STAINBECK CHURCH (UNITED REFORMED) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Sunday 1st February 2015 at 10.45 am
held within Morning Worship
BOOK OF REPORTS for 2014
Our work continues within the community, the local schools and the different agencies that operate in and around the area. We hope that those who use our building feel welcome and safe and those of you who take the time to read our book of reports and reflections over the past year will begin to understand why we want everyone to come and share with us the good news of Jesus.
Our Community Café, open every Thursday between 11a.m. and 2.00 p.m. is thriving and each week is different. There is a constant buzz and it is good to see and hear people meeting and greeting each other. We must thank our wonderful band of volunteers who prepare the food and others who bake regularly for us. The café provides a listening ear for many and there is help and advice from Maureen Lillywhite from ZEST and our Minister. John Bell oversees a small walking group every Thursday who do a short walk in the local area and then join us for drinks and sandwiches.
The Make It Craft Club – new name and time – is now open from 12.30 – 2.30 p.m. and has moved into the church and is continuing apace, new members always welcome. The Asian ladies group who meet after the café are progressing well with their computer skills.
The monthly services at Carr Croft Nursing Home and St. Gemma’s Hospice continue and the in-patients, staff and residents of both these establishments do appreciate our visits, it means so much to them to know that people are praying for them and taking the time to remember them. Anyone is welcome to join us at either venue; see Outlook for dates and time.
Our Monday and Wednesday lunch clubs are thriving (see lunch club report) and are much appreciated by those who attend. The MENA (Meanwood Elders Neighbourhood Action) Sunday lunches continue as usual under the auspices of the RVS (Royal Voluntary Service), but with a big volunteer input from Stainbeck, St. Matthews and Chapel Allerton Methodist Churches.
The knit and natter sessions, held fortnightly at the IQRA Centre on Carr Manor Parade with our Muslim friends, are continuing. There has been some wonderful knitting produced over the course of the year and of course much nattering. All those who attend assure June and myself that they really do enjoy our time together.
Once again we must thank our wonderful web master Donald Hughes who continues to oversee anything to do with IT and is always happy to give advice on all those technical matters to those of us (including Brian and myself) who struggle to understand the complexities of all this modern technology. Thank you to all of the people who are involved in making sure that Stainbeck is noticed locally and in the wider world and to the IT team who work the PowerPoint on Sunday mornings.
During the year we have enjoyed celebrating the baptisms of Rosie Grace Crawshaw in April and Rory David McIntosh in December along with their families and friends. Another cause for celebration was the wedding of Sarah and Dene Field in November. Angela presided at the funerals of John Mawson’s Auntie Kath who died in October and Margaret Wade our wonderful organist who died in November.
During the course of the year our friends from the African Church moved to new premises in Beeston; an Explorer Scout Group now meets on Tuesday evenings; we welcomed the report on our Church Life Review from Sheila Telfer and Jenny Poulter; in October Tessa Henry-Robinson joined us. Tessa is training for Ministry at Northern College – it is good to have you with us.
We must not forget our children and young people who make us smile or delight us with their art work and acting abilities. We are grateful to our Sunday Club leaders and all those who work and guide them week by week on their Christian journey. Our thanks go to Mill Field Primary School for providing the nativity scene for our Church Christmas Card.
Brian and I would like to say a big THANK YOU to our Church Family for all their hard work, love and support and the many different ways that they contribute to being Stainbeck Church United Reformed.
And finally we thank Angela for her work and ministry here in this place. Please remember her and Donald in your prayers and yourselves as we all work together for Christ’s Kingdom.
Avril and Brian Bellwood – Joint Church Secretaries
During the Christmas season we asked, ‘Why did we first come to Stainbeck?’ ‘Why do we keep coming week by week?’ I would imagine that one of the foremost reasons is that we come to worship together Sunday by Sunday, Thursday by Thursday. This is what holds us together as the body of God’s people here in this place. Each time we come to worship we come from different places, with differing needs and understandings and are fed in differing ways. Our Sunday and Thursday services therefore are varied as we seek to help everyone to feel at home, fed and challenged.
Once again our Minister has led worship on an average of two Sundays each month, sometimes with a visiting preacher to tell their story or focus on a particular theme. We have been encouraged by other United Reformed Church worship leaders, the Revd Kevin Watson, our Moderator visiting us in May. It has also been good to welcome leaders from neighbouring churches too. We have continued to involve our Sunday Club young people and others in innovative lively all-age worship on four occasions during the year.
We use Roots material as a lectionary focus across teaching and learning both for adults and for our young people. This we believe helps us to see the context for each week and hopefully enables us to build up a bigger picture with a greater understanding of how the pieces, the message, fits together.
As always we are grateful to all those who make worshipping a comfortable experience – to Donald, to Nick Seddon and now also to Liam Brigg for their musical gifts which make such a difference. We must not forget Peter’s skilful preparation and operation of the Digital Hymnal with which we are becoming more familiar.
