Annual Report

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Fenstanton
(charity number 1173597)

Annual report and financial statements of the PCC 
Year ending 31 December 2017

Incumbent

 

 

 

 

 

 

(until September 2017)
Rev Dr Robin McKenzie
The Vicarage
16 Church Street
Fenstanton PE28 9JL

(from November 2017)
The Revd Canon E.B.B Atling
Ash Meadow
Meadow Lane
Hemingford Abbots PE28 9AR

(Bank) Barclays Bank
The Pavement
St Ives PE27 5AQ

 

Inspecting architect
 

 

Ashley Courtney, RIBA, AABC
36 Roseford Road
Cambridge CB4 2HD

 

Aims and objectives

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PCC has the responsibility, in co-operation with the incumbent, of promoting the whole mission of the church in the parish and the administration of the necessary funds of both the church and the Church Centre.

Our mission statement, as adopted in 2011, requires us: “To grow and develop our Christian faith in our community.” The Diocese of Ely requires us to pray to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Membership of the PCC

 

 

Vicar

 

 

Rev Dr Robin McKenzie (ex officio) until
September 2017

Rev Canon Brian Atling (ex officio) from
November 2017
 

Chairman

 

 

Licensed Lay Minister

Harvey Marshall (part-year) (ex officio)

Vice-chairman

Churchwardens

Stephen Wilson (ex officio) (until April 2017)

 

 

Philip Blunt (ex officio)

 

Deanery Synod representatives (to 2017)

Jane Blunt(ex officio)
Philip Blunt (ex officio)

 

Sub-wardens

Ray Whitby (ex officio) (until April 2017)
Ian Hucklesby (ex officio) (from April 2017)
 
Elected to 2017

 

Julia Mitchell
Niki Whitby
Ian Hucklesby

 

Elected to 2018

 

Ray Whitby
Katie Hucklesby

 

Elected to 2019

 

Keith Page
Keith White
(vacancy)

 

Elected from April 2017
to 2020

 

Julia Mitchell
Harvey Marshall 
Paul Housego 
Niki Whitby

 

Appointed

Ian MacKellar (also ex officio as 
diocesan synod lay member)

Hon secretary

 

Janice Addison

Hon treasurer

 

 

 

Church officers

Hon electoral roll officer

Anne Groome

 

Organist and choirmaster

Keith Page

 

Bell captain

Keith Page

 

Hon envelopes officer

Julia Mitchell

 

Flower arranging

Angie Birchnall

 

Hon sacristan

Ian Hucklesby

 

 

Hon vergers

 

 

Jane & Philip Blunt
Josie Charter 
Barrie Ashworth

 

Sunday Club

Katie Hucklesby

 

Church Centre bookings

Pam Hucklesby

 

Health & safety officer

Ian MacKellar

 

Fire officer

Harvey Marshall

 

Contents

Overview

 

Churchwardens’ commentary

 

Review of PCC activity

 

 

 

Ministry

 

Licensed Lay Minister’s report

 

Ordination Training

 

Licensed Lay Minister training

 

Children’s Work Group and Sunday Club

 

TC (Teenage Christians)

 

Development Action Plan

 

Huntingdon Deanery Synod

 

Emmaus

 

House group

 

 

 

Other church activities

 

Choir

 

Bells

 

 

 

Outreach

 

Pastoral Group

 

Ecumenical

 

School links

 

Welcome pack

 

Community Fund

 

 

 

Statistics and administration

 

Electoral roll and church attendance

 

Occasional offices

 

Marriages

 

Health & safety

 

 

 

Buildings

 

Church fabric

 

Church Centre

 

 

 

Finance

 

Finance

 

Stewardship

 

Charitable giving

 

General fundraising

 

Restoration appeal

 

Capability Brown memorial

 

 

 

Communications

 

Church website

 

Facebook

 

 

Overview

Commentary: Philip Blunt reports:

2017 was an eventful year culminating in the resignation of Robin McKenzie, our priest-in-charge, at short notice in September. Given that discussions had been in progress for over a year to join our parish with Fen Drayton and other neighbouring parishes into a single unit, it was inevitable that Robin's role as part-time priest in charge of Fenstanton only would come to an end sooner or later.

Robin has been our vicar for over 10 years during which time he presided over a growing Church that has bucked the national trend of declining congregations in rural parishes. (Robin’s achievements have been set out in more detail in the review of PCC activity below.) The church’s strong lay leadership (an enduring characteristic of our church) has had, of necessity, to up its game during Robin’s incumbency to make good the gaps arising from Robin’s tendency to compartmentalise his time between his pastoral duties and his secular work. Indeed, it is precisely that strength and depth of lay involvement that we churchwardens have come to appreciate most keenly in the few months since Robin left us, as it has ensured that normal services (in both the literal and metaphorical senses) have been able to continue almost seamlessly. Of course, this might not have happened without the support of our Bishops, Archdeacon and Rural Dean, Brian Atling, and the retired clergy in the deanery, notably Jonathan Young and Clifford Owen, who are being so proactive in helping us out by taking our services and providing advice and more. We are also indebted to Harvey Marshall our LLM and visiting LLMs for the extra duties that they have had to bear. We thank them sincerely for their help.

Touching further on the amalgamation of our parish with Fen Drayton, it has been very gratifying to see meetings between churchwardens of the two parishes over the last year develop into an ever-closer association, to the extent that within a few months we expect to become, officially, a single parish within the Huntingdon and Wisbech archdeaconry. Further association of our single parish with the Hemingfords has also been the subject of several meetings over the last year or two and has led to a commitment by our PCC to become part of a benefice with the Hemingford parishes as soon as practicable with a longer term possibility of becoming a single parish if the omens are favourable. We understand that this will allow the appointment of a full-time ordained priest living in the Fenstanton vicarage as part of a team ministry with the Hemingfords, with at least half his or her time being dedicated to ministry of the Fenstanton/Fen Drayton parish and the other half devoted to pioneer ministry across the benefice. We expect this appointment to happen within the coming year.

