A.P.C.M. News

(Not sure what that stands for? It's the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. Used to be called the A. G. M. (Annual General Meeting). Still not sure what it's about?  Read on...)

As part of the establised church of the nation, St Faith's, like all Anglican parish churches, has to hold an annual meeting at which acounts are presented, elections to the Parochial Church Council and various posts are held, and (in our case) reports from the various groups, organisations and activities that make up our church life are circulated.

The meeting is in  two parts. The opening Vestry Meeting elects Churchwardens,  is open to the public at large to attend and vote. The meeting proper, into which it invariably flows seamlessly, does everything else.

At the 2010 meeting, held following the service for the eve of St George's Day, the pattern was duly followed. Following the various elections, and the presentation of the church accounts (an increasingly complex business, especially now that our designation as an official Charity involves an extra layer of bureaucracy and paperwork for our beleaguered Treasurer!), Fr Neil presented his 'State of the Nation' bulletin report and the Church and Community reports below were available for all to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. You can access the offical report (statistics, elected members and full church accounts, in the format now required by the Diocese and the Charityy Commisioners, by clicking HERE.

Now read on for the Chairman's report and he Church and Community reports... and at the end a timely cartoon.

Chairman’s Report


Fr Neil started by introducing a moment of silent prayer to remember those of our church family who had passed away since the last APCM: Edwina Harding, Alan Turner and Joyce Woods. 

Fr. Neil thanked Kari Dodson (in her absence) who, at the Archdeacon’s Visitation service, concludes her term of office as Churchwarden and welcomed Margaret Houghton who takes over from her next month.

During the past year, the PCC appointed Judith Moizer as Sacristan and Leo Appleton as Assistant Sacristan; the PCC also welcomed the services of Ron Rankin as Verger.  Training sessions had been arranged for servers.  Since the last APCM we welcomed Revd Denise as a member of the Ministry Team, just before Fr. Neil’s sabbatical leave.

We welcomed new Eucharistic Ministers – although the swine flu pandemic meant that their assistance was not needed for a time – and thanked those whose term of office had come to an end. Fr. Neil also offered thanks to everyone for their commitment and hard work in the daily life of St Faith’s.

The joint PCC Away Day will take place on 8th May at the Seafarers’ Centre. It is probably the most difficult away day we will ever have as there are some very crucial decisions to make regarding financial management and survival.  Action had been taken to address the Parish Share deficit and the Diocese had acknowledged the efforts being made.  Fr Neil reminded everyone present, as on previous occasions, that all meetings are public and open to everyone although only PCC members can exercise a vote.

As a result of the MSI course during Lent last year, two new initiatives were started: a drop-in for school mums, which may be re-launched at some future point, but thanks were extended to those who tried; and the very successful initiative to support families of service personnel.  The important thing is to have the courage to give things a go. If not, we will never know!

Fr Neil thanked people for all that they have done and continue to do but, as he has said more than once since he returned from study leave, he is very much aware and appreciative of the extra responsibilities the Ministry Team undertook during his four month sabbatical.

We were very fortunate to have three Mirfield students with us during Holy Week – and five more will be joining us for the May Devotions, so please come along to support them.

Fr Neil emphasised the importance of the Ministry to sick and housebound. This has never been more urgent, with a growing number of people from both churches now unable to worship in church on a Sunday. The Ministry Team is seeking to co-ordinate a proper rota of how this service is delivered.

He referred to the final report of the Sustainability Group and encouraged members to take a copy home with them to study.  The report will be debated at the PCC Away Day.  Fr Neil drew attention to four key words from the quotation from Romans and commented on their significance to the issues to be addressed (underlined):    

“May the God who gives you a spirit of endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:15-16

Fr Neil had taken the opportunity to visit many churches during his sabbatical and saw at first hand the difficulties under which some priests operate in challenging areas with very limited resources.  He commented that Saint Faith’s and Saint Mary’s still remain a good place to be with people ready, willing and able to take on new tasks, challenges and opportunities!

He concluded by saying, “Long may that be the case – we might feel under pressure but remember God doesn’t call us to be successful, but faithful.  So with God, let’s KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!!”