I offer a sincere thank you to the team of readers who thoughtfully bring us the lectionary week by week with particular thanks for all the extra time involved at Easter and Christmas. The PowerPoint presentation continues to enhance worship so thank you to the unseen men and women who each week sit at the back managing the technology. Thank you to Angela who prepares all the presentations. A warm welcome from the stewards is an invaluable ministry as is that of sharing in friendly conversations over tea and coffee. Thank you to the small team who prepare Communion each month; thank you to the coffee and tea makers, to the furniture movers, to the flower arrangers and distributers. So many gifts brought and offered as part of our worship week by week. Worship? Yes indeed, part of our service to God and to each other.
We continue to come together on Thursday evenings – do please consider joining us if you can. Speak to John Mawson if transport is an issue. Look out for the monthly Sunday evening Taizé prayers, a different way to worship. And special services – did you come to Songs of Praise at Stainbeck, to Pentecost Praise at St. Matthew’s in June, to Hymns in The Street which we led this year in Chapel Allerton?
So many different opportunities to be Stainbeck Church worshipping God together. Time to praise and to pray, to listen and to learn and as ever we are guided gently and thoughtfully by Angela in whose ministry we are all so blessed.
Ann Coates – Worship Co-ordinator
Sunday Club has been lucky to maintain its dedicated team this year comprising: Emmanuelle Bastide-Wilson, Elanor Boston, Kate Boylan, Joan Craske, Angela Dunigan, Richard Hamlin, Sarah Riley and Lucy Sheard.
As in previous years the team has met regularly to plan activities and review their work. This year also we have chosen to keep working with the material offered by Roots as it offers a varied program which suits our group and provides a good basis for discussion with our children. Roots also offers the team more ways to think about and approach weekly readings.
The group of children attending Sunday Club on Sunday mornings has changed, with a few of our year 6 children moving to the teen group, and a few pre-schoolers waiting in the wings! We have continued to offer a varied way of exploring the bible readings through craft, games, prayers, or guided internet research.
The teen group, led by Richard Hamlin, is now taking place every other week and children from year 6 (last year of primary school) can be invited to attend if they wish. The group has benefited from the support of Elders who have taken it in turn to attend the session with Richard.
Looking back Sunday Club has contributed to the following:
• At a joint Pentecost service which took place in St Matthew’s Church in June, the children joined children from other churches to enjoy some activities and a couple of Sunday Club Leaders helped with leaders from other churches.
• Sunday Club was involved in two Worship 4 All in June for Le Tour when we thought about how we get ready and how we are part of a team, and in October for Harvest when we explored our wonderful world.
• Several of our young people took part in activities organised by Chapel Allerton Youth Project to enable local young Christians to meet in 3 “Get Together Events” in July, August and September.
• Several of our children took part in Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Carol Service and Nativity.
• And of course the children took part in this year‘s nativity service at Stainbeck. This year they told the Christmas story through readings and the preparation of boxes filled with symbols of the story.
Looking to the future:
Our Sunday Club group gets on well together and certainly enjoy their time together on Sundays. As a church we need to keep thinking about ways they grow in our church.
The challenge posed by the growing number of babies and toddlers remains and we are looking at ways we can offer a more permanent crèche for them and a more consistent team of people who look after them. Ideas and offers are still needed!
Emmanuelle Bastide-Wilson –Sunday Club Leader
STAINBECK LUNCH CLUB ANNUAL REPORT
Stainbeck Lunch club has continued to offer a two course hot meal, cups of tea/coffee and biscuits and a daily paper for our members. There are also games available – dominoes, scrabble or cards and a much needed listening ear in pleasant surroundings. The buzz in the room is wonderful to hear and all our ladies and gentlemen go home with a smile on their faces. We have continued to still charge £4.50 which covers the cost of the above and our members do appreciate the flowers and cards that have been sent and visits made when they are unwell.
All the above is due mainly to the support of our volunteers who would say if asked that they enjoy coming along to help and get as much enjoyment out of volunteering as our members do attending. The numbers have dropped during the course of the year but that is mainly due to the fact that quite a few of our members have suffered deteriorating health problems and have become housebound. We are still in touch and sometimes visit or speak to them on the telephone and they tell us that they hope to come back to the club when they are mobile again. The fact that the club has been able to stay open is due to the continued and valued support of volunteers from both the Church and the local community. We have two new lady members and have retained many of our long standing ‘lunch clubbers’. Sadly Margaret Wade died in November.
June Mawson and I continue voluntarily to cover the role of the lunch club supervisors. Due to funding cut backs we had to say goodbye to Gill who ran the outreach hearing aid clinic every three months between 11-12 noon on Mondays, which some of our members found really helpful; they had their hearing aids checked and obtained help and advice.
We are pleased that this year we once again offered our members a free Christmas lunch and hopefully we will be able to offer free tickets to attend the Church Pantomime in February 2015. Our members enjoyed an afternoon tea during August when the club was closed and this was great fun and enjoyed by all. Our Christmas celebrations proved to be a success much enhanced by the local schools coming to sing to us and the PCSO’s road show rolled in to town.
