Previous years reports are also available - at www.spcbalsall.church/Reports19/ and https://www.spcbalsall.church/Reports20/
The accounts for last year (2020) are filed here click to view
Reports to the Annual General Meeting of St Peter’s Church 2021
REPORTS OF CHURCH OFFICERS TO THE AGM OF
ST PETER’S, BALSALL COMMON
SUNDAY 7 MARCH 2021
January – December 2020
2020 was a very difficult year, but the planned giving has remained stable so thanks to everyone who has continued with that, under the circumstances. The Diocesan contribution was paid in full, for which the Diocese was very grateful. We are intending to continue to fund the cost of a full clergy position in 2021.With only one jumble sale and no contribution from the magazine publication there was a £9,000 reduction in income compared to 2019.
£5,500 of Brenda Newman’s bequest was spent on camera equipment to enable the broadcasting of services to those unable to attend church in person. Our thanks go to Dan Jones for sourcing the equipment, and to all of the technical team who helped in the set-up, which has enabled savings of many thousands of pounds. Changes to the garden have started, also thanks to the bequest, with the hedging already planted and plans for turf and wild flower planting later in this year.
Over the year, the income from lettings of the hall have been reduced to about a third of the usual amount, so none of the planned work to the hall has been able to be scheduled. We have also managed to fund the CFM due to two donations from Knowle United Charities and a good response to a fundraising drive. At the end of the year, we are still solvent and are hoping for a better year, this year.
We have introduced a contactless card reader in church, we hope that this will be useful to regular members of the congregation who usually donate in notes and coins, and also to those who visit for special services.
Alison Worth has agreed to continue to audit our accounts.
Chris Lee, Treasurer
Vicar’s annual report to the AGM of St Peter’s Balsall Common
I present now my 16th report as your Vicar. A shorter one for obvious reasons.
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 in this last year which has been very different and difficult in the light of the current pandemic.
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 been very different with the church being closed for much of the time and then only open to limited numbers in order to maintain social distancing. We have had to re-imagine how we do things in order to be covid safe. My thanks must go to all who have enabled us to record, upload, and publish our services online. The imagination of some of our families in the way they recorded some of the readings has been inspiring, ranging from acting out in their garden or using puppets or dolls houses.We were keen not to turn anyone away or have a booking system so thanks to the tech team for arranging a video link to the hall when needed. In the light of all this the PCC agreed to install a permanent camera and video streaming computer with internet access into the church so that now we can livestream, record and upload our services directly to our YouTube channel with just one person ‘on the desk’. We hope to refine this and use the opportunity to reach further into our community with the Gospel.
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.
I am eternally grateful for all who work behind the scenes to make all these happen.
We must continue praying for our work with the children and their parents and new people.
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. We have had some reports that there were a few ‘new’ people logging in.
Other events of spiritual nourishment
During the year there has continued to be opportunities for spiritual nourishment, despite the pandemic thanks to Zoom and other technology for our exploring faith groups.
We have seen Don Keeble, Trevor Boult, Melva Brown, Jean Jamieson, Valerie Underhill and Peter Allcock from our congregation join the heavenly realms and we will all certainly miss them. 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.
Thanks must go to Moira who has unstintingly supported me in leading this parish and sharing the preaching alongside Alison, Chris and Livia. Together we work as a team, meeting and praying regularly. Please pray for us as we minister to you and the parish.
And while I’m on the thank-yous I want to thank Christine and Graham, our wardens who have served us as best may be in this 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.
As we go into the future 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 few years if you are all willing to continue working with me in this community.
Father Peter, March ‘21
Children and Families Missioner
2020 has been a challenging year for St Peter’s Church team, due to lockdown intervals when all activities that could been moved online have been moved and other traditional activities have been cancelled completely. However the team tried its best to reach out to the congregation in as many ways possible through technology and social media, and transformations occurred in the way some services and events took place during the year. All these changes would not been possible without the tremendous work of our technical team members and all the volunteers in various teams in planning and online meetings!
The young children, who used to attend Sunday School at St Peter’s Church, and informal services, could have be seen in short videos, parts of different services either as prayers or meditations or dramas, stories and songs. The constant support of their mothers for all informal services was considerable, and I can’t thank enough to Amy Kershaw, Holly Dagger, Mary Partridge and Emily Coles. Before Christmas some children with the help of very talented Bekky Powell prepared puppets for St Peter’s Nativity show that everybody enjoyed in December 2020, in Church or online.
