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Present: Revd Dr Janet Anderson-MacKenzie JAM (Chair)

Phillipa Mullins, Churchwarden PM

Clair Southgate, Churchwarden CS

Sylvia Walker, Treasurer SW

Anne Newton, Parish Secretary AN

Rhoda Daniels, Minutes Secretary RD

And 22 parishioners and PCC members.

1. Opening Prayers JAM lead the meeting in prayer.

Apologies for Absence. Diana Northey, Roger and Jenny Eaton, James Hay, Charles and Buffy Freeman, David Bates, David Nicklin, Jane Cox, Heather Terrington, Tim Hammond.

Annual Vestry Meeting

2. Approval of the Minutes of the Annual Vestry Meeting 2008

Minutes of the meeting on 17th April 2008 were adopted as a true and accurate record and signed by JAM

3. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising

4. Election of Church Wardens

Clair Southgate and John Tucker were nominated as Churchwardens, and were duly elected.

Thanks were made to Phillipa Mullins for all her hard work as church warden as she steps down from this role.

Annual Meeting

1. Minutes of 2008 Meeting

The Minutes of the 2008 meeting were posted for inspection by the church doors following the meeting on 17th April 2008. These were adopted as a true and accurate record and signed by JAM.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising

3. Presentation of the Annual Report

On behalf of the PCC thanks were expressed to Harry Seager and CS for compiling the Annual Report. The report was duly adopted.

4. Presentation of the Annual Accounts

On behalf of the PCC thanks were expressed to SW for preparing the Annual Accounts and to the congregation for their increased giving. During the year receipts in the General Fund exceeded expenses by £12,723. After transferring £2,500 to the Fabric Fund there was thus an increase in the General Fund from £8,491 at the start of the year to £18,714 at the end of 2008. Some of this has come from an increase in general giving and some from an anonymous donation of £5000 – half of which had gone into the General Fund and half into the Fabric Fund. The congregation was encouraged to continue in their generosity. Particular attention was brought to the need for further donations for chairs and chair transporter. There were no questions. The Annual Accounts were adopted by the meeting.

5. Report on Readers and Sidespersons

Thanks were given to SW for all her hard work in coordinating the readers/sidespersons rota and for all those who were on the rotas. More helpers are needed and should contact SW for more details.

6. Report on Electoral Roll

Thanks were given to Catherine Hewes for coordinating the electoral role. We currently have 98 people on the roll and this was fully revised two years ago. JAM explained that due to changes in wedding legislation couples getting married in church no longer have to be on the electoral role. This will mean that our electoral roll is smaller than it would have been historically but that the numbers would be a more accurate reflection of regular church attendees.

7. Report on Fabric, Goods and Ornaments of the Church

The Churchwardens reported all present and correct.

8. Report on Diocesan Synod

The proposed new Diocesan Strategy was briefly discussed by those who had seen it – summaries were available in the meeting. [Post meeting – details have now been circulated via the email database and are also available on the Diocese website]. Phil Daniels pointed out that if adopted the Strategy would have big implications for our church. After discussion it was agreed that as time for feedback to the Diocesan Synod was so short (they meet on 9th May) those who are interested should read through the documentation and feedback to JAM or Diana Northey (currently Diocesan Rep.) who can then represent our views at the meeting. Further discussion will be needed if the Strategy is adopted in its current form.

9. Report on Deanery Synod

Our current representatives are JAM, CS, Wendy Hodgson and Diana Northey.

JAM reported that the appointment of the new Area Dean has been influenced by the proposed Diocesan Strategy and other senior Deanery and Diocese posts are likely to be similarly affected.

All Deanery Meetings are now open for anyone who wishes to attend.

10. Presentation on The Growth Plan and the way forward by JAM

Growth Plan

JAM reviewed the origins and development of The Growth Plan beginning with a recap of where we were when she joined the Benefice fourteen months ago.

The things which had been going well were recognised and nurtured.

A few things needed ‘tidying up’, for example changing all morning services to 10.30am.

Some new things have been started:

Saturday morning prayers take place in church every week at 8.30am. Everyone was encouraged to attend occasionally.

