Document Sample

Agenda for Annual Parish Meeting on 26th April 2009 at 12.00 Noon in the
Church Hall

1. Apologies for absence from those on the Electoral Roll.
2. Minutes of last Annual Parish Meeting (attached).
3. Vicar‟s Report.
4. Secretary‟s Report on the Proceedings of the PCC.
5. Treasurer‟s Report and Presentation of Accounts.
6. Report on Proceedings of Islington Deanery Synod.
7. Churchwardens‟ Report on the Church‟s Fabric and Ornaments
8. Presentation of Revised Electoral Roll.
9. Election of Churchwardens (no vacancies).
10. Election of Representatives to Islington Deanery Synod (no vacancies).
11. Election to Parochial Church Council (at least four vacancies).
12. Election of „Sidesmen‟ (The Welcoming Rota).
13. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts.
14. Any other business.

First Meeting of Newly-Elected Parochial Church Council

1. Election of Officers: Secretary; Treasurer; Vice-Chairperson;
   Electoral Roll Officer.
2. Election of Standing Committee.
3. Dates of future meetings – Tuesday 12th May, Wednesday 15th July and 4 others.
4. Vicar‟s notices.
5. Any other business.
6. The Grace.

Dear Friend,
We hope you can join us for our Annual Parish Meeting as we need your contribution
to the health of St Thomas‟. Please seriously consider taking your turn as a member of
the Parochial Church Council. There are 4 vacancies. These are for 3 years. We are
grateful to those who are willing to continue to serve and to those who have come to
the end of their term of office or have decided to retire for the time being: Cathy
Ingram (PCC Secretary), Anne Williams, John Burrows and Nina Dartford (Members
of PCC).

If you belong to the Electoral Roll and can‟t attend please give your apologies as a
matter of courtesy in advance either to our current PCC Secretary, Cathy Ingram, or to

If it isn‟t possible for you to stand for election this year please encourage others to do
so. It is possible and indeed encouraged for former members, who have enjoyed at
least a year‟s rest, to be elected again with their wealth of experience.
A copy of the revised Electoral Roll is on the notice board in the church hall. If you
are eligible but not on the Roll, your name can be added at this meeting.
In love,

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Sunday 27th April 2008

1. Apologies:
Milla Adeney, Nikki Anderson, Saskia Bennet, John Burrows, Zoe Callaghan,
Marjorie Carr, Raymond Cathline, Julia Chambers, Rob Cheek, Nina Dartford, Emma
Hall, Jade Hall, Jean Hall, Miguel Head, Andrew Kennaugh, Paul Knight, Justice
Konneh, Brenda Lumsden, David McLaughlin, Dorothy Newton,, Tonia Pane,
Rebecca Peer, Mavis Sewchomar, Rob Smith, Victoria Taylor, Sarah Wiles.

2. Minutes of Last Meeting:
Approved and signed by Stephen Coles
Proposed by Ken Ware
Seconded by Sandra Hall

3. Vicar‟s Report
Stephen referred to a card from the Bishop commenting that we are “a very healthy
church” due to our numbers, stewardship campaign and launching of Brandy!

Stephen thanked:
   o PCC for agreeing to the decoration of his staircase,
   o Brandy for all her works and our continuing relationships with Rob P and
       Stephen G
   o Karen and Tony M for their unremitting support and organisation
   o Jenni M and Chris H, particularly as Jenni is retiring as Churchwarden
   o Stav S who is retiring as Treasurer
   o the Stewardship gang
   o greater participation of more of the congregation generally
   o Sandra H as pastoral assistant
   o Leslie for agreeing to train as a pastoral assistant. His focus will be the over
   o more individuals coming together at different times, e.g. the environment
       group and the lent groups

Stephen‟s concerns are that there seem to be fewer of the congregation coming for
refreshments after services which affects welcoming for newcomers.

Stephen noted our concern for others, e.g. signing the petition in favour of a sports
centre at the Arsenal, the petition about the repeal of the blasphemy law which affects
Christians in Pakistan, our Mozambique centenary collection

All were in favour of endorsing the inclusive church petition
Stephen encouraged us to support events like the May Day street party as other ways
of getting together

4. Secretary‟s Report-see enclosed report
Thanks to Cathy I and those who took minutes on her behalf

5. Treasurer‟s Report- see enclosed report
Iain talked us through our present state of affairs and noted a welcome increase in our
giving, though we still have a deficit. Thanks to Stav S who is retiring as Treasurer.