The afterschool club Rock and Cafe Rock were cancelled in March 2020, due to Covid 19 restrictions. We had an attempt to restore the club in a different format in September 2020, we planned some led activities with a restricted number of children, and we even had a first session, but due to lack of volunteers and attendance that idea was abandoned and Rock Club was cancelled until further notice. Hopefully, Rock and Cafe Rock will be restored from September 2021.
Lighthouse carried on as usual, on the second Sunday of the month, with a regular number of 11-20 persons, children included, or online. Lead by CFM with the help of Revd. Peter Thomas, the volunteer team includes Graham Robinson, Emily Coles, and Mary Partridge and the band included Graham Robinson, Emily Coles, Sarah Roth, Becky Powell and Judith Wilson. Some of the themes of the services were season related like, Making room for God; Angels and journeys; Are you loved? Easter traditions around the World.And others were suggested by the team members like What is forgiveness and why it is important; What’s your excuse? Water of life, and so on.Some of the services could have be seen online, and others in the Hall. We hope that from March 2021, when we will be back in Church and we will be streaming live, we will be able to grow the numbers of Lighthouse attendance, by attracting more people with challenging discussions around tables for adults, beautiful crafts for children, exciting music and dramas and even more topical themes.
Livia Baciu, CFM
Electoral Roll Report 2020 – 2021
Despite difficult times, we have managed to maintain our Electoral roll and the numbers have in fact risen slightly since last year, now standing at 116 notwithstanding our losses. The Roll is the cornerstone of our communications, as it ensures that we have addresses, phone numbers and emails to contact people during these times. I’m pleased to say that only four members of our church have no email address – and three of these have neighbours or family who normally share the information with them.
Mark Johnson, March 2021
Secretary’s Report 2020 – 2021
This year has been very different from that which we anticipated at the last AGM exactly 12 months ago.
The first planned meeting of the year was cancelled, as we got used to what was going on in the world, and then the Standing Committee of the PCC held a couple of meetings by Zoom last springtime in order to attend to pressing issues such as the finances, which had been affected by the hall closure, the maintenance of the church and hall premises, and the opening up the church.
As the year progressed and the pandemic situation continued, four Zoom meetings of the PCC were held. The team supporting the technology (TAG) brought before us their plans and recommendations of equipment to purchase to enable St Peter’s services to be made available to as many people as possible. In the Autumn, it was hoped that we would be able to meet a diocesan representative to discuss the Transforming Church Action Plan, but sadly due to Covid restrictions that was not possible. Other discussions & decisions were made throughout the year including funding of the CFM post and the arrangements for the November memorial.
At the January meeting this year the Treasurer’s report and annual accounts were prepared for audit and presented to the PCC; these were accepted subject to audit.
Thank you to the Chairman and Committee members for all their team work during the past year, and in particular to Mark & Moira Johnson whose quick uptake with technology has enabled our meetings, including this AGM, to take place.
Susan Clinton, Honorary Secretary PCC
To say it has 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. I would like to thank Christine who has guided me over the last year and we both look forward to the next.
Unfortunately, my first official role was to help oversee the closing of the church during the first lockdown. However, it soon came apparent that worship could continue via video links which were down loaded for people to view at their convenience. As the restrictions eased and gaining more confidence through ‘social’ distancing and sanitisation we were able to open the church for worship during the summer. During that time, we acquired the means to live-stream the services for those not able to attend and we are continuing to fine tune that facility as we go on towards the gradual normalisation of our services. A big thankyou to Mark and the technical crew for this achievement. We would also like to thank all the sides people who helped during that period and the time will soon come when we will be able to have a proper rota again as numbers return to the services.
There has been a considerable investment in the technical equipment that is required for the recording and transmission of our services together with the purchase of a contactless card reader for collections and donations. In the future these facilities can be offered to baptisms, weddings and funerals, for a fee, as a permanent record of these services. As there has been little use of the Church Hall there is not a lot to report but as soon as we are able to welcome them, the groups that usually use the hall will be encouraged to return.
