PARISH OF ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
THE ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING
Was held in St Peter’s Church on Sunday 26 March 2023 at 11am
For the election of Parochial representatives of the laity as follows:
To the Parochial Church Council – 5 representatives.
To the Deanery Synod - 4 representatives
For the appointment of Sidesmen and the Independent Examiner or Auditor.
For the consideration of:
(a)A Report on changes in the roll since the annual parochial church meeting;
(b)An Annual Report of the proceedings of the parochial church council and the activities of the parish generally;
(c)The Financial Statements of the Council for the year ending on the 31 December immediately preceding the meeting audited or independently examined;
(d)A Report on the fabric, goods and ornaments of the church or churches of the parish;
(e)A Report on the proceedings of the Deanery Synod, and other matters of parochial or general Church interest.
1.All persons whose names are entered upon the Church Electoral Roll of the parish (and such persons only) are entitled to vote at the election of parochial representatives of the laity.
2.Subject to the provisions of rule 12(2)(c), a person is qualified to be elected a parochial representative of the laity if
a)their name is entered on the church electoral roll of the parish and, unless they are under the age of eighteen years at the date of the election, has been so entered for at least the preceding period of six months;
b)they are an actual communicant which means that they have received Communion according to the use of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with the Church of England at least three times during the twelve months preceding the date of the election and;
c)they are sixteen years or upwards
d) they are not disqualified as referred to in paragraph 3 of these notes.
3a) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected from serving as a churchwarden, a member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if they are disqualified from being a charity trustee under section 72(1) of the Charities Act 1993 and the disqualification is not for the time being subject to a general waiver by the Charity Commissioners under subsection (4) of that section or to a waiver by them under that subsection in respect of all ecclesiastical charities established for purposes relating to the parish concerned.
(aa) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected or from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if the person is included in a barred list (within the meaning of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006).
(ab) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected or from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if the person has been convicted of an offence mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
(ac) A person's disqualification under paragraph (ab) may be waived by the bishop of the diocese in question giving the person notice in writing.
b)A person shall also be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council if he has been so disqualified from holding office under section 10(6) of the Incumbents (Vacation of Benefice) Measure 1977., a member of a parochial church council,a district church council or any synod under these rules if he is disqualified from being a charity trustee under section 178 of the Charities Act 2011 and the disqualification is not for the time being subject to a general waiver by the Charity Commissioners under subsection 4 of that section or to a waiver by them under that subsection in respect of all ecclesiastical charities§ established for purposes relating to the parish concerned.
4.Any person whose name is on the electoral roll may be appointed as a sidesman.
Signed - Date: Minister of the parish
|NOTICE OF A MEETING FOR |
THE ELECTION OF CHURCHWARDENS
Parish of St Peter’s Church, Balsall Common
A meeting for the election of churchwardens will be held in
St Peter’s Church on Sunday 26 March 2023 at 11am.
This meeting may be attended by:
1.All persons whose names are entered on the church electoral roll of the parish and
2.All persons resident in the parish whose names are entered on a register of local government electors by reason of such residence
Signed:_________________________________________ Minister Dated:_______________
In this Notice “parish” means an ecclesiastical parish
ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
64th ANNUAL VESTRY MEETING
Sunday 26th March 2023 in St Peter’s Church Hall at 11am
1.Notice of convening meeting to be read
2.Apologies for absence
3.Minutes of Vestry Meeting held on Sunday 20th March 2022
4.Matters arising from the meeting held on Sunday 20th March 2022
5.Election of Churchwardens
ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
64th ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING
Sunday 26th March 2023 St Peter’s Church Hall at 11am
- 1.Notice of convening meeting to be read
- 2.Apologies for absence
- 3.Minutes of 63rd Parochial Church Meeting held on Sunday 20th March 2022
- 4.Matters arising from the meeting of Sunday 20th March 2022
- 5.Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for 2022
- 6.Report of Vicar
- 7.Electoral Roll Officer’s Report
- 8.PCC Secretary’s Report
- 9.Churchwardens’ Report
- 10.Deanery Synod Report
- 11.List of Sides Persons
- 12.Election of five Parochial Church Council members
- 13.Election of four Deanery Synod members.
- 14.Appointment of Independent Examiner
- 15.Attached Reports of Church Organisations
- 16.Any other business
OFFICERS’ REPORTS FOR THE A.G.M OF ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
Sunday 26th March 2023
Fr Peter’s Annual Report
This is my 18th and final AGM report. First may I thank all those who have submitted reports on the various activities and groups that are here at St Peter’s. I commend them all to you to read in your own time, reflect on them and pray for each of the groups and activities.