The church is open, staffed and heated on weekdays from 10am-12noon. Thanks were given to all the volunteers involved.

The Pastoral Care Team was commissioned at Candlemas. It is lead by Jenny Danter. Its role is to increase the level of visiting and care in the church community. So far 10 visits have been offered and more are planned. The uptake of this has been slower than expected but in time JAM hopes this team will relieve her of some of her time commitments in her half time role.

The Rudloe Christmas Party was a great success and thanks were given to Jane Cox. It was noted this was very different to youth work in Box but it had been well received by local people and had opened up new opportunities. JAM reported there is now a new House Church meeting in Rudloe Community Centre every Sunday. So far there has been little involvement from the community. JAM will be meeting with the leaders of the House Church soon to discuss how we can best work together.

Sunday School has moved to The Vicarage. This not only makes the vicar tidy up but allows space and noise. The environment has worked well with a few children and on 26th April 2009 Sunday Stars will be launched for all children under 12 during the morning services (except the family service). A new team of leaders is in place. Children will leave after the first hymn and they and the leaders will be prayed for before they go. The aim will be for them to return before communion. Sunday Stars will include songs, stories, craft, activities and prayer. It is hoped that families currently attending Little Lights services may feel they are able to attend.

All Together Breakfasts are taking place roughly once a month. Thanks were extended to all volunteers and those who have given money to buy the tables.

Some more developments are planned as part of the current Growth Plan:

Encourage the use of the Prayer Chain

Prayer and healing Ministry

Examination of service styles, especially Morning Worship

Developments in Rudloe – working with the new House Church and further outreach projects like a summer party.

Over the last year some things have developed unexpectedly:

Bell ringing before the Sunday 10.30 services.

The new youth group for 14-20 year olds The CIA (Christ Is Alive)

The Wednesday Morning Communion congregation staying for coffee after the services.

Better than expected financial situation.

Giving to Others from St Thomas a Becket

JAM outlined the spectrum of opinions within church congregations regarding giving, (from those who feel the church should give away 10%, to those who feel that all money given to the church is to be used only for the local church), and the difficulty for those in church leadership to reconcile these positions. It was emphasised that it is the responsibility of the church community to give money and help others.

The PCC has agreed that we aim to collect £4,500 in 2009 (equivalent to 7.5% of our total income or 10% of the regular giving to the church in 2008) to help others in our community and further afield. This is not church income but additional money. Those to be helped this year are Christian Aid (specifically via Christian Aid Week collections and sponsored events), The Children’s Society (specifically via individual collection boxes and the Christingle collection), The Sisters of the Church in Bristol (specifically via Easter egg collection, Christmas and Harvest collections), Uganda Link, The Green Room and Childline. Special collections will also be taken during the year (for example the Easter Service collection of £500).

Friends of St Thomas a Becket

JAM explained The Friends of STaB which were launched in January 2009 are a charity entirely separate from the PCC and have a separate set of Trustees. Their sole aim is to raise money for the maintenance of the church building. The idea is to encourage people who don’t come to church regularly but want to support the building. So far £2,700 has been raised. Many thanks to all those involved.

Benefice Staffing

JAM reminded the meeting that hers is a half time post funded for 24 hours a week. JAM tries to keep Fridays completely free of church work and would be grateful if all parishioners could respect this.

Cannon John Ayers currently has pastoral care of St Christopher’s but this will cease by September 2010 when he reaches 70 and will have to take compulsory retirement. The Diocese can enforce a six month period of ‘rest’. John may wish to take occasional services after this period. JAM will need to spend more time at St Christopher’s.

Alice Kemp has been selected for training for ordained Ministry. It is expected she will be ordained Deacon in Sept 2010 and Priest in 2011. She may come to work in the benefice as a Self Supporting Curate for 4 years – if she does she would probably move on after this time. Alice is currently on placement for the summer of 2009 with the Corsham Benefice exploring Funerals/Death/Bereavement. The PCC need to discuss if they can write in support of Alice coming here for her curacy.

