Annual Meeting Ministry Reports 2013-2014
Sunday 27th April 2014: VISION SUNDAY 10.30am 11am 12.30pm 1.30pm 2.30pm
Coffee Festival Communion with Children’s Activities Picnic Lunch (BYO) Annual Meeting Closing Prayer
a. During the 1.30pm meeting we will have a supervised DVD for children b. Please write the names of any people sending their apologies on the sheet c. Please read the Ministry & Financial Reports before the meeting and write any questions to the reports on the sheet at the back of the Abbey or submit in advance d. Please submit A.O.B to the PCC Secretary by Wednesday 23rd April 2014
Agenda for 1.30pm Annual Meeting 1. Opening Prayer MEETING OF PARISHIONERS – all Parishioners and Electoral Roll members may vote 2. Apologies 3. Appointment of tellers 4. Election of 2 Churchwardens for the coming year 4a. Nomination of Pro-warden for St John the Baptist, Brokenborough ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING – only Electoral Roll members may vote 5. Elections and Appointments •
PCC & Deanery Synod members (see next page)
Sidespersons (8am & 10.30am) & Welcome Teams (4pm)
• CTiM Representatives- 4 for 1 year 6. Churchwarden’s & Ministry Reports- see page 4 and onwards 7. Questions to the reports (submitted before meeting begins) 8. Electoral Roll 9. Financial Report, Presentation and Questions (submitted before meeting begins) 10. A.O.B. (submitted to the PCC Secretary by Wednesday 23rd April 2014) 11. Provisional Date for next Annual Meeting – Sunday April 26th 2015 at 1.30pm 12. Closing Prayer
PCC for 2013-2014
PCC for 2014-2015
Licensed Clergy Revd Neill Archer – Chair Revd Mandy Churcher Revd Katie Windle Revd John Monaghan (from July 2013)
Licensed Clergy Revd Neill Archer – Chair Revd John Monagahan Revd Mandy Churcher Revd Alice Monagahan Revd Linda Sullivan (from July 2014)
Churchwardens Diana Crowe Lesley Wilson
Churchwardens 2 to be elected
Deanery Synod Members (1 years to serve) Sarah Doyley Chris Jager (Treasurer) Gill Shaw John Sunderland Andrew Woodcock (Diocesan Synod)
Deanery Synod Members (3 years to serve) 4 to be elected
Elected Parochial Church Council Members With 3 years to serve Fiona Petrie (Asst PCC Secretary) Ray Sneddon-Jenkins Linda Weston
Elected Parochial Church Council Members With 3 years to serve 3 to be elected
With 2 years to serve James Cole Peter Hogg Doug Johnston (Vice Chair)
With 2 years to serve Fiona Petrie Ray Sneddon-Jenkins Linda Weston
With 1 years to serve
With 1 years to serve
Geoff Canning (PCC Secretary) Sian Edwards Simon Wilson
James Cole Peter Hogg Doug Johnston
Youth & Lay Ministers’ Representative None nominated in 2013
Youth & Lay Ministers’ Representative
Andrew Woodcock (Diocesan Synod)
PCC officers to be elected after the meeting.
Vicar’s Report NEILL ARCHER It doesn’t go without saying; ‘thank you’ that is. Thank you to two quite outstanding Abbey churchwardens who roll up their sleeves and put in the hard hours running a pretty large beast (the Abbey, not me) and tackle the (mostly) necessary administration and committees without sighing too much. Thank you to a PCC that genuinely values unity and is committed to the mission of the church. I often meet colleagues who wish, in essence, that their church councils would behave like grown-ups. At the Abbey we have a PCC that aspires to maturity in Christ and Spirit-led decision making. The officers of our PCC and our two key committees (Financial Oversight and Property Oversight) also consistently bring real diligence and excellence behind the scenes – thank you. Thank you to a group of staff and colleagues who are committed to worshipping together, drinking caffeine together, and working to raise the bar in all areas of our ministry. Although it has been sad to say farewell to Katie Windle and Sarah McGrory, it has been brilliant to welcome John Monaghan, Mary Barnes and Alice Monagahan to our leadership and to welcome Annette Bains, taking on Events Coordination in the Parish Office alongside Sandie ‘the miracle’ Brown. A nearby Area Dean left Malmesbury Abbey recently and said that they were suffering from ‘church envy.’ This was in no small part due to the great ministry of the Bishop of Books (Rob) and the Queen of Cakes (Clare) – thank you to you both and your great teams. This last paragraph is a tricky one because I think I better include all the 305 adults and 50+ young people that make up the Malmesbury & Upper Avon Group. Church doesn’t work conceptually without you. It is an immense interconnecting of human beings, infused with the power of the resurrection, alive in the Spirit. We are the body of Christ, and to lead the Malmesbury Abbey bit of that is an honour; thank you. And church doesn’t work practically without you. Without your pulse, without your life that God has graced and planted here with purpose, our ministry together would be diminished. You matter; but on one level it really doesn’t matter what you do and how you do it, it is who you are and who you are alongside that matters. Thank you for working out your vocation with us here in SN16.