We hope as the year rolls on to gradually look at projects that may have been delayed over the last twelve months rather than concentrate on the short-term contingencies that we have been forced into. We know we would not have been to continue without the help of all our congregation and look forward to better times on the horizon.
This year, the Deanery has been amalgamated with the neighbouring Deanery of Yardley and Bordesley, to create a new super-deanery that covers the whole area alongside the two main roads into Birmingham – the A41 and A45, from here to the centre. This means we can share some new resources, and support each other as fellow Christians – which we hope will help all of us! The new Area Dean for Yardley & Solihull, Revd Nick Parker, formerly Vicar of Coleshill and Maxstoke, was installed to lead our new Deanery on March 3rd 2021. We look forward to meeting him and working with him to make our ‘group’ a dynamic focus of Christian witness for the eastern sector of Birmingham Diocese.
We have not actually been able to meet as a group since last March 5th, when we had the first joint meeting, at St Christopher Springfield. At that meeting the Synod accepted the resolution from our PCC to ‘request the Diocesan Board of Finance to consider its investments to ensure that they meet and offer ethical and eco-friendly options for churches depositing funds with them’. Hopefully we shall soon learn what they replied! For the past year, the Deanery was led by joint chairs – Toby Crowe from Elmdon and Andrew Bullock, and while we have not had any meetings, we have been kept up-to-date by emails of key events, particularly the health of Bill Sands of St Ethelburga (Yardley) following his stroke.This is an important element of supporting each other by prayer during the lockdown, and we have also had updates on new appointments to Ward End and Hay Mills parishes.
Mark Johnson (for the Deanery Reps)
In 2020 only two meetings of The Diocesan Synod were held and they were both through Zoom.
Thursday 9th July 2020
These are the issues that were discussed:
- Bishop David posed some ‘Big Questions’ for churches to consider post ‘lockdown’:
- 1.What kind of church is God shaping?
- 2.What kind of society will we have?
- 3.How can we work to eradicate racism and to learn how to live together in love and faith?
- 4.What can we do to improve the stewardship of our planet?
- 5.How can we become dynamic churches where real change can be effected?
- 6.How can we create opportunities to renew our churches?
- Report from General Synod
- People and Places update
- Mission and Ministry
- AGM of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF)
- Mission Initiatives
Saturday 14th November 2020
These are the issues that were discussed:
- Bishop’s briefing to include racial injustice, living in love and faith, the environment
- People and Places update
- 2021 Budget – the recommended budget for 2021 is a deficit budget reflecting the impact of Covid 19 on parish and diocesan funds. This may require the use of up to £1,368,000 of designated reserves in order to deliver a balanced budget.
- Diocesan Quinquennial Inspection Scheme
- Mission and Ministry Update
Eileen Lamb (Diocesan representative for the Deanery)
It is with joy that Alison and Chris joined Moira at the beginning of 2020, to serve as Readers licensed to the Parish of St Peter. All 3 of us feel very privileged to be able to serve you. Reader ministry is principally one of preaching and teaching within a pastoral context. During the last 12 months we have strived to realise this across the range of services offered and to serve all ages of our congregation .At times it has been challenging and at other times uplifting as together, as a church, we have explored opportunities to ‘Be’ Church wherever we are and to share the Good News. We have enjoyed the challenge of preaching in person and online this year. 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 and online services this year as restrictions allowed. The services have been well supported. Thanks to the teams and to all who have participated, and helped in person (when we could) or by recording prayers, dramas, interviews, worship songs, readings, reflections, crafts, and the technical crews for filming and uploading.
Along with Peter and Livia, we have tried to keep in phone contact with members of the congregation. We have also endeavoured to keep in touch with those in the community with whom relationships have been built up in past e.g. Afternoon Tea regulars. Many of our young families volunteered to help and we have been able to link them up with older folk living alone needing assistance with shopping. In some cases this relationship has continued and been very much appreciated.
During the year Moira has lead an ‘Exploring Faith’ housegroup on Zoom. The group come together to discuss issues of faith and study the Bible.
Throughout the year Moira has kept in contact with Harper Fields Care Home and since the beginning of December, following requests from the staff and residents, Moira has led a weekly short service using Zoom. This has been well attended and it has been lovely to see so many familiar faces!