June and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helps with our lunch club and also to our Minister who calls in regularly, our Church Treasurer, the local PCSO’s and the staff at Knowsthorpe Gate where we collect our meals.
Avril Bellwood; June Mawson – Lunch Club Organisers
2014 has turned out to be a very challenging year for Christian Aid – we’ve heard of so many disasters around the world, it’s hard to keep up with all that is happening. We’ve seen reports on our television screens of floods in East Asia, Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, rebuilding works in Gaza, food shortages in South Sudan and Columbia, refugees fleeing so many places – the list seems endless.
We cannot respond to every appeal that comes our way, but we have made contributions when we could. We started the year by sending £394.14 towards the Philippines Appeal. This represented the money donated in place of exchanging so many Christmas cards within our Church family, together with the offerings taken during our Carols by Candlelight service and one week’s Community Café profits.
The After Eight’s very kindly donated £69.10, which they raised at their very enjoyable Burns Night Supper in February – ably organised by Helen Inglis, who also provided and cooked the wonderful food.
After Christian Aid Week in May we were able to forward £1060.36, a surprising increase on the 2013 total. We also raised £17 from the sale of the Yorkshire 2014 Quiz Sheets, which went to the local Christian Aid office in Leeds. Our Christian Aid service at the beginning of May concentrated our minds on the great work going on in South Sudan and Columbia, rebuilding lives following the violence of war – personal tragedies being turned round and changing grief to hope. Peter Ward, the Chapel Allerton Area Organiser for Christian Aid, sent a letter of thanks to everyone at Stainbeck for their hard work.
Christian Aid Week 2015 takes place from the 10th to 16th May, when we hope to gather sufficient support again to enable us to take part in the usual red envelope collections locally. Offers of help will be much appreciated! Our support through prayer is also invaluable, both for the Christian Aid workers (often in very difficult circumstances) and for the millions of people who are dependent on their help. Many thanks to all who helped in 2014 in any way and to those who contributed so generously.
AFTER 8’s REPORT
2014 has been a good year for the After 8’s from the AGM in January right through to the Christmas Dinner Dance in December. Peter and Doreen Moore provided another excellent supper which makes the AGM much more than just a meeting. The After 8’s are very informal and holding the AGM at their home is comfortable and relaxing.
The Upper Room at Church was transformed for the Burns Supper. Helen Inglis addressed the Haggis and there was lots of Scottish music and dancing. To finish the winter months we had our Annual Dinner at the Hungry Bear, a good local restaurant. Sheila Ryan’s Spring Walk was at Temple Newsom. The Rhododendrons were magnificent and the evening was fine and warm. Perfect.
Another Spring event was the weekend away at the Kings Head in Masham. Incredibly 2014 was the 30th Anniversary of the After 8’s weekends away. There are some people who have been to all of them. Amazing. The walk was as usual very good and carefully worked out to accommodate everyone. This year’s weekend will be at the Kings Head again and many people have booked already. There was also a talk by Andy Hobbs about Afghanistan. The Spring months finished with the ever popular Garden Visit. An interesting location on the edge of the Civil War Battlefield at Marston Moor. The Garden was lovely, divided into different areas with a Meadow to walk through. This led to the Barn where the Battlefield could be seen. There was a café in the Barn and lots of interesting artefacts from the Battle. A good evening.
In the Summer we had a Theatre visit and our Mystery Trip. Betty Blue Eyes was the musical we saw at the Playhouse. This was based on the film A Private Function. Olivia Butterworth arranged the Mystery Trip which turned out to be a bus ride to Skipton. The weather was very good, everyone had lunch together and then split into groups and did their own thing. This event was enjoyed by all.
We had a busy Autumn with the very successful Fashion Show. The clothes were shown by our own models. Lots of clothes were sold when the show was finished. The profits were split between the Clothes Company and the After 8’s.
The fun Darts and Dominoes evening gave everyone plenty of drinks and nibbles and a lot of laughter. The eventual winners were Jack Lord and John Mawson. Also in Autumn was our Quiz Night with the After 8’s splendid supper. A good time was had by all. John Harrisons Team were the winners.
John Bell gave a talk on China in November. He had been there for some months teaching. The talk was very informative and held everyone’s interest. That brings us to December and the Dinner Dance held this year at Sandmoor Golf Club. Very good food, live band and a well decorated room. Super.
That’s the After 8’s year and we are looking forward to this year’s programme. We welcome anyone at our events – why don’t you give us a try.
Sandra Smith – After 8’s Secretary
THE STAINBECK PLAYERS
Every year feels as if it will be the last for the Stainbeck Players. We’re living on a life support system, and the support is the audience at the Pantomime. Gone are the passionate years of our youth when we not only performed 3 Act Plays, but we toured with them! Adventurous productions were often controversial. AGMs were riven with disagreements even as they were roused by applause and pride. Committee meetings were hotbeds of intrigue, casting committees were drunk with power, and the parties…..well!