Churchwardens Report DIANA CROWE & LESLEY WILSON It has been another very busy year in and around the Abbey. There have been building works and redecorations at all the Abbey properties. The renovations of the Abbey east-end and arch have been completed. The Abbey path has been re-laid, the job made possible by generous donations from FoMA and the Carnival Committee, and internally, the insulation
and ventilation in the kitchen and toilets have been improved. There have been external repairs at the Old Squash Court, with redecoration and re-ordering of the Parish Office. Le Flambé is a work in progress with some of the windows replaced and the top floor under conversion into a self-contained flat for use by a youth or children’s minister in 2015. The Abbey continues to be the venue for a variety of concerts and events. The Easter and Christmas festivals in the Abbey were spiritual, thought-provoking, and joyous occasions, well advertised and well supported. The Abbey was chosen by BBC Wiltshire for their Easter Eve service, broadcast on Easter Day, and by the Lord Lieutenant for the County of Wiltshire Christmas Carol service. In addition to the regular local concerts, HRH Prince Charles joined the audience for the Music in Country Churches concert in May, the Orchestra of St John’s brought Music for Autism and a James Galway concert and the African Children’s Choir entertained with their lively repertoire. The annual Skate event in the February half-term and the History weekend in October, run by BBC History magazine, helped to provide a broader events profile. Our thanks to a very large and very able volunteer team that are the heart of Abbey life, but particularly to the Property Oversight Committee (Chair, Peter Hogg) and the Financial
Oversight Committee (Chair, Alan McAdam) who share with ourselves and the PCC the oversight of two key areas.
PCC & Standing Committee GEOFF CANNING, PCC SECRETARY Malmesbury Abbey PCC has the responsibility of co-operating with the incumbent, the Revd Neill Archer, in promoting in the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the Church – pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical. Formally, the P.C.C. is responsible for the financial affairs of the church and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents. In addition to their formal duties, P.C.C. members act as representatives for all parishioners in the affairs of the church. The PCC met seven times during the year with an average attendance of 14 members. There was one extraordinary PCC meeting during the year to approve the financial accounts for the year. There is a high level of commitment from members in serving our Abbey family and there have been many additional hours of voluntary work put in by the committee members in focussed smaller groups. They carry out many activities including preparing reports and budgets for discussion, liaising with builders, architects, planners, community groups and English Heritage, managing staff and property, responding to challenge and writing policies. These are much valued acts of service especially from those who undertake such tasks alongside their full time jobs. The PCC has been really envisioned, united and efficient in its decision making, delegation and budget control. Each meeting opens with worship and includes business, responses to correspondence and reporting back in addition to a main focus session. Some main focus subjects during the year have been: Hospitality, Stability and Creativity; Property and Property Committee Budget for 2014; Alpha Ministries 2014-2016; Bullying and Harassment Policy; External
Mission Giving; The Persecuted Church, covering the “Why?” “What?” and “How?” aspects of mission led by Mike Langtree; Church Growth (in response to the C of E report “Findings from the Church Growth Research Programme 2011-2013”). Matters arising have been wide ranging from issues raised in the Quinquennial Inspection report regarding property and finance, particularly the East End Arch repair programme, Health and Safety, encouraging those going forward with theological training, Abbey Maintenance, the Abbey Café 2012 Review, Le Flambé Abbey Skate, Abbey Finance and Buildings , Communications, and Youth and Children’s Staffing. A PCC and Church Leadership “Placing Spiritual Renewal at the Heart of our Leadership” Away Day took place at Harnhill Centre for Christian Healing, Cirencester, on Saturday September 28th 2013. Some members of the congregation also joined us for the day. The PCC believe that the most important matter arising for us is our own relationship with God, our own spiritual life and disciplines, and thoughtful reflection on our spiritual gifts and ministries. We believed that our corporate leadership over the forthcoming 18 months would be strengthened by the deepening of our relationship with each other and God. The Revd James Pettit was invited to join us as a speaker for the day and to help reflect together on what the values of God's Hospitality (Rediscovering our Father’s invitation), Spiritual Stability (Refounding our Spiritual Disciplines) and personal Creativity (Reviewing our ministry) meant to us. It was a fruitful experience. Minutes of our PCC meetings are available in the Parish Office if anyone would like to read the discussions, our decisions and proposals in detail.