Thanks too to all of you here and all of the congregation that have made my life and ministry among you these past 18 years enjoyable for the most part and certainly easier with all the support, encouragement, commitment and willingness to volunteer in all the areas of life at St Peter’s and the parish.
Services throughout the past year have remained pretty much as previous years with the restrictions of Covid now behind us.We have made the decision to continue live streaming the main services and we know that some people are accessing them. The highlight for me was my 40th anniversary of ministry in the summer, a truly wonderful occasion.Other marked events were the late Queen’s platinum Jubilee and then of course the marking of her death. We had 18 pages of condolence messages from the community coming into the church.A further farewell was to Bishop David as he took retirement.
During the last year it was pleasing to be welcomed back into the primary school with a revitalized Open the Book team and to be able to once again put on Christmas Through the Keyhole.We had 300 or more children coming into the church for this.
We are also serving the community through the warm hub and through having English conversation classes for Ukrainian guests living locally.A decision has been made to continue the Thursday warm hub beyond the initial period as it is providing a space of welcome for people to come together, chat and socialize.
Beyond the immediate parish there have been various activities:
Some of us joined a deanery wide walk of witness for racial justice;
we supported the church in Malawi assisting in filling a container of aid;
we’ve been involved in the discussion about the diocesan strategy ‘people and places’ and oversite areas all under the transforming church banner,
and our home groups have discussed the Living in Love and Faith report from the national church.
Looking forward I hope and pray that not all that has been achieved over the past 18 years will be lost, that the broad ministry base of the readers, the worship teams, the home groups the outreach activities, the individual contributions within the church and in the community and for the community will continue.
I will continue praying for you all as you enter interregnum. Please give all your support to those who will be taking on responsibility for the running of the church and parish.
Since last year’s AGM the activities of the PCC have returned to the pre-Covid format, with regular meetings in the Church. During 2022-2023, 5 full meetings have been held, mainly focussing on the many aspects of the fabric of the church and hall buildings, and on Transforming Churches, with particular regard to St Peter’s Church after Fr Peter’s forthcoming retirement. We have also been looking at ways to achieve net zero carbon footprint for 2030 and to become even more eco-friendly; Rachel has picked this issue up and is making great progress with it.We have put much thought into how to increase our fundraising with a smaller volunteer base, and are very grateful to Diane & Ted Perkin for their raffle initiative.
Many thanks to all those who stand on the PCC – the roles are varied and valuable. After 5 years on the PCC as secretary, I am standing back for the time being, and as I do so it is with a greater appreciation of all that goes on in the background of the running of St Peter’s- all those wonderful reports written by leaders of groups and activities are testament to the life of the church. I wish the PCC all the very best as we enter an interesting era when Fr Peter retires. And, of course, my very best wishes go to Fr Peter and Sandra on their retirement and move away from Balsall Common.
To say it’s been an interesting 12 months is an understatement but, one we have all got through and are now looking for some normality and socialising in our church.
A personal thank you goes to Sarah for all her help especially while I was ill over Christmas, and my thanks also go to those on the sides persons rota for their continued support on Sunday morning.
The continued use of the screen and computer in church has made a big difference to our church services allowing those members who are unable to attend church to watch and enjoy our services, long may this continue.
The outside cleaning company we started during in 2022 continues to work well, I haven’t had any complaints from the congregation except for the continued abundance of flies who seem to live in the beams, these still need to be dealt with on a daily basis.
Now comes the mundane and run of the mill items, this year a widening of my church duties has been putting together a clergy rota for when Fr Peter leaves at Easter and we go into Interregnum, I do hope the selection of clergy meet with the congregation’s approval, only time will tell.
The Premises Committee and upkeep of the church and hall buildings will be dealt with by Bryan Marlow in another report.My grateful thanks to Bryan for all the time and hard work he puts in on behalf of St Peter’s.
Once again we are nearing the time for Guy, Sarah and myself to go into Sherlock Holmes mode to complete the terrier & inventory.This covers listing anything and everything that is moveable in church.Please if you have any service books, hymn books or anything else that should be in church at home let one of us have a note of what you have.
By the time you read this the “Statistics for Mission” will have been completed and sent off, this gets longer each year, it now runs to 14 pages which take some sorting out, thanks to Mark Johnson, Chris Lee and Bryan Marlow for all the time they put in completing this on behalf of St Peter’s.
Stay safe and may your God walk with you
Christine Hornsby, Churchwarden
ACCOUNTS FOR 2022: Can be read here as a .pdf file - click on link to view
CHURCH GROUPS’ REPORTS FOR THE A.G.M OF
ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
Sunday 26th March 2023
Afternoon Tea and Cakes
This has always been a great opportunity for folk to drop in to the church and enjoy a cup of tea and slice of home baked cake in a relaxed setting and has provided a great way for our church to serve our local community. With the introduction of the Warm Welcome Hub we have combined the two events on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
My thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers who bake cakes, serve the teas and coffees and make our visitors welcome.