Funeral ministry and bereavement follow up has been a major part of Moira’s role this year and Moira says ‘it has been a real privilege to be able to support and walk alongside people at this difficult time’.
A key theme for our Navigate services this year has been how we can resource our faith Monday – Saturday. During the year Alison and Chris have recognised their workplaces as a ministry. At this challenging time many people we come into contact with on a daily basis are in need of both spiritual and practical support. Alison provides pastoral support to a large number of students, families and colleagues, for a diverse range of complex issues at her school. In a smaller way Chris also provides mentoring and support for her colleagues.
As newly licensed Readers, Alison and Chris are required to continue their training as part of the Diocesan NEXT course. The modules this year have focused on Safeguarding, Mentoring and Theological Learning. As part of the Theological Learning we were privileged to be able to ‘attend’ several lectures at Sarum College. Alison and Chris have also received enormous support from their fellow cohort of trainees through a weekly meeting for chat and prayer.
Moira has continued her role as one of the tutors on the Reader Training Course which she has found very rewarding, although delivering training sessions via zoom has had its challenges! This has kept her in touch with other Readers from across the Diocese and the involvement in Continuing Ministerial Development has been very valuable.
This year the ministry team have started to meet for weekly prayer, in person when we were able and via Zoom currently. This has been immensely beneficial. Ensuring the ministry of St Peter’s is led by and based on the Lord’s will and guidance is paramount.
Thank you to all the congregation for their support and encouragement especially at this time when face to face meetings are restricted. Thank you, also to Peter for his continued leadership and guidance.
Moira, Alison and Chris
We have kept our policies and practices under review throughout the year, and members of the Safeguarding Team have undertaken update or refresher courses. All relevant Church Officers have followed a course of relevant training, mostly online. Even when not using the Hall, or having family services ‘in person’, we have to remain vigilant, and have updated our policies to take account of the new camera and video facilities. Attention to the needs of vulnerable adult members of the church has also been maintained. Videos recorded by families with children, used to illustrate our informal services, are kept anonymous and removed from linkage after 48 hours. Now that we are ‘back in church’, we have adopted an additional protocol to cover the data protection issues arising from the recording of services for livestreaming – and the notification on our website regarding this. The Diocese maintains a ‘dashboard’ system to record our compliance, and we have kept this updated accordingly.
Mark Johnson (Data Protection and Safeguarding lead).
During ‘lockdown’ and the restrictions we have been working under, our communication strategy has been central to our mission. Fortunately, we had reached a good position, having a regular weekly newsletter, which Margaret Eyre has continued to produce (with some adjustments to format!) and it is now circulated to all on our Electoral Roll using the email system. We have a secondary distribution list of those who attend our ‘informal’ services and other family-oriented social events, and we send a series of supplementary email letters to this with information of particular interest to them.
The magazine, regrettably, has had to be suspended during the COVID emergency because of problems of distribution and concerns about spreading the disease. We would hope to resume soon but would welcome some new volunteers to share the load with the current editorial group! We have had a few items submitted, and post these on the website for anyone who wants some extra reading matter.
Every three months, we are able to submit a half-page article to the Bugle magazine. Our thanks go to the people from our congregation who agree to write their 4-500 words on “why I go to St Peter’s”. Every one is different and all are well written – and we learn more about our congregation each time!
The main activity has been the formation of a ‘Technical Advisory Group’ (TAG) who have focused their attention on building a new system of cameras and internet connectivity – assisted by very generous donations, especially from the Underwood family who paid for the camera system. Over the past 6 months, we have completely rebuilt our system, linking the church to the Hall and its Broadband connection by a ‘wifi bridge’ so that all our meeting spaces have access to high-speed internet wifi. Thanks go to Dan Jones, Peter’s new son-in-law who has installed the cabling and built a purpose-designed computer to enable this, so we can now ‘live stream’ on YouTube or use any other internet-based system to communicate with our congregation and others. Links to online events are carried in our newsletters, and on the website, which has tried to keep pace with changes going on across the Church of England. We are at present designing a new purpose-built desk to combine the controls for the new system with those for the traditional audio-visual set-up, and training our Technical Crew support team – which like everything else, is always looking for volunteers eager to learn and assist.
