ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
63rd ANNUAL MEETING
Sunday 20th March 2022 in St Peter’s Church Hall at Noon
AGENDA of the Annual Vestry Meeting
1.Notice convening meeting to be read
2.Apologies for absence
3.Minutes of Vestry Meeting held on Sunday 7th March 2021
4.Matters arising from the meeting held on Sunday 7th March 2021
5.Election of Churchwardens
ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
63rd ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING
Sunday 20th March 2022 St Peter’s Church Hall at Noonm
AGENDA of the APCM
- 1.Notice convening meeting to be read
- 2.Apologies for absence
- 3.Minutes of 62nd Parochial Church Meeting held on Sunday 7th March 2021
- 4.Matters arising from the meeting of Sunday 7th March 2021
- 5.Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for 2021 (NB The accounts will be found in a separate file because of differences in format)
- 6.Report of Vicar
- 7.Moving forward after Covid
- 8.CFM Report
- 9.Electoral Roll Officer’s Report
- 10.PCC Secretary’s Report
- 11.Churchwardens’ Report
- 12.Deanery Synod Report
- 13.Transforming Church Report
- 14.List of Sides Persons
- 15.Election of three Parochial Church Council members
- 16.Election of Deanery Synod members, if any
- 17.Appointment of Independent Examiner
- 18.Attached Reports of Church Organisations
- 19.Any other business
Minutes of 62nd Annual Vestry Meeting
Keep scrolling down for the reports for the meeting in 2022, our 63rd AGM!
held on Sunday 7 March 2021 at 12 noon by video conferencing service (Zoom)
In attendance: Fr Peter, Christine Hornsby (Church Warden) Graham Buckingham-Underhill (Church Warden), Chris Lee (Treasurer), Susan Clinton (Secretary)
There were 24 members of the congregation in attendance in addition to the above.
The meeting was opened with prayers from Father Peter.
1. Notice Convening Meeting
- Fr Peter read out the notice convening the meeting which had been displayed on the Church noticeboard for the past four weeks.
- There were no apologies submitted
3. Minutes of Vestry Meeting 2020
- The Minutes of the 61st Annual Vestry Meeting held on Sunday 8 March 2020, distributed online, were agreed as a true record and signed.
4. Matters Arising from the Vestry Meeting 2020
- There were no matters arising from the minutes of the 61st Annual Vestry Meeting held on Sunday 8 March 2020.
5. Election of Churchwardens:
- Two proposals had been for the Churchwarden positions:
- Mrs Christine Hornsby and Mr Graham Buckingham-Underhill
- Both of the nominees were willing to serve.
- All attendees at the meeting were in favour of the nominees UNANIMOUSLY AGREED
- Both nominees were thanked for their support for the forthcoming year.
- The meeting closed at 12.08am
ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
Minutes of 62nd Parochial Church Meeting
held on Sunday 7 March 2021 at 12.10pm by video conferencing (Zoom)
In attendance: Fr Peter, Graham Buckingham-Underhill (Church Warden), Christine Hornsby (Church Warden), Chris Lee (Treasurer), Susan Clinton (Secretary)
There were 24 members of the congregation in attendance in addition to the above, namely:
Hannah Cowlishaw, Margaret Eyre, Patricia Eyre, Stephen Eyre, Bob Farmer, Guy Hawkes, Chris Hunnisett, Janet Jenks, Tony Jenks, Mark Johnson, Moira Johnson, Amy Kershaw, Claire Laland, Eileen Lamb, Malcolm Leighton, Bryan Marlow, Linda Marlow, Alla Pavuk, Diane Perkin, Ted Perkin, Chris Price, Sarah Roth, Val Smith, Rachel Westwood
1.Notice Convening Meeting
- Fr Peter read out the notice convening the meeting which had been displayed on the Church noticeboard for the past four weeks.
2.Apologies for Absence
- No apologies were given.
3.Minutes of Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020
- The Minutes of the 61st Parochial Church Meeting held on Sunday 8 March 2020 were read, agreed and signed all in favour. AGREED
4.Matters Arising from the Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020
- There were no matters arising from the minutes of the 61st Parochial Church Meeting held on Sunday 8 March 2020.
5.Treasurer’s Report and Accounts for 2020
- The annual accounts for 2020 had been posted on St Peter’s website prior to this meeting.
- The Church Account: Chris Lee, Treasurer, reported that due to the global pandemic the past year had been very difficult. Planned giving has however remained stable, and we were able to pay our Diocesan contribution in full, for which the Diocese is grateful. There has been only one jumble sale and no magazines have been issued, resulting in almost £9,000 reduction in income from the previous year. Other expenses - £5,500 of Brenda Newman’s bequest (from 2019) has been spent on new camera equipment for facilitating online services, and Dan Jones is to be thanked for sourcing and installing the equipment, saving the church money. Changes to the garden have been started with new hedging, and, turf will be laid and wild flower seeding will take place later this year.
- The Hall Account: There has been only about a third of the regular lettings in the hall and no planned work has been done over the past year.
- The Children and Families Missioner Account: Chris continued to say that there have been two donations to the Children and Families Missioner account from Knowle United Charities and other donations from specific fundraising (to which there was a good response to our request for funds).
- There were no questions put to Chris regarding the accounts, so she finished by hoping for a better year ahead and asked that people feel free to contact her with any questions, if necessary.
