Annual Report

The Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Fenstanton

 

Annual report and financial statements of the PCC

Year ending 31 December 2016

 

Incumbent

 

 

 

Rev Dr Robin McKenzie
The Vicarage
16 Church Street
Fenstanton PE28 9JL

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

 

Inspecting architect

 

 

 

 

Brian Page, Dipl Arch, RIBA
Archimage
Bell Gables
Church Lane
Wilburton
Ely CB6 3RQ

 

Background

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

Chairman

Licensed Lay Minister

Harvey Marshall (part-year) (ex officio)

Vice-chairman

Churchwardens

Stephen Wilson (ex officio)

 

 

Philip Blunt (ex officio)

 

Deanery Synod representatives (to 2017)

Stephen Wilson (ex officio)
Philip Blunt (ex officio)

 

Sub-warden

Ray Whitby (ex officio)

 

Elected to 2017

 

 

Julia Mitchell
Niki Whitby
Ian Hucklesby

 

Elected to 2018

 

 

Paul Garnell (served part-year)
Ray Whitby
Katie Hucklesby

 

Elected to 2019

 

 

Keith Page
Keith White
(vacancy)

 

Co-opted

Harvey Marshall (part-year)

 

Appointed

Ian MacKellar (also ex officio)

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

 

Sunday Club

Katie Hucklesby

 

Church Centre bookings

Pam Hucklesby

 

Health & safety officer

Ian MacKellar

 

Fire officer

Harvey Marshall

 

Commentary: Stephen Wilson reports:

The first few months of 2016 were very busy for Church Centre committee members because the builders were in and transforming the place. The result of lots of hard work was a much-improved building with three separate rentable spaces. It was officially opened by David, Bishop of Huntingdon, on June 9th.

The church held an Open Gardens weekend on the 18/19th of June, which was very successful and included some gardens open for the first time. The church was also involved with the Fringe in the Fen, providing catering at some of the events, and the Church was also the venue for some of the events.

This was also the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown, and there was a number of events to commemorate this. There was a talk on Brown in the Church, and during Fringe in the Fen a piece of music entitled The Fallen Elm, composed by Graham Ross, had its world premiere. There was also an audio-visual display on Capability Brown for much of the year in the back of church for visitors to enjoy. The zenith of the celebrations was a flower festival in church in late August, and the installation of a brass plaque on a plinth near the entrance to the church. A stained-glass window on the theme of Capability Brown and designed by children from Fenstanton and Hilton Junior School was installed in the new Church Centre. On 28th August Bishop David of Huntingdon presided at a service in church, followed by blessing the new plaque and stained glass window, with tea and cake following. Several intrepid cyclists spent several days cycling from Brown’s birthplace, Kirkharle in Northumberland, back to Fenstanton and arrived back on Saturday 27th August to a welcome party and barbeque. The sponsorship money they raised was for restoring the Brown family monument. Later in the year, an elderly member of the congregation walked the Ouse Valley Way in sections and with support from other congregation members, to raise money for the parish’s chosen charity and chairs for the Church Centre. The church and village also appeared in national media and on television because of its connection with Capability Brown.

We also hosted the Royal British Legion several times in the year, for its ‘Every Man Remembered’ campaign, and several local soldiers who died in WW1 in 1916 were remembered. The church was given a book having details of the WW1 fallen of Fenstanton: it is available for reading in church. The Remembrance Day service was on a WW1 theme and people were invited to remember WW1 soldiers by writing details on luggage labels, which were then left near the altar.

In November, we were overjoyed that four young people from the congregation, Lucas, Mary, Saleem and Tadi, were confirmed in Ely cathedral by the Bishop of Ely.

We were also pleased that Niki Whitby started her LLM training and delivered her first sermon in July at Choral Evensong. Paul Garnell began his studies to be an ordinands, and we are pleased to support him. Lisa Jablonska took over as wedding coordinator from Niki.

The plans for pastoral reorganisation made progress, with the Churchwardens having discussions with Peter Cunliffe and the Churchwardens of Hemingford Abbots, Hemingford Grey and Fen Drayton. Peter also visited our PCC to share his vision of the future of the four parishes together.

There were several fund-raising events and lunches organised this year, a senior persons’ tea party in Fenstanton Manor (with no age restrictions!), and the church again had a presence at the Village Sports Day on the 2nd July, running the coconut shy and having a stall.

The Churchwardens were sworn in at St Thomas à Becket, Ramsey. They were also invited to the Bishop’s garden party in June and attended along with their spouses. Next stop Buckingham Palace!

It remains for me to thank our ministers for their direction over the year, and to all the volunteers who make this a viable and visible Christian community.

