Hagley Parochial Church Council

Documents from the PCC AGM 2021 held on Wednesday 5th May on Zoom

 

 

AGM Group Reports 2021

 

Parochial Church Council Secretary’s Report

Despite the uncertainties and difficulties over the past year, the PCC have met regularly and have dealt with the matters arising with enthusiasm and commitment. All meetings have been held via Zoom, a technology which was new to most of us this time last year, but one which we have fully embraced. We have agreed unanimously that all PCC meetings will be held via Zoom in future. We hope that this will make it easier to attend meetings and encourage those who find driving at night, especially in the winter months, and those with work commitments, to come forward and join the PCC. We offer a warm welcome to anyone thinking of joining us.

There are few group reports this year as most groups have been unable to meet due to the 3 Lockdowns and subsequent Government restrictions on group activities. It is hoped that they will all start up again later this year with renewed enthusiasm, perhaps learning from the experiences over the past 12 months.

As a PCC we are committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. The PCC is aware of its duty to have due regard to House of Bishops’ guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. In 2020 and 2021, the PCC use the ‘Safeguarding Toolkit’ provided in the diocese as a way of self-assessment to ensure fulfilment of its duty.

The PCC wish to thank Gwen for her dedicated service as she retires as Churchwarden of St John’s, we are grateful for her offering to stay on for 2020 until a replacement came forward. We would also like to thank retiring members: Eva Corlett, Gill Higgins, Gill Richards, and Malcolm Roberts for their valued contribution to the PCC.

 

Sue Priest

PCC Secretary

 

 

Electoral Roll Report for the year ended 31st December 2020

 

As at the 31st December 2020 the number on the ER was 124 of which 100 lived in the Parish and 24 outside the Parish.                               

                                                                                                              Sue Priest

Electoral Roll Officer

 

 

Fabric Report for 2020.

 

The latest quinquennial report was received in November and reported both churches in good condition with only minor works expected to be needed in the next 12 months.   A window in the hall which had a rotten wooden frame has been replaced with a modern double-glazed unit.

                                                                                                                                                                          Ambrose Benjamin

Church Hall report 2020.

 

The hall has had intermittent use during the year, with groups that were run by people who earned some income from the activity running when allowed.

 

                                                                                                                                  Ambrose Benjamin

 

 

 

Mothers’ Union Group Report 2020

 

The year of 2020 was a difficult year for everyone with the Covid virus preventing most activities and groups meeting up.

We have all kept in touch with each other either by e mail or on the phone.  Many members especially those who live alone and couldn’t get out much really appreciated the contacts.

 

We did however, when restrictions eased over the summer, have small groups of 6 meeting in Gardens for afternoon tea once a fortnight, which were very popular and I must thank the ladies who hosted the afternoons.

 

In October, as the weather cooled, we used the Wychbury room to hold short services followed by coffee and biscuits once again for 6 people but adhering to guidelines to be Covid safe.

We had intended to carry on in November but lockdown happened again.

 

With many thanks to all those who helped get St. Saviour ‘s Church ready and to John Gowar we were able to hold our Advent Service with restricted numbers.

Our Diocesan President, Judith Grubb attended and I am very pleased to say enrolled Sue Priest into out branch, so we now have healthy number of 24 members.

 

We do hope with vaccination programme well underway we will be able to meet up again during 2021.

 

Judy Plant

 Branch Leader

 

 

 

Safeguarding report 2020

 

Hagley Parish have been using the Dashboard app for some time now which enables us to keep a check on our compliance regarding safeguarding issues. This also informs the annual audit and helps to identify any action we need to take.  I am pleased to say there have been no safeguarding incidents in the past year. One or two areas need updating. Two posts need to update their DBS this month and one more in the summer. As we return to our Church buildings and resume activities later in the year, I will encourage leaders to complete risk assessments for Choir, Sunday Club, Bell Ringing, and Messy Church. Some training updates have been delayed due to lockdown, and I will send out reminders in due course. Relevant training has been discussed at the last PCC meeting, with leaders being reminded of their responsibilities regarding this.  

