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St Andrew’s Church, West Hatch
Seven Sowers Benefice
(Beercrocombe, with Curry Mallet, Hatch Beauchamp, Orchard Portman, Staple Fitzpaine,
Stoke St Mary (with Thurlbear and West Hatch)
Annual Report and Financial Statements
Parochial Church Council
For the year ended 31st December 2018
Annual Report and Financial Statements
Parochial Church Council
For the year ended 31st December 2018
West Hatch has a population of some 243 people and is village covering either side of the A358 between Hatch Beauchamp and Stoke St Mary. There is an RSPCA rescue centre, a Public House/Restaurant (The Farmers Arms’ Inn) and a village hall adjacent to St. Andrew’s Church. The Huish Woods Scout Camp is also located in West Hatch and there is an outreach centre located in Slough Green that is used by the Scouts and also the parish on occasion.
St Andrew’s Church, West Hatch, is a church in the Seven Sowers Benefice which comprises the separate Parishes of Beercrocombe, Curry Mallet, Hatch Beauchamp, Orchard Portman, Staple Fitzpaine, Stoke St Mary (with Thurlbear) and West Hatch. The Benefice is in the Ilminster Deanery, part of the Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Church of England. The Church’s records date back to 1604.
St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a charity exempted from registration with the Charity Commission and has the responsibility of co-operating with the Rector, until October 2018, the Revd Paul Reynolds, in promoting the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical within the ecclesiastical parish of West Hatch.
The PCC holds maintenance responsibilities for the St Andrew’s Church Grade 2 listed building, the internal fabric of St Andrew’s and associated property. They meet regularly to discuss plans for the parish and to ensure careful financial management of its funds.
The Revd Paul Reynolds was assisted in the Benefice by Associate Ministers, the Revd Christabel Ager and the newly appointed Revd Stephen Jones along with Brian Crudge, Clive Hayward, Phil Albrow and Sue McKen who are members of the Ministry team. In addition, the Children and Families worker, Holly Stevens, continued in office throughout the year, with a busy set of activities offered throughout the year. She is employed solely by the Benefice. The Revd Mary Godin retired towards the end of 2017 and the PCC was pleased that a House for Duty Post was forthcoming in 2018 with the appointment of the Revd Stephen Jones. Revd Mary Godin was also available to officiate at times of need. Sue McKen became a Reader during the year.
We were grateful for the work of Revd Paul Reynolds during the majority of the year and he should be thanked for his work over a period of some 13 years across the Benefice and within our parish.
During 2018 there have been two regular services in St Andrew’s each month. These followed this plan:
- 1st Sunday: no service,
- 2nd Sunday: 8.30am BCP Communion,
- 3rd Sunday: 10.30am Benefice Parish Communion (for all the parishes in the Benefice) with Sunday Gang in the Village Hall, the children and Leaders joining the service for Communion,
- 4th Sunday: no service.
- 5th Sunday: a 10am Benefice Communion Service is held for all the parishes which alternates between Beercrocombe and Orchard Portman churches.
During the year St. Andrew’s also offered an Easter Sunrise Service on 1st April located at the Scout Hut in West Hatch.
Benefice-wide lunches also took place in the West Hatch Village Hall, continuing to be a popular and well attended shared meal following the monthly service.
At St Andrew’s there were three additional services in the year:-
- In the summer we undertook our first Animal Blessing on 14th July 2018 and local families brought their animals and the children enjoyed an interactive service with an outdoor blessing followed by refreshments in the Village Hall. From hens to a horse, creatures great and small were blessed.
- A special service held on 25th November 2018 and attended by some 80 adults and children to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the cessation of WW1 and the life of John Collins VC, a local hero, who went to the West Hatch Village School (later the Village Hall) and attended services in St Andrew’s Church as a child. Thurlbear school children worked hard to capture the life of John Collins culminating in creating a display in St Andrew’s Church for a period of a week following the Service. The school choir also sang at the Service. We were pleased to welcome the new Lady Mayor for Taunton and her Consort as well as the previous lady mayor and her partner to the service along with family members of John Collin’s. We were pleased that the local Bellringers gave their time to ring out the bells announcing this service.
- The annual Christingle Service was also well attended on 16th December 2018 by some 50 adults and children followed by refreshments provided by the Village Hall Committee in the Village Hall.
We were grateful for the hard work put in to make these events successful and especially the leadership of the Revd Christabel Ager and the support of Holly Stevens the Children’s Worker. Both of them made the services really meaningful to children and family members alike and we received many compliments on their ability to make an hour long service seem very short to all. The Revd Christabel Ager continued to meet the elderly and infirm in the parish in their homes and offered support and solace to them as well as Communion.