A special thanks must go to Stella Lamb who organises the rota (a thankless task!!) and also to Jen Trend who enjoys washing up!
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.
Some of our contacts this year have had to be restricted to telephone calls or meeting individuals outside, which has not been ideal.We have now largely returned to ‘normal service’ which, hopefully, we will be able to maintain.
Our Remembering Service at All Souls tide was held mid-afternoon; with, as has become customary, time for reflection and the lighting of candles for those we knew but are no longer with us. We had planned to plant snowdrops beside the church, but problems with getting them in October stopped us.Hopefully we will be able to plant some in the next few weeks.
We hope to run our third Bereavement Journey course in the near future.
Margaret L Eyre
Bereavement Care Project Co-ordinator
Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell
Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell includes representatives from the following churches:
Blessed Robert Grissold Church; St John Baptist Church, Berkswell; St Mary’s Church, Temple Balsall; St Peter’s Church, Balsall Common; St Swithin’s Church, Barston and The Methodist Church.
- Good Friday – 15th April 2022: The Walk of Witness took place followed by a Simple Lunch hosted by the Methodist Church.
- Dawn Eucharist was held again on Easter Morning at 6.15 in the clearing in the woods at Temple Balsall. The service was led by Revd. Kathy Lloyd Roberts. About thirty people were present.
- Saturday 4th June 2022 – Coffee Together - Special Platinum Jubilee Celebrations at The Jubilee, hosted by St Peter’s Church. Coffee and cakes were free. There was an opportunity to decorate biscuits with red, white and blue icing.
- Quiet Mornings continue to be organised by Doug Timmis and led by Ministers of our local churches. They are held three times a year starting in The Old Hall at Temple Balsall and extending out to the church and the beautiful grounds around.
- Well-Being Café: Churches Together has supported this initiative of the members of the Methodist Church who have opened a Well-Being Café twice a week.
- Warm Hubs have been made available at Blessed Robert Grissold Church, The Methodist Church, St John Baptist Church and St Peter’s Church. Heart of England Retirement Organisation (HERO) provided the money for swing boards to be put in each of these churches to advertise the warm hubs.
- Coffee Together: Coffee mornings are held at The Jubilee on the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 12 noon. Each church takes turn to host.
- Christmas Coffee Together was hosted by St John Baptist Church who provided a choir to lead the carol singing. This was well received.
- Charitable Donations have been made from any profits accrued:
- Unicef (collection from Lent Breakfasts 2022) - £243.30
- Crisis at Christmas (collection from Christmas Coffee Together) - £241.43
- Humanity & Inclusion (Ukrainian charity) - £250
- Narthex - £150
- Christian Aid - £51.50
- Unity Service was held on 22nd January 2023 at Berkswell Church. The theme was ‘Be-longing: Praying for Unity Amidst Injustice’
- World Day of Prayer Service – held on 3rd March 2023 at Blessed Robert Grissold Church. The theme was ‘I Have Heard About Your Faith’ and was prepared by the Christian women of Taiwan.
- Lent Reflections 2023. Revd. Canon Mark Bratton has organised speakers on the theme of Not in Polite Society. Five speakers will be addressing the following topics: Death, Racism, Wealth, Dementia and Gender.
- Lent Breakfasts will again take the form of tea, coffee and Danish pastries which proved to be popular last year.
- Open the Book:
- Under the auspices of The Bible Society, a group of volunteers from our local churches go into Balsall Common Primary School assemblies to read and act out Bible Stories using The Lion Storyteller’s Bible. In January we presented the story of ‘Jesus, the Boy in the Temple’ to both KS1 and KS2 pupils. In March we presented ‘Jesus and the Taxman’ which is the story of Zacchaeus. During the next school year 2023-2024, we hope to re-open our links with Springfield House and George Fentham Endowed School.
- Peter’s Retirement – as our January meeting was the last one which Peter would be attending, he was thanked for the valuable contribution which he has made and the support he has given to CTBB over the past seventeen years.
Eileen Lamb (Minutes Secretary for CTBB)
Since COVID, we have moved the majority of our communications online – including the weekly Newsletter edited and circulated by Margaret Eyre. About 3 people still receive a hard-copy printed version on request. Links to online events are posted in our newsletters, social media, and the website. Email copies of the newsletter are sent to all the Electoral Roll and quite a few others, and the full text is posted weekly on the website. More targetted letters are also regularly sent to a list of those who have specifically asked for updates on the Informal services and occasional events. This strategy has been very effective as well as saving an enormous amount of paper and printing!
