Reports prepared for
2014 Annual Parochial Church Meeting
To be held on Sunday 27th April 2014





Electoral Roll Officer’s Report
There is very little to report this year. We had a major revision of the roll last year and started this year with 144 people on the roll. During the year we have had 2 new people added to the roll and we have had one member die, May West, so the roll now stands at 145. Two people have left the church to go to another but they are still on our church roll.
History indicates that over a 10-year period we will lose 50% of the current roll due to either deaths or people moving out of the area. This is an annual turnover of circa 14 people so, on that basis, we have had a good year!
Cliff Nixey


Church Wardens’ Report
There are many things happening in the church and we have been in the privileged position of seeing many of them again. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as wardens this year. There are so many people that we want to try and ensure are recognised and thanked for their contribution to St.Philip’s church life – the sides-men, the church cleaners, the flower arrangers, the A Team, those who launder the linen for the church, the church openers and many others. The danger with attempting to list the people and groups for whom thanks are due is the possibility of missing people, and clearly we do not wish to do this. Thus we would like to thank all those involved in keeping the church functioning day-by-day and throughout the year. Every little contribution makes a difference to the life of the church and it is impossible to gauge what each person’s contribution means to those who have contact with St. Philips.

One of the joys and, potentially, one of the curses of the church warden post is the awareness of many things that are happening within the life of the church. Key events for this year have been –


    It is clear from just this very incomplete list of events that much is happening in the church, which is a great encouragement. However, there remain significant challenges for the future. As with any church, St.Philips exists to help people to make contact with a loving Father God and to provide the support that this implies. To enable this to happen the church needs to attract new members and encourage an ever wider group of those connected with church to become more involved with church life.
    Andy Wisbey & Irene Skinner



    Report of PCC Secretary
    The PCC has met on six occasions during the year. The Standing Committee has met between these meetings, dealing with issues that do not need the attention of the full PCC.

    At the first meeting of the new PCC, which began with a celebration of Holy Communion, it was agreed that the priorities would be to develop work with families and to reach out to our community. Most of our activities in these areas are covered by the various sections of this annual report. Other events include a very successful cake stall at the Folk Festival, the indoor BBQ (due to poor weather), a Harvest High Tea and a concert by the Vale Royal Singers.

    There are three PCC sub-groups, Stewardship, Buildings and Communication & Outreach. These have all met regularly throughout the year and reported back to PCC. The Stewardship Group decided against a major event in 2013 but sent out a large mailing to parishioners and others associated with St Philip’s, with limited success. The Buildings Group has highlighted the Lounge as top priority for attention and is also looking at ways to make use of the Chancel more flexible. The Communication & Outreach Group has been working on the website and we now have a new editorial team for the Parish News.

    In January we renewed our Covenant with KMC. With Joint events, including Easter and Christmas XFactor workshops for Kelsall School, Holiday Club and a training day with a puppet workshop, the two churches have worked together throughout the year.
    Heather Leather


    Outward Giving
    The total amount given (equating to 10% of church income excluding large legacies) is based on the previous year’s income as stated in the accounts. In the calendar year
    2013 it amounted to £6,750, based on 2012 income.

    A slightly different approach was taken in allocating the total to individual charities, in that a ranking was made of which was thought most important. The existing principles for selecting charities were maintained:-
    a) Personal contact; and hence the role of the ‘champion’ is key
    b) A small amount (£), properly directed, could have major implications for recipients
    c) A bias against large organisations, except where the money can be targeted (e.g. the Dobbings through CMS).
    From this, we decided the organisations to be supported:-
    UK: Save the Family, Agricultural Chaplaincy, Tarporley Hospital, and (new for St Philip’s)
    CSCW (Chester Schools Christian Workers).
    Overseas: Paul & Jean Dobbing (thru’ CMS), African Pastors Fellowship, A Rocha (Kenya), Tony Kanundu, Compassion (Pingwende in Burkina Faso), and the Syria Appeal.