 

Review of PCC activity: Ian MacKellar reports:

The PCC met nine times during the year to conduct the business of the parish and welcomed other members of the congregation to open spiritual meetings on other occasions. I maintain the view I expressed last 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 is made more urgent by the increase in the number of elected members resulting from our expanding Electoral Roll. As a result, the PCC will be asking the APCM to agree to changes to the constitution effective from the APCM 2018 to delete appointments of Secretary and Treasurer, electing them instead from the ordinary and ex officio PCC membership. It may also be necessary to introduce standing orders for the conduct of future business if our parish retains its PCC after the creation of the proposed link with Fen Drayton and the Hemingfords. I am firmly of the view, and your PCC agrees unanimously, that a mooted single PCC covering all four current parishes in the proposed new benefice would be unworkable.

Two key initiatives delivered and facilitated by the PCC during 2016, the £200,000 refurbishment of the Church Centre and the national celebration of the 300th anniversary of the baptism of landscape architect Lancelot (Capability) Brown, who is buried in our churchyard, demonstrate the church’s pivotal contribution to the life of Fenstanton village.

During the four-month project to transform the Church Centre, which was originally built as the village elementary school, many of its regular activities moved to the URC in Chequer Street or to the current Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School. The PCC is indebted to both the URC and the school for enabling those activities to continue almost seamlessly. It is a tribute to the success of those arrangements that we have retained all previous regular bookings in the ‘new’ hall, as well as attracting many new activities.

Until a new village hall is constructed in several years’ time, the Church Centre will remain the only ‘public space’ of any size in this growing village, so it is a tribute to the tenacity of Ian Hucklesby and his team, particularly the architect, Graham Riley, and structural engineer, Paul Housego, that Fenstanton now has an attractive assembly hall of high quality.

The village’s CB300 committee, led by Ray Whitby, provided the focus for many thousands of visitors to our church over the summer. Lasting legacies will be the new and much-admired ‘interpretation board’ at the entrance to the churchyard and, we hope, restoration of the Brown memorial in the chancel, for which fundraising continues. We were (surprised to have been) indebted to staff of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for sound advice on the design of the plaque and its subsequent approval.

Our success was amplified by the contribution of the Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Revd David Thomson, who stood in at the last minute for the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, who was unable to perform the official re-opening ceremony for the Church Centre in June because of a family bereavement. Bishop David also dedicated the ‘upper room’ to the memory of my friend and mentor, Martyn Saunders, who served the parish faithfully as PCC member, parish secretary, deanery synod representative and lay chairman, and deanery representative on the diocesan synod, and to the continued work of his widow, Joy.

So compelling were Bishop David’s remarks at the ceremony that several major local suppliers, who had already offered goods and services at advantageous rates, decided after all to provide them free of charge – calling to mind the ‘Parable of the Talents’.

Bishop David also led our Capability Brown commemoration service in August, and dedicated the new Brown memorial plaque in the churchyard and the commemorative stained glass window designed and made by schoolchildren for the Church Centre.

Other community activities included organising a parish picnic for the village at Grafham Water, and a coach outing to Southwold. Unlike last year, when comparable events were both waterlogged, the weather in 2016 was benign, and both events were greatly enjoyed.

During 2016, we sought to make clear that the PCC would not pursue people who have bought homes built on former ‘lay rectoral’ land, such as Headlands and Hampton Close, for any notional responsibility for repairs to the chancel. Such liability, which has survived from the middle ages, has but a short time to live in this parish. It is sad that, in spite of our proactive efforts to assure conveyancers that purchasers are at no such risk, some lawyers are still selling indemnity with premia costing many times the sums theoretically at risk.

We also tried to regularise the appearance of the Area of Cremated as a tranquil area for bereaved folk to contemplate their lost relations. Following some initial misgivings that had resulted from our previous failure to ensure compliance with national and diocesan rules, a consensus seems to have been reached with good will from all concerned.

We have had discussions during the year with both the Rural Dean and Vicar of Hemingfords on a proposed new benefice to include Fen Drayton, Fenstanton and both Hemingford parishes. We are in broad agreement in principle and welcome the opportunity to work with the other parishes though, as indicated above, we have misgivings about some mooted governance arrangements.

When some headstones in the closed section of the churchyard became unsafe, the PCC took immediate action to prevent harm. In the process, it emerged that it was not clear where responsibility for the safety of the churchyard lay. As a result, the PCC has served notice on Fenstanton Parish Council under S215(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 that maintenance of the closed section of the churchyard will become the parish council’s responsibility from Spring 2017 onwards. (It may already be the case, but we have been unable to find the relevant records.)

