The Church of St Mary’s, Blakesley cum Woodend
Annual Report of the PCC for the year ended 31st December 2006
The Parish of Blakesley cum Woodend is part of the Lambfold Benefice, which is in the Towcester Deanery, and its parsonage house is in Blakesley.
The PCC is a charity exempted from registration with the Charity Commission.
PCC members who have served from 23rd April 2006 until the date of this Report was approved are:
Priest-in-Charge The Revd John Hall (Chairman)
Wardens Mrs Mary Barnett (Vice-chairman)
Mr Barrie Osborne
Elected Members Mrs Pam Bull
The Hon Mrs Gillian Foster
Mrs Kim Hopewell
Mr Derek Lowe
Mrs Julie Mintram (Secretary)
Mrs Dorothy Osborne (Deanery Synod Rep)
Mr Paul Parsons
Mrs Pat Paterson (Electoral Roll Officer)
Mrs Lydia Pratley
Mr Oliver Prentice
Mrs Jilly Russell
Treasurer The Hon Mrs Gillian Foster
Independent Examiner Mr Peter Godfrey FCA
Structure, Governance and Management
The method of appointment of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation rules. All church attendees are encouraged to register on the electoral roll and to stand for election to the PCC.
Objectives and Activities
The PCC has a responsibility of co-operating with the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd John Hall, in promoting the whole mission of the Church in the ecclesiastical parish. It also has maintenance responsibilities for the Church and churchyard as a house of prayer and centre of mission.
Achievements and Performance
There are 50 parishioners on the church electoral roll, two of whom are non-resident within the parish. The average weekly attendance was 21 adults and 7.5 children, but this number increased at the major festivals with 322 people attending for services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There were 10 baptisms, three marriages and six funerals during the year.
Review of the Year
The full PCC met five times during the year. The main issues to be noted this year were:
Treatment of damage to pew bases caused by underfloor rising damp
We had been aware for a number of years that, due to a rise in the water table caused by the weight of the tower, rising damp was present at the west end of the church, causing considerable damage to the underfloor wooden joists supporting the pew bases. After architect’s advice, a new underfloor ventilation system was created to remove this problem and replacement supports and pew bases installed. The opportunity was also taken to replace the severely damaged pews in the north-west corner of the church with a servery area to further the church’s mission of hospitality.
The total works project cost £33,346 and has been funded by a combination of grants, donations and the church’s fabric fund with no detrimental effect on the church’s other financial and pastoral responsibilities.
Installation of outside lighting
For a number of years, we have been aware of the problems of the unlit entrance to the church, especially during the winter months and when the church was used for evening choir rehearsals. After architect’s advice, a handsome wrought-iron arch with lantern was installed at the gate.
The total works project cost £4,547 and was funded primarily by a donation in memory of Mrs Sheila Sheppard.
Removal of asbestos from organ blower box
Following recent legislation, we were obliged to investigate the organ blower for the presence of asbestos. This was undertaken in Spring 2006 and all asbestos was removed by qualified specialists. Relevant certificates have been issued.
The total works project cost £1,356 and was funded by the fabric fund.
Other fabric issues
General works of maintenance involving testing of the lightning conductor, some minor re-pointing and repairs to guttering and leading were undertaken.
After a number of years of silent bells, the band of ringers formed at the end of 2005 now ring the bells regularly for our church services and hold regular practice sessions in the church.
From 1st January, 2006, the parish began to work alongside our existing benefice members and the parish of Litchborough as if we were a new benefice. This has included a complete review of our service times and our PCC organisation. It also allowed us the opportunity to employ a part-time administrative assistant to assist our Priest-in-Charge. The opportunity was taken to create a new name for the benefice of Lambfold and to recognise the distinct nature of Woodend, by changing the name of our parish to Blakesley cum Woodend. The draft pastoral order is at present in the hands of the Church Commissioners awaiting final confirmation.
A new junior choir was created in November with great success. The total number of people in the Lambfold choir is now 30.
Total receipts during the year were £39,216.20 and are detailed in the financial statements. Our main outgoings were the Parish Share of £10,826, which was fully paid, the initial outlay for the treatment of damage to pew bases caused by underfloor rising damp amounting to £14,000 and the cost of the installation of the arch and lantern. Full details are seen in the financial statements.
The cash balances carried forward at 31st December 2006 total £16,486.13, but it is noted that £18,817.92 (£12,017.92 transferred from the Fabric Fund) has been paid out in March 2007 as the balance of the payments for the restoration work.
Annual Gift-aided donations have increased by 22%. Planned-giving (envelopes) has increased by 12%. The income tax refunded was £2,849.69, which is an increase on 2005.
Fund-raising went well throughout the year thanks to the hard work and efforts of a number of people, a total of £3,137 being raised.
It is PCC policy to maintain a balance on unrestricted funds, which equates to approximately six months’ unrestricted payments, to cover normal future commitments.
On 31st December 2006, the balance on the income account of the restricted Fabric Fund, for the future fabric maintenance, was £16,027.36. Full details are seen in the financial statement. It is our policy to invest our Capital Funds with the CBF Church of England Deposit Fund.