- Father Peter thanked Chris for her work as Treasurer, and thanked God for the money raised. He continued that the new contactless card reader installed will draw more funds from one off contributions. Many other churches have been unable to make their Diocesan contribution in full, but we have committed to doing so again this year.
- Fr Peter continued with the Proposal to accept the accounts pending auditing by Alison Worth:
- Proposed: Chris Lee Seconded Chris Hunnisett AGREED UNANIMOUSLY
6 Report of Vicar
- Father Peter read his 16th report as vicar of St Peter’s, which had also been posted online (see accompanying online documents).
- There were no questions from the congregation
7 CFM report
- Livia Baciu’s CFM report had been posted online as part of the AGM pack, and was read by the Secretary.
8 The Electoral Roll Officer’s Report
- Mark Johnson reported that the electoral roll has increased this year, despite losing seven members of the congregation. The Electoral Roll Officer’s report had been posted online. Mark stated that he was happy to continue with the position of Electoral Roll Officer and this was accepted unanimously by those present.
9. PCC Secretary’s Report
- Susan Clinton’s report as PCC Secretary was presented in the online AGM pack.
10. Churchwarden’s Report.
- The Church Warden’s report, by Graham Buckingham-Underhill, had been posted online. Graham reported that his first job as Church Warden was to close the church due to the Covid pandemic, and he has not had a year in which to experience the role properly. Cameras have been installed in the church thanks to Mark Johnson and the technical team. Christine Hornsby, Church Warden, had nothing to add to the report.
11. Deanery Synod Report
- Mark Johnson’s report from the Deanery Synod was included in the online AGM pack.
12. List of Sides Persons
- Fr Peter was happy to assume that those currently on the list posted on the noticeboard are willing to continue as Sides Persons, and added that any volunteers are always welcome to join, as there are no new names on the list.
13. Election of PCC Members.
- Moira Johnson proposed Sarah Roth as a new PCC member, seconded by Susan Clinton ALL IN FAVOUR
- At this point Eileen Lamb was re-elected as a PCC member (see Item 14 below), however this was an unnecessary procedure as Eileen is the Deanery Synod representative and therefore has an automatic place on the PCC. Eilee has officially resigned from her position on the Diocesan Synod. Father Peter stated that there was a vacant position on the PCC, for which there were no current suitable candidates, and therefore a place for a co-opted person later in the year remains.
14. Election of Deanery Synod Representative.
- Deanery Synod Representative Eileen Lamb was re-elected to the same post:
- Nominated: Susan Clinton Seconded: Christine Lee ALL IN FAVOUR
15. Appointment of Independent Examiner
- Father Peter proposed that Alison Worth continues to be our Independent Examiner. AGREED
16. Attached Reports of Church Organisations
Reports from the following groups have also been published online prior to the AGM, in order to reduce printing paper costs, energy and to be Covid safe:
Afternoon Tea & Cakes, Bereavement Care Service, Churches Together, Communication, Diocesan Synod, Exploring Faith (Tuesday/Friday Group (EL) and Friday Group (MJ)), Friends at St Peter’s, The Key Magazine, The Mothers Union, Music, Open the Book, Premises Committee, Readers’ Report and Safeguarding.
17. Any Other Business
- Bryan Marlow reported that as a response to the quinquennial report guttering work will be undertaken in May. There have however, been issues with the heating system and electrics, to which Fr Peter responded that an electrician has been in to investigate and the necessary parts have been ordered.
There being no further business, Father Peter thanked everyone and closed the meeting with a blessing at 12.36pm.
Reports for the Year Ending March 2022
OFFICERS’ REPORTS FOR THE A.G.M OF ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
Sunday 20th March 2022
Vicar’s Annual Report
I present now my 17th 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. Particularly again in this last year which continued to be different in the light of the continuing pandemic restrictions.
I report now on the spiritual and pastoral side while other matters are covered elsewhere.
First the worship
The worshipping life of our church has continued to happen in person and on line despite on-going restrictions, mask wearing, social distancing and so forth. Very gradually over the past year some easing has taken place and we continue to monitor opinion as to further easing. The number of in person attendance has slowing been increasing but we know there are several still being wisely cautious and remaining attendance online. My thanks must go to all who have enabled us to record, upload, and publish our services online. This I know is much appreciated not only with congregation members but also funeral, wedding and baptism families. I know that our services have been view around the world, Singapore, Australia, US, Japan, Africa to name those I know of. I believe we will be and perhaps should continue to live stream well into the future if not permanently. This of course begs the question how do we connect with the online congregation and will be a matter for discussion going forward?
Our 3 separate teams continue to prepare and produce our non-eucharistic services attracting young families alongside older members and both the young and older take their part in leading some of the prayers, activities and worship, and a developing band provides the music for these services.
I am eternally grateful for all who work behind the scenes to make all these happen. The format, content and purpose of such services is constantly under review. Café Church on 5th Sundays offers another informal service opportunity and is well received by those who come.
The average weekly attendance has been difficult to gauge because we can’t know for sure who or how many are accessing the services online although we know how many “viewings” there are.
