St Edyth's Church, Avonleaze, Sea Mills, Bristol BS9 2HU
0117 968 6965
office@stedyths.org.uk

Annual Reports

Following Jesus, Bringing hope

Meeting of Parishioners & Annual Parochial Church Meeting

Sunday 8th May 2022, 11:30am

 

  1. AGM 2022 Agenda

 Annual Parishioner’s Meeting

The meeting of Parishioners will be held in St Edyth’s Church on Sunday 8 May 2022 at 12.00 pm.

AGENDA:

  1. Opening thought and prayer – Revd John Monaghan
  2. Appointment of a clerk for the meeting
  3. Apologies for absence
  4. Minutes of the meeting held on Sunday 23 May 2021
  5. Election of Churchwardens (notification that Heather Daw is willing to continue to serve as Churchwarden)

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

The APCM will be held in St Edyth’s Church on 8 May 2022 following the Annual Parishioners’ Meeting.

AGENDA:

  1. Apologies for absence
  2. Appointment of a clerk to the meeting
  3. Minutes of the meeting held on Sunday 23 May 2021
  4. Elections:
    1. to the Deanery Synod
    2. to the Parochial Church Council
  5. The Church Electoral Roll
  6. PCC Report
  7. Churchwarden’s Report and thoughts on vacancy.
  8. Vicar’s Report
  9. Fabric report
  10. Finance (Audited Accounts and Treasurer’s report)
  11. Other Ministry reports:
  12. (See Annual Reports and Accounts document)
  13. Closing Prayer

 

PCC For 2020/22 PCC for 2022/23
Ex-officio members Ex-officio members
Revd. John Monaghan Revd. John Monaghan
Church Wardens Church Wardens
Heather Daw Heather Daw
Vacancy – TBC  
  Deanery Synod
Deanery Synod Rebecca Cross
Gloria Wright Gloria Wright
Vacancy – TBC  
  Elected PCC
Elected PCC With 3 years to serve
With 3 years to serve Zac Abraham (Treasurer) (2nd term)
Teresa Goodall (if elected) Peter Marks (2nd term)
Mark Temple (if elected) (Secretary)  
  With 2 years to serve
With 2 years to serve Teresa Goodall
Neil Branscombe Mark Temple (Secretary)
   
With 1 year to serve With 1 year to serve
Zac Abraham (Treasurer) Neil Branscombe
Reuben Coulter  
Peter Marks Co-opted Members
   
Co-opted Members  
Ruth Robinson  
  1. Minutes of St Edyth’s Annual Meetings in 2021

Meeting of Parishioners (APM)

Meeting held at 11.45 am following morning worship on Sunday 23rd May 2021.

Present: Rachel Abraham, Zac Abraham, Anna Arnold, Neil Branscombe, Carlos Colman-Meixner, Paul Cockram, Susan Cockram, Wiseborn Danquah, Heather Daw, Karlynn Evans, Teresa Goodall, Barbara Hewer, John Hewer, Eileen Jarrett, Hartmutt Kopsch, Jane Kopsch, Richard Brookes (Trinity Theological College), Wendy Maddocks, Chloe Matthews, Alice Monaghan, John Monaghan, Geraldine Richardson, Sheila Roberts, Mark Robinson, Ruth Robinson, David Spottiswoode, Chris Wright, Erica Wright, Gloria Wright.

  1. Opening thought and Prayer

The Revd. John Monaghan welcomed all to the meeting and opened in prayer and led some thoughts around the theme; “Unless the Lord builds the house the labourers labour in vain.”

He advised that the administrator Katharine Wiltshire had emailed the  APCM report with Financial accounts out to those on the mailing list and that hard copies were available on request. He also advised that the current meetings would be recorded for those that requested it but not made available on “You Tube.”

  1. Appointment of Clerk for the meeting

Neil Branscombe was appointed as clerk for the meeting – nem. con.

  1. Apologies for Absence

Rebecca Cross, June Hewett, Pamela Jenkins, Margaret Scott, Mark Temple, Christine Woodhouse, Gloria Wright.

  1. Minutes of the meeting of 27th September 2020

Approved as a true record and signed – nem. con.

  1. Election of Churchwardens

The current tenure of the post of Warden by Heather Daw was confirmed. She is currently in her first year of service.

Di Goodison formally stepped down from her Wardenship. John and the congregation thanked her for her service and support during her 3-year Wardenship.

John advised that no-one has come forward to fill the vacant role but anticipated that this may well happen during the coming year.

John closed the meeting with a brief prayer of blessing.

The meeting closed at 11.56 am.

 Annual Parochial Church Meeting

Present: Rachel Abraham, Zac Abraham, Anna Arnold, Neil Branscombe, Carlos Colman-Meixner, Paul Cockram, Susan Cockram, Wiseborn Danquah, Heather Daw, Karlynn Evans, Teresa Goodall, Barbara Hewer, John Hewer, Eileen Jarrett, Hartmutt Kopsch, Jane Kopsch, Richard Brookes (Trinity Theological College), Wendy Maddocks, Chloe Matthews, Alice Monaghan, John Monaghan, Geraldine Richardson, Sheila Roberts, Mark Robinson, Ruth Robinson, David Spottiswoode, Chris Wright, Erica Wright, Gloria Wright.

