Church team, especially in regards of working together with other partners, such Balsall Common Primary School, “Open the Book”, the Diocese, and other friend parishes.

One of our great events organised in partnership with a local parish, for the primary school children, was Pop Up Easter 2018, when children from several year groups attended the event spread over 2 days. The children enjoyed learning the story of the last week of Jesus’ life, through a fascinating mise en scene in 5 stations, Palm Sunday, Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, Good Friday and Resurrection. It was wonderful to see how engaged children were! This event would not been possible without the tremendous work of our volunteers! A similar event was organized in December 2018, for Christmas story. Our volunteer team, led by Revd. Peter Thomas, has made all the efforts to receive a large number of children in order to become familiar with the most beautiful story, in the most rightful place! This effort payed off during Christmas specific services - Christingle, Nativity and Carols - when a large number of families with children attended!

Livia Baciu

Communications

The church communications including the weekly newsletter under the management of Margaret Eyre, and the Magazine, continue to work well, and our notice boards seem to fulfil their task, although we need to rearrange and update those at the back of church! Much of the ‘new activity’ has been on the internet and social media.Our new website is working well, and gets a lot of hits, along with the linked ‘A Church Near You’ site, which runs in parallel; since they offer different facilities, including links to national resources and campaigns.Anyone searching for St Peter’s, or ‘a local church’, will find us and our activities easily.We also maintain an active Twitter feed with 164 followers, a Facebook page with 194 followers, and shall be incorporating into it the page set up by Claire Reid: ‘St Peters’ Church for Kids’ which has 110 followers, to save admin and duplication. Most of our posts are seen by over 100 people – the Mothering Sunday Cafe Church reached 252 people. We are grateful to the White Horse Pub and the BalsallCommon website who re-broadcast most of our notices!Our Website and the Google Business pages attract a lot of correspondence and enquiries – over 3000 visits a month – in December 105 people used the Google site to find us and generated 4 telephone calls – this has doubled since last year! Twitter also keeps us in touch with several local churches and the activities of the Diocese of Birmingham. A recent visitor posted a video of the children’s LiftOff summer-camp from 1986 on our Facebook page!!

Mark Johnson

Deanery Synod

The Deanery Synod has met its usual three times this year, including a social get-together with all the churches of the Deanery, an open meeting in St Helen’s Solihull discussing Dementia Friendly churches, and another open event at our church in February, where we learned more about the ‘People and Places’ initiative.Members of the Synod thanked St Peters for the delicious cakes supplied, and were interested to experience our ‘cafe church’ style layout and informal worship.Meetings are a combination of worship, social activity and discussion about policy developments, and learning what our neighbouring churches are doing.

Mark Johnson

Diocesan Synod

This year The Diocesan Synod has considered many controversial and difficult issues. Here is a summary of subjects considered over the past year:-

July 2018:-

November 2018:-:-

March 2019:-

Eileen Lamb, 27/03/2019

Exploring Faith (Tuesday Group)

The Tuesday ‘Exploring Faith’ Group formed in January 2019. We are a small group meeting on a Tuesday evening from 19:45 to 21:30.

We have been studying St Luke’s Gospel under the heading of ‘Project Luke’. So far we have looked at the following aspects:-

  1. Jesus as the Son of God but a human being with humble beginnings. We looked at the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Elizabeth and Zechariah and also Mary. We looked at the impact of Jesus during the Passover Feast when he was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem.
  2. Through the actions of a woman who had sinned we looked at the themes of gratitude and ingratitude; pride and humility; love and indifference and how they shape our lives.
  3. Through two well- known stories i.e. ‘The Good Samaritan’ and ‘Martha and Mary’ we looked at how we could devote ourselves to loving God and loving our neighbour.
  4. Through studying Jesus’ harsh words of confrontation with the Pharisees we tried to identify what things make us blind and deaf to Jesus.
  5. Through three of Jesus’ parables we participate in the joy of God over his lost children coming home.

Everyone is welcome in this group. You are not required to attend every session, just come when you can.

Eileen Lamb 27/03/2019

Exploring Faith (Wednesday Group)

I have always felt that small groups are really important in the development of our faith and sense of belonging within our church family. They provide a safe space where we can explore together, ask questions and express doubts.

The Wednesday group started again in April after our break for LyCiG. We used John Pritchard’s book “Living Jesus” as a guide for our first term and considered different ways of looking at Jesus:

Jesus the magnificent outsider.

Jesus partner in prayer.

Jesus in a world of pain.

Jesus in a world of different faiths.