We have not restored the 8.00am Sunday Communion Service since the beginning of the pandemic and as things stand are unlikely to do so. The attendance at this service was down to one or two and occasionally none at all.If however there proves to be a demand for its restoration we will consider this carefully. Wednesday mornings continues to offer a quieter alternative communion at a later time of day. The other weekday service takes place in Harper fields conducted by Moira and is attended by 20 or more residents, a true and valued service in the community.
Other events of spiritual nourishment.
During the year there has continued to be opportunities for spiritual nourishment, by Zoom and in person in our exploring faith groups. There is now the opportunity for a further group to form.
At the end of last year we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Church’s presence in Balsall Common with a walk from our mother church, a walk of the boundaries of the parish, a celebration service with the bishop and a birthday cake.
We have sadly seen Ian Swaine, Anne Williams, Don Beere, Pam Deanshaw, Jan Roth and Ray Powell from our congregation join the heavenly realms and we will all certainly miss them. They have all, in their time, given much to the life of St. Peter’s over the years. We are also aware that other congregation members have been bereaved during the last year and are struggling with their bereavement. I remind you all to be supportive of all the bereaved in our midst.
We have been grateful of all the work Livia has done as our Children’s and Families Missioner but sadly the funding has run out so we had to end her contract. However, we are still benefiting from her craft activities for services and now craft group which she provides on a voluntary basis.
There are many, many, other people who volunteer for all kinds of activities and service. There are the afternoon teas in Church once a month, there is the Teeny, Tinies and Toddler group on Fridays, coffee after church, collecting and delivering food bank offerings and other goods for those in need. There is the Bereavement journey course being offered again for the community. This just to name a few things which all fit in with our strap line “St Peter’s Here to Serve”.
Thanks must go to Moira, Alison, Chris and Livia who have formed the ministry team over the past year in leading this parish and sharing the preaching and pastoral work. Together we have worked as a team meeting and praying regularly. Please pray for us as we continue to minister to you and the parish.
And while I’m on the thank you’s I want to thank Chris and Graham, our wardens who have served us as best may be in this another difficult year. There are many others as well (too many to mention) that have worked incredibly hard to ensure all that we do happens, and for them we are thankful. I have totalled up the number of people that contribute in some way to the life here at St Peter’s and it appears to include most of the congregation, from readers and wardens to those who support and look out for each other, from sides people to tea makers, from musicians to building maintenance and so the list goes on. So thanks to you all.
Looking to the future the plan for ongoing ministry in the diocese is continually evolving and part of that evolution will be taking note of each parish’s action plan which we are now in the process of updating and renewing. As most of you know I have one more year as your vicar and the parish’s plan will no doubt form a basis for future ministry needs in this community. I ask you all to support the working group working on the plan. Growing God’s Kingdom has to remain our focus as we reach out to people where they and their interests are. 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.
I remain your faithful servant in Christ for the next year if you are all willing to continue working with me in this community.
Father Peter March ‘22
Hon. Secretary’s Report
The PCC has held 4 full meetings in the past year, the first of which was conducted by Zoom, due to Covid restrictions; since then our meetings have been held in the church to enable social distancing, with the addition of Zoom/YouTube technology which allows isolating PCC members to participate. All the meetings have been supported with good attendance by the PCC members, which makes for lively discussions.
At the last AGM we welcomed Sarah Roth to the PCC, and then in September it was agreed that Ted Perkin was to be co-opted, so we welcomed him to his first meeting in November.
Apart from the ongoing topic of living with Covid, this year we have focussed on maintenance of the hall and church buildings, the Transforming Churches Action Plan and the People & Places theme, and have discussed in depth how to move forward with fundraising activities and the CFM post.
At the January meeting the Treasurer’s report and annual accounts were prepared for audit and presented to the PCC; these were accepted subject to audit.
Susan Clinton, Honorary Secretary PCC
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 in our worship and socializing.
I would like to thank Graham for his help and wish him well in his retirement and future ventures in France.
We overcame lockdown by using the hall for any overflow from church, updating our overhead and computer equipment and going online, all of which has keep us as a church and our services available to a wider congregation. Due to lockdown the reduction of numbers at funerals caused many families heartache but, with our new equipment Mark and his team managed for families all over the world to join in and at least feel part of the service, a big thank you to Mark and the technical team for this achievement.
A personal thank you to all those on the side persons rota for their continued support In persuading the congregation to wear masks and use the sanitizers, well done everyone.
During October the church was given a deep clean as no regular cleaning had been undertaken for 2 years, this has led to fortnightly cleaning sessions by an outside company, this works well except for the abundance of flies which have to be dealt with on an all most daily basis.
Both church and the baptistery have started once again to come into their own with Afternoon teas, Craft group, Friends at St P’s, Bereavement group, band practice, PCC meetings sorry if I’ve missed anyone, because of the greater use we now have a Baptistery diary, please contact me if you wish to book either at any time.
With the planting of the new hedge by kind permission of Sally Newman in memory of her mother we went on to lay meadow grass and later in the year the congregation distributed wild flower seeds in the same area.
Now comes the mundane and run of the mill items, an education and widening of my church duties came with Fr Peter’s sabbatical, I hope this holds me in good stead for the next couple of years as warden. The different church teams have met to discuss TCAP and how we progress in the future, The Standing Committee talk regularly about the structure and upkeep of the church and hall, Brian Marlow and Fr Peter do a considerable amount of work behind the scenes with regard to this committee, our thanks go to both of you.