  1. Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 27th September 2020 were approved – nem.con.

  1. Apologies for Absence

Rebecca Cross, June Hewett, Pamela Jenkins, Margaret Scott, Mark Temple, Christine Woodhouse, Gloria Wright.

  1. Elections
    1. Deanery Synod

The current delegates to the Deanery Synod (Gloria Wright and Rebecca Cross) were confirmed as continuing in post. John to seek final confirmation of Rebecca Cross’ s continuing service in this capacity (added 10/6/21 – after the meeting – RC has confirmed continuation on synod – JM).

  1. Parochial Church Council

Mark Temple standing for election to the PCC (also as secretary), proposed by John Monaghan and seconded by Rebecca Cross, was elected unopposed.

Teresa Goodall also standing for election to the PCC, proposed by John Monaghan and seconded by Heather Daw, was elected unopposed.

The PCC for 21/22 now comprises:

Ex-0fficio
Rev. John Monaghan

Church Wardens
Heather Daw

Deanery Synod
Gloria Wright, Rebecca Cross

Elected PC
With 3 years to serve –

Teresa Goodall, Mark Temple

With 2 Years to serve –
Neil Branscombe

With 1 year to serve –
Zac Abraham (Treasurer), Reuben Coulter, Peter Marks

Co-opted Members
Ruth Robinson

  1. The Church Electoral Roll

Paul Cockram (electoral roll officer) confirmed that the current number on the electoral roll is 71. A total of 11 people had come off the roll since the 2019 APCM (no new requests in 2020).

  1. Vicar’s Report

John Monaghan confirmed that the current meeting pattern of the PCC and the Standing committee would continue. Both the PCC and the Standing Committee meet six times a year.

Richard Widger expressed the thanks of the congregation to John Monaghan, for the flow of information on-line and the provision of the on-line services. These had proved to be highly successful.

John in turn thanked Mark Robinson for his support in all the technical matters that had facilitated this. He also advised that two specific grants had provided the necessary funds.

Heather Daw also expressed her gratitude for the efforts made to ensure the smooth running of the streamed services. She also thanked Di Goodison for her support while she had taken up her role as Churchwarden.

The Vicar also expressed his gratitude to Katharine Wiltshire for her sterling efforts as administrator during exceptionally difficult times.

  1. Fabric Report

Sue Dow has relinquished the chair of the Fabric Committee and John advised that the chair is now Neil Branscombe.

The next major item which is now being progressed is the replacement of roof tiles and associated works.

John Monaghan expressed thanks to Barrie Havens for his hard work and continued support.

  1. Finance (Audited Accounts and Treasurer’s Report)

Peter Marks ceased to be Treasurer in February this year. John thanked him for his dedicated service.

Zac Abraham, the current chair, advised the meeting that the financial position of the church is remarkably good, given the significant loss in income caused by the impact of coronavirus. He thanked the church community for continued faithful giving. He said that he was available to respond to questions regarding the church’s finances at any time.

John highlighted the fact that money and its use was a major element in Jesus’ teachings and led a short prayer seeking God’s continued blessing.

  1. Other Ministry Reports
    1. Children’s Ministry

In response to a question from Barbara Hewer, John Monaghan advised that the current post of full-time children’s minister was being made redundant.  There were several reasons for this including in part because of the smaller than anticipated opportunities for growth for the foreseeable future, and also because the ministry has not grown or developed as had been hoped.  This has been a carefully supervised process over the past five months, involving Chloe’s line-manager John Monaghan, St Edyth’s Standing committee and PCC, and a volunteer consultant in HR, Caroline Jowett-Ive.  As a result, Chloe Matthews’ last day of employment will be July 31st 2021 and she will have served for just under two years of her three year contract. She will be paid a four-week lump sum upon leaving.

Anna Arnold asked whether the post would be re-instated later. John advised that it was possible that there could be a part-time role in the future.

In response to a further question from Barbara Hewer, John advised that the funds released by the loss of the post would be held in the restricted fund for children and families ministry.

  1. CAP

In reply to a question from Susan Cockram, John briefed the church on the PCC’s decision last year to end our contract with CAP (and by implication, employing Debz Spinney) by the end of this current year (unless a new CAP partnership is initiated by a local church sooner).

Responding to a further question from Susan, he advised that the ASMA group of churches had felt that taking the responsibility of employing a CAP worker was not their current priority, however several local churches have been in consultation over the past year to explore options of taking over the CAP contract.

  1. AOB

There were no further questions put on any further topics.

Gloria Wright gave her thanks publicly to June Hewitt for her work on Wednesdays, facilitating the communion service.

John said that he was aware that some of the meeting had encompasses difficult issues, notably the news about the children’s minister and CAP. He encouraged the congregation to discuss with him and the PCC if they have any further questions or concerns and to trust in their shared leadership on these difficult decisions.

