The ecclesiastical parish of Fen Drayton with Fenstanton (charity number 1173597) Annual report and financial statements of the PCC Year ending 31 December 2018
(until July 2019) The Revd Canon E.B.B. Atling Ash Meadow Meadow Lane Hemingford Abbots PE28 9AR (from July 2019) The Rev Rosie Tallowin The Vicarage 16 Church Street Fenstanton PE28 2HD
(Bank) Barclays Bank The Pavement St Ives PE27 5AQ
Ashley Courtney, RIBA, AABC
36 Roseford Road
Cambridge CB4 2HD
Aims and objectives
The PCC has the responsibility, in co-operation with the incumbent, of promoting the whole mission of the church in the parish and the administration of the necessary funds of both the church and the Church Centre.
Fenstanton’s mission statement, as adopted in 2011, requires us: “To grow and develop our Christian faith in our community.” The Diocese of Ely requires us to pray to be generous and visible people of Jesus Christ.
Membership of the PCC
Rev Canon Brian Atling (ex officio) (until July) Rev Rosie Tallowin (ex officio) (from July)
Licensed Lay Ministers
Harvey Marshall (ex officio) Dr Michael Ingham (ex officio) Niki Whitby (ex officio)
Philip Blunt (ex officio) Ian Hucklesby(ex officio)
Deanery Synod representatives (to 2020)
Jane Blunt(ex officio)
Phil Christie (ex officio)
Elected to 2020
Josie Charter (resigned
Elected to 2021
Elected to 2022
Julia Mitchell Keith Page Keith White Paul Housego
Ian MacKellar (also ex officio as
diocesan synod lay member)
Christine Harris (ex officio)
|Hon electoral roll officer
|Organist and choirmaster (Fenstanton)
|Organist and choirmaster (Fen Drayton)
|Bell Captain (Fenstanton)
|Envelope scheme co-ordinator
|Flower arranging (Fenstanton)
|Hon vergers (Fenstanton)
Jane Blunt Philip Blunt Barrie Ashworth
|Children & families co-ordinator
|Safeguarding co-ordinator (until Nov)
|Safeguarding co-ordinator (from Nov)
|Sidesmen, readers etc. rota compilers
Joy Saunders Phil Christie
|Church Centre bookings
|Social Media co-ordinator (until June)
|Health & safety officer
Vicar’s report Revd Rosie Tallowin
Our APCM reports for 2019 will not only give you a snapshot view of our parish, Fen Drayton with Fenstanton, but also tell you how blessed we are with so many activities undertaken to help reach out into our community, together with groups formed and meetings held to organise fund-raising, or to be involved in the day to day running of the churches.
Of course, I can only really comment from 10th July 2019, my licensing date, but I could see from my visits to the parish earlier in the year that both churches were loved and cared for by the communities they seek to serve. Yes, of course, both churches need constant care and attention, St Mary’s perhaps more than St Peter & St Paul, to try to keep up with the aging demands of old church buildings but, as Jesus reminded us in 1 Corinthians 12, it is the people that are “the church”.
And there are so many people to thank for their help given not only during the vacancy but as their “new Vicar” arrived. I want neither to embarrass people by giving individuals a special mention nor embarrass myself by omitting anyone, so a very big thank you to anyone and everyone.
As we look forward into a new PCC year ahead, and the life of this parish as the two churches continue to grow together, I want to encourage us in our thinking; to develop ways of nurturing and communicating faith to our communities, growing leaders, serving our community, and, perhaps one of our main thoughts for 2020, to re-imagine our church buildings.
As you know, St Mary’s requires some major works to bring this beautiful but ancient building into a place where people can find a quiet space for reflection or enjoy a choral concert, with the added facilities of heating, toilets and refreshments easily provided. But this will be a big undertaking in the light of the recent Quinquennial Inspection. However, it does give us the opportunity to really think about St Mary’s and to be creative and imaginative as we plan its refurbishment and how we might apply for grants to bring our plans into reality. The same, too, for St Peter & St Paul. When we plan our services and events, a question in my mind is – how can we do this better, make our church more accessible, or use our space more effectively?
This is where the other half of my rôle here in this parish comes into being. I would probably be creative and imaginative if I were parish priest without the pioneer element of my job, because pioneering is part of who I am: it’s part of how I think and work.
As both communities of Fen Drayton and Fenstanton move forwards in the coming months, with their expansion due to new housing, I am always on the lookout for ways in which we can engage well and maybe differently. I know the church buildings are hard to miss, their spires a signpost for all for miles around, but my prayer is that our village communities will know that our churches are not just evident by their spires but because the church, as the people of God, inspires and encourages all who are part of our community to feel welcome, loved and valued.
Philip Blunt and Ian Hucklesby, wardens, and Phil Christie, sub-warden
Without a doubt, the highlight of parochial church life in Fen Drayton with Fenstanton in 2019 has been the appointment and installation of Rev Rosie Tallowin as our priest-incharge, bringing to an end nearly two years of interregnum for Fenstanton and four years for Fen Drayton, much to the relief of the churchwardens. Since Rosie’s installation in July it is
gratifying to note how quickly she has assimilated the finer points of the way the parish has been operating during the interregnum and been able to put an orderly and considered ‘stamp’ on pastoral duties and parish activities. By virtue of her prodigious memory for names and faces, together with assiduous attention to detail, she has managed seamlessly to take on a leadership role in our on-going activities, to navigate the flurry of new legislation and guidelines from the diocese concerning safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults as well as to start the process of formulating a wider vision for the parish and, in her role as a pioneer minister, in the wider local area.