Church and Community Reports


Ministry Team

The year has been one of change and development.  At the 2009 APCMs Doreen Whitlow stepped down as churchwarden and was thanked warmly for her contribution to the team. In her place we welcomed Joy Roderick.
Our big challenge was Fr. Neil’s long overdue sabbatical at Mirfield, which started in October. To our great good fortune Denise McDougall our ‘new’ NSM curate was licensed to the United Benefice just before Fr. Neil left, and we have all been helped and encouraged by her support and friendship.

This ‘mini interregnum’ produced a steep learning curve, certainly as far as I was concerned! Taking the parish phone calls on a rota system was a fascinating and sometimes demanding experience, but the arrangement worked well and will be adopted again if and when the vicar is away for any length of time. We also introduced a more formal rota for home and hospital visits. This has now become well established and will hopefully ease the vicar’s workload a little.
Fr. Neil returned in February, refreshed and invigorated, to receive a warm welcome from the team (mixed with a little relief!)

We are now preparing for some testing times ahead, as our two parishes discuss the problems of falling income and falling numbers. At our recent team ‘awayday’, lead by the Dean of Liverpool, Justin Welby, we were encouraged to seek a common vision, to learn together, and to pray together.

As we begin this year, we thank God for His presence among us in word and sacrament, fellowship and service. Please continue to hold Father Neil, and the rest of the ministry team, in your prayers.          

Fred Nye

Junior Church
 
First of all a big thank you to all teachers and helpers who have as always worked hard to make our Sunday sessions interesting and worthwhile for the children. Their work is very much appreciated. Despite their efforts, however, we have been unable to keep older children attending regularly, and our numbers are dwindling again. It is lovely to look after and nurture our younger children, but we need older ones so that we can take part fully in activities and worship, especially at all-age and parade services. All ideas welcome!

We continue to lay on parties and events during the year, some together with St Mary’s, and we are grateful to Fr Neil for the use of the vicarage garden in the summer. His prayers for fine weather are usually answered!       

Angie Price


Communications

It has been said that the medium is the message: that presentation of information is almost more important than the information itself. We thus aim to present the news from St Faith’s as attractively as possible within the constraints of funding and facilities, and hope that this is a proper use of resources for mission.

Newslink continues to be published monthly. A campaign to encourage readers, both local and further afield, to access the magazine via the website electronic edition , has resulted in a reduction of the ‘hard copy’ print run from over 350 to a current figure of 315: at least a tree or two saved in the rain forest. The online edition features monthly colour photos, whereas we only fund full colour in the printed edition every few months, and then do so relatively cheaply thanks to the good offices of the Archdeacon’s magic machine.  We are also grateful to the steady stream of contributors (not just the vicar!) who fill our pages month by month with a variety of articles and notices, as well as dubious jokes (not just from the clergy).

The church website is doing well, with anything between 30 and 50 ‘hits’ a day, and a current total of over 112,000 since its launch. A growing library of ‘pages’ enable readers to access news, notices, pictures and archives, as well as jokes and assorted curiosities. If you still haven’t tried it, log on to www.stfaithsgreatcrosby.org.uk.

Apart from  these brand leaders, we produce the weekly liturgy and notice sheets for us and for St Mary’s, as well as assorted flyers, posters, tickets and the like for both our churches, as part of our communications strategy. The beneficial financial arrangements with Merchant Taylors’, home of this writer’s Image Press, give, we feel, excellent value for money. Our watchword: the Word made fresh…                                   

Chris Price

Serving Team Report

There have been a few changes to the Serving Team this year and we have been pleased to welcome new members Richard Woodley and Gareth Griffiths.  Judith Moizer took over as Sacristan, with Leo Appleton as her deputy, and two training sessions were arranged by Fr Neil for new and existing servers.  Thanks are due to the loyal and dedicated team who serve each Sunday and at all the special services throughout the year.

Catering Team


The catering team was busy as usual during 2009 with our annual events, successful despite the weather.

On May 3rd we celebrated Fr Neil’s 10th anniversary with good food and fun in our usual way.

We celebrated St Kevin this year with an Irish night, when we were entertained by Irish dancers, a ceilidh band and lots of Irish music and dancing. The evening was planned to also celebrate our Kevin Walsh, and as a fundraiser to start the fund for the installation of toilet facilities for the disabled. A total of £700 was raised which gave us a good start, thanks to those who organised things.