The meeting closed at 12.45 pm after a prayer led by the Clerk.

  1. Elections

(a) Deanery Synod
(b) Parochial Church Council – 4 vacancies currently

  1. The Church Electoral Roll

Paul Cockram – Electoral Roll Officer

At the time of the 2021 APCM, there were 71 people on the electoral roll, which was last fully revised in 2019. Since then, two members have moved away or are no longer regular worshippers at St. Edyth’s, and two have died, leaving the roll at 67.

2021 was another challenging and unusual year for our church, with relatively little opportunity to meet and mingle in the building and welcome newcomers.  At the time of writing and since the 2021 APCM I have received no new requests for inclusion on the roll, but it remains open for these until 16 April.  Any further changes to overall membership will be notified at the meeting on 8 May.

  1. PCC Report

Mark Temple – PCC Secretary

St Edyth’s PCC has the responsibility of working with the Incumbent in promoting the mission of the Church.  The PCC is responsible for sharing the leadership, management, and administration of a parish with the incumbent. Members of the PCC are elected by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) and serve for three years. 

Its function can be summarised as follows:

  • It exists to enable the church to play its part in God’s mission to his world 
  • It exists to co-operate with the minister in sharing leadership 
  • It exists to ensure legal compliance with charity law and ecclesiastical law, in particular in the areas of finance, employment and appointments
  • It exists to care for the buildings and churchyard so that they may be best suited for the purpose of the church’s ministry and mission
  • It exists to be a channel of consultation within the wider Church through its synodical structures on matters that affect the Church locally and nationally

During the year, the following have served as members of the PCC:

John Monaghan                                         Vicar, chair

Heather Daw                                              Church Warden

Rebecca Cross                                            Deanery Synod; also Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO)

Gloria Wright                                              Deanery Synod

Voted on members:

Zac Abraham (Treasurer), Mark Temple (PCC secretary), Neil Branscombe, Teresa Goodall, Reuben Coulter, Peter Marks.

Co-opted member:

Ruth Robinson

The PCC met 6 times during the year, in addition to a PCC away day in June.  Concluding her service as Church Warden and PCC member in April 2021 was Di Goodison.  We extend our grateful thanks to her for all her service.

Our Standing Committee comprises the Vicar, Church Warden(s) and Treasurer. It meets every two months and has the power to transact PCC business between meetings, subject to directions given by the PCC.  Where necessary the PCC can now conduct business by email correspondence where the chair decides that it can be property conducted that way. Minutes of the PCC meetings are available in the Church Office for anyone who wishes to read them. Any member of the church who has an issue they wish to be raised in the PCC is invited to bring this to the attention of a PCC member.

Issues with which the PCC has dealt during 2021 include our responses to the covid pandemic, repair of the nave roof (which is now nearing the start of work), the wind down of the CAP Centre, recruitment of a children’s and youth minister and finance matters. 

  1. Church Wardens Report

Heather Daw – Church Warden
2021 saw the gradual easing of Covid restrictions, which although still requiring caution, happily have not meant a return to strict lockdowns.  It has been wonderful to be able to meet together and worship freely after so many months of not being able to do so.   As ever, we have been blessed by John leading us in worship, and more recently, a small group of singers and musicians, ably co-ordinated by Chris Wright, at 10.30 communion services.  

Christmas saw the re-introduction of all our usual services, although the emergence of Omicron in December meant that attendance was somewhat lower than hoped. 

Highlights were Carols on the Square, with hundreds of torch lights bearing witness to the birth of the Light of the World, and the Christmas Experience – an interactive presentation in the church of the nativity story to two classes from Sea Mills Primary School.  We are very grateful to Christ Church Clifton for lending us the props and expertise of their volunteers to put this event on, which led to some excellent conversations and feedback from the staff and children at the school.   

One of the consequences of two years of Covid restrictions was that our children’s work had to be scaled back and could no longer support a full-time post.  Sadly, this meant that we had to say goodbye to our Children and Families Minister Chloe Matthews in the spring. The children’s work ran for a few months with the sterling efforts of our amazing volunteers, until the appointment of Alice Monaghan as part time CFM in September.   Alice has brought huge passion and commitment into the role, with the Wednesday toddler group bursting at the seams and new children joining our Sunday morning groups. 

There have been various other arrivals and departures throughout the year. Some of our members have been ‘promoted to Glory’ and we have celebrated their lives, whilst mourning their loss.  We are sad to say goodbye to the Robinson family as Ruth takes up her curacy in London but pleased to welcome Trinity ordinand Graham Baker and his wife Sarah. 

I have been delighted to welcome Neil Branscombe as Chair of the Fabric Committee and look forward to working alongside our new Churchwarden.  