The Standing Committee is the only committee required by law, comprising the incumbent, the Churchwardens, the PCC Treasurer and the PCC Secretary. It has the power to transact any business of the P.C.C. between its meetings, subject to any directions given by the P.C.C. The Standing Committee usually meets every two months. Five meetings were held during this year. Subjects discussed have included Health and Safety, Correspondence, Deanery matters, Abbey and Churchyard maintenance, Discipleship and Giving, Financial issues, the Insurer’s Report Actions and Follow –up, and the Abbey Web Site. Prayer and worship are at the heart of our PCC. We shall continue to seek Our Lord’s guidance to give us the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions as we consider the many challenges and issues competing for limited resources. Please pray that Our Lord will continue to direct your PCC in all aspects of Abbey life.
Deanery Synod SARAH DOYLEY There have been three Deanery Synod meetings since the Abbey’s last AGM, which have all been held at Lea Church. The first meeting, in June, welcomed Bishop Mike as part of his day of prayer for North Wiltshire Deanery. Bishop Mike spent the day in the Diocese, visiting a school and leading an Evensong service with prayer for North Wiltshire villages at Garsdon Church. He then joined the Synod meeting where there was an opportunity for discussion and prayer.
During the September meeting the focus was a report on a North Wiltshire Deanery visit to the Diocese of Kigezi that had taken place in June. As part of the groups time there, they visited the water project supported by the Diocese. They also reported that the Director of Education in Kigezi is looking for more schools to twin with. Rev Shirley Danby then returned to Kigezi for the consecration and enthronement of the new Bishop George. At the February 2014 meeting, the Area Dean, Rev Neill Archer, introduced a session to help create confidence in evangelism. Clergy from within the Deanery first told their stories of how they came to faith and how God was working in their lives now. Then in groups of four we shared our stories of coming to faith and how God was now working in our lives. This proved to be a very stimulating session and it was then discussed how this could be used in our individual parishes.
St John the Baptist, Brokenborough RICHARD ROBINS, PRO-WARDEN During 2013 there were three weddings, two funerals and two double baptisms at St John the Baptist Church, Brokenborough. Sadly for Brokenborough Ray Bick died which was a great loss to everyone; his funeral was well attended, an indication of the esteem with which he was held. Mrs Sykes has taken on the role of Church Secretary and has been doing a great job, we are extremely grateful to her. Numerous remedial works have been carried out during the year the most important of which are: Electrics have been inspected and a certificate acquired to bring us up to standard; rotten boards discovered in the vestry were replaced with new boarding in readiness for new storage cupboards to be fitted. A huge thank you to all who help with the smooth running of St John the Baptist, Brokenborough
Abbey Bookshop ROB HITCHINGS, MANAGER Our overall sales in 2013 were 9% up on the previous year _s and were the best for several years. Book sales were 12% higher than in 2012, which is very encouraging: they were boosted by two large orders of Bibles for the Primary School and the Abbey, and by brisk business during the BBC History weekend. Our stewards continue to make a brilliant contribution to the life of the Abbey and are often complimented for the warm and informative welcome they give to our many visitors. The stewards _ evening in April was very successful with entertainment by John Hughes and we enjoyed a pre- Christmas social with mulled wine. We are very pleased to have recruited some excellent new stewards, and we are always delighted to hear from anyone who would like to join us. Thank you to everyone who has supported the bookshop in the last year: our success is in marked contrast to the wider picture, with the recent closure of a local Christian bookshop and the collapse of a leading distributor of Christian books making our ministry even more vital. We look forward to serving you in the year ahead.