Our Social Media channels have been busy, advertising our various services and highlighting significant dates in the Christian year. Numbers following continue to increase:
Twitter: @SPCBalsall – 206 followers, typically read by at least 60 people, and frequently more.
(Our most-widely viewed item was about CoronaVirus Vaccine ‘scams’ – seen by over 8,400 people!)
Facebook: @SPCBalsall – 266 Followers (Likes), typically reaching around 30-40 per posting
@SPCBalsallforKids – 131 Likes, typically reaching up to 60 people per posting
Instagram: @SPCBalsall – 68 Followers
YouTube: @SPCBalsall – 40 ‘subscribers’, 9,400 views in past year.
YouTube was a new outreach tool this year, and we have been using it to livestream funerals and our regular services in church. A video explaining the Covid-safe method of Communion was seen 125 times. It is also used to save short videos of music, prayers, readings, sermons and parts of the services, as well as stories told by the St Peter’s Puppets, to illustrate our mixed-media Online Anytime Informal services. During times when the church was closed, it also held ‘clips’ of the key parts of the regular Sunday Eucharists. These are viewed regularly by around 40-50 people most weeks. The ability to record and stream funerals has been appreciated and well used since attendance has been severely restricted.
We look forward to new challenges – and new volunteers joining our team, over the coming year.
REPORTS OF CHURCH GROUPS TO THE AGM OF
ST PETER’S, BALSALL COMMON
SUNDAY 7 MARCH 2021
Afternoon Tea and Cakes
Afternoon Tea and Cakes was suspended for 2020-2021 due to the ongoing Covid pandemic
Bereavement Care Service
The Bereavement Group have continued to provide support through the year though this has almost always been via the telephone. This is not ideal but we have been able to maintain a degree of support.
The Remembering Service was held in Church at the conclusion of which attendees were invited to tie memory ribbons to the outside rails. There was opportunity for the wider community to add a memory ribbon over the rest of November.
Unfortunately our plan to run the Bereavement Journey programme at the end of last year had to be cancelled and at the moment it is unclear whether we will be able to run one this autumn. We are reviewing when next we can safely run the programme again.
Margaret L Eyre, Bereavement Care Project Co-ordinator
Churches Together usually meet four times a year. There are members representing St Peter’s Church, The Methodist Church, St Mary’s Church – Temple Balsall, St John Baptist Church – Berkswell, St Swithin’s Church – Barston and Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic Church.
- As you are aware, 2020 has not been a normal year as our life has been interrupted and challenged by Covid 19. Since the last St Peter’s Church AGM meeting, Churches Together celebrated a World Day of Prayer at St Swithin’s Church. The theme was ‘Rise! Take up your mat and walk’ which had been prepared by the Christian women of Zimbabwe.
- Only two of The Lent Breakfasts were held before we were forced to cancel. The theme was ‘Moving forward by Looking Back: New visions for the future of Christianity’.
- Although we were unable to hold any Coffee Together meetings, £150 was sent to the charity ‘Crisis at Christmas’.
- All other events which we normally hold were cancelled due to Covid 19.
- Unity Week 2021 – Although we couldn’t meet together as Churches Together, Claire sent out details of the service, which had been prepared by The Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland, and invited Churches to celebrate in their own way. St Peter’s Church celebrated with a Zoomed service on Wednesday 20th January at 10:30
- Revd. Stuart Dimes, our Moderator, wrote a reflection in The Bugle about the times we are living in. This was well received.
- Revd. Mark Bratton is leading a reading group in Lent to study the book ‘A History of the Bible’ by John Barton. All churches are welcome to participate.
- The only meeting we held was the Annual General Meeting through Zoom on Monday 26th October 2020. No changes were made to the representatives from each church and the following officers were appointed:-
- Moderator – Revd. Stuart Dimes
- Vice- Moderator – Revd. Jane Braund
- Treasurer – Jill Pacey
- Secretary – Claire Laland
- Minutes Secretary – Eileen Lamb
- After a discussion on how each church was coping with the challenging circumstances, Stuart asked us to consider ‘Going boldly where no church has gone before’. We thought about our individual church communities, the wider communities of our villages and the larger community in Christ.