We continue to enjoy a regular half-page article in the quarterly village magazine ‘The Bugle’, and grateful thanks are extended to those who produced a short (about 500 word article) on ‘’Why I come to St Peter’s”!
We continue to add new posters to our ‘A-Frame’ outside the church, and this year are grateful for the support from various charities which also enabled us to obtain a new ‘Swinger’ notice to advertise the Warm Hubs. This will develop new uses this year.
Our church computer/internet system links the church to the Hall and its Broadband connection by an electronic bridge, so that all our meeting spaces have access to high-speed internet wifi and we can use the Hall for any overflow if required. We must also give thanks to the “Technical Team” who operate the projection & sound desk and camera, and oversee the streaming of the main services to the Internet.
Our Social Media channels have been busy, advertising our various services and highlighting significant dates in the Christian year. We are reaching an ever-growing ‘audience’, although it can be hard to elicit feedback or monitor exactly who they are. We believe, as the national church research suggests, that we may be reaching new people and new needs, as well as serving our own members who are confined to their homes by illness, infirmity, or busy diaries meaning they cannot attend at normal service times.
Twitter: @SPCBalsall – we now have 218 followers. This channel is regularly updated and gets a wider circulation through ‘Likes’ and retweets by those who support us.
Facebook: @SPCBalsall – 393 Followers (Page Likes). This is probably the most effective of our outward facing media. Most of our special events and many of our services are posted here and are usually linked to the Balsall Common community FaceBook group. We regularly reach 190-200 people – a recent posting about the ‘Warm Hub’ reached 273 readers and in September 2022 a post about our fresh fruit and vegetable donation to the Narthex FoodBank reached 1,967!
Facebook: @SPCBalsallforKids – 170 Followers, is updated regularly by Caroline Briggs as this has become the regular means of communication for ‘Teeny Tinies & Toddlers’ (and its users) and also carries messages about the informal services, typically reaching between 50 and 150 people per post.
Instagram: @SPCBalsall – 109 Followers, is growing slowly and links to the Facebook page. Other church members who use Instagram are welcome to post their pictures relating to the church and ‘tag’ us!
YouTube: @SPCBalsall – 61 ‘subscribers’; every broadcast service can be viewed here through the links posted in the weekly news-sheet, as well as private events using a personalised link supplied to those who request it.
Both Traditional (Sung Eucharist) 9:30 services and the Informal services are well supported, with between 15 and 30 viewings for the 9:30, 8-20 at the 11:00 Communion, and between 6-20 the Informal 11:00 services, showing how we can provide for people with busy lives to join our worship when they can, since both usually have many more views after the time of the ‘live’ services. Although numbers have dropped as ‘in-person’ attendance has risen after COVID, there is still a strong uptake evident.
Funerals and Wedding Blessings (and Baptisms) have been viewed all around the world.The Treasurer will note that these events usually also attract a donation to church funds.
This year for the first time, a count of ‘Online Worshippers’ was requested from all churches in the diocese – so we are happy to be among the first of those providing this service!
Finally, we should note that our Treasurer has set up a system to enable people to make donations on the website, directly to the church, as well as using the ‘contactless’ device in church.The ‘app’ allows them to add comments to explain the purpose of the donation, if wished.We have also begun regularly to use ‘e-envelope’ as well as ‘contactless’ collection methods for Christian Aid week, and other specific appeals, and expect this system to develop as we move towards a so-called ‘cash-less’ society.
We look forward to new challenges – and new volunteers joining our team, over the coming year.
Eco Church Update
One of our five Marks of Mission is ”To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth” and one of the most significant ways through which we do this is by our commitment to Eco Church (Eco Church - An A Rocha UK Project) which is designed to help equip churches to care for God’s creation.
St Peter’s has a longstanding commitment to Eco Church and has already achieved Silver status, with important steps such as our solar panels, our recycling, making the most of our land and including caring for creation in our worship and teaching.
This year we are reaffirming our commitment to Eco Church, and to work to improve and achieve Gold status and also to meet the Church of England target of achieving Net Zero for St Peter’s by 2030.
In 2022/23 we have:-
- Maintained and developed the external and community focus which is an important element of Eco Church as well as an integral part of St Peter’s ethos and activity.Over the past year Fr Peter has led discussions and planning with local partners including Solihull MBC and our schools to explore opportunities for developing community energy schemes in Balsall Common with the ambition being to look at options which would both save carbon but also help to reduce costs.