Our mission statement, Growing in Faith, Serving our Community, continued to guide the PCC’s spiritual thinking during the year, so we were delighted to learn that the ministry of two of our congregation was to be pursued through formal training. Paul Garnell has been accepted for training as a priest, and Niki Whitby has begun her journey towards Licensed Lay Ministry. The PCC has actively and enthusiastically encouraged both of them, is delighted by their success to date, and will continue to encourage and support them. They are concrete examples of what our church family nurtures. Both have had to relinquish some of their previous duties in the parish to create space for their training, and we are grateful to those who have taken on extra tasks, such as Lisa Jablonska, who has succeeded Niki as Weddings Co-ordinator.

 

Electoral roll and church attendance: Stephen Wilson reports:

The number of persons on the electoral roll at October 2016 was 96, with 74 being resident in the parish and 22 being non-resident. This is a nett increase of two persons over the previous year’s reported numbers. Attendance, averaged over 12 Sundays, was 47 adults and 17 children, both figures being slightly greater than the previous year’s figures.

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

[Note: There are currently 109 names on the Electoral Roll.]

 

Pastoral overview of Occasional Offices in 2016: The Vicar reports:

In 2016 there were:
Five baptisms, of which one was a father of a child who was baptised at the same time,
four weddings, (four are planned, so far, for 2017, and two for 2018), and
four funerals.

In addition we had four young people, Saleem Akanbi, Lucas Hayles, Mary Kaima-Ziwa, and Tadi Nyajeka, confirmed in Ely Cathedral in November 2016. These were all members of our church youth group TC.

The pattern of responsibility continues as outlined in reports from previous years:

  • I take responsibility for all baptisms, except where they are part of a confirmation service. I feel that this is a central part of my remit as incumbent.
  • I am responsible for marrying all those who are legally able to be married here. However, I am more than happy to delegate this to any priest who is legally able to marry couples within the Church of England. Brian Atling, Rural Dean, was requested by the couple to officiate at one of our weddings in 2016.
  • Most funerals are taken by our Licensed Lay Minister, Harvey Marshall. I am grateful for his continuing ministry here, appreciated by families and the parish. In 2017 Harvey is due to be away for 10 weeks over the summer.

 

Licensed Lay Minister’s report: Harvey Marshall reports:

This last year has seen some changes for me. As, in February, I reached the grand age of 70, my title changed from ‘licensed’ to ‘Permission to Officiate’. It also meant that I was no longer ex officio on the PCC and will need to be elected at the next APCM.

Apart from these two ‘minor’ glitches, I have continued to support the Vicar and the two members of the congregation who are seeking their vocations. This year is also my last as a member of the Ely Diocesan Association of Licensed Lay Ministers’ Board. I have taken on a new job, which means that I am unable to attend some meetings, and also unable to take Evensong, but I hope to get different shifts soon to address this situation. I would like, as usual, to thank the Vicar and the members of our church for their continued support and encouragement.

 

Marriages: Lisa Jablonska reports:

I took over as wedding co-ordinator from Niki Whitby towards the end of 2016, as her time has been taken elsewhere to train as a Licensed Lay Minister. There was a smooth handover, and Niki was very supportive in ‘showing me the ropes’, ensuring that I understood the law in relation to the arranging of weddings and reading of banns.

In 2016 there were four weddings held in our church. There are three weddings definitely planned for the forthcoming year by couples who live in the parish, and a possible co-ordination with a baptism ceremony as well! There are two further couples with connections to the parish who hope to marry here in 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, special family events and informal, lay-led worship. This past year, we have been encouraged by a couple of new families joining our regular Sunday Worship/Sunday Club and mid-week Jaffa Club as well as a new Sunday Club assistant leader joining the team. One child also ‘put her faith into action’ in response to a visit to the local Foodbank and organised a collection of ‘little extras’ for those locally in need.

Sunday Club met, 20 times in 2016, the first sessions held in the village school while the Church Centre underwent a major renovation. Numbers attending vary between seven and 18 children. The average is 12, consistent with last year, but up to five more children may also be in church on these Sundays as they are either young toddlers or older children who are serving. It was a delight that four regular SC members felt confident in their faith and went for confirmation in Ely in the autumn.

Children’s Work Group continues to plan, print and produce the “Worship for All” service held on the second Sunday of the month. On average, 24 children attend with their parents/family. Numbers of both adults and children attending our Worship for All services are strong, and it is good to have more young people taking part in our worship (dramas, reading prayers etc). The main altar has to be moved back and extra chairs have been added in the chancel to get everyone in!