    Efforts have been made to improve further the links with those whom we support, and the communication with parishioners about the organisations and people. Each month one organisation is prayed for in our Sunday intercessions and featured in the Parish News.



    New ideas and new people to become charity champions (link people) are welcome.
    With grateful thanks to all existing charity champions who do so much behind the scenes to keep in touch and promote their charity or people.

    John Diggle


    ‘A’ Team

    This year the ‘A’ Team has started the grass-mowing season early, due to the mild March weather. Sincere thanks to our regular ‘A’ Team members for their very hard work and great friendliness, which make our Monday sessions so enjoyable.

    We welcome back our friend Don Barden after a long session of hospital treatment. It’s so good to see him.

    Although it has been a very wet winter the early start has been helpful and we have been able to mow all areas before the blossom is fully out, making the churchyard very neat and tidy, ready for Easter time.

    Now able to field three modern, operational, Swedish-designed mulching mowers, we hope to be able keep well ahead of the grass this year.

    The graveyard database has again been updated and work continues ongoing to resolve several queries from old records dating back to 1930 and beyond.

    Ted Wilkinson


    Deanery Synod
    The Anglican – Methodist Covenant was discussed at the May 2013 meeting, led by two prominent Methodists, Revd Peter Barber (Chair of District Chester & Stoke-on-Trent) & Neil Stubbins (Methodist Church's national ecumenical officer). The Covenant was signed in 2003, and the main thrust is a commitment to mission and unity. The tenor of the Covenant is to monitor and encourage local integration, but not to impose conditions or to create initiatives. In an interesting talk, they highlighted some areas of doctrinal and legal difference, which prevent the two churches just deciding “to work completely together”. Blessing of the sacraments, the role of priests and ‘women bishops’ legislation are just some examples. Their overall advice was that local churches should learn to work together increasingly in many ways before signing agreements.

    A report on the General Synod featured in November. The new Archbishop was reported to be a breath of fresh air, identifying the need for revolutionary change starting with the introduction of group working, rather than everyone always meeting in a big very formal conference hall. This contributed to much more agreement on the provisions for those who cannot accept women bishops, thus paving the way for rapid legislation this year. An accelerated process to gain the dioceses’ acceptance is now underway. Many more issues were discussed (but not reported by the media) and can be found on the Church of England’s website
    www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/reports-of-proceedings.aspx.


    The Archdeacon of Chester told the Feb 2014 meeting about his role and what he does. In addition, two things impacting all parishes are:
    Transforming Lives Together. This is a new initiative between the diocese and the Church Urban Fund, whose purpose is “a joint venture to transform lives and communities through every person in every church in every community tackling poverty”. Our first involvement is to complete a survey to determine what St Philip’s is doing to tackle poverty.
    GAP 4. It is 5 years since the start of GAP and the fourth round is now beginning. The diocese is suggesting three areas for each parish to consider.


      We have three Deanery Synod members (Brian Rischmiller, John Diggle, Sue Clifton), reducing to two because the number on our electoral roll has fallen below a trigger point. Sue Clifton is not seeking re-election because of other commitments. It would be good to have some fresh eyes and ears to report on our links with the deanery and diocese.
      John Diggle



      CHILDREN’S & YOUTH WORK

      Splash and Little Fish for children up to the age of 11 have continued to meet on Sunday mornings. Numbers of children have ranged between 3 and 8, aged between 4 and 8. The Roots material is used which aligns with the material covered each week in church. This involves a mix of music, dancing, singing, art & craft, bible stories, games and snacks. The children have a good time and enjoy coming.