For the first six months of the year up to Rosie’s installation we were able to maintain our worship and other activities at both churches in the parish thanks to the continuing support of our Rural Dean at the time (Revd Canon Brian Atling), who continued as our priest-in-charge during the interregnum, and also to retired clergy in the deanery, notably Canon Jonathan Young and Revd Dr Clifford Owen, who continued to take our Sunday Eucharists and other services. We are also indebted to Geoff Dodgson (LLM) who took most of our Evensong services for the first six months of the year and to our own LLMs (Michael Ingham, Harvey Marshall and Niki Whitby) who have not only taken on the added responsibilities that have inevitably arisen during the interregnum but have also provided support to Rosie as she eases herself into her new role.
Since Rosie’s arrival our activities have continued with renewed vigour and our worship services have continued generally as before but are now being led mostly by Rosie or our own LLMs. The various committees that support the work of the PCC have been given a fillip by the interest and support they have received from Rosie’s active participation. In particular, the newly re-branded Children and Families Group (previously Children’s Work Group) is flourishing under Katie Hucklesby’s energetic and enthusiastic leadership and the work of the pastoral visiting group has been overhauled to ensure that it complies with the latest diocesan guidelines on safeguarding and data protection in accordance with the law of the land. Indeed, the following report testifies to the continuing busyness of the parish and a glance at the parish diary (another initiative which Rosie has melded into a coherent and living document) will quickly confirm that convening meetings which do not clash with other events is no easy matter. Despite this, the seeds of new initiatives are beginning to germinate under the umbrella of Rosie’s pioneering rôle, and we look forward eagerly to developments in the next 12 months.
Many of the achievements of the PCC in which we take enormous pride would not be possible without the efforts of two of our lay team who deserve to be singled out for their contributions to parish life that go far beyond normal expectations. First, our treasurer, Christine Harris, who continues to give so generously of her time to manage the parish finances with such efficiency and accuracy. As always, Christine’s report below gives only the smallest hint of the work required to persuade regular givers to switch to the diocese’s parish giving scheme and to establish new bank accounts which reflect the structure of the combined parish, let alone the day-to-day control of income and expenditure. Undaunted, Christine is now preparing to introduce a new accounting package to facilitate the merger of the two, currently separate, accounts for St Mary’s and St Peter and St Paul’s into one, while, at the same time, replacing the ageing and unwieldy spreadsheet model that has served for the last 15 or more years.
Secondly, we are indebted to our secretary, Ian MacKellar, for his tireless work not only in documenting our parish meetings but also in collating and producing our weekly notices sheet all of which he does with ‘scholarship’ and good humour. Ian’s role as Deanery secretary and membership of the diocesan synod are also invaluable in keeping the parish abreast of the latest initiatives in the diocese and for ensuring that we perform in accordance with the latest Church Representation Rules.
Finally, a huge thank you is due to all who help to keep the show on the road. So many people in our parish give their time and talents to help in the life and work of our churches whether it be those who volunteer for churchyard and church-cleaning parties and regular cleaning, those who beautify our churches with flowers, those who serve refreshments after
our services and bake lovely cakes for us, those who print our notices, fliers and orders of service, those who organise and help with Sunday Club, those who organise our house groups, those who collect, count and bank our money, those who serve on the Church Centre committee and maintain the Centre as an increasingly useful asset to our community outreach, those on the restoration committee and their indefatigable helpers at fund-raising events, those on the Fabric committee who help to maintain the church in good order, our electoral roll officer and the Community Fund committee. We are truly blessed with breadth and range of talents in our church community and we thank God for it.
Review of PCC activity 2019 Secretary: Ian MacKellar
This is the first full year of our parish’s existence, and one in which we bade farewell to Canon Brian Atling (and his constantly cheerful wife, Margaret) and welcomed our new priest-in-charge [now Rector], the Rev Rosie Tallowin, and her helpful husband, Vic. It was interesting to note the different approaches to parish administration.
It was a year of consolidation, both administratively and pastorally, as the parish adjusted to running two churches and several people took to worshipping in both of them.
For the record, the PCC has complied with the duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 (duty to have regard to House of Bishops’ guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults).
The PCC met physically 10 times during the course of the year and twice ‘virtually’ (a phenomenon now recognised officially by the Church Representation Rules under which we operate). Attendance at PCC meetings has averaged around 70 per cent. With a total of 22 members, nearly half of them serving by virtue of some other position in the parish, deanery or diocese, and just 12 of them elected, it would be surprising if everyone managed to attend every meeting. Nonetheless, we need to reflect on the implications for decision-making in a parish as busy as ours. It may be a function of a newish parish, combined with a new incumbent, but we seem to have spent much time on business and organisational matters and our buildings at the expense of developing our spiritual life. I expect Rev Rosie will want to
move us on from there.