The CWG is also developing parts of our Family Communion service, held on the fourth Sunday (average 15 children at these services, an increase from 11 last year) to make it more attractive to families. Our special services for Mothering Sunday and Remembrance Day saw 26 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.

Our coach day-trip this year saw us off to Southwold again (this time in lovely weather), and it was good to have a real mix of young and old, regular church attenders and some people who attend social functions only, come together for a fun day out. This informal event has been appealing to new families and our Children’s Work Group leaders, as it enables us to build relationships on a relaxed, fun, family day out.

Two members of CWG attended a ‘Train- up’ day of training in Histon, organised by the diocese, and enjoyed the opportunity to meet inspiring children’s workers and hear of good practice throughout the diocese as well as see new ideas for themselves. Using creative storytelling and creative prayer has enhanced the children’s engagement, engaging with our kinaesthetic or visual learners.

The Children’s Work Group team continues to organise with the Vicar our annual Christingle 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. A new venture this year was an invitation to anyone with a Crib scene at home to bring it along to Church on Advent Sunday for a blessing before taking it home for the whole season. The Crib Service itself continues to be very well supported by the wider village community, and extra seats were used in the chancel to accommodate our biggest congregation of the year. Once again, some of our young people, in simple costumes re-told the Christmas story. 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 both for our Worship for All services and Family Communions as well as at our special services throughout the year, such as Mothering Sunday, Easter and the Crib Service. During the year, as some instrumentalists left for university, we were fortunate to welcome Cameron Riddoch on the recorder, as a regular band member, as well as regular vocalists too. Thank you to those who lead and support our musicians, writing out music, arranging practices and adding to the feel of our worship.

“JAFFA” (the after-school service and club) has continued, meeting 17 times during the school year, and children attending average 10 in number. There are usually four parents and a further three adult leaders/helpers at each JAFFA Club. After many years as a leader, we said farewell to Val Spain but welcomed Gill Henderson, a gifted children’s worker, to the Jaffa team. Our regular children are aged between two and 11, and one highlight of the year was to receive a reply from Buckingham Palace to our 90th birthday card sent to the Queen for her birthday after a Jaffa exploring the topic of “serving others”.

Our links with the village school continue roughly once a term, leading assembly, (thank you, Joy Saunders) or a single age session. This year the Rev David Busk, Vicar of Hilton, joined Joy, Gill and me to run the It’s your Move leavers’ session in the summer term. The whole school also came to church for their Christmas Carol Service on the last day of term. Joy had re-written the story and encouraged and practised with a few of the children to read well with the microphone, whilet the whole school sang familiar and new carols. We also organised a competition to design a Christmas Card, and all entries were displayed over the Christmas season in Church, with the winning designs used to promote our Christmas services to each 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. Letters are also sent to these families to invite them to special services such as Mothering Sunday and Christmas. Fliers and invitations are also delivered to other families whom we have contact with 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.

 

TC (Teenage Christians): The Vicar writes:

I am pleased to report that we have continued TC this year for our young people, aged between 10 (and in the last year of primary school) and 14. We have one new youngster, and have retained nine from last year, though two of these left at Christmas having reached the upper age. A further two left in the summer, again having reached the upper age.

We continue to meet fortnightly on a Friday night for one hour in term time. During the renovation of the Church Centre we met at the vicarage. Since then we have been working out what is best for our meetings. We start with a game in the Main Hall, and then now meet upstairs in the Saunders Room on the comfy chairs – quite a change!

We vary what we do between evenings in the Church Centre, and more social evenings. We continue to use The Grid material for this age group, published by Scripture Union. It is good material and provides a good and suitable starting point for discussions. One social evening, for example, was when we watched the film Sister Act.

TC provides the space for our young people to learn about Christian faith. Four of our young people decided that they wished to be confirmed, which was good. More details under the report of Occasional Offices.

I am pleased to say that from the autumn we have had a new leader, Kate Tuplin, who has experience of leading groups of this age. This has meant that our other, Amanda McKenzie, who has led TC since it started, has been able to step down.

I ask the parish to continue to pray for our young people in TC, and pray that others may be attracted to join us.

 

 

Huntingdon Deanery Synod (including outside speakers): Stephen Wilson reports:

Firstly, I am sad to report the death of the Richard Turpin OBE on 26th July 2016. He had been the lay chairman of the Huntingdon Deanery Synod for many years.