      The group is organised using a rota of leaders, which is currently prepared by Peter. This is working OK but it would benefit from a co-ordinator to take an overview and make sure the group runs smoothly. This doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment and we would gratefully receive any offers to help.
      Paul & Keren Coney


      Whatever Group and other youth work
      Whatever Group, for teenagers, has continued running this year with Mary organising the rota for herself, Keren, Paul, Sheila and Andy. This, by the way, is something Mary has been doing for just over 10 years now! We have continued to meet in the Parish Rooms in parallel with the 10:30 Sunday morning service and have highly variable numbers, depending on sports commitments and other draws on the young people's time. All in all though, we've had fun, eaten cakes and explored the Word through the year. It has also been great to see the young people contributing to the services at different times and in different ways throughout the year, especially Stephen and Matthew Macaulay.

      Latterly we have run the youth equivalent of Christianity Explored, called Soul, which is, in my opinion, excellent material and pitched very well for the 15+ age group. Given the variation in numbers and our broad age range, it presented a few challenges for us but I for one would be willing to re-run it in the future.
      Questions frequently arise over the future of the group. Should we be better running at a different time? Should we be running a different format of meeting? Any answers from teenagers, or parents of teenagers especially, gratefully received.
      As to more outreach activities, the Youth Club continues on. It is what it is and with numbers steady over the winter at around 20+ for our mainly Community Centre based activities. The attendees (and some of the parents) have clearly valued it. Jacquie also did great work on the ice skating trip and is currently organising a bowling trip. Since the Winter Olympics, a big draw for the boys (and some girls) is our indoor curling equipment.
      With the Youth Club the issues are slightly different. The club has sufficient equipment and resources (as could be seen by those who came for the pudding party) but, in the autumn, Ann Barnett will be stepping
      down after four years as co-ordinator. Also, I am feeling rather on the endangered list as the only male leader left. We are actively working on both these issues but prayers and support are always welcome.
      On a real positive note though, I must pay tribute to Jacquie, Jane and Deanne who are absolutely great in the way they contribute their time and talents to the club. There are plenty of opportunities for people to help out, either at a meeting or by helping the meetings to happen. Occasionally parents do help but none have committed regularly – yet, except (and I must say that I'm really grateful) for Suzanne Goodier, who has taken over as Treasurer.
      The older Youth Group, including those undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh's Award, has again seen many successes this year. Pete Moore and Elaine Shakespeare are at the forefront on that one, with help from Keren Coney and many others. Amazing numbers of young people have worked their way through the challenges set, including the damp expeditions. The cycle has begun once again with the March day walk from Beeston to Kelsall, which had 20 Award participants from Kelsall and surrounding villages (albeit one was serving when we stopped at Summertrees). The successes were celebrated once again last December.
      As an aside, I am also helping out with 1st Tarvin Beavers as that Colony and Cub Pack are re-established in the village at their scout hut. A number of boys from Kelsall (including Harry) attend and there is a clear link between the Colony and St Andrews in the leadership and overall approach and also with activities such as their church parade and integration into the church with special services.
      So in summary we, as a church, are still running and linked to a number of youth activities. Let’s hope we can build on this in 2014.

      Daniel Gaskarth



      MUSIC
      Music Group
      Music Group has continued to grow in confidence and (hopefully) competence throughout the year. We’ve now got into a nice rhythm of picking a Musical Director for each second Sunday service, liaising with the worship leader, practising and delivering on the day. Our repertoire is building and the “kit” we have available is building in quality with the loan of a drum kit from Alex Staniforth, a quality stage piano and new amplification.

      We’ve been delighted to be joined by Stephen and Alistair and for the guest appearances from Lizzie and Sophie. It’s great that young people are getting involved and willing to use their talents in leading worship.

      In the coming year we would love to explore how we all work together coherently to make musical worship even more accessible, meaningful and of the highest quality according to our talents.

      If we had one wish it would be to have a PA system so that levels can be set repeatedly to improve consistency, repeatability and quality of the sound we generate. We see this to be of wider benefit to the whole church, the choir and for visiting musicians and speakers alike.
      Chris Spray

      Choir

      As I write this, we are busy preparing “At the Ninth Hour” for our Good Friday meditation. Once again the choir has worked really hard and I am so grateful for their support and dedication in order for us to present a moving and poignant service.

