Church of England Diocese of Exeter Saint Mark, Exeter

Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020 Reports

St Mark’s Church Exeter

Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020

Reports on Church Activity in 2019

and looking ahead to 2020

Treasurers Report for the 2020 APCM

This report is being written in the very unusual circumstances for the church (nationally) having to operate differently due to the Covid-19 pandemic This has produced one (very, very) small benefit. Due to the postponement of APCMs until churches are open again, St Marks accounts do not have to be filed with the Diocese until 31 October, and in producing the accounts, I am making use of this fact so that I can ensure that the accounts that will be filed are the most accurate reflection of St Marks financial position at 31 December 2019 available. The accounts are also being updated to ensure that the PCC include a reference to Covid-19, and how it affects St Marks ability to continue as a going concern (more later)

Therefore, this is a report without figures, although based on the initial draft. For the first time in around 8 years, in 2019, St Marks has generated a relatively substantial overall surplus. This was partly due to a very good year for our investments (CCLA funds), although it should be noted that trading in one of those funds is now suspended. We were also helped by a growth in planned giving; Gift Aid and fees for (mostly) funerals & weddings. Also, we did not have to pay for an administrator during the year.

A further reason as to why the parish generated a surplus is that we did not incur any large ‘one-off’ unexpected expenses during the year, although our repair costs did increase significantly during the year for a variety of reasons ; a new notice board : Boiler repair and a laptop (although that cost was partially covered by a grant).

Even before Covid-19, St Marks generating a surplus was unlikely to re-occur in 2020; the need to repair the roof (and the varying cost of the repair options) would have seen to that. That issue will not go away because of the virus. The other factor is that due to Covid-19 the PCC and the congregation face a period of currently unknown length in which we will be faced by ongoing costs, but on a seriously reduced income. My initial estimate of the ‘hit’ that the church will take as a result of Covid-19 is that it will be serious, but not so much as to call into question the financial viability of the church. However, this estimate is based on the congregation continuing to give via the various giving schemes that we offer. Any serious reduction in planned giving as a result of the current situation facing the country could challenge that assumption.

Raymond Flack

Music and Sound System

St Marks has continued its policy of offering a variety of musical styles via live performance and where necessary, by laptop. Therefore, our range runs from traditional organ led hymns, through to worship songs written, in some cases, in the previous few years. This can present problems, especially (entries and bridges in worship songs usually causing the biggest problem) although, these are not usually insurmountable obstacles. A further element is the introduction of lyric videos, where a song is projected on screen with the lyrics changing as the song progresses. I suspect that, when necessary, we will make greater use of this innovation in the future.

Our varied mixed musical policy is probably correct, the age range of our congregation runs (in terms of singing hymns/songs) runs from around 12 and up to 80plus, and was illustrated by the song survey which took place over the last summer. The poll attracted 30 replies, and cover more than 50 hymns/songs of varying genres. The most popular songs were a mix of traditional and modern; 10,000 reasons; Love Divine; And can it be; In Christ Alone; Amazing Grace (the top 5)

We are always open to new hymns/songs and new styles, and we have (in the new year introduced a new methodology in introducing new music If anybody would like to join us, either to sing or play, please do not hesitate to come and have a chat.

Despite a few hiccups, in general the system is working well. The major issue was one of microphone use, which appears to have been largely sorted by using the two static lectern’s microphones, together with instructions regarding microphone use. The problem of individuals standing to far from the mic, or not speaking directly into them has been lessened

Raymond Flack

Film Nights

Film nights have continued in 2019, although we have made a slight change in that we have been running two films in an evening, one at 5.45 for younger members of the congregation and (Brownies/Rainbows), the second, for older members of the congregation.

Our licence does allow us to show clips from films during sermons, a point that I sometimes think is overlooked. A visual point is more likely to be remembered than a word alone.

If anybody has an idea for a film to show, please let me know. We are always looking to show new films.

Raymond Flack

Christianity Deanery Synod report for 2019/20

Deanery Synod met three times in 2019/20

The first meeting was on 27 June at St Margaret’s, Topsham. It started with an act of worship led by Rev Louise Grace and then followed by the main focus of the evening, a presentation by Right Rev Jackie Searle, who gave an overview of the Deanery and Diocese. It was good to hear from our new Bishop and I remember her advice to acknowledge and celebrate your failures as this is one of the best ways to learn even though it might be painful at the time.