Of course the biggest farewell we are about to make is to the Monaghan family.  We are so sorry to lose John, Alice, and family as they move to Churchdown.   Amongst the many things we will miss are John’s excellent preaching and hair-raising adventures on his bike, Alice’s welcoming smile and wholehearted dedication to our children’s work, and above all, their unfailing commitment to Jesus.   Please pray that they will know God’s guiding presence as they move and we pray His rich blessings upon them. And so as we prepare to move into vacancy, thank you to all who are taking on new responsibilities to help us journey through it together.  Please pray for the transition team and the PCC and do speak to any member of the leadership team if you have any concerns or questions.  

The future is unknown but let us remember that “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8.   

  1. Vicar’s Report

Revd. John Monaghan

I did not anticipate this time last year that this would be my fifth and final Vicar’s report, attending Easter services for the last time, saying farewell to you, my brothers, and sisters in Christ… for now. Farewells are never final for Christians who carry Easter resurrection hope. I love that. We will journey together and celebrate together again in God’s new Kingdom. After our final services with you on 15th May, we will be preparing for what will be my eighth house move in 20 years (pray for us!) as we up sticks and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to move up the road to Churchdown, Gloucester.

I will be licensed to two churches – St Andrew’s and St Bartholomew’s as Vicar there on Wednesday 8th June 7.30pm, and you are all very warmly invited to attend (just don’t heckle or boo!).

The last five years have been a life-shaping and joyous chapter of our lives together, and one that I will be forever grateful for. St Edyth’s family will always hold a special place in my affections, as a community of gathered lives around the Gospel – following Jesus and bringing his hope into our community.

As I look back over the last year, emerging from our third national lockdown, there are so many things to thank the Lord for. Our January online Alpha courses has made it easy for those who might not come to church to explore faith; For me – volunteering on Monday mornings at the Foodbank in Avonmouth was such a joy and a special time of standing with people in need, hearing their stories, and offering physical and spiritual hope in the midst of darkness;  I am so thankful that we were able to have a wonderful day together as PCC and Leadership in June, and a church day together in September. There was a sense of pure gratitude at being able to see each other face to face, and share fellowship and food as we sought the Lord together;  I am thankful for our Autumn marriage course – again made possible over zoom (and far cheaper than a babysitter!), which saw couples from this parish, from parishes in the Mission area, and even as far away as Bath, take time together to invest in the precious marriages that God has designed from the beginning; and of course – Christmas gone by was so special to be able to meet again in our buildings, and celebrate the birth of Christ; train station carols and a packed out Carols on the Square were such happy memories… let’s continue to pray that all the good seed of last year that was planted, would continue to find root and grow into lives transformed for Jesus.

The final word I want to leave you with is from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.  It’s important to acknowledge that for many of us, and including God’s church in this nation, life is testing right now. There is a sense of weariness, of fragility, of ‘how long O Lord’? There’s an awareness of a spiritual battle over hearts and minds as the enemy seeks to bring discouragement, destruction, and delay to the advancement of God’s church. There’s the temptation as Christians we face today towards lethargy, apathy, and cultural drift. The apparent hopelessness of exile tempting us to doubt the return of the King. Into all this context, I want to remind us of Paul’s words that ‘we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.’ (v7).

The thing about clay jars, is that they are supposed to be fragile! That’s us! And yet in our weakness, in our fragility, when we’re under pressure, as we are today, the Lord is reminding us that we have this treasure – the hope of Jesus, and nothing can change or stop or diminish this. That’s why Paul continues, ‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.’ (v8-9).

St Edyth’s – The word from the Lord is to keep going. Being a fragile clay jar is exactly the Lord’s intention so that his power might be made perfect through our weakness. Do not lose heart. Do not lose hope. Paul concludes ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ (v16-18). Amen and see you soon. Revd John Monaghan.

  1. Fabric Report

Neil Branscombe – Chair

The ongoing maintenance and care of the premises has continued this year to the usual high standards thanks to the commitment of the team.

One or two minor works have been undertaken. The replacement of the South Nave roof has taken longer to achieve than envisaged. However, this should finally be achieved in the next few months. The mobile ‘phone antennae have also not yet been replaced or upgraded.

Items for the for the coming year include the replacement of the dishwasher, which is currently nearing the end of its useful life and consideration/repair of the external mortar. It is likely that extensive re-pointing work will prove to be necessary. Clearly, budgets will be under pressure because of the above and additionally because of general inflationary pressures.

There are several new team-members and I am extremely grateful to them (as well as to the old hands) for all their hard work.

  1. Finance Report – 31st December 2021

Please see full Finance Report and Statements in a separate document (if electronic) or on the back of this document (hard copy).

 Other Ministry Reports

St Edyth’s APCM Safeguarding Report 30th March 2022 –  Rebecca Cross

Ensuring our church is a safe supportive place for all means that safeguarding remains a key priority for the PCC.

This is a regular agenda item at each meeting where the 10 steps to recruitment for each church activity is reviewed on a rolling programme. All PCC members now have to undertake foundation training and domestic abuse training after basic awareness then update 3 yearly. The PCC review a refreshed policy annually and the Safeguarding Action Plan. This plan follows 6 monthly reviews by our lead incumbent, parish safeguarding officer, children’s minister, and DBS administrator. We have now achieved level 2 and are working on level 3.