Abbey Café CLARE CORK, MANAGER Year 2 of trading has seen the Café Ministry here at Malmesbury Abbey grow and grow. After the success of our First Birthday Softplay session, we decided to hold a toddler session on the first Monday of every month. We get around 20 parent, carers and tots, most of whom are unchurched. Mary Barnes reads a short Bible story and leads them in an action song to round the morning off. It’s great fun & a wonderful way to welcome people into our church family. We have plans to hold the sessions more regularly in the future. We have a strong band of regular customers who come in every day for a coffee and a chat, again mostly unchurched – although I would say that it’s just a different version of church! They are made up of all ages and backgrounds but all feel welcome & comfortable – they trust us with problems, share their celebrations & are part of everyday Abbey life. We are getting more bookings to cater for larger events such as the BBC History event, Music for Autism concerts and various tour operators are booking lunches or afternoon teas for their customers. As we grow, we are becoming more & more desperate for volunteers so if you feel you can commit to 2 hours per week or to bake a cake every week, please come & talk to Clare or Sara in the café. Summer Opening hours – 9am -4.30pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri & Saturday, 12-4.30pm Wednesday as of April 7th 2014.
May Moore Chaplaincy REVD MANDY CHURCHER In collaboration with a team of volunteers, the chaplaincy has sought to support seniors through a number of ways. The team, for leading services in residential and nursing homes, has continued to visit Althestan House, Stainsbridge House and Glovers Court. Two new musicians have joined the team in the last year and this has enabled a rota to be set up for the musical input, which has allowed greater flexibility. The May Moore Chaplain has supported staff in group sessions in Althestan House on a number of occasions and has pastorally visited individuals in their own homes and in both nursing and residential homes. The number of visits has continued to increase. Tuesday Bible studies have continued to be enjoyed by a group of seniors, ably led by Mrs Joan Slade. In July, a Songs of Praise was well attended by over 100 people. Following the service a High Tea was served, very ably organised by Mrs Clare Cork. The Holiday at Home, also in July, took place again over a period of two days. This provided an opportunity for the socially isolated to meet and enjoy various activities. There was a strong team of 52 volunteers and the event was highly evaluated by guests. A new leaflet about 'The May Moore Trust' was introduced in June during a choral evensong with a particular emphasis on the work of the Trust. Recently, the ‘Acorn Healing Trust’ facilitated two sessions on ‘Listening to people with dementia’. The event was oversubscribed, reflecting the interest in this area.
The input and support from a large team of volunteers has made a profound impact on support for seniors and I would like to thank all involved for their gift of time and continued commitment.
Time for Chat REVD MANDY CHURCHER The Pop in ran last year until Christmas. A Summer Celebration was held and was very successful, with the children’s choir from St Joseph’s coming to sing. In the autumn numbers diminished and as a result the decision was taken to move into the Abbey and
Time for Chat commenced. It is held on a Thursday morning between 10.30- 12 and is open to all who would like to call in and spend some time with others. A very able team of 4 volunteers operates on a fortnightly basis and this has worked well. We have welcomed friends who used to attend the Pop in and it has been very positive to see new faces. The team has been very positive during this time of transition.
Abbey Guild PAM OSBORNE Since the last AGM we have had 10 meetings in the King’s church and an outing in June. We had two seasonal meetings as in March the AGM was followed by an Easter meditation given by Rev Sarah Wyman and in December Rev Peter Yacomeni gave a very interesting talk about the Holy Family. There was four informative afternoons when we learnt about SASRA (July) the Soldiers and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association, Girl Guides (Sept), the problem of Drug addiction (Nov) and an update on the work in a Zambian hospital last April. We enjoyed two musical return visits, first Francesca and Nicki (May) and then Robin Isaacs (Oct) with Songs from the Shows. As usual in January, we held our own meeting this year on the theme These are a few of my favourite things. This was a very pleasant afternoon. Then in February Dave Bankhead spoke on My life and ministry in music especially about his work with children’s choirs in Rwanda after the civil war to give them hope. Last year the outing was to Lydiard Church, House and Walled Garden which are near Swindon. For this 18 of us travelled by car. Lunch was eaten in the Stables Café. On your behalf I would like to thank Helen and Gordon Small very much for all their hard work in ensuring that the meetings run smoothly and for organising the speakers.