Inevitably, the early months of 2019 were taken up with the process of finding a new priest for the parish and pioneer ministry in new housing developments in settlements here and nearby. We were lucky that our parish profile document attracted two very able candidates to be interviewed in late March. All members of the PCC and other people, such as school heads, had the chance to meet both candidates and their spouses over lunch on the day of the interviews. As it turned out, Huntingdon Deanery gained both of them: the unsuccessful candidate here was appointed only days later to another benefice with several parishes.
The work of the parish went on, however, in particular compliance with safeguarding and employment legislation, the latter concluding later in the year with a formal contract with our longserving organist and choirmaster (for the first time in more than a quarter of a century). Training in safeguarding of young people and vulnerable adults is more or less up to date, but some Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for PCC members remain outstanding.
Shortly before Rev Rosie’s arrival, the congregations decamped for Petertide to Ely Cathedral for Paul Garnell’s ordination as deacon (as we may well for his priesting in 2020). We were thrilled to be able to host a party in Fenstanton Church Centre for him, Sonia and Owen to wish them God’s blessing on their new ministry in Coton.
Work on our Development Action Plan – more specifically, those elements inherited and progressed from the former Fenstanton parish – has continued, though we shall need to formulate a new plan in 2020, now that the parish is properly established, and the two worshipping communities can develop together. In the meantime, St Mary’s has had significant input into Fen Drayton Parish Council’s consultation on the future of facilities in the village, including better use of the church building (Philip Blunt will doubtless comment on its ‘heritage at risk’ status in his Fabric Committee report).
Rev Rosie’s licensing was a joyful occasion, presided over by Bishop Stephen and led by our new Rural Dean, the Rev
Ian Brennand, and followed by welcome refreshments in Fenstanton churchyard. Surprisingly, it was the first such occasion to which the Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Julie Spence, the official representative of HM The Queen, head of the Church of England, had ever been invited. She wrote afterwards to say how much she and her husband had enjoyed the evening. Rev Rosie’s first Sunday service in the parish was at St Mary’s, and the two congregations joined afterwards for lunch at the Church Centre.
Her tenure has already seen several organisational changes in parish administration, as well as an experiment with same-day 9.30am and 10.30am services at Fen Drayton and Fenstanton respectively on second and fourth Sundays. The timing has proved too tight to be pastorally satisfactory, so the PCC will be looking for better arrangements in 2020. The PCC did, however, organise two popular weekday services of Holy Communion with meals for the older residents of the parish, masterminded by Barrie Ashworth and made possible by a lot of hard work by other parishioners.
Looking forward to events in 2020, the PCC began work on celebrations of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers (including Fenstanton’s John Howland) on the Mayflower. Towards the end of the year it became clear that, as a ‘daughter’ church, St Mary’s had fallen victim to ‘Catch 22’ as a marriage venue: the Bishop’s consent was required for a marriage to take place there, but – thanks to some inattentive drafting of the relevant legislation – only an incumbent was entitled to ask for it. As priest-in-charge, Rev Rosie was not an incumbent, so it was necessary to make her so to preserve St Mary’s as a venue for marriages. She and the PCC have both assented to that, and she should have been formally ‘collated’ by the time this report is read. Sadly for her, no enhanced emolument is offered for her new status!
Reports from committees
Pastoral Committee Chairman: Revd Canon Brian Atling, followed by Rev Rosie Tallowin
Virtually everything we do in this parish has a pastoral element. For the purposes of this report, however, we have separated matters that bear on the spiritual life of the congregation and communities – other than those involving future generations, for which we make additional and special provision (Children’s Work Group) – from our financial and community responsibilities for maintenance of our church buildings (Fabric and Church Centre) and funding the clerical ministry (Finance). This deals with those other matters.
We continued to be blessed during the first few months of the year by a combination of the willingness of two retired priests in particular to lead services and for the help of four licensed lay ministers. Canon Jonathan Young and the Revd Clifford Owen, who each took at least one service a month, both became part of our worshipping community, along with their wives, Sue and Avis. We have had the additional blessing of no fewer than four LLMs and our own tame ordinand until his deaconing at Petertide and his departure to become curate in the Lordsbridge team. Our stalwart Harvey Marshall continued to lead services, preach and comfort bereaved families with sensitive funeral services in church and at the crematorium. Although not licensed to this parish, Geoff Dodgson presided at Evensong until Rev Rosie’s arrival and has taken some services since. Michael Ingham is an occasional and inspirational preacher. He led our Good Friday devotion in 2019, beginning in Fen Drayton and concluding, following a walk with the Cross, in Fenstanton. And our new star, Niki Whitby, in her first full year under the blue stole, has been at the apex of bringing our two churches’ congregations together, leading and assisting at most of St Mary’s services (including designing the Harvest Festival service with God’s Gang) and occasionally preaching in Fenstanton, too. An earlier start time in Fen Drayton from Easter 2020 – to facilitate Rev Rosie’s leading services in both churches on the same morning and being pastorally available afterwards – might challenge Niki’s alarm clock. To add to her workload, she is now on the Board of Readers.
Melding the two former parishes has been a gradual process. We have sought neither to force it nor to influence it. Nonetheless, some folk from Fen Drayton have come to worship happily in Fenstanton, and several from Fenstanton have found St Mary’s a holy and welcoming, if occasionally chilly, refuge. It is one of the manifest successes of the new parish. The introduction of proper coffee after morning services at St Mary’s has done nothing to deter attendance!