There were only two Huntingdon Deanery Synod meetings in 2016, the one scheduled for April 7th being cancelled because of the non-availability of the planned speaker. There was a meeting on 7th July in Alconbury Parish Church attended by Stephen Wilson. The guest speaker was the Rev Canon Peter Wood, who is Director of Mission for Ely Diocese. He explained various initiatives and funding schemes that are available as part of the Ely2025 diocesan strategy. The other meeting was on 17th November in St Barnabas Church, Huntingdon, which Philip Blunt attended. The guest speaker was Nicola Jarmaine, speaking on dementia, and the talk was very informative. The planned increase in Parish Share for 2017 for Fenstanton Parish was set at three per cent.


Emmaus group: Joy Saunders reports:

The Emmaus group consists of 8-10 members, including members from Hilton and several with a different faith background. We usually meet fortnightly on Sunday evenings, starting with a light supper and glass of wine, and this is followed by Bible study, a look at early Church history or a discussion of ethical problems. We finish with a time of prayer. This year we studied the Creeds, and we shall continue studying the Bible, and our links with other world faiths. New members are always most welcome.


Wednesday House Group: Philip Blunt reports:

The Wednesday House Group met 12 times during the year with four to eight people attending regularly. Pressure of other activities and holiday absences during late summer and early autumn meant that group meetings were suspended from August to late October before resuming.

We completed our bible study on the Acts of the Apostles and started a ‘Life Application study course on St John’s gospel in April, which is on-going. In Advent, we had a Christmas social which included a light-hearted bible ‘trivia’ quiz from a tablet application (and we’re not talking about a tablet of stone!) accompanied, of course, by finger food, mince pies and mulled wine.

Our regular 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.


Pastoral (Visiting) Group: Harvey Marshall reports:

The group consists of eight members of the congregation who meet every two months or so. The aim is to keep a check on 140 individuals who are or have been loosely connected to the church. Each member of the group takes on responsibility for a group and reports back at each meeting. If someone is ill or in hospital, the group sends a card on behalf of the church, wishing a speedy recovery. As the ‘family’ grows bigger, we hope other people will keep an eye out for anyone who may need support, and let one of the group know or contact the chairman on 01480 395936.


Churches Together in Fenstanton: The Vicar reports:

This group from the Parish Church and the URC aims to meet approximately three times a year to discuss matters of common benefit, and did so during 2016. The group includes both myself and Revd Dr Catherine Ball, URC minister, and two to three others from each church.

As outlined in last year’s report, 2016 saw a new pattern of combined worship. The service in January will be retained, though now at the URC (where it is warm!). Then the URC congregation was invited to our Worship for All service in May, which is often at the start of Christian Aid Week, collection of which is owned by the whole village. We returned the following week for a service of thanksgiving at the URC. The arrangements for the Service of Remembrance remained unaltered, whereby the URC minister and I take turns in putting the service together and leading it. We had the largest congregation in 2016, in part as the uniformed organisations were guiding the development of a new pack locally. It was my turn in 2016, so will be Catherine’s turn in 2017.

This new pattern did seem to be favourably received, and the intention is that it will be retained for 2017, and probably thereafter.

The Group has been responsible for the Church’s Christmas Card. 2016 saw a competition through the school, with one design chosen; this is organised as before by Katie Hucklesby and Joy Saunders, with our thanks. This year we had more entries, the winners being Hannah Housego and Finlay Riddoch. One design, by Jasper Flinders, was used for the cover of the January 2017 Worship for All service.

If this is something that you would like to be involved with, then please do have a word with me.


Overseas link: The Vicar reports:

Michael Green, CMS Mission Partner, has continued to be our overseas link. As I reported last year, Michael is now working with the Arabic-speaking community in Ipswich, and continued to be supported through CMS (Church Mission Society) Mission Partner. This has been a quiet year.

While this will reported more fully in next year’s Report, at the time of writing, the church has decided to support AquAid Lifeline as its overseas linked charity (as noted by Julia Mitchell in her report), thanking Michael for his contact with us, and giving due notice. We have also been told that Michael has been and continues to be poorly, and has been given time off to recover.


School links: Joy Saunders reports:

Our links with the village school continued to grow. Joy Saunders and Katie Hucklesby were members of the Governing body until the summer, when they felt it time to retire from this service. Gill Henderson has taken on the task, and we hope to see links continuing strongly under the new head, who is to have been appointed, it is hoped, by Easter. We have enjoyed our co-operation with Antonia Drysdale, the head until Easter 2017. Joy, Katie and Gill go in once or twice a term to take an assembly, and the Reverend David Busk, Vicar of Hilton, also does so. A highlight of the Christmas term was the school Carol Service in church. Joy wrote the text and rehearsed the readers. The service went extremely well, the carols were sung loudly and clearly, the readers read with expression and clarity. and the children paid attention throughout.


