Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) 

Priest-in-Charge Report 

Almost but not quite two years as Priest in Charge at St Leonard’s and there is so much to give thanks and praise God for. It feels like it’s been a year of decluttering and discerning where God is at work and joining in. 


On Maundy Thursday last year we stripped the sanctuary area of the church at the end of the service. It is part of the traditional preparations for Good Friday and as James and I lifted items and moved them into the vestry I was simply aware of the cumbersome nature of the big flags and the sad state of repair of the clothes on the altar. It was only as the weekend progressed that I had a growing sense that stripping the sanctuary had had a spiritual significance; the stripping away of the clutter revealing the simplicity of the table. There has been a corresponding stripping back of the church yard over the past year which has proclaimed loudly to everyone visiting a grave or passing through, our care for God’s creation. 


We can clutter our life of faith with all sorts of trappings and adornments when in truth we are called to follow Jesus, remember what he did for us as we gather round the communion table and then go out and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with other people:  simple to say but more challenging to carry out.


Looking back to last year’s APCM report I identified a number of hopes and priorities for the future so it seems like the right moment to report on the progress towards those hopes and priorities in the past year:


-       To nurture our church community to continue to grow in faith and to be outward facing and welcoming to the wider community.


We held an Alpha course in the autumn which deepened relationship with one another and developed our understanding of the Christian Faith. In response to the Alpha Course three people were Confirmed by +Robert at the beginning of the year.


Also in response to the Alpha course and peoples wish to read the bible more regularly we have been undertaking the E100 Bible Challenge with Sunday Sermons based on the reading for that particular day. This coming Wednesday 10thApril we will have completed our challenge, something to celebrate.


Our St Leonard’s Day service this year honoured all the volunteers who help keep our church up and running. We invited more than 40 people who are not members of our regular congregation to a service of thanksgiving with lunch.


In early February in partnership with Upton School and the ISingPOP organisation we hosted two concerts at the church for the Year 3&4 children to perform in at the end of their week long experience of ISingPOP. The concerts were joy filled and exuberant affairs which gave a real boost to the children’s confidence in themselves and in the truth that God loves each and every one of them.


-       To ensure that the church building is fit for purpose.


A small team initially led by Mike Blanche and now lead by Keith Robbins have kept a vigilant eye and undertaken running repairs.

We met with our Church Architect to discuss the practicalities of managing the leaking roof as we explore how best to obtain the funding to repair the damp problems caused by the roof and the drainage.


An invisible, but not unappreciated band of cleaners and flower ladies keep the church clean and adorned with seasonal flowers.


With the support of the Herring family we held a fundraising Barn Dance in July which was a joyful village event which raised over £5000 for the repairs. It was an extraordinary fundraising effort which had the added bonus of drawing the community and all ages of the village and those from further afield together.


-       To revitalise the Church Room as a building for mission.

I realised over the course of the past five months that rather than start with our buildings we needed to look at them through the lens of Mission and work out how our Church and Church Room could enable us in our mission to be Good News to the wider community. The PCC have been considering this question and we are exploring a possible way forward.


-       Build relationships in Cooper’s Edge. 


We have concentrated our energy on building relationship with the primary school community at Coopers Edge. Last July church members from St Leonards and St Philip and St James Churches supported a PULSE Games morning when the children had an Olympic style sports event lead by PSALMS – sports ministry team which focused on the importance of perseverance. 


The PSALMS organisation also provided six weeks support to the schools RE curriculum which we brokered.


The Year 1’s visited St Leonard’s for their annual summer day out again in July and a team of volunteers provided them with an opportunity of ‘Experience Church’.


Artist Paul Hobbs worked with the school enabling the children to prepare art to be shown at the Mission Weekend.


Over the weekend of 7/9 September we hosted a Mission Weekend supported by +Rachel, centered in the school and community center. We held an exhibition entitled ‘Holy Ground’ featuring the work of Paul Hobbs and the school children; Singer songwriter Chloe Reynolds preformed for us on the Saturday evening; we had a litter pick and a football cage and a shared lunch on the Sunday open to anyone who wished to come along and join in.


Ben Fudge one of the PSALMS sports ministers began a weekly outreach on Coopers Edge after February half term to build relationships with the young people who use the skateboarding/sports facilities near Lobley’s Drive bridge.