Youth Ministry PETE CAMPBELL, LAY MINISTER After a busy and fruitful 2013, Sarah McGrory stepped down as volunteer Youth Minister early in 2014. Katharine, myself and Neill are overseeing the transition, and our plans for youth programme in 2014 (already up and running) include THE GRID – a group for those in school years 7 to 9 meeting during our 4pm service and also THE MIX – a time when those aged 14 to 18 can meet in a local home on Sundays at 6pm for food, chat, games and discussion on something from the teaching at the 4pm service. We hope to make connections with other suitable youth events locally, and are all looking forward to the farm weekend in June.
Malmesbury Abbey Skate JOHN MONAGHAN, CURATE Another inspirational week of creativity in worship and engagement with the community as many volunteers stepped up and out in service; of bridge-building hospitality from the welcomers to the ‘B&B’ers, to the coffee servers, to casual conversers; and stability as we entered out sixth year, heard yet again many stories of people growing in discipleship and articulating a sense of belonging. Much to thank God for, including the press coverage this year, which included the Times, the Guardian and the Metro! As well as the stellar work of Phil Williams (Christian Skaters UK), Sarah McGrory, Tristan and Clare Cork, the 2014 planning team benefited from the addition of Mary Barnes (Children’s minister) and Revd John Monaghan (curate). A particular thanks this year to Sarah McGrory, who has served on MAS faithfully for the past six years, and has now stepped down as the Abbey’s youth minister; and also to Nicki Smith and Sara Packham, who fed an army of volunteers all week! New to this year’s programme, and something that shows much potential for the future, was the Monday Soft Play extravaganza (targeting the under 5’s), overseen by Mary Barnes and Clare Cork. The workshops & live music all added to the week, as did the professional demonstrations from Krazy Scooters team (who sponsored our event, together with Halfords and the Co-op), which made for an entertaining Friday night of competitions.
Children’s Ministry MARY BARNES, CHILDREN’S MINISTER Junior Church runs three groups for the under 11s with over 30 children regularly attending. Bubbles is for preschoolers with between 5-9 children attending weekly. Splash is for reception to Y2 with between 10-18 children regularly attending. Jetstream has between 10-15 regular attenders and covers the Y3-Y6 age range. The unmanned crèche is used most weeks by a few parents and babies.
We made a few small, but significant, changes to the running of Junior church to improve the quality, consistency and structure. The aim of these changes was to provide our children with church that was both excellent and engaging and tailored to their particular needs. They have been very successful with leaders and children giving positive feedback. Challenges still remain however, most notably how to help the children to bond cohesively within their groups and how to communicate the message of Christ in a way that inspires and excites. In January, the adults were asked to leave church, paving the way for the children and young people to have their own praise party in the Abbey. This was brilliantly executed with smoke machines, disco lights, glow sticks, testimonies, worship and activities all about prayer. Junior church should be a place where children discover their identity, purpose and preciousness and how that can change their lives now (not when they’ve grown up). Through passion, prayer, hard work and a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, it is my hope that the year ahead will see our Junior Church be transformed into a place where children can grow in their understanding of how they can partner with Christ to change their worlds!
Small Groups NEILL ARCHER The development of our small group membership and pastors has been a personal priority for myself in 2013. Currently we have 15 small groups, led by 22 pastors, with approximately 160 members. We have quarterly training session for the pastors - focusing recently on what is a small group?, leading a Bible study, the pastor as shepherd, and the book of Revelation – and our two aims in 2013 were strengthening the pastoral ministry of the Abbey and linking small groups to the Sunday teaching more effectively. Please contact the parish office if you wish to join a small group.
Women Alive! JANET JENKINS The ladies of Women Alive have been exploring the faith journeys of some amazing women of the Old Testament this year. It's been a delight to have God shine His light on His word afresh, on both familiar and not so familiar passages alike. We have been privileged to share and pray with each other and deepen our own faith journeys together during our times on alternate term time Tuesdays. The wonderful Ann Cox has continued to bless us with her ministry in the crèche and Clare's hospitality is, as always, most welcome - thank you both!