Alice as the new children’s minister has been instrumental in ensuring all volunteers for children’s work are safely recruited and accessing the training as necessary.

Whilst volunteers in this area have increased, the workload associated with CAP since its closure has reduced. New requirements to update relevant people’s DBS 3 yearly has meant Sara Spottiswood who is our DSB administrator remains busy.

Thanks to all for your vigilance, sharing concerns with the PSO, appreciation of the necessity of the safeguarding policy, training, and procedures.

Bristol West Deanery Synod Report 2021–2022 – Rebecca Cross

Inclusion and Representation, May – Issues such as racism, ethnic minorities, gender and sexuality, poverty and wealth, and political perspectives have drawn our attention to difference. Synod explored the extent to which we are truly open to others. Transforming Church has identified inclusivity as a theme.

Transforming Church Together, Oct – Archdeacon Neil Warwick explained that Transforming Church. Together is the process by which the Diocese has recently developed its vision, including desk research, an online questionnaire, and workshops held on Zoom. There were over 1,200 responses to the questionnaire, and around 2,000 people attended the workshops. Particular effort had been made to listen to those not normally heard, including disabled people, BAME people, LGTBI+ people and young people.

The Values Identified

  • Openness – we are loving and open to all, welcoming to everyone, embracing diverse needs, so that we have a long-term relationship with our community, based on acceptance and love for people as God made them.
  • Generosity – we receive and give sincerely, giving our time and resources to share what we know of Jesus’ love, caring for people practically and spiritually, so that members of our community experience God’s love and have the opportunity to journey into faith if they so choose.
  • Creativity – we co-operate with the work of the Spirit, being rooted in faith and responsive to the Spirit, in bold and joyful faith, work and worship, so that we have variety in our projects and worship styles, celebrating tradition and innovation to connect with God.
  • Bravery – we are courageous with our voices and our actions, acknowledging and learning from our past and actively effecting positive change in the world, so that we are listened to and partnered with, and the collective voices and actions of our community help to bring about transformational change.

Climate Emergency motion agreed, March – Rev Dr Andy Murray to move that this Synod recognises the need to take urgent and immediate action at a parish, diocese, and national church level, in order to achieve the Church of England’s NetZero Carbon targets by 2030.  We affirm the national church and diocesan work currently underway regarding these targets.  In addition, we commend the proposals outlined in the ‘Bristol West Deanery NetZero Carbon (March 2022)’ paper and we therefore call upon the Diocese of Bristol to formally consider the proposals and recommendations contained within the above paper with a view to identifying a programme of support targeted at parish level.

The Uganda Link – The essential platform for this is ‘building relationships of wholeness across culture with Christ at the centre’.

The impact of the pandemic in Uganda is disastrous. Additional impacts have been loss of education opportunity for girls (due to an increase in pregnancies) and an increase in domestic violence.

ASMA Mental Health Groups – Rebecca Cross
The steering group has included reps from each of the parishes and have continued to run an online and face to face MAG (Mental Health Awareness Group) alternate weeks. The group organised a video that was shared at the churches across the Mission Area on World Mental Health Day.

St Edyth’s website now has a Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing and Mental Health page that includes useful information and the video. St Edyth’s have several trained mental health first aiders – please see poster in the foyer if you want to discuss anything with them.

ASMA are running rolling programmes of Kintsugi Hope at St Mary’s Stoke Bishop and in Shirehampton’s Tithe Barn. The last group included a couple of people who don’t go to church. Bringing a friend to a group is a way for people to naturally witness whilst learning wellbeing strategies and different ways of viewing challenging thoughts and feelings.

Who could you invite or bring along? For more info ask Erica or Rebecca.

The Avonside Mission Area in 2021 – Rev. Simon Potter

In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul describes to the churches of a first-century mission area what life as a follower of Jesus, in the Spirit of God looks like. He says, “serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

As brothers and sisters in Christ, the leaders, teams, and congregations of the churches in the Avonside Mission Area (Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Sea Mills and Coombe Dingle, Shirehampton, and Stoke Bishop) have sought over the last year, more than ever, to begin our shared conversations and activities with the question, “how can we serve you?”

We’ve asked this question of our local communities and, as we have done so, have found that our Mission Area-wide mental health/Kintsugi Hope groups have expanded in both number and geographical spread. At St Andrew’s Avonmouth, the Foodbank and Homebank were joined in 2021 by Space4Makers – a community workshop space offering training for young people and those looking to acquire new practical skills. A new community cafe – The Well – also began offering weekly refreshments, lunches, a listening ear, and faith discussion opportunities to the community and clients of the Social Justice Hub. This hub, and the Mental Health Awareness groups, have been staffed and served by volunteers from across NW Bristol and the Avonside churches.  

