PCC AWAYDAY 2015
Held on Wednesday 9 September 2015 at St Andrew’s Church, Box Hill
Revd Linda Harknett – Rector
Georg Nixon – Churchwarden
Jan Curtis – Churchwarden
Sally Hunt – Treasurer
Pat Kitley – Secretary
Apologies for absence: Paula Scull, Celia Toms, Shirley Wilson
Session 1: 9.30 – 10.00
Welcome and service of Morning Worship led by the Rector.
Session 2: 10.00 – 11.00: Improvement Plan 2016 Progress
This session was led by George Nixon and reviewed the progress made in each of the key areas of the Improvement Plan 2016. It was reported that very good progress has been sustained in many areas.
Opportunities for Groups and Individuals to develop their faith outside of services: Charlie reported that the Prayer Network he set up two years ago is doing well and is sustainable. Bible Study Groups led by Chris Hancock on Saturday morning at The Tree pub and Joan Stocker’s evening sessions are well supported. There has been little change in the take-up of attendance at outside Educational Events but visiting speakers to events in the parish are well supported. The team involved in building such solid foundations for developing Faith outside services were congratulated for the excellent progress they have made. Targets for future development:
• Develop a Parish Prayer (Action: all)
• Train another co-ordinator to administer the Prayer Network (Action: Charlie)
Services: Chris reported that worshippers are generally happy with the service books that have been developed over the last few years. Most are in good order and only a few minor adjustments need to be made, for example there is some confusion between the pale and dark green covered books. It was decided that the traditional form of words in the dark green books would be used in weeks 1 & 3 with the pale green books in weeks 4 & 5.
• Vergers and Sidesmen to be informed of this and a notice placed on the board at the back of the church. (Action: George)
More effort is being made to make services appropriate for families with children who attend the All Age Services in week 2. There has been no change in choir numbers. Attendance at regular services is down slightly, but attendance at special services, such as Easter, Nine Lessons and Carols and Midnight Mass, Weddings and Baptisms is down by a lot.
• It might be an appropriate time to survey the congregations again. (Action: Chris, Charlie)
• Add Baptism and Confirmation numbers to the annual report. (Action: George,Sally)
• Return the annual Service of Remembrance to St Mary’s . (Action: Rector)
Pastoral care Linda reported that support for carers and dementia sufferers still remains a huge area for development. Baptism Anniversary cards are now sent out to families. A non-resident Military Chaplain runs operations at DMRC Headley Court so her remit is to support staff and patients in the two wards. The Diocese now requires the Pastoral Care Team to keep a written record of all visits. A Prayer Tree has been established at St Andrew’s and she would like a Prayer Station at St Mary’s.
• Establish a Prayer Station at St Mary’s.
• Extend the Diocese advice regarding records to lay and clergy visits.
• Expand Pastoral Care Team and create a structure to follow up when people miss several services.
Communications: Pat reported that the electronic system for communication with the members of the Electoral Roll and friends within the community is working very well. Attendance at church led events and special services linked to specific events and fund raising publicised this way is good, (eg summer Sizzle, dedications of the Spire and Soldiers around the War Memorial and Christmas Singalong). Minutes of PCC Meetings are now uploaded to the website as soon as they have been approved. The Parish Magazine publishes regular reports of PCC news, when appropriate, but the Box Hill News was not able to include such reports. Two editions of the PCC Newsletter have been sent to every house in both villages in the parish, with a third one only delivered to homes on Box Hill and distributed to certain key areas in Headley Village. This is under review by the team. Internal communications of the diary and other events is not as well organised and is an area for development.
• Continue to review the purpose and distribution of the PCC Newsletter (Action: Jan, Charlie)
• Improve internal communication (Action: all)
Church building maintenance: Eric reported that much of the ongoing repair work and regular maintenance of both churches and their grounds has been completed in addition to the successful completion of the two major projects at St Mary’s: the replacement of shingles on the Spire and repairs to the wheezing organ. The addition of a toilet and kitchen extension to St Mary’s has been approved by the PCC and at present we are in negotiation with the DAC to obtain their recommendation for a Faculty, following which we will apply for planning permission. Eric was congratulated on the huge amount of work involved in achieving this.