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 AquAid Lifeline and are delighted to have raised £5,228 through various activities and Christmas services. 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 the people helped in Malawi. As most of you know, Josie Charter is now a trustee of this charity and has kept us updated, especially after her frequent visits, with the work going on in Malawi. Because of this increasing involvement, the PCC has decided to formalise an overseas link with the organisation in place of Michael Green, who is no longer working overseas as a CMS mission partner. This year, our home charity will be Church Urban Fund. Keep an eye open for the various events and services through which we will be raising funds.

In addition to our nominated charity, our congregation has also responded to other organisations, such as the Children’s Society (Christingle), Church Mission Society and Remembrance Sunday collection. The total given to other causes via the PCC was £1,380.


Stewardship: Stephen Wilson reports:

Stewardship Sunday took place on 1st May 2016, and 71 Stewardship packs were given out. There was no nett change in the number of monthly standing orders and one extra weekly envelope. The amount pledged per month increased by approximately £100. Many thanks are due to the Treasurer for dealing with returned forms and sending thank-you letters.

 

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 had no enquiries during this last year. Applications to the Fund, either personally or on behalf of another, can be made through the Vicar, churchwardens or via the dedicated e-mail address, which is checked frequently.

 

Church fabric: Philip Blunt reports:

The Fabric Committee has seven members continuing from the previous year and met formally three times during 2016.

Sadly, our church architect of many years (Brian Page) decided to stand down and make way for a new architect to carry out the quinquennial inspection that was due this year and to see us through any necessary maintenance works arising. Several architects on the diocesan approved list of church architects were approached, resulting in the appointment of Ashley Courtney (an independent working from Cambridge) in September 2016. Mr Courtney undertook the quinquennial inspection in November 2016 and the essential work arising from this (mainly underground drainage and minor roof repairs) will be followed up in the coming year.

Progress continued to be made on the possibility of restoring the ‘Capability’ Brown memorial in the chancel of the church. Fund-raising efforts for the estimated £45,000 +VAT needed to restore the monument have been going on throughout the year in conjunction with the Restoration Committee and the CB300 local committee, which was formed to promote the village’s association with ‘Capability’ Brown during the tercentenary anniversary of his birth in 1716. A grant of £5,000 was secured from the Finnis Scott Foundation in April 2016 and an application for a further grant from ChurchCare, originally submitted in April 2016, was ongoing at the end of 2016. [A grant offer of £7,500 was confirmed by ChurchCare in January 2017.] Together with other fund-raising efforts, the total amount raised at the end of 2016 was about £18,500. A further quotation for the restoration work was also obtained for £31,700 +VAT.

Separately the CB300 local committee (in association with CB300 National) had obtained grants and run fund-raising events to:

  • Provide temporary information boards with information on the life of ‘Capability’ Brown and his association with the village. These boards were displayed in the church for the latter half of the tercentenary year; and
  • Erect an annotated bronze plaque etched to show a plan for Fenstanton prepared by Brown but never implemented. This was mounted on a wrought stone block and placed in a prominent position near the entrance to the churchyard.It was dedicated by Bishop David on 28 August 2016.

The Development Consent Order for the A14 upgrade by the Highways Agency came into force in May 2016. The A14 works will have a small effect on the agricultural field owned by the PCC adjacent to the Conington Road, which is rented out for a small income. A small area along the road frontage will be compulsorily acquired by Highways Agency to accommodate the south abutment of the Conington Road bridge over the new route of the A14. The HA has started the acquisition process, and we have been working with our agent (Jolliffe Daking) to ensure that the correct procedure with regard to compensation is being followed.

Following on from a diocesan initiative to counter an increase in incidences of lead theft from church roofs, quotations were obtained from two suppliers for roof alarm systems. These were still under consideration by the Fabric Committee at the end of the reporting period.

Various other minor improvements and acquisitions relating to the fabric of the church during 2016 are noted as follows:

  • Further improvements to the PA system including an additional loudspeaker in the chancel and a new radio microphone set complete with receiver;
  • Location of a laser printer/photocopier in the upstairs room (Saunders Room) in the refurbished Church Centre;
  • Planting of a tree in memory of Mrs Sally Flower in the churchyard near the School Lane entrance;
  • A concerted effort to ensure that the cremated remains area in the churchyard is generally in accordance with diocesan requirements;
  • Relocation of the three-piece portable ladder from the chancel to the top of the W.C.
  • Various maintenance works relating to fabric and facilities in the church and ensuring that the church is kept clean and in good order.