In the very near future Guy, Sarah and myself will be completing the “Terrier” inventory, it’s now time for this to be rewritten as we have a lot more movable items, each and every one to be listed. This requires us to go into Sherlock Homes mode, not everything is where it should be.
By the time you read this I will also have completed “Statistics for Mission” this is the average church attendance, Electoral roll numbers and a lot more for the Diocesan Secretary.
Stay safe, and may your God walk with you,
Christine Hornsby, Churchwarden
Yardley & Solihull Deanery Synod
Since St Peter’s last AGM, Deanery Synod have met three times. The first was purely a social gathering in July 2021 at Hampton -in- Arden Sport’s Club to play ‘Petanque’ which proved to be an enjoyable evening and an opportunity to get to know some of the other churches in the new extended Deanery.
We met on 12th October 2021 at St Michael’s Church Yardley, and by Zoom on 13th January 2022.
During the October meeting, Nick Parker (Area Dean) introduced his new assistant Charitas Cho (Deanery Support Officer).
The following items were discussed at the two meetings:
Revd. Peter Thomas and two representatives from St Peter’s Church, Maney, Sutton Coldfield talked about how their churches had achieved a silver award. St Peter’s Church, Balsall Common are now ‘going for gold’.
The walk of Witness was arranged for Sunday 13th March 2022. Three starting points were given -Dovehouse Parade, Yew Tree and Sparkhill Park from where participants would walk to St Mary’s Church, Acocks Green for a short service. A small group from our church joined the walk and the service that followed.
Living in Love and Faith
Revd. Kathy Lloyd- Roberts and Revd. Clare Dean, having completed their training as facilitators, are leading the Deanery course during Lent 2022.
28.11.2021 took place at St Alphege, Solihull
20.03.2022 took place at St Margaret’s Church, Olton
Birmingham Anglican Climate Action (BACA)
Beryl Moppett is sending regular emails to each parish indicating how they might reach Carbon Net Zero status by 2030. Our deanery currently have three bronze and three silver eco-awards.
Home for Good (H4G)
Alisia O’Sullivan gave us an insight into this Christian organisation that supported adoption and fostering of young children. We were urged to invest in children at an early age to prevent them experiencing severe problems in later life. A Bible study ‘My Place’ has been produced for use by house groups/churches to address some of the social justice issues.
Mention was made of SCAH (Solihull Churches Action on Homelessness). This charity had purchased a house where homeless people could live and receive support to help integrate them into society.
The finance team can offer support to parishes in payroll and parish bookkeeping and support from a Giving Facilitator who could help with contactless giving, campaigns, courses, training clergy and financial reviews.
Clergy stipends are to increase by 2% from April 2022
We looked at the initiative for ‘Setting God’s People Free’ and discussed where we see God at work in our lives and how/if that relates to our church life.
(pp Margaret Eyre, Mark Johnson, Peter Lee, Father Peter and Eileen Lamb - Deanery reps)
We have kept our policies and practices under review throughout the year, and members of the Safeguarding Team have undertaken update or refresher courses. We have posters around the church and Hall giving contact details and advice to those seeking help.All relevant Church Officers have followed a course of relevant training, mostly online, but ‘in-person’ courses are available and one will be held at our church later this year. The Diocese maintains a ‘dashboard’ system to record our compliance, and we have kept this updated accordingly.
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).
Children and Families Missioner (CFM) Report
2021 has been a year of many changes for St Peter’s Church team, due to previous lockdown intervals, and other on-going restrictions. However the teams lead by Fr Peter, Moira Johnson, Alison Bennett, Chris Price and myself tried to reach out to the congregation in many ways possible through technology and social media, and transformations occurred in the way which the services and events took place during the year.
Most of the children and young families who used to attend Sunday school at St Peter’s Church, moved to informal services. The constant efforts of the informal services teams, in planning, and preparing attractive services made possible that SWitCH, Lighthouse and Navigate thrive and flourish despite all difficulties. A huge thank you and my gratitude to Fr Peter, Moira and Chris Price, for constant time spent in planning and growing efforts, or in prayer and guidance; to Mark and all other volunteers behind the computer for making all services in Church, on-line, or lived streamed, not only possible but even successful, to Christine Hornsby for all guidance and safety measures being reinforced and efficient support for all activities taken place in church, in baptistery or in the hall.
During 2021, Lighthouse carried on as usual, on the second Sunday of the month, with a regular number of 11-20 persons, children included, in Church at 11am and streamed online. The team includes Fr Peter, Livia, Graham Robinson, Emily, and Mary and the band included Graham Robinson, Emily, Sarah, Becky and Judith. My gratitude for all above for productive and exciting time spent together and continuous support to Lighthouse and other St Peter’s events. From January 2022, Mary Partridge took the lead of the team and we hope that the future will bring more numbers to Lighthouse, due to challenging discussions around tables for adults, enjoyable crafts for children, exciting dramas and stories, and lively music.
My gratitude goes to all St Peter’s vicar and parish for accepting me as CFM for a period of 3 years, despite all financial and other challenges.
Thank you all, and may God bless you!