Refresh KATHARINE CAMPBELL The main aims of Refresh are to bring together Christian women from around the Malmesbury area and to build them up in their walk with God to invite women from the area into Refresh to introduce them to our God. We had a great year at Refresh in 2013! Our focus over the 5 events was on the great hymn in Philippians 2 and as well as hearing teaching on the passage each time we met, we also enjoyed a workshop of song, a quiet meditative style evening and a creative evening making stars to remind us we should “shine like stars in the universe”. Over 100 women joined us at some time during the year as we provided an environment for them to worship together and encouraged them to try out new skills. For our 2014 programme we will be looking at the Psalms and we started the year with Ann Holt from the Bible Society giving us a brilliant introduction to the Psalms and will finish by spending an evening scrapbooking the Psalms together! So if you are a woman from in or around Malmesbury and you would like to join us at Refresh events please contact Sandie at email@example.com to receive a copy of our programme.
Creative Response ALICE LANGTREE Creative Response explores scripture passages in anticipation of them being preached in Sunday services. We represent all ages, all services and none. We create poetry, music, paintings, sculpture, drawings, and textile art. We encourage one another and listen for God’s voice in our midst. When we started meeting, one of the group wrote a song based on Psalm 5 v 3. The refrain goes ‘something’s going to happen, what will it be?’ Well…it has turned out to be a place of joy, laughter and tears. There is an idea afoot for Creative Experiences to include those who would like to expand their God-given creativity. Wait and see what is going to happen. All are welcome to join the group. Currently up to 18 people meet each second Friday at 10.30am in the Abbey.
Alpha JOHN MONAGHAN 3.3 million people have attended an Alpha course in the UK since it started in 1993, and the Abbey significantly added to this number, with 35 guests and 15 helpers attending our Wednesday night, 10-week Autumn course! Guests were treated to a delicious cooked supper each night (courtesy of Jan Lester and her incredibly committed hospitality team), an engaging and relevant talk on an aspect of Christianity, and time in small groups to chat about life’s big questions. We also had 30 people for our Saturday away day in Hullavington, where we explored the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and had time to wait on God and receive from him, time to reflect, time to deepen friendships. The feedback from our
questionnaires at the end of the course was overwhelmingly positive. Most noted that Alpha had taken them closer to God; lots of people who were ‘on the fence’, had been helped to hop off (on the right side!). For some, the difference was transformative. One lady wrote, ‘I was not a Christian before attending Alpha’ and now ‘I believe in God and want to become a Christian’. In January, we had the privilege of baptising, or reaffirming the baptism vows of four individuals who attended Alpha, and as a result of the course, roughly 20 people have signed up to mid-week small groups in the Abbey. Praise God!
Healing in the Streets RICHARD & MARGARET MCROBIE Two men were just outside the place of worship in the middle of the afternoon when they saw a man in need who was coming to the same entrance, the gate called “Beautiful”. The man in need was carried to the entrance where he would sit and beg for he had been crippled from birth. The two men were called Peter and John. Peter had a gift for the beggar. Peter said “.....what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3 v6) A small group of Christians were just outside the place of worship in the middle of the morning when thy saw people in need who were coming to the same entrance, the gate called “The Tolsey”. The Christians had a gift for those who came to them. It was the same gift that Peter and John had-the Holy Spirit, and they prayed “In the name of Jesus Christ and by his authority we say be healed”. God’s work continues, he ministers to those who come to him. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4 v13) The “Healing in the Streets” prayer teams are, like Peter and John, ordinary folk who minister by the power of the Holy Spirit. We praise God for all that he is doing!
Healing & Prayer Ministry (10.30am) REVD PETER YACOMENI We feel that our ministry week by week is important, and we certainly enjoy this demanding but very satisfying work for the Lord. Our team is quite small, but we always value our regular meetings. On occasion they are hilarious! Two of us are there each Sunday in St Aldhelm’s Chapel, and a great variety of people come for prayer, driven by physical or emotional needs, or stirred by something in the service. We try to bring the love and compassion of God to every person, and to be the channels of His healing grace in the power of the Spirit. On most Sundays two or three people come to us, and occasionally we have a small queue! The regular healing services are being valued more and more; we play our part in them by offering more personal prayer for those who need it, and for us these have been very good times. We should like to add that we are also available for visits to people’s homes, if for example you are facing illness or surgery and cannot get to church
for prayer. Two or three of us can always be available during the day to go and pray, by the bedside if necessary.