Support for the PCC since the Revd Paul Reynolds retired has been offered by both the Revd Christabel Agar and the Revd Stephen Jones, for which we are grateful.
Membership and Officers
At the APCM in April 2018 there were 25 members on the Electoral Roll. During the year there have been no additional members, leaving us with 25 members at the year end.
The method of appointment of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation Rules.
All Church attendees are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting.
At the 2018 Annual Parochial Church Meeting the following officers and PCC members were appointed.
Incumbent: The Revd Paul Reynolds (Chairman)
Churchwardens: Mrs Vera Cottey-Williams
Mrs Marion Kerr
Deanery Synod Representatives: None
Mr Gregg Walters
Mrs Jane Wardell
Mr Peter Baverstock (Treasurer)
Mrs. Margaret Luck (Minute Secretary)
The full PCC met four times in the year, including the Annual Meeting.
The only Sub-Committee of the PCC is the Standing Committee, as required by law, which comprises the Incumbent, Churchwardens, Treasurer and Secretary. It did not meet separately during the year.
We were pleased to have the services of Mrs Vera Cottey-Williams and Mrs Marion Kerr as Churchwardens, following the Annual Parochial Church meeting in April 2018, as there had been a vacancy since September 2017 when the previous Church Warden retired and moved out of the area. Mrs Marion Kerr has played an active role in the PCC since November 2017 when she and Mr Greg Walters became members. When the Revd Paul Reynolds retired in October 2018 Mr Greg Walters kindly took on the post of Chairman for the PCC meetings until a new incumbent was in place.
We have been able to secure the services of visiting Church organists Mr John Bodiley and Mr Ian Gouge and we were able to utilise taped hymns for services when they were unable to support our needs.
Sidespersons: No formal appointments were made. However, newcomers and parishioners were welcomed at all services.
Church Services and Attendance
On Easter Day a Sunrise Service was held for the Benefice at 6.30am at Slough Green. This was attended by people from across the Benefice and was followed by bacon baps and coffee (kindly organised by the Scouts).
The Christingle with Carols Service collection including gift aid raised nearly £300 for the Children’s Society and was enjoyed by many including families and children.
The Harvest Festival Service was held on 7th October 2018 and the Church was decked with local floral and vegetable offerings. Over forty people attended and Mrs Vera Cottey-Williams ensured the involvement of many who live in the Parish and worked hard to encourage good attendance.
The Benefice lunches on the 3rd Sunday of the month continue to bring in attendances nearing 40 people each time. In addition the Children’s Worker also delivers the Sunday Gang for under 11s which meets in West Hatch village hall on the third Sunday of the month, before joining the main service in church.
The Service on Christmas Day was well attended and the congregation enjoyed the sight of Rev. Stephen Jones as a West Hatch shepherd adorned with a tea towel as head gear. He brought three modern gifts for the baby Jesus including a (very large) i-phone, a (very large) library ticket and a guitar. Stephen certainly made the season of goodwill a memorable one.
As noted previously the extra Services we offered brought in considerable additional numbers which included families and children as well as those who attend frequently.
Access to the Church
Mrs Vera Cottey-Williams, concerned about the access for the elderly church parishioners in the field organised a collection to place plastic matting in the run up area. £1978 was collected and the work was completed in August 2018. Thanks should be noted for the work undertaken by Wrencon employees and also Mr Michael Horsey. The laying of the matting and the free labour from Wrencon was donated by Mr John Williams. Two very wet weeks followed with Parishioners using the field for parking and the matting appears to be successful except in exceptionally wet periods.
The PCC ensured that we have a Data Protection Controller along with an Electoral Roll Officer to ensure that data was only used for the purposes that members of the parish had agreed. We were also mindful of our need to meet
Safeguarding requirements by all who came into contact with children and vulnerable adults and we adopted a Safeguarding Policy during the year.
We obtained permission from the Diocese for a bench in the Church grounds to be looked after and purchased by a family who had lost their baby, who was buried at St Andrew’s Church. This now been located in the grounds.
A remaining challenge during the year was that of a continued ageing parish population and the PCC being reliant on non-church members to carry out its duties and to cover the costs required to maintain the Church as a viable entity. We were especially grateful to the Bath and Wells Diocese for reducing the Parish Share for the year.
