Church of England Diocese of Oxford Kidmore End and Sonning Common

APCM Minutes

THE PARISH OF KIDMORE END AND SONNING COMMON

The Annual Parochial Church meeting was held on Tuesday, June 29th 2021 at 8.00pm via Zoom.

PRESENT: Revd J Stickings, Revd S Walker, I Adams, R Walker, N Room, K Broadbent, P Edwards, B Gardiner, V Heywood, R House, J Lynch, R Lynch, D Foster and J Lamprell.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: F Brewitt-Taylor, G Edwards, S Jones, J Pound and U Walker.

VESTRY MEETING

Nominations were as follows:

Mr N Room, proposed by Mrs L Scotton and seconded by Mrs J Pound. Mr R Walker, proposed by Mrs J Lamprell and seconded by Mrs K Broadbent. There being no other nominations, Mr Room and Mr Walker were elected to serve a one year term of office.

SIGNING OF THE MINUTES OF THE APCM OF 18.10.20

Copies of these Minutes had been in both churches since the meeting. The Minutes were accepted and would be signed at a future date.

PRESENTATION OF THE REVISED ELECTORAL ROLL

Mr Adams reported that the revise Roll had 78 members. It was noted that Elizabeth Cooper’s name should be entered and not Charlotte, whose name was already on the Roll.

THE HONORARY SECRETARY’S REPORT

Circulated and taken as read.

ELECTION OF PCC MEMBERS

Four members were due for election.

NAME PROPOSER SECONDER

Graham Edwards J Artivich N Crush

Val Heywood N Room B Gardiner Rosemary House R Walker J Lamprell Joan Lamprell K Broadbent V Heywood

There being no other nominations, the above candidates were elected. It was noted that both Mrs Broadbent and Mr Foster had agreed to be co-opted onto the PCC and this would be confirmed at the next meeting of the Council.

DEANERY SYNOD

Proposed by Mrs Lamprell and seconded by Mr Room, Mr Ian Adams was confirmed as our representative.

APPOINTMENT OF THE INDEPENDENT EXAMINER

Proposed by Mr Room and seconded by Mrs House, Father Allen Clements was re appointed as the Independent Examiner for a sixth year.

THE ANNUAL REPORT

This had been circulated before the meeting. Mr Room gave an update on Parish Finance.

∙ General Fund (NatWest) at 19 June £13,673.28

∙ Parish Room £1,140 40 (and £9,094.50 in CBF)

∙ Third payment of Share made 28th May - £36,000 outstanding

∙ Woodworm/drains – expected cost circa £12,500 – some grant funding

He also said that several projects were moving forward –

Woodworm and drainage

∙ All papers and plans submitted.

∙ Awaiting Diocesan agreement – List B (woodworm) and interim faculty (drainage)

Internet Connection

∙ Final permission awaited – caseworker assigned

∙ Grant for 50% of cost awarded

∙ Matt Eustace standing by to install

Mr. Foster proposed a warm vote of thanks to Mr. Room for all his hard work as Treasurer, which the meeting endorsed. The report would be adopted by the Council.

FABRIC REPORTS

These had been included in the Annual Report. Mr. Room thanked the Church cleaners, Mr. and Mrs. Classey, the Flower Ladies, the Churchyard Tidy team and the Choir, both led by Miss Brewitt-Taylor, the readers and the Verger. Mr. Walker added his thanks to Mrs. Nickson, for looking after the carpark and garden at CTK, to Mrs. House for administering the Hall bookings, to Mrs. Lamprell for dealing with the current Track and Trace, to Mr. Doidge for providing piano accompaniment for the Zoom services, to Mr. and Mrs. Broadbent for grass cutting and also to Mrs. Broadbent and Mr. Room for their support to him as a new Churchwarden.

Mr. Room added his thanks to Mr. Lynch, to the PCC, to the clergy and to the PCC Secretary for their support. Revd. Walker thanked the Churchwardens for their phenomenal support during a very difficult period for the Parish.

DEANERY SYNOD REPORT

Circulated and taken as read.

MUSICAL DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Circulated and taken as read.

SAFEGUARDING

A report was included in the Annual Report. Mr. Lynch had acted as Safeguarding Officer for four years and was standing down. Mrs. Walker had offered to take over this roll and her position would be confirmed by the PCC, with deep gratitude. Mr. Walker paid tribute to his wife for her constant monitoring and care of the elderly and housebound in the Parish.

SUNDAY SCHOOL REPORT

The Rector said it was hoped to re-start the Sunday School once Covid 19 restrictions were lifted, but at the moment there was a lightness of leaders, so the future was uncertain.

THE RECTOR’S CLOSING REMARKS

Revd. Stickings said it had been a real joy to work with Mrs. Broadbent and Mr. Lynch as his wardens. He paid tribute to both Mr. Room and Mr. Walker, who were both new to their posts and thanked them for all their hard work in supporting the mission of the church. He also thanked the PCC and the Secretary. He said that 2020 -21 had been a very difficult time for the churches, but there were opportunities to be gained from changes. We should keep alert to what the Holy Spirit was saying to us and calling us to do.

The new service pattern should be approached with patience and flexibility. There was an opportunity to adjust to change and to reflect on the core mission of the church and how to respond.

The meeting ended with prayers, led by the Revd. Walker, at 8.40pm.

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HONORARY SECRETARY’S REPORT

October 2020 – June 2021

What a year this has been! Our last APCM was held in October 2020 when we met for the meeting that should have taken place in April, but was postponed because of the Covid pandemic. Since October, the PCC has met six times via Zoom, with an average attendance of 11 members. It has been a great sadness to us that the Rector has been on sick leave for most of this period, but we are pleased to see him easing back into his role again and we wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

It would be fitting here, to pay particular tribute to Sheila Walker, our Associate Priest. She has done an amazing job in holding the Parish together and by taking on duties far beyond those that she has been contracted to do. Her quiet, cheerful willingness has been a comfort to us all and we are very, very grateful to her.

This report covers a period during which we experienced a second lockdown; this saw many changes in the life of the Parish. At the October APCM, both Karen Broadbent and Robert Lynch stood down as churchwardens after serving for 10 and 7 years respectively. We are extremely grateful for all they have both done during their terms of office – and we have been warned not to mention the word “Faculty” in Robert’s presence..!! Nick Room and Richard Walker were elected to succeed them. Soon after their election, they felt it was right to close our churches completely, but happily, each Sunday, a service was held via Zoom with both parishes joining together. The age of technology proved its worth, for following these closures, not only were we able to meet via Zoom, but the Lamb and Flag was produced digitally and displayed online until May this year, the weekly Bulletin, composed by The Revd Walker, was sent out by email, discussion groups continued via Zoom and the PCC continued to meet using this facility. At the time of writing, our churches are now open in rotation for both services and private prayer, though services are still available on Zoom.