We’ve also asked the question, ‘how can we serve you?’ of our church congregations. In 2021, there were plenty of opportunities for ASMA to support the team, mission, and ministry of St Mary’s, Shirehampton as the church entered a season of vacancy. It has largely been clergy from the Mission Area who have assisted the team in Shirehampton in maintaining the pattern of Sunday and midweek services, as well as funeral, baptism, and wedding ministry. The Mission Area network has also resourced and encouraged pastoral and teaching ministry in other ways too – the Come To Life 2021 ASMA Lent Course looked at issues of creation care; the 2021 ASMA Living In Love and Faith course was the largest course of its type in the Diocese and set the pattern for several other areas to follow; and the Getting On Well sermon/small group teaching series that accompanied it has since been offered at St Mary’s Stoke Bishop, St Andrew’s Avonmouth, and St Peter’s Lawrence Weston. Some churches in the Mission Area have also enjoyed sharing a sermon series in Revelation together. Church members appreciated the chance to gather for the first in-person ASMA Prayer Celebration since lockdown in December 2021, and this has been accompanied by monthly prayer gatherings – Harp and Bowl – at St Edyth’s and St Andrew’s.

The question, ‘how can we serve you?’ has also been asked by our staff teams. Plenty of the work involved in running our churches is not up-front. Whether it’s the encouragement of networking our children’s and youth workers to share ideas and training; or sharing people with financial expertise; or sharing safeguarding  personnel and training; or sharing HR support to enable our staff and teams to thrive, this has all been quietly happening behind-the-scenes in 2021, meaning that ASMA is considered to by both the Diocese and Trinity College to be a key partner in the training and development of lay and ordained leaders.

The Mission Area approach to resourcing mission and ministry has been considered a pioneering project success by the Diocese in 2021 as it has considered the Transforming Church agenda, looking ahead to the next 5 years.

2022 will bring further opportunities and developments but the question, ‘how can we serve you?’ will remain a key question for each church in the Mission Area in each generation.

Children’s Ministry Report – Alice Monaghan

It has been such a joy to be the Children and Families’ Minster since September. There is so much to give thanks to God for – the team of Volunteers has grown and we have seen the numbers of children attending the groups also grow.

On Sundays we have been running two groups for young children. Green Shoots Creche for the Pre-School age has been using new material called Bubbles which was sourced by Chloe M. This group has been following the Old Testament and has reached Joshua (at the time of writing).

The Saplings Group of Primary School aged Children has received a lovely variety of teaching from different leaders with Anni’s beautiful Paint board, Ruben’s creative use of the Energize Material and Alice using Godly Play. We have had much fun hearing Bible Stories from the Old and New Testament and making relevant craft as well of lots of games and laughter, some of which is connected to the Bible Story! The children have grown in their desire to pray and have often led prayers, particularly recently as the Ukraine disaster has been on their minds.

Thank you Church for encouraging the children to participate in worship by waving banners or shaking an instrument. We have also had some great All Age Services and I want to thank you for being willing to try new things to help the children engage (e.g. whack or whubbish week prayers)!

It has been great to see young people attend our Sunday Services week by week. We have occasionally run a specific group for them but most of the time they have participated in the whole adult Service. We have had 4 young people attending Alpha online.

On Wednesdays the Seedlings Toddler Group opened up as soon as Covid Restrictions allowed and since then the group has flourished. We usually have 20 toddlers and babies with their parents, grandparents or carers and there is a wonderful sense of God’s presence when we meet to play, have a snack and coffee for the adults as well as have an age-appropriate Bible Story read and sing nursery rhymes and some very simple Christian worship songs. The group has been described by parents as “Kind”, “Friendly”, “Lush”! We have had a few families attend Christmas and Sunday Services because they were invited while at the Toddler Group.

I would like to thank everyone who volunteers to make sure all these children have a wonderful experience of church and are getting to know the Lord Jesus. Please keep praying for the children and the volunteers who make all this ministry possible as well as our amazing Safeguarding team. Please take opportunities to encourage the volunteers who will continue this vital ministry after John and I have moved to Churchdown. God bless you all.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) – Revd. John Monaghan
After an extended period of review of more than 15 months, St Edyth’s’ PCC made the decision to close the Bristol Northwest CAP Centre on 31st December 2021. 

During the review period, Debz and a CAP steering group explored options for the future of the centre including establishment a ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’ (“CIO”) which would be a separate legal body, and appointment of another church as ‘Employer church’. 

However after much consideration by the steering group, churches in the area, none of these options presented as viable endeavours to take the centre forwards in its current form.

A CAP celebration event was held in December to celebrate the work that God has done through CAP since 2013, and thank Debz Spinney, our CAP worker, and the volunteers and befrienders. 

We praise God that since 2013, 69 households went debt free, and many more were helped through support grants which provided curtains, carpets, food parcels, fuel and mobile top ups, food vouchers and Christmas hampers.

We are so grateful for all the befrienders and volunteers, and everyone at St Edyth’s who has supported the ministry of CAP, and we continue to pray for those in debt and poverty in our community.  We pray for wisdom on how we can continue to support those in need, and we trust in the Lord’s wisdom, guidance, and provision as we steward our resources well as a church.  We are also thankful that Debt advice continues to be available locally, not least through North Bristol Advice Service, who are a significant source of referrals through Bristol Northwest Food Bank.

