Team Rector's Report to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Parish of Poplar (All Saints' and St Nicholas')
As always, I express my thanks to all my colleagues, the Churchwardens and other elected officials, and to all who lead or support our many activities as a parish. Nothing could have been achieved without the hard work, generosity, commitment, support and faith of so many people. We really are fortunate to have a large number of people who work very hard – many often unseen and unknown to the congregation – to ensure the continuance of our life, worship and activities. My grateful thanks to them all. A particular mention of all those who made the 185th celebrations of the Dedication of All Saints Church such a success. It was good to see the church full to welcome the Bishop of London in July for the Dedication Festival and the Bishop of Stepney in November for All Saints Day.
Sadly, I record the deaths of Eileen Alabaster, Harry Molineaux, Ivy Carter, Eileen Downes, James Biggs and Nancy Datchler, thanking God for their membership of our Churches and for all they contributed to our life and worship. We also held a well-attended memorial service for Stevie Taplin who for some years organised the SPY Club re-unions here. +May they rest in peace and rise in glory.
St. Nicholas Church Centre
The congregation at St. Nicholas is experiencing a period of change and expectation: Fr. Andrew, Estelle and baby Alexander left in September to have a sabbatical and prepare for a new ministry in Hackney, where Andrew was appointed Rector of the Parish of St. John of Jerusalem. The normal term for a Team Vicar is 7 years, but Andrew stayed an extra 2 years and we all appreciated his commitment and dedication to St. Nick’s in particular, but also to the whole Parish. I am pleased that so many people were able to attend his farewell service and reception and also his Induction in Hackney. As he is still in the Stepney Episcopal Area we meet from time to time and keep up with the news. Hackney Deanery now has four ex Poplar clergy in charge of parishes there – and lucky they are, too!
The good news is that as I write the long interregnum is coming to an end and we are waiting for the new Team Vicar to be inducted on June 18th. The Churchwardens joined me in interviewing the candidates who applied, and we were glad that the candidate we chose has been approved by the Bishop of Stepney. Fr. Peter McBride comes to us from a curacy in Guildford and is looking forward to being back in London, where he lived for many years before ordination. Please keep him in your prayers as he prepares to join us.
Members of our two congregations continue to worship together when possible and join in activities in both our churches, and we have repeated the practice of previous years with special service times for All Saints Day and St. Nicholas Day to make this possible. Thus, the absence of a Team Vicar did not prevent a successful celebration of St. Nicholas’ Day in December with our guest preacher Canon Lucy Winkett.
My thanks to Joyce and Kathy (CWs at St. Nick’s) and to all those whose hard work and commitment have kept things going since September. Their reward will be great in Heaven!
We welcomed two new people to the Ministry Team: David Howard, who was licensed as a Reader, and Emma Triggs, who was licensed as a Pastoral Assistant.
Meanwhile, Modupe Kenku continues the three year course of training for Reader ministry and is due to be licensed later in the year. Another “New Step” course, based in the Parish for those who want to explore Christian faith and discipleship, attracted 7 of our members. It is wonderful that more people are thinking about offering themselves for the variety of ministries the church offers, and I ask you to keep them all in your prayers. If you are interested in training for ministry, please look at the notices on Training & Courses in the churches and speak with one of the staff team.
I am pleased, too, that a large number of people continue to be involved in the rotas for reading, intercessions and administration of Holy Communion. Please speak to us if you would like to be involved in any of the rotas and activities.
In April we say farewell to Fr. John Seymour. His 3 year curacy is coming to an end
(is it me or does time seem to go faster as we age?!) and he has been appointed Chaplain of Twyford High School in Acton. He will be replaced in June by Jane Hodges, who will be ordained Deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral on June 27th by the Bishop of London. Jane used to worship with us here during the week when she worked in the Borough and we look forward to welcoming her and her family. Please keep John and Jane in your prayers as they prepare for new ministries.
Fellowship Groups & Mission Action Plan
These groups for sharing, support, prayer and learning – each with it’s own distinctive character – continue to meet, but sadly they have not attracted the membership we had hoped. Details about the groups and their purposes can be found on the notice boards and I hope that over the coming year more groups will be formed. The larger the congregation, the more important it is that we have effective ways of enabling effective pastoral care and nurture in the Faith. I am grateful to one of our PAs (Pat Triggs) for drafting a leaflet on Pastoral Care in the Parish which is now in both churches for people to take and use.
The PCC and Church Councils continued to monitor our implementation of our Mission Action Plan in both Churches.
A reminder that our aim is for our Christian community to be –
a sign of God’s presence;
a source of spiritual nourishment and healing (for ourselves and others);
a fellowship which welcomes and brings together the community;
If you have ideas about effective ways of implementing any of these aims, please make them known.