• Dialogue needs to be maintained with the DAC to limit the cost of obtaining a Faculty for the extension. (Action: George)
• The gates and fencing in front of St Mary’s need urgent attention. (Action: Eric)
• Moss on paths around St Mary’s need treating by the groundsmen. (Action: George)
Session 3: 10.45 – 11.15: Succession – wishes for the future
This session examined the procedure to be followed on the retirement of Linda at Pentecost 2016. Linda and George met with the Archdeacon, Paul Bryer, to discuss the decisions that need to be taken by the PCC once the date is finalised and the Diocese informed.
• The process needs to begin as soon as Linda has written to the Bishop
• The PCC needs to determine the type of priest who can build on the development that has taken place in the parish under Linda’s guidance.
Session 4: 11.15 – 13.00: Growing our churches in spiritual depth, in numbers and in outworking/discipleship
The documentation ‘From Evidence to Action’ identified the problem of declining numbers and the need to focus on growth. In 1960 24% of people in UK went to church and this had declined to 12% by 2000. Since then 1,000 per week have been leaving the Church of England. This leaves the options of managing the decline or commit to growth. The eight areas put forward for discussion are the eight characteristics that are apparent in growing churches. How do we measure ourselves against these characteristics and where are the opportunities for improvement?
Templates and guidance notes supported group discussion of the following four areas:
a. Do we have a clear mission and purpose?
+ Successfully achieved a shared vision regarding practical projects.
- Less focused on delivering initiatives that bring new people to Faith.
= Promote baptism and confirmation for adults/alpha type course ‘What’s in it for me?’
b. Do we actively engage with the local context?
+ we would like to attract more young families but are very focused on Sunday Services ...
- Sundays have changed for families and working people.
= shorter, introductory services could be held on other days of the week
= follow up Baptism families each year
= promote special services widely.
c. Are we willing to change and adapt?
+ both churches are welcoming and offer a variety of services
+PCC is good at planning a vision
- but is the congregation and community consulted enough?
- are newcomers visited/kept informed?
= we need to be more alert and respond to events, eg special service for Queen’s long reign, prayer vigil for natural disasters.
d. Are we welcoming, inviting and build relationships?
+ we think we are but because it happens informally it isn’t followed up
- Delicate line between people who want to be left alone/involved.
- regulars sit at the ends of pews so block access
= make sure vergers/regulars ‘invite’ newcomers to the altar
= have more events for family and friends
Session 5: 13.45 – 15.15: Growing our churches Part II
e. Do Clergy and Lay Leaders innovate, envision and motivate?
+ very successful in identifying and developing talents in individuals.
+ newcomers are encouraged to participate
- we are less effective as ‘motivators’ of the congregation as a whole
- less has been accomplished in motivation compared with concrete projects.
= mission and outreach need to be organised under a clear umbrella
f. Are Lay people actively engaged in leadership?
+ lots of opportunities exist for involvement in both churches
+ training for Lay participation is strongly supported by Linda
+ lots of ‘hidden heroes’ are willing to work behind the scenes
= we need another Pastoral Team member coordinate follow up for people in need of support
g. Do we engage with children and young people?
+ All age services are held once a month and occasional craft workshops take place
+ Working party has been set up to explore Faith and Buzz initiative with families
= Baptism connections can be developed further
= devise a community youth project to perform a modern mystery /Nativity/Passion play.
h. Do we nurture disciples?
+ we encourage regular churchgoers to explore their Faith and reflect on their spiritual journey
- we do not have a programme to help people begin their journey of Faith
= Develop a Parish Prayer to become part of life
= this has to be a focus area for the Mission Action Plan 2019
Session 6: 15.15 – 15.45 Going forward/next steps
• Mission and Outreach need to be central to planning for the future
• We must focus more on growth
• These notes will form the basis for a Vision Day with the Diocese as part of the process for finding a successor for Linda
15.45 – 16.30: closing Prayers, tea and fellowship
The day concluded with prayer and worship led by Linda. Our thanks go to Linda for the strong foundations she has created in the Parish that will allow us to move forward in growing both churches and to George for his help in both the preparation for and running of the day.
The Awayday for the Parish of Headley with Box Hill was held at St Andrew’s Church on Wednesday 3 September. It was led by the Revd Sara Goatcher and in attendance were:
Revd Linda Harknett
Linda welcomed everyone and led a short service of Morning Prayer before the business of the day began.
1. Rector’s introduction: where we are
Although a more detailed review of the Improvement Plan 2016 is planned for the next PCC meeting, Linda gave a brief resume of the aspirations that underpinned the plan. She praised the Prayer Network and Bible Study Groups that have become established in the parish thanks to Chris, Charlie and Joan. Ann has completed a ten week mental health course. Key questions remain regarding outreach, mission and what we do for others.