- Continued to improve access to and awareness of Eco Church and Sustainability, with information and a direct link available from the home page of our website, where a prayer for climate change is also provided to offer guidance for our worship and reflection.
- Ensured that progress and priorities are promoted through our social media –
- Promoted the use of our grounds and church for reflection and contemplation for the whole community
- Introduced regular Eco Church tips into our newsletter, which is a great opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge and learning in our congregation.These cover areas including energy and water saving, recycling and environmentally friendly gardening. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.
- Helped to deliver Warm Hubs across Balsall Common – making the most of our facilities and energy use, whilst also being able to offer energy saving information and signposting where needed.
- Promoted our recycling facilities to the wider community via the Balsall Common Bugle
- Become part of the new Balsall Common walking Heritage Trail (Balsall Common Heritage Circular Trail Peter's Church (berkswellsociety.org.uk)
- Maintained our commitment to Fairtrade and identified alternative supplier options in response to the difficulties faced by Traidcraft.
- Continued to develop our environmentally friendly planting and wildflower garden
We recognise that as a church and a community we can and are committed to do more to care for God’s creation.We are all invited to think about doing one or more of the following as a start:-
- Auditing our personal carbon footprint (Offset - Climate Stewards) and seeing if there is one action we could commit to in order to reduce our footprint.
- Find out if our home has an Energy Performance Certificate (not all will have) and see if there is a recommendation for improvement that is affordable and achievable and that we could put into practice (Find an energy certificate - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
- Share our tips and suggestions for our newsletter – sending them to Margaret Eyre (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rachel Westwood (email@example.com)
Exploring Faith – Tuesday Group
The Tuesday Exploring Faith Group is composed of a small group of people wanting to explore their faith together. We meet in member’s homes at 7.30pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Below you can see the topics that we have looked at during 2022/2023.
Summer 2022 – ‘The Things He Carried’ – based on the book by Stephen Cottrell in which we discussed the physical and spiritual things carried by Jesus on his journey to the Cross.
Autumn 2022 – ‘God has no Favourites’. This was a York Course based on the passage from Galatians 3 v 26 – 29. We considered ‘Neither Jew nor Gentile’; ‘Neither male nor female’; ‘Neither slave nor free’ and ‘What is a Christian?’
Advent Meditation and Christmas Offerings chosen by members of the group.
Spring 2023 – Topics taken from the ‘New Daylight Daily Bible Readings’. We are exploring the topics of ‘The Word Made Flesh’; ‘David’; ‘Spring’; ‘Passiontide’ and ‘Easter’.
If you enjoy discussing your faith with others, including your hopes and fears, you are most welcome to join our group. You don’t have to commit to all sessions as each session stands alone. For more information, please speak to Eileen Lamb on 01676 534948.
Exploring Faith – Wednesday Group
At the end of May 2022, a new group led by Leslie de Chernatony began their journey exploring the book of Phillippians. The eight of us agreed a schedule that suited all our diaries for regular meetings at Leslie’s home from 19.30 to 21.00.After a chat over refreshments and biscuits we opened by saying a prayer to open our minds and our hearts to the reading that would take place. At each session we addressed half of a chapter from Phillippians. Through discussion we considered the meaning and implications of the verses. By having no qualms about telling the group about any difficulties understanding the verses we were able to share our wider reading and knowledge to help each other appreciate the points Paul was seeking to make. Each session finished with conclusions about what we had read then a closing prayer. We had fun sharing our views and gaining a deeper understanding. By the end of November we had finished the book of Phillippians. We celebrated the friendships we had enjoyed by having a bring and share meal. After the meal we sang carols accompanied by the harmonious piano playing of Eileen Lamb. In March 2023 we will start delving into the book of Ephesians. If anyone else would like to join this friendly group they would be most grateful and should contact Leslie on 07905088927, or 01676 216215, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie de Chernatony
Exploring Faith – Friday Group
The Friday Exploring Faith group has been able to meet in person over the last year and I think we have all valued getting back to normality after the zoom sessions during covid.
We meet at Templars Cottage on alternate Fridays between 7.30 and 9pm. Our aim is to explore the Bible, discuss what we believe and think how our faith can impact on our daily lives. In this informal setting I think each of us feels able to ask questions and to learn from one another.
Since the last AGM we have looked at 3 different topics.
From April to July we focused on Luke’s Gospel and looked at the following themes:
- The resurrection of Jesus (Luke 24)
- Ministry to the Margins (Luke 4: 14-28)
- Sabbath Rest/Taking Time out (Luke 6:1-11)
- Women in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 7: 36-50; Luke 8: 40-56)
- Meals and Hospitality (Luke 14:1-23; Luke 19:1-11)
For our next topic we used one of the York Courses entitled “God has no favourites” as our guide and thought about what Galatians 3: 28 actually meant for us today in 2022.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.
