Thursday, 26 December 2013

St George's leaflet

The six things listed in the last post included putting out a leaflet in Bradley village and at Christmas services in its church.

A little while ago, one of the village churches near Caistor was threatened with closure, but a dozen people turned out at a public meeting and undertook to do the work needed to keep it open.

St George's isn't near that point, but the church Council wanted to alert people to its present needs and chose the leaflet as the way forward.

If we get some responses, we will have something with which to work.

If we do not get much response, it might indicate indifference, or it might reflect a legacy of some of the past divisions in the village, or it might indicate that proceeding with a leaflet rather than personal contacts wasn't the best way forward, or, perhaps, it might indicate a combination of all three.

Anyway, here is the text from the central pages of the leaflet.

Is there any way in which you can contribute to making St George’s flourish in 2014?

We are asking as many as possible who live in the village or who attend services at Christmas 2013 for their responses to this question.

If you worship at a church elsewhere, we wish you well and simply ask for your prayers.

If you feel that the local Parish Church is not something with which you want to associate, then we are sorry to have troubled you.

If you want to see St George’s available for christenings, weddings, funerals and burials, for Harvest and Christmas, as the most significant part of the village’s heritage, and as a place of prayer, then please don’t put this leaflet aside.

This might be just the time that you would be willing to take on a small role to keep the church running.

This might just be the time that you would be willing to commit or recommit yourself to attending perhaps a service one Sunday evening each month.

This might be the time that you could make a small financial Standing Order to help us run the church.

Please let us know: the Church Council which meets on 15th January 2014 will be considering the level of response we receive.

There are only about sixty houses in Bradley.  In the last eight years, twenty people who attended the church (they lived in ten of those houses) have either died or moved away.  You can see that this leaves quite a gap. 

Earlier this year Nicholas Frame stepped down after a long and distinguished period as Church Treasurer.  At our AGM in April 2014 Gillian Poppleton will step down from a dedicated stint as our only Churchwarden (we should really have two). You can see that without replacements this leaves us stranded.

Ideally we would want to have perhaps six people willing to serve as Churchwardens, Deputy Churchwardens and Treasurer.  Ideally these six people would know of another six willing to be called on for the occasional bit of help with some specific task.  That way nobody would hold a role which is burdensome.

Without a little more support it is really possible that eventually St George’s might even have to shut (as Beelsby and Waithe Parish Churches have had to do).

Meanwhile, the picture of the fallen tree masquerading as a monster was taken on a Boxing Day walk in the Wolds this morning.


Anonymous said...

I smiled as I read of your problem. I am the treasurer and a churchwarden at my local church, and I am considering whether to attempt to resign these roles in 2014.

Whether these roles are burdensome is a moot point, but unless your congregation consist of professionals with a strong C of E family background, few will have much idea of what is required.

As treasurer I have to wrestle with the problem of trying to spend less money while meeting the growing cost of everything from copyright licensing to organist's fees.

As a churchwarden in an interregnum I have found it difficult to cope with the due processes, especially as the C of E rules prohibit me from consulting our retired vicar. I also find various people from outside the parish are trying to influence the selection process - it is difficult to know who to trust.

What I think you need to do is to assure your potential recruits that they will have all the support they need when they take on new roles. Few people understand double-entry book keeping, and the HMRC guidance will just confuse anyone trying to wrestle with gift aid (and the new small donations scheme) for the first time. If you can find them a trustworthy mentor who will really be available and hold their hands when needed, their job will be less daunting.

Peter Mullins said...

Thanks for the comment. Yes, I have posted before about the increasing burdens on local church office holders, and, yes, I can see now that I read your comment that including an offer of proper support would have greatly strengthened our leaflet. For us, it is also the remaining small size of a regular congregation in a village of sixty houses which is the particular challenge. I do know that at least one offer of help has come in from a non-churchgoer.