The second meeting was in on 22 October at St. James Church, Exeter. The focus was on ‘using the Psalms in Liturgy’ and was delivered by Canon Precentor James Mustard from the cathedral. He reminded us that Psalms speak of lament that can be useful in times of sadness and great difficulty.

The third meeting was on 5 February at St. Michaels Church, Alphington. The main topic ‘New Housing in the Diocese particularly in and around Exeter’. I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of new housing planned for the Exeter area. Our city will be totally transformed. We can only hope that the infrastructure will be put in place.

As well as the main topic for these evenings there is also an act of worship where styles change from church to church and technology sometimes works! There is also lots of other news and business that is shared at each meeting.

Sarah Turner and Raymond Flack

Gift Envelopes and Standing Orders

Some members of the congregation donate to the Church through weekly envelopes and others on a monthly basis via standing order, so thank you. I would also like to thank Magda Morris and Sean Carter who help with the finance especially the claims for gift aid.

Dana Higgins

Pastoral Care Team (written August 2020, to be up to date)

This is the first report of the Pastoral Care Team since its establishment and commissioning in summer 2019.

What is it? A team of members of St Mark’s congregation who have agreed to look out for other members of the congregation, to notice if they are missing from church for a few weeks and to keep in touch by phone or note or email and to pray for them. (as well as making sure Rosemary or Tanya know if there was illness, bereavement or pastoral needs so we could be in touch and send a card or call)

This has come into its own since the Lock-In with Covid-19 restrictions as each team member has tried to contact their three or four families or individuals and Tanya has done group emails and letters to try and keep everyone in touch and has phoned a few not on line.

Before Covid-19, home communions had been arranged for some of our indoor members but of course that has had to stop at the moment as has home visiting.

However a big thank you to the whole team and to all of you for responding so well to being cared for!

Who makes up the team?

Karen Bates, Jean Crow, Ann Gallin, Dana Higgins, Josh Hockley-Still, Helen Nash, Hilary Palmer, Christine Slack, Tina Smith, Kevin Sterret, Sarah Turner with Rosemary and Tanya.

So if you are reading this and have not been contacted at all please will you check with Rosemary that we have your contact details.

Rosemary Enever

Mothers Union – Christianity 2019

25 Jan – AGM at St. Sidwell’s

5 Feb – commissioning Service at the Cathedral, banner carried by Julia Hocking

1 March – day of prayer service prepared by women of Slovenia, South Street URC, 11.00am

5 March St Gregory’s church, Dawlish, 2 of us went to learn more about MULOA JB re-joined

22 March – morning meeting, talk by Nickie about Mary,

29 March – watched film Mary Magdalene, discussion and nibbles, raised £50 and bought gifts from the MU ‘Make a Mother’s Day Appeal’

29 March – lots of members from the West of Exe group attended MU midday prayer service at the Cathedral. It was lovely to see a good number of people and we ran out of service sheets!

31 March 2 new members welcomed during Easter service at St. Marks – Tanya and Magda

26 April – Jane Wakeling and Sarah Turner gave a brief introduction to MULOA which led to a very lively discussion and a lot of action

26 April, evening Wine tasting – MU hosted this at St. Marks – 16 people enjoyed a very informative discussion about different wines and £78 raised for MU activities. Another £10 donated

18-19 May – Helen Nash and Jane Wakeling from our branch helped at the MU tent at the Devon County Show

24 May – fundraising coffee morning at St. Sidwell’s, raffle, cakes, bring and buy. Good number of people came and we raised £132.00

14 June – MU cheese and wine, had a display of old MU records from St. Mark’s

28 June – discussion about favourite book and coffee morning at St. Sidwell’s

17 July – 6 members attended Catholic Women’s League tea party at the Richard Reynolds Centre.

27 Sept – coffee morning at St. Sidwell’s. Excellent presentation about Heritage Ability and how this organisation is working hard to ensure that information at 20 heritage sites is accessible to all.

18 October – our hilarious Murder Mystery – Death by Chocolate – a fun evening of fundraising, £105 collected for MU projects

25 October – coffee morning at St Sidwell’s discussing ways to pray and collecting toiletries for the Esther Community.

Nov 5 – MU autumn council at St Matthew’s

Nov 21 – 3 members from Christianity branch supported and participated in the Silent Vigil highlighting the issue of gender violence worldwide.