In October 2020, we were very pleased to allow Springwater Church to move their food operation to the Yorke Barber Room at CTK, from where they continue to distribute food to about 20 needy families in the area. Tim and Richard Walker – no relation! –undertook a sponsored walk and so far, have raised more than £500.00 for Parish funds. It was confirmed that there would be no Christmas Fair this year – an event that has always run very successfully as a joint effort with KES. Judith Stickings came up with the idea of producing a Benefice calendar and with Graham Edward’s help, this was produced in time to sell for Christmas. This raised between £350.00 - £400.00 - a great result!

By November, we were in complete lockdown and our churches were closed. The Benefice office was closed too and so all normal communications were made via email / online; all this was made more difficult by the constant changing of government directives. In the same month, Ian Adams agreed to take over from Robert Lynch as one of our two Deanery Synod representatives; we very much appreciate his willingness to stand. Sadly Mrs Bradford resigned as our Electoral Roll officer, a potion she had held for 39 years and Mr Adams also agreed to succeed her in this roll. We are very grateful to Mrs Bradford for so many years of dedicated service.

In December, the situation was virtually unchanged. There were no services for Christmas, our churches were still closed and the Rector was still on sick leave. With Christmas fast approaching, Frances Brewitt-Taylor approached Matt Eustace, our ‘tame’ technology expert, to see if we might be able to stream this service and to our delight, Matt and his team gave up their time – free - to enable this to happen. It was produced beautifully and there were many hits on YouTube. We were so grateful to Matt and his team and to Frances and the choir, who brought us a taste of Christmas that we would otherwise have missed.

The PCC has met by Zoom from January onwards and at the moment continues to do so. In January, Richard Walker convened a Fundraising Committee and they have already overseen two Quiz Nights and A Wine Evening – all via Zoom. The Parish Room Committee was asked if they would allow a local group called Fruit and Vegetables, to use the Parish Room as their centre for distributing fruit and vegetables to local people – either to be delivered or to be collected. Jane Mather had been running this during the pandemic from her home and the operation had become too big – and successful – to continue there. Produce was provided by a number of local tradespeople. Towards the end of May, the Fruit and Vegetables operation stopped as restrictions began to ease, but Jane is running a Conversation Café at the Parish Room from 11.30 am each Wednesday for anyone who would like to call in for a coffee, a chat and some wonderful cakes!

Returning to March 2021, the Churchwardens spent some time working on a Questionnaire, divided into two parts; the first, entitled The Here and Now and the second, Wider Thoughts for the Benefice. It was thought provoking and challenging and the results have been taken into account as the clergy and the churchwardens of both parishes have formulated a new plan for the services across the Benefice. These will be introduced later in the year.

April 2021 was the second year during which sadly, we could not celebrate Easter Sunday with services in church, but masterminded by Frances Brewitt-Taylor, a small group of choristers from both St John’s and Christ the King, stood in the churchyard at 3.00 pm on Easter Sunday at St John’s, and sang several Easter hymns and other songs, much to the surprise and delight of the locals – and passing traffic! Sue Jones moved among the onlookers with a basket of Easter eggs – the whole event presenting an excellent opportunity for outreach!

Many of you will have heard of the wonderful job a group of ladies from across the Benefice have done under the title of Cook for Carers. This team provided regular meals for NHS staff at the RBH for many months, organised deliveries and produced a recipe book, which contains all the recipes used! The PCC, in recognition of this, donated £200.00 to help towards this operation.

One of the things I enjoy about writing this report is to be able say thank you to so many people who quietly go about their business, making such an impact on the life of the Parish. This year has been so difficult for many of us, but it has been made easier by the wonderful displays produced by the Flower Ladies at St John’s. Every week and on a number of special occasions, their arrangements outside the church and at the well, have been a joy to see - and unsaid, they had said “We are here! The Church is still with you and for you!” Thank you so much to Moira Lawrie, Joss Lynch and their team of helpers. What a difference you have made during these difficult times!

Two other groups who have provided great reassurance and comfort during the pandemic need special mention and our warmest thanks. Throughout the past year, The Choir at St John’s has met almost without a break. First of all during last summer, we met in a member’s garden, carefully socially distanced and when the weather changed, the choir has met every week via Zoom. Members from CTK have joined us and the friendship and enjoyment this has engendered has been wonderful.

The future for singing in church again is still uncertain but the enthusiasm of the choir is as strong as ever! The Choir has shared joys and sorrows over the year and has become a real family.

The third group that need a special mention is the Churchyard Tidy Work Party, who, weather permitting, has worked tirelessly to improve the churchyard at St. John’s. Again, members from CTK have been part of the team, forming a strong bond of workers, who share a morning break of refreshments, sitting on the beautiful bench which was installed in memory of Ron and Betty Brindley last autumn.

I end this report by saying thank you to Nick Room and Richard Walker, who never thought their introduction to their terms of office would be so challenging and hard! It has been something of a baptism of fire for them. Hopefully, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and maybe the coming year will be a lot easier for everyone.

Jenny MacGregor

PCC Secretary

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THE PARISH OF KIDMORE END AND SONNING COMMON Benefice of Rotherfield Peppard and Kidmore End & Sonning Common in

the Henley Deanery of the Diocese of Oxford

ANNUAL REPORT

AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

OF THE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL

For the year ending 31st December 2020

Rector: The Rev’d James Stickings

Independent Examiner Bankers

The Rev’d Alan Clements MA, ACIB, FCIE NatWest, Henley-on-Thames

This report is made in accordance with the Church Representation Rules (2011) and is separate from any other statement or address that the incumbent may wish to make, or any reports that any other individual or parish group may wish to present at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.

Administrative Information

• St John the Baptist Church, Tokers Green Lane, Kidmore End, Reading RG4 9AY • Christ the King Church, Sedgewell Road, Sonning Common, RG4 9TA

Websites: https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/166/ (St John the Baptist) https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/252/ (Christ the King)

Current Members of the PCC:

Rector – The Rev’d James Stickings

Associate Priest (House for Duty) – The Rev’d Sheila Walker

Churchwardens:

Mr Richard Walker

Mr Nicholas Room

were enrolled by the Area Dean on Thursday 20th October

Mr Robert Lynch

Mrs Karen Broadbent

These churchwardens stood down during the year at the time of a postponed APCM/Vestry Meeting held in October

Karen Broadbent remains on the PCC and acts as Deputy Chair when requested

PCC Secretary:

Mrs Jennifer MacGregor

PCC Treasurer:

Mr Nicholas Room

Deanery Synod Member:

Mr Ian Adams (2021)

Other PCC members:

Mrs Jenny Artivich

Mrs Felicity Cooper

Mr Graham Edwards

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Mrs Penny Edwards

Mrs Val Heywood

Mrs Rosemary House

Mrs Joan Lamprell

Mrs Jill Pound

STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

The Parochial Church Council is a corporate body established by the Church of England and it operates under the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measures 1956, as amended. This defines the principal function or purpose of the PCC as ‘promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church’. PCC members are appointed in accordance with the Church Representation Rules and our PCC consists of the incumbent the Reverend James Stickings (our Rector), the Reverend Sheila Walker our Associate Minister (House for Duty), two churchwardens (one with special responsibility for each church) and members of either congregation who are on the electoral roll for St John the Baptist and Christ the King. All those who attend our services/members of the congregations are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and consider standing for election to the PCC.