Eileen Lamb (Minutes Secretary for CTBB)
Exploring Faith (Tuesday/Friday Group)
The Tuesday evening Exploring Faith Group was suspended before finishing the ‘Superstar’ course due to Lockdown in the Covid 19 pandemic.
We formed a WhatsApp group and kept in touch everyday through Lockdown. We offered each other support, prayers and hope during this time and it was comforting to know that we were all thinking of each other every day. We were allowed to meet outside and, when the weather permitted, we did this just at a social level to support each other.
In September we were allowed to meet as a small study group in the Church hall, wearing masks and observing social distancing. This is when we changed to meet on a Friday afternoon as this was a time when the hall was free.
We managed to meet for seven sessions before we came under lock down restrictions again.
- 1.We asked the question ‘Where is God in a coronavirus world?’ We considered how our lives had changed and how we thought the future would be different.
- 2.Following on from some research sparked off by one of our group in the first lockdown we then looked at some amazing women of the Bible.
- Lydia, Esther, Abigail, Dorcas and Hannah
- 3.We continued with the theme of amazing women of the Bible.
- 4.Mary Magdalene, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Ruth and Sarah
- 5.We started to study a York course entitled ‘In the Wilderness’ which proved to be very pertinent to how we were all feeling. Session 1 was ‘Jesus, Satan and the Angels’ which looked at the theme of temptation.
- 6.Session 2 was ‘The Wilderness Today’ in which we shared our own wilderness experiences.
- 7.In our last session before Christmas, we looked at the significance of Advent and enjoyed a ‘Taste of Christmas’ during which everyone in the group shared readings, poems and music for Christmas.
After Christmas we were in lockdown again. As the majority of the group did not want to meet via Zoom, we decided that each week a different member of the group would suggest a prayer topic for that week and would provide a prayer to start everyone off. So far these have been the topics:
- 1.Caregivers across the world, healthcare workers, social services, emergency workers and their families.
- 2.Those suffering from physical or mental abuse at home during lockdown. The abusers that they might find a peaceful state of mind.
- 3.Those in the creative arts and entertainment industry who are struggling; those who are providing entertainment for our leisure time.
- 4.Those who own businesses and are struggling to keep them afloat; those who are working from home and trying to juggle the demands of family life; those in the fishing, retail and manufacturing industries.
- Those working in education – teachers and teaching assistants; children who are struggling to cope without face-to-face teaching and the support of their friends; parents and carers who are home schooling; administrators in schools who have all had to adapt to new ways of working.
- Eileen Lamb
Exploring Faith (Friday Group)
I have always felt that small groups are really important in the development of our faith and sense of belonging within our church family. They provide a safe space where we can explore together, ask questions and express doubts. Talking about our faith in a safe space can also give us the confidence to be able to talk about what we believe in our normal day to day lives and helps us to be better able to answer other peoples’ questions.
Church Services stopped at the end of March in the middle of Lent and we decided that it would help all of us if we met each evening during Holy Week for a short reflection and prayers. This worked really well and we then agreed that we would continue to meet on Friday evenings using Zoom. We also formed a Whatsapp group as a way of keeping in touch and supporting each other.
After Easter we spent some weeks discussing what we could learn from the Parables of Jesus, and then we looked at the Psalms and were struck by the way the psalmists could be really honest with God and were able to express various emotions and how this helped them come closer to God. During Advent we did a York Course and over 4 sessions looked at how we could make room for the newcomer, the stranger, what really matters, and ‘Room for God’. After Christmas we discussed Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and are now working through the Church of England “Living in Love and Faith” -material which examines Christian teaching on identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage.
We will continue to meet on Zoom until we are allowed out of lockdown! If anybody else would like to join us please do let me know – you would be very welcome.
Moira Johnson(01676 532389 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friends at St. Peter’s
We started our year with a traditional Burns Supper and Quiz in January.
In February we heard our very own Audrey Davies with the 2nd part of her enjoyable talk “The History of Entertainment”.
Like most other groups—due to the pandemic –we were unable to have anymore meetings.
We try to keep in touch with each other by phone or e-mails, but have no idea if and when we can meet up again.
Due to the Covid pandemic production of The Key was suspended for 2020.
Mothers’ Union (Balsall Common Branch)
In common with most charitable organisations most of the activities this year have not happened due to Covid. We took part in an email Fellowship Letter to encourage those of us finding the isolation difficult and just to exchange general news or chit chat.
