We are in the middle of our annual meetings where we review the past year and set out vision for the next. Usually these meetings take place in March and April, but due to Covid 19 these have been disrupted.
The list of the current meetings are below.
- Mosterton 2nd September
- Toller Porcorum 3rd September
- Melplash 7th September
- Netherbury 8th September
- South Perrott 9th September
- Stoke Abbott 14th September
- Salway Ash 15th September
- Hooke 17th September
- Seaborough 21st September
- Beaminster 22nd September
- Broadwindsor, Burstock, Blackdown with Drimpton 23rd September
All meetings to begin at 7.00 pm and to be held in the relevent Parish Church.
THE BEAMINSTER AREA TEAM MINISTRY – ANNUAL CLERGY REPORT TO THE PARISHES 2020
Revd Canon David Baldwin
This is my ninth Annual Report to the Parishes of the Beaminster Area and I would wish to record my deep appreciation to all those who work tirelessly in all of our churches. Holding any office in the church is an onerous task and I thank all Church Wardens, Treasurers, PCC members, Deanery Synod, and Team Council members for their tireless work throughout the past twelve months. I would also like to thank all those who have given their time as Lay Pastoral Assistants, Bereavement Visitors, Sunday School/Club leaders and Lay Worship Leaders. Further thanks go to the many often unseen yet heard people who do so much to keep our churches worshipping and functioning; musicians and singers, bell ringers, flower arrangers, sidespeople, cleaners, church yard keepers, welcomers and stewards, office volunteers, caterers, fundraisers – the list is endless so please accept my apologies if I have missed you off the list.
The Parochial year started off in very much the same way as usual and was meandering towards its usual conclusion of the annual meeting when Coronavirus Covid-19 was identified and it was very soon a Pandemic. Our churches closed for all public worship from the 19th March which meant all APCMs were put into suspension and Bishop Nicholas had to extend the offices of Wardens, PCC members and Synod members until the end of October. Worship in church would not begin again until the 5th July and that was with very strict Covid safety guidelines in place. This has also affected baptisms, weddings and funerals, which are still not returning to our churches in the way they were before lockdown began.
Whilst our buildings were closed for prayer and worship the local church was far from closed and inactive, so during this time we have all had to get used to ‘being church’ in a whole new way, and I will leave Jo to write about this in her section of the report. For the Clergy team it has meant us all learning new skills and ways of leading our Christian Communities from behind the doors of our homes and I thank every one of you for the way in which you have helped us to do this.
Over the past nine years I have been trying to encourage the parishes of the team to work more cooperatively as one church of God and giving the Team Council a greater role. Needles to say, whilst some could see the benefit of this way forward, others have doggedly refused to give such discussions any countenance. However, as church attendance declines and time in years catches up with all of us and fewer church members are willing or able to take on roles and responsibilities, the inevitable is beginning to happen and PCCs cannot be upheld and are having to look at different ways for parish churches to survive and flourish in the future.
Just in time for struggling Parishes has come the newly agreed Section C of the Church Representation Rules 2020 which allows for PCCs to form Joint Councils within teams. I have received all the rules and legal agreements that can be made between PCCs and as I write this report, I am just beginning to study them and will share them with any PCC that wishes to look at how this might work for them and help to give longer term security. This will be a central plank of ‘Church 2030’ our vision going forward and as and when we can meet in larger numbers across the team, we will pick up the responses that came out of last Autumn’s parish conversations.
Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to Jo, Fiona, Neville and Barbara and all of our Partner Priests for their help and support over the year and we look forward to working with and supporting Sarah during her Ordinand’s training over the next two years.
Revd Jo Neary
A review of 2019 can be found below with lots of pictures and commentary on what the pioneer side of ministry has been doing and achieving. There is much to celebrate and much to ponder too.
None of our pioneering activities could take place without the huge numbers of committed volunteers who help, lead and facilitate our different projects. Thank you to everyone who has been part of all our different activities. Thank you for your commitment to sharing the love of God in word and deed.
Covid 19 disrupted everything and challenged us to create new ways of being church without our usual patterns of prayer, discernment and team building. One week we were in church, the next we weren’t. With a mixture of Facebook, Zoom, YouTube, our website, RevChat, phone calls, emails, printed sheets pushed through doors, walks around the villages, and conversations at two metre distances we have tried to build community and continue worshipping together and journeying together in faith. Thank you to all of you who watched, worshipped, contributed, commented, pondered, wept, laughed, and prayed along with us over the last six months.
There have been inevitable failures and mistakes. We haven’t been able to engage everyone. Yet overall it has been positive. At the height of lockdown we had hundreds, even thousands of views on our social media posts and worship videos and we now have a new online community of faith. Our Covid experience completely vindicates the wise decision made two years ago to invest in our media coordinator – which meant we already had the infrastructure in place and could go from being actual to virtual in a week. Thank you Harry, we couldn’t have done it without you.
The challenges are now: how to continue to build relationships with those who have become part of our online community and help them access resources to support their discipleship journey. How to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to serving our communities, telling the story of Jesus and helping people become part of that story for themselves. And how to keep connected with those who are part of the community projects that cannot yet reopen. There is much to challenge us in the coming months.