Parish Centre Bookings – Katharine Wiltshire

I am pleased to say that bookings have increased during 2021 as the parish centre came out of lockdown and restrictions have been lifted. Many of our regular bookings have resumed meeting, and we have also welcomed some new groups over the year too. On top of this there has been a steady stream of one-off events such as birthday parties and craft workshops. It has been really great to have the rooms filled again.

Unfortunately we did lose some of our regular groups during the lockdown period and others are not back to full capacity yet but things are moving in the right direction.

We have increased our advertising of the rooms available to hire, and now have flyers around the church that people can take, an advertisement in the local BS9 Magazine and we also continue to advertise on several online event booking websites including ‘A Church Near You’.

Our incoming for 2021 is in the region of £12,785, which is an increase of £10,285 on 2020. Thank you for your continued support and please spread the word about our amazing spaces for hire.

Prayer on the Streets – Revd. John Monaghan

In January 2022, we started trialling a ‘prayer on the streets’ type outreach at various locations in our parish. There was a sense that the time is right to be a visible presence in our parish (including Coombe Dingle) and offer prayer in a sensitive and loving way.

People are hungry for what Jesus wants to offer them. The church is called to offer Jesus to a hungry world.  Approximately 15 people have volunteered to go out in pairs on a Saturday morning for an hour or so. This means they go out every 6 or 7 weeks.  We have a ‘Prayer on the streets’ Sandwich board and a bag with free resources (including Bibles, ‘Why Jesus’, different Gospel handouts) to give away also.  Since starting, we have had many reports of encouraging conversations and prayers with members from our community.  Whether we chat and pray with lots of people or none at all, the Lord honours our commitment and obedience. 

This initiative is just one expression of many where we can take a little step out of our comfort zone and offer our time and prayers for the sake of the gospel in this area. If you think you’d like to get involved, or find out more, do speak to  Revd John, or anyone at our Tuesday 7am evangelism prayer group.

Small Groups – Liz Fry

We have 6 small groups, meeting in the afternoon or evening, either weekly or fortnightly to cater for differing needs. Over the past year, some groups have started to meet in person again while other groups have continued over Zoom.

Groups have either followed the main sermon series or have tailored studies to their own group’s needs. We were able to have a face-to-face small group leader’s meeting in September 2021 where we were able to pray for each other and our groups.

We thank God for our leaders who give up their time to prepare and lead their groups in Bible study, prayer, and support of each other and in encouraging discipleship and witness.

We thank God for all who attend a small group and for how their commitment contributes to the church’s walk with God, discipleship, fellowship with each other, deepening commitment to St Edyth’s and our witness in Sea Mills, Coombe Dingle and beyond.

Prayer Ministry Report – Teresa Goodall, Richard Widger, Karlynn Evans

It has been a joy to be able to pray with people person-to-person again! But throughout the various lockdowns God was, of course, at work and it was so encouraging to hear of answers to prayer, wherever and however prayers were offered. Praise be to the God of the airwaves!

The team has lost a few members this year, and some are taking a break, so we are looking, hoping, and praying for new members to become involved – if anyone feels called to a ministry of praying for others after the morning service, please do get in touch. We hold monthly training evenings on the first Thursday of the month, either at Karlynn’s home or in the church hall at 7.30pm.

Kitchen hospitality and Sunday Morning Coffee – Barbara Hewer

It’s been a real joy to see people having fellowship over a ‘cuppa’ again after the 10.30 service. Thank you to all the refreshment team, so vital to this church ministry.

We are short of volunteers, so it would be great to have others join the team, please.

Sea Mills Community Initiatives – Barbara Hewer

After 10yrs, the cafe continues to be a place where Christian love is extended to all who visit. We’re sadly having to say goodbye to Rachel and Mike as managers. Mike’s post is being replaced with an ‘operations manager’ who will have time with the charity to advance its outreach (as well making excellent coffee).

We’ve taken on running the Methodist church this year, so it can continue to be a community asset. The allotment is also going well, with increased volunteers. Our emphasis is on relationships and sanity, which helps when tomato blight destroyed most of the crop!!

Please continue to pray for the charity, that people would feel the presence of God and ask questions about Him.

 Mission Focus Spend – Revd. John Monaghan

St Edyth’s allocate a certain budget (typically £500) to support selected ministries, both home and abroad.  In 2021, we supported Tearfund, Open doors and our missionary partners Tom and Sarah Haig running discipleship programmes in Malawi. 

Each of these ministries has a bearing in some way on our church discipleship –either by sharing/hearing ‘God stories’ or being directly involved.  This is why we aim to have a Sunday feature or sermon slot on each of the Mission Focuses each year.

In 2022 we look forward to supporting the above, in addition to ASMA Mental Health and Christian Aid.