      A new venture for the choir was a concert to raise funds for church. This was a lot of hard work for choir members in terms of rehearsals but also for those organising it. Douglas and Barbara did a sterling job selling tickets and an audience of 70 was a great reward for their efforts. Our soloists Chris and Helen Strange were amazingly talented and they were supported by the choir and some of our own musicians singing and playing. Considering that during the run up to the concert we had falling numbers due to illness and bereavement, we managed to pull off an amazing night with some extra help from Ashton Church! If you missed this – you really did miss an excellent concert. All in all £526.00 was raised for church funds which was magnificent,

      The choir again prepared and presented special items for our annual memorial service in October and also for the Remembrance Sunday service - all of which went well and met with gratitude from those who attended.

      The Carol Service last Christmas was excellent – and we had the biggest congregation that I can ever remember... thanks to a lot of hard work from Chris Spray to get people in – as I later found out. We were fortunate to have extra help from Sue Clifton, Dawn Wisbey and Mary Gaskarth to whom we are grateful, as unfortunately again we were plagued with illness

      The choir also continues to work hard to lead the singing at the majority of our morning services. They have led us in learning new songs as well as some of the more traditional and well-loved hymns. We continue to be asked to sing at several weddings and are grateful to people from the congregation that helped to increase our numbers.

      Despite several pleas, we have been unable to attract new members to our choir and have lost a couple recently due to personal circumstances. We need your help to continue having a choir at St Philips. We do not expect a commitment every Sunday but a Sunday or 2 a month for a morning service and 2/3 practices a month. You don’t have to read music or have had any previous experience - just want to sing. We enjoy a good laugh as well as singing so it’s not all serious stuff either! Please consider joining us, if we are to continue the long-standing tradition we have of choral singing at St Philips

      My personal thanks go to all our choristers who give up their time for rehearsals and services. They are hugely committed and work hard for the benefit of us all. Thanks also to Peter, John and Lis for their encouragement and support. Paul Kennaugh


      HOME GROUPS
      Beckett’s Croft Homegroup
      The year began with a final discussion on ethical issues (animal rights).

      During Lent, we studied the Upper Room Discourse from John’s gospel (John 13:1-17:26), using a book “With Jesus in the Upper Room” by David Winter, which contains 40 reflections which we discussed in 6 sessions.

      In the autumn we began an in-depth study of Mark’s gospel, which has run up to Easter 2014. As a resource book, we have studied “Mark for Everyone” by Tom Wright (former bishop of Durham). Over 14 sessions we have read the gospel through, and then studied it section by section. For most of the group, there have been revelations in studying not only ‘the stories’ but also how the writer (Mark) draws them together to form a coherent narrative, and how one section throws light on others.

      There have been 15 active members of the group, of which 4 (plus myself) have done the Christianity Explored course in the New Year. We are always pleased to welcome anyone new, even just for a ‘taster’ session. Although the topics sound a bit heavy, in practice we have quite a lot of fun and laughter as we learn from each other in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

      John Diggle

      ‘No 1 Ladies’ Homegroup
      We completed our summer study, ‘Unglued’ - God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! by Lysa TerKeurst, from which we all gained a lot. So much so, we will revisit the study in the near future as there was a lot more material in the study guide that we didn’t do justice to. We then spent the rest of the summer months producing a recipe book entitled ‘Thinking outside the basket - loaves, fishes and a whole lot more' which was a compilation of our favourite recipes, made with foods mentioned in the bible that we use today. We initially started on this project as we had a task as a Homegroup to raise a few pennies for the church, which we accomplished, as all but a couple of the copies we had printed sold before Christmas. Everyone in the group was involved in producing this book and we had much fun in doing so.
      During the autumn term we also started on a study entitled ‘Heaven is for Real’. The book is written by a Christian pastor, Todd Burpo, who writes about the months following his son Colton’s emergency surgery in 2003, in which his son describes events and people that seemed impossible for him to have seen or met. Examples include his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and claimed that he personally met Jesus riding a rainbow-coloured horse and sat in Jesus' lap, while the angels sang songs to him. The book has now been made into a film to be released this April. We have yet to finish the study as after Christmas we joined with the rest of the Homegroups and church to study Christianity Explored, which took us back to the basics of our Christian faith, which was both interesting and revealing.