God’s is not dependent on anything we are or anything we do. His acceptance is unconditional. We were also challenged that if we want to know what God ‘looks like’, we simply need to look at one another. We thought about what our modern day equivalent of ‘Jew and Gentile, slave and free and male and female’ are and how this affects the way we treat other people.
For Lent we have been following a course designed by LICC (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) which is called Growing on the Frontline. Our "frontline" is where we spend most of our time from Monday – Saturday; the people we mix with, the places we go. We are exploring how God can help us grow in the everyday places and situations we find ourselves and how he can use our experiences to help us become more like Jesus.
Exploring Faith is not a closed group. We meet every 2 weeks and it provides an opportunity to discuss what we believe, to question, and express our doubts in a safe place. If you would like to join us please do have a chat with me. Hopefully after Easter we shall be meeting again in person!
Moira Johnson 01676532389
I’m delighted to report that since the end of Covid bookings for the hall have taken off, all the regular weekly users have returned, children’s parties at the week-ends are going well, quarterly use by The Comedy Club, NHS Blood and Transplant, NAFAS and yearly use by The Horticultural Society and not forgetting the dog clubs. Even the school holidays are filling up – all this is helping to rebuild hall finances.
It’s not just the hall that’s busy I now have a diary for the church and baptistery, this is filling up nearly as quickly as the hall diary, with the Warm Hub, Saturday mornings for the Ukrainians wishing to speak English, Heart of England School, Balsall Common Primary School, PCC meetings, choir practice, band practice and of course the regular church services, so please if you wish to use either of these, contact me first to make sure the space is available.
Christine Hornsby, 07974 140353
St Peter’s team have continued to take regular services at Harper Fields Care Home on each of the 4 units. This has been a real privilege and we have been able to get to know many of the residents who so appreciate this weekly service. We have had great support from the manager and activities staff who have told me what a difference this has made to the spiritual life of their residents. We also visit residents who are unable to leave their rooms, should they request it, and we share communion with them from the Reserved Sacrament. Numbers attending our services have increased and we are now seeing between 20-26 each week. Some of the care staff also attend and have told me how much they value this opportunity, as often their work schedules don’t allow them to attend their own churches.
I have also been privileged to have been asked to take the funerals of a number of the residents who have died.
Mothers’ Union - St Peter’s Branch
Although we no longer have branch meetings on a regular basis, we continue to be active in fund raising and charitable activities. Mothers’ Union is based on prayer and members have been able to support each other in prayer as well as praying for the wider church.
The knitting project is on-going, and we have much support from the members of the congregation as well as from those outside the church. We continue to send knitted gifts to Malawi as well as supporting local hospitals.
Members were also active in packing and sorting for the Container to Malawi which was sent in June.
We continue to be in touch with Agnes, a Mothers’ Union member in Malawi and her letters are always inspiring and prayerful. (see www.spcbalsall.church/malawi/ )
Chris Price has been busy selling Mothers’ Union cards. The cards are popular with our congregation and this fund-raising activity is very well supported.
Claire Laland organised a New Year’s Lunch at Haig’s Hotel which was very enjoyable and well supported by the congregation as well as by MU members and friends. This was the only fund-raising event we were able to hold.
We look forward to a more active year in 2023. We pray that the world will soon return to a safer place.
Please speak to one of the Committee if you wish to find out more about Mothers’ Union. Membership is open to all, male, female, married, single etc.It has around 4 million members worldwide and is involved in a vast number of projects in just over 80 countries.
St Peter’s Mothers Union Committee
Alison Bennett, Frances Critoph, Claire Laland and Chris Price
What a sad month April 2023 is going to be – well, in terms of Father Peter’s and Sandra’s exoduses from BC but more specifically, St Peter’s. I’ll record here that I have a lot of thanks to give to Peter for his support for music, the choir and of course, me personally (and Sandra has been a big help to me, too!!) … on behalf of all the musicians, vocal and instrumental, I/we wish you both a very happy retirement!
As always, my report is 90% a ‘thank-you’ list – and why not?!!
My thanks for Mark for his 100% commitment to ensuring the PowerPoints (and ALL that goes with it eg recordings, broadcasts! etc etc) are all sorted and to Moira for her 100% dedication for communicating the Switch hymns (and all that goes with that too).
Thanks to all of the clergy in supporting the continuation of Evensong (1st Sundays) – the choirs (here and at Hampton) are really grateful for this, as it’s such a lovely service; quiet, calm, reflective … we just wish that more folk would come along to enjoy.