While we have not had the joy of a wedding at St Mary’s since 2016, nor at the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, Fenstanton, since 2018, we have set wedding bells ringing once more in 2020. The status of St Mary’s as the ‘daughter’ church means, thanks to a quirk of legal drafting, that any marriage there requires specific consent from the Bishop – but a priest-incharge has no right of audience on the matter. So the Bishop asked Rev Rosie and the PCC whether we would all consent to her becoming incumbent vicar of the parish. Naturally, wedid, and that change of status was scheduled to take place in mid-March 2020.
The Visiting Group became the Parish Pastoral Care Group in September 2019, to reflect the communities we seek to serve as a parish, not just Fenstanton, but Fen Drayton too. To that end we welcomed a new member into the group, who lives in Fen Drayton, but at the same time said ‘au revoir’ to another member who resigned. Our thanks go to both, for their willingness to serve in this particular area of ministry and mission of the church.
The group is very aware that many people are kind friends and neighbours and look out for one another throughout the year, which is much appreciated by all. But the group felt that the Parish Pastoral Care Group should have a clear purpose, which is “to keep in touch with and/or to visit people, as requested, providing that a connection with the parish has been established.” It was felt that this enabled us to stay in touch with people who had had to move into a care home, for example, and we know that in a time of change such as when moving away from home and community, a friendly face can bring comfort in new surroundings. The group continues to meet bi-monthly or as appropriate, to make visits to those who are housebound, and those who are seriously sick at home or in hospital and endeavours to make sure that cards are sent or given, or visits made where possible. The new ‘Keeping in Touch’ form for the parish has also broadened our horizons, to enable us literally to keep in touch with our communities, as requested and as appropriate, and complies with GDPR.
The ministry of home Communion has grown this year as people have become more poorly and unable to get to church. It was felt that the Older People’s Communion and lunch, held mid-week in the Church Centre, had been well received and around 40 people had attended, which gave many opportunities to put into action our pastoral care conversations. It has been suggested that we run a similar event for Communion and lunch in Fen Drayton, possibly at the Village Hall: this is something to be explored for 2020.
The Memory Tree, in place in Fenstanton Church for the first time at the parish All Souls’ service, was received well, with over 180 hearts and stars given out to those who wanted to remember a loved one. At least 140 hearts and stars were placed on the tree from All Souls’, during Advent and through to Christmas. Many of those had several names on them.
Looking forward into 2020, the idea of a café is well supported. It is hoped that the Fenstanton Community Café will be held in the Church Centre and be run by the community for the community. It may help us to reach those who may feel isolated, or need company, maybe because they are new to the village, but also to those who are bereaved, as well as provide a friendly place for our community to gather.
Development Action Plan
We inherited four strands of Fenstanton’s DAP, though the new PCC did not address a new plan during 2019. I expect that will feature in next year’s report. A key workstream of the Fenstanton plan, however, was to implement the parochial merger as seamlessly as possible. That seems to have worked quite well. Other elements were improvements to treatment of bereaved families and support for both the children’s church and older young people’s activities, which have been pursued successfully by what has now been re-named the Children and Families Group. The need for a further strand of work emerged towards the end of the year, when it became clear that the PCC would need to develop a policy on the use of our church buildings to meet our obligation under Lever 4 of the diocesan strategy to reimagine the use of our buildings.
Diocesan and Deanery Synods
PCC receives regular reports from the wider church in the hope of improving understanding of the Church of England beyond our parish boundaries. This is starting to bear fruit, with the extensive adoption of the Parish Giving Scheme, a scheme to index-link planned giving, and the imminent deployment of card-readers in the pews to reflect the growing trend towards a cashless society. Our congregations seem to be taking greater interest in what is going on in the wider CofE, particularly in initiatives to make parishes more relevant to the secular communities they serve.
Huntingdon Deanery Synod met three times during 2019, with a change of Rural Dean in mid-year, Canon Brian Atling ceding the clergy chairmanship to the Rev Ian Brennand. The synod considered a wide range of matters, from Living in Love and Faith, where the controversy over human identity, sexuality and marriage was foreshadowed, to a variety of ‘good practice’ presentations that were generated from a popular re-working of synod agendas. Topics covered parish administration, re-imagining the use of church buildings (Lever 4 of the diocesan strategy), our own Katie Hucklesby giving what proved to be a popular and stimulating exposition on involving families in church and worship, and an explanation of how to help parishioners with sight loss take a fuller part in church life.
Our two house-groups continue to be popular. Emmaus, an ecumenical group, drawing five to 10 members from several different places of worship, meets every couple of weeks on Sunday evenings. It sometimes follows a printed course and often focuses on a reading, combined with open discussion, reflection and prayer. The Wednesday House Group continued to meet approximately monthly, with four to eight people attending regularly. The meetings typically included listening to a piece of music, a bible reading, discussion of the main topic in it and, at the end of the session, prayer for particular needs in the community and the wider world.
The Churches Together group continues to meet two or three times a year, with members of the URC, to co-ordinate calendars and to plan joint services and other events. For 2019, there was a joint service for the week of prayer for Christian unity, in May at the start of Christian Aid week and in November for Remembrance Sunday at the parish church. An ecumenical Lent course took place, as did an Advent evening. Rev Dr Catherine Ball and Rev Rosie are already planning a “Joint Lent Event” for 2020 and a shared Songs of Praise service for May 2020, as well as the usual joint services throughout the year.