      We presently have 9 members and continue to meet every fortnight at one of our homes on a Wednesday evening 8 till late!  Our topics of discussion are usually something we can all relate to in our present stage of life, with a Christian viewpoint.

      Danielle Clarke

      Thursday Homegroup
      Up to December 2013 our group met most Thursdays. Material over the year included a book called 'The Provocative Church' and a Bible study of Revelation. We learned a great deal about God and enjoyed good fellowship. We have a pool of 7 regulars, out of which usually between 4 and 6 attend in any one week as couples usually alternate weeks. Anyone interested in joining us is very welcome.
      Paul & Keren Coney

      Mum’s Group
      The Mum's Group, comprising a pool of 7 Mums from the village, met approximately every 4 weeks for fellowship and to encourage each other in our walk with God. During this time, we used the 'Frontline' materials from ICC, which we found very helpful, particularly when considering ways we can show Jesus to those around us. We would welcome new members, so please consider joining us!

      Keren Coney



      Care Group

      The Care Group has continued to meet at bi-monthly intervals. During the year we have kept up-to-date with parishioners who have needed care in one way or another, whether it be visiting the sick at home or in hospital, or the bereaved in the weeks after a death. Lyn has continued to organise Thanksgiving and Baptism visitors and Val has continued to send cards to the bereaved. We have sent cards for special birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions when we have known about them. We continue to be complementary to other organisations in the village and we are able to find out information for families when it is needed. Peter and John have taken communion to the housebound and so are valuable links with the Care Group. Lis continues to lead services at Sable Cottage. The Care Group is part of the outreach to those on the fringe of church or for those who don't come to church. We also held a book sale to raise funds for church, which again was part of the Group's outreach. We are aware that there are a lot of people in the village who keep an eye on their elderly neighbours so please continue to pray for them and for all of us. We are always short of volunteers to call on for a lift or a visit, so if you could offer this service, please let us know.

      Norma Nixey


      Church Flowers
      Flowers for the altar are provided by Church members and friends on a weekly rota during the year, except during Lent. It would be good to have some new names on the rota – it only takes a short time and it is only once or twice a year. When there is a wedding the family concerned usually arranged for the flowers to be provided.

      There is an enthusiastic team who decorated for the festivals of Christmas, Easter and Harvest, and their efforts are always appreciated.
      Donations are asked for at Eastertide for the purchase of Easter Lilies and other flowers. The restricted Flower Fund is open to, and indeed receives, donations throughout the year, and the money used for flowers at the festivals and other special occasions.
      Mary Diggle



      Parish News

      During the last year the Communications Group discussed changing the name of the Parish News, but decided to leave it as it is at present, and also the budget – it just about breaks even. The Parish News is now being left in the Doctors Surgeries and the Vets, and we discussed putting a free copy through the doors of houses that have new occupants. The number printed remains the same at 280.

      We took over the editorship from the October/November 2013 edition, so the current edition is our 4
      th go at it! It has been a steep learning curve using Microsoft Publisher to produce the magazine, but it does give a professional result. At present we are keeping the style and content similar to previous editions as it seems to work well, and compares favourably with other parish magazines we have come across.

      We would like to thank the Vicar and John Diggle for their help, advice and encouragement on taking on this new role, and also Paul Kennaugh who compiles the diary and Margaret Davies who types up the rotas and other articles to include into a format easily transposed into Publisher. Thanks are also due to Don Barden for arranging the distribution so quickly after receiving the copies from the Printers, and everyone who has contributed items - a special mention must go to Cliff Nixey for his regular ‘Do You Know…’ articles. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who goes out in all weathers to distribute the Parish News around the village – it is a very important part of St Philip’s outreach.