At the year-end we were without an incumbent Rector and work was underway across the Benefice with our Church Wardens playing an active role in the Vacancy Planning Group. We are hoping that an appointment will be made before the end of 2019. Meanwhile we are supported ably by the Revds. Christabel Ager and Stephen Jones.
The new PCC members played an active role in the year. Work continued to increase the number of people in West Hatch, who make monthly financial commitments to the Church. Our thanks must be placed on record to Mrs Vera Cottey-Williams for her tireless work in encouraging support from many sections of the Parish including those who are not regular church attendees and the notable increase in monthly giving as a result. The 2018 year was delivered with renewed enthusiasm and confidence and we have been pleased with the work undertaken to engage younger people, families and children in the life of the Church in ways that were stimulating and interesting for them.
During 2018 there have been no Baptisms, no Weddings and two Funerals those being for Joan Bussell and Brian Froake at St Andrew’s Church.
Review of the Year
A Plant and Produce sale was organised by Vera Cottey-Williams and held in May in the Village Hall which was an enjoyable and successful event which raised £724.98 for church funds.
The church structure has continued in very reasonable condition. A successful half day of work on 9th June 2018 tidying the churchyard involved some 17 people from the Village and they were rewarded with hot baps and barbecued sausages after a hard physical work ensuring the Church grounds were clear of weeds and the graves were clean and tidy. Paths were strimmed and the wall surrounding the Church was cleared of ivy. A bonfire of rubbish was later burned with the help of Mrs Marion Kerr.
The small band of helpers who ensure the Church is regularly cleaned internally, with fresh flowers each month has worked hard to maintain the running of the church as efficiently as possible. These are very significant offerings and to date the costs of purchases has been borne by those involved. Significant amounts of time are freely given by those involved.
The Parish Share for the year was £3,773. This enabled us to pay our way more easily in 2018 and meet the financial demands placed on us for the year, in a timely manner.
Maintenance of the churchyard grass has been carried out by Mike Pettitt keeping the churchyard neat and tidy. Once more the Parish Council has contributed £210 to our annual £352 cost of churchyard maintenance. Michael Horsey is again to be thanked for keeping the grass in St Andrew’s Field under control. With the additional services this involved him in extra grass cutting sessions during the year.
The PPC and Church continues to enjoy good relations with the Village Hall Committee, each supporting the other’s events. We were especially pleased with their ongoing support in the use of the Village Hall free of charge and for the super refreshments offered following the Christingle Service.
Plans for similar fund-raising activities for 2019 have been set in place and we hope to build on our links with Thurlbear School and the Village Hall Committee, to secure a long term future for the Church.
As you will see the result for the year is a significant improvement over the previous year: a surplus for the year of £3,609 compared to a deficit of £2,775 for last year.
Fundraising brought in £725 from the Annual Plant Sale. The PCC members should be congratulated for their work in arranging the Plant Sale in May, the Animal Blessing, the Commemoration Service and the well supported Christingle service. As church membership falls it is harder to find enough people to organise more events, but those events we have offered were well organised and well supported, which is much appreciated by all. Marion Kerr and her husband kindly accepted local gifts of surplus apples and made these into apple juice for sale to raise funds.
Donations amounting to £3,819 were received of which £2,088 was restricted. Included in the total was £1,020 donated in memory of Joan Bussell.
We would like to note and thank Ms Barbara Barrington for the donation of a large Christmas tree for the festive period and it took pride of place in the Church with Marion and Douglas Kerr along with Paul Reece collecting it and transporting it to the Church as well as decorating it for all to see.
We continue to benefit from the hard work of the parish magazine team, with our share of the surplus from advertisers being £895 for the year. We are pleased to report that the work of our Church has been well publicised in the Parish Magasine at no cost to us.
Our receipts and payments are shown on page 6 and are fairly self-explanatory.
We continue to use a beautiful church building that is peaceful and is being supported by Churchgoers and non-attendees, alike. We offer a haven in the area to all parishioners and visitors and a warm welcome to all.
We ask you to join us in praying that God will bless this special time and equip us all (physically and spiritually) for this and whatever else 2019 has in store for our Church and Parish.
We hope that we will welcome a new incumbent before the end of 2019 who will help us move forward in the face of an increasingly challenging world.
Approved by all members of the PCC and signed on their behalf on 27 March 2019 by:
Greg Walters PCC Chairman
Prepared March 2019 by Margaret Luck (Minute Secretary) to the Parochial Church Council and Peter Baverstock, Treasurer to the Parochial Church Council for the year 2018.