I recently attended a Network meeting on Zoom, bringing together PSO’s from around the Diocese with staff from the Safeguarding team. The Bishop of Dudley Martin Gorick opened the meeting. He spoke about the importance of a culture within Church where safeguarding flows from within our community. He quoted Jesus’s words from Matthew 10 v16 that we need to be ‘’ Wise as Serpents and kind as Doves’’. After all the protection of children and vulnerable adults is an integral part of our Church life. Everyone who participates has a role to play in promoting a safe environment.

The Parish of Hagley PCC complies with the duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016, in relation to having due regard to House of Bishop’s guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.  

Our way forward now is to continue to use the Dashboard to inform our Action Plan. At the present time we are on Level 3 of the Dashboard Action Plan.

Christine Spencer

 PSO.

 

 

 

Pastoral Care Report 2020

 

Throughout the past year and especially during lockdowns the Pastoral Team has endeavoured to support those members of the church community who have been brought to our notice as being unwell, lonely, or having suffered loss. Support and friendship have been given through regular phone calls and face-to-face communication with safeguarding in place when restrictions have allowed.

The pastoral work has been greatly enhanced by the caring concern and support that the church community as a whole has given to one another. Updates as to church members’ well-being or latest progress are being regularly exchanged through a web of networking and the church community has grown closer as a result.

Mid 2020 we were very pleased to welcome Judy Plant, Branch Leader of Hagley Mothers’ Union on to the Pastoral Team. Alongside pastoral work, Judy, a retired physiotherapist by profession, has been able to offer practical advice to church members who have suffered falls or injured themselves in some way.


In Jesus’ name, may our compassionate care for one another continue well beyond this pandemic.

 

Judy, Elizabeth, Margaret, Judy, Eva

 

 

 

 

2020 - What a year to write a CHURCHWARDENS’ REPORT

 

The last year has been like no other and the Church Wardens duties have been very different. We, of course, needed to follow the advice from the Diocese to be compliant with COVID rules, it was quite tasking especially the risk assessment element.

We were unable to have our APM on the proposed date and it was heart breaking to have to close our churches for public worship. Not celebrating Easter as we would have wished was so disappointing. For a short time, we were able to have services with a limited number of worshippers and we also opened for private prayer. We also managed to decorate our churches for Advent and Christmas and hold Christmas Services in a limited way.

There were some good and positive things for which to be thankful, especially welcoming KimTopham as Curate to both Hagley and Clent. We had to turn to emails, telephone calls and Zoom to keep in touch with each other as well as with our Church communities. The weekly Zoom services have been very well received and have enabled the parishes to come together in strengthened friendships. Our usual face to face communication, including visiting, was almost impossible, but the delivery of the weekly Pew Sheets and the general caring for one another continued in a number of creative ways.

All but one wedding was postponed, and sadly a number of funerals were carried out, again with limited numbers (as Covid rules) and we had, sadly, to say goodbye to dear friends.

We have received lots of help for the numerous jobs that still had to be undertaken – cleaning, decorating for festivals, changing altar cloths, sweeping paths and general maintenance to ensure the care of churches and churchyard.  We have visited our buildings regularly (at least weekly) to make checks on water, electrics etc. This is adhering to insurance company advice.

Finances have suffered considerably; banking and accounting has continued under difficult circumstances. The financial gain from social gatherings has had impact as well as the social benefits. 

Thank you all for staying with us, especially swelling our congregation numbers on Zoom. A special thank you to Richard and Kim for the Zoom services. These have been a great success for us all to worship together in these difficult times – and enabled us to see each other too!