Jesus to the end of time.

We then had a break for the summer and met again in October when we decided to look at Advent from the perspective of John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and finally the wise men. As part of this we had a very meaningful Quiet Afternoon followed by a Service of Light leading into Choral Evensong on the first Sunday of Advent.

By this time our Exploring Faith group had grown to about 20 members, so in January we divided into two groups, one meeting on Tuesday and one on Wednesday evenings. Both groups have been following a course based on Luke’s Gospel where we have looked at Jesus’ interaction with various people and have tried to see how we can learn from these encounters.

We meet on alternate Wednesday evenings from 7.45pm and finish promptly at 9.30. New members are always welcome and nobody manages to come every time!

Moira Johnson

Friends at St. Peter’s

During the year we had a varied programme covering several subjects. We had an illustrated talk on The River Avon, we heard what it’s like to be a speaker rather than in the audience.We learnt about the work of the Dog’s Trust and Food Bank “Mary’s Meals”. We were entertained recalling the Radio Programme “Desert Island Discs”.We played BINGO, had quizzes, lots of chat. We had our usual Members’ New Year Party and an outing to Hatton Country World.

Pat Eyre

FROGS (Friends of God - 'Sunday School')

The younger children, who are attending Sunday school at St Peter’s Church, with the help of loving and very talented volunteers Becky Powell, Amy Kershaw and Chris Price, were really happy and very much involved in several seasonal activities. Before Easter they prepared a puppet show. As in the year before, the children were really involved in the process of making the puppets, the set, learning the story and in performing to the rest of the church during the Easter Celebration.

During the year the children also had a project of learning about the jobs of various people at the Church, by inviting the people in to talk to them, asking questions, and learning about Church’s life.The children then reported back to the congregation about what they had learned, during the main services.

Before Christmas time, the children prepared a very successful Nativity which Becky Powell wrote for them and helped with the props, and then directed the show during Christmas time.

The numbers of attendance varied from 2 children to more than 10 during 2018 at Frogs Sunday school.

Livia Baciu

The Key Magazine

Our Church magazine continues to flourish under the stewardship of its four-person editorial/production team. It seems to be well received by Church members and the wider community .The recent March issue created interesting feedback through the competition to recognise Church members in their ‘former years’!

The team oversees an average of 15 page of editorial each month and is grateful for the unfailing support of several regular contributors from the Church.

It is heartening to report that the 28 page magazine makes a contribution to the finances of the Church. Thanks to the efforts of our Advertising Manager, Peter Lee, we now have a waiting list of advertisers keen to take space.

We are however keen to maintain an acceptable editorial/advertising ratio and we would need to generate more editorial to support any increase in the number of advertisements.

Particular thanks also go to our Distribution Team leaders, Linda Marlow and Kaye Thomas. They ensure copies are available in the Library, Village shops and offices and Care homes. They also direct a team of 14 individual distributors who ensure that subscribers – and community centres where casual readers will encounter the magazine - receive their copy of The Key on time.

Contributions for –and comments on – the magazine are always welcome and should be sent tospcbalsall@outlook.com .

Fr Peter, Anne Sleath, Mark Johnson, Bryan Marlow

Lighthouse

The Lighthouse services are a great service to entice new members to the Church.They are at 4:30pm so can be accessed by those who perhaps have family/sporting commitments on a Sunday morning.They are less formal, very friendly, livelier (with a band) and more interactive than a normal service, thus allowing those who perhaps are new to Church or just curious, a more relaxed way of learning about God and incorporating Jesus’ teachings into day to day life.They are themed (Superheroes, Fruits of the Spirit, kindness, Joy, LOVE) and the themes are relevant to the season or what is going on at that time. E.g. Love at Valentine’s Day as well as incorporating Palm Sunday and Pet services.

A real positive of these services is how they prompt discussion within families and members of all ages relating to the themes which are all ways of being a good Christian and how we can make a positive difference to our lives and others. They are relevant to everybody and relatable, even to those who perhaps don’t consider themselves as ‘churchy people’ thus spreading the message that Jesus and Christianity is as important now as it ever was.

Emily Coles

Mothers’ Union

2018 saw the beginning of a new pattern of meetings with most of the meetings beginning at 10 30 in the morning and the occasional evening meeting.The morning meetings – which start with coffee – followed by speaker/activity usually finish about 11 45 and have included those at which members bring a reading on a particular theme, a quiet time and speakers which this year included the Vicar on Magnificent China (in the evening) and Claire Reid on her faith journey.The morning meetings have proved popular and it is a bonus that members have attended who find it difficult to go out in the evening – especially in winter.