      Kath and Geoff Roberts


      St. Philip’s Walking Group

      The size of our Group has now stabilised at about 35 people but still with up to 32 people coming out on some walks.

      We aim to organise ten walks during the year, plus a long weekend away in May or June. The only month with no activity is January. This year (2013) we had another very successful weekend in Dolgellau in May which was attended by 28 people, most staying at the Royal Ship Hotel and some in caravans. Looking ahead we have a weekend in Anglesey planned for May 2014.


      We aim to lead a mixture of walks varying from Easy to Moderate to Strenuous, trying to provide something for all capabilities. In December we have a short easy walk followed by Christmas lunch in a suitable hostelry, which this year was at the White Lion in Alvanley.

      Membership is varied, including members of St Philip’s, Kelsall Methodist Church, the local Catholic Church, St Helen’s in Tarporley and several church fringe members. Everyone is welcome to join us. We are a very friendly lot and are happy to share transport with those who come alone or without a car. Well-behaved dogs are also welcome.
      Brian Rischmiller





      Vicar’s Annual Report 2014
      These are interesting times at St Philip’s and I want to begin my annual report with a word about the future, taken from Hebrews 13, verse 8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. Sometimes we worry about the future but we are reminded here, as in other places in scripture, that God goes before us, preparing the way, and that he remains constant even when we are subject to change. It has been said that change is the only constant and I believe that we will see some significant changes in the life of our church in the next few years, some planned and some that we can’t anticipate. But the writer to the Hebrews reminds his readers, as I remind you, that we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who will both inspire our faith and bring God’s work to fulfilment. This is Christ’s church and we are his body; without a focus on him we are simply a human organisation facing challenges that are beyond us. Focused on him, we can do more than we could imagine.
      In this same chapter, the Hebrews are encouraged to Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. The P.C.C. has been discussing how we can develop our pastoral care so that everyone connected with St Philip’s knows that they are cared for by someone. Our current informal structure does mean that some people are overlooked and we want to try harder in the coming years to stop this happening. It seems likely that our home groups will form the basis of this care, supported by our plans to follow up the recent Christianity Explored course, but we are also discussing how those not in groups can be cared for more effectively. I am grateful to the members of the Care Group, co-ordinated by Norma Nixey, and to our existing home group leaders for the work they already do in this area of church life, which is foundational. And thank you all for your care, shown in so many ways.
      The Hebrews are also encouraged, Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers. We have taken as our vision statement ‘Connecting our Community with God’ and are aware of the imperative to reach out; we need to continue to cultivate a culture of invitation and we are looking forward to offering the Christianity Explored course again in 2015. Our Parish News is one of the ways in which we reach out to the community, and I am very grateful to Kath and Geoff Roberts for taking on the responsibility for editing the News. They have made a great start! The Communication & Outreach Group are also looking for fresh opportunities to make connections (do you have any ideas?) and we are very aware of the opportunity that new building in the village will give us as a church. I like the reason that the writer to the Hebrews gives for extending hospitality; for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. That’s food for thought!
      Worship is at the heart of our life as a church, with the opportunity that it gives us to learn more from God’s word and to share in fellowship around the Lord’s table. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. I am grateful to John Diggle and Lis Wye for their Reader ministries; it is so good to have them as colleagues and to see them offering ministry beyond the parish boundaries as well as here in Kelsall. Andrew Macaulay has continued to preach and lead worship here when the demands of his training and his new job have allowed; please continue to pray for him as he has just begun his placement at Ashton Hayes and starts his third year of training in September. Paul Kennaugh continues to support our worship in many ways; not just as organist and choirmaster but also producing the weekly notices and setting up for communion. We are grateful to Paul for all he does and to the choir for their continued ministries and for their fundraising concert in the Autumn. It is also exciting to see the music group go from strength to strength.