Other highlights of 2017 include the continuing growth of all-age-worship and children’s ministry under Katie Hucklesby’s leadership in the Worship for All services, Jaffa Club, Teenage Christians led by Kate Tuplin and the Family Communion services that are now, shall we say, more young-person-friendly. The presence of young people in our church services and at other events is frequently remarked upon favourably by visitors, and the confirmation of six youngsters from our parish at the recent confirmation service led by Bishop Stephen in our church is a testament to the Children’s Work Group’s efforts.

It has also been a privilege to form a long-term charity support arrangement with AquAid Malawi. Sad as we were to discontinue our support for Michael Green of the Church Missionary Society and his work among refugees from the Middle East, it is so encouraging that the PCC agreed readily to transfer and increase that support to AquAid. The presence of Josie Charter in our congregation and the direct contact and feedback from her about the progress being made on her regular trips to Malawi to oversee the work being done there to support the AquaAid’s orphanages gives a real and personal sense of involvement and an affirmation that this is indeed the Lord’s work.

We continued to welcome the British Legion at two of our regular Sunday services as they continued with their ‘Every Man Remembered’ initiative commemorating the 100th anniversary of those from our village who died in the First World War. This programme will come to a climax this year with two further services of remembrance for our local heroes and, of course, the Remembrance Sunday service itself on 11 November, which will mark the centenary of the armistice that marked the end of that devastating conflict.

Sadly, there have been a few instances of petty vandalism in the church in the latter part of the year and, more recently, a number of small items have actually disappeared from the church, which we believe is the result of petty theft. For some time now, it has been our policy to keep the church open during daylight hours, and we are determined to maintain this policy to encourage visitors into our beautiful church, so we hope that these incidents do not persist and we ask our congregation to be vigilant and report any signs of suspicious activity.

Finally, a huge thank you is due to all who help to keep the show on the road. So many people in our parish give their time and talents to help in the life and work of our church whether it be those who volunteer for church cleaning parties and regular cleaning, those who beautify our church with flowers, those who serve refreshments after our services and bake lovely cakes for us, those who print our notices, fliers and orders of service, our organist, musicians, choristers and bell ringers, our sacristan and team of servers, those who organise and help with Sunday Club, those who organise our house groups, those who collect, count and bank our money, those who serve on the Church Centre committee and maintain the newly refurbished Centre as an increasingly useful asset to our community outreach, those on the restoration committee and their indefatigable helpers at fund-raising events, those on the Fabric committee who help to maintain the church in good order, our electoral roll officer and the Community Fund committee, our Hon Secretary who works tirelessly to keep us on the straight and narrow and maintains communication internally and with the church hierarchy, and, by no means least, our Hon Treasurer to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude as she comes to the end of her eight years of keeping our accounts in impeccable order. This is an awesome body of talent and dedication, which is why we so often hear our congregation talk so fondly of our ‘church family’. A church family it is indeed, and we are truly blessed in it.

 

Review of PCC activity: Ian MacKellar reports:

The PCC met 10 times during the year to conduct the business of the parish, including twice ‘virtually’ to conduct urgent matters of business, and welcomed other members of the congregation to two open meetings on other occasions to take their views on the future of the parish. I maintain the view I expressed last year and the previous year that the range of parish activity and volume of PCC business have grown to such an extent that the PCC should consider meeting more often and with greater discipline. This was made more urgent by the increase in the number of elected members resulting from our expanding Electoral Roll. As a result, the 2017 annual meeting agreed to changes to the PCC constitution effective from the APCM 2018 to streamline the council and its conduct of business. It may also be necessary to introduce standing orders for the conduct of future business if our parish retains its PCC after our amalgamation with Fen Drayton and the creation of the proposed link with the Hemingfords.

While it would be an exaggeration to describe 2017 as a momentous year for our parish, it has certainly been another busy and significant one. The key preoccupation has been our joining with our neighbours to create the new parish of Fen Drayton with Fenstanton, a process that should come to fruition shortly. Change is alien to the human psyche, yet this amalgamation has been embraced warmly by both congregations, with countless new bonds forming in Christian fellowship.

That process would have been less comfortable without the confidence we gained as a parish from the 10-year incumbency of the Rev Dr Robin McKenzie, who resigned as priest-in-charge in September, when we gave thanks for his and his family’s contributions to the parish over that time. It was a decade that saw significant increases in total numbers of members of our church family, particularly of children, young people and younger adults. Robin created Teenage Christians (TC), now adopted by Kate Tuplin with help from Paul Seears, presided over the Children’s Work Group’s exponential expansion of all-age worship, and nurtured the nascent ordained and lay ministries of, respectively, Paul Garnell and Niki Whitby. He also oversaw the creation of our Community Fund that is available to all in our community, irrespective of their religious affiliation, if any. Moreover, he facilitated the development of lay and pastoral ministry to such an extent that your churchwardens have largely been able to take organising the interregnum that resulted from his departure in their stride. His hands-off approach to parish administration has delivered its own rewards! It has been good to have the help and advice of our Rural Dean, Canon Brian Atling, who has been licensed by the Bishop as incumbent of both Fen parishes since last November.

Whoever is PCC Secretary next year will report on the conclusion of the process of creating our new parish of Fen Drayton with Fenstanton, as well as on whatever progress has been made – possibly a great deal, possibly none at all – on creating a new benefice with the two Hemingfords parishes (and possibly a new mega-parish – against my strong advice). Much as we appreciate Canon Atling’s interim leadership, we look forward to the appointment of a successor who, though part-time, is likely to be part of a wider management team, so that we shall enjoy more comprehensive clergy access.