Clair Southgate is in the national selection process for training for Ordained Local Ministry. If selected (she will know in July) she will be ordained Deacon in Autumn 2011 and Priest in 2012. She will only be able to work in the benefice.

Phil Daniels is currently our Licensed Lay Minister. He is in the national selection process for training for Ordained Stipendiary Ministry. If he is selected (he should know by end August) he will be ordained Deacon in 2012 and Priest in 2013. If he trains part time he will remain as Licensed Lay Minister until 2012 although his availability in the Benefice will be less than its current level. (If Phil were to train full time he would effectively leave the Benefice in Autumn 2009 – PD explained he is likely to train part time).

In conclusion there is much uncertainly about the level of staffing in the Benefice over the coming years. In three years time there may only be JAM doing 24 hours a week, or she may have the benefit of help from John, Alice and Clair. The situation requires much prayer.

North Aisle Pews

JAM explained we have a faculty in place to remove the four pews in the North Aisle. This has been extended until the autumn to allow more time for discussion. These pews are used particularly for Wednesday Morning Communion Services attended by 9-12 people. The PCC has previously agreed it will carry out further consultation before going ahead with this work.

Options include:

Leaving the pews as they are and applying to change the Faculty

Removing the pews and using chairs

Removing the static pews and replacing with movable pews of the same design.

Removing the pews and using comfortable chairs appropriate for those with mobility problems.

Removing the pews would allow refurbishment of the whole area to enhance the Hazelbury Chapel (for example carpeting the whole area) as a defined chapel area for use not only for small services but also for times of Prayer and Healing.

The Wednesday service has tried moving to the chancel area but there is no loop for hearing aids in the chancel. This is being installed soon. The service was also trailed in the South Aisle but the chairs were not suitable for those with mobility problems and there is no altar. JAM is going to try a further trial in the chancel once the loop is installed using chairs borrowed from The Methodist Church.

JAM explained her preferred option would be for the pews to be removed, the whole chapel area refurbished and carpeted and good solid chairs with book shelves provided for this area. She appreciated that some of the congregation, especially Wednesday morning attendees, would want the pews to stay.

Discussion followed.

It was agreed that the PCC will have to decide on a consultation process to allow feedback.

It was agreed that removal of the pews from the South Aisle had been very successful with the space being used regularly.

The Organ

Ecclesiastical Insurance has now confirmed in writing that the organ work will be covered by our current insurance policy. Volunteers are ready to start work as soon as the Faculty Application comes through.

A Challenge for us all

JAM asked what had been the highlight of the last year.

She asks what God has in store for us in 2009-2010.


Andrew Clark raised the concern that Janet’s current workload is not sustainable. Jam felt the Pastoral Care Team will help. She appreciates she needs to be able to plan further ahead in order to delegate tasks. JAM also explained the difficulty in defining what is part of her 24 hours contractual work as there is a lot of crossover with other activities such as Brownies, School Governor, The Filling Station. It was felt that someone else may be found to become a school governor in her place.

Phil Daniels raised the question of opportunities for evangelism/witnessing/sharing our faith. JAM felt this was implicit within The Growth Plan but could be made more explicit. Lots of new people are coming to church through breakfasts, Little Lights, Choir. Special events can also be planned such as The Filling Station inviting Fiona Castle to St Thomas’ and flagship services such as the carol service. If anyone has any other suggestions they are encouraged to discuss these with JAM.

11. Election of the representatives on the PCC

There are 3 vacancies. RD is currently co-opted onto the PCC as minutes secretary but has been nominated, as has Jenny Hobbs. RD and JH were duly appointed. A few people have expressed an interest in the third vacancy but have time constraints. It was agreed to leave the third vacancy open for now. Anyone interested should contact JAM.

12. Appointment of Child Protection Officer

Phillipa Mullins was re-appointed as Child Protection Officer and Vulnerable Adult Officer.

13. Appointment of Independent Examiner

The meeting was happy to appoint Michael Williams as Independent Examiner for another year. AN will write a letter of thanks to him.

14. Any Other Business


15. The Grace

The meeting ended with The Grace