My thanks go to the choir for their efforts in so many areas – our Nine Lessons and Carols (with Hampton choirs too) and services at 9.30am, weekly and Evensong, monthly as well as our Easter Music service (coming up on Palm Sunday here and Good Friday at Hampton … well worth attending if you possibly can).Also, for the support and vocals at the ‘Farewell to Bishop David’ evening – AND … for singing at Hampton services and weddings as their choir is EVEN smaller than ours!!Thank you choir!!!
I would like to thank Pauline Lissamore for all her years of dedication to singing in the choir – Pauline left the choir a while back, for various reasons. She is missed but perhaps, one day, she might return. Thanks Pauline!
Thanks to those who help out with refreshments after the various services we’ve had – always 100% super – thanks!
Talking of choir numbers (!) … over the last year or two, I’ve been meaning to make a couple of decisions about
(i)how long I continue to play/stay at St Peter’s, and
(ii)should I be looking for somewhere else to play … based on the facts that:
a.I have reached that age when maybe I should be starting to slow down (not, I might say, the speed of the hymns!!) and
b.the numbers in the choir are now quite low ie without ‘extras’ (ie guest singers who travel a fair way to help us out) we have up to 7 or 8, [or 10 counting Angela and Mike Beddoes, who travel quite a distance to us, now that they’ve moved away]. (Thank you to them both!).
I have so much more to offer (I think) but with smaller and smaller numbers in the choir, the items that we can learn are becoming fewer and fewer.
So, at this point, I repeat my annual message (as in similar to 1997 report and year in, year out) saying ‘PLEASE join us’ … I honestly believe you won’t regret it. Or just come along for a few weeks and give it a try. If you speak to anyone in the choir I reckon they’d all say ‘Come along’ – difficult to type with my fingers crossed!)
Junior Choir – I hope to try to start up the Juniors again from September (it would be really helpful if anyone who thinks they might like to give it a whirl, mention it to me between now and then, please) – at present, the 3 children who would’ve joined, go to Hampton’s Junior Choir instead.
To Eileen Lamb and Graham Robinson, I repeat my thanks for always being on standby for covering me as well as playing numerous services that I can’t get to, because of my other commitments. Thank you both!
I would ask again that, at the end of services, folk don’t applaud – I say this because there are a lot of people who help to put the service together, and they don’t receive any applause. I’m just happy that you are there!
The essential work to replace high- and low-level guttering and downpipes was completed early in the year. Rainwater collection butts were also fitted.
The Diocese’s Building Surveyor was consulted in connection with the repairs necessary to the Bell Tower. This has proved a long and tortuous process involving his recommended contractor Midland Conservation Ltd.
Details of that process are too numerous to record here -suffice to say we are still awaiting a quotation from MCL, despite having paid their investigation costs.
Our Inspecting Architect was fully briefed on this situation on his visit to carry out his Quinquennial inspection in November 2022.
The Architect’s subsequent comprehensive Quinquennial report majors on the Bell Tower situation as the most significant expenditure required.
Other recommendations made in the report, whilst important, have minor cost implications.
A new Dishwashing machine is now operational -funded by the Birmingham Airport Community Trust Fund. Smart meters have been installed in the Church and Hall.
It should be noted that our 4-year contract with SSE for gas and electricity supplies expires in March 2024.
The three of us feel very privileged to be able to serve as Readers licensed to this parish, and we have tried to fulfil our role as best we can, across the range of age-groups and different types of service at our church.
We have all taken part in the preaching rota both at the 9.30 service and Evensong.
We are licensed to take non-Eucharistic Services and all of us are involved in the Informal Services which take place on three Sundays each month. We are so fortunate to be able to work as part of some amazing teams in the planning and leading of these services, and to encourage more of our congregation to be involved in lay leadership and develop their gifts.
Much of the ministry of Alison and Chris has been in their workplaces. Alison has provided pastoral support to students and colleagues in her school, and Chris continues to provide mentoring and support for her colleagues.
Both Moira and Alison are licensed to take funerals and have found this part of their ministry very fulfilling. It has been a great privilege to be able to walk alongside people at such a time.
We are also involved in keeping in contact with those who are housebound or sick, and when Peter is away, we visit those who have Home Communion, and take the Reserved Sacrament to them. This is a great privilege and something which we will be able to continue during the interregnum, ensuring that those who are unable to attend services in person will still have contact with our church and be able to receive the Sacrament.
As part of our ongoing training we have attended various Diocesan courses and the Bishop’s Study Days which have been very valuable.
During this year we have met as a Ministry Team and during the Interregnum we will continue to meet together with the Church Wardens to ensure the continuity of the ministry and pastoral work of our church.