We continue to hold the Annual Summer Dinner which is always popular and supported by a number of non-members from the congregation.This also raises valuable funds for MU Projects.Other Fund raising activities have included the Film Evening - this year we watched an exceptional film called Hidden Figures.If you missed do try and see it.Thanks to Chris Price for hosting this.The Christmas Hamper Raffle organised by Audrey Davies with help from Chris also raised valuable funds.Having a card stall each month has proved popular and we sold over £200 of cards this year.

During the year we took part in two initiatives.We provided small Presents for Prisoners.This has been happening for many years.Presents are given to the prisoners so they can give to their children at the Christmas party.Just one of the ways Mothers’ Union helps to keep families together.

The Mothers’ Union CDC, Sandra Golding, has been working in the Aston area of Birmingham and she appealed for sanitary wear to help abolish Period Poverty in the Aston area over Christmas.There was a very good response from St Peter’s Church and friends.Another instance of the church supporting Mothers’ Union activities.

One member asked for a Fiddle Muff to take to someone she was visiting.We supplied this and following on from this I took them to the Carers meeting held in Church Hall.The Solihull Council Representative was interested and through her we have gained a valuable contact.I also received 20 Fiddle Muffs from a member of the congregation which were immediately used in a Care Home in the Sutton Coldfield Area.

Many members and friends continue to knit both for projects in this country and abroad.We still have some wool if you know anyone who might knit.We would be pleased to have some new members and our meetings are always open to everyone. Thank you to everyone who prays, works and encourages Mothers’ Union work throughout the branch, Diocese and Worldwide.

St Peter’s Mothers’ Union Committee, April 2019

Music Report

My thanks go to the following:

to Peter and Moira for their support during the year;

to Mark Johnson for the hundreds of emails/attachments that ‘to and fro’ re- Switch and other ‘powerpoint’ services, as well as his ‘sound’ support!;

to members of the congregation for their kind comments re-music (it always helps!) and especially to those who continually attend Evensong (numbers are growing – THANK YOU!);

to Pat and Miriam and the team for their excellent refreshments at our more ‘special’ services;

Musically, my thanks go to:

the members of the Junior Choir for their good attendance to practices – we just hope to see a bit more of them in church or at Switch services over the coming months (please!);

to all members of the Senior Choir for their continued support and great singing (at the Hymns and Pimms, {great to see you there Val !!} at the Nine Lessons and Carols, at the Easter Services as well as at so many services and practices throughout the year);

to all the parents/adults who ‘sit’ at Junior Choir (if there are any members of the congregation who would like to join the rota, I’d love to hear from you – Thursdays 6.25-7.30pm) – 60 minutes of entertainment with a lovely bunch of children;

to Graham Robinson, Eileen Lamb and Michael Carter, for covering all the services that I can’t manage to get to – without you, I would have to give up one of the two posts I have! (and WHAT a dilemma that would be ... !).

to those members of the choir who travel ‘the extra mile’ to be with us for practices and services [that’s Stella – Coventry, Gill – miles away in the countryside!, Jill – Redditch, Louis – Sheldon, Anton – Curdworth, Steve – Erdington, and Julie Wyatt – Cotswolds!!] ... much appreciated, all!;

to Ray Watson for his support over the last few years.Ray has sadly had to leave choir due to illness; we wish him all the very best in his ‘retirement’ (and love to Maureen too, of course).

and a belated ‘thanks’ to Jamie Reid, who drummed for us for so long, both in Switch services and some Church services too!

Two concerns, however ...

  1. we have a need for more male singers in the choir (ie tenors and basses) and more altos (ie ladies who struggle to reach very high pitched notes!) ... the commitment can be in your court ... simply turn up to as many practices and services as you can manage – my prediction is that the choir will find it very difficult in the coming months/years to ‘manage’ certain types of musical works, if we don’t have more folk singing these voice lines – PLEASE give it some serious consideration – thank you! (Senior Choir meet most Thursdays 7.30-8.30pm)

    and

  2. I need more children to join the Junior Choir ... at the moment we have just nine singers; ideally we need another six or so to make the sound so much fuller.The only requisites are (a) to be able to read words, (b) to like singing and (c) to be available on Thursdays from 6.30-7.30pm; for these reasons, I usually prefer the minimum age to be 7 years old ...