For some years, rather than giving small sums to many charities, Fenstanton church has chosen a ‘parish charity’ – alternately UK-based and with predominantly overseas activities. Last year, we supported Coroners’ Courts Support Service and are delighted to have raised £3,016 through various activities and Christmas services. This, we gather, is enough to run the Huntingdon group for 15 months. We have had very good communication from Roey Burden (founder trustee of CCSS), and a well-received talk in church from Samantha Shaw, who was the volunteer co-ordinator for the region. In 2020, our ‘abroad’ charity will be Mission to Seafarers. In addition, the PCC is committed to continuing support (£150 a month) for AquAid Lifeline in Malawi, a charity of which Josie Charter is trustee. She visits regularly and brings back informative and amusing commentaries. Further, we have supported the Children’s Society (Christingle), the Poppy Appeal (Remembrance Sunday) and Christian Aid (which focused on vulnerable mothers in Sierra Leone). The total given to other causes via the PCC was £1,245 (not including the standing order for Malawi, which totalled £1,650).
This fund was established after members of Fenstanton PCC identified a potential need for emergency financial help for people living in the village or having a strong association with it. We have now amended the scope of the fund so that it now covers both villages. There is a small committee that manages any applications, and sometimes talking through the situation can be as valuable as any monetary help we may be able to offer. The fund is publicised within our communities through flyers, posters, the church website and inclusion in both Spectrum and Fen Drayton Focus. Applications to the Fund, either personally or on behalf of another, can be made through the churchwardens or via the dedicated e-mail address, email@example.com. We had three applications during the last year, one of which did not meet our criteria. We made two discretionary payments, for £535 and £102.78.
The pack, designed to point new residents towards local services and introduce them to our churches, was revised to make the contents relevant to both villages and delivered to every home in Fen Drayton. Packs were also delivered to 61 homes in homes in Fenstanton after house moves had taken place. It was well received by those who were in when it was delivered.
In April and May St Mary’s joined with the Fen Drayton Parish Council in an extensive consultation process to determine the local needs for the church and the village. This confirmed encouragingly strong support for the church as a village amenity as well as a place of worship. In response we planned a programme of events in the church, the first being a concert on the Gift Day/Church Tidy Day in September, which was enthusiastically received by an excellent audience. Other events included an Easter Egg hunt, a school harvest service led by Geoff Dodgson and attended by 110 people, a child-friendly harvest service with God’s Gang, refreshments in church after the Remembrance Day service that 85 people attended, and our largest-ever pop-up choir for a full-house carol service.
The choir prepared special music to be sung at Fenstanton for three choral evensongs, Easter Day and the service of readings and carols for Christmas. We also supported choirs at Swavesey and Hemingford Abbots and welcomed their singers to services at Fenstanton. We strive to maintain a moderate standard of musicianship and encompass a wide range of church music. New singers of all ages are welcome.
Around eight visitors joined the ringing group and celebrated the ringing in of the New Year at St Peter and St Paul, Fenstanton, with the sound of bells and a glass of champagne. We are fortunate to have a core of nine ringers, which enables ringing before most Sunday morning services. Three successful quarter peals (around 45 minutes, including 1,260 changes) were rung by members of our group at various local churches for special occasions. Monday ringing continues on a monthly rota, taking in Hilton, Houghton, Fenstanton and Holywell. The beginners/learners practice night on Tuesdays continues to flourish. New ringers are welcome.
The Fenstanton church website, http://www.fenstantonparishchurch.org.uk, includes a daily diary of church events and services, reference to safeguarding policy, the latest rotas used for serving and reading, and forthcoming events etc. The Fen Drayton service calendar and events can be found on A Church Near You, https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/2835/.
Children and Families Group Leader: Katie Hucklesby
During 2019, the Children’s Work Group became the Children and Families Group to reflect the broader nature of our activities. Our aim is to engage with our younger church members to grow and develop their Christian understanding and faith through small age-appropriate groups, informal lay-led worship and special family events.
The team in Fenstanton meets at least monthly to plan Sunday Clubs, Worship for All services, Family Communions and for occasions like Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas. We met with the team from Fen Drayton church in the spring and planned a parish bowling trip to St Ives (bowling funded by PCC) which was much enjoyed by 25 children plus parents. Thanks to Gwen and Paul for chips and party bags shared. So as not to overload the CFG agenda, our mid-week activities of Jaffa Club and Teenage Christians are planned separately and prepared by those who lead them.
A year of comings and goings. During 2019, we have said ‘goodbye’ to three families (six children) who have moved away from the village. We shared in the joy of Paul Garnell’s ordination and we wish all the family well as they settle in Coton. We still enjoy Owen’s company at mid-week Jaffa Club. As mentioned earlier, during July we welcomed Rev Rosie to the parish, and it was encouraging to have many of our young people take part in the service of Installation.
At Fenstanton we have 20 different families and 34 children/young people who regularly worship with us on a Sunday. A further (and different) six children join us at our midweek events/worship.
