A parish report that is, be definition parochial, but shows the challenges in a rural parish
2013 Annual Report of the Parochial Church Council
All Saints’ Church, Hooton Pagnell
Aims and Purposes
All Saints’ Parochial Parish Council (PCC) is responsible for promoting the mission of the Church of England in the village and surrounding area of Hooton Pagnell. To achieve this we work with the village community, the Parish Council and the Diocese of Sheffield. All Saints is a key part of Hooton Pagnell life.
The PCC has four main objectives;
- To support the work of the church by providing variety of services to both reflect the yearly cycle of worship in The Church of England and to meet the expectations of the people of Hooton Pagnell;
- To assist the Diocese in proving pastoral care to the local community;
- To maintain the fabric of All Saints’ Church; and
- To inform the wider village community of our work.
Worship at All Saints’ Church
All Saints’ is a mainstream Anglican church: we aim to provide a range of services to encourage the whole village community to participate in worship and feel that the combination of prayer, scripture, music and sacrament deepens and enriches their faith. We use the standard liturgy set out in Common Worship and welcome feedback on how we can improve services. Similarly we hope that the prayers of intercession are relevant and encourage members of the congregation to suggest subjects for prayer.
There are three main types of service:
- A standard Sunday service, usually Eucharist/Holy Communion. Held at one of the four churches in the Benefice. The other churches are All Saints’ Frickley, St Michael’s Brodsworth and St Helens Marr. Congregations vary between 35 and 49. During the current interregnum, services have been led by a variety of priests by our reader, Susan Hill.
- Specific celebrations for the wider community: the Christmas service attracted over 100 people and the School confirmation service was attended by over 80. Both events reminded us of the place of the Church in the wider community. Other special services such as Good Friday and Farming Sunday have been held at other churches in the Benefice.
- Services to mark our passage through life: ThroughBaptism we celebrate new life, through Marriage we celebrate the public exchange of vows in front of God and at Funerals we grieve for the departed and celebrate their lives. Over the past twelve months we have had 12 baptisms, 8 weddings and 5 funerals. We hope that by participating in these services which have led to over 350 different visitors to the church, some people will be encouraged to attend our more regular services.
Since March 2013, we have no Priest-in-charge and have worked closely with the other three churches in the benefice to provide services
Until his retirement in March, our Priest in charge, Rev David Lethbridge, worked closely with the PCC to ensure that we provided pastoral care to the village community and to the local church school.
Since his retirement, we have worked more closely with the other three churches and thank Father David for his part in continuing to provide care and comfort to those who were unable to attend church. Along with Rev Alan Parkinson, Rev Lethbridge has also provided support to All Saints’ school: whilst most of the school children live outside the Parish, the link with the Parish remains strong. We hope that the parents of the 14 children confirmed this year will encourage them to attend church either at All Saints’ or nearer to home. In addition to the conformation service, led by the Bishop of Doncaster, the school held two church services at the end of the Autumn and Spring terms.
Maintaining the church and our finances
The cost of running an average Parish is £54,000, even without a Priest the costs are still over £25,000. We rely on a combination of collections, donations, fees for services and gifts from individuals in addition to a share of monies raised by the Annual Village Fete. We have paid over £6,000 to the Diocese and have other expenses such as expenses for visiting clergy leading services in the Interregnum.
The continued operation of the Church relies on fund-raising events such as the Police Choir and donations from various charitable groups and individuals. Repairs to the church floor and to the church clock have been funded largely by charities such as the Friends of Hooton Pagnell Church and a small grant. We managed to cover our costs in 2013/14 but need to continue to raise money for further capital investment in the fabric of the church building.
Informing the local community
We inform the village of our activity through the village magazine sent to all residents of Hooton Pagnell. Given the problems of communication we are considering making wider use of electronic media such as a twitter site @BilhamCofE and a blog site https://beneficeofbilham.wordpress.com for those who prefer electronic media to paper.
The PCC and the wider Diocese
The PCC meets regularly to discuss finances, the search for a new Priest and occasionally liturgy. Our work is focussed upon encouraging more people to attend the church and to ensure that our services build their faith. We would encourage members of the congregation to raise any queries about the Church or suggestions for improvement with the Churchwardens or members of the PCC.
During 2014, we shall revise our Electoral Roll to ensure that it is both accurate and contains contact details : everybody on the Electoral roll can nominate and vote for members of the PCC.
In addition to working closely with the other three churches in the Benefice, we have contributed to the wider work of the Diocese through participation in the Deanery Synod, the Diocese Development Day and briefings on the new funding arrangements for the Diocese.
Unfortunately, the PCC has lost three members over the past fifteen months: Anne Rutherforth, Janet Baines and Tony Warde-Norbury. All three made a significant contribution to the Parish and the village: their advice and support is missed by us all.
The past year has been difficult as we have adapted to fewer services and the loss of much-valued experience and support. We are pleased that we have managed to maintain an active Parish and are grateful of the support of all the congregation.