CHURCH GROUPS’ REPORTS FOR THE A.G.M OF ST PETER’S CHURCH, BALSALL COMMON
Sunday 20th March 2022
Afternoon Tea and Cakes
Unfortunately due to Covid we had to suspend our Thursday monthly Tea and Cakes until September, but since then we have met on the 2nd Thursday of each month. We have set out the tables in the church, rather than the Baptistry, to ensure social distancing and have endeavoured to keep everybody as Covid safe as we can.
This has always been a great way for folk to drop in 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. During lockdown when we were unable to meet we kept in touch by phone with many of the people who had come to our teas and this was very much appreciated.
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!
Bereavement Care Service
The Bereavement Group offers comfort and 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. After the service there was an opportunity to plant a daffodil bulb beside the church (they are just starting to come into bloom as I write this).
We are in the midst of running our second 6-week Bereavement Journey course – delayed from last year.
Margaret L Eyre, Bereavement Care Project Co-ordinator
Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell
Churches Together in Balsall and Berkswell usually meet four times a year. The member churches are, Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic 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 Balsall Common.
Covid restrictions were still in place during 2021 so, once again, the activities of CTBB were severely curtailed. We were unable to hold Lent Breakfasts, the Walk of Witness or the Simple Lunch.
The first meeting held in 2021 took place at St Peters Church on 25th August. We discussed the ways in which the pandemic had affected our individual churches and it was clear that many churches had adapted their services, many thinking ‘outside the box’. We were asked to consider how online services might extend outreach opportunities. We thought about how the new skills that have been discovered might encourage us to ‘reinvent’ ourselves to move forward in hope.
‘Coffee Together’ resumed in October 2021, hosted by St Peter’s Church with the wearing of masks, hand sanitisation and appropriate ventilation encouraged. We did not serve homemade cakes, only wrapped biscuits. There was a good attendance. The Methodist Church hosted ‘Coffee Together’ in November. In December representatives from all the churches helped to host. Kim and St Peter’s choir led the carol singing. In February Berkswell Church hosted and we resumed the sale of homemade cakes which were well received.
Donations: Over the past year the following donations have been made:
- £150 donated from CTBB funds, through ‘Save the Children’ to the repatriation of refugees from Afghanistan.
- £286.65 donated to ‘Crisis at Christmas’ (collected at the Christmas Coffee Together)
The CTBB AGM was held on 4th October 2021. The following officers were elected for the coming year:
Moderator: Revd. Mark Bratton, Vice Moderator: Revd. Stuart Dimes, Treasurer: Jill Pacey,
Secretary: Claire Laland, Minutes Secretary: Eileen Lamb
On behalf of Churches Together, Claire Laland attended a meeting organised by the Parish Council to discuss ideas for community use of the proposed village centre for Balsall Common. She put forward ideas suggested by CTBB members.
Events: Unity Week - service held at St Swithin’s Church, Barston 23rd January World Day of Prayer – service held at St John Baptist, Berkswell 4th March
Lent Reflections: Just to highlight the last two Lent Reflections – ‘Spiritual Perspectives on the Pandemic’
Saturday 26th March – ‘Oh God, Not Mass!’ Going into the crepuscular gloom. Led by Revd. Pauline Warner who believes that the pandemic has been a key turning point in the life of the church.
Saturday 2nd April – ‘A Plague on All Our Houses’. Led by Revd. Mark Bratton who looks at what lessons the church can draw from Covid and past pandemics and plagues.
Eileen Lamb (Minutes Secretary for CTBB), March 2022
We have now moved to an almost paper-free system, which is at least eco-friendly, and for the very few people who don’t have internet access, friends and neighbours have been printing off the regular Newsletter edited by Margaret Eyre and dropping it in. Email copies are sent to all the Electoral Roll and quite a few others, and the full text is posted weekly on the website. Letters are also regularly sent to a list of those who have asked for updates on the Informal services and occasional events.
PCC meetings have also been held on Zoom, and made available on our YouTube channel for those unable to attend on the day. That channel was initially useful for posting readings, puppets and craft activities (and sermons!) for our Online services and now carries our regular livestreamed services.
No-body has come forward to take on the task of reviving the monthly magazine, and the new system seems to satisfy most needs, so we have no plans to restart hard-copy publishing. A regular half-page article in the quarterly village magazine ‘The Bugle’, keeps us in the public eye and grateful thanks are extended to those who have responded with their 500 word articles on ‘’Why I come to St Peter’s”!
Thanks also to the “Technical Team” (including a growing number of young people) who operate the PowerPoint projection, sound desk and camera, and oversee the streaming of the main services to the Internet. Our 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. Links to online events are posted in our newsletters, social media, and the website.
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 215 followers. This is regularly updated and gets a wider circulation through ‘Likes’ and retweets by those who support us. Announcements about our services are usually seen by 50-80 people but one post of the Archbishop’s Prayer for Ukraine and our Ash Wednesday services, reached nearly 600 views, and the Beetle Drive advertising has been seen by over 200. (Our most-widely viewed item was about our Online Christmas services, – seen by over 5,500 people!)
Facebook: @SPCBalsall – 336 Followers (Page Likes). This is a very effective means of advertising – the recent posting about the Beetle Drive was seen by nearly 300 people and two postings about the opening of the church for prayers for Ukraine gathered nearly 500 viewings. These are also linked to our physical postings, such as the A-Frame outside the church used for regular events such as the Thursday Teas, Friday children’s activity, and services for other special days such as Christmas. They link to the Balsall Common community group, and typically reach over 100 people, and up to 700 per posting.