2. A look at the Bible: invitation and conversation
Sara Goatcher began this session with the question ‘Why do you come to church?’ There were lots of answers given that linked to past traditions and others that were rooted in the present and need to seek guidance for the future, with the ultimate preparation for death. All reasons given are common to all people, not just those of faith so Sara posed the question ‘Why aren’t churches full?’ Faith is the key element NOT required when people seek support from the pub, club, or friends. Transformation is what the Gospel does for us. We want to help but we are less willing to change (transform) our ways. We attend church, pray for strength to carry on and recharge out batteries ... but with our own agenda. But churches can be places for change where we can abandon old agenda and discover new directions. They are places to remember who god is and ‘I’ am. New habits are like folding arms (N.B. remember the practical demonstration and how difficult it is!): the ‘I can’ is uncomfortable at first and needs practice.
Small words are important in the Scriptures. For example, in the Parable of the loaves and fishes Jesus empowers his disciples to ‘do’ his work. They replied ‘yes, but we only have ...’ rather than ‘yes, and ...’ The lesson for us is that often our attitudes are so well established we cannot see that they are blocking change. People hold onto the heritage of the Christian Faith especially in times of national disaster, stress or tragedy. Sara commended the tremendous amount of work evident in the IP and was reluctant to suggest anything new, however she raised the following points:
• Are there old stories that need to be let go?
• To what extent does the past hamper the future?
• Change for change’s sake isn’t necessarily right.
• Start with SELF and listen to own area of need, heart/head.
• Be aware that all cultures have belief systems, eg Police, BBC
• Transformations can take place
• Leaders have to aware of context.
• Suggested reading: Dare to Journey, by Henri Nouwen
3. A welcoming church: language and context
What does the phrase ‘a welcoming church’ really mean? We need to understand the importance of the right language in the right context when we welcome people in to our churches. Jesus made connections with people before he made an invitation. The following points were discussed.
1. Some churches have a welcome desk covered in leaflets and pamphlets. This is only effective if it is manned by a welcoming person. Giving people a piece of paper is not being a welcoming church.
2. Welcome Team, or Sidesperson, should be alert to newcomers even when it isn’t their turn to be on duty. Greet when people are sitting in the pew as well as at the door.
3. We only welcome our friends, eg over coffee. When we come to church for friendship we don’t see the lonely.
4. Welcome the disabled by making sure access is as easy as possible, sound system loops are in working order and large print service sheets for partially sighted. Do we welcome those with learning disabilities or mental health problems and their carers. Do we notice those who are weeping?
5. Do we make home visits for those who can no longer get to church?
6. Do we make visiting preachers welcome and speak to them?
7. Do we help visitors find pages in the liturgy?
8. Do sidespeople steward during services with a number of visitors? For example, invite people to go up to the altar during the Eucharist. This is all part of the welcome.
9. Are visiting families introduced to other families? Are they invited to sit in an area with provision for children, or given activity bags? Can children walk around so long as it is safe? What happens when they cry?
10. What sort of welcome do we give to single people, gay people or the widowed?
11. How do we follow up Baptisms, weddings and funerals? Do home visits end with a prayer? Do we welcome people who move into the village with a visit and house blessing? Follow up includes invitation to future events.
12. Special services give us the opportunity to invite people in for harvest festival, renewal of vows or service of remembrance.
13. At the end of a service sidespeople have a lot to do clearing up. Make sure the welcome continues beyond the service so visitors and lonely people don’t just slip out unnoticed. Just as Jesus welcomed everyone we have to create an environment where people can encounter the living God in us.
14 Family Services: Sara expressed the view that they should be non-eucharistic because what we need to make it easier for families to become used to coming into church and experience hymn singing and other activities. Weeks when there is an all age service can alternate between non-eucharistic and a Sunday School so every week there is something for children and their parents. Members of the church family need to make sacrifices to make it possible for newcomers to be welcomed. Christingle and Crib Services are a vehicle for a different type of service for families who are not part of a faith group. Such services could include a tea and include principle members of the church so relationships were started.