    KA Rawson – 2 April 2019

    Open the Book

    ‘Open the Book’ is a scheme sponsored by The Bible Society to take Bible stories into Primary Schools using the Lion Storyteller Bible, where the stories have been re-written in simple language by Bob Hartman and illustrated by Kriztina Kallai Nagy.

    Presentations in Balsall Common School were started as an initiative from our Churches Together members. This includes people from The Methodist Church, St Swithin’s – Barston, St Mary & St Bartholomew – Hampton in Arden and St Peter’s. As well as Balsall Common Primary we also visit Springfield House – Temple Balsall, which caters for children with special educational needs, and George Fentham Endowed School – Hampton in Arden.

    Through story- telling, acting and child participation we have introduced the following stories:-

Those taking part have great fun and see it as an outreach opportunity. We are always looking for new members of our team so if you enjoy reading stories or acting, we would love to hear from you.

Eileen Lamb, 27/03/2019

Premises Committee

It has been another busy year for the Premises Committee.

Soon after last year's AGM, with the exception of the specialist stage lighting, all of the old hall lighting was replaced with new sustainable LED lighting that reduces both the electricity bill and the maintenance bill as typically no more bulbs to replace! The main hall is a lot brighter as the previously installed fluorescent lighting (dating back to the 1980s) was at the end of its useful life and causing maintenance issues, with at one point only a third of the lights operational. This upgrade was further to a successful application for a grant from Balsall Common Parish Council. The emergency lighting throughout the building was replaced at the same time, this activates for at least three hours in the event of a mains power failure and is a vital part of the safety equipment should emergency evacuation of an event be required after dusk. The Hall also has a modern fire alarm system with smoke and heat detection throughout the building.

Whilst the scaffold was in place for the lighting works, the opportunity was used to borrow it in the evenings and to repaint part of the ceiling and complete a deep clean of high level areas which are dust traps. Father Peter spent much of one evening (before he went on holiday early the following morning) pushing the scaffold tower around, passing the very effective Vorwerk vacuum cleaner up and generally avoiding having emulsion paint dropped on him by Stephen Hughes working at the top of the scaffold! A small number of lights in the Hall, such as in the toilets, had been replaced in more recent times and these fittings that were in good order were reused in the Church, including making a significant improvement to the store and photocopier room which had been previously lit by the equivalent of a 40w light bulb!

The entrance lobby area in the Hall unfortunately suffered a roof leak and was cosmetically looking very poor whilst investigation works took place into the leak in the flat roof. A repair was organised and the lobby area now looks much better after a full repaint.

Three windows were broken at the rear of the hall by stones being flicked up during lawn mowing. These were recently replaced as part of the maintenance works. Work has also been undertaken in the toilets to replace failed water heaters and further work is now required due to problems with damp, especially in the ladies toilets which is not presently looking at its best. The Downton Room also needs attention and has suffered from a roof leak.

In the Church, the bell rope has now been replaced. Failed external lighting was also repaired or replaced to ensure the exterior remained well lit and welcoming to all of the congregation during the darker winter months. To improve security in the car park and also make the Church more visible from the surrounding roads, Father Peter organised for various trees and hedges to be heavily pruned or removed and this work has been very effective in improving the grounds and allowing more light in.

Planned works over the next year include further electronic leak detection on the Hall roof, as well as replacing all of the internal doors in the Hall, so that they are cosmetically of a much higher standard and are also fire doors which will provide better protection in the event of a fire. We would also like to improve accessibility in the Hall by looking at options for replacing the main entrance doors with powered assist doors (the sort you see in larger shops and public buildings with a push pad either side). A feasibility study will be undertaken into upgrading the stage lighting and general repairs will continue around the Church to meet issues raised in the Quinquennial report (a five yearly survey undertaken by a Chartered Surveyor or Architect to identify any maintenance issues and to help protect and conserve the fabric of the Church). An application will also be submitted to gain accreditation under the Eco Church scheme which enables churches to record how they are currently caring for the environment and to reflect on what further steps can be taken. The scheme encourages churches to care for creation across every aspect of Church life - the survey covers worship and teaching, management of church buildings and land, community and global engagement and lifestyle.

The Premises Committee works closely with Christine Hornsby to promptly deal with any issues raised by those hiring the Hall - it is good to note that it remains a very popular community facility and only in the last month, the Balsall Common Comedy Club held its first comedy night in the Hall, after outgrowing a smaller venue in the village. Positive feedback regarding the new venue from those in attendance that evening was noted on social media. Timely maintenance and investment works will continue to ensure that the Hall remains an attractive facility for use both by the congregation and for external bookings which bring in useful additional income to St.Peter's.

