Annual Report 2020

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ANNUAL REPORT for St.Andrew’s Church for the year 2020.
At the January 13th meeting of the Parochial Church Council
(PCC) we learnt that not only would our remaining
Churchwarden Tim Purrett be stepping down from his post but
also that half of our current PCC would not be continuing in their
respective roles after the Annual Parochial Church Meeting
(APCM) scheduled for April. With no sign of anyone coming
forward to take over these roles there was a serious question as
to whether we could continue to run and maintain the church.
In response to this we held an Extraordinary Meeting of the PCC
on February 10th. It was at this meeting that the idea of becoming
a Festival Church was first addressed. Festival Churches open for
a limited number of services a year (a minimum of 6 – eg
Christmas, Easter, Harvest etc) along with Baptisms, Weddings
and Funerals. It was felt that if we were able continue as a
church this approach might be more manageable – assuming we
had sufficient members on our PCC to sustain this. It was
decided that this Festival Church status was something we
should explore further. It was also agreed that an article be
placed in the Village Magazine to make the people of our parish
aware of the seriousness of the situation.
However, our little local difficulties were about to be overtaken by
a crisis that would affect not just our struggling little church but
everyone across the globe. In light of this, it’s remarkable that the
Minutes of our PCC’s March 9th meeting touch only lightly on the
spreading pandemic with a mention under Health & Safety that
we were following Diocesan guidance on limiting the spread of the
disease. Over the past few weeks we had taken steps such as
ceasing to share the Peace during our services, moving to
‘Communion of One-Kind’ ie just the bread, not the wine. But we
were still making plans for Easter services, Mothering Sunday
and Rogation. By the end of the month we would be into the first
‘lockdown’, with the church closed and services all on-line or
over-the-phone.
As a consequence of the pandemic, our plans for addressing our
church’s difficulties were all put on hold. Tim Purrett graciously
continued to hold the post of Churchwarden for the following months, the PCC ceased to meet for the time being and the
parish remained largely unaware of our smaller crisis. With the
Village Magazine also in abeyance there was not, at that time, a
medium by which we might easily notify them.
In late June it was decided that, although in-person services
would remain on hold, the Lady Chapel could be opened for a
short period on a couple of occasions during the week. This was
to allow for individuals or couples etc to use the chapel for
private prayer and reflection. Later in the year, the votive stand
and the popular church bookstall were relocated to the Lady
Chapel so that our visitors might have use of them. The bookstall
was now run by Jenny Langton (who had taken over the role from
Judy Chisholm), assisted by Jane Williamson and Kate Balston,
Come August, lockdown was being eased and in-church services
resumed, albeit in a limited fashion. St.Andrew’s hosted two-a-month: one Communion Service and one informal. But these were carefully risk-assessed. They were socially distanced,
parishioners had to wear face coverings, sanitise their hands and
follow specific guidelines to help keep each other safe.
With things opening up again it became necessary to address the
problem we’d been able to ignore for the past few months ie the
future of St. Andrew’s Church.
On September 17th we held a Special Meeting of the PCC. The
purpose of this was to remind ourselves of the challenges facing
us and to decide how best to address them. We were aware that
we needed to make the wider congregation and other interested
persons aware of the situation and that we should do so at our
Annual Church Meetings (ie the ACM and APCM). These meetings
had been put on hold (along with everything else) from the Spring
but were now required to be held before the end of October. We
rescheduled ours for October 14th. It was agreed that this should
be held in church, rather than remotely, in order to bring in as
many folk as possible. But that it should be preceded by an on-line meeting to include those who could not attend in-person.
This meeting was held via ‘Zoom’ on October 13th.
The outcome of these meetings was that a PCC was formed
consisting of Mike Davis as Treasurer, Roger Damon as Secretary, Janet Eames as Electoral Roll Officer, Tina Davis
continued as a Safeguarding Officer (along with Roger Damon)
and Wendy Cannings also joined our small number. Rev’d Clive
offered to be our Chairperson.
With a relatively small PCC we recognised that we would be
limited in what we could do – and how long we might sustain
that. So the need to explore alternative approaches was pressing.
To this end, meeting again in November, the PCC resolved to
meet with Sarah Cracknell from ‘Growing the Rural Church’ and
Archdeacon Andrew Beane who has a working knowledge of
Festival Churches.
Although our church was rather dormant through a period in
2020 it still required attention – this indeed is part of the
challenge. Our Treasurer Mike Davis had still to keep on top of
the bills (and with a reduced income), Tim Purrett and Mike
Moore still had to attend to matters relating to the maintenance
of the church, it still needed to be cleaned periodically (we need
to say a special thanks to Jackie Dadds for facilitating this.).
Derrick Goff and his team still needed to attend to the bells,
David Everett to the clock and the Churchyard Working Party
still continued to keep the churchyard tidy. And, when we did
hold services, we were grateful for having Edward Wells to play
for us, even if, regrettably we were unable to sing along.
Our Christmas services this year were much scaled down but
afforded us an opportunity to present Tim Purrett (and wife Jan)
with gifts as a thank you to all the time and work he’d put in as
Churchwarden over the past years.
As the year drew to a close, the future of St.Andrew’s remained
uncertain. The pandemic had obviously contributed to this. But
the malaise that has undermined this and other churches – along
with other local organisations – is really the lack of willing
participants to sustain these hubs of community life. Without
such a will, it is difficult to foresee a way.Whilst there were many issues and considerations within the
local church it is also worth reflecting that from 1 July 2020 and
new ‘Pastoral Scheme’ came into effect making St Andrews part
of an enlarged Axe Valley Mission Community which now
included Axmouth and Uplyme churches.
Following advertisement interview the new Axe Valley Mission
Community welcomed our new Team Vicar, Rev Nicky Davies on
11 August 2020. The Ministry Team was also pleased to welcome
two new associate priests ; Rev’d Canon Cate Edmonds and Rev’d
Shuna George.
At the beginning of September we were also pleased to welcome
to the Ministry Team, Rev’d Tracey Voysey, who was ordained
deacon and joined the team as curate