We are all very grateful to those members of our congregation who give us so much support and encouragement. They are too many to mention by name but their support and encouragement means such a lot. Thanks also must go to Peter for his continued support and guidance.
Alison Bennett, Chris Price and Moira Johnson.
Following the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Church of England, and with growing awareness of both Domestic Violence and ‘Modern Slavery’, this has become an important part of our work as a church. We have a dedicated team offering support as required, including our Readers as well as the Vicar, and the PCC appointed Moira Johnson as the ‘lead contact’ for advice and support in cases of Domestic Abuse.
We have kept our policies and practices under review throughout the year, and members of the Safeguarding Team have undertaken update or refresher courses. The cycle of refreshing both DBS checks and training has been shortened to every three years, so we are rapidly bringing all our volunteers and Trustees (PCC Members) into compliance with the new standards.
We also display posters about domestic abuse and exploitation around the church and Hall, giving contact details and advice to those seeking help. Some are posted in the toilets, as this has been shown to be an effective way of reaching those who are at risk.
It remains important that all members of St Peter’s are aware of the need for safeguarding vulnerable adults and children, and supporting those at risk of domestic abuse or ‘modern slavery’. Members of the team will be happy to advise or discuss issues of concern, and offer support, in confidence.
Mark Johnson (Data Protection and Safeguarding lead).
Teeny Tinies and Toddlers
Current volunteer team:
Margaret Eyre, Sue Clinton, Angie Gordon, Moira Johnson, Linda Marlow, Kaye Thomas, Chris Price & Jenni Trend.
We really miss Becky and her Ukulele and a big thank you to her for all the hard work and support she gave following our re-opening after lockdown.
Our group opens every Friday 1.30pm -3pm in St. Peter’s church hall, except during the school holidays.
- 1.30pm - 2.45pm - Free Play – we have equipment/toys to support both inside & outdoor play.
- 2.45pm – 3pm - Singalong - a special thank you to Father Peter for leading many of the singalong sessions since Becky ’retired’ from the team.
£3 per family – includes tea/coffee/squash & homemade cake.
We have successfully simplified the number of toys/activities (especially by not having craft or ‘messy’ activities).Though we have re-introduced activities such as play-dough & stickers for the toddlers. We continue to have a weekly cleaning cycle for the toys (the new dishwasher is well used for cleaning the small toys) and mats.
Our numbers of attendees are variable, and we currently have a goodly number of grandparents with their grandchildren as well as mums & babies and toddlers. Unfortunately, we have been unable to recruit any onto the volunteer rota.
As it stands the current format is working well and we have received positive feedback from the parents/carers that they like the more ‘chilled’ atmosphere we offer and of course, the refreshments and home-made cakes are well received.
Ukrainian Conversation Class
There are a number of Ukrainian refugees living in and around Balsall Common and in November it was decided to start a Conversation Class at St Peter’s on alternate Saturday mornings from 10am to 12 noon. This grew out of requests from some of the Ukrainians who found that the formal language classes provided at the College focused on grammar and gave them little opportunity to actually practice speaking and using English. They felt they needed to have more opportunities just to talk in a safe, non-threatening space.
Our sessions start with coffee and biscuits and an opportunity for our guests to chat both with each other and the volunteers. From 10.30 the session becomes more formal with a topic for conversation. These have included Christmas celebrations, talking about themselves, and more recently helping our guests to write a CV and apply for a job.
We have been overwhelmed by the support of members of our congregation who have come along and helped, talking on a one to one basis with our guests and this has been very much appreciated by the Ukrainian community who join us from Solihull, Knowle, Dorridge and Meriden as well as Balsall Common.
What a practical way for our church to reach out and our thanks to all who support this venture.
Warm Welcome Hub
With the rising costs of energy and the forecast of a severe winter many churches and community centres throughout the country opened their doors to provide a “warm hub” for those who might be struggling to heat their homes.
In October 2022 Churches Together agreed to work together to provide a warm place of welcome to those in our community who might value this. The aim was that in Balsall Common and Berkswell one of the churches would be open at some point each day to provide a warm hub.
St Peter’s volunteered to open our church each Thursday afternoon between 1.30 and 4.30. Initially we were unsure what people might want – we agreed that board games, cards, jigsaws would be provided. Wifi would be available and tea and coffee would be provided with biscuits or, in our case, cakes on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
This venture has proved very successful with a regular core of people coming mainly to chat, knit or crochet. The feedback has been very positive and those who have attended have requested that we continue over the summer as they really enjoy these sessions.
Grants have been secured from the parish councils which have covered our costs.
My thanks to all the volunteers and also to Rachel Westwood for writing the applications for funding