Sunday Club continues to meet on first, third and fifth Sundays. We are delighted now to have Christine Harris and Caroline Stevens on the SC team to help lead and plan sessions to enable a range of activities to be offered to those who attend aged between 2 and 15. The team continues to plan and lead our monthly 10.30am Worship for All services, presenting the Gospel in an informal style, easy-to-understand language or explanation, with activities/crafts to help our youngest worshippers to understand and grow in faith. A new easy-to-follow service sheet is produced each month to reflect the theme, along with the names printed inside for each child on their baptism anniversary and additional information/adverts /contact information on the back pages for parishioners to take away with them. We regularly have 15-20 children/young people with us and almost all take part in some way either by playing in the band, reading a prayer or holding an item to illustrate a prayer, acting or reading the bible story, taking the collection or helping with crafts or with toddlers on the toy mat. Attendance figures remain strong: at our June service when TC youngsters helped write and lead the service along with Kate Tuplin and Paul Seear, we had 30 children and 55 adults worshipping together. Most people stay after the service and share in refreshments (generously baked and donated) and chat but we still need to make our seating at the back more inclusive of our older less agile parishioners who need to sit to drink tea/coffee and chat.
The CFG team also helps Rosie plan our Family Communion services and provide activities to enable the children to learn alongside the adults in church. Families or groups within the church lead the intercessions too. Bowling in St Ives One new introduction this year at Fenstanton has been a Baptism-themed photo frame displayed in the families’ corner with a photo of each child who has been baptised into the church family this year. It is hoped the visual display of each child will help us all to remember the families in our prayers. On their special day each child is now given a “Prayer Bear”
– a knitted teddy bear (thanks Pam Hucklesby) with a personalised prayer label attached. So far, they have been warmly received by two children in Fenstanton and one in Fen Drayton. Rosie is visiting the school in Fenstanton to lead an assembly each term, and the whole school is welcomed to church for services at Easter and Christmas. In the autumn, we welcomed Fenstanton Pre-school for a Harvest celebration, and the children frequently ask to visit and look around the church when out for a village walk with Pre-school staff.
A highlight of the year was to have 4 young people and an adult come forward for Confirmation. Confirmation preparation was led by Rev Rosie and lots of folks from the parish supported the candidates in Ely Cathedral for the Confirmation itself by Bishop Stephen and Bishop Dagmar. Several of our young people have joined Fen Band to play at Worship for All services while others have joined the serving team for our Holy Communion services, and it is great to have all their contributions to our worship.
Teenage Christians continue to meet on Fridays with Kate Tuplin and Paul Seear as leaders. The group now ranges in age from 10 to 15, and we are trying to explore setting up a group for older teenagers. We can have up to 13 young people attend to explore faith and the Bible through challenges, crafts and games. Topics recently have included looking at the life of Joseph and David, and evenings of baking cookies and carol singing around Fenstanton were extremely popular with the group (and delicious). Another highlight was our Joseph-themed Worship for All service in Fenstanton in June when our very able TC-ers helped plan the service, dramatise the story, write and lead the prayers.
In Fen Drayton, God’s Gang met on the first Sunday of the month during 2019, with the exception of our August summer break and September because of sickness. Usually we have met in the village hall in Fen Drayton for craft, games and tea. Our topics this year have included Lent, spring and growing, light and being brave. We also joined in with familyfriendly services with crafts in St Mary’s church on Mothering Sunday followed by tea, and Easter Sunday with an Easter egg hunt (thanks to Claire and family). In May, we joined with all the parish children and youth for bowling in St Ives (thanks to the PCC for funding this successful parish-wide event). In July we enjoyed the sunshine, swimming in Fenstanton (many thanks again to Joy for the loan of her pool). In October, we were back in St Mary’s church to host the Fen Drayton school choir for a family-friendly harvest service with crafts and tea (thanks to Diane and her team). We ended the year in December by joining together as a parish in Fenstanton church for the Christingle service and tea.
All our activities (sometimes the team prepare for six to eight different sessions a month) would not be possible without hours of planning and preparation put in by a fantastic team who all share the same mission to encourage and support all children to grow in faith. Katie Hucklesby was asked to share the team’s work, the variety of activities we offer at a Deanery Synod which was well received by those attending and it is hoped some ideas would be
transferable to other parishes.
On behalf of the parish I would like to thank the whole team for their enthusiasm,
imagination, dedication and hours given to share and live out their faith in this way.
Fabric Committee Chairman: Philip Blunt
The Fabric Committee continued to meet with nine members. There were four meetings of the committee in January, April, July and September 2019 and also a meeting in November of a working group formed to develop proposals for re-ordering at the parish church as mandated at the PCC meeting in September 2019. Members of the committee also attended a meeting with Heritage England at St Mary’s, Fen Drayton, in March.
St Peter and St Paul, Fenstanton (the Parish Church)
There was a delay of some three months in the start of the drainage upgrade works that had been planned during the preceding year. This was as a result of the preferred bidder for the works (Cambridge Stonecraft) being unable to proceed due to problems at his depot and ongoing commitments. In the end, the architect (with agreement from the preferred tenderer) was able to engage another approved contractor (Pinnocks) who undertook the works at the same tender price as Stonecraft. Work was finally started in early June and once started the project was carried out without major issues, although unexpected additional work (and expenditure) arose following removal of the daïs in the north aisle. It was expected that floor tiling would continue under the daïs but, in fact, there was a void that had to be filled and tiled to match the adjacent floor. Some savings were made by combining two soakaways on the south side of the nave into a single, larger soakaway. Minor leadwork repairs originally included in the main contract works were finally completed by direct engagement of the lead worker. Practical completion of the work was achieved at the end of August at a final cost of £27,800 + VAT and has resulted in a greatly improved appearance of the north aisle, especially after lime-wash coatings were applied later in the year by members of the committee. Architect’s fees were £5,400. Grants totalling £6,000 had been obtained towards the cost of the works and 95 per cent of the VAT paid was recovered through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.