 

Church Centre: Ian Hucklesby reports:

2016 has been the year of the Church Centre, when it received its largest renovation, modernisation and reordering for many years, if not since it was built. On 18th January, Princebuild, the chosen contractor, took over the building to complete the project that had been planned for and funds raised for, over the last couple of years. The project was also supported by several local businesses, enabling the project to be completed to a higher standard and in full, and we are extremely grateful for their generosity. The Church Centre reopened in mid-May and the official opening by Bishop of Huntingdon took place on 9th June. The new upstairs meeting room was also officially named the ‘Saunders Room’ in recognition and memory of Martyn Saunders. The project has brought the building ‘back to life’ and has been welcomed and admired both within the village and further afield. The Church Centre is now VAT-registered and any profit must be spent maintaining or improving the premises to comply with the grant conditions. Donations are still coming in to help with the purchase of new furniture. All our regular users have returned since reopening, and we have attracted several new regular users as well as many family celebration parties. The income for 2016 from mid-May (when we re-opened) was £2,541 from regular users and £2,403 from casual bookings. This income for seven months was only £246.00 less than for the whole of 2015. However, 20 per cent of this income must be paid in VAT. In the past year, we also set up the Church Centre web site, www.fenstantonchurchcentre.org, which has all the details of the centre and booking information on, but is constantly being improved and updated.

The house has continued to be let for the full 12 months to the same tenants and continues to be managed by Maxine Lester Property Services. Insurance and management fees totalled £1,172. Rent paid totalled £8,175. Maintenance this year was kept to an absolute minimum and cost £57.00. When these expenses have been deducted, the house bought in an income for the full 12 months of £6,946. The gym has had two units rented out for the whole year and the third one was rented for part of the year but was used as a store while the building project was carried out. The exterior ironwork and woodwork have been repaired and painted to match the renovated Centre at a cost of £1,647. The income from the gym rents was £1,220.

Many hours have been spent by Church Centre committee and others to plan and oversee the project as well as undertake tasks to keep project costs down and improve the facilities (eg shelving crockery store, installing signage, notice boards, fire door guards, post box and PA system). Special thanks to Janice Addison and Pam Hucklesby for the extra work necessary with the increase in bookings, financial transactions etc.

 

Welcome Pack: The Vicar reports:

Josie Charter stepped down from distributing the Welcome Pack, and we thank her for her service. This has meant that distribution of our Welcome Pack has been in abeyance for much of 2016. I am pleased to report that, towards the end of 2016, Julia Mitchell kindly agreed to be co-ordinator. It has also been agreed that the Welcome Pack focus on the church, and that Spectrum be included because much of what goes on in the village can be found there.

 

Finance: Janice Addison reports:

The General Fund finished the year with a good surplus of £3,762. Total receipts for the year were £51,728, the highest it has ever been, and total payments were £47,330, which was approximately the same as last year. There was one provision made at year end of £636. We continue to have 31 people who give by monthly standing order and one on a quarterly basis. The weekly envelope scheme still has 19 members. We reclaimed £7,890 in Gift Aid for the year. The wall safe raised £140. We continue to rent the field in Conington, which brings in £1,125 each year.

The Restoration Fund now looks a lot healthier than a year ago, because we started fundraising again. Our own fundraising events brought in around £9,689. The house-to-house collection raised £1,923. We continue to receive six monthly standing orders, which amount to £540 per month. Restoration boxes, which are counted on a quarterly basis, raised £386, and we have 25 members on this scheme. We also received a parish council grant of £300. Except for fundraising costs there were no other payments made.

The Church Centre Fund has had a very busy year due to the renovation work. Now it has been completed, bookings have been very good and have hugely increased. The hall was closed for just over four months, so bookings did not commence until May. We received £2,541 in contract bookings and £2,403 in casual reservations. As contract users pay on receipt of an invoice, income for Quarter 4 is not shown until the following year. We received £5,558 in donations and £92,500 in grants. We have paid out £237,649 for building work and new fixture & fittings and £2,882 in normal running costs.

The House continues to be rented through Maxine Lester agency. The rent increased in October from £675pcm to £700pcm. There have been minimal repairs. The Gym units also continue to be rented out and were repainted towards to end of the year.

The Bequest Fund received £4,060 from the sale of a brooch at auction in March. No payments were made.

The Bell Fund received £189 in donations. No payments were made.

The Community Fund continues to be supported by the General Fund as and when required. No payments have been made,

 

Health and Safety: Stephen Wilson reports:

The year passed without any major incidents, which was very pleasing considering the extra events that took place in the church and the building work on the church centre. 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 and Safety-aware and to report any concerns to the Churchwardens or to Ian or Harvey.