4. An Inviting Church
The culture of invitation has to keep to the forefront of everything we do. However, make connections and establish relationships before extending the invitation. Start with something small that is done well. For example, a new liturgy or a service of the word followed by eucharist. Make it transformative. If the word is made accessible then the eucharist works. Identify periods in the year when there are opportunities for special services or to invite guests guests that suit our situation, e.g. a magician, or a celebration of the Heath with Warden Will and Sam. Keep signposting something to look forward to in the future. Be prepared to act as a host and be willing to say ‘I’ll give a hand’.
Visit people in their homes or meet them at other community events. Relationships lead to connections that lead to invitations. Too often there is an expectation that people have to come to church to be listened to. It is often forgotten that the clergy need to be listened to as well.
Introduce people to others with similar interests and give them treats. Make people feel special with an invitation to share a cup of coffee, tea or a meal. Not every church/community event should be a fundraiser.
Do not be AFRAID of errors or making a mistake: often fear stops us from making changes, but we always learn something from the experience that will make us stronger or better prepared to try again. Sometimes the Holy Spirit works through our mistakes. Do not be afraid to explore around what we feel about our faith: it has to develop to be robust enough to carry us through the trials of life.
In the final activity the group looked at a questionnaire about ‘The Inviting church’ and responded to the following questions:
1. In your opinion, is your church an easy church to join?
2. What events/services have you invited people to in the last two years?
3. How many newcomers have stayed in recent years?
4. Have you got into the habit of not inviting people?
5. What is the best way of making connections with people in your parish?
6. When was the last time the church treated you?
Discussion took place that highlighted the different experiences for people visiting our churches: St Andrew’s has a small congregation so newcomers have ‘no place to hide’. St Mary’s has traditional services, warmth, music and an aesthetic experience. We discussed how open we are to change and how willing we might be to take on new initiatives. (Ed comment: the Awayday in 1012 was about New Expressions of Faith. How far have we moved since then?) This exercise was followed up with a sheet @Now is the time to ...?’
Sara read Mission Statements from a small Methodist church and an Anglican Cathedral to see which one we warmed to. She suggested that we might need separate Mission Statements for each of our churches.
Awayday 2014 conclusions
• In the long term- we should persist with the existing strategic plan for the next two years, so that it continues to be a success without becoming a burden.
• Consolidate and take time to reflect on what has already been achieved.
• In the short term, extend the role of Sides People to include being more welcoming to visitors, first time attenders, and to visitors as they leave. Try to monitor those who have not come for some time. Does this mean that there should be Training for this role?
• Emphasize at regular intervals the need for each one of us to invite friends, colleagues, neighbours and family to come to church with us.
• Help us all to realize that if the invitation is refused, it is not down to us – this is GOD’S INVITATION. Keep on asking ……
• Pray about creating a habit of invitation amongst our church members. We are aiming for a Welcoming and Inviting culture.
• Then follow up - so that those newcomers want to stay.
• Be more proactive on producing good publicity for Special Services.
• Seek for guidance in prayer about where to focus our outreach in the future as we seek to reach out into the LIFE of the church and the local community.
Remember that Jesus tells us: ‘Do not be afraid, I am with you’.
The day concluded with prayer.
PCC AWAYDAY 2013
Held on Wednesday 4 September 2013 at St Andrew’s Church, Box Hill
Revd Linda Harknett – Rector
Georg Nixon – Churchwarden
Jan Curtis – Churchwarden
Sally Hunt – Treasurer
Pat Kitley – Secretary
Apologies for absence: Eric Cruicshank
Session 1: 9.30 – 10.00
Welcome and service of Morning Worship led by the Rector.
Session 2: 10.00 – 11.15: Improvement Plan 2016 Update
This session was led by George Nixon and reviewed the progress made in each of the key areas of the Improvement Plan 2016 that hinged on the premise from last year’s Awayday: what is our church calling us to do so that we continue to push out into the community, look after the aging populations in both villages, draw in all ages: grandparents/grandchildren and use music, meditation and readings draw in people who do not attend other services and give God space in their lives. It was reported that very good progress has been made in many areas.
Communications have improved with an electronic address book of the electoral roll willing to receive information sent via the internet. This has reduced the cost of printing for events such as the APCM. A practical checklist has been prepared for people willing to organise an event that includes a list of local media outlets for publicity. The idea of sending a PCC Newsletter to every house in both villages in the parish was discussed. Charlie has undertaken some initial research into the logistics of editing, printing and distribution. The results will be presented to the PCC Meeting on 5 November for a decision. (Action: Charlie) In the meantime it was agreed that the PCC Secretary would send a review of topics under discussion by the PCC to both village magazines. (Action: Pat)
Church building maintenance has completed much of the ongoing repair work on both churches as well as obtaining significant funding for the two major projects at St Mary’s: the replacement of shingles on the Spire and repairs to the wheezing organ. A process has also begun to assess the feasibility of adding a toilet and kitchen extension to St Mary’s.