The meeting of the working group for re-ordering of the parish church in November followed on from a visit and email report by the diocesan church buildings adviser, Geoffrey Hunter, received in March 2019 but with further action deferred to enable our new vicar to provide input. It is hoped that proposals for re-ordering discussed at the meeting can be taken forward in the coming year.
Monitoring of substantial cracks in the masonry of the tower and vestries at the west end of the church reported last year continued. The architect inspected the affected areas in October 2019 and sent an email report with advice on action that should be considered. This needs to be followed up in the near future.
Normal routine maintenance and cleaning were carried out, as well as clearance of the vicarage barn of unwanted items ahead of the new vicar’s arrival.
St Mary's Church, Fen Drayton
St Mary’s fabric is in need of extensive work, for repair, renovation and improvement, for which National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) funding will be sought. Over the past 12 months the downpipe on the NW nave wall has been replaced, the front pews on the centre and north aisle have been removed and stored at the west end, some rotten woodwork on the pulpit has been replaced and the main door has been reset, so that it opens easily for the first time in several years. These actions have greatly improved the day-to-day use of the church, and the extra space at the front of the nave has benefited both service leaders and performers. A small fall of plaster from the west end of the south aisle has resulted in the plaster being removed from the SW window arch as a precautionary measure. A parting of the bell rope prompted a detailed inspection of the bell-chamber, revealing a number of actions necessary to enable safe access for repair and replacement of parts of the bell-chiming mechanism.
NHLF applications require demonstrable use of the building as a community amenity, and not just as a place of worship, so we will continue to engage with the village and the parish in a programme of events and shared activities. After a meeting with Heritage England in March, HE placed St Mary’s, which is a Grade II* listed building, on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register. This will help us to qualify for NHLF funding.
Church Centre Committee and Fundraising
Chairman: Ian Hucklesby
The Church Centre at Fenstanton continues to serve the church and local community. The Church Centre committee has ensured the building has been regularly maintained and improvements made during the year. This included some internal redecoration, ‘hedgehog’ covers fitted to the external guttering, external lights replaced, extractor fan repaired and an upgrade to the electrics in the kitchen, which means the commercial dishwasher is much more efficient. As the year ended, Wi-Fi was to be installed in the coming weeks with the aim to make the building more attractive to potential users. The hope is to encourage more daytime use by local businesses, public services etc. During the year, a couple of people stepped down from the committee and along with them we thank all who give of their time to carry out repairs and maintenance enabling our bills to be much lower than they might otherwise be. Special mention to our bookings secretary and treasurer, who along with our cleaner manage the day to day bookings and contact with hirers to a standard that is often complimented.
During the past year, the Restoration committee’s main focus has been to organise fundraising social events as well as the house-to-house envelope collection in Fenstanton during September. (This raised £2,801.62). Three events (Sing and Verse with Supper, Pimm’s and Pâté, and Mulled Wine) raised a total of £3,281.50. A Midsummer Barn Dance was also organised by this committee and the Village Hall Trust and held in a barn at Manor Farm, Low Road, during June, raising a further £805 for each organisation. These social events are well supported by our church family, the wider village and beyond and help to build the sense of community that we all enjoy. We are most grateful to the kind hosts who freely open their homes and gardens to us. The Restoration committee also helped to organise a well-supported concert at Fen Drayton Church in September which raised in excess of £550 specifically for St Mary’s Church restoration. The St Mary’s Gift Day appeal raised in excess of £1,000, before Gift Aid recovery, for which we are most grateful. Events such as these require a lot of detailed planning and organisation and I am grateful to the committee for all they have done to help Winter morning light on St Mary’s east window make them successful financially to help maintain our church buildings and as social occasions for many to enjoy.
We have held three lunches this past year, in aid of Fenstanton church’s chosen local charity, The Coroners’ Courts Support Service. The lunches attract regular church members from both our churches and villagers alike. At the Lent Lunch we fed 76 and raised £473.92, the Harvest Lunch fed 51 and raised £620.17 and the total raised at the Christmas Lunch was £696.67 (attended by 76), making a grand total of £1,790.76. Each occasion had a friendly, social atmosphere and the meals seem to be appreciated and enjoyed.
Finance Committee Treasurer: Christine Harris
Once again it was a very busy year across the accounting function. There have been some notable achievements during the year. The Treasurer gave a presentation on the Parish Giving Scheme in both churches, which was received positively. At 31st December 2019 there were 35 people signed up to the scheme. There are 13 members of the community who contribute by standing order. The total in regular giving saw an uplift as the new scheme bedded in. This did result however in reduced plate collections, but it is more advantageous to secure regular monthly giving with the immediate return of Gift Aid. Overall, the amount given was £32,049 with £8,889 being received back in Gift Aid. The Charity of the year chosen by Fenstanton Parish church was CCSS. The fundraising and Christmas services produced a total of £3,016. The PCC approved the increase in payment to Aquaid to £150 monthly from April. The total paid to Aquaid was £1,650. The total paid to charities in 2019 was £5,911 which is 11.75 per cent of our income.