 

General fundraising: Ian Hucklesby reports:

The General Fundraising team has again organised three lunches through the course of the year, attracting both regular church members and villagers alike. All three lunches were raising money for our chosen charity of 2016, AquAid, Malawi. The Lent Lunch raised £298.46, the Harvest Lunch raised £735.89 and the total raised at the Christmas Lunch was £608.75. Each occasion has a friendly, social atmosphere which has been commented on and the meals seem to be appreciated. At the Harvest Lunch we said thank you to Val Spain for leading this committee for 12 years, as she prepared to move away to the south coast. 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:

The Restoration committee reverted in 2016 to raising funds for the restoration of the Church and memorial to Capability Brown. It was an extremely busy summer with Open Gardens, Fringe in the Fen, the Flower Festival and the Pimms and Pâté lunch. The final event of the year was the Mulled Wine evening. All these events raised an amazing £14,768.42 for the fund. The house-to-house envelope collection also took place in September, raising £1,923.45. A further £564.19 has been recovered from gift aid. The fundraising costs for the year were £2,316.88. All these events have seen many new faces into our Church and even made the television! We received many positive comments from visitors and I thank the team for all their hard work, organising and manning these events. Thanks also must go to the wider group of volunteers, chefs and helpers who continue to ably support the organising team raising money for the Restoration Appeal.

 

‘Capability’ Brown tercentenary (CB300): Ray Whitby reports:

Nationally, the team remained in place until the end of March 2017: so the celebrations can be regarded as officially over. However, they and the publicity company they use are helping us to develop a press release and donation site to assist with fund-raising for the memorial while they can. The very last blog that went out on their site was about our fund-raising and contained a link to our BT Mydonate site to which money is still trickling in.

Locally, the committee has very little still to do and we no longer meet, although some of us have joined the fabric committee temporally to help with fund raising and completing the renovations of the memorial. We are still waiting for the last 10 per cent of our funding to come through, although it has been applied for.

As to the memorial fund, we still have one large fish on the hook: Lord Devonport, who lives up near Kirkharle, has expressed an interest in our efforts and is being kept up to date. He may decide to make a donation or he may just be interested in how we are doing: I am trying to find out.

My thanks to everyone who has helped over the last two years we have spent planning and delivering the celebrations. Last summer, it was gratifying to see so many people visiting and enjoying our church. I believe the plaque, the memorial renovations and the tree-planting will leave a lasting legacy for future parishioners to enjoy and to learn about Lancelot Brown.

One last thing we have to do: We have acquired a Cedar of Lebanon sapling, which Stephie Shields will be planting for us on Sunday 23rd April. We will combine this with a walk along the Fenstanton CB published walk, for those energetic enough to join in, and it will be planted on Chris Behagg’s land close to the first gate on the left down the Low Road. I hope to see you all there.

 

Choir: Keith Page reports:

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

We welcomed Emma Greenfield, Jackie Few, Tessa Adams and Joy Saunders, who joined us for the Readings & Carols Service. Unfortunately, Joy was unwell for the Christmas service but we were pleased that she has joined us on several occasions since. Joy also gave me valuable assistance to the selection of readings for the Christmas service.

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 ‘widows’ group who meet with Jean Ding on the first Sunday in the month for a meal together. They said how much they enjoyed coming along and even took some action photos.

Six successful quarter peals (approx 45 minutes, 1,260 changes) were rung by members of our group at various local churches.

Monday ringing is on a monthly rota; Hilton (6) on 1st Monday, Houghton (6) on 2nd Monday, Fenstanton (6) on 3rd Monday and Holywell (6) on 4th 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 till 8.30 continues to flourish. I am glad to say that both Emily and Mary Martin have remained very regular to practices and have progressed to ringing for services.

With both Margaret Blount and Josie Charter often able to join us for Sunday ringing, we now have more ringers than bells, if all attend together. 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.

Sunday ringers are Emily and Mary, Margaret, Josie, Julia Mitchell, Philip Blunt, Steven Wilson, Linda Page – and I of course.

 

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 the approval of those depicted before I can post them on the site.

 

Facebook: Paul Garnell reports:

The Church Facebook page now has 106 likes/people following the posts and updates – an increase of 34 since the last report. It continues to provide another means by which we can connect with people both locally and further afield. Its success, I believe, lies in using creative images and simple messaging to get across our missional purpose and desire to serve our community in both faith and action. My capacity as the village and church Facebook administrator allows me to connect both pages, providing much wider coverage.

 

Approved by the PCC on 16 March 2017

 

 

 

Revd Dr Robin McKenzie

Priest-in-charge