The years of maturity saw many fine productions but it was the pantomime which settled down to a successful formula, with a loyal following. 3 Act plays, the mainstay of many societies, declined as memories shortened. But the pantomime continues to offer the opportunity to perform and for the Stainbeck Players to add another year to its long life. And that’s down to the audience, happy to see familiar faces, in familiar situations, entertained as much by scenes which fail as by those which succeed, appreciative of the effort put into the production by so many, and willing to pay their £5s.
Puss in Boots was no exception to the winning formula, though, sadly, it will be the last to benefit from the enthusiasm of the generation of girls lost to exams, and excitements elsewhere. But, in true pantomime tradition, it was also the first to benefit from the Drama Club, whose young members made a big impact. As did Ann, directing, and playing the wicked witch.
We’d begun as early as October, reading Sinbad, which had good songs, secure in the knowledge that our pianist was available. By November, Sinbad had been rejected, but it wasn’t until January that we were disappointed to hear that our pianist would not be available. From then on, Sarah did all the hard work downloading songs and backing tracks, as well as sound effects, 36 in all, onto a temperamental laptop.
Cynthia played the Cat, and Eileen the Puss. Sara was the Princess after the men, whilst Sandra, the Fairy, famously sang ‘Splish Splash’ to a backing track from Bobby Darin, not an easy thing to do. Henry Hoop was played by Mike with his Hooplas from the Drama Club doing the acrobatics. Also from the Drama Club were the Trolls, Witch Wackywoos very own. This being a pantomime with a difference, there was no Dame, but Ian, as King Cosmo, got to dress in women’s clothing at one point. Doreen played Queen Cosmo asking the Count, ‘Are you a foreigner?’ to which Colin replied ‘Only by birth’. The Steward was Steve, ‘Ail your highness’, played completely differently by John on Saturday night, as he again saved the day when Steve was otherwise engaged. The Stage Manager was John’s other part, whilst Cynthia also played the Herald. Pete the Pieman was played by Leon, who gave us the Russian version.
The Ogre, or rather Gruffalogre was played by PLC on the 1st and 4th nights. Dylan-Jay tried it the 2nd night, then broke his wrist, and Elanor took his place on the 3rd night. The Ghost was Jasmine, the Bear Tobias, and the Gorilla, Dylan-Jay. And the stars of the show? The real Stage Managers, Peter Moore and John Mawson.
There was the usual brilliant work backstage by Glen on Costumes, with help from Lilian, and Joan on the set. Helen covered Front of House, Lucy the sweet stall, and Judith and Cliff served teas. What a team!
And so to Sleeping Beauty! Rumour has it that we have a pianist, that our Principal Boy has discovered her evil side, and that there are two fairies, not one. All will be revealed on 18th-21st February. Don’t miss it! We need our life-giving audience!
Peter Craske – Stainbeck Players
MANAGEMENT REPORT 1. Services to the building: This year we welcomed a new Cleaner, Glenn Riley. As most people know, Glen established the fast growing Akashi Karate Club at Stainbeck since when he has had a particular interest in looking after the church space, clearing and re-setting the chairs, and cleaning the floor. Now he has adopted the same conscientious approach to the whole building, coming up against the problem that a few hours a week is not enough to keep a building as well used as Stainbeck up to the standard he’d like to see. It’s a big help when groups using the building play their part in the necessary ‘housekeeping’. 2. The car park: We are well aware of the pothole problem but have been a bit daunted by the prospect of the hard labour involved in filling them. However, the plan is now to have a delivery of shale and to ask for volunteers to undertake the back breaking job. It may be that we can employ the gardener to help. 3. Room bookings: As mentioned in the Finance Report, the last half of the year saw some significant changes, particularly in the departure of the African Church. In terms of the management of the building, this has been a big help, since Saturdays, after 11.30, are now free. The Karate Club, having problems on a Saturday afternoon, had moved across to the school, and, soon after, moved the Thursday class too. This, too, has been helpful as it gives more time to prepare for worship on a Thursday. The Karate Club now only meet on a Monday and Tuesday.
The Irish Dancing no longer meets on a Friday evening. It had become an inconvenient night for them, and we couldn’t offer an alternative.
Helping our falling rents a little, Beavers from Meanwood Methodists are meeting on Fridays. They are very happy, and feel they have been at Stainbeck ‘for years’. The Tuesday night Explorer Scouts are also now in full swing. And Weight Watchers are settled in at Stainbeck again, meeting upstairs on Wednesdays, and downstairs on Saturdays.
Recently, the Leeds Family Group Conference Service hired the Café room for a 3 hour meeting involving local people. They commented that the room was ‘perfect’, and that it was good to find a church that was so busy and full of life. 4. Safeguarding: We were on the point of working out the details of our own policy when it was announced that the URC was about to draw up a policy which would be recommended to all United Reformed Churches. We look forward to adopting this policy. 5. Property: A comprehensive report covers all that has been accomplished this year. The legacy from Laura meant that we were able to make the major improvement to the fabric of the building which was the installation of the new windows.