The PCC members are responsible for making decisions on all matters of general concern and importance to the Parish including deciding how the funds of the PCC are to be spent.

Average attendance at our bi-monthly meetings is 85%.

Given its wide responsibilities, the PCC has several sub-committees each dealing with particular aspects of parish life. These committees which include worship, choir, fabric and finance are all responsible to the PCC and report back regularly with minutes of their decisions being received by the full PCC and discussed as necessary.

There is also a Standing Committee consisting of six members of the PCC. They are the Incumbent, the two Churchwardens, the PCC Secretary, the PCC Treasurer, and one other member of the PCC. This is the only committee required to be in existence by church law and has the power to transact the business of the PCC between meetings, subject to ratification by the PCC. Christ the King also has a separate committee to deal with matters appertaining to the building including any lettings.

Due to an extended period of sick leave in the second half of the year, the Rector’s role as PCC chairman was from time to time assumed by the Lay Vice-Chairman, Karen Broadbent.

The PCC is also the tenant of the Kidmore End Parish Room and there is a separate committee dealing with this building.

AIMS AND PURPOSES

The PCC has the responsibility of supporting and assisting the Rector, The Rev’d James Stickings and the Associate Priest, The Rev’d Sheila Walker, in promoting the pastoral, spiritual, social and

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ecumenical mission of the Church within the ecclesiastical parish. The PCC also has the responsibility for the care, maintenance and insurance of the buildings and grounds of both churches in the parish: St John the Baptist, Kidmore End and Christ the King, Sonning Common. It is active in promoting a collaborative relationship in the Benefice with the sister parish of All Saint’s Rotherfield Peppard. The PCC meets six times per year to manage the running of the church, its activities and to discuss major issues of current and future importance, including the expenditure of PCC funds.

OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES

The PCC is committed to enabling as many people as possible to worship at our church and to become part of our parish community across Kidmore End and Sonning Common. In a normal year, this commitment extends to keeping St John the Baptist open throughout the week for visitors and those seeking an opportunity for prayer and reflection (currently this is not possible for Christ the King). The PCC maintains an overview of worship in the parish and, through the work of the Worship Committee, makes suggestions on how our services can reach out to the people within our parish. Our services and worship put faith into practice through prayer, scripture, music, and sacrament.

When planning our activities for the year, we have considered the Charity Commission's guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the supplementary guidance on charities for the advancement of religion.

We try to enable every person to live out their faith as part of our parish community through:

• Worship and prayer – the Eucharist, preaching, home/study groups

• Provision of pastoral care offered to all who live in the parish – pastoral visiting at home or in hospital, which often includes taking communion to those unable to attend church • Mission and outreach work - through our Benefice “Map”, musical events, our financial giving and giving in kind for the charities we support, as well as our social opportunities for the local community.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE 2020

Worship and Prayer

Note: 2020 was an exceptional year for the Parish – not only because of Covid, but also because our Rector has been indisposed for several months.

The PCC is committed to offering services that both church members and the wider community find both beneficial and spiritually fulfilling. The key emphasis of worship at both St John the Baptist and Christ the King is eucharistic, with the Eucharist normally being celebrated at both churches each Sunday.

As well as our regular services, we enable our community to celebrate and thank God at the milestones of the journey through life. Baptism marks the first step on the Christian journey, while Confirmation offers the opportunity to receive the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and to make the baptismal promises for oneself. In marriage two people exchange vows in the sight of God and

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are blessed in their new life together. At funerals, the lives of loved ones are celebrated, and they are commended to God’s everlasting love. St John the Baptist and Christ the King take these sacraments and “occasional offices” very seriously, conscious that they are a key part of our vocation to serve the local community and to spread the good news of God’s love. Covid inevitably meant the postponement of several baptisms and weddings; this year there were no baptisms, three weddings (and some postponed), three funerals in church and two for parish residents held at the Crematorium.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic our normal pattern of services was disrupted from mid-March. Exceptionally, Holy Week and Easter could not be celebrated. Expanded weekly news sheets with devotional material were sent to all on the electoral roll as well as to members of the wider congregation who had agreed to receive email communications. Initially, the Rector instituted a weekly Eucharist from his home of from St John’s that could be viewed by parishioners via Vimeo. The recording and output of these reflective services sadly ceased with the Rector being absent for the second half of the year, due to extended sick leave.

A limited said Eucharist service in one kind only was restored in mid-July on a rotational basis with the three churches in the Benefice; this alternated with private prayer and a simple lay-led Morning Worship; it has been good to facilitate this measure of lay leadership and we are grateful to all those who have helped in this way. Strict Covid-safe precautions were always established when in church.

This facility had to be suspended in November due to the second wave of the pandemic. The usual RBL Remembrance service was a simple ceremony around the war memorial in St John’s churchyard. The church was opened for an hour for private prayer on those Sundays when there was no service. December sadly saw some of the planned Christmas services cancelled as we moved into Tier 4. Highlights, though, were recording of a service of Carols and Lessons with the combined St John’s/Christ the King choir and readers, suitably distanced, directed by Frances Brewitt-Taylor and expertly filmed by Matt Eustace, which was then made available on youtube and has been viewed by many to great acclaim.

The usual Christingle service was adapted this year due to the virus. The team at Christ the King worked extremely hard to produce a beautiful ‘walk through’ Christingle event, providing a tour around the church explaining the different parts that go to make a Christingle gift, and the chance for children to take home the special Christingle kits that bring the light of the world gift to home.

Laity have also been able to lead services in the Parish as the opportunity to involve others became more pertinent into the late autumn – for example, churchwarden Richard Walker took a service at Christ the King.

No meaningful figure for average church attendance is possible for 2020 because of the pandemic disruption: the total number of communions was 821 (419 St John’s, 402 Christ the King). There have also been a number of home communions.

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Activities and organisations contributing to church life include:

- St John’s Sunday School

Prior to lockdown, this has taken place on the first Sunday of each month, assembling in church, meeting in the Parish Room, and returning to church in time for Communion. The Sunday School team aim to bring to life the Sunday Gospel through craft, song, and other activities, which are then shared with the rest of the congregation at the end of the service.

Home groups / Bible Study / Prayer

Though our Lent course, with 30 participants in the two groups, was interrupted by Covid, we have been able to run a group, either ‘live’ or online, for most of the year, sharing ideas and leadership. We have looked at a number of Bible-based themes and passages, including the Letter of James and an Advent course ‘Light in the

Darkness’. Members from across the benefice have also shared favourite Bible passages, and the Rector led House group meetings in the late Spring that took participants through the Acts of the Apostles.