The already inspected accounts were approved
Proposed by Malcolm. Marjoram
Seconded by Catriona Coulter

6. Deanery Synod Report –see enclosed report
Thanks to Catriona and Dorothy. Catriona reported that we have in Michael
Learmouth a new and enthusiastic Area Dean, which is encouraging.

7. Churchwardens‟ Report- see enclosed report
Chris reported on his „Faith in Maintenance‟ training and the notes he made about the
vestry and kitchen, the possibility of turning one of the west end porches into an
office, continuing our roof restoration.

Thanks to Chris, big thanks to Jenni for all her help over the last 5yrs as
churchwarden. We also remembered and appreciated Joe Harper‟s contribution to St
Thomas‟s over 32yrs.

Stephen referred to 3 possible projects to consider over the year:
A) Last phase of roof, approximate cost £113,000. We have been granted by English
Heritage (£23,000), could use some of the Building Fund, also applying to Richard
Cloudesley Trust and may be eligible for more than last time (£10,000)
B) Area behind east end -kitchen and meeting room. We have a joint application with
playgroup to an Arsenal community fund to do kitchen and lavatory as interim
C) Extending opening hours of the church, at present this is only possible due to
Hassan, our cleaner, many thanks to him.

We are considering modifying or replacing the doors to the porch that will become an
office to make it easier for someone to be in the church during longer opening hours.

We can stretch the budget to new torch for Chris.

Support Jenni who is co-ordinating our participation in Heritage Open Day on
Saturday 13th September.

8. Electoral Roll
Anyone is eligible if baptised, over 16yrs, living in the parish or St Thomas‟s is their
habitual place of worship. Our roll this year is 147 this year (compared to 119 last
year) Proposed by Julia Burrows
Seconded by Jane Hodges

9. Elections:
Stephen alerted the meeting that the Church of England has finally caught up with us.
Now we need formally to state if we want any variation on the current rules for

Proposed that Churchwardens should not be in office for more than 5yrs continuously,
then break of at least 2yrs.

Third of PCC newly elected every year. PCC members should then have a break of at
least 1year, unless becoming a churchwarden or representative to Deanery Synod.
No one to serve more than 8yrs continuously.

Proposed by Stephen Coles
Seconded by Kathleen Ponteen
Agreed unanimously.

Election of Churchwarden: Staffan Dawkins Proposed by Jenni McMillan Seconded
by Sandra Hall

10. Deanery Synod:
Catriona Coulter Proposed by Jenni McMillan Seconded by Sandra Hall
Edward Smith Proposed by Sandra Hall Seconded by Tim Wright

11. PCC
Retiring:Bob Gilbert, Nikki Anderson, Brenda Lumsden, Staffan Dawkins, Stav
Elected: Carol Clarke proposed by Jenni McMillan Seconded by Sandra Hall
Cynthia Mapp Proposed by Sandra Hall Seconded by Jenni McMillan,
John Burrows proposed by Iain McSeveny seconded by Nikki Anderson,
Jonathan Shattock proposed by Chris Higgins seconded by Stav Stavrou,
Geoff Morrison Proposed by Jenni McMillan Seconded by Iain McSeveny
Anne Lambourne offered to take over the electoral roll

12. Sidesmen:
Tim Wright ready to continue organising welcoming rota. Geoff Morrison, Wesley
Da Costa Arruda, Amal and Jackie Ajang offered to join it.

13. Appointment of the Independent Examiner of our Accounts:
Alex Sargent is willing to take on this role. Much gratitude.

14. AOB
Vote of thanks to Hassan for agreeing to open the church on Friday afternoons

Thanks to Ken Ware for counting the collection

Bob Gilbert said we are close to getting our eco congregation status confirmed

There will not be an environment month this year; we will include environmental
issues throughout the year.

Is there interest in a Parish Newsletter, possibly quarterly?

Thanks to Iain McSeveney for his role as Sacristan since Tony Mitchell left.

15. The Grace.

Vicar’s Report

We are at an in-between point in the life of St Thomas‟. This is no bad place to be as
we live in-between times. This is obviously true about the world in which we are
living. There can be no return to old ways, but neither can we see clearly into the
future. As followers of Christ this is also true in that the kingdom has come very near
in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet is not fully present.