Much of the other work, including day to day maintenance, is in response to problems arising from wear and tear, e.g. the new water boilers. The hand drier is a way of reducing the large bill for hand towels. The man who looked at the Hall floor was reluctant to proceed with the work because he felt he could not guarantee the work. That may be the reason why he hasn’t, so far, presented us with the £500 bill for labour, but the floor is much improved and no longer a hazard.
Please note the support we’ve received from Leeds City Council, and the URC, in the form of essential grants. 6. The Manse: Despite the time of year, new tenants, two young men, were found within a week of the previous tenants leaving. We’re hopeful that we’ll receive a full rent for at least the next six months. 7. The year ahead: Because of the financial situation, it’s unlikely that we can undertake any major projects in the coming year, but maintenance and repairs will certainly be necessary. In this respect, the church is grateful to have Peter Moore, John Mawson, and Maurice Pilsworth on hand to respond.
Peter Craske – Management Committee Convenor
Management Committee: – Peter Craske (PC), Helen Inglis (HI) and Brian Bellwood (BB), Angela Hughes (AH) (ex-officio member)
Property Committee: – Peter Moore (PM), John Mawson (JM) and Doreen Moore (DM) (Minute Secretary)
The scope of the Property Committee is –
o To organise and overlook all building work, repairs and maintenance of the property and grounds and to make recommendations for work/improvements to the Elders.
o To carry out regular inspections as recommended by the URC.
Day to Day Maintenance
Day to day maintenance problems are undertaken/overseen – a list is available in the ground floor vestibule for anyone to enter anything that needs attending to and this is viewed and action is taken on a regular basis. Major Work Completed
Upper Room Café
• In June 2014 the water boiler in the Upper Room was replaced with a Calamax boiler (manufactured in Leeds) – this was funded by a grant (Community First, LCC). A new drip tray was sourced from Calamax and fitted by PM
• In November with the help of a grant (Leeds General Purposes Fund, URC) new lightweight tables were bought for the Café room
• In August 2014 new double glazed windows were fitted in lounge(3), landing(1), office(1) and toilet area(2). Work was undertaken by Complete Glazing Solutions who are based in Castleford. These are white UPVC with Planitherm toughened safety glass, warm edge spacer and argon gas filled units. Seven opening sashes. 10 year insurance backed guarantee.
• The toilet, sink and plumbing work have been removed in the office area along with the internal door and new black ash shelves (provided by PM) have been fitted for storage. A cupboard has also been provided for computer equipment. The safe has been moved into this storage area.
• New worktops have been fitted in the kitchen
• The dish washer has been moved out, the fridge has been moved into the kitchen in its place and the new freezer (grant Community First, LCC, through InterACT) has been installed where the fridge was. A replacement fridge from Beehive (Christine Robson) has been installed.
• In January 2015 the water boiler was replaced with a Calamax boiler. Other Work/Projects
• In October the hall floor was repaired. We purchased the oak wood and are awaiting an invoice for the labour involved.
• In November a hand drier was installed on the ground floor.
Neville Brooksbank – 5 year survey of buildings
Recommended work now completed:
• Extractor fan in kitchen has been cleaned by Glenn Riley.
• Flat roof on either side of church and at the front plus all gutters/downpipes have been cleaned by Halls.
• Investigate Nursery fire escape doors to ensure effective operation – PM/JM confirm these are in order
Outstanding work still to complete:
• A panic bolt needs installing on the left hand fire door in the hall and a closer on the right hand fire door – PM/JM to action Future Work
• Further work is required regarding the holes in the car park. We need to purchase some shale to fill the holes.
• To be repaired and new hinges to be fitted – JM/PM to action.
• JFT Services continues to be employed to maintain the grass cutting, border trimmings, weeding etc. at the Church. The Manse – Work Completed
• In July a new garage was fitted by Sinclair Garages in Bramley following reports from the tenants that the previous garage was leaking.
• A new 600mm Stainless Steel cooker hood was fitted by Landmark Homes, organized through Linley & Simpson.
Doreen Moore – Property Minute Secretary
InterAct Church and Community Partnership
Another year and another challenge of what to include in the annual report. Certain stories and activities will always fit more naturally, but this does mean so much goes unreflected. Partnership meetings, informal conversations, involvement in citywide networks, responding to needs in often difficult circumstances – these are all a hugely important part of what we do, the value of which is not always easy to estimate. However, with that in mind…
Drama Club meets Stainbeck Players – Members of our drama club were really delighted to take part in Stainbeck Players’ pantomime this year for the first time. Being part of the chorus gave them chance to take on a number of different roles, from nasty trolls to innocent villagers and festival acrobats. It was a great experience for them to do a complete run of a show and rehearsing with Witch Wackywoo only made our Wednesday afternoon sessions all the more fun! The Players thought the group were a great addition to the production and we hope they’ll get chance to be involved again in 2015. Look out for them!
Parenting Revisited – We received funding to run two more parenting courses this year, supported by what was East North East Homes and by Chapel Allerton Community First. The first of the courses this year was run at Mill Field Primary School and the second, not yet completed at the time of writing, has been at Carr Manor Children’s Centre. We really value partnering with others to help make the courses happen. And we were so encouraged that parents rallied round to help us find the additional funds to run the course again, so positive was their experience of it. One mum has even come on the course for a second time! We look forward to running more sessions in the near future.