We have also been grateful for the continuing weekly prayer meeting, on Zoom since March; even more essential as a means of supporting one another in the absence of more ‘live’ contact.

Church Music

Our choir activities in the first quarter of 2020 seem a world away now; delivering varied anthems each Sunday and taking part in the Henley Choirs' Festival with many other local choirs, singing Part 1 of Haydn's oratorio 'The Creation'. This event, along with the concert for St David's Day given by Charlotte and Karen Broadbent and me with a range of vocal duets, recorder, and organ music, raised a lot of money for the charities Autism Berkshire, GIFT and the parish.

In the summer, the choir began to meet again, socially distanced, to sing in the garden of one of the members. These brief rehearsals have been a lifeline to many suffering members, as we prayed for each other after singing. Putting together and recording a virtual carol service to go out on YouTube

was a great joy as well as the least we could do for fellow parishioners who are housebound. We are glad it has proved so popular.

Frances Brewett-Taylor, Director of Music

Deanery Synod

The Deanery Synod gatherings serve as a source of increased understanding (particularly on financial matters), encouragement and growth through prayer for the priests and congregations of the parishes it represents.

The acting Area Dean is The Rev’d Robert Thewsey of Shiplake with Dunsden, supported by Judith Hogg as Treasurer, moving across from her role as Secretary to fill the gap left by the retirement of Brian Turner in February.

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Here again, formal meetings were a victim of Covid, but the Synod did meet once in February when Susan Cuthbert, a member of St Aldate’s, Oxford, spoke about Prison Chaplaincy.

At the APCM in October, Ian Adams came forward to represent our Parish at future Deanery Synod meetings.

Property and Buildings

The PCC aims to keep St John’s and its churchyard, Christ the King (and associated Hall), Kidmore End Parish Room, and environs of all property in good condition in order to make the facilities as useful and welcoming as possible to both church members and the wider community. In addition to church use, Christ the King Hall is let to the hirers which returns a commercial benefit to the parish – but this year there has been little of that, and income from this activity has been seriously depleted. The Parish Room is used as additional accommodation for the school, regular meetings of Kidmore End Parish Council, various social groups, and becomes a Polling Station at election times, at the request of South Oxon District Council. It has been impossible to raise any commercial interest in a new sub-tenant for the Parish Room in the wake of coronavirus, although there has been recent interest in using the Room for the collation of organic produce for onward distribution. It is proposed to begin this activity – on a community use basis - in January 2021.

The following reports have been written by our new Churchwardens who assumed their positions in October prior to the Parish APCM. The material draws upon the handovers of both Robert Lynch who served the Parish in the role for 7.5 years and Karen Broadbent, who was Churchwarden for 10.5 years.

Report on St John the Baptist

Report on the condition of the building and grounds of St John the Baptist church, and its contents, presented for the calendar year 2020.

Note: the country was put into lockdown on 23rd March 2020. The appointment of a new churchwarden was delayed until October 2020. No church services took place until July; hall bookings were suspended until September. Necessary works went ahead as detailed below:

It has been a busy year, and, by all accounts, 2021 should be busier as we take care and maintain the fabric of our 170-year-old Victorian Grade II listed church that stands prominently in Kidmore End village.

 In January, the epicormic growth of the line trees that border the churchyard was removed by John Williams at a cost of £420.

 Our well-established yew trees received their annual trim in February at a cost of £395.  Replastering of the wall in the Priest’s vestry occurred in February – an item that required List B approval. Philip Wise carried this out at a cost of £775; he also carried out small repairs on our brick and flint churchyard wall that cost £375.

 Ed Schmidt carried out repairs to vestry lighting in February.

 The annual inspection of fire extinguishers occurred in April at a cost of £103.

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 A wasp’s nest was cleared from the Priest’s vestry in August (£60).

 A significant amount of ongoing volunteer work beautified our churchyard through the year, but this generated too much garden waste for us to handle, and a contractor was employed in November to remove the surplus (Steven Park, Clear & Go, cost £545).

 All PAT testing was carried out by Ed Schmidt in St John’s at a cost of £90 in October.  Also, in October, an infestation of woodworm was noted in at least one of the pews. Rentokil attended and provided a report (FOC) which forms the basis of new research into the cause and remedy of this item.

 A major overhaul of the main roof and porch at St John’s started in November and carried on until Christmas. Ridge pointing, moss clearance, a complete dismantling, re felting and relaying a significant number of new (original) tiles on new battens was actioned in accordance with the architect’s request in our last Quinquennial at a cost of £9816. The Parish was extremely grateful for a number of grant awards that were applied for, and given, to help with the financial outlay on this project. Parishioners themselves also made contributions as the work went out to local appeal.

 Attempted clearance of a south elevation drain was unsuccessfully carried out by Dyno Rod (cost £156) in December – prompting further investigations regarding the efficiency of the soakaways which are dotted around the perimeter of the church. On this, and a number of other maintenance requirements, the churchwardens will be busy into 2021; we have already engaged the Archdeacon in outline and the church architect is poised to prepare a fee proposal based on a full plan of what needs to be done to put the building on a sound footing for the future.

All these reparations are in varying ways essential to demonstrate we are properly caring for the fabric of our buildings: just finding the money is an equal if not greater challenge with every other pressure and especially this year when income has definitely been dented by lack of plate collections and fundraising opportunities cut as a consequence of Covid-19.

Nick Room – Churchwarden - December 2020

Future Plans (St John the Baptist) – remaining on hold

There is early thinking about reordering St John’s, possibly removing some pews and creating a kitchen area to better facilitate social interaction after services, and enjoy refreshments together after fund raising events, developing community which is such an important part of church life. This scheme could include providing toilet facilities that are at present lacking in the building. The PCC agreed to explore the opportunity, with the possibility of a feasibility study being carried out. Whilst visionary, it is very unlikely any architect involvement in outline proposals will take place, if at all, until 2021. However, a Faculty Application has been lodged with the Diocese.

Report on Christ the King, Sonning Common

Report on the condition of the church building (Christ the King) and its contents, presented for the calendar year 2020.

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General works carried out during the year:

 Ongoing inspection of the church, hall, and grounds.

 Maintenance of the church logbook and inventory.

 Maintenance of the church and hall lighting.

 Annual servicing of the boiler (delayed due to lockdown; carried out 4th September 2020).  Inspection of hall fire extinguishers for appropriate certificates (delayed due to lockdown; carried out 24th June 2020).

 The grounds and car park have been well looked after by Sue Nickson doing both the gardening and clearing the car park, and Karen working on the lawn and edges. As usual Paul Broadbent very kindly set up the Christmas tree and lights.

In January, a section of cladding was clearly separating from the main section. Thames Ceiling, under no obligation, came back to nail the section of cladding back and check the rest. This was achieved and no other section needed repairs. There was no charge for this.