Going back to the beginning of the year (pre-Covid) it was the Wave of Prayer in January and we decided that each member should read the service and pray at home. The theme for the year was Rebuilding Hope and Confidence. This proved popular and also gave us more information about our Link dioceses, Seychelles, Bukedi in Uganda, Marathwada in North India, Enugu in Nigeria and the Diocesan link, Malawi.
We also held an unwanted gift stall in January and shared the money raised between Malawi Container expenses and AFIA (Away from it all Holiday Fund) Thanks again for the support from church members.
February was the AGM and was the last ‘normal’ meeting that we were able to hold.
However members have still been active. Many members are still knitting and that has continued throughout the year. We also had a collection of toiletries for Women’s Aid in Solihull. We are grateful to church members for supporting us with both the knitting and collecting toiletries.
Before everything came to a halt we were having a card stall each month and this was very popular. The Mothers’ Union cards are very good value and people appreciate having them on sale. Although the card stall has stopped Chris Price still keeps a number of cards and will willingly deliver them if required. Alison Bennett also has wool if anyone would like to knit squares, teddies or baby garments.
Mothers’ Union members also take an active part in supporting the Diocesan link in Malawi and help with packing the container.Although the container booked for March 2020 could not be sent due to Covid we have hopes that it will go later this year.
Thanks to all the members and the congregation for all the work they have done over the past year. As always we would welcome new members.If you are interested in supporting Mothers’ Union please speak to one of the committee.
St Peter’s MU Committee: Alison Bennett, Frances Critoph, Claire Laland, Chris Price
For some reason, it’s been a very unusual year ... literally NO choir Junior or Senior practices, (no-one turned up ANY week), no joint services with Hampton choirs, very little singing in church and very little contact with many of the choristers at St Peter’s. Answers on a postcard, please, as to why things have been SO different!!
My thanks, as always, to Peter, Moira and Chris Price for their continued support and a special ‘thanks’ to Mark Johnson for the huge amount of work he’s done in liaising with me on hymns and musical items since we began services online. These powerpoints don’t just materialise on their own!!
To put you all in the picture as to what happened last summer once we were all allowed back in church – I asked the choir members ‘who would like to sing in church, on a rota-basis’? Understandably, only a few were comfortable turning out occasionally – my sincere thanks to those choristers (and to those who sang at our albeit brief “Five Lessons and Carols”). And to those who preferred to wait until things with Covid settle ... I would have said exactly the same. I’m sure we all look forward to being back in the routine on Thursdays and Sundays.
My thanks (and those of my brothers Anton and Louis, who many of you know) for all the kind wishes of condolence for when Mom (Iris Pryce) and Dad (Norman Rawson) passed away (10 May ’20 and 10 Jan ’21, respectively) ... both attended St Peter’s quite regularly – often Evensong services. The three of us miss them both, obviously!
My usual request (keeping it short this year) for more singers – PLEASE, when things settle, have a serious think about joining us (and maybe you have children or grandchildren of the appropriate age to join the Junior Choir (aged 7 and upwards). I’ll leave it at that!
Junior Choir meets Thursdays 6.30-7.30pm (but, strangely, not at the moment!)
Senior Choir meets Thursdays 7.30-8.30pm (ditto !)
Lastly, I’m sure you were all aware that we lost two wonderful ladies from choir mid-year, last year ... Jean Jamieson, who died in May – she had sung soprano with us for around two years and then Valerie Underhill (‘Val’), who died in June, who sang alto at St Peter’s since time began (or maybe just after!!).
Sadly Jean died at a time when only a very small number of folk could attend the funeral. Thankfully, at Val’s funeral, the choir kindly sang in the area outside church after the service – a wonderful rendition of JS Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, for which I and Val’s family were very appreciative. Thanks choir!!
I’m hoping that in next year’s Music Report I’ll have a lot more to say. But, for the moment, many thanks to everyone for the support they give me each week (especially for the applause – though not needed – at the end of services!).
Let’s hope the rest of 2021 will be great (and 2022, even better!!).
Open the Book
‘Open the Book’ has been suspended for the year due to the Covid pandemic and not being allowed to visit schools.