A small group of people continued to meet to pray for the community twice a month and since October we have been holding SP@CE (Story and Prayer at Coopers Edge) an informal worship service on the first Tuesday evening of the month in the school. Our numbers are very small but it feels important to be praying and worshipping in the community.


Rev Natalie Burfitt has begun a four month secondment to Coopers Edge and the Diocesan ‘Well Spring’ initiative to work alongside myself and Rev Mark Close to listen and support the community and help us work out what we should be enabling next. 


The work at Coopers Edge has been a process of prayer and action and as we continue to pray and act, I thank God for all he has provided and for the doors that he is opening as we seek to serve him and share the Good News of Jesus with the community.


Alongside the hopes and priorities I listed last year I also acknowledged some of the challenges we were still facing:

-       Prioritising mission and ministry above buildings.

-       Finding the funding to have the major work carried out on the repairs needed on the Church roof and drainage so that we can have a damp free building.

-       Establishing how we might best use the Church Rooms.


These challenges still remain but I am delighted to say that one of the challenges we were facing a year ago has been overcome. We paid our parish share in full and for the first time in many years (£29,253). 

We have so much to thank and praise God for, we are fragile in many ways but God works best when we don’t try to do things in our own strength.

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9


Joyfully there are many thankyous to say to:

  • our Church Wardens Keith Robbins & Rachel Hall, 
  • to our curate James Turk, 
  • to the members of the PCC, to Sarah Kent our PCC Secretary, 
  • to Andy Russell and Zoe Gibbs who keep our finances in order,
  • to Ian Dettmer who audits our accounts,
  • to Jenny Cunningham our baptism and wedding administrator, 
  • to all who care for the church building, and the church yard,
  • our Open the Book Team 
  • to Charlie Burnett our Bell Captain,
  • to every person who makes up our community of faith, 
  • to all who support our worship, 
  • our finances, 
  • our hospitality, 
  • our bell ringing,
  • our welcome, 
  • our prayer life, 
  • our wedding, baptism & funeral ministry, 
  • to St Andrew’s Churchdown who support us in a number of ways,
  • to Rev Mark Close & Rev Natalie Burfitt for their work at Coopers Edge,
  • to the PSALMS organisation for their work on Coopers Edge on our behalf,

and finally to everyone who has supported and prayed for myself and our family this year.

Thank You one and all, it is joyful to be your Priest-in-Charge. 

Clodagh Ingram

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Curate Report

I am now well into my second year of my curacy and there has been so much to think and talk about. This brief report is my opportunity to mention a couple of things that were for me significant events and moments of this past year. 


I start with my ordination as priest in July 2018 as it was a day I will never forget. The cathedral service was a glorious event, full of ceremony and tradition. I was ordained priest along with six other deacons and as you can imagine it was a very emotional moment. But the most significant event for me was the morning after. For the first time as priest I was able to lead the congregation in worship and to preside at the communion table. This year I also undertook my first baptism and presided at my first wedding and both were extraordinarily poignant and unforgettable moments in their own ways.


Alpha is a Christian discipleship course that is very close to my heart, so it was a delight to be given the opportunity to introduce it at St Leonards. It was a privilege to journey alongside people as they explored the Christian faith during the Autumn of 2018. To watch and learn from the Alpha DVD’s and from each other in small groups is a very special thing to be part of. The Away Day was a high point for me, and I think it was the same for others too. 


In July the band I play in, called Freefall, performed at the Portway Farm Barn Dance, in aid of church funds. It was such a great evening and people are still talking about it now. I just want to take this opportunity to thank all those involved that made it such a wonderful evening. I remember after the gig I was speaking with John our drummer and I thanked him for giving up his time for free, his reply was “James, if every night was as good as this I would do it for free all the time!”  If you know John, the drummer from Freefall, then you will know that this is high praise indeed!


Christmas was a joy and it was fabulous to see the church so full for all our special Christmas services. The “I Sing Pop” concert was also a wonderful occasion that I had the privilege to attend. I am sure everyone attending was touched by the wonderful and worshipful atmosphere in church at both concerts. 


There are many other highlights and things I could write down here but time and space are short.  I continue to be humbled by the love and affection Sarah, Josh, Oliver and myself receive from our friends at St Leonards. We feel a part of the church family very much and we are delighted that God has placed us in St Leonards at this time. We look forward to another blessed year with you all.   