In March, a leak was detected under the cupboards close to the sink in the kitchen. A plumber was called to investigate this, and a pipe was repaired; the plumber also serviced the radiator in the vestry which had not been warming up sufficiently.

In preparation for the possible reopening of the church and building, a risk assessment was carried out in June 2020. A one-way system into, out of, and around the building was put into place. The entrance area with disabled toilet, the main hall and the church were identified as the only areas that should be opened; the rest of the building was to be made out of bounds to those using the hall and church. Covid first aid kits were placed close to the front door and also, at a later date, the side door. Tape, arrows, and signage were put in place to remind visitors of the need to social distance and to wash/sanitise hands. The fabric covered chairs were removed from the church and replaced with plastic chairs, appropriately distanced. Hand sanitiser, disposable masks and disinfectant spray was purchased and made available at appropriate points throughout the building.

A food hygiene self-assessment form, issued by South Oxfordshire District Council, was completed in September 2020. As food preparation is not permitted on the premises and there is no facility for food storage or refrigeration, a notice was issued by the council stating that no further action regarding food hygiene regulations was necessary. Such assessments are carried out every three years.

In October, Ed Schmidt carried out PAT testing on all the portable electrical appliances at CTK. No safety issues were reported.

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In December, there was an approach from Springwater Church for use of the Yorke Barber room for the Springwater foodbank. There was a sorting out of the timings for use of the room to make sure that there was little impact on the other users of the buildings. This was tied down to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning. The move was delayed into January due to a further lockdown and then the isolation of the Springwater leaders. Discussion took place concerning the Covid rules, use of shelving, and possible damage to walls and carpet. The pictures were removed from the walls and rugs will be put under the shelving when it arrives.

In December, Ed Schmidt also came to repair an outside floodlight for the back door which would support the exit from the Christingle event.

Richard Walker – Churchwarden – December 2020

Future Plans (Christ the King)

The Parish continues to make full use of the Benefice Office, which is situated in an anteroom of Christ the King. This excellent facility, pioneered by a small team of stalwart parishioners across the Benefice and opened in summer 2018, has delivered significant benefits already, especially promoting in-house printing and streamlining many aspects of administration and storage. Featuring upgraded high-speed broadband connections, additional office furniture is planned to enable delivery of professional service to the church community and beyond.

Pastoral Care

Pastoral care is a vital aspect of the life of the church and includes informal visits by the clergy, home communions for those unable to come to church, and visiting the bereaved as part of the church’s funeral ministry. The churchwardens and other parishioners are encouraged to inform the clergy of people who may welcome a pastoral visit. In periods of lockdown, and at other times, many members of the parish have been contacted by clergy and others by phone – whether to arrange visits, carry out shopping for the elderly or vulnerable, or helping them access virtual services through computer technology. Importantly, a simple phone call if nothing else acted in a number of cases to check wellbeing.

Kidmore End Church Aided Primary School

St John’s continues to work closely with Kidmore End CE Primary School, a member of the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust. The Rector visits the school regularly to take assembly and is a member of the LGB (Local Governing Body). When circumstances allow, the school holds end of term services in church, as well as services through the year (e.g., Harvest, and a Christingle service held jointly with Church).

.

This year, despite restrictions, we were able to offer an outdoor Leavers' Service in July with the Rector in attendance, and Rev Walker joined Year Six in the churchyard on Remembrance Day to lay poppies on the war graves. In school we have continued to mark the usual occasions in a

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different way, including a Harvest morning of activities in school and an Advent prayer space which all classes visited.

Mission and Evangelism

The 2019 Report commented as follows:

The PCC is conscious of the vocation of the Church to participate in the Mission of God through outreach, service, and witness.

A Benefice “brainstorming” meeting under the guidance of the Parish Development Adviser, the Rev’d Charles Chadwick, was held on 29th June. A Benefice Mission Action Plan (MAP) or “Roadmap” to guide the implementation of ideas from this meeting is being developed with three main strands:

• Deepening of faith.

• Better and / or different communication.

• Outreach to the local community

A steering group consisting of the ministry team (the clergy and Richard Walker, authorised preacher in the Benefice) and the four churchwardens of the Benefice meet periodically to review ideas and progress.

The steering group has noted that the Diocese of Oxford has in the course of 2019 indicated a move away from formal Mission Action Planning in the technical sense to a more gradual and reflective approach guided by appreciative enquiry.

Sadly, this initiative has not been progressed in 2020 due to the priority given to Covid. It is hoped the project will be rekindled in 2021, when new Churchwardens will be part of a reinvigorated group.

We intend to bring all these worthy initiatives to the fore in 2021 or as soon as circumstances permit.

Meanwhile, however, Christ the King have been proactive in supporting the foodbank at a neighbouring church, Springwater. Kind persons from Christ the King have supported the Springwater foodbank with donations that have been incorporated in the Springwater mission, further encouraging unity amongst the various churches in our area.

Ecumenical Relationships

The parish enjoys good on-going relationships with churches of other denominations in the Benefice: St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church and Springwater Congregational Church. Joint events included a service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the World Day of Prayer service.

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Unfortunately, the usual Good Friday ecumenical walk of witness in Sonning Common was abandoned because of the first lockdown. In addition, the ministers of the local churches meet regularly to share in fellowship and prayer and to plan ecumenical events.

Volunteers

The smooth running of Christ the King church and hall is the result of the tremendous support and assistance received from willing helpers within our congregation and parish throughout the year – including the administration of the hall bookings by Rosemary House.

Parishioners attending St John’s Kidmore End are indebted to the army of volunteers who cheerfully give their time and talents to maintaining the attractiveness of an imposing Victorian church and its grounds amid this rural community. For special mention are the churchyard tidy team, the flower arrangers, the Verger and Sidesmen, Readers and Servers, those who clean the church, the Sacristan, and those (in better non-pandemic times) providing refreshments after services.

A Covid-delayed, Vestry meeting conducted by email votes installed two new Churchwardens in October, who took up the challenge of coordinating usual churchwarden duties made more demanding against the frequent revisions to Guidance, set against the backdrop of our Rector being signed off due to poor health through until December and beyond.

Financial Review 2020 (see detailed analysis on pp 17 - 19 of this Report)

This was the year of all years to have a sound budget – and this year, that budget had to be substantially amended and indeed monitored throughout quarters 2,3 and 4 as the pandemic marched on and on…

A written summary of the Accounts which are laid out commencing on page 17 of this Annual Report is given below.

Receipts

Total receipts on unrestricted funds were £59,729 of which £40,338 was unrestricted voluntary donations. We held a successful (but virtual) St John’s Gift Day in June, that raised £7,336 alone, and other donations brought that figure up to over £10,000. This helped us to claim a YoY increase in Gift Aid from HMRC – to the tune of £6,139. We received one legacy of £100. Grants totalling £5,422 were secured in the year. There is a further grant of £1,580 due but not recorded in the 2020 Accounts, with a VAT rebate claim of £1,636 pending, likely to be forthcoming early in the New Year.

