Aim and purposes
East Garston Parochial Church Council (PCC) has the responsibility of cooperating with the Vicar of the Lambourn Valley Benefice, Revd Martin Cawte, in promoting in the ecclesiastical parish, the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical. The PCC is also specifically responsible for the maintenance of the church buildings and churchyard.
Objectives and activities
The PCC is committed to enabling as many people as possible to worship at our church and to become part of our parish community. Our services and worship put faith into practice through prayer and scripture, music and sacrament.
When planning our activities for the year, we try to enable ordinary people to live out their faith as part of our parish community through:
• Worship and prayer; learning about the gospel; and developing their knowledge and trust in Jesus.
• Provision of pastoral care for people living in the parish.
To facilitate this work it is important that we maintain the fabric of All Saints Church and its churchyard.
Achievements and performance
Worship and prayer
The PCC is keen to offer a range of services over the course of the year that our community find both beneficial and spiritually fulfilling. All are welcome to attend our regular services of Holy Communion on the second and fourth Sundays of the month which cater mainly for regular churchgoers while at Festivals such as Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest, Remembrance and Christmas, the services cater not only for the regulars but also for those who attend church on just a few occasions during the year. The children are encouraged to take part in special family services on most of these occasions and the West Berkshire Strings perform on Mothering Sunday and at Harvest Festival.
The parish is also an active participant in the Lambourn Valley Benefice. When there is a fifth Sunday, a Benefice Holy Communion service is held in one of the three parishes. A Benefice Choral Evensong was also held on two occasions at All Saints.
There were 56 parishioners on the Church Electoral Roll in 2016 and since the end of the year a further four names have been added. The average weekly attendance at services was 15, but this number increased substantially at festivals when on several occasions the church was almost full. At the Easter service there were 32 attendees and of these 20 received communion while on Christmas morning the attendance was 110 and there were 67 communicants.
During Lent a house group met to discuss the thorny issue of “Migration and Movement”. We learned that it is not just a modern-day problem that was currently exercising the minds of our politicians in Europe but that it is also recorded in the Bible. Jesus and his family were migrants running from danger when Herod was about to massacre all the children in and around Bethlehem.
As well as our regular services, we enable our community to celebrate and thank God at the milestones of the journey through life. Through baptism we thank God for the gift of life, in marriage public vows are exchanged with God’s blessing and through funeral services friends and family express their grief and give thanks for the life which is now complete in this world and to commend the person into God’s keeping. We have celebrated 3 baptisms and held 5 funerals in our church this year. In addition, in the churchyard there was one burial of a Roman Catholic parishioner and the interment of the ashes of a former resident. Two candidates were confirmed by the Bishop of Reading in Reading Minster on Holy Saturday and subsequently received their first communion in our church on Easter Day.
There is one person elected to sit on the Deanery Synod. This provides the PCC with an important link between the parish and the wider structures of the church.
The Church Building and Churchyard
Ideally we would like our church to be open to our community for private prayer. Unfortunately, the location of the church on the edge of the parish leads to a potential for theft and vandalism which has happened in the past. Therefore, we have felt unable to leave the church open at all times for private worship. However, the churchwardens are very happy to arrange for the church to be unlocked on request.
A small committee has been attempting to find a solution to the inefficient heating system. At the same time it had hoped to cover the repairs to the church building which were identified by our architect in the latest Quinquennial Inspection Report and to investigate improvements which would make the building more user-friendly. The cost of this proved to be astronomical and although grants are available, the PCC has instructed the committee to investigate a more affordable phased approach making use of our existing funds which have been set aside for this purpose over many years.
An application was made to the Government’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund but unfortunately this was unsuccessful.
In September, the Area Dean and Assistant Area Dean visited the church to carry out an inspection on behalf of the Archdeacon. They examined the state of the terrier, inventories, log books, plate, altar linen, ornaments, registers, service books, electoral roll, together with the security, safety and disabled accessibility of the buildings and their contents. The inspection was mainly positive and after the visit, they wrote to thank the churchwardens and former churchwarden for all the preparation for the visit and for their care and attention provided for All Saints.
The PCC is grateful to East Garston Parish Council for its annual grant towards the maintenance of the churchyard. In addition, an application was successful this year for a Parish Council grant under the “Grants for the Community” programme towards the cost of a new notice board.
Some members of our parish are unable to attend church due to sickness or age. Revd Martin Cawte has visited all who have requested it, to celebrate communion with them either at their homes or in hospital. He has also visited families in advance of baptisms and the next of kin following a death to assist in the preparation of funerals and to provide pastoral care to those who are grieving.
Mission and evangelism
Helping those in need is a demonstration of our faith. The church is actively engaged in fund raising. This year we made £100 donations to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the Friends of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton General Hospital, the Children’s Society and Christian Aid. Sponsorship for Ride & Stride raised £300 for the Berkshire Churches Trust and half of this was returned to our church funds.