James Turk

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Safeguarding Report

Following the new National Guidelines on safeguarding in 2017, there have been many changes, and this year was no exception.  The government agency dealing with all applications was changed and the Diocese has constantly reviewed their procedures.  Their annual audit was completed and St Leonard’s policies were reviewed and updated by the PCC.   


Policies, guidance, information and phone numbers of a variety of agencies can be found in a folder hanging on the notice board with the posters in the coffee area. 


I am pleased to report that no incidents were reported during 2018.  Our register is up to date and includes all PCC members, people who are part of the Open The Book team, Worship Leaders, our members of clergy, and our Tower Captain.   Foundation Governors for the school are registered through the school process.


Training is kept up to date for clergy and safeguarding coordinator. The Tower Captain has just completed a course and the PCC and others are booked onto a refresher and update course in July. 


Dorothy Cox - Safeguarding Co-ordinator 

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Electoral Roll Officer Report

This March (2019) was the year to put in place the preparation of a new roll. This meant that everyone on the previous electoral roll had to reapply.  Although changes – with additions and deletions takes place every year, a completely new roll has to be prepared every six years.


At 31stMarch 2018 the number on the electoral roll there was seventy four people.   Thirty five of these live within the Parish of St Leonard‘s and thirty eight live outside the area.  Of these seventy four, nineteen people are not on the role for 2019.  This is for a variety of reasons, some of which we know; (people moving away or going into care outside the parish, or death and some reasons which are unknown.


The new electoral roll has seventy one people and another four awaiting their requirements of having “habitually attended public worship in the parish during six months prior to the application for enrolment”, as they live outside the parish.


Of these seventy one people, on the new Electoral Roll, forty one people live in the parish of St Leonard’s and thirty people live outside the parish. Dorothy Cox 

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Annual Report of PCC


Membership

The PCC should have 9 elected members (Electoral Roll 51 – 100) plus ex-officio members.  Currently our PCC is made up as follows:-

 

Ex-Officio Members

Priest-in-Charge: Revd Clodagh Ingram

Curate: Revd James Turk

Churchwarden: Rachel Hall

Churchwarden: Keith Robbins

Deanery Synod Representative: Dorothy Cox (also our Electoral Roll Officer)

Deanery Synod Representative: Vacancy

Elected Members

Dave Knight (Lay Chair) Elected April 2016

Roy Roberts Elected April 2016

Sheila Thomas Elected April 2016

Jenny Cunningham Elected April 2017

Margaret Hakim Elected April 2018

Sarah Kent (Secretary) Elected April 2018 Secretary from June 2018


There are therefore 3 vacancies for PCC membership. 

  

Members are elected for a period of 3 years in order that there can be a managed turnover of representatives, and can be re-elected thereafter.  Three members are due for re-election at the 2019 APCM, Dave Knight, Roy Roberts and Sheila Thomas, having completed a 3-year term.


PCC Structure

  • From September 2018 a new committee structure was introduced, with bi-monthly meetings for the PCC and a Standing Committee meeting in the intervening month.  The Standing Committee membership is as follows:

Revd Clodagh Ingram

Keith Robbins

Rachel Hall

Dave Knight

Sarah Kent 

       The Standing Committee sets the agenda for the PCC meeting.


In addition, for the PCC meetings reports are now requested in advance to cover the following topics; Safeguarding, GDPR, Finance, Mission, Services, and Churchyard.  These are circulated prior to each PCC meeting, thus enabling us to use our meeting time more efficiently.  Our thanks to Rachel Hall for hosting our Standing Committee meetings and to Revd Ingram and Dorothy Cox for hosting our PCC meetings during the winter months. During the summer months we plan to meet in Church.


Administration

  • The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force in May 2018.  Revd Ingram and Sarah Kent attended training offered by the Diocese.  An audit was conducted of who holds personal data within the Parish in order to ensure we are complying with the new regulations.  GDPR is now an agenda item at every PCC meeting and members are aware of the requirements of the legislation.
  • Thanks to Jenny Cunningham who has continued with her much valued church administration role, including the arrangements for baptisms, weddings and funerals and co-ordinating the rota of volunteers for all services to cover the reading, organist, prayers, assisting with the chalice, sidesperson and preparation and serving of refreshments, amongst other things!
  • Our thanks to Andy Russell who continues to be a tremendous support taking care of day-to-day church finances and liaising on all financial matters, preparing annual accounts and attending meetings as required. 
  • Zoe Gibbs continues to assist our Churchwardens with the handling of cash and banking.
  • Our thanks to Rachel Middleton who co-ordinates the articles for the Church pages in USL Life every month and formats the pages ready for printing.  She also attends PCC meetings to assist with the planning of the content.

