PCC Annual Report




of the


for the Year Ended 31st December 2018


Reverend Nigel L Washington


Barclays Bank Plc.

Flitwick Branch

The Bedford Group

111 High Street


MK40 0NJ

Independent Examiner:

Mrs Andrea McCormick

Fast Accounting Services Ltd

PO Box 803



MK45 9AJ

St. Mary Magdalene Church, Westoning - Annual Report

of the Parochial Church Council for the Year Ended 31st December 2018

Administration Information

St. Mary Magdalene Church is situated in Church Road, Westoning. It is part of the Diocese of St. Albans and in the Deanery of Ampthill and Shefford, within the Church of England.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a charity excepted for registration with the Charity Commission.

PCC members who have served from 1st January 2018 until the date this report was approved were:

Vicar: Reverend Nigel Washington (Chairman)

Associate Minister Reverend Linda Washington

Readers: Mr Jonathan Denman

Mr Stephen Farmer

Churchwardens: Mr Peter Little

Mr Philip Steer

Representatives of the Ampthill and Shefford Deanery:

Mrs Jane Steer (Safeguarding Officer/Lead Recruiter)

Mr Paul Scrivener to 23rd April 2018

Mrs Eileen Scott from 23rd April 2018

Elected Members: Mrs Joyce Corless

Mr William Donald (treasurer) to 23rd April 2018 Mr Charles Gomm to 3rd May 2018

Mrs Rona Kitchiner-Clark (Organist)

Mrs Linda Little (Secretary)

Mr Paul Lovett

Mr Andrew Robertson (Treasurer) from 23rd April 2018

Mr Paul Scrivener from 23rd April 2018

Miss Sarah Sharp

Mrs Margaret Timothy

Structure, Governance and Management

The PCC is a corporate body established by the Church of England and operates under the Parochial Church Council Powers Measure.

The method of appointment to the PCC is set out in the Church Representation Rules. All Church attendees are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.

The PCC operates through a number of committees, which meet when necessary and report back to the next full meeting of the PCC. The only Committee required by law is the Standing Committee, which has the power to transact the business of the PCC between meetings, subject to any directions given by the PCC. The Standing Committee met once during 2018. The full PCC met six times during the year with an attendance of 84%.

St Mary Magdalene Westoning takes its obligations with regard to safeguarding extremely seriously.

We confirm that we have complied with the duty under Section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 setting out the duty to have regard to the House of Bishops guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

We have a Safeguarding Policy in place which is reviewed annually and have appointed a Safeguarding

Officer, who is also our lead recruiter. We have also appointed an assistant recruiter.


St. Mary Magdalene Church, Westoning - Annual Report

of the Parochial Church Council for the Year Ended 31st December 2018 - continued

We keep a register of activities involving children and vulnerable adults and those who assist in these activities and we have carried out the appropriate checks where necessary.

In addition those involved in safeguarding have received training in the last year from the diocesan safeguarding training officer.

Objectives and Activities

It is the responsibility of the PCC of St. Mary Magdalene Church, Westoning to work with the vicar, Reverend Nigel Washington, to promote within the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the Church; pastoral, evangelical, social and ecumenical.

Achievements and Performances

Church Attendance

As at 31st December 2018, 75 parishioners were on the Church of England Electoral Roll; 1 person who had moved away during the year, was removed. Of the 75, 37 are resident within the parish and 38 non-resident.

The average attendance at regular Sunday services was 54 adults and 5 children, including those attending Service with a Smile and Informal Praise & Worship.

Monday Morning Prayer continued to take place with an average of 3 attending and the Mid-week service, held on Wednesdays, had a typical attendance of 7, although more attended for Ash Wednesday and Ascension. Festivals were also well attended. From 24th December to Christmas Day 428 people were present at the various services offered. As in previous years, two Crib Services were held to accommodate the large numbers. A Carol Service was held for Macintyre, with 61 present.

The Lower School again visited church for services in place of school assembly at Easter, Harvest and Christmas. A service was also held for the Year 4 children leaving for middle school, when each child was presented with a Youth Bible.

Service with a Smile, a service for children and their parents/carers, continued to be held on the third Sunday of each month, with an average attendance of 7 children and 14 adults. Informal Praise and Worship also continued on the 4th Sunday evening of each month when an average of 13 adults attended. Westoning choir gave support to Elstow church during the year for a wedding and also enjoyed singing as part of the Quintet Choir.

Little Angels, Mother & Toddlers/Baby group closed its doors during the first half of the year due to a fall in numbers of both attendees and helpers. A new church group for the under four years and parents, Little Stars, commenced 31st October and now runs each Tuesday during term time. It is a church outreach group but takes place at Westoning Lower. It has been welcomed by parents and already sees a typical 9 to 15 children per session.

The Open the Book team continued to go into the Lower School every Wednesday morning to take assembly when Bible stories were acted out, involving children in the acting where possible.

The Youth Group met once a month at the Village Hall during term time. Youth Group offers a good space for youngsters to relax and have fun. January to July saw 39 on the register with a typical attendance of 22 with numbers dropping slightly to 33 registered and an average attendance of 16 from September. The youth enjoy planned activities, crafts, games, chatting and snacks etc. Each session ends with a ‘Thought for the Day’. Some choose to just listen at this point, others are happy to discuss and offer their thoughts.


St. Mary Magdalene Church, Westoning - Annual Report

of the Parochial Church Council for the Year Ended 31st December 2018 - continued

Friday Fellowship, a club for the retired held weekly at the Village Hall, has a membership of 23, with

an attendance of 18 most weeks. The Chequers continued to provide the venue for the ever popular bi-

monthly Men’s Breakfasts throughout 2018, when a variety of speakers were heard. It saw an average attendance of 18. Thanks to the Chequers, there has been no increase in the price of breakfasts. Westcaf, a coffee and chat drop in held at the Village Hall every Tuesday morning, still proves popular with the

retired and elderly as well as young mums and their children. Each week sees an average of 34 come through the doors.