As usual the year closed with the SS Christmass lunch, a changed menu this year, we decided to be different this year as most pre-Christmas dinners are the traditional fare and get to be a bit overdone by Christmass.

Many thanks to all of  the team for their hard work during 2009,  in particular at Christmas for shopping and organising a very successful day in my absence. 
                            
Ruth Winder


United Benefice Over 65s Holiday Club

Once again this week of activities was an enormous success.  Applications were such this year that we had to create a waiting list.  This year we had a full day out to York with a guided tour around the Minster and a visit to the Jorvik Centre.  People enjoyed a fun afternoon out to Knowsley Safari Park with an excellent afternoon tea at the end of the tour, and we also had a half day guided coach tour of Liverpool with the excellent Blue Badge Guide, Elizabeth Newell.  We look forward to our week in 2010 and hope the week will live up to expectations.   
               
Joan Tudhope


S. Faith’s Holiday Club

Lynne Connolly ran the August 2009 seventh S. Faith’s Holiday Club.  Once again the grants from Sefton Council and St. Christopher Home Trust enabled the children to enjoy a great week.  The Club was at full capacity with over 50 children attending the week’s activities.  Thanks are extended to all the Leaders of the Groups and to those who helped in any way whatsoever.  Particular thanks to Lynne for stepping in to run the Club.

Walsingham Circle


This year saw our bi-annual United Benefice Pilgrimage to Walsingham with over 20 members of our congregations going.  With Fr. Neil being away on Sabbatical Leave, Fr. Martin Jones led the Pilgrimage.  In November members of the Circle visited St. Oswald’s Winwick when Fr. Martin celebrated the Mass and he and Miriam hosted a lunch at their home.  Margaret Davies provided lunch following the September Walsingham Circle Mass and Lillie Wilmot once again hosted the mulled wine and mince pies event in December.  Thanks to Lynne Connolly for co-ordinating the programme.

The following programme is arranged for 2010.
30th January        12.00 Mass – Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (followed by lunch at the Royal Hotel)
27th March         12.00 Walsingham Circle Mass
30th May            10.30 am S. Mary’s Patronal Festival   – Visitation of the BVM to Elizabeth
24th July             10.30 am Mass – Eve of S. James’s Day
25th September  12.00 Mass
20th November  12.00 Mass – followed by lunch.
   
Flower Team

Another fairly routine year in the flower arranging calendar has gone by, with increasing numbers of the congregation receiving posies on their significant birthdays.
As with everything else, the cost of flowers has risen considerably, the two retiring collections we have are down slightly, so 'one off 'donations are very much appreciated.  Andy at World of Flowers always gives us a welcome discount and we continue, I hope, to decorate the church with pleasure and with flowers!

A huge and heartfelt thank you must go to the faithful band of flower arrangers without whose invaluable and artistic help the job would be difficult.  New recruits are always welcome.                    

Mary Crooke


Music in the United Benefice

This report will cover the eighteen months I have been in the post of Director of Music as I did not write one last year. The primary aims have been to integrate fully the music of both churches to serve the liturgy, using the resources available. Music is present to provide a service the liturgy, and not to use the liturgy as a platform for performance.

Choir

The choir at St. Mary's consists of a small band of faithful singers who turn up weekly and lead the hymn singing. They are unable to make any further commitment to singing at St. Mary's so it has not been possible for any development to take place. Occasionally, they are invited to join the choir at St. Faith's for big events.

The choir at St. Faith's is one of the last remaining four part choirs in the diocese and consists of five sopranos, four altos, one tenor and two basses. Their role has been slowly moving away from only singing a motet each week to becoming an integral part of the liturgy.
 
As well as singing weekly at St. Faith's, they have also taken on bigger challenges such as Bach Cantata no.10 with orchestra and Grab Musik by Mozart,  these (musical) successes are due in no small part to the talented singers which form the choir. Many members of the choir find the time commitments quite demanding and relieving the choir of duty on one Sunday per month has gone a long way to ease the burden. This has given an opportunity to explore the use of other types of music in the liturgy when the choir are absent.

I am very concerned for the future of the choir, and hope that the PCC will consider taking positive action within the next couple of years. This will not be easy, or come free of charge but I firmly believe the future lies in investing in the younger generation, recruiting youngsters from schools and running a scheme such as providing them with free music tuition in exchange for their services on a Sunday. This is an issue that requires thought now before it is too late. Occasionally the choir cannot sing the rehearsed repertoire if one or two key singers are unable to attend.