Healing & Prayer Ministry (4pm) MARILYN ARCHER Each Sunday, at the end of the 4pm service, prayer is available in St. Aldhelm's Chapel. People may come looking for physical healing, or to ask God to intervene in difficult situations, or they may just want to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and to go out into the world to serve God with boldness. Our small but dedicated team has such a heart to see all members of the congregation come forward for prayer, and we met the other day to discuss and to pray about where the Lord is taking prayer ministry at the 4pm service. God never disappoints, and there was a real excitement as we shared our hearts' desires for our church family and a prayerful sense that our heavenly Father wants to bring even greater blessings to His people. So, watch this space, or even better, come and join in!
Flower Team DIANA CROWE The decoration of the church has continued to follow the seasons and the festivals in traditional style. At Christmas and at Easter, several teams of volunteers are involved in the extra input to establish the Nativity tableau at the door, the greenery and candle trees through the porch and the interior, and the Christmas tree in December, and the Easter Table at the door and the flowers for Mothering Sunday posies and for Easter Day in the spring. The efforts of the few who bring this about are very much appreciated by those entering the Abbey at these times but more helpers would always be welcomed. As well as being largely responsible for the decoration at Christmas and Easter, a talented and diligent team of flower arrangers, who give their time regularly and to great effect, routinely provide the flower displays throughout the year, including meeting special requests for weddings. It is a small but important team and new faces would be welcomed. The administration continues to be organised efficiently and effectively by Anna Grange. On behalf of all who enter the Abbey, I offer a big â€œthank youâ€? to both Anna and her team.
Malmesbury Abbey Choir JOHN HUGHES, ORGANIST & CHOIR MASTER It has been a great privilege to direct the Abbey Choir this year; they always rise to the challenge of the new music regularly given to them. Choral Evensongs are a wonderful opportunity to explore new repertoire. In 2013 we performed beautiful pieces from around Europe, and this year our music reflects the 100th Anniversary of WW1. We have included a setting of Agnus Dei (Phoenix) by Gjeilo, ‘Seek Him that made the Seven Stars’ by Dove and more recently Bach’s Motet ‘Come, Saviour, Come’ for double choir. The Sunday 10.30am Holy Communion services still form the heart of the choir’s ministry, as well as weddings and occasionally funerals. The very large congregations for the Advent Carol Service and the Nine Lessons & Carols in 2013 were truly inspiring. In October we were invited to sing in a very special service at Gloucester Cathedral which was a real triumph for the choir; our thanks to Neil Medland for organising this. We are now preparing for our Easter services including Faure’s Requiem on Good Friday. My thanks go to all the choir members for their wonderful singing week after week, to deputy organist Jane, and Margaret ‘of the Robes.’ Also to the vicar, who bravely steps into the organ loft from time to time!
Malmesbury Abbey Guild of Change Ringers DICK GRAY, RINGING MASTER Twelve months ago, I reported that we were bulging at the seams with around 20 ringers! This last year has been no different and we continue to be extremely busy in the tower. Tuesday practices are flourishing with an average attendance of over 14 (with a recent peak of 22) and on Sunday mornings we’ve had an average of just over 12 (with a peak of 17). One area which could be improved upon is the age of new recruits! All the recent new people have been ‘mature’ learners, and it would be really good to get some younger learners – either teens or 20somethings. Any volunteers? One topic which has occupied us in the last year has been some essential repairs to the bell frame – water ingress has caused timber beams to rot and these need to be replaced/supported. We now have the necessary authorisation for this work, so it will hopefully be carried out in the summer. The bells will therefore not be ringing for about 6 – 8 weeks at some point soon. Carnival saw yet another successful ‘Open Day’, with many people taking the opportunity to come and see what it’s all about! Whilst we hold these open days once a year, visitors are always welcome to pop in and have a look whenever we are ringing and the door is open.