We contribute articles to the monthly editions of Village Views magazine which is edited and distributed by volunteers in all three parishes at an annual cost of £4. The Benefice also has a weekly information sheet, Valley Welcome, which contains notices of importance to the life of the church and includes the collects and readings set for each Sunday. A Diocesan newspaper “The Door” is also made available to those attending services.
The Benefice held prayer walks during the summer months and one of these was in East Garston.
We provided a refreshment marquee at the community Garstonbury musical event in July and the proceeds made a valuable contribution to church funds.
A very successful afternoon concert of “Timeless Classics for Cello and Strings” was organised in September in All Saints Church. The international cellist Philip Daish Handy and his accompanist Martin Penrose were joined by the West Berkshire Strings under the direction of Patricia Glover.
The church organises East Garston’s annual Remembrance Service. This year a service in church was followed by the Act of Remembrance at the village war memorial. The Wantage Academy Brass played for the service and then led the Vicar and over 50 villagers from the church to the war memorial. After the Last Post, the Silence and Reveille, wreaths were laid on behalf of the Royal British Legion, All Saints Church and East Garston Parish Council.
Just before Christmas, after a splendid display by the Garston Gallopers in the car park, our “choir” led the singing of carols in a packed Queens Arms. Thanks to Sue and Freddie Tulloch for publicising and hosting the evening and to Stephen Holmes and some of the Lambourn choir for helping to enhance the singing. A collection raised almost £360 for church funds.
Our team of bellringers very ably support our presence in the village by ringing in advance of our regular services, for weddings and occasionally for funerals. They have also rung a muffled peal on several occasions during the year on the 100th anniversary of the death of parishioners who lost their lives during the First World War. These men were also remembered during the service closest to the anniversary.
The church supports the Food Bank by providing a collection point in the porch for contributions from those attending our regular Sunday services.
The church has a very good working relationship with the Society of Friends in East Garston and often makes use of its admirable facilities for meetings. This year, there was a Quaker Exhibition which was visited by many members of our church.
Total receipts on unrestricted funds were £20,937 of which £3,495 was collections at services, £6831 was unrestricted planned voluntary donations, and £317 was from ad hoc donations. A further £2,815 was from Gift Aid recovered on the donations. Income from parochial fees amounted to £1,926 and various fund raising activities contributed £5,472. Restricted grants of £700 were received from East Garston Parish Council and the proceeds of the cello concert of £320 were also restricted. Total income for the year was £23,567.
The sum that the churches in the Deanery have to find is shared between the churches according to a formula that is based mainly on a usual Sunday attendance. In 2016, our parish share was £9,709. Other expenditure from the unrestricted funds for items such as insurance, electricity, fees to the Diocese, organist and cleaner, organ tuning, and general maintenance was £6,825. Expenditure from the restricted funds for the churchyard and church restoration was £1,595. Total expenditure for the year was £18,129 resulting in a total net surplus of £5,438.
We would like to thank all the volunteers who work so hard to make our church and churchyard a welcoming place for the community.
Structure, governance and management
The Parochial Church Council is a corporate body established by the Church of England. The PCC operates under the Parochial Church Council Powers Measure. The PCC is a Registered Charity.
The method of appointment of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation Rules. In East Garston, the membership of the PCC consists of the incumbent (our Vicar), churchwardens, and members elected by those members of the congregation who are on the electoral roll of the church. All those who attend our services/members of the congregation are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.
The PCC members are responsible for making decisions on all matters of general concern and importance to the parish including deciding on how the funds of the PCC are to be spent.
The PCC met five times during the year with an average level of attendance of 85%. Small sub groups met to plan specific activities such as the Harvest Lunch and the Safari Supper. Workshops were also held to involve the children in preparations for Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest Festival and Nativity.
All Saints Church is situated off Station Road, East Garston. It is part of the Benefice of the Lambourn Valley in the Newbury Deanery of the Diocese of Oxford within the Church of England. The correspondence address is Lambsdown, Front Street, East Garston, Hungerford, RG17 7EU or Meadow Cottage, Back Street, Hungerford, RG17 7EX. PCC members who have served from the 2016 APCM until the date this report was approved are:
Ex Officio members:
Incumbent: Revd Martin Cawte
Dr Robert Briant (also representative on Deanery Synod)
Mrs Dawn Tonge
Mrs Victoria Brooks
Mrs Rachel Brown (until the September PCC meeting, after which she moved out of the village)
Hon Mr Rowland Cobbold
Mr Thomas Coleman (Treasurer)
Mrs Annette Furneaux
Mrs Ann Phillips
Mrs Karen Sperrey (Secretary)
Approved by the PCC on 29 March 2017 and signed on their behalf by the Revd Martin Cawte