      It is in the context of worship that I also want to thank those with less ‘up front’ ministries – those who clean the church and polish the brasses, put flowers in church, week by week and on special occasions, Mary and Barbara who wash the linen, Sheila who bakes the communion bread, and those sidespeople who welcome us to worship. All of you make a positive contribution, through your service. And then, of course, there is the sterling work of the A Team, under Ted Wilkinson’s leadership, keeping our grounds so tidy and giving us pride at being here in the heart of the village. You may have especially appreciated this spring the renewal of the gravel path. Thank you all.
      I have mentioned fundraising and I do want to thank all those who have been involved in fundraising initiatives in the last year – home groups, the choir, and individuals. We have really needed that extra income and will continue to need to take some similar initiatives in the next year, unless the level of regular giving increases. I feel the weight of the financial pressure we are under as a church and am very grateful to all those who give, in whatever way. Our annual accounts illustrate the challenge we still face and the need for us to resource ministry in the parish. The Hebrews are told Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have and we are grateful to all those who make sacrifices in their own lives in order to support our work here. I am grateful to Anne Kershaw for keeping such a careful eye on our church accounts and for bringing them to this meeting; and to Norma Nixey and Brian Rischmiller for their work week by week making sure that our gifts are registered and banked and that the bills are paid. Thank you all for fulfilling your quietly supportive roles.
      Andy Wisbey is now chairing the Stewardship group, looking at how we can encourage one another in regular giving; Brian Rischmiller is chairing another group looking at our buildings, another resource for ministry, with an immediate focus on the need to refurbish the Church Lounge. This is a significant resource for us, especially in our work with children and young people, but all are agreed that it is showing its age and needs some attention. Last year’s quinqennial inspection of the church building itself also highlighted some areas of concern, one of which, the East Window, has become pressing. The buildings sub-group have also been garnering opinions about how we can make better use of our church building for welcome and for worship.
      One of our stated priorities in the last year was to develop our work with families but the PCC now feels that there is a clear need to review our work with children and young people, especially since Jacquie Macaulay relinquished leadership of Splash and Holiday Club. We thanked Jacquie at the Nativity service for her significant work with the children and we are really glad that she is still part of our team. I also want to put on record our thanks to Ann Barnett, who has led the Youth Club for the last four years but has now decided to retire from that responsibility. Our thanks to Ann combine with an appeal, as Daniel has mentioned in his report – for others to step forward to take on leadership in Splash and in Youth Club. To all those who work with Little Fish, Splash, Whatever and the Youth Clubs, junior and senior, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks. I would also like to personally thank Lyn and her team of baptism visitors, and Andrea Edwards, who is helping me with the transition to the new Disclosure & Barring Service checks. All of your work is critical to the future – the future of St Philip’s but, even more importantly, the future of our children.
      The writer to the Hebrews, in this final chapter on which I have been drawing, says Have confidence in your leaders… I would like to thank Irene Skinner and Andy Wisbey for their support and leadership in the last year; I am very glad that they both agreed to continue as churchwardens. Thank you both for all that you do, much of which is quietly behind the scenes. I have also been supported this year by Heather Leather, not just in her role as PCC secretary but also picking up some of my admin work and trying to stop some of the spinning plates from falling to the floor.
      Alongside St Philip’s we are also grateful for the fellowship in the gospel, in worship, in outreach and in service, that we enjoy with the membership and the minister at Kelsall Methodist Church. The development of our work together means that we have some interesting shared events coming up, beginning with our discussion morning and lunch on Saturday 14 June. Please put that in your diary.
      These annual reports, which we offer to the church and to God, represent a wealth of activity, commitment and love, for which I thank everyone who has contributed. My report has highlighted, I hope, how that work is continuing, in faith. As well as continuing to develop our worship together week by week, as we meet for fellowship, prayer and teaching, the key areas on which we need to focus are, as outlined above,

        I conclude as the writer to the Hebrews does, saying Pray for us…
        Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
        Peter Mackriell April 2014