Amidst le fever of Le Tour – …was Pentecost. Not an InterACT event as such, but it was a great occasion for drawing our partner churches together with others in celebration. We’re not sure how we can top balloons falling from the ceiling next year, but we’re planning on giving it a go.
Youth Events – Again, not specifically an InterACT activity, but we were nonetheless involved in their planning and delivery. Between 20 and 30 young people took part in the three events, which took place in different venues around Meanwood and Chapel Allerton. One of the best activities was simply to gather around markers of the schools and pray for them.
Mega Makers – Boffin and Brainwave introduced the Mega Machine to our holiday clubbers this year, as we learnt more about the vastness of God’s love. As ever, we had a great team from our member congregations and beyond, bringing a whole lot of energy (well, at the start of the week anyway), skills and enthusiasm. Then there were the children. And marshmallow towers. And loom bands. And a broken egg…
Monday Night Youth Club is now supported by both Leeds Youth Service and NEtWORKS schools cluster, so staff from both are around each week. We also have volunteers who live in the local area and there is a good sense of community from staff and children knowing each other outside the club. The majority of young people attending are now slightly younger, and we are pleased to continue to see new faces each week.
Make It! is the name for our drop-in craft sessions for adults, which now runs from 12:30 for two hours on Thursdays, alongside Stainbeck Church’s Community Café. We are also delighted that Craft For Kids has been enabled to continue on a weekly basis thanks to funding from the NEtWORKS schools cluster.
More partnership working with the NEtWORKS cluster brought additional funds and people to help run our Light Party at Halloween this year. Food, crafts and games kept a large number of families happily occupied for the afternoon, and an Autumnal story of hope drew the whole event together beautifully.
Vanessa Brown – InterAct Co-ordinator
Chapel Allerton Youth Project
Stainbeck officially became involved with CAYP early in 2014. Hannah Dey, the project’s coordinator has been on maternity leave since April, and Richard Hamlin and I have been covering some of her work until she returns.
The project is drawn together by four congregations: St. Matthew’s, Chapel Allerton Methodist, Chapel Allerton Baptist and Stainbeck. At the moment, there are two weekly youth clubs that run as part of it – Totally Tuesday for years 5-7 and WOW for years 8+. Hannah is also involved in local schools work and citywide initiatives.
This year, Richard has been developing the work of Totally Tuesday using Rock Solid materials produced by Youth for Christ. This has worked really well for the group, which has about 16 regular attendees. There’s plenty of games as well as opportunity to talk about issues of faith. As with the other groups, there are also residential opportunities and special events.
We’ve been building our links with other local churches and youth groups over the year, which have enabled us to run three events for young people in the area. One of the highlights of this was an opportunity to pray for the eight schools (and home schools!) represented by those who were there. The young people really engaged with this and with the events as a whole. Needless to say, the presence of pizza was a big bonus!
Cell groups are small groups for young people developing and outworking their Christian faith. One of our cell groups “graduated” this year as they moved off to university. We’re hoping to see more such groups develop in the next year and there are some exciting opportunities coming up citywide that might help them get started. This includes a week-long residential in April, for which Stainbeck will be a local “mission” centre for young people to support our work in the community. Hopefully, this will be an incentive for our own young people to connect.
It’s been encouraging to see local churches continuing to talk about how we can support our young people together and trying to put that into practice. It’s also been encouraging to see some of the older youth volunteering their time to help run groups. New initiatives will be starting in the coming year and we will continue to encourage that sort of engagement. Plans are also in place to set up monthly Messy Church events on Sunday afternoons. These will be piloted during the Summer term – probably in two venues – Stainbeck and the Methodist Centre. We look forward to seeing what happens next!
Representatives of 101 churches within the Synod meet together twice each year to discuss the business of the wider church, to receive news of national concerns and initiatives, to share stories of mission and to learn and worship together. The Synod is a forward looking body with Synod committees each carrying out specific areas of responsibility across a wide spectrum and each seeking to enable and support the work of all the individual churches within the county. Angela and Ann are representatives at these meetings, Angela serves as Synod Pastoral Elder with responsibility for all the Leeds churches and Ann serves on Synod Council and on the Elders’ Task Group.
In common with other denominations across our city we are now actively exploring ways that will enable us to share ministry and resources more effectively. As part of this process we have held a series of meetings looking at our worship life and the ways that we can learn from one another. All URC Ministers serving across the city now meet regularly for fellowship and discussion and alongside this the Leeds Mission and Care group continues to meet. This open meeting provides a relaxed and friendly forum in which we can share news of our church life and support and encourage one another. Why not come along and see for yourself?
Our Moderator Kevin Watson is beginning his second year as Moderator Elect of General Assembly. His term will be July 2016 – 18. This is a demanding and responsible role for him and we are all asked to hold him and his wife Lynn in our prayers. Obviously this will have implications for all the Synod officers (including Angela) as there will be times when Kevin, of necessity, will be absent from Yorkshire events.