We managed to pay all our bills last year and make generous donations to charities in addition to the fund–raising that was necessary to meet our own expenses. I thank people for their time and generosity, but also remind us all of the need for continued realistic, regular giving in the coming years as we try to meet our day to day expenses and contribute more to the costs of ordained ministry in the parish and the work of the Diocese and national Church. Our contribution to the Diocesan/Ministry costs for 2007/08 was £47,740 increasing to £50,127 in January this year. Despite our giving and fund-raising we are still heavily subsidised by other Parishes in the Diocese and we thank them for their generosity. At our Stewardship Sunday the Treasurer reminded everyone who pays tax on of the need to Gift Aid their giving so that we can re-claim the tax already paid on every £1 given. I am pleased to report that giving in both Churches has increased and that more of our members are using the weekly envelope scheme, too. Our Treasurer would love to speak to anyone who would like more information on any of these matters!
Charity Commission regulations mean that we now have to compile and audit our accounts in a different way and we have had to appoint new auditors. The PCC would like to express our deep thanks to Joseph Hunt for giving his services as our honorary auditor for the past 15 years, and for all the help and advice he has given us.
He has worked with a succession of Treasurers from Sr. Grace Rudman onwards and all have valued his support and the time he has given us so generously. Thank you, Joe!
Below I list some of the statistics and events that readily come to mind:
* Occasional offices we have performed in the past 12 months
(April ’08-March 09) with previous year’s totals in brackets for comparison are:
42 (43) funerals – of which 7 (7) were in church;
6 (6) burial of ashes in the Garden of Remembrance;
70 (63) baptisms;
10 (7) weddings;
37 (42) people were confirmed in June.
Statutory Minister’s fees paid, where appropriate, for services taken amounted to £4626 (£4182) and were paid to the Diocese towards the Diocesan Common Fund.
* The Prayer Healing Group continues to meet on Tuesdays after the 12.30p.m. Mass and the Services of Prayer for Healing will continue to be held at regular intervals in both churches.
* Fr. John and helpers have continued to benefit from training organised by the Children’s Society and our Monday Youth Club is extending its age range
* Our volunteer helpers in both Churches continue to keep some of our youngsters gainfully employed in Junior Church/Sunday School and in Holy Week. Our thanks to them all for keeping this work alive. One of the tasks for the coming year has to be trying to expand on this work and attract more volunteers.
* We continued to support many charities as a Parish, including our commitment to the Delhi Brotherhood Society, and overall last year we donated £2,761 to various charities.
* Our own Parish website – www.parishofpoplar.com continues to get visited by a large number of people every day (many from abroad) and has brought new people into contact with us – and to worship.
* Volunteers continue to make it possible for All Saints to be open and available at lunch times from Mondays to Saturdays and members of the congregation at St. Nick’s are experimenting with doing the same there.
* The annual service of remembrance in November for the friends and families of those whose funerals we have conducted is appreciated and continues to be well attended.
* The Crypt has been used on a regular weekly basis by the Parent & Toddlers Group, the Tuesday Lunch Club and our new group for young people It is used regularly by all the other groups and activities associated with the church and the parish. Unfortunately, the charity Kings Cross Outreach with its outreach work to children and young people lost its funding and had to leave us. There is scope for greater use of our facilities at both our churches.
* The staff continues it’s weekly involvement taking assemblies at St. Saviour’s School and more primary schools are bringing children to the churches for educational visits. Staff occasionally take assemblies at other schools by invitation.
* The conduct of regular worship continues to benefit from a large number of people who give their time to ensure that it happens well. My thanks to them all.
* The Wednesday evening informal Mass continues to attract a large number of people. As part of our Mission Action Plan we will be exploring new ways of developing the varied and informal style of that service.
* The ministers of the local churches continue to meet monthly over breakfast and we have maintained the pattern of regular acts of joint worship throughout the year, though attendance is not great.. We hope that more lay people from our Churches will become involved in planning joint activity and worship.
* The Docklands Singers continue to use the church for at least one concert each year. We also benefited this year from a performance by the London Transport Choir of Maunder’s “Olivet to Calvary.”
* It was good to welcome back members of the SPY Club (South Poplar Youth) for their annual re-union in the Crypt. Their fund of stories about the parish as it was is always informative! Stevie Taplin’s unexpected death has been recorded earlier, but I am pleased that Maureen Rowley has agreed to continue the organisation of the annual re-unions.
* The Women’s Group and a Men’s Group continue to meet.
* Sadly, continuing anti-social behaviour has made it necessary to close the churchyard at All Saints every evening.
* The Electoral Roll now stands at 288 .
* For some time we have benefited from Tracey Moffatt’s voluntary work in the Parish Office. I am pleased that she has now agreed to spend 2 days each week in the Office and take on the work of Parish Secretary.
* We welcome John Woodcock as our new Inspecting Architect and await his Quinquennial Report on both our Churches.
There are, of course, many other activities and events and many people who have been and are working hard in many ways which have not been mentioned, and, on behalf of the congregation, I thank them all.
Finally, many thanks again for all your support. May God guide and bless all we attempt to do together in His name.