@SPCBalsallforKids – 148 Page Likes, typically reaching up to 40-80 people per posting and upwards, has become the regular means of communication for ‘Teeny Tinies & Toddlers’ (and its users!) and also carries messages about the informal services.
Instagram: @SPCBalsall – 104 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 – 56 ‘subscribers’; 2,600 views in past year. Our first Online 9:30 Eucharist attracted 100 viewers, and while typically, numbers have now settled around 20 as folk have returned to worship in person, they averaged 40-50 during the time of maximum restrictions. The Informal services are also well supported, 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.
Funerals have been viewed all around the world, and some seen between 100 and 200 times. On a happier note, we had over 100 viewings of the wedding of Dan Jones & Harriet, conducted by the bride’s father. It was nice to use his work to show their wedding (and a relief that it all worked well!). The Treasurer will note that these events usually also attract a donation to church funds.
Finally, we should note that our Treasurer has set up a system to enable people viewing the website can use a link to make donations 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 used ‘e-envelope’ collection methods for Christian Aid week, and for 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.
Exploring Faith, Tuesday Group
The Tuesday ‘Exploring Faith’ Group meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7.30pm in various homes.
Summer 2021 The group met in The Baptistery to explore a York Couse entitled ‘Caring for Creation’. We looked at current environmental issues such as global warming, climate change and coming out of denial to face the tremendous crisis caused by our lack of care for God’s creation. We considered how we could become better stewards of the world entrusted to us by God.
Autumn 2021 We were able to meet again in people’s homes which seemed such a big step forward. We looked at a ‘Lifebuilder’ study entitled ‘Growing Older and Wiser’. In the first three studies we were asked to consider how we might grow in wisdom, making us more mature Christians.
We then read Stephen Cottrell’s book ‘Walking Backwards to Christmas’ which looked at the events of the Nativity through the eyes of the following characters; Mary, Joseph, David the shepherd and Martha the innkeeper’s wife. This proved to be an imaginative and uplifting journey for us all.
Spring 2022 We looked at a further three studies from ‘Growing Older and Wiser’ which considered how we could discern and welcome the wisdom of younger people and learn how to have the courage to speak up and give advice in godly wisdom. To do this we need to trust God in our everyday experiences.
Lent 2022 We are looking at Stephen Cottrell’s book ‘The Things He Carried’ which is a meditation on the things Jesus carried with him on his journey to the cross. This course will continue into Summer 2022.
Everyone is welcome to join us for one or all of our sessions.
Eileen Lamb, (01676 534948)
Exploring Faith, Friday Group
Despite the challenges of Covid, the Friday Exploring Faith Group has kept going and has provided mutual support and opportunities to continue to grow in our faith through our Bible Studies and Discussions.
We started the year looking at the Church of England’s Living in Love and Faith Course which explores issues of identity, sexuality, marriage and singleness. We looked at scripture, church tradition and teaching, and also stories of different people who were living in love and faith. Our group were challenged by stories of people in the LGBTI+ communities who had experienced pain and rejection, particularly in churches – many had had to leave their churches when they “came out” and had struggled to find a church where they were accepted and allowed to use the gifts that God had given them. We wondered just how good we would be at welcoming people whatever their sexuality, and encouraging them to fully participate in the life of our church.
In the summer term we reflected on the growth of the early church, looking at the first part of the book of Acts. We considered how the early church grew, what problems they faced and how they dealt with them. We discussed what we could learn from them.
In September we decided to meet in person rather than on Zoom and agreed that we would look at the Book of Ruth using the study guide produced by LICC (London Institute of Contemporary Christianity) as a guide. This series helped us to explore the issues of “the outsider” and how God works through ordinary people.
After Christmas due to the rising numbers of cases of Covid and the fact that it was rather cold meeting in our house with the windows open, we decided to revert to Zoom and since January have been challenged as we have followed the York Course “Caring for Creation”. We have looked at how we as Christians should respond to the damage we have all done to God’s wonderful creation.
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 (01676 532389)
Friends at St. Peter’s
As last year during the Pandemic we have not been able to meet. We have decided to formally disband as a group, but to still meet up for occasional coffee, teas or meals.
Our unused funds have been transferred to the Church’s Main Bank Account for safe keeping, which we have access to for payment of any agreed activities.
St Peter’s Hall
After the long period of lockdown and the hall out of use, it once again has regular bookings covering every morning, afternoon and evening during the week. Weekend usage flourishes - we appear to be a popular venue for children’s parties, dog shows, NAFAS trainings, Blood donors, Go Kart parties, Solihull MBC, company staff meetings, U3A, Balsall Common Lions. As well as commercial hirers, we also have regular use on Sunday for church coffee, SWITCH, and Teeny Tinies & Tots on a Friday.
Regular hirers are invoiced at the end of each month, casual hirers pay in advance all payments are now by bank transfer into the hall account saving me a lot of time of having to go to the bank. This once again has started to bring in an average of £1300 a month, with this income we can start to build up our reserve again ready to tackle the ongoing maintenance including cleaning, fire alarm, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting.
Every year I have to report that unsympathetic handling of chairs persists. This necessitates running repairs to be carried out, usually just screw replacement but occasionally total seat/back reconstruction!