A singing evening was held last year in a bid to recruit for the choir, although the evening was enjoyable, no new recruits were forthcoming. Two people from outside expressed a wish to join the choir St. Faith's but both left after a short time. Those from Crosby and surrounding areas wishing to sing or perform have much choice with many amateur groups operating such as such as the Capriol Singers and Una Voce. Unfortunately, singing in St. Faith's has rather less appeal than any of those groups.

Cantors

Both churches make good use of cantors. St Mary's rely on the services of Peter Connolly who sings the responsorial psalms and gospel acclamations weekly, we very grateful for his hard work.

At St Faith's, the use of cantors has been introduced recently, and differs from St. Mary's as the cantor sings from the lectern, which is the correct place for the word of God to be proclaimed.

Previously at St Faith's, the choir had sung the responsorial psalm from the stalls, hearkening back to the days when they sung a psalm using Anglican chant weekly. The situation was far from satisfactory as the the words and music were not reaching the congregation clearly, so now they are sung as they are designed, to be sung from the lectern using the microphone. The cantor also sings the gospel acclamations and any of the ordinary of the mass that requires it. 

The Ordinary of the Mass

The status quo at St. Mary's is the Patrick Appleford setting. This serves its purpose well but it may be time for a change

St Faith's use a variety of settings, Mirfield being the mainstay. Other settings are in piecemeal form such as the Gathering Mass which consists of the Sanctus, Benedictus and Memorial Acclamation only, Allcoat is unpopular with the congregation and hasn't been used for a while.

My plans for the future are to slowly increase the number of choral settings and to sing a choral Agnus Dei each week, whilst maintaining the congregational settings which are well known. John Rutter composed a setting of Communion Service in 1972 which is really quite good and I plan to introduce this at St. Mary's as an alternative to Appleford and later at St. Faith' if it works well.

On big occasions such as the Patronal Festival and the Easter Vigil, the choir will sing the entire mass to a choral setting.
One of the most frequent criticisms faced at St. Faith's when the choir takes more of an active role is:  “The congregation won't be able to join in”. I would put forward that the congregation can join in by listening, and using the time for reflection or how they see fit. Incidentally no-one from the congregation has complained about not being able to take part, perhaps the rest is appreciated.

Hymnody

Hymns are chosen that have good music and texts, and are relevant to the liturgy of the day. Occasionally new hymns and tunes are introduced to the congregation, this can be a painful process so wherever possible, a congregational rehearsal will take place before a service in which new material is to be sung.

Psalmody

Psalms usually responsorial, but occasionally a flamboyant responsorial psalm is sung.

Motets

Motets are sung during communion time and often contain meaningful texts by theologians and saints that would not otherwise come to people's attention. We are lucky that St. Faith's is broad minded enough to allow music to be sung in other languages such as French, German, Latin and Greek. Wherever possible, a translation is provided in the service paper.

Instruments

The organ at St. Mary's was built in 1895 by Norman & Beard of Norwich, and rebuilt by Henry Willis IV in the 1960s. The organ is of robust construction and for the most part, works well.
During the last rebuild, the action to the pedal pipes was renewed from pneumatic tubing, to direct electric action. This has started to decay, and a few notes are now unplayable, and occasionally, notes get stuck on. The organ builder is concerned about this and will be producing a report and estimate for renewal of the pedal action. Many of the tonal alterations executed in the 1960s are not a success and it would be good if these could be reversed, perhaps using second hand pipework, but this is not essential.

The organ at St. Faith's was built in 1900 by J W Walker of London and was enlarged in 1988 by David Wells of Liverpool. The situation at St. Faith's is a lot simpler, the organ works well and could just do with enlarging when funds permit. The blower ceased to work during the summer of 2009 with the blowing company claiming it was not repairable. Luckily it was repaired by two members of the congregation and seems to be holding out well. The blowing company have been sacked. If any alterations are to be made to the organ, a new blower will be necessary as at present it struggles to cope with the demand placed upon it. Donations were received for a new blower and these have been kept aside for that purpose.
 