At St Thomas‟ several people who contributed a great deal to our life have gone or are
about to do so. We are adjusting to those changes. Many of you have started
worshipping regularly with us relatively recently. You are invited to participate in our
life as fully as you are able given your other commitments and responsibilities. We
want you to feel that you have some „ownership‟ of St Thomas‟. You will
undoubtedly enrich us.
One particularly enjoyable consequence of welcoming new members was presenting
five of you for confirmation at St Paul‟s Cathedral on All Saints Day. The service was
led with great panache by the Dean, Graeme Knowles, who is also a bishop.
Somehow the sense of being part of the Church came through more powerfully than it
can by the bishop coming to us, as there were people from all over the diocese,
including Brandy Pearson‟s church in Acton Green.

Joe Harper retired in July after over 25 years as hall keeper and general man about the
parish. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. People still ask after him
affectionately, particularly in Blackstock Road. We are grateful to Edward Smith for
volunteering to take over many of the things that Joe used to do.
Sister Sue also left us for St Anne Hoxton last summer. She was made „mentor‟ to
those thinking of entering the community and needed to be nearer to hand. Sue came
here as Parish Sister in 1991, then after a few years stayed as „just‟ a regular member
of the congregation. She helped us in many ways not least in encouraging the weeks
of guided prayer, more recently as our official photographer. As a result we have
many visible additions to the communion of saints around the walls of the church
building. Emma Sewart has now taken over this role and we hope that all of you will
be mounted by the time you read this!
More sadly Eve Goodwin, our oldest sister, died in December. She seemed to age
suddenly, having looked as if she would reach her century. Eve, along with Christine
Buchanan, who arrives almost without fail in her wheelchair every week and in good
time, put the rest of us to shame in her determination to join us if at all possible.

We may be in-between times but we have a strong sense of the direction in which we
want to go. This may be a consequence of our continuing diversity as a congregation,
something that is often remarked upon by visitors. We look outwards. This is
expressed in our concerns and our charitable giving. We continue to explore ways to
develop our link with our sister parish in Mozambique despite the distance. We chose
to send them a larger present to celebrate their centenary, rather than raise money to
pay air fares, but we must have some personal contact soon. I have already been
invited to preach for their Patronal Festival in June 2011. Would you like to join me?
We also continue to be concerned about the people living in prison under sentence of
death throughout the world, particularly in Texas. Johnny Johnson, one of our
correspondents, was executed in February.

We make regular deliveries of non-perishable food and household goods to the Centre
for Asylum Seekers and Refugees at St Mary Magdalene. The way such people are
treated by our society must continue to be challenged. I took part in a very powerful
debate about this at General Synod in February. Through Alison Jackson, who
manages Oxfam‟s bookshop in Bloomsbury, we are able to the raising up of poor
communities abroad. We also support the work of CARIS Islington with an annual
donation to the bereavement service and by carol singing around the parish in aid of
the cold weather shelter.
Over the Christmas period we were able to support the work of RADICLE in our
diocese, which runs hostels for young single mothers and their children, as well as day
centres both for disadvantaged families and elderly people living alone. It was
particularly good to see the pile of presents under the Christmas tree, before Nina
Dartford delivered them.

Since September we have been joined by Mark Longwa, a minister from African
Inland Church in Sudan, who is in the process of being ordained in the Church of
England. I am delighted to have a black colleague again. Of course Mark‟s presence
amongst us brings the tribulations of his homeland into our midst and reinforces what
our sister Amal Ajang has already represented. Our Lent collection is for the orphans
from Darfur.
Previously Mark was attached to our neighbouring parishes of St John Brownswood
Park and St Mary Stoke Newington. We are in the early stages of exploring how to
work more closely together as, despite the connection through St John‟s School, we
have much in common with their congregations. One immediate development is that
Mark and Alan Murray, the Lay Reader at St John‟s, have started door-to-door
visiting in Quill Street with some encouraging results. All three churches are
following the same Lent course and some people from St Thomas‟ have joined groups
in one of the other parishes!