In addition, Rachel prepares Pew News every week and new for 2018 was the option to receive this by e-mail.

  • Our thanks to Dorothy Cox for her work this year as Electoral Roll Officer, co-ordinating the full revision of the Electoral Roll that was required this year.

Support

  • There is an ever-willing band of helpers in our church and our thanks to them all, but in particular;
  • Our organists, Key Hutton, Sheila Thomas and Greg Abrahams.
  • Our Tower Captain, Charlie Burnett, who holds regular ringing practice on Wednesday nights and organises ringers as required for services, weddings and funerals.
  • Our Churchyard volunteers, whose tremendous efforts during the past year have completely transformed our Churchyard.

PCC Focus for the Coming Year

The primary focus for the PCC in the coming year will be to continue to support Revd Ingram and Revd Turk in their mission-based priorities.  The re-structuring of PCC meetings helps us to ensure that mission remains our key focus, whilst meeting our other business/administration commitments and using our time as effectively as possible.


With mission as our focus the PCC will also continue to look at how our Church can be best repaired and maintained with our available finances and seek out additional funding where necessary.  We have been and will continue to consider the challenge of ensuring our Church and the Church Room meets the needs of not only our church community, but all those in the village, parish and wider community.   

Sarah Kent 


Fabric Report 

It is very encouraging to see so many of you at this year’s APCM.  It seems a long time ago that it was not unusual just to see 12 to 14 people making up the morning service congregation, now our average is around 40 due in no small part to Clodagh and James with their style of service and preaching.


I am sorry to lose my Warden partner, Rachel, but I understand.  Her knowledge about so many things has been invaluable to me and to others; I trust I will be able to call on her for such matters in the future. Trevor has informed me that he is quite happy to continue welcoming members of the congregation into Church and to count numbers attending so our records of attendance are accurate.


So what have we been up to during the last year?


Scaffolding was erected on the outside wall of the South aisle and the wall was re-pointed where required.  All the South aisle windows have been cleaned.  Our thanks to Mr Eddie Spence, who besides doing the cleaning, has helped in many other ways during the past year.  Mike Blanch and Alan Gresswell carried out stonework repairs to the front porch.  


In June an insulating ducting was installed to make our heating more efficient and to cut out bringing damp air into the Church.  The result was that the heat was going straight up into the roof and not to the pews, so I had a heat deflector made to change the direction of the heat.  The unfortunate part of that is because of its size it has to be removed before the service can commence. 


The submersible pump in the cellar is working fine, but was producing a great deal of water outside the vestry door, so Mike and I dug a trench and laid a flexible pipe in it to take the water away.  This seems to have solved the problem.  


In October we hired a wood chipper to get rid of all the trees and branches that Sheila and her team had produced over the previous months.


Those of you who are very observant will have noticed that the lamp post at the top of the path no longer leans because we dug around the base and straightened up the lamp post, with Trevor pulling on a rope to get it into a plumb position so we could concrete it in.


There are probably other things which I have not mentioned in this report which have been done, but without the support I have received from many of you, I am certain a lot of the work we have done could not have been achieved and so my grateful thanks to all of you who have put yourself out to continue to make our Church as good as it can be.

Thank you and God Bless you all. 

Keith Robbins

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Deanery Synod Report

There were four meetings of the Gloucester City Deanery during the year, chaired by our Area Dean, Revd Janet Faull, Assistant Area Dean, Revd Ruth Fitter and Lay Chair Mr Les Reilly.


The February meeting was held at St Paul and St Stephen’s in Park End Road. The speaker was Noel Sharp, Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid in Gloucestershire. He spoke about two new initiatives being launched by Christian Aid: “SALT”, a Christian business network, and a new Accreditation Scheme for Church of England Primary Schools.  


A very informative second evening in April, held at St Hilda’s Hall in Matson and led by Cannon Judith Knight, Head of Human Resources and Safeguarding who spoke about Safeguarding and the new General Data Protection Regulations, which were coming into effect in May.  This took up most of the evening with plenty of discussion and questions and just how it would affect us in our day to day life in our Church communities.