Harper Fields Care Home
For many years St Peter’s has taken a service at Harper Fields Care Home once a month. However during lockdown, when no visits were allowed, they asked if I would do a weekly short service via Zoom. This enabled me to build strong links with both staff and residents
In April the regulations allowed volunteers to visit the home and I was asked to become a registered volunteer. Since then I have visited the home on a weekly basis and lead a short service in each of the 3 main units. I also visit residents who are unable to leave their rooms should they request it.
This has been a real privilege and I 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.
In common with most organisations 2021 was difficult with branches unable to meet on a regular basis. 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 continues and we have much support from the members of the congregation as well as from those outside the church so we are able to continue sending 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 finally able to be 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.In a WhatsApp message received this week she thanks us for our support and prayers and closes saying, ‘May the Lord continue taking care of you all over there.’
Chris Price has been busy selling Mothers’ Union cards although we were not able to hold a regular monthly stall. It is hoped to restart this very soon.
The national Mothers’ Union found itself short of funds as it was not able to let Conference Rooms at Mary Sumner House and branches have been unable to fund raise for the various projects.They appealed to members in UK and worldwide and fortunately they responded in their usual generous way.
Sadly one of our members, Pam Deanshaw, died after suffering for some months with dementia. She is very much missed.
Claire Laland organised a Christmas Dinner at Haig’s Hotel which was very enjoyable and well supported by the congregation as well as by MU members. This was the only fund-raising event we were able to hold.
We look forward to a more active year in 2022. 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.
Alison Bennett, Frances Critoph, Claire Laland and Chris Price (St Peter’s Mothers Union Committee)
Greetings all at St Peter’s. Thankfully, since my last report, things have begun to ease (a little) – as the months have gone by, we’ve managed to increase the number of singers each week and are now where we used to be – choir numbers each Sunday are now random instead of ‘prescribed’
I send my usual thanks to all the clergy for their support and liaising over these past 12 months; and to Mark for his, seemingly, effortless energies in creating PowerPoint after PowerPoint.
Thankfully, our Nine Lessons and Carols went ahead with the joint choirs (Hampton & us) and from the comments we received afterwards, all seemed to be appreciated.(We are now working towards our Easter Music Service – Palm Sunday here and Good Friday at Hampton … do come along … please!)
Evensongs have started up again (thankfully!) on first Sundays of the month – I can really recommend the atmosphere in the services … I’m also working on booklets to make the experience better still.We are grateful for the support of four or five of Hampton’s choir who come across each month to supplement our choir numbers – several of our choir return the favour on the third Sundays at Hampton. Evensong effectively takes us back to how things ‘used to be’.
My usual request of the need for more singers – wouldn’t it be great to have to turn people away because there aren’t enough seats and/or we don’t have enough robes?!!
It is with sincere regret that Junior Choir (for the first time since it began in October 1996!) has not ‘got off the ground’ this year … although not ideal, at least the juniors, who DO want to sing in the choir, have had the option of attending Hampton’s All Ages Aloud Choir (on Fridays) – I’m still hoping of course that we might suddenly have a queue of children (aged 7 upwards) wanting to sing at St Peter’s … hoping for ‘mysterious ways’!
On the senior front, we were so pleased to welcome Joan Lancaster into the ranks and from what’s been said, she appears to be enjoying things so far.
[Anyone else? Come along!! – see below]
Thanks to all those who have helped out with refreshments for the various services we’ve had – very much appreciated – thank you all !!
I repeat my thanks to the choir for their 100% support this year; although one or two have missed practices and/or services because of Covid, from time to time, I’m thankful that we’ve now begun to ‘gain’ singers, rather than ‘lose’ them – long may it continue!!
Just, briefly, another word re- the applause at the end of service … though really not needed, it is appreciated (but please don’t feel it needs to continue now that a lot of things have settled!) … the odd word of thanks is acceptable, instead!
PS One final plea … sorry to push even further! We have eight sopranos, no altos, one tenor and two basses (plus 3 or 4 kind folk who come across from other churches to augment) – it might not be over-obvious to you, but I do get quite depressed when the numbers (seniors) don’t increase … if you can find the time (an hour on Thursdays and, when you can, an hour on Sunday mornings plus occasional Evening services) to join us, it would be super! I can promise that you will enjoy the experience (maybe ask one or two of the choir how they feel about it all?) – thanks!
Exterior: Despite delays due to inclement weather and shortages of building supplies, the major programme of replacing the low, and high-level guttering and down-pipes with higher capacity alternatives has now been completed.We are currently liaising with the Diocese’s Building Surveyor in connection with the work required to repair the bell tower and to repair/replace the dislodged stone cross.
Interior: In order to reduce energy consumption and enhance our ‘Green credentials’, we have now replaced all lighting in the body of the Church with LED lamps. This was originally expected to be an expensive operation requiring modification/replacement of the control equipment. Thankfully this has proved unnecessary and has enabled us to completely replace the lighting in the Baptistery and store with new fittings and LED lamps. The Church has also been subjected to a full Electrical Condition Test.
Electrical work in the Hall has included the installation of LED lamps in the stage lighting batten together with associated dimmer switches. New LED fittings have been installed in the toilets and office. The Hall has also had a full Electrical Condition Test.