 

Keeping us all safe during Covid – churchwardens’ duties:

In preparation for opening our churches for a service or for private prayer;

  • Complete risk assessments in line with Government guidelines
  • Order sanitising items and arrange an initial deep clean
  • Air the church for at least one hour before opening for worship (this was problematic during winter)
  • Clear paths and porches for safe entry
  • Monitor the use of hand sanitisers and masks
  • Devise and record a Track and Trace system
  • Observe safe distancing of 2 meters
  • Organise a one-way system for the taking of communion
  • Parishioners to pre-book their church visits
  • Discourage social gatherings following services
  • Provide a safe means by which Votive candles can be lit
  • Wear rubber gloves for handling service sheets and monies
  • Sanitise after each service
  • Arrange 2 days between uses of the church

LOCK UP and go home, trusting that we have done our best to keep everyone safe!!!

 

Barbara, Gwen, Judy, John.

 

 

OUR GRATEFUL THANKS TO GWEN for deferring her retirement as church warden and being such an invaluable help and support this past unprecedented year.

Gwen has been a dedicated churchwarden for a number of years, her stewardship has been a true labour of love and her commitment selfless.

THANK YOU, GWEN, for imparting to us your knowledge and understanding of the role so well, and the example you have set in carrying it out so faithfully in the service of Christ.

You will be sorely missed, but hopefully be on hand for advice!!!!

We must trust God that the right person will step forward to replace you and continue your legacy of faithful service born out of love of Christ. God Bless You Gwen.

Judy, Barbara & John

 

 

Chairman's Report - Revd Richard Newton

1.         This Report

 

It was only in November that we held our AGM for 2020 - so it’s been less than six months since I gave my last Report.  That Report related to the previous year – to 2019 – and so to life before the Coronavirus Pandemic and the strange times we’ve all been living through.  I took the opportunity (in November) to reflect on the Open Conversations about the future of the church, which had been happening around the diocese, starting in 2019 – and relating them specifically to the life of our church here.  I did, in fact, mention the advent of COVID, and what impact that might have on our church for the future – but left much thinking about that for another day.

 

Today’s Report obviously relates to last year – to 2020.  Although most of the year was spent living through the pandemic, I think it’s still rather early to reflect sensibly on it.  There have been articles in the Church Times, and people writing in various newspapers about what the long-term effect of COVID might be on the church – and I’m grateful to some of you for sending me articles of interest, from time to time – but as we’re still living through it, it’s not the time yet to analyse everything or to create a new vision, though I’m sure the church will look and feel different in various ways when we finally come out the other side.

 

 

 

2.         Coronavirus

 

However, as the virus affected all of us for most of the year, let’s begin by saying something about it.

 

Just before Mothering Sunday, we were forced to abandon our church buildings and find other ways of being church.  We started sending out worship material to everyone we were in contact with by email, and worshipping together via Zoom.  Thank you to all of you who helped with this process, to those who distributed Pewsheets and service sheets to people who are not on email, and to those who helped others to join Zoom by computer or phone.  Thank you to Churchwardens, Pastoral Visitors and to many others, who have been relentless in keeping touch with people over all these months, and holding us together as a church community.

 

As the situation started to improve, we were able to plan to return to church in a limited way in September – and to hold services both in church and on Zoom.  Thank you to Churchwardens and others who spent a considerable amount of time and energy preparing our churches for opening in a limited and safe way.  In November, COVID numbers started going up again and we had to go back to just holding services on Zoom, before going back to church and Zoom in December, and then returning just to Zoom again after Christmas Day, as new variants became a new threat.  We are only going back to church in a limited way, as well as continuing with worship on Zoom, once again this month.

 

All this toing-and-froing has made planning extremely difficult – and it has been very hard for couples planning weddings or wanting to have their children baptised.  We have kept on having to move dates, as the goalposts have moved.  It has also been extremely difficult for families wishing to hold the funerals of their loved ones – as numbers have been very restricted – as has what we can actually do at a funeral service.

 

However, at least we’ve had the technology in Zoom to enable us to meet together in a way we would previously never have imagined.  We’ve been able to hold meetings on Zoom, and, even more importantly, to worship together.  I’m very grateful for everyone’s patience as we’ve learned what we can and what we can’t do with the technology – and for everyone who’s taken part in any way: with leading, with readings and prayers, with leading the singing, or giving reflections. 