Of course, we have not allowed the question of leadership to interfere with our parish activities. Still on a pastoral theme, we have begun a process of outreach to the small new development off Cambridge Road as a precursor to welcoming those who will inhabit nearly 200 homes to be built on the former dairy site and adjacent land over the coming few years. The Children’s Work Group has undertaken young people’s activities at joint ecumenical services at the URC, and our annual Good Friday walk this last year took in Fen Drayton, instead of Hilton, for the first time. (Road safety concerns flowing from preparatory civil engineering work for the A14 upgrade made that an easy choice.) We have also been taking advice on instruction of young people to allow them, if they wish, to take Communion before formal Confirmation.

Developing the link with Fen Drayton was one of the first four activities identified to the PCC’s new Development Action Plan, a continuously-revised endeavour on which we shall be reporting to successive annual meetings from this year. Early tasks also include streamlining bereavement and funeral arrangements, supporting Teenage Christians and giving additional impetus to our children’s church.

During the course of the year, the PCC decided to switch its longer-term charity support from the Church Missionary Society (following Michael Green’s return from the Lebanon) to AquAid Malawi, which was our ‘overseas’ charity a couple of years ago. Josie Charter keeps us amusingly updated on how AquAid is spending our money to good effect. Domestically, we were pleased to have supported the Church Urban Fund in 2017 – not an obvious choice for a semi-rural parish until you think of the extent of homelessness in Cambridgeshire. CUF not only made it very easy to support its work in practice but produced a film of our involvement that was re-‘tweeted’ by no less a personage than the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems almost a throw-away addition that your PCC became a registered charity in its own right last July.

It seems equally prosaic to report that the PCC agreed to spend several thousand pounds to restore the badly-corroded Capability Brown memorial in the chancel at the same time as completely re-fettling the organ. Following extensive research to prove liability, Fenstanton Parish Council has at last accepted its responsibility – laid down by Order in Council in January 1958 – for maintenance of the closed area of the churchyard and, in particular as far as the PCC has been concerned, for the safety of a number of stone memorials. Each of those three projects has required a separate Faculty from the Diocesan Advisory Committee. We are grateful to Philip Blunt for co-ordinating those applications and to the new DAC for making it so much easier than its predecessor to keep up with the work we need to do to maintain our Grade I-listed church.

Finally, our community involvement: we do not exist in isolation from the rest of the village. Indeed, residents have certain absolute rights to celebrate rites of passage in our parish church whatever their faith, if any. We welcome them to the oldest building in their community and to join in our social activities, such as our spring parish picnic, our summer outing to the coast, our special meals for older folk, and our other social events. We also provide funding for urgent needs in the community, including a large grant made in 2017 to help a needy resident, who is not a member of our congregation. The PCC also agreed to increase the hourly rate paid to our church and Church Centre cleaners to exceed the national ‘living wage’

 

Ministry

Licensed Lay Minister’s report: Harvey Marshall reports:

2017 was a busy year: although I was away for 10 weeks in the summer, during which time the vicar left, I managed to officiate at 10 funerals here and in Hilton, four of them at the crematorium. I also interred four lots of cremated remains, two here and two in Hilton. I have also taken on some of the duties that fell to the vicar, such as safeguarding matters (for which I have completed all the training that clergy must do) and continue to accept or reject applications for memorial tablets.

As we are without a regular priest, I officiate once a month at Family Communion, take house communion to those who ask for it, and chair PCC meetings as well as the Pastoral Group. The coming year will be exciting, as we enter into the start of linking with Fen Drayton. Also, in October 2018, we shall have a new Lay Minister in the parish, and I look forward to working with her. I shall also be taking services at St Peter, King’s Ripton.

 

Ordination Training: Paul Garnell writes:

I am now well into my second year of ordination training with the Eastern Region Ministry Course, with term-time evening classes on a Tuesday at St Andrew’s, Chesterton, and alternate monthly weekend residentials at Belsey Bridge, Bungay. Prior to the Christmas season, both Niki and I completed the Pastoral Care Module; developing and resourcing skills for pastoral ministry. The evening sessions covered: listening skills, working together, loss, safeguarding, gender, sexuality, supervision and pastoral care in liturgy. We have now returned following the Christmas break to a very speedy module on spirituality. I returned from a weekend residential in January at High Leigh in Hertfordshire, where we enjoyed four lectures on the complementarity of science and faith/religion – delivered by an excellent speaker, Professor Keith Fox of the Faraday Institute.

I started my placement with the Revd Julie Anderson just prior to Christmas, which is an opportunity to lead and worship in a different context. Services are split across the benefice of Swavesey, Over, Longstanton and Willingham. A standard Sunday involves an 8am Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer service, followed by a 9.30am Common Worship Holy Communion service and then an 11am Holy Communion Common Worship service across two or three parishes. It has been both a testing and rewarding time thus far: preparing sermons in amongst study and full-time work is demanding, but I see it as good preparation for what is to come.

It is also worth noting that none of this would be possible without the care and support of my wife, Sonia, and son, Owen. I am also grateful to the Revd Brian Atling for his continued supervision and guidance, and also to the church family for their well wishes and prayers. Please do continue to include both Niki and me in your prayers and intercessions, as we do for you all.

Ordination will take place at Ely Cathedral in July 2019 (all being well!).

 

Licensed Lay Minister training: Niki Whitby writes:

At the time of writing, I am in the second half of the penultimate term in my training to be a Licensed Lay Minister. Although, I have been training with Paul on Tuesday evenings, for the second half of the winter term the Ordinand and LLM training has separated and I have had to undertake online classes, from home, due to a lack of second year trainee LLMs! This has had its own set of challenges and I have definitely missed the company of my peers (and also the camaraderie!) I have to add that it has been fun training alongside Paul, and I believe it has been helpful for us both to have another person from the parish on the same course. I wish Paul every success in his final year and in his future ministry.

Having covered both the Old and New Testaments and church history in our first year’s training (albeit a whistle-stop tour!), in our second year we have completed modules on pastoral care, and spirituality, and I am currently (again, at the time of writing) studying doctrine – with ethics and mission in the last term, to complete the course.