22 Nov – coffee morning at St Sidwell’s, Revd. Caroline Luff, Advent reflections

29 Nov – MU Christmas Fayre at St. Stephens

Total fundraising £392.00 by Christianity members

Sarah Turner

Website and Social Media

St Mark’s main website is provided by “A Church Near You” (ACNY) https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/8699/ and the church maintains a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

David Smith

Readers Report for 2019

Throughout the year, Tina Smith and David Smith, the licensed Readers, have been busily involved in the staff team at St Mark’s. We have all preached at the eucharists in the mornings, have read the gospel and led intercessions. Tina is a member of the planning team for all-age services. We have taken home communion to some church members. David was one of the regular preachers at the Exeter Chinese Christian Church which now meets in South Street Baptist Church. As part of our commitment to the East Exeter Mission Community, we have also preached at St Boniface and Holy Trinity a few times. Tina and David are regular leaders of the Wednesday Morning Prayers at St Mark’s.

We attended the annual conference for Readers at Lee Abbey. We have been to occasional seminars locally arranged by the diocese or by mission organisations. Thank you for your support.

David Smith

CMS (Church Mission Society) report for 2019

During 2019, St Mark’s has supported financially and in prayer the CMS missionary Miriam Knowles, who works in Tanzania. Miriam finished her service with CMS and visited the church as part of her final stint of ministry. We have included the name of Sharon Wilcox, another CMS mission partner, on our weekly prayer lists; she has been a link with St Matthew’s, but is no longer supported by that parish. The link missionary for 2020 will be Sooz Crow, working with YWAM in Malawi.

David Smith

PCC Report for 2019

The PCC met seven times in 2019, with six evening meetings and a brief meeting after the APCM to elect officers. The standing committee met four times. Attendance was very good at each meeting.

Membership for 2019-2020 was:

Tanya Hockley-Still,

Rab Cross, Helen Nash,

Marion Boult, Jan Carter, Rosemary Enever, Ray Flack, Dana Higgins, Avril Phillips, Christine Slack, David Smith, Tina Smith, Sarah Turner

Most of the PCC business is described under the separate reports in this booklet, and therefore this report is concerned with matters which are “fresh”.

• The PCC asked Andy Bee to design a logo for the church to accompany the Mission Action Plan strapline: Building followers of Christ’. The logo is available in colour or black and white. It has been used on the notice sheet, Powerpoint presentations and on publicity and notepaper.

• Wi-fi coverage in the church was improved and the office computer system was checked and overhauled.

• The church notice boards were improved and repaired.

• There was a church awayday in July, but sadly, the leader of the day has failed to provide feedback.

• The PCC of St Mark’s at its meeting on 11th September 2019 authorised: Andrew Bee, Rab Cross, Helen Nash, Hilda Sterrett, Kevin Sterrett, Sarah Turner, Margaret Williams and Brian Woodward to act as chalice assistants for 2019-2022

• In October St Mark’s hosted the Mission Shed Exeter evening with participants from eight churches.

• A brunch was arranged for the day of the Harvest Festival

• Once again, the organisers of October’s Great West Run appreciated the support of St Mark’s for the water station.

• On Remembrance Sunday there was a good attendance at the service in church, and the ceremony in the cemetery had been well attended and much appreciated.

David Smith

Rector's Report 

<span style="font-size: 1rem;">It is quite difficult to remember what happened over April 2019-2020 without thinking about what has happened since with Covid.</span>

We said goodbye to Sarah Cumming and Julia Hocking in June 2019 as they moved on to curacies in St. Thomas and Netherexe respectively, and we wished them well as they moved on and knew that they would be blessings to their new parishes.

We established a pastoral care team which came into its own when we faced national lockdown in March 2020. Thank you to all of you who have been part of this invaluable ministry.

We have started moving all aspects of church administration onto Churchsuite (dedicated church administration software) so that it can all be in one place and be much easier to keep track of. We have put the electoral roll onto Churchsuite as well as a number of rotas so that in future they will be easier to manage.

In the Spring of 2020 we formed the next youth group out of those who were aged around 10-11 and this has continued quite successfully on zoom.

We have made more use of social media as well as trying to connect with those who do not have access to the internet.

I would like to thank everybody for all that you do to contribute to the life of St. Mark’s and ensuring that church life runs smoothly. Since all the rotas and activities halted at the end of March 2020 and we have had to gradually start them again I am more aware than ever how many people carry out different roles in the life of our church, and I am very grateful to all of you for how you have helped and looked out for each other in these unprecedented circumstances.

I am particularly grateful to our churchwardens Helen and Rab for all that they have done over the last year and especially the last few months. I would like to especially thank Rab for his years of faithful service as a he steps down as churchwarden at this APCM. 

Reverend Tanya Hockley-Still