Monday and Tuesday House Groups continued on a fortnightly basis, with Monday seeing a typical attendance of 10 and Tuesdays 6. ‘Going Deeper’ Bible study classes are still taking place on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, when 7 people meet together and Paul and Merle continued to lead a Friday evening session once a month for about 8 people. Prayer Groups and the Prayer Ministry Team continued to meet and flourish during 2018. A variety of courses and initiatives were offered to all: Leading Your Church into Growth, Alpha, Breakthrough Prayer, The Kingdom Come, Safeguarding, Pastoral Care Course and Prayer & Blessing training.

Review of the Year

Vicar’s Review

The last year saw the retirement of our longstanding treasurer, Bill Donald, a loyal and faithful servant to Westoning Parish Church. In the last 30 years he has seen the church move from being a building with urgent repairs needed and a congregation of under ten worshipping in the choir stalls, to a church being in good order and congregations sizeable and for certain festivals and celebrations quite unimaginable back in the nineties. Westoning Church is a loving place and activity in God’s name is plentiful. It is a beacon of hope.

There is much to savour. We have an ordinand who has just begun training and a qualified Lay Leader of Worship alongside our Readers, all excellent and to be cared for. There is a large range of well led groups, catering for most of the age groups. Worship is varied and social activities delightful. The good news of Christ is regularly shared in the village.

Within the village the Church is well supported at key times of the year. Our Fete this year was another outstanding success, socially, inclusively and financially. The school links are brilliant; the school visit regularly with their families in support and 4 services are held with us, at church, each year. They are always joyous occasions. The Christmas Services were again very popular, our In Loving Memory Service was valued highly by the large numbers which attended. Links with the MacIntyre Community are good. Some members attend church regularly and all of them value their Christmas service immensely, as do we.

Westoning Church has provided a substantial representation in the Quintet Choir which has performed excellent concerts throughout the year in many of the Quintet churches.

As predicted 2018 was a year of consolidation. We are now well placed to grow as the body of Christ, to develop our facilities and witness in the village and beyond. If we focus on Jesus and pray more regularly and more persistently together, as church, then in the year to come, much is possible in His name.

Churchwardens’ Review

We started the year by clearing the roof of leaves & debris. This was undertaken by Richard Ward, who also checked the gutters, drains, traps and inspections pits. With his tall ladders and his assistance, we managed to change some lightbulbs in the nave.


St. Mary Magdalene Church, Westoning - Annual Report

of the Parochial Church Council for the Year Ended 31st December 2018 – continued

The DAC visited to give advice on the Chancel floor, the possibility of removing some more pews at the

rear of the church, underfloor heating and the use of solar panels as a possible source of electricity and heating. The floor in the chancel has shown signs of deterioration; more larger cracks and areas that have sunk. With the extremely cold winter it has been a struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature, which is why possible improvements are being investigated.

With so much work completed to areas high up on the outside of the church, our stone mason, Mick

Bunning, treated the stone work to stop the moss from returning.

The Commonwealth Graves Commission (CWC) were contacted with regard to erecting signage

referring to our war graves in God’s acre. This was approved by the CWC, was authorised by an Archdeacon’s letter in September and we now await the arrival of the signs.

Significant difficulty was being experienced with the main church door lock. Shawn Jackson kindly inspected the door and adjustments were made to the frame/lock keep, which has solved the problem.

Maintenance of the churchyard was assisted by a number of working parties throughout the year, which included the cleaning of the four Campion Memorials. This task is the responsibility of the PCC as it is the churches duty in perpetuity to keep them in good order. The weekly work load in the churchyard is undertaken by the same small number of volunteers and additional assistance would always be welcomed. The highlight of the year was the discovery of a second Wild Bee Orchid on the North side of the church.

The belfry continues to be active as do efforts to recruit new ringers. A new set of double bell muffles were purchased as our existing set were old and unfit for use. Normally, bells are only half muffled for Remembrance Sunday, only being double muffled in the unfortunate event such as the passing of our Monarch.

Security remains a major concern, especially with other churches in our Diocese suffering from lead theft, criminal damage and other thefts. The roof protection system has been serviced and now has censors, which are even more sensitive to activation. There were three minor alarms, where it is thought maybe an owl had taken it’s captured prey onto the roof. This type of activity would not set off a full alarm, but is recorded. The three old security lights around the tower were replaced with more cost effective LED lights.

The church organ had a problem as some of the foot pedals were no longer working. Viscount Classical Organs were called in to repair and service the organ. A small mouse nest was found in the framework of the pedal base and the offending rodent had chewed through wiring and some connections. Mouse traps were obtained and twelve rodents have been caught so far, the majority of which were found in the kitchen area. Another 12 were also caught in the shed, where damage had been caused to items stored.

No churchwardens report could be complete without expressing our gratitude to our volunteers who do such a magnificent job of cleaning the church. A clean & tidy church puts a good reflection on our church family and is to be considered part of our welcome. Cleaning the church brass is a task taken on by Janet O’Mahoney and again we pass on our thanks.

While major electrical repairs have been undertaken by Woolgars, we are also indebted to Richard Copperwheat who carried out our PAT work as well as other minor tasks.

Unfortunately, we have suffered a number of breakages this year, including a damaged microphone stand, damage to pew heaters/fittings, where people have placed their feet on them, a broken drawer in a kitchen unit, a broken chair in the soft seating area and the toilet was blocked. It is important that any damage is reported to a churchwarden immediately, to avoid any possible danger to others. We are grateful again to our cleaners, as they are often the ones to spot and report any problems.