If you want to learn more about the United Reformed Church check out our website www.stainbeckurc.org.uk (about us), or take a green leaflet from the news table.
Churches Together in Chapel Allerton and Meanwood
You may recall that the seven churches which constitute our Churches together grouping decided last Autumn to reorganise the pattern of meetings. Now an Annual meeting, open to everyone, is held to plan the major events of the forthcoming year. These dates are then firmly set in the diaries of each church. Small task groups comprising members from the various churches then volunteer to organise and take a lead on these events.
Pentecost Praise, held at St Matthew’s last year, worked very well and was much appreciated by all who attended. The next such event will be the Lent talk, here at Stainbeck on Thursday 19th March – with homemade soup again! Do look out for opportunities to come together and share with Christians of other traditions …. it is sometimes too easy to stay safely within our own walls!
Ann Coates and Angela Hughes
During the past year, with the approval of the Church Meeting, we have been learning more about the opportunities offered through Leeds Citizens (http://www.citizensuk.org/ ). We have heard Tom Chigbo speak about this and we have hosted a local listening session. We believe that this is something that as a church, working with our local community, we should support.
I would like to thank David Wilson and Helen Booth for the lead they are both giving to this significant initiative and invite you to watch this space!
For more information talk to David, Helen or myself. Take a leaflet – and please pray for us as a church as we move forward.
This report should be read in conjunction with the Draft Accounts, for which it is explanatory.
Financially, this has been a year of ups and downs, as exemplified by the fall in the cash collection which was offset to some extent by the rise in the tax refund. The two are linked in that we can now claim Gift Aid on anonymous cash donations, so the unusually high level recorded in 2013 meant that we claimed the maximum refund of £1,250. The envelopes which are not Gift Aided also are included in the scheme, with the exception of any single donation which is over £20. Once again, we are grateful to those who give regularly, whether by Direct Debit or via Gift Aided envelopes. The rise of 2-3% is ahead of inflation.
Income from Room Lettings rose again, as did the Manse Rent, despite significant spending on improvements. The Community Café had another good year. The Café is a valuable part of church life in many ways, but it also makes a difference financially. Also listed under Donations, it should be noted that a further £1,000 is due from the Stainbeck Players to add to ‘From Church groups’.
Turning to Expenditure, ‘Professional fees’ includes the legal bill for drawing up the new lease with the Nursery. ‘Cleaning’ includes the ever rising charges for waste removal as well as ‘Health and Safety’ (toilet rolls etc). The ‘Heating Light Water’ total is distorted by a large gas bill for October 2013 to mid-January 2014 which was paid this year. In reality the figures should be closer to £10,000 (2013) and £8,000 (2014).
The new boiler has made a big difference to the gas bills.
Insulation, new windows, and a new Manse garage were the biggest expenses under ‘Property’. The costs of the new Café boiler, and the new tables in that room, were partly offset by ‘Grants’ listed under Income.
‘Hidden’ expenditure is visible on the Balance Sheet where it can be seen that the URC loan has been reduced by £2,200 over the year.
The year ahead is likely to be challenging for two principal reasons. Firstly, income from Room Lettings is likely to be down as both Karate and Irish Dancing have reduced their hours, and the African Church is no longer meeting at Stainbeck. Secondly, the Mission and Ministry payments will rise by £3,000. Payments are based on the number of members which, since 2010, has risen from 40 to 52, a sign of a commitment to Stainbeck which will not go unnoticed in the wider Church.
The Lunch Club has had to face the challenge of a much reduced grant over the past year. From a ‘profit’ of £1300 last year (obviously a cause of the reduced grant in these times of austerity), this year shows a ‘loss’ of £1200. It remains to be seen whether the grant due in March will be adjusted upwards. There is no immediate problem since the club has reserves of around £4,000 in the bank.
This year we donated a total of £1,797.28 to Charities:
Benevolent Fund £65.85; Faith in Schools £65.36; Lineham Farm £64.24;
Blind and Deaf £56.01; Christian Aid £65.75; Manuel Bravo £58.66;
Network Leeds £254; Youth Cell Network £64.58; Helen Bamber £64.89;
Caring for Life £79.75; Help for Heroes £87.29; St. Gemma’s £300; Children in Distress £570.90.
Private donations continue to maintain the Benevolent Fund. ‘Church and Community Gifts’, listed under Sundries, is mainly a total of benevolent gifts made to local people in need, at the discretion of our Minister, Angela.
Every year at this time – I sit facing the blank screen on my computer – what to say?
• I wondered about taking last years report – updating it here and there – would anyone notice? Well – would you?
• I considered simply moving swiftly on to lunch – I’m sure that would be a welcome move!
• And I pondered the dilemma – I’ve been here too long – too much of the same old – same old?
• A last resort – I consulted my husband – but no help there – so I returned to the blank screen and revisited my options.
There is so much here in the book of reports – a full, encouraging and hopeful picture of our life together. A life in which we all have a place and in which we are all needed. And I thank God for it.