On top of the weekly sessions and the preparation homework for each of these, I am expected to complete an assignment for each of these modules and also undertake a placement. My choice of placement is with the new Chaplain, Julia Chamberlin, at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which I shall be doing in April and will involve about 30 hours’ work. I have taken a week off work and am very much looking forward my time there: Julia has already made me feel part of the team.

With Robin leaving, Brian Atling has kindly stepped in as my mentor/training minister, and my thanks and appreciation go to both of them for their help, support and guidance during my training. I would also like to take this opportunity of thanking the PCC for supporting me and for helping towards the cost of my cassock and surplice.

My thanks also go to Ray for his love, support and understanding as I have immersed myself in my studies and for being there for me when it’s all got a bit much!

This has been and continues to be a challenging couple of years. The work has been hard, but enjoyable, and I do feel that I have learned a great deal and grown in confidence in my faith over this time. And, of course, this is just the beginning ...

I have very much appreciated your prayers and ask, please, for your continued prayers for both Paul and me during the rest of our training and in our future ministry.

My licensing will take place at Ely Cathedral on Saturday 27th October 2018.

 

Children’s Work Group and Sunday Club: Katie Hucklesby reports:

The Children’s Work Group leaders seek to engage with our younger church members to grow and develop their Christian understanding and faith through small age-appropriate groups, informal lay-led worship and special family events. This past year we have been encouraged by the regular attendance of many families at our Sunday Worship/Sunday Club and mid-week activities as well as with new children and families joining in.

Sunday Club met 20 times in 2017. Numbers attending a session varied between six and 21 children, with sometimes up to six parents staying with their younger children too. It is not unusual for five more teenage young people to remain in church with the adults or in serving roles. Six young people expressed the wish to be confirmed and began instruction late in the year.

As well as teaching in children-centred groups like TC, Jaffa and Sunday Club, the Children’s Work Group leaders spend many hours planning and leading worship for the second Sunday of the month and major festivals. We lead, plan, print and produce the “Worship for All” service each month, following the lectionary readings. The service name is reflected/demonstrated by the great care taken to use language that is accessible to all and to produce a service sheet that is clear and easy to follow with age-appropriate activities, and we encourage as many children and young people to take part in whatever aspect of worship they feel able to. On average 24 children attend with their parents/family. Numbers of both adults and children attending our Worship for All services remain strong – it is not unusual to have 80-90 people on a Sunday morning.

The CWG has also continued to develop our Family Communion service to make it more attractive to families with craft activities and occasional dramatisation of the reading. This seems to have been successful, with an increase in the number of children regularly attending from 11 to 15 this past year. Since Robin left we also choose the hymns for each fourth Sunday service.

Our special services for Mothering Sunday and Remembrance Day saw 23 and 93 children attending respectively. Our other events that offer activities to highlight the Christian year, such as workshops at Christmas and Easter and a pancake party, are well supported. A new idea this year was crafts and lunch offered in the church and Church Centre in the week before Christmas – ‘Christmas Crunch’ – which was enjoyed by 36 adults and children together, with two new adults helping the CWG team too.

As well as a family picnic at Grafham Water, we headed to Southwold again for our summer coach trip and needed three extra cars to get everyone there! It was good to have a real mix of young and old, regular church attenders and villagers come together for a fun day out. This trip has been appealing to new families or those who attend Jaffa midweek and also enables us as a team to build relationships.

The Children’s Work Group team also planned and led our Christingle Service and the Christmas Eve Crib service. Attendance at our Christingle was up on last year along with the amount of money raised for The Children’s Society. The Crib Service itself was led by Canon Brian Atling and Katie with crackers being pulled to help tell the story, which was ably done by our very proficient young readers. The night-lights illuminating the church path added to the atmosphere of a very special night.

We value the contribution of our young musicians, who continue to perform for both our Worship for All services and Family Communions as well as at our special services throughout the year, such as Mothering Sunday, Easter and Crib Service. A big ‘thank you’ to Denise Hayles, who with Linda Page leads and supports our young musicians, writing out pages and pages of music for different parts and encouraging them in their valuable contribution to our worship. It would be lovely to encourage more musicians to join the band.

“JAFFA” (the after-school service and club) has continued, meeting 17 times during the school year: the number of children attending averaged 10 (three parents stayed too). Jaffa is usually led by Katie and Gill with Sylvia serving the refreshments on arrival. Our regular children are aged between two and 12. While we usually remain in or around church, one successful session in our Superhero series involved finding baby Moses down the Fen!

Our links with the village school continue and are flourishing with a new head teacher appointed in the spring. Roughly once a term, we lead an assembly or work with a class, such as “It’s your move” leavers’ session in the summer term.

CWG team wrote and led practices for the whole school to come to church both at Easter and Christmas and celebrate these major festivals. Joy had re-written the stories and encouraged and practised with a few of the children to read well with the microphone, while the whole school sang familiar and new carols/songs. We also organised a competition to design a Christmas Card, and all entries were displayed over the Christmas season in Church. The winning designs were used to promote our Christmas services to every household in the village.

Much more work continues to happen in the background. Cards are sent to newly-baptised children to acknowledge the anniversary of their baptism and to invite them to church. Invitations are also sent to these families to invite them to special services, such as Mothering Sunday and Christmas. Fliers and invitations are delivered to other families with whom we have contact to invite them to these special services and workshops etc. Adverts and acknowledgements are also published in the village Spectrum magazine, and posters are displayed around the village as well as on the website and through the Parish Church Facebook page.

The regular Children’s Work Group (Joy, Jane, Claire, Gill and Kate) is a small but very dedicated, faithful group of people who prioritise the sharing, teaching and nurturing of young Christians and give so much of their time and energies to the glory of God in this place, and I thank them for such generosity and love demonstrated in this way.

 

TC (Teenage Christians): Kate Tuplin writes:

TC has continued to meet this year and welcomes children/teenagers who are in year 6 to year 9. We have a group of 6-11 young people and meet on alternate Fridays during term time. A typical session includes games, bible reading, discussion and a lot of fun. This term we have been looking at Moses and the Israelites.