Stephen Hughes & Bryan Marlow

Reader’s Report

I feel very privileged to be able to serve as a Reader licensed to this parish.

Reader ministry is primarily one of teaching and preaching within a pastoral context and I have tried to fulfil this role as best I can, across the range of age-groups and different types of service at our church.

I preach once a month either at the 9.30 service or at Evensong and am involved with the development of our housegroups. I lead one Exploring Faith Group and try and encourage and support other small group leaders.

I am licensed to take non-Eucharistic Services and I lead the monthly Switch Service with the support of our Switch Planning Team. I also lead some Evensong services and many of the monthly services at Harper Fields Care Home where I am developing more of an input into the Dementia wings, where many of the families value the spiritual dimension which this brings to their relatives’ care.

I also lead the bimonthly short service in church, which is followed by Tea and Cakes. This service was originally requested by Harper Fields but the number of people attending this service has increased and it seems to fulfil a need for a short non-Eucharistic service during the day.

Much of my role also involves visiting those who are housebound or sick, and when Peter is away I visit those who have Home Communion, and take the Reserved Sacrament to them.

I am licensed to take funerals, and I have found this part of my ministry very fulfilling. It has been a great privilege to be able to walk alongside people at this time.

As part on my ongoing training I have attended various Diocesan courses which have been very valuable. I am also a member of the group which plans the programme for ongoing training (Continuing Ministerial Education) of Readers in Birmingham Diocese, and I have been part of the Tutor Team for Readers currently In Training. I am very much looking forward to welcoming Chris Price and Alison Bennett as new Readers at St Peter’s next year.

I am very grateful to those members of our congregation who give me so much support and encouragement. They are too many to mention by name but the support and encouragement means such a lot. Thanks also must go to Peter for his continued support and guidance.

Moira Johnson

Rock

The afterschool club was led last year by Claire Reid, with the wonderful help of volunteers - Jennifer Trend, Val Winters and Mark McGann.Rock is two hours long, every Thursday afternoon during which the children register, help with and enjoy the tuck shop, have free play, or a lead an activity, attend a craft based activity, settle down for a pizza break and help clean the hall afterwards, using a special bin for recycling.

The activities at the Rock are varied and include craft/art, cooking, games, and outdoor activities (in the summer the field down the road is used to play football / rounders etc), as well as go-kart building and racing. The children very much enjoyed special celebrations, such as Burns Night, St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day by trying and making Haggis, Welsh cakes and Irish bread. Before other special occasions, they enjoyed making cards, painting, doing collage, etc, but probably their favourite activity was slime making!

Attendance has grown from around 30 children during the 2017/18 school year to around 50 children each week in the current school year with a ‘membership’ of around 60.

Livia Baciu

Safeguarding

Safeguarding takes place against a national background of the Independent Inquiry into Childhood Sexual Abuse, which required us to report all incidents ever recorded in our files, and we continue to work closely with the Diocesan team. Members of the team continue to attend update training events organised by the Diocese such as a day on adult safeguarding. We ensure that all new volunteers and workers are properly checked through the DBS system before being allowed to take full responsibility.All PCC members have also been ‘safeguarding’ checked, and they and other volunteers are given access to appropriate training. In June last year a high-level training course was run in our church for the Diocese, which several of our congregation attended. There are regular online updates and new practice guidance issued, and we have appointed Moira as Co-ordinator for the new Domestic Violence policy and support scheme. We liaise with and support our neighbour churches as necessary. I am happy to report that we are compliant with all the policy requirements!

Mark Johnson

Stay and Play

Our group takes place on a Friday afternoon during term time from 1.30-3pm in St. Peter’s church hall.

Led by Shelley Thorp with helpers: Margaret Eyre and Jenn Trend

Stay and Play has gone from strength to strength this year. We are attracting increasing numbers of families with babies and toddlers every week with a creative approach to learning through play and sensory experiences.

Each week there is something new for the children to experience, with plenty of activities designed to enable the adults to get involved with their child’s learning and play. We have continued to ensure that there is a clean and safe environment for the children to play while the grown-ups enjoy a good chat with tea and coffee and slice of cake. Deeper relationships have been formed and there is always the opportunity for a listening ear and supportive network to develop.

The session ends with a group singing session followed by the much loved Hokey Cokey!

We always have a variety of people joining in, from expecting parents to nannies and grandparents. All generations and ages seem to have a great time!

Shelley Thorp, April 2019

For more current information:

  • 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!