The Parish also received £19,391 in other unrestricted donations. The largest proportion of the £4,835 classed as Fundraising Activities was the delayed payment of £3,417 being the proceeds from the 2018 KESA Fair, received in January (and therefore part of this year’s financials). Of the remainder, a concert in March raised a total of £586.

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As reported elsewhere, our fundraising efforts along with those of many other parishes suffered a huge blow from the impact of the Covid pandemic. We cancelled socials, further concerts, and even sponsored walks. A significant Christmas Fair fundraiser in conjunction with the affiliated School left an estimated £3,000 hole in Parish finances.

A reliable income stream is usually provided by the lettings of Christ the King hall – this year we raised only £1,578 [£5,690 in 2019] – less than 30% of expectations. There were significantly less weddings in 2020 and funeral plate was practically non-existent, as attendees were depleted, or funerals in church just did not happen. Our investments during 2020 returned £8,168 (£7,927 in the same period 2019).

St John’s and Christ the King anniversaried the national Parish Giving Scheme during the summer. This has been a real success, with most regular givers signed up to the scheme. Donations over the whole year have increased by £272 a 1.5% improvement on 2019 (£17,446). However, we did lose one fairly substantial donor. Nevertheless, it was pleasing to see a number of contributors opting into inflation linked reviews automated in the Scheme. The collection of Gift Aid under PGS has also been highly efficient. Church plate collections in 2020 are tiny.

The return on Parish total investment now falls into three parts:

1. All Deposit funds (including the Parish Room, Restricted) amounted to £14,222 at the year end. The balance at the beginning of the year was swelled by the significant legacy held in the PCC 2 account until those funds were moved in June 2020.

2. Our late churchwarden Emeritus, Ron Brindley OBE, left a substantial bequest to St John’s (£50,000), and £1,000 to Christ the King, which was transferred from PCC ‘cash deposit’ to the CCLA’s Investment Fund, and the CCLA UK Equities Funds in June, and that has returned an increase of 11.4% in the part-year to December. This Fund was valued at £56,825 on 31st December 2020. Dividends paid by CCLA are accumulated in the Brindley accounts – unlike the Pitwell which pays dividends that are transferred to our bank.

3. Monies administered by the Diocesan Trustees on our behalf are the Sale of Land at Christ the King, and the Pitwell legacy. In 2019, the Parish of Kidmore End & Sonning Common stepped up to the challenge laid down by the Diocese to pay 50% of Parish Share by 31st July. This we did, but the payment was largely resourced from reserves. In an exceptional year, the PCC reluctantly agreed to release funds from the Land Sale account, and £8,000 was extracted to pay Share. This was not a precedent, but concerns were rightly raised that of course this action will deplete future income and repeated drawings are not sustainable for the longer term. So, we have worked really hard to protect other expenditure and at the same time, raise funds with appeals, the most successful of which was completed to finance the Roof work, where over £6,500 was delivered in grants and donations (70% of the total cost).

The Pitwell Bequest investments increased by £24,162 in 2020, now standing at £176,912. The Sale of Land at Christ the King – which had an £8,000 withdrawal in July 2020 – now stands at £86,114. Both these funds generate income for the PCC, and quarterly payments are received in our General Fund.

Therefore, Kidmore End & Sonning Common PCC had investments totalling £319,841 at 31 Dec 20, and £343,144 when cash assets are added into the final monetary position of the parish.

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Payments

The Parish spent £66,857 in 2020, meaning an excess of payments over receipts standing at £7,128. Including £8,000 taken from Reserves (as above) we made a £38,014 contribution to our 2019 Parish Share: a shortfall of £8,014 against the target of £46,028 – but an improvement against 2019 and the higher target. In 2019, £27,846 was paid; this year we managed £30,014 from our own General Fund which has been seen as a success against the backdrop of everything 2020 has thrown at us. Nevertheless, the Treasurer’s report would not be the same without a note to say Share continues to be an active cause for concern. The holding in 2021 (rather than a reduction) against the 2020 figure is a small crumb of comfort when we have significant fabric costs around the corner.

Our fixed church running costs are remarkably similar to the year before. The Benefice Office (shared with All Saint’s Peppard) incurred ongoing printer rental (at £45 pcm) despite the lack of usage, and a negotiation with the provider yielded no fruit. Of course, phone/broadband bills had still to be paid.

The British Gas contract for supply to Christ the King premises was up for renewal in June and a change to Parish Buying was enacted, meaning all our power including that supplied to the Parish Room comes through PB and their third-party provider, Total Gas and Power.

Our major expenses were on the upkeep of buildings, which is highlighted elsewhere.

Reserves policy

The Standing Committee’s 2018 decision to set a £5,000 balance on the general fund to be maintained through the year, represents a commitment of 9% - or approximately 6 weeks unrestricted payments. This money is prudently held to smooth out fluctuations in cash flow, but also to provide some buffer against emergencies. It should be said that much of the money held on Deposit at the CBF is also unrestricted, although withdrawing that is more cumbersome and subject to lead times that are negated by online bank transfers.

There were three significant financial transactions during 2020:

 The transfer of funds held at CCLA from the ‘Pitwell Fund’ CBF Fixed Interest Securities Fund (FISF) to the CBF Investment Fund, and the CBF UK Equities Fund –prudent action taken at the bottom of the stock market in March following a letter from CCLA indicating a future drop in the FISF.

 The movement of a substantial legacy from the ‘PCC No 2’ CBF Deposit Account to a newly created Unrestricted Fund – the Ron Brindley SJB and CTK Investments (Investment Fund and UK Equities). Each church has the sum bequeathed to it (£50,000 for SJB, £1,000 for CTK) in long-term investment vehicles pending any decision about how to spend this legacy, if required.

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 The accession to a request from the Deanery (via the Diocese) to draw down reserves to fund Parish Share to a level of 50% of the total Parish Share target, as reported elsewhere in this summary.

The Parish will remain forward-looking and seeking outreach, and as we step up our community commitments and introduce subtle service changes to our worship, we hope to meet the needs of everyone who currently attends, as well as striving to appeal to those residents and visitors who might want to come more often. In this respect, and with investment in mind, the focus has been, and will remain, to provide a welcoming church environment, with an aspiration to provide 21st century facilities and hospitality at both our locations.

Risk Management

- Safeguarding

The Parish Safeguarding Officer and Verifier for 2020 was Robert Lynch.

The church has complied with its duty under Section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 to have due regard to the House of Bishops’ guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is kept under continuous review through a standing PCC agenda item. No reportable events have occurred during the year.

- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

The Parish of St John the Baptist Kidmore End and Christ the King Sonning Common is compliant with the current General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the matter is a standing PCC agenda item. This year the GDPR officer (Mrs Lynch) has been fastidiously maintaining records at home but will synchronise those with office copies when circumstances allow.

Those people receiving the all-important Weekly Bulletin (our main organ of communication) have consented to do so.