A particular highlight this year was the advent sleep-out challenge in support of the Church Urban Fund, which was great fun and raised £200 to help with the work that CUF does among the homeless.

 

Development Action Plan: Ian MacKellar writes:

The committee appointed in September to recommend initial areas for development had suggested four, which were endorsed by the PCC with a view to progress being reported initially to the APCM in April 2018. That meeting and each subsequent APCM will be invited to refine and redefine them. They were: Bereavement and funeral arrangements, building on extensive work already done by Harvey Marshall; the link with Fen Drayton, which should be complete or almost complete by our 2018 annual meeting, requiring election of a new PCC to serve the new parish of ‘Fen Drayton with Fenstanton’; development of Teenage Christians; and further development of children’s church (including recruitment of additional younger leaders.

Huntingdon Deanery Synod (including outside speakers): Jane Blunt reports:

Deanery Synod met three times during 2017. On 11th May, Rev Charlie Newcombe, curate from St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, spoke about the Bishop’s Mission Order issued by Bishop Stephen for a church plant to start work in Huntingdon from September 2018, which is proving controversial. Becky Fanning spoke about a Parish Giving Scheme which the diocese is encouraging parishes to use.

On 12th July, the Treasurer revealed that Parish Share would go up by 3% in 2018 (on top of a 3% rise in 2017) and Clergy Stipend would be increased by 2%. The Rural Dean, Rev Canon Brian Atling, confirmed various appointments: Rev Mike Booker – Officer for Market Towns; Natasha Clark – Secondary Schools Co-ordinator; Olivia Coles – Diocesan Baptism Co-ordinator; Rev Rob Taylor – Diocesan Vocations Adviser; and Geoffrey Hunter – Diocesan Buildings Adviser. The Rural Dean is one of the Bishop’s Vacancy Officers. Archdeacon’s Visitations carried out by the Rural Dean and Lay Chair will take place every 2½ to 3 years. Churchwardens will have to complete an on-line form regarding registers, valuables, security etc before the visit, which will explore what is happening in the parish, based around the five ‘Levers of Change’ in the 2025 strategy. The importance of clergy well-being was emphasised. Twelve new posts for new developments are being created. Pastoral reorganisation within the Deanery is actively taking place, of which that affecting this parish is an example.

On 21st November, Rev Peter Wood and Rev Canon Linda Church, respectively Directors of Mission and Ministry, gave a talk on Ministry Team work and on parish Development Action Plans (DAPs) on which we as a parish   have already started.

 

Emmaus group: Joy Saunders reports:

The Emmaus group meets regularly every fortnight or three weeks, slightly reduced in numbers as people have moved away or have other commitments. We met weekly in Lent to follow a Lent course, and another course is planned for 2018. The pattern so far has been to meet at 7.00pm on Sunday evenings and start with a light supper. We are now thinking of meeting at 7.30pm instead, with coffee and cake, as this may well suit people better. Meetings always include Bible readings and prayer as well as open discussion of what we have read. In the autumn we studied the women in the Bible, and it was fascinating to read of so many feisty women.

 

Wednesday House Group: Philip Blunt reports:

The Wednesday House Group met nine times during the year with four to six people attending regularly. Pressure of other activities and, in particular, moving the day for PCC meetings from Thursdays to Wednesdays after the Vicar’s departure in September has made it more difficult to meet regularly. Moving the meetings to a Monday was tried but found to be unsuccessful. It is hoped to continue meetings on Wednesdays but on a less frequent (monthly) basis in 2018.

Our bible study of St. John’s gospel started at the end of 2016, continued throughout the year and was finally completed at the January 2018 meeting.

The meetings typically included listening to a piece of music, a bible reading, discussion of the main topic in it and, at the end of the session, prayer for particular needs in the community and the wider world.

 

Other church activities

 

Choir: Keith Page reports:

The choir prepared special music to be sung at Fenstanton for three choral evensongs, Easter Day, Remembrance Sunday, Service of Readings & Carols for Christmas and one wedding.

We welcomed Emma Greenfield, Jackie Few, David Riddoch and Tessa Adams at the Readings & Carols Service. We used a similar format of both bible and secular Christmas readings for the Carol Service as it proved so popular from the previous year. Jackie has become a more frequent singer with us and has sung at choral evensongs and other special services.

We strive to maintain a moderate standard of musicianship and encompass a wide range of church music. This not only helps with maintaining interest to the choir members, but I hope also assists in the worship by adding a dimension that would otherwise be absent.

I must thank all those who do come along and sing with us from other choirs too, particularly from Hemingford Abbots and Swavesey.

We are happy to welcome anyone who enjoys singing to come along. Why not join us at a practice night and see what we get up to? We need you.

 

Bells: Keith Page reports:

We had an enjoyable ‘ringing-in’ of the New Year once again and we all celebrated the occasion with a glass of Champagne. This event is open to anyone who may be interested in watching or ringing with us. We welcomed some visitors from the village, including some from the ‘widows’ group, who meet with Jean Ding on the first Sunday in the month for a meal together. They all said how much they enjoyed coming along and even took some action photos. We had more than 20 people present, including ringers, and they seemed most amused watching me wrestle with a Champagne cork!

A family from Swavesey has joined our church community, the Stevenses, where both Andrew and Caroline ring regularly and both their sons, Dan and Matthew, have followed in their parents’ footsteps. This gives us a strong core of ringers at the moment as they augment Emily and Mary Martin, Margaret Blount, Josie Charter, Julia Mitchell, Philip Blunt, Steven Wilson, Linda Page and me.

Five successful quarter peals (approximately 45 minutes, 1,260 changes) were rung by members of our group at various local churches for special occasions.