An application has been made to the Birmingham Airport Community Trust Fund for a contribution to the purchase and installation of a new dishwasher in the kitchen. Smart Meters for Gas and Electricity supplies are in process of being installed in Church and Hall. (For information, we entered into a 4-contract for these utilities with SSE in March 2020)
Moira, Chris and Alison feel privileged to be able to continue to serve you. Reader ministry is principally one of preaching and teaching within a pastoral context. The last 12 months have been challenging for us all, but we have been able to support by offering across the range of services to serve all ages of our congregation and over the last year this has been predominantly in person rather than on-line. Moira preaches once a month and Alison and Chris about once every 6 weeks.
During the year, the 3 of us have led informal services and been involved in building up and encouraging the great teams who work together to plan and deliver each service. SWitCH, All Age Worship, and Navigate, along with Lighthouse have all offered in-person services which have been well-supported. We wish to thank the teams and all who have participated over the year, and helped by providing prayers, dramas, interviews, worship songs, readings, reflections, crafts, and the technical crews for filming and uploading. It has been a blessing to be able to see so many more people in person across all services and we have tried to keep in phone contact with members of the congregation who still feel unable to return to the church building.
During the year Moira has continued to lead an ‘Exploring Faith’ house group. The group come together to discuss issues of faith and study the Bible. Moira has also carried on her contact with Harper Fields Care Home. We know from the feedback we receive, that the services and pastoral care provided is much appreciated by the residents and highly valued by the staff and residents’ families. During Lent Chris is leading a 5 week home group course called Living Stones, Living Hope which invites us to consider our faith, community and church through the stories of fellow Christians from around the world.
Funeral ministry and bereavement follow up has continued to be a major part of Moira’s role this year and she was able to provide important cover during Fr. Peter’s delayed sabbatical. Alison has also completed the first stage of her funeral ministry training during the year and plans to support Fr. Peter and Moira in this important role as time permits around her work at school. Alongside Margaret Eyre, Moira is providing a bereavement support group which has been well-attended to date and well-received by those participating.
During the year, Alison and Chris have continued to provide ministry in their workplaces. Many people we come into contact with on a daily basis are in need of both spiritual and practical support. Alison provides pastoral support students, their families and to colleagues, in her school. In a similar way, Chris provides mentoring and support for her colleagues.
As Readers, we required to continue our development. Alison and Chris have attended a team building event along with Fr. Peter as part of the Diocesan NEXT course. We also receive enormous support from our fellow cohort of trainees through a regular meeting for chat and prayer.
Moira has now stepped down from her role as one of the tutors on the Reader Training Course. Being a tutor was both rewarding and challenging as well as demanding of her time. She has now handed over the mantle, enabling more recently licensed readers to have the opportunity to serve the church in this way. During her time as a tutor, she has been able to support the development of many readers across the diocese and her involvement in Continuing Ministerial Development has been very valuable.
This year the ministry team have met regularly to plan and pray which has been immensely beneficial. This helps to ensure that the ministry of St Peter’s is led by and based on the Lord’s will and guidance. In addition, all three readers are all involved in the Transforming Church Action Planning group alongside Fr. Peter, Christine Hornsby, and volunteer members of the congregation. We are looking at how we at St. Peter’s will move forward on the next stage of our journey, and how we serve our congregation and the wider community as our parish continues to grow.
We would like to extend our thanks to all the congregation for your support and encouragement. Thank you, also to Fr. Peter for his continued leadership and guidance.
God Bless, Moira, Chris and Alison
|ST PETER'S CHURCH - BALSALL COMMON||ACTUALS|
|Year ended 31 December||Year ended 31 December|
|Gift Aid offering||39,445||37,437|
|Other freewill offering||2,499||2,325|
|OTHER ORDINARY INCOME|
|Teenies Tinies & Toddlers||1,102|
|TOTAL ORDINARY INCOME||66,963||58,832|
|St Peter's House repairs & maintenance||84||84|
|CHURCH & SERVICES|
|Repairs and maintenance||1,355||1,080|
|Organ/piano repairs & tuning||110||0|
|Upkeep of services||604||1,046|
|TOTAL MINISTRY, CHURCH & SERVICES||15,747||15,277|
|OTHER ORDINARY EXPENDITURE|
|Junior choir / choir||0||500|
|Diocese fees & training||40||0|
|FUND RAISING EXPENDITURE|
|TOTAL ORDINARY EXPENDITURE||68,518||66,268|
|TOTAL CHURCH EXPENDITURE||71,635||71,712|
|OPERATING SURPLUS / (DEFICIT)||(2,514)||(9,015)|
|OTHER LISTED CHURCH ORGANISATIONS|
|OTHER ORGANISATION (DEFICIT)||0||0|
|TOTAL OPERATING SURPLUS / (DEFICIT)||(2,514)||(9,015)|
|ST PETER'S CHURCH - BALSALL COMMON||ACTUALS|
|HALL ACCOUNTS||Year ended 31 December||Year ended 31 December|
|Solar power contribution||1,260||1,381|
|Heat & Light||843||2,682|
|Minor repairs & maintenance||1,576||1,496|
|ST PETER'S CHURCH - BALSALL COMMON||ACTUALS|
|CFM ACCOUNTS||Year ended 31 December||Year ended 31 December|
|The Rock at St Peters||0||1,008|