During the third meeting, in June, held at St. Mary de Lode Church in Gloucester, there was a Eucharist presided by Rev’d Ruth Fitter and the guest preacher was Rev’d Liz Palin, the Diocesan Spirituality Adviser. This is also when newly elected representatives of the synod are welcomed.


The fourth and final meeting of the year was held at St George’s Church, Tuffley.  At this meeting Nicola Simpson, (Urban Wildlife Manager) Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust together with Cate Williams, (Diocesan Mission and Evangelism Officer) gave a presentation entitled “Wild Towns and Eco Church”.  Cate spoke about Eco Church – A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.  The Eco-Church award scheme is supported and promoted by the Diocese of Gloucester as an Eco Diocese. Its vision is for churches to care for creation as an integral part of loving their fellow human beings. In the Franciscan tradition humans live in a world with the whole of creation, not just in their own tiny human world.


As part of the business part of the meeting, Revd. Mike Smith spoke about “The Funeral Project” – Gloucester City Funerals – that is being piloted for 6 months in this Deanery. It started on the 1stOctober and by the 17thOctober had already handled 27 funerals. He explained that the number of church funerals nationally is falling significantly. Research showed that 7% of all funerals were taken by Humanist Celebrants and nearly all others will have some spiritual content.  The aim is to simplify the process of organising a funeral and offers a complete funeral celebrant service, tailoring it to the client’s wishes but also incorporating a Christian message.  Cremation and Church funerals will be organised and the availability of the Church and incumbent.  Recruiting and training of lay celebrants was due to begin in January. The aim is to tailor spiritual content to the wishes of the family, producing a ceremony to reflect who the person was, while including a message of Christian hope.   This was as a result of the research to show the main reasons for the fall in church funerals. 


It would mean that Funeral Directors would only need to make one phone call and it would then be organised and the variation in fees across the deanery would cease as a new single, transparent fee structure had been set out.  Variable fees would only be for organists.  Diocesan fee will be taken at source. So far the response has been positive. Treasurers have been made aware of this change.


Business agendas have covered: Finance and Parish Share reports, Deanery Mission and Pastoral Group updates, L.I.F.E. reports, together with points of interest, courses and details of special events.


I am now standing down as Deanery Synod representative, but can recommend it as an interesting role, with some interesting discussions and much food for thought in the different ways we can help spread God’s Word. Please give this role your consideration. I would be happy to talk with people who are interested in taking on this important role and would like to know more. It enables our parish and PCC to remain in touch with what is happening in other parishes in our Deanery.

Dorothy Cox

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Mothers’ Union Report


We continue to meet as a group on the third Thursday of each month.


We commence with a hymn and a prayer, followed by a speaker and always end with a cuppa and a chat. We have had a variety of interesting speakers over the past year.


Our meetings are always advertised in USL Life.  If you would like to join us a warm welcome awaits. 


Rachel Hall

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Open the Book Report

The Open the Book team consists of Val and David Knight, Rachel Middleton, Meg James, Dorothy Cox and Mike Stratford.


The team continues to visit Upton St Leonards School on a Thursday morning for a whole school assembly.


In 2018 the team told 24 stories from the Bible and up to April 2019 they have visited 5 times at the invitation of the School.


Costumes are donated by the team members and are used to involve the children in the story as well as making cardboard boats, temples and even real bulrushes.


Feedback from the School continues to be supportive of the team’s efforts.


Mike Stratford

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Foundation Governor Report

I was appointed as a Foundation Governor at Upton St Leonard’s School, by the Diocese, in September 2018.  The term of office is 4 years.


The role of the Foundation Governor is, in part, to ensure the school’s religious character is preserved and developed and to help maintain and develop links with

St Leonard’s Church.

 

To this end I have attended various assemblies and events that have taken place both at the School and Church, for example, Harvest, Christmas and Easter services, year assemblies, events such as the Christmas Fair, Inset Day and World Book Day.   A highlight of the year was the I-Sing Pop concerts that were held in Church.

 

In addition to attending as many events as I can, as a Foundation Governor I am also required to attend quarterly Governing Body meetings.  I also sit on the Pay and Personnel Committee. I meet with the RE teacher once a term and she keeps me updated on the curriculum and on-going activities.

 

Sarah Kent is also a Foundation Governor.  She has completed two years of her term, but has currently stepped back from the role for six months due to other commitments.

 

I have enjoyed attending the School activities and getting involved with the children and the life of the School.

 

Gill Howell