Monday ringing is on a monthly rota; Hilton (6) on first Monday, Houghton (6) on second Monday, Fenstanton (6) on third Monday and Holywell (6) on fourth Monday. The fifth Monday is generally held now at Warboys, if possible, or else either Holywell or Fenstanton: please check church website for details.

The beginners/learners practice night on Tuesday (7.30-8.30pm) continues to flourish. I am glad to say that both Emily and Mary Martin continue to progress and gain in confidence. I am grateful for support from Esther Bates, Julia Mitchell, Josie Charter and Margaret Blount, who assist as often as possible.

This is most encouraging but does not mean new ringers are not needed – far from it. If you are interested, please come along on a Tuesday and see what’s involved.

 

Outreach

 

Pastoral (Visiting) Group: Harvey Marshall reports:

The group continues to meet every two to three months, reporting on who we have and have not had any contact with. Where possible, cards are sent to those who are sick or housebound, and we arrange to visit any who are in hospital. The group also checks the prayer list and keeps it up to date, where appropriate adding new names or removing those who are well and have asked to be removed. We are a small group but spread our arms widely and need the help of everyone to keep us in contact. So we ask all to let us know if there is somebody out there who has fallen off the radar and would like a visit or to be mentioned in our prayers.

 

Churches Together in Fenstanton: Joy Saunders reports:

We continue our happy co-operation with the United Reformed Church. We changed the dates for our joint services, and now have a January joint service in the URC, and a summer joint service in the parish church. This means that we benefit from the URC heating in winter! We join up for Christian Aid week, with joint services at the beginning and end of the week. Remembrance Sunday was celebrated in the parish church, led by the Revd Dr Catherine Ball from the URC. It was good to have a very different approach to the traditional worship on this occasion. The committee meets twice a year to fix future dates and review the past year. Our collaboration with Fen Drayton is proceeding well, and parishioners from both parishes attend each others’ services fairly regularly.

 

School links: Joy Saunders reports:

Our links with the primary school remain strong. The new head welcomes us warmly and is very enthusiastic about our making a contribution to the life of the school. One member of the children’s work group is on the governing body and several members go in at least once a term to lead an assembly. At Easter and Christmas, we invited the pupils to services in the church, and wrote a dramatised version of the Christmas and Easter story to be performed before the whole school and parents. This meant several visits to the school to rehearse with the children in the lunch hour. These events were received extremely well. Some classes also come to study the church, as part of their religious education syllabus. We were also invited into classes, to answer questions about Jesus asked by Key Stage 1 pupils.

 

Welcome Pack: Julia Mitchell reports:

Over the year, we have been looking at the content of the welcome pack, as it was thought that much of the information was also available from other sources such as Spectrum.

What we have done is to amend the Welcome Letter and Church information leaflet, particularly as we are currently without a resident priest, and to include a copy of Spectrum if there is a possibility of one not having been left in the house at the time of change in occupancy.

We shall be relying on receiving a ‘heads-up’ regarding people moving into our village and, of course, will make contact with people who move into the new developments.

 

Community Fund: Julia Mitchell writes:

This fund was established after members of the PCC identified a potential need for emergency financial help for people living in our village or having a strong association with it. There is a small committee that manages any applications, a member of which contacts an applicant to assess the circumstances. Sometimes talking through the situation can be as valuable as any monetary help we may be able to offer. All personal information received is strictly confidential.

The fund is publicised within our community through flyers, posters, the church website and inclusion in Spectrum. All the information for these has been updated during the year, and we have confirmed that the school is aware of the process for application, should a need be identified.

We have been pleased to have been able to support one applicant during this last year. Applications to the Fund, either personally or on behalf of another, can be made through the churchwardens or via the dedicated e-mail address, which is checked frequently.

 

Statistics and administration

 

Electoral roll and church attendance: Ray Whitby reports:

The number of persons on the electoral roll at January 2018 was 112, with 88 being resident in the parish and 24 being non-resident. This is a net increase of 16 over the previous year’s reported numbers. Attendance, averaged over the 51 Sundays that did not include ecumenical services at the URC, was 57 adults and 19 children, increases of 20 and 10 per cent respectively on 2016’s figures.

Many thanks are due to the Electoral Roll Officer, Anne Groome, who does an excellent job.

 

Occasional Offices in 2016: The Secretary reports:

In 2017 there were 11 baptisms, nine of infants and children (two of adults and young people aged 13 or over), three weddings, and eight funerals in church, with a further four ceremonies led by our Ministers at Cambridge Crematorium.

In addition, although no confirmations took place during 2017, the process of instruction of six young people and one adult for confirmation (by the Bishop of Ely in our church in March 2018) began during the latter part of the year. Most were members of our church youth group, TC.

Marriages: Lisa Jablonska reports:

In 2017 there were three weddings held in our church, all with local connections and living in the parish, one of whom also had her baptism in our church over 20 years ago. There were a further two banns readings for two couples who were getting married out of the parish.

Looking ahead to 2018, there are three weddings scheduled for April, June and September, and I have also just met with a lovely young couple from the parish booking their wedding for 2020. Always good to plan ahead!

 

Health and Safety: Ray Whitby reports:

The year passed without any major incidents. The stonemasons have made an excellent job of blocking off the chancel arch, and their work is nearly finished. The congregation is reminded that even when the chancel is open again they and the organ renovators will still be working in the area and care must be taken when using the chancel.

The clapper of the tenor bell snapped during a ringing practice on 18 September 2017: no one was injured, and it was removed and a new one replaced without any mishaps two weeks later.

Health and safety is a mandatory item on every PCC agenda. Ian MacKellar is Health and Safety Officer and Harvey Marshall is Fire Officer. The congregation is reminded to be health & safety-aware and to report any concerns to the churchwardens or to Ian or Harvey.

 

Buildings

 

Church fabric: Philip Blunt reports:

The Fabric Committee has seven members continuing from the previous year and met formally seven times during 2017.