We are still enriched by the ministry of Stephen Golden and Rob Pearson. We can‟t
be complacent about this as they both travel from beyond Hammersmith. At some
point they will want to be attached more regularly closer to home, as it will mean they
can contribute more than is practically possible here. I‟ve only recently remembered
occasionally to invite other preachers. We were delighted to welcome Michael
Learmouth, our relatively new Area Dean, for the Dedication Festival, especially as it
meant he could experience us at worship and party before carrying out the Visitation
on behalf of the Archdeacon.

Sandra Hall has now been joined as Parish Pastoral Assistant by Leslie Nyarko-
Bonsu, who was commissioned in January. His special project is to get to know the
older members of the congregation, particularly those who are no longer working full
time, to discover if there are ways in which we might minister to them more
effectively. Meanwhile Sandra, together with Staffan Dawkins, Nikki Anderson and
Davis Mac-Iyalla are struggling with the knottiest problem facing most churches: how
can we be of service to our members who are in-between being children and
becoming adults? She is also developing our planned pilgrimage to Krakow,
Czestochowa, Auschwitz and Zakopane in Poland, which looks as if it will probably
happen after all in May/June 2010.

Davis himself was granted asylum from Nigeria in July on the basis that his sexuality
placed him at risk in his homeland, not least from other Christians there. We have
supported him for several years through our membership of Changing Attitude. He is
now worshipping regularly at St Thomas‟ and is serving regularly at the altar as a
member of our renewed team of servers led by Sandra.

Our ordinands Jane Hodges and Karen Mitchell are to be made deacon in June/July.
As Jane is training part time she has been contributing to our worship and in March
encouraged us to experiment with a Service of Wholeness and Healing. This was
well-attended and has led me to think it could be repeated occasionally.
Andy Windross, Stepney Area Director of Ministry, has also been sending us some
people from neighbouring churches whose vocations are in the process of
discernment. Part of this involves finding out more about worship and ministry in
other traditions within the Church of England. Three men, whose experience so far
has been within the evangelical tradition, have been discovering just how broad
Anglican Christianity can be.

I am very grateful to all of you as you continue to make my ministry more fulfilling.

Stephen Coles

Secretary’s Report

The P.C.C has met 6 times this year. Many thanks to those who stepped on to the
PCC this year and to those who have served their time.
We have monitored and reviewed our financial position, with Iain McSeveny‟s help.
We are virtually on target with our budgets, though we need to be mindful of our
income and outgoings.
Our stewardship campaign last year increased our income. We are aware that
attention to our giving needs to be constantly visible.

The PCC agreed to increase our giving to the London Diocesan Common Fund to
£48,000, which was the biggest increase in Islington and meant we met our deanery

We have also raised money for charitable appeals: Christian Aid in Haiti at Harvest
Festival, Radicle for young mothers at Christmas., Winter Night Shelter by carol
singing, Orphans of Sudan in Lent, CARIS the Islington Churches Bereavement
Service, St. Philip the Less -Ossie‟s Church in Barbados, Historic Churches
Preservation Trust, Bishop Stephen‟s Discretionary Fund, Pete Brennan Memorial
Fund at Stoke Newington School and The Highbury Roundhouse Pensioners
Christmas Party. We also raise money for our Benevolent Fund during the 5th Sunday
of any month.

We raised funds through the Mayday Street Party £1,000, Quiz Night £150, The
Gillespie Festival £750, and various raffles after evening services.

We discussed how to proceed with grants from The Richard Cloudesley Trust
(£25,000), English Heritage Fund (£23,000) and The Arsenal Community Fund
(£25,000), a joint application with the playgroup. We are now reviewing the bids out
to tender for roof works on the West End of the church, refurbishing the kitchen and
toilets, and the porch office. We are considering solar panels on the vestry roof.

Our Youth Group with the help of Sandra Hall, Staffan Dawkins, Jenni McMillan and
Nikki Andersen continues to develop.

We appointed Pearl Bradshaw as our Governor for St John‟s School.
We approved Leslie Bonsu as a Pastoral Assistant with a brief to visit the over 60‟s in
our neighbourhood.