Services are under review with Linda and Chris. Sunday School has been disbanded now that the last family has moved away, and it was decided to keep the Liturgy of the All Age 2nd Sunday but change the name to Family Communion. It was noted that the age range of the parish is completely different from the national average with only 7% under primary school age and 8% adolescent/young adults. The bulk of the population falls within the 55+ age bracket. (Action: Linda, Chris)
Pastoral care has developed support for carers and dementia suffers, and is setting up an anniversary card system. Linda has worked to develop links with Papillon School and the role of the chaplaincy at DMRC Headley court is under a wider review. (Action: Linda, Ann, Pauline)
Opportunities for Groups and Individuals to develop their faith outside of services: significant progress has been made in this area with the creation of a trial Prayer Network and two Bible Study groups up and running in Box Hill since this time last year, with the possibility of third to be set up in Ashtead. After considered discussion it was decided to expand the Prayer Network to every member of the electoral roll through the electronic address book, with the option to opt out, rather than as an invitation to join in. PCC Secretary would manage this for a trial two week period and then send Charlie the list of addresses that remain. (Action: Pat, Charlie)
Session 3: 11.30 – 12.15: Risk assessment/sharing the load
This session was built around the workload of the army of volunteers who keep our churches, and the services that take place in them throughout the year, running smoothly. George gave a comprehensive overview of the church year and the breakdown of jobs. He identified verger’s duties as the main area that could be separated from the churchwardens’ role to lighten the load. Training would be provided for a team of people so that duties could be split. Volunteers included Pat, John, Sally and possibly Beryl. He also identified the need to have a Health and Safety Officer. Adrienne volunteered to take on this role and it was agreed that George would arrange a meeting with Adrienne, Charlie and Ann to take this forward. (Action; George)
Session 4: 12.15 – 13.00: Home and Overseas Mission
At present we regularly support the Epsom Food Bank, the Children’s Society and other charities through the Lent Lunches. There is no specific overseas mission although contributions are sent to the Bishop’s Fund for distribution at home and abroad. It was agreed to raise money through special events during the year and services for the following charities that all have a link with the parish or parishioners: the Church Army, the Mission to Seafarers and St. Peter’s Lifeline. At designated services there would be a special retiring collection for the charity in addition to normal church collection.
Session 5: 13.45 – 15.00: Dementia: our mission
Linda welcomed Tony Oakden, the church and communities Advisor, to lead this session on how to extend the hand of friendship and support to people with dementia and their carers. As an introduction to the task Tony drew attention to the parish profile and pointed out that it has higher forms of deprivation than most other parts of Surrey because of lack of transport and shops. We completed a Dementia Quiz at the start of the session to unpick some of the myths about the condition and provide us with accurate background statistics. His very thorough presentation also covered ways in which we can communicate with people when verbal language has become difficult, carers’ issues and spiritual care. There are important areas for training that relate to safeguarding, familiarisation, strategies to cope with sufferers, and possible activities and events to complement the initiatives already in place. Linda, Sally and Ann expressed interest in carrying this forward and Tony offered his help to train a team. (Action: Linda, Sally, Ann)
Session 6: 15.15 – 15.45 Churchyard extension layout
George had prepared a scale plan of the burial ground to show the areas that need completion. Jan has plans in place for the hedge planting along the footpath. This is planned for October/November. It will be necessary to create a path around the burial ground that leads in to the remainder of the field. It was decided that a low maintenance meadow with wildflowers would be the most attractive option and it would attract butterflies and other insects. Local experts such as Peter Denyer, Tom Godwin, Will and Richard Bodnachouk should be consulted. Alan raised the possibility of funding a flower meadow through the Surrey Community Partnership Improvement Fund. (Action: George, Jan, Alan)
Review of the Day: 15.45 – 16.00
A lot was accomplished during the day. It was not only a celebration of the achievements and improvements that have taken place since last year but also gave clear indications for further development of several key initiatives.
The day concluded with prayer and worship led by Linda. Our thanks go to Tony Oakden for his help during of the day.