There continues to be a slow but steady numerical growth, a real sense of fellowship and practical support among us – elders, members and friends. I hope that you all realise just how important your presence is at worship week by week. Spirits are lifted when we are together – learning and growing – supporting and caring – giving and receiving one with another. Of course, attendance at Church on a Sunday is not the be all and end all – but please don’t ever under-estimate the significance of God’s people – the Church – worshipping together. It is a powerful sign of God’s life-giving presence – it is also a discipline and a resource – and I believe blesses us in many different ways.
I am constantly delighted by the openness and recognition that we are all at different places on our journey of faith but that we can support one another accepting that we are all different, unique, and loved by our Father God. We are here because we want to follow Jesus and be his disciples in today’s world. We don’t always get it right but we work at it – forgiving one another as we are forgiven in Christ. It isn’t always easy – but we don’t give up on it.
Ecumenically our work is moving forward in new ways – in particular we see this through our growing work with InterACT, through CAYP (Our thanks to Richard), through our MESSY Church initiative (headed up by Emmanuelle) and our joint annual events. Many opportunities – look out for them. It has been good to see the willingness to explore Leeds Citizens together. Thank you to David and Helen who are so active in this.
The Community Café continues to be a great tool for outreach. We continue to bring in support from other agencies – Housing Leeds; Zest, Health for Life; Job Centre Plus; PCSO’s; the Foodbank. We now have our first regular volunteer who oversees the Café – checks everyone is happy, engaged and receiving the support they need – thank you to Janet Simpson – who spends every other week with us. This works very well. We even have some chess players now.
Last month one our visitors commented ‘that it was good to be treated with respect – and not dismissed as having no worth.’ It is my prayer that all may feel so valued. As one of our Church Secretaries rightly says month by month in our magazine – God loves us all. It is very easy for us to become so involved talking to our own friends that we don’t notice newcomers – so well done Café punters for this – and of course, thank you to those wonderful volunteers who feed and water us!
A glance through last year’s report reminds me:
• Our Prayer Chain (virtual) is up and running. Please remember to send / bring your requests to me – or to Hilary Wilson. Please also remember that we have Prayer Cards – again talk to an elder or to Hilary.
• The IT Team is now properly functional – thanks to Adrian, Andy and Marion. (Always space for another)
• I am working at an increased practical use of our Church Office – printing, photocopying etc.
Many hands etc – spread the load – offering our gifts – you don’t need me to spell out the very real need for this to happen.
It may be helpful, at this point, for me to repeat what I have said a number of times before – life in our churches is not as it used to be – Ministry of Word and Sacrament is scarce – but we recognise that there are many other gifts and ministries – think children, youth, families, the elderly, the community – think administration, finance, managing – think worship, teaching and so on. Some of you know that already we have begun exploring the ways we can share resources through worship at our Mission and Care meetings.
We are now ready to move on – yet another step and as Synod Pastoral Elder for Leeds – with the role of ensuring that every church in Leeds has the ministry it needs – I can tell you – that AT LAST – there are more concrete plans afoot for our LEEDS Churches to embrace. These will be brought to Mission and Care, to the Elders’ and then the Church Meeting over the next few months.
Your task – here at Stainbeck – is to discern what ministry you need to enable the work we do together to continue to develop in line with the on-going changes in our community. Last year’s Church Life Review is there to help us do that. There is no room for complacency – nor is there room for pessimism – rather there is the need to pay attention to God, to each other and to our community that as God’s people here we can discern our on-going needs.
As I look back on my time here, I reflect on what has sustained, enabled and encouraged me week by week. One of those must be our Thursday Evening Prayers – ask others who attend. I could simply say – why don’t you come and join us? – but rather I want to highlight that need we all have to grow closer to God and to one another – to listen to God and to one another – to be open to God and to one another.
Our relation with the God we know in Jesus is key to our life together and to our future – God’s future. Like any relationship it needs time and attention. However we do it – and we are all different – in temperament, in need, in circumstance – our faith must be at the heart of our life. What we do flows from what we believe – how can we help and encourage one another? Because while this is personal – about you and about me – it is also corporate – it is about US.
We have books to read – old favourites but also new ones – have a browse; it is never too late to join in as we Read, Think, Pray together; join the Reading Group; Follow the Lent Prayer Diary – coming soon – come and talk to me – or to an elder – what would help you in your own journey of faith?
On a personal note, thank you for your on-going support and prayers for Donald and myself over the year – a particular thank you to the Elders – the leadership team – all of you – no names – just thank you. Please recognise that I have less capacity to visit than I did ten years ago – but if you want to talk to me – a phone call or a word is all it takes. And remember we have a great team of Elders – value them, support them and pray for them..
And my prayer for the coming year? It remains as always – simply that as we journey together we will continue to grow in every way as God’s Church here at Stainbeck. That we will continue to grow in discernment and not be afraid to take risks when the time is right – recognising for ourselves God’s presence with us – trusting that the God who calls will also equip us for the task.
And in all this let us give thanks to God for his hand upon us.