We discussed having stronger links with St.John‟s Brownswood Rd and St.Mary‟s
Stoke Newington. As a result Mark Longwa has been helping Stephen with services
until Easter and our Lent groups have been co-ordinated in conjunction with these

We opened our church on Heritage Open Day in September

Many thanks to Bob Gilbert who has led our Eco group and to Kirsten Haggart for
taking this on. We now have a plaque in the hall to demonstrate our registered eco

The Area Dean came for the Archdeacon‟s Triennial Visitation. He suggested that we
look at our mission statement. We did this at our last meeting and realised that many
of the ideas about or worship and our work within our church and the community
outside are underway and that our mission is steadfast and clear. The Archdeacon also
said that St Thomas‟s seemed to be a very happy place. He went on to describe us as a
mixed and strong congregation, confident in our style of worship, ready to welcome
newcomers in and concerned to reach out to the local community. As a result I feel
proud to be a member of St Thomas‟s and to have served on the PCC during
discussions which have been thoughtful, difficult, challenging and productive.

Cathy Ingram

Islington Deanery Synod Report

The Synod met 3 times: in June, October and February.

The first meeting was at St Mary Magdalene‟s Academy. This began with a eucharist
in a classroom on the ground floor to mark the start of a new synod, at which our
relatively new Area Dean, Michael Learmouth presided and Lucy Winkett, Chair of
the Governors and Canon of St Paul‟s preached.
We were then shown around the school, a weird experience as it was evening so
empty of children. It was hard to imagine how all the different levels would interact
and tempting to do so in relation to children in lifts and on balconies.

Stephen Coles

Generally the Dean (Michael Learmouth) wanted to encourage greater tie up between
synods and PCCs - more involvement, more discussion, more follow up. Church
members, not just elected representatives (Catriona and Edward), should be
encouraged to turn up and raise issues. He calls it „the spread of representation‟.

As always Fola Faleti, the treasurer, turns up with his little financial slot, though the
synod funds are very modest. He‟s good I think, but nobody ever spells his name the
same way.

Women bishops will soon be upon us. The appointment of a diocesan bishop will be
the moment of crisis for some. Tighter legal controls may be needed to prevent things
going pear-shaped. Conservative evangelicals are opposed because of scripture and
because it‟s so divisive. Anglo- Catholics, not now so numerous since those who left
for Rome when women were ordained to the priesthood, have historical and
ecumenical objections.
A little meditation was tried at the end of that meeting as it was held in St Mark
Myddleton Square where there is a centre.

At the other synod, held at St Andrew‟s School in Barnsbury, we heard about ALMA,
the London Diocesan Link with the Anglican Church in Mozambique and Angola.
The co-ordinator in London, Sheenagh Burrell, gave an illustrated talk, including part
of the DVD sent by our link parish of their centenary celebrations last June.
If „the average Anglican is a 17 year old Nigerian girl‟ (Michael Learmouth), then the
Anglican Church in Africa must be doing something right.

Edward Smith

                                            - 10 -
Treasurer's Report

Accounts for the Year Ending 31st December 2008

General Fund
This year there has been an increase of 12% in our planned giving, reflecting the
success of the stewardship campaign. However further work will be needed to
counteract a falling off of income from monthly standing orders from August onwards.

Other income, mainly from the hire of the church and hall, showed a small rise from
the year before.

Expenditure has risen slightly in line with inflation, but this year we have managed a
small surplus.

Building Fund
With our collecting activities during the year, particularly the May Day street party
and the Gillespie Park Festival, and a large grant from the Cloudsley Trust and a small
one from English Heritage, we have been able to increase our building fund by just
under £34,000.

Restricted Funds (collections for charities etc.)
The money that we have given or collected for charities has increased by 33% this
year representing 6.3% of our income (excluding the building fund).

Our general reserves stand at £19,051 and the building fund reserve at £84,138.

Contribution to the Common Fund
We reviewed our contribution to the Common Fund at the PCC meeting in November.
Because of the improved state of our finances, we decided that we could now 'pay our
way' and increase our contribution from £43,500 to £48,00 in 2009.

Jonathan Shattock

                                           - 11 -
Stewardship Report

As you will recall in 2007 the PCC felt it had to reduce our Church‟s contribution to
the Common Fund because we could no longer afford it. We also could not afford to
do many of the things stemming from our mission at St. Thomas‟s, including
charitable giving and putting into action new ideas and initiatives. A proper look at
our finances was necessary.

We had 75 people on the Regular Giving scheme, and were raising about £2,750 per
month (or £33,000 per year).

However, no-one had reviewed their giving at all during 2007, and many had never
reviewed their giving at all since first joining the scheme.