Progress continued to be made towards the restoration of the ‘Capability’ Brown memorial in the chancel of the church. A final push on fund-raising including a grant of £7,500 from Church Buildings Council (CBC) awarded in January and a generous gift from a private donor together with the grant of £5,000 from the Finnis Scott Foundation (obtained in April 2016) and 2016’s fund-raising efforts brought the total of funds available up to £29,000. Two firm quotations for the restoration work were obtained taking into account CBC’s conditions of the grant award, which had the effect of reducing the total cost of the restoration work. A Faculty for the work was applied for and obtained and, having ascertained that CBC had no objection to engagement of the conservation company offering the lower price, the work was awarded (with PCC approval) to Skillingtons in October at a cost of £27,930 + VAT for a start on 2 January 2018. [As at the end of February 2018 work on the restoration was progressing well. Having dismantled the monument the restorer was in a position to recommend further simplification to the restoration which has been agreed by the CBC and is expected to lead to further reduction in the final cost of the work, which should be completed by mid-March 2018.] It is also expected that VAT should be recoverable through the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme.

Discussions were had with organ-building companies throughout the year with a view to carrying out a major restoration of the church organ. As the chancel of the church was to be closed during the refurbishment of the Brown memorial, it was considered that this presented an opportunity to complete the organ restoration when the organ would be unavailable for use in any case. We have been lucky enough to secure the services of Pipe Organ Services (who have been carrying out routine maintenance on the organ for many years) to do this work at a cost of £17,500 + VAT. The necessary Faculty for the work was applied for and obtained in September, and work started in the first week of January. The restoration work will be carried out mainly at the restorer’s workshop so will not be affected by dust and disturbance from the Brown memorial restoration work.

Safety of monuments in the churchyard became an issue during the year when one of the stone crosses near the entrance porch became unstable. Inspection of the monuments revealed several other monuments which were potentially unstable. A quotation was obtained for repair work and a Faculty obtained but the Architect’s objections to certain aspects meant that the work could not go ahead immediately. Following a meeting and correspondence with the Parish Council the matter was left in its hands as it is, in any case, responsible for the maintenance (and safety) of the closed churchyard.

Priority works arising out of the Quinquennial Inspection in 2016 relating to minor repairs to roof leadwork were carried out under the direction of the Architect. The Architect was also commissioned to prepare tender documents for priority works relating to underground rainwater drainage and the dampness affecting the east wall of the north aisle which has become very unsightly with flaking plaster. [The Faculty application process was initiated and tenders for the work were obtained in early February 2018.] The work will be followed up during 2018 subject to availability of funding.

The vesting date for land to be acquired for the A14 upgrade by the Highways Agency was 14 March 2017. From that date the PCC’s ownership rights to the affected land ceased so the small area of land in the field owned by the PCC along the frontage to the Conington Road was officially transferred to the Highways Agency. The issue of compensation continues in the hands of the PCC’s agent (Jolliffe Daking). The remainder of the field continues to be rented out to the same tenant as in 2016.

Various other minor improvements and acquisitions relating to the fabric of the church during 2017 are noted as follows:

  • nave lighting was replaced with energy efficient LED lamps;
  • six music stands with rechargeable LED reading lights were acquired for the Music Group;
  • emergency lighting was installed on the cill of the west window;
  • the old and failing wooden folding chairs were replaced with new folding chairs upholstered in royal blue fabric to match the existing upholstery of the pew cushions and carpets;
  • forensic marking of the Church and Church Centre metalwork was applied to confirm to the insurer’s requirements;
  • various other routine maintenance and repair jobs.

 

Church Centre: Ian Hucklesby reports:

2017 has been the first full year since the re-opening of the Church Centre following its renovation and modernisation. The centre has been very well received by the local community and bookings keep increasing both for casual and regular use. New regular users include: Guides, Yoga, Keep fit, as well as Residents’ association meetings and small business hire. Income this year has doubled from just over £5,000 in 2015 to just over £10,500 in 2017, the latter figure including the VAT that has to be charged. A condition of the grants that were received is that all the profit is reinvested in the Church Centre. As a result of our increased income we have been able to purchase new tables and chairs for use within the hall. A coffee machine was also kindly donated for use in the centre. The church centre was also presented with an “Engage Award’ by Bishop David of Huntingdon in September 2017. The judging panel commented: “What a transformation! Not only has the PCC converted a rather dowdy church hall into something very special but it has offered its community a superb venue for a wide range of activities.”

The committee has remained unchanged and continues to meet regularly to manage and oversee the running of the building. It has also carried out minor maintenance and small improvements during the year, for which I thank them. Special thanks again to Janice Addison and Pam Hucklesby for all the extra work involved in managing the bookings and financial transactions.

 

Finance

 

Finance: Janice Addison reports:

The General Fund finished the year with a good surplus of £4,724. Overall total receipts for the year were £51,252, not quite as much as last year but still a very good amount. Giving has steadily increased over the years via standing orders and so this has also increased the Gift Aid that we are able to reclaim. In 2017 we reclaimed back £8,579. At year-end we finished with 29 members who gave by monthly standing order and one on a quarterly basis. Plate collection has increased significantly this year. The weekly envelope scheme still has 19 members. Annual donations have declined rapidly over recent years and so now we just have the one. Only two of the five Lay Rectors paid their share of the church insurance. We continue to rent the field in Conington, which brings in £1,125 each year. Overall total payments out for the year were £47,544, pretty much the same as the previous year. Insurance costs were a lot lower due to switching to a different company while keeping the same level of cover.

The Restoration Fund is slowly on the increase. This year the surplus made from our fund-raising events, Pimms & Pâté and Mulled Wine went towards the organ refurbishment. The house- to-house collection raised £2,007, which also went towards the organ. Total money raised for the organ this year was £5,339. The Capability Brown memorial appeal also raised £3,553 in donations. We continue to receive six monthly standing orders, which amount to £540 per month. Restoration collection boxes, which are counted on a quarterly basis, raised £443: we have 25 members in this scheme.