Flower Guild 2021 – Di Goodison

Thank you to so many people who firstly have given money to enable the flowers to be purchased and secondly have commented and complimented on the displays. I have been helped by Gish Hobbs and Hilarie Adams, especially on the festive arrangements and weddings and we have challenged ourselves with diverse arrangements.

Displays of fresh flowers mixed with artificial flowers help to enhance the fabric of our church and I hope it enhances  your worship as well.  These displays are funded by generous donations from within the congregation, often made  in memory of a loved one or a special occasion like a wedding or a birthday or even a christening.

Each year we lose someone from the sponsorship list and I am delighted that other member of the church family have stepped in to help. As we have quite a strong flower fund financially we have not been pursuing regular donations, but if you would like to make a special donation and help to keep the tradition of fresh flower displays in church please do let me know or leave a message with the office and I will get back to you. Offers to arrange flowers will be welcomed

Dancercise 2021 – Anna Arnold

Classes in 2021 continued on Zoom. Donations from May to October 2021 were given to CAP (£600).

In November the class restarted in person. I wanted to keep the continuity of Wednesday mornings for those who most benefited from the classes but the hall is used for Toddlers so we have moved into the main church. The chairs have to be moved each week (huge thanks to John and Barbara for their help) but the plus is that we are moving to worship music in front of the beautiful windows and altar. On occasion the presence of God is tangible.  It is also wonderful to be able to offer a time of fellowship again after the class.

The class has grown and averages 15 people per week – predominantly those who are retired. It continues to cater for all abilities and mobilities. Fellowship has developed with the new people. Some members came to Carols on the Square.

Donations from the class to March 2022 have been given to BNW Foodbank (£436.58) and to St Edyth’s for heating etc (£180).

I am grateful to God for his provision of time and space for these classes. Please pray for all the attendees, that they would experience the love of God through these classes.

Make Lunch – Sea Mills Breakfast Club – Gill Slee, Coordinator

The Breakfast Club has continued to provide breakfast/breakfast bags to support vulnerable families in the local area.

In the summer of 2021 we were delighted to reopen the school kitchen and welcome families back into the playground for eight ‘al fresco’ breakfasts. Masks, social distancing, and lateral flow tests were all part of this process. The weather behaved itself and the children enjoyed some great dance and PE activities in the sunshine.

Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron virus we decided not to open at Christmas. However we returned to the kitchen in February and hope that this will continue into 2022. When we have a chance to take some time out from the kitchen it’s good just to sit down with a family and chat over a bacon butty.

Thanks as ever goes to St. Edyth’s, High Grove Church, and the Children’s Centre for their continued support. Grateful thanks as ever goes to Nicky Philips the family support worker who is the emotional lynchpin for so many families in the area. We also have a wonderful group of volunteers who quietly get on with dishing out the baked beans and manage the washing up.

Small miracles happen at times and God is providing plenty of opportunities for us to show his love to our local community.

Pastoral Care – Karlynn Evans

My team are still working hard taking care of those people needing care and a listening ear. We had a Quiet Day last October lead by the Rev Jenny Low, which we all enjoyed. I have arranged another one this year in July. We continue to meet twice a month on Zoom to pray together.

Women’s Fellowship – Ann Green, Treasurer

Women’s Fellowship has been meeting regularly since 1925, giving praise to the Lord and spreading his Word by Prayer and Good works.

Sadly, we were unable to meet during the period December 2019 to December 2021, although we have kept in contact either via the Internet or the telephone, always with prayer and sustained by the hope that we would meet again which we have been doing since beginning of March 2022.

The Fellowship used the funds in our Bank Account to donate to Sightsavers, Christian Aid, Tear fund, the Hospital in Mauritius , Sarah Pikes’ Ministry, The Foodbank and St Edyth’s Church fund .

There is still a small balance in our Account and we are building on it for future projects.

We were sad to say Goodbye to one of our members, Mrs Nancie Marsh, in January 2022 but know that she is at peace and with her Lord now. We continue to pray for all members and former members and for peace at this time.

Church Cleaning – Katharine Wiltshire

The Gleam Team has all but disbanded due to other commitments and ill health. Our two regular cleaners are John Hewer who keeps the church tidy for us, and Paul Cockram who continues to take care of the toilets and foyer. Thank you to you both for your hard work. We also give thanks to Diane Dear and Pat Hegarty who have stepped down this year, and to Gloria Wright and Di Goodison who have helped out on occasion. We are so grateful for and give a big thank you also to Barrie Havens for his help with so much around the church, including emptying the bins,  keeping the church brass clean and polished, plus maintenance around the building and grounds taking care of grass cutting and hedge clipping, etc.

We have a new cleaner who keeps the parish centre clean and tidy for us. Unfortunately she is unable to help much with the church and we therefore ask for any volunteers who could help out. This can be for as much or as little time you can spare and can be on an occasional basis if you can’t come every week. As a church family we all use and enjoy the church and we are all therefore responsible for it. Please contact Katharine Wiltshire in the office if you can help in any way.

  1. Closing Prayer