There were no breaches of GDPR to report in 2020.

- Health and Safety

The PCC has a Health and Safety lead, Graham Edwards, and Health and Safety is a standing item on every PCC Agenda.

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This Report approved by the Parochial Church Council on 9th March 2020 and signed on its behalf by

The Rev’d James Stickings, Rector & Chairman of the PCC

Displayed in both churches in the parish at least a week before the APCM, to be held 30th May 2021 at Christ the King church, Sedgewell Road, Sonning Common, RG4 9TA (venue to be confirmed as Covid restrictions are updated)

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The Parish of Kidmore End & Sonning Common Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2020

Receipts and Payments Accounts

Total

2019

Receipts

Voluntary receipts

Notes

Unrestricted Funds 2020

Planned Giving 17718 17446 Collections 926 5908 Donations 10033 3715 Gift Aid recovered 6139 5818 Legacies and Grants 5522 0 Total Voluntary Giving (sub total) 40338 32887

Fundraising Activities 4835 2299 Investment Income 8168 7927 Church activities 6388 12178 Total Receipts 59729 55291

Payments

Charitable Giving 858 455 Parish Share 38014 27836 Church Activities 2639 7543 Church Running Expenses 14190 13605 Repairs 11156 4351 Total Payments 66857 53790

Excess Payments over Receipts -7128 1501 Net transfers between funds 11190 887 Cash at bank 1 Jan 2020 4798 4233 Cash at bank 31 Dec 2020 8867 4798

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Unrestricted Funds

Designated Funds

Restricted

Funds Total 2020 Total 2019

Cash at Bank - 31 Dec 2020 8867 204 9071 7456

All Cash Funds at CBF 398 1326 12498 14222 74,678 Liquid Funds at 31 Dec 20 398 1326 12498 23293 82134

Investment Assets

All Fund assets at market value Total Assets retained for church use

241,418

323,552

Bal b/f

Receipts (net of

319,851

343,144

Bal c/f 31.12.20 (incl

interest) Total 2019

Movement in designated Funds

Unrestricted CBF Funds

1.1.20

interest) Payments Transfer

PCC 2 50226 50000 352 Investment Income 46 46 50272 398 50272

Designated CBF Funds

CTK Fabric 448 1000 1000 552 SJB Fabric 3290 3290 7 Choir Fund 180 180 Organ Fund 584 587

4502 1326 15151

Restricted Funds

G & C Cooper (interest paid away) 660 660 Parish Room 10649 10695 Bill Townsend Prize 1140 1143 12449 12498 1799

TOTAL CBF 67223 14222 67222

This Report approved by the Parochial Church Council on 9th March 2020 and signed on its behalf by

The Rev’d James Stickings, Rector & Chairman of the PCC

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Parish of Kidmore End and Sonning Common

Safeguarding Report 2020

As Safeguarding Officer for the Parish, I am pleased to report that no safeguarding matters were brought to my attention during the 2020.

Other matters for my report are as follows:

Safeguarding Training

That training courses undertaken in 2019 by members of the PCC and others have been superseded by revised training. This has to be undertaken by all PCC members and by others in the “management” of the Parish. For example, it is now strongly suggested that Flower ladies should undertake the on-line training courses. In my last report to PCC, I suggested that a decision on extending this requirement should be addressed – it is a PCC decision to extend the training requirement or not. In addition, while most PCC members have updated their training in some cases this is still outstanding – you know who you are!

Safeguarding cabinet in Benefice office.

It is a requirement that there should be a separate filing cabinet for Safeguarding files – for example the Certificates showing that a training course has been completed. Only the Incumbent and the Safeguarding Officer(s) in the Benefice should have keys to this cabinet.

A new cabinet was bought and installed but access has been minimum due to Covid restrictions.

New safeguarding Officer for the Parish

This is my final report as Parish Safeguarding Officer. It is essential that a replacement is appointed at the APCM, preferably someone on the PCC who is aware of what is happening in the Parish.

Robert Lynch

A S R Lynch

3rd May 2021

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Report on St John’s Sunday School for the 2021 APCM

Due to the ongoing pandemic St John’s Sunday School has continued in abeyance since March 2020. During this time one of the leaders has moved to Scotland, and another has dealt with heavy responsibilities and a great deal of stress as a practicing GP. This leaves the guaranteed regular provision of the Sunday School hard to maintain since Safeguarding requirements stipulate two ‘cleared’ leaders must be present at any one time whilst the Sunday School is in session, and the GP over the course of the year will in all likelihood have some workdays fall on a Sunday. With the official situation continuing to be in a state of some uncertainty and flux, and a new rota with implications for how and when the Sunday School operates in the future, preliminary discussions on how we may be able to proceed are tentatively scheduled to begin at the end of June/beginning of July.

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Report for Annual Church Meeting 29 June 2021

Electoral Roll

There have been two changes to the Electoral Roll since the last Annual Church Meeting.

Charlotte Broadbent has left the parish

Elizabeth Cooper has been added following her 16th Birthday.

Ian Adams

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Report on St John's Choir March 2020- March/April 21

The last service at which the choir sang an anthem before lockdown started was Sunday March 8th, when we sang Hurford's Litany to the Holy Spirit, an almost prophetic setting of a poem by Robert Herrick:

'In the hour of my distress . . . Sweet Spirit, comfort me'.

Our churches were then closed for three months, and when they reopened no singing was allowed. We could only listen to organ music and CDs.

Fortunately, one of our choir members has a large garden, and during the summer months singers from both churches gathered there on Friday evenings to sing for a shorter outdoors session, all spaced out. This was a wonderful way of keeping in touch with each other and we remain very grateful for this opportunity.

In the autumn the rules were cautiously relaxed and the choir began to resume rehearsals in St John's, all spaced out round the nave, with rigorous cleaning procedures afterwards. We were delighted that the singers from CTK remained constant in their attendance and sang on the two Sundays when distanced singing of anthems was permitted.

Then there was another lockdown, so we could see that no carol service was going to be possible in the familiar way. So we decided to try and record one to go out on YouTube, so that members of our churches, including those housebound people who cannot get to church any more, could take part. We were very fortunate that Matt Eustace volunteered his services, technical expertise and equipment, so we had a recording session on Saturday morning 19th December. Matt then spent many hours assembling the material into the right order before giving us the link to view the service online. He did a wonderful job with photography of the church building as well as of the choir and readers, and the result was watched hundreds of times – very worthwhile!

We were then closed down again, but the choir has kept going throughout the winter and after Easter on Zoom, marking the progress through the church's year by singing a selection of hymns and anthems each week that we might have sung had there been a live service. During this time several members of the choir and their families have been through hard and emotional times and it has been inspirational how we all prayed together after singing each week – it has brought us closer together than before and we are now indeed a 'choir family'.

A few of us were able to mark Easter Sunday by singing in the churchyard in the afternoon, with an audience of over fifty. We think this helped our outreach and look forward to more singing outdoors, where many more people hear us than come to services in church.