The newly-formed Finance committee met eight times during the year, discussing topics including ‘old Fen Drayton accounts’, ‘old trusts’, and ‘areas to make savings’. The committee was pleased to welcome Rosie in July.
Another notable achievement was the annual house-to-house collection for the Restoration fund. The amount raised was £2,801.62, a new record. The Treasurer is very grateful to Julia Mitchell for her support and help with counting, banking etc. The Restoration box scheme still contributes to the Restoration fund. The total raised for 2019 was £447.55. The Treasurer would like to thank Denise Hayles for all her work delivering and collecting the boxes.
The parish proudly paid the total of its parish share. Income continues to be generated from the old trust funds. Some of them are yielding a return of 3.5 per cent, which is excellent, together with capital growth. Going forward, it is important that the Finance committee discuss options for some of the capital that we hold. It is very important to try to generate as much growth as possible without taking undue risks.
Towards the end of the year the Treasurer took possession of the new Card Readers which were agreed by the Diocese. The Fenstanton card reader was used for the first time at a wedding early in 2020. The card reader offers the potential to generate more income at special events. The Treasurer attended some events representing the parish. A deanery treasurers’ meeting was held in March. She also attended a training day in the summer. In September she attended a Gift Aid workshop in Peterborough. It is hoped that there will be more informative events in 2020.
The biggest challenge will be to merge the accounts of the two churches into one set. This has not been possible during 2019, because of problems sorting out the old Fen Drayton bank accounts. It is likely that a completely new accounts package will be needed. As a parish, we continue to face many challenges in maintaining the church buildings and supporting the whole community. We are very lucky in this community to have so many people who give so generously in all sorts of ways. The treasurer will do everything she can to keep costs down where possible and increase income, ensuring the stability of the finances.
Statistics and administration
Electoral roll and church attendance
The year began and ended with 128 names on the Electoral Roll of the parish (though not all of them the same 128), which meant the PCC was entitled to have 12 elected members in addition to those who serve ex officio by virtue of their positions as ministers, churchwardens and members of synods. The roll is, of course, dynamic, with people leaving because of house moves, death or other reasons, and new members joining. Those numbers were equal over the first seven months of our new parish, so we ended 2018 with 128 names on the electoral roll. A completely new roll was prepared in 2019 to last until the next full revision in five further years’ time. Church attendance, as reflected in the Church of England’s Statistics for Mission, remained broadly constant compared with
In 2019, between the two churches, we had seven baptisms, no marriages and 7 funerals.
The PCC has published policies on many matters of safety and probity, including health and safety, safeguarding, conflicts of interest, data privacy and equal opportunities. All such policies are reviewed annually by the annual parochial meeting.
Health & safety
The health and safety of our congregations, visitors and buildings are discussed at every business meeting of our PCC. Risk assessments are reviewed periodically, particularly if changes are made to buildings or new activities undertaken. There were no notifiable events during 2019, but falls of plaster in both churches required areas to be closed off pending repairs.
Safeguarding of our children and vulnerable adults, in particular – and of less obviously vulnerable people, too – lies at the core of our Christian responsibility. It is discussed at every business meeting of the PCC, all members of which must undergo training in safeguarding awareness and must be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service. In addition, people involved in regular contact with children and vulnerable adults must complete training and certification to an appropriate level. There were no reportable concerns during 2019, but we remain alert to the risks.
Thanks and acknowledgements
The PCC wishes to thank the following people for their contributions to the churches and parish during 2019: Canon Brian Atling, Canon Jonathan Young, the Revd Clifford Owen and Geoff Dodgson, LLM, for leading our services regularly before Rev Rosie’s arrival, for their wisdom, patience and good humour, and their wives – respectively Margaret, Sue, Avis and Rosemary – for letting the menfolk out to do so and for joining us at services and at parish social events.
Lorraine Orbell for continuing to manage St Mary’s accounts during the transition to a single parish.
Alex Jaggs for playing the organ in St Mary’s and, together with Tobias, for acting as extra sidespersons on many occasions.
Diane Warboys and her team for decorating St Mary’s at Harvest time and providing a wonderful Harvest tea to the congregation.
Richard Close for regular grass-cutting and everyone who has helped to clean St Mary’s and maintain the churchyard both at the annual church tidy day and throughout the year.
Judith Christie for arranging both flowers and the volunteer flower arrangers in St Mary’s.
Tony Astley for his general support in helping to prepare for services at Fenstanton, and to all who help keep our churches clean and florally decorated.
Amanda Howard for several years’ service co-ordinating our safeguarding compliance.
All those volunteers on the Church Centre Committee and our volunteer gardeners who help, along with our paid cleaner, to keep the Centre in excellent order week in week out. Many more voluntary hours are spent managing the bookings diary (Pam Hucklesby) and all financial aspects of running the venue (Janice Addison).
Anne Groome for overseeing the Electoral Roll.
Carole Crocker for taking charge of the flower rota at St Peter and St Paul.