The Church Centre continues to do really well for bookings since the refurbishment. We have received £6,788 in contract bookings and £3,603 in casual bookings. The wooden bench seat by the main entrance was kindly donated in memory of Eric Mott.

The House continues to be rented through Maxine Lester agency at the same rate of £700pcm. There have been minimal repairs. The Gym units also continue to be rented out, which brings an income of £1,040.

The Bequest Fund has had no activity other than bank interest added to it.

The Bell Fund received £100 in donations, and one payment of £302 was made for a repair.

The Community Fund continues to be supported by the General Fund as and when required. There was one claim made this year.

 

Stewardship: Ray Whitby reports:

It was decided that, because of the extra pressure and work put upon us by being in interregnum, we would put off having a stewardship Sunday for this year.

 

Charitable giving: Julia Mitchell reports:

For some time now, as a church, we have voted for a specific charity to support during the current year. This has undoubtedly helped us focus on our charitable giving and fundraising throughout the year. We alternate between a ‘home’ and an ‘overseas’ charity each time and raise money in a variety of different ways. You will see promotional material in the church and elsewhere, and we try to arrange for a representative from the charity to come to speak to us during a service. In this way, we can learn more about our charity and how our money will be used.

Last year, we supported Church Urban Fund and are delighted to have raised £3,348.72 through various activities and Christmas services. We had tremendous interest and support from the charity throughout the year, which included having a film made to show what we were doing to raise funds and awareness. The news of what we were doing was even re-tweeted on Twitter by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby! If you wish, you can find out more on the CUF website or contact me. Thank you to everyone involved both in organising events over the year and generously donating. We hope this money will make a real difference to those in our country who are in great need. This coming year, our overseas charity will be Mercy Ships. Keep an eye open for the various events and services through which we will be raising funds.

As most of you know, we continue to support AquAid Lifeline in Malawi with a monthly Standing Order through our formal overseas link. Josie Charter visits the country frequently, in her role as trustee, and keeps us all updated. In addition to our nominated charity, our congregation has also responded to other organisations, such as the Children’s Society (Christingle), Church Mission Society, Remembrance Sunday collection British Red Cross (Manchester Appeal). The total given to other causes via the PCC was £4,793.

General fundraising: Ian Hucklesby reports:

The General Fundraising team has once again organised three lunches this past year, in aid of our Church chosen charity, Church Urban Fund. The lunches attract both regular church members and villagers alike. The Lent Lunch raised £336.77, the Harvest Lunch raised £622.09 and the total raised at the Christmas Lunch was £798.76, making a grand total of £1,757.62 for CUF. Each occasion has a friendly, social atmosphere and the meals seem to be much appreciated. Thank you to all those in the team who make these events possible. New members or helpers are very welcome to join us any time.

 

Restoration appeal committee: Ian Hucklesby reports:

During 2017 the Restoration committee has organised three fund-raising social events plus the house-to-house envelope collection to every house in the village in September. The Pimms and Pâté lunch and the Mulled Wine evening, along with the envelope collection, were specifically raising money for the organ refurbishment, while the Seaside supper in February went more widely towards the church restoration. The events are attractive to villagers as well as our church family and we are most grateful to the kind hosts who freely open their homes and gardens to hold such events. These types of events take detailed planning and organisation, and I am grateful to the committee for all they have done to help make the events a success. New members to the committee would be most welcome.

 

‘Capability’ Brown celebrations: Ray Whitby reports:

The last part of the celebrations, namely the planting of a Cedar of Lebanon on Hall Green took place on 23rd April 2017, and a plaque was added a few weeks later. Any money left over – and there wasn’t much – was added to the memorial restoration fund.

We have contacted as many people as we can who have given donations towards the restoration and have expressed an interest in it. The national CB300 website was kept open for an extra year for this sort of eventuality, and it has resulted in a small flurry of extra donations on line towards the fund. (More on the progress of the work can, I am sure, be found in Philip’s Fabric Report.)

 

Communications

 

Church website: Keith Page reports:

The website, http://www.fenstantonparishchurch.org.uk, has been kept up to date as much as possible but supply of event reports has not always been forthcoming. I am unsure as to how often it is used as no hit counter is provided in our package. It does include the latest rotas used for serving and reading so there’s no excuse for missing your scheduled slot!

The calendar shows only events I know of, so, if you have an event you need advertising or see I have omitted something, please let me know, preferably by email.

I would appreciate more input for the pages, and approved pictures could be added, although I will have to reduce large file images. Any pictures of people need to have written approval of those depicted before I can post them on the site.

 

Facebook: Paul Garnell reports:

The Church Facebook page continues to be used as a platform for highlighting the life and mission of the church here in Fenstanton. Current membership or ‘likes’ sits at 132. With the departure of Robin, the management of the page fell solely to me, and so, following a discussion with Daisy Hucklesby, it was agreed that she would be added as an administrator of the page. The vast majority of the notices come via Katie Hucklesby, which can then be uploaded by either Daisy or me. It is worth noting that contact is very often made via the messenger facility for further information or prayers. The page certainly serves a purpose for those engaging with social media, and while ‘likes’ provide a clear indication of visitors to the notices the ‘seen by’ often exceeds 1,000 people! My thanks to Daisy for assisting in the administration of the page and to Katie and Ian for their notices.

It would be my hope that in time, and with or without a new incumbent, a monthly or quarterly service schedule could be linked, a weekly post for intercessions or prayer requests posted, weekly scripture passages and also posts highlighting the many Christian links to pages on discipleship, vocations and much more could be uploaded.

I continue to manage the Fenstanton Village Community Noticeboard, which is linked to the church Facebook page, and adds a further audience of 426 members. The page is mostly used for advertising local events. It is also used by Cambridgeshire Police, who send me the eCops newsletter each Friday, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Fire and Rescue Service to highlight various services and notices.

 

 

 

Approved by the PCC on 21 March 2018

 

 

 

Revd Canon Brian Atling
Priest-in-charge