It seemed that as a congregation we had possibly begun to lose the sense that the
Church‟s finance was the responsibility of us all, that we are a family and ideally that
we need all think about the Church‟s „housekeeping‟ as we do in our own immediate

At the same time, it was recognised that many of the congregation had no real idea
about the Church‟s finance and had not been encouraged to be interested in it or
involved in it. The Church‟s finance seemed obscure and not really understood.

The Stewardship Campaign, which ran from late 2007 until well into 2008, was an
attempt to address this. Adapted from the „TRIO‟ („The Responsibility is Ours‟)
approach pioneered in the Diocese of Southwark, the Stewardship Committee made a
number of presentations and ensured every member of the congregation on the
electoral roll received detailed information about the Church‟s financial situation.

We were all asked to join the monthly Giving Scheme if possible, and review our
level of giving according to a „Proportionate Giving‟ principle. We were asked if we
could to raise our percentage giving by 1 or 2 percent of our disposable income. We
were also asked to fill in a Gift Aid form, as this simple act allows the Church to
claim back an extra 28% of the value of our giving.

Thanks to a great response from the congregation the Campaign was initially very
successful, and we raised our monthly total to a „high‟ of £3,600 in June 2008 –
representing a fantastic 30% increase on our pre-Campaign figure.

However, as we all know economic conditions have become much worse over the
year. Understandably we have lost some regular givers, whilst others have had to
reduce their giving under difficult circumstances.

We lost 9 of our regular givers, but 8 new givers have joined this year.

Currently our monthly Giving stands at £3,100 (March 09). Although this is clearly a
reduction from June 2008, it still represents a 12% increase on our pre-Campaign

                                            - 12 -
We were able to increase our Common Fund contribution back to its expected level
and have been able to fund some activities and initiatives modestly, as well as
renewing some charitable giving.

Taking everything into account we have to be pleased that as a congregation we
responded well to the Campaign, but of course we must be aware that things are going
to be even more difficult in the coming year.

With the downturn affecting many of our congregation, it is even more important that
those of us who are able to review their giving again for this year try to do so, and
continue to review it annually.

The Stewardship Committee certainly hopes to be more visible and make the Church
finances more accessible than they have traditionally been. We would encourage
everyone to keep the idea of a shared responsibility in mind.

Of course this is not to suggest financial giving is the only way of contributing to the
Church. There are many ways of giving to our life at St. Thomas‟s, however the
Stewardship Committee is charged with looking after the finances so this is what we
focus on.

Iain McSeveny is stepping down from his role on the Stewardship Committee and as
Gift Aid recorder. Largely unseen, Iain has done a fantastic, painstaking job of sorting
out the computer software that allows us to track the giving scheme and Gift Aid
administration properly, so we are much more efficient at collecting this „windfall‟.
He has made it significantly easier to help us continue to improve our financial
stability, and we would like to extend our thanks to him.

If anyone would like any more information or would be interested to hear more about
Stewardship and maybe get involved in the Committee, please speak to me or the

Rob Cheek

                                            - 13 -
Churchwardens’ Report

Building works
We have three projects currently under way at St Thomas‟ and it looks as if work on
all of them can begin and be completed this year if we have sufficient funds.

A faculty petition has now been approved for the third and final phase of the roof
works. Just to refresh your memory, these are the works on the lower slopes –
baptistry, narthex, two entrance porches, hall porch and Sunday school room. It is
estimated that it will cost £70,000+ VAT and fees. We have grant applications with
National Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Heritage of London, and the
Cloudesley Trust. The Heritage lottery fund are also reviewing their grant to us.

The works for the conversion of one of the porches into an office are also out to
tender. The intention of this work is to enable Stephen (or others) to be present in the
church on a more regular basis; and therefore for the church to be open more of the
time. The rough estimate made by the architect with a couple of builders was £15,000,
of which the doors comprised two thirds. The purpose of this work is to make it more
practical to open the church on a more regular basis.

The third project is to renovate the kitchen and lavatory at one end of the hall that is
part of the church building. As well as improving the playgroup‟s facilities and our
own, it will also make the hall a more viable space to hire out to outside groups. This
work is being undertaken in partnership with the playgroup and is also now out to
tender. The original estimate was £25,000. However, additional specifications have
almost doubled this amount. We are now in conversation with the architect about
slimming down these works to make them viable, or considering what other funds we
might access. However time is of the essence with this; if we do not do this work
during an extended summer holiday for the playgroup, we must wait another year.