 

It’s clear that there is much that people have really liked about the content and the style of the worship we have been holding on Zoom.  We will have to assess, at some point, which changes we might embrace in our worship when we finally return to church in a full way.  We’re holding a joint Hagley/Clent PCC meeting later this month to find out what people think might be the next step.  Kim and I are also meeting our church families on Zoom to find out their feelings about worship.

 

Since we started holding worship on Zoom, we have been joined, on a regular basis, by people we rarely saw in church previously.  Some of these people couldn’t physically get to church – others have just found something that hits the spot for them.  That’s also something that will bear reflection, in due course.  Personally, I have enjoyed not dashing from one church to another, always in a hurry to get to the next service, on Sunday mornings, and often not having time to talk to people – sometimes taking four different services before lunch.  This enforced change has caused me to reflect that there must be a better way of doing things.

 

Worshipping together on Zoom has also meant that Hagley and Clent church members have got to know each other better.  Hopefully that will help foster a sense of togetherness when we return to a ‘new normal’.

 

 

3.         Comings and goings

 

There have been a number of comings and goings, since the beginning of last year. 

 

Gwen was hoping to retire at an AGM a year ago.  Because we couldn’t hold the AGM, she has carried on as a Churchwarden, for which we are all very grateful.  However, the time has finally come for her to step down (after 5 years).  Thank you so much, Gwen, for your support and hard work, and your enthusiasm in all things.

 

Tony Battersby retired as our Parish Administrator last March, after 9 years.  We are indebted to Tony for the dedicated way he went about his work, and the support he gave to so many people.  He would always make sure that what needed to be done got done – even when that meant putting in extra time – and he got on with things quietly and efficiently.

 

After shortlisting and interviews, we appointed Sue Priest as the new Parish Administrator.  We were delighted to have her start straight away last March – but beginning a new job just as the pandemic began has made life even more of a challenge than usual.  She has not been able to work from the Parish Office (for much of the time), or meet with people in person.  However, she has transcended all the difficulties and it’s great to have her on board.

 

Last year, we saw Kim Topham licensed as Curate for Clent and Hagley, and ordained Deacon in September.  All being well, she will be ordained Priest this July.  It’s been a strange beginning as a Curate, as she hasn’t been able to do a lot of the things that a Curate would normally be learning to do.  However, in some ways it’s been a very creative time, and we will catch up with baptisms, weddings and so on before long.

 

Also last September Alison Lewis was licensed as a Reader.  Although her main focus is Clent, she was licensed to the whole Holy Cross Group.  Because of Deanery changes, that Group is never now going to exist.  However, the paperwork is well under way for Hagley and Clent to become a new benefice, so Alison will obviously play her part in the church life that we will share together.

 

At the beginning of 2020, Toni Allison indicated that she wished to stand down as Editor of Contact after 20 years.  We are most grateful for the long period of service she has given in this capacity.  Unfortunately, nobody has volunteered to take on this important role.  There are over 100 people who subscribe to Contact who don’t come to church – so it’s important we keep this link with them.  So that the magazine didn’t fold, I agreed to compile and edit it on a temporary basis.  We weren’t able to publish it for several months, because of the pandemic, but resumed with the September issue.  I said that I would do up to 8 issues, so that all those who had subscribed for the year would receive the issues they had paid for.  I have now completed those 8 editions.  I told our last PCC that I would carry on for the time being – but I am concerned about how I’m going to fit it in with everything else.  We really do need somebody to volunteer to do it.

 

Chris Spencer has also indicated that she would like to stand down as our Parish Safeguarding Officer, after 7 years in the role.  We are very grateful to Chris for doing this for so long – a post that we are required to fill by law.  To be fair to Chris, we need someone to come forward.

 

 

4.         Thank you    

 

Finally, I’d like to say “Thank you” to everyone for being a part of our church community – and for all you do to enable our church to function.  Even in this difficult time, the hard work has continued behind the scenes, and I’m grateful to all of you for the part you’ve played.