The bell at St. Faith's was cast by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough in 1899, weighs about 7cwt and strikes the note Bb. It is tuned on the 5 tone true harmonic system, which the Taylor foundry discovered in 1897. Three years earlier and the St. Faith's bell would have sounded like an old bucket.

Some minor repairs are desirable to the bell but not essential at present. One major cause for concern is the pigeon infestation in the tower. As well as being a health hazard to humans, pigeon guano is highly corrosive and seriously harms wood and metal. I suggest this is sorted out as a matter of urgency.

St. Mary's use a recording to summon the faithful to church, but astute members of the congregation may have noticed a large brass plaque in the Nave by the South Transept stating “This peal of bells was placed in the tower....”
Further investigations found that in 1914, a set of tubular bells were installed in the tower by Harrington and Co., Coventry, the old bell was given to a church in Wigan. Many times I have looked at the nave roof trying to find rope holes but there is nothing. Members of the congregation speak of a single bell being rung from behind the choir door. They must have been rung from somewhere as there are references in the parish magazines from the period of the congregation complaining that one of the bells was out of tune and of the 'knocking' sound heard inside the church when the bells were rung. I believe the bells are still in position so when the weather is better, a friend and I plan to ascend the tower with specialist equipment to find out and report back.         
           
Sam Austin


Overseas Mission Activities

The church has continued its links with Medic Malawi and with the Waterloo partnership, and these charities are very grateful for the sterling support from members of the congregation in their fundraising.
Support for Christian Aid has been steady despite the financial downturn, with £50 donated as a result of the Lent Count your Blessings last year, £35 as a result of the Advent Footsteps calendar, and £296 from the Harvest Appeal. The collectors in Christian Aid week broke previous records by a total of 1125.70. The church also equipped a classroom in Bangladesh through the charity’s Present Aid scheme in memory of Mrs R Woodley, a lifelong supporter of Christian Aid.

The PCC approved the sale of a Traidcraft goods on the Fairtrade stall, as a means of contributing a little to church funds as well as supporting overseas producers.  The stall also sells goods imported from the Occupied Territories (West Bank and Gaza strip) and receives a discount for church funds. The stall ended its first year with a healthy profit of £265.54 after selling £1500 worth of goods.
                                  
Kathleen Zimak

Churches Together in Waterloo

The committee has continued its regular meetings under leadership of the Rev Randal Brown of the  United Free Church as chair with all the member churches being represented by at least one of their congregation. Lillie Wilmot, Kathleen Zimak and Jackie Parry represent St Faiths. We are delighted that in future the committee meetings can be held at the Seafarers Mission. At each meeting the representatives give news of each church giving an encouraging interchurch perspective. The year’s activities have included shared worship at the Christian Aid week service in May 2009, when speakers from the Methodist church described their visit to a Traidcraft partner in Peru. The Advent Service was held this year at St Faith's, the choral music being shared by the choirs of St Faith's and St Edmund's churches. Several member churches were involved in the successful Narnia event at the former Christ church building at Christmas.

The committee organized events for both One World Week and Fairtrade Fortnight, holding a prayer vigil at St Mary’s during One World Week in October 2009 in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and a Traidcraft Big Brew Event at St Faith’s in March 2010. The latter was designed to celebrate both the Fairtrade movement and to campaign for a willingness of the big five tea companies to make all their tea production fairly traded.  Both events were well attended by the member congregations and the Big Brew was organized in partnership with the Crosby Justice and Peace group who secured the support of Sainsbury’s, the Co-operative and other local retailers. Over £200 was sent to Traidcraft exchange for its community projects overseas. In June 2009 another coffee morning was held at the UFC in aid of the Waterloo partnership and raised £278.

Unfortunately again this year St Faith’s and St Mary’s were unable to participate fully in the Procession of Witness to the Civic Hall on Good Friday because of the Children’s special Good Friday activity at St Mary’s but the congregation was represented at the service there. The churches were again responsible for the Christian Aid house to house collections in 2009. The local Christian Aid committee is chaired by a member of the UFC and members of the congregations are also represented on the committee. There will be a joint Christian Aid service at  John’s new church centre at 4 p.m. on May 16th.
 
The Rev Randal Brown has now completed his term as chair and Mrs Ann Hogg of St Thomas’s is the new chair. 
                                                         
Kathleen Zimak






Still interested? Click here to read about previous years' APCMs!

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