The playgroup consulted with us about the renovation of the path leading to the hall.
We were presented with a number of options and funding permitting we will see some
colourful child friendly surface and designs alongside a relaying of the concrete
nearest the road. The essential work will cost approx £6,500. Further additions could
bring the total up to £12,000 approx – these will not be approved without funds
having been identified.

The building fund currently stands at about £85,000.

The most significant addition has been the lighting on the path leading to the hall.
Otherwise there have not been major repairs undertaken. Though it is noted that, as
mentioned in last years report, the vestry and whitewashed wall outside the kitchen
need a coat of paint. Can we organise this ourselves?

The gate to the main porch entrance has been strengthened and secured.

The Bell rope has been replaced.

                                           - 14 -
Visitation by Area Dean
We received a really encouraging report from the Area Dean after his visitation,
especially commending the stewardship campaign and the plans to connect to the
community around us, in particular those arriving into new developments. He did ask
that there be a review of the inventory across the coming year, so the churchwardens
and PCC will be undertaking this. We will also be looking to see how we can
undertake some action in relation to the damp at the back of the church. We were also
encouraged by his visit to revisit and refine our mission. The PCC considered this and
will be communicating our conversation to the congregation for their consideration.

We wish to thank those who continue to make the garden of remembrance and area
surrounding the church so beautifully kept. Many thanks to Anne, Malcolm, Susannah
and others – it looks great.

The website has been extensively updated. Should this now be considered to be part
of the „fabric‟ of our church? Many thanks to those who have undertaken this work, in
particular to Nick Wooldridge and James Petty.

While on the subject of virtual St Thomas‟s – one issue that arose this year was the
need to consider how we use e-mail and other cyber-communication within the
congregation. We noted how possible it is through careless phrasing or forwarding on
of correspondence to cause, unintentionally, misunderstanding or upset to occur. We
commend everyone to be as thoughtful and respectful online as they would be in
person when communicating within the congregation and to think carefully about who
needs to receive correspondence.

We are encouraged by how many people have begun to take on a more active role in
the congregation and hope that as many of us as possible are able to find the ways in
we can serve each other and the church.
We take this opportunity to extend our grateful thanks to the clergy, to the outgoing
members of the PCC, and all members of St Thomas‟ for their contribution to the
enrichment of our lives at St. Thomas‟ during the past year.

Chris Higgins & Staffan Dawkins

The grace of our lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the holy spirit,
be with us all

                                          - 15 -
Eco-Congregation Group Report

The Eco-congregation group goes from strength to strength.

Last year, with thanks to a lot of hard work from the group – and an inspection from a
number of „auditors‟ – the church was officially granted Eco-Congregation status. To
celebrate this we blessed the new plaque in church and undertook another
volunteering day in Gillespie Park, which, despite the weather, was very well

This year we hope to integrate the environment more into our worship throughout the

Our main project is to use the period leading up to Rogation Sunday (17th May) to
develop a deeper understanding of our own local community as a Parish. This will
take the form of a series of linked activities, beginning with an exploratory Parish
walk after the Annual Parish Meeting. These will contribute to the making of a Parish
map to display in the church, to which we hope many members of the congregation
will contribute. The events will culminate in a „beating of the bounds‟ on Rogation
Sunday itself.

Later in the year we hope to be particularly engaged with the Harvest celebrations
(27th September) and also with St Francis‟ Day, which this year falls on a Sunday (4th

We are also continuing efforts to make the church buildings more sustainable. We
were unsuccessful in our bid for a solar thermal installation on the vestry roof but are
looking at other possible funding routes.

We will also need to look at how best to re-use run-off rain water from the church
roof, especially with the new and potentially very expensive charges being introduced
by Thames Water.

Kirsten Haggart and Bob Gilbert

                                            - 16 -
Electoral Roll Report

In 2008 there were 147 names on the Roll.

The Roll was revised between 1st and 29th March 2009.

The names of 15 people were removed from the Roll: 1 has died, 5 have moved away,
and for 9 St Thomas has ceased to be their customary place of worship.

The names of 25 people have been added to the Roll.

In 2009 there are 157 names on the Roll.

Anne Lambourne

                                            - 17 -