Frances Brewitt-Taylor

Director of Music. May 25, 2021

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Churchwarden’s Report to PCC (general*):

St John the Baptist Church Kidmore End

11th May 2021

*Please see my three annexes in addition to this general report

Opening for services

It was wonderful to see St John’s as full as Covid restrictions allow on Sunday 2nd May when Sheila took the first physical service in the church for many months. We had a maximum attendance (really, anymore and we would have had to turn away), plus those working in the choir. There was no congregational singing, but there was some lovely organ music which Frances gave us, and the choir sang some set pieces. There are of course more restrictions to relax, but it was a milestone in our own roadmap towards a return to what we all crave.

Cleaning has been superb – not least because we welcome parishioners into church for the first time since lockdowns on 2nd May. Thank you cleaning team. Bev especially has worked hard and deserves much credit for the appearance of the church set for reopening on 2nd.

Thank you to those who have said they wish to continue to be Readers or Sides persons. I hope I have caught everyone in this now. A Reader’s Rota will be drawn up once the service pattern is finalized because of this meeting.

Benefice Questionnaire

The Wardens were encouraged by the response to our Questionnaire, and whilst not everyone replied (and some answers were returned we presume on behalf of whole households), we felt the exercise was extremely worthwhile. The joint PCC meeting has produced further work for individual PCCs regarding the short-term challenges thrown up by Part A, and, in time, we will consider Part B, which is more about the vision for the parishes looking forward.

All responders were sent a thank you letter acknowledging their replies and giving them up to date information (by publication of the Minutes of the joint PCC Meeting held on 29th April).

Church Signage

Alterations prompted by James’ telephone number change are not straightforward, and this I have held off commissioning Allum Signs to update the noticeboards until after this PCC: with her agreement we will include Sheila’s phone number, but it is to confirm whether any detail about service pattern should be included which is an issue.

I am proposing that the words ‘Principal Service’ occur before the appropriate service time on each board, but the limited addition of further direction may be needed – the website address, perhaps, to provide best information on an updated basis?

PCC should bear in mind that with Sheila’s departure planned for May 2022 the boards will need redoing, and maybe even replacement (they are showing some deterioration from weathering). So, any work now may be just a temporary job, but it still needs to be accurate.

Squirrels

I heard squirrels scuffing around on Easter Sunday. They have entered St John’s by a gap in the eaves which will need to be sealed up when we are sure they have departed. The two squirrels I have seen have probably bred babies and are living in the top apex on the back wall, way out of reach. A trap set to catch them on the outside of the building has not been successful, in part because the timber is frail, and it was not possible to lay the trap across the void given the spacing of the roof timbers. The squirrels, however, did not disturb the event on Sunday.

There will be a charge from Vermatech for the (failed) attempt to trap squirrels, but it will be less than the usual charge in the circumstances.

Yews

A report on condition has been commissioned, which also makes full reference to the procedures necessary when the fencing that encloses them is replaced with permanent fixture. Please see Hugo Loudon’s Full Arboricultural Method Statement report sent separately with this note. It is my intention to begin exploring the options for fencing, and I hope to bring a few alternatives to PCC in July (explained in my Churchwarden’s report Part 2) .

Meanwhile we are trying for a date with Heritage Tree Services to trim them – before the Patronal which would be ideal, as these trees do form part the wider charm of the churchyard at St John’s.

Lime Trees

John Williams has been approached to check the state of these trees – a task he said he would undertake when the branches produce some leaf. We are getting towards that time, so I have chased him.

Churchyard Wall

The Archdeacon has granted continuing permission for the church wall to be repaired, under ‘List B’ of the faculty system. This wall is in places in bad need of repair. I have asked Matthew Hall, a bricklayer and stoneworker experienced in flint work who comes on good recommendation, to carry out repairs on an ongoing basis. It is proposed that he initially tests an area of the wall with a grey lime mortar to match; he will acquire such flints as needed on a gradual basis and look to make good but also replace some brickwork where repairs are not possible. The idea is to make the wall watertight so winter frosts cannot penetrate the stone and cause further erosion from existing damage. Matthew intends to start in July when the Kidmore End school is broken up for the summer. He will initially be on the project for two weeks, working round the perimeter, and will then give us ‘days’ of work when the worst has been attended to.

Streaming

Following my outline paper that was written in February for Standing Committee, I put my further thoughts down in an updated paper dated 15 March that pulled together the three quotes we have had and set out to discuss the aims and objectives of streaming in our Parish. This paper is available but was somewhat eclipsed by the work on the Questionnaire, which has a section on Modern Technology. Responses to questions 9 – 15 in the Benefice survey are, not surprisingly, mixed. In view of workload regarding service rotas and other PCC business scheduled for this meeting, if it is acceptable to PCC, I will bring streaming back to the July meeting; notwithstanding that, Matt Eustace is still scheduled to install a wi-fi connection in St John’s once the DAC have authorised the grant.

It is important to tell PCC that streaming is very much still work in progress, but the project does require detailed analysis before making any choice. To do this process justice, I am advocating due time is allocated to our research and investigation.

Post March PCC - e mail received from Graham Edwards 31st March (forwarded to me by Jenny MacGregor): there are two issues Graham has alluded to, being the financing of this project, and the process for PCC agreement to allow the streaming project to proceed. I answered this at the time, but it is appropriate to bring it forward to make Graham’s views known.

For the record, the text of these exchanges is given in the documents sent with this paper.

NAER Churchwarden

3 May 2021

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Kidmore End and Sonning Common Report.

Churchwarden Report CTK July 2021.

Asbestos panels.

The panels were removed by Amicus. This was done with great care using air monitors to make sure no asbestos was released.

It became apparent that the panels were the heaters and as such there was no reason to put panels back. There is now a need to remove the wooden frames and make good the background. This will be done on Wednesday 14th July.

Window cleaning.

A window cleaner was contacted to come and clean the windows. He mainly covered the outside windows but did the hall and main church indoor lower windows.

3. The outside shed

The shed was prepared to receive a table and chairs generously offered by Robert Hunt ready the NHS event in early September.

4. Cupboards.

The cupboards are now numbered, and the keys are also being numbered and new ones cut there they have been lost after different users have not always returned them!

5. The Hall lettings.

The hall is now open subject to government guidelines for outside users. Many are returning although one has sought other premises in the meanwhile. We hope to build up users in the coming weeks.

6. Services.

The services have now resumed with a new rota. We had 24 people attend which put us near capacity in the inner church! We also streamed the service and four folks attended via this method. There are some issues concerning volume for the listeners, but this is being addressed using the existing technology. If this does not work, then a microphone will be purchased.

7. The lawn.

We continue to keep trying to improve the lawn. Various moss killer and lawn, feed and weed has been used and progress has been made. As with all lawns, this is an ongoing issue!

R J Walker Churchwarden. July 2021