THE PCC (acting as the Charity’s Trustees) have approved the Annual Report. The report is printed below in full, except for the Financial statement:
THE PARISH OF ABERGAVENNY PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL
Charity number: 1137751
Annual Report for the year ending 31 December 2016
The trustees have pleasure in presenng their report of the charity for the year ending 31 December 2016.
The organisaonal structure, administration details and governance of the charity are set out later in this report while the activities of the church form the first part.
This year was one of dedication, celebration and remembrance. We saw the culmination of five years of work to create a memorial to the Very Reverend Jeremy Winston, former vicar of the parish, when the Jesse Tree stained glass window was installed at the east end of the Lewis Chapel and dedicated by the Bishop of Monmouth in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. Ten days later, a plaque was dedicated in the Lewis Chapel, to the memory of Dr David Lewis, first principal of Jesus College, Oxford.
Throughout the year, there were commemorations of the First World War and celebration of the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
Away from the pomp and circumstance, the year was again a busy one for the Parish with regular and special services, disnguished visiting preachers (including five bishops), concerts and visitors from all over the world who came to see the renowned medieval monuments. Thousands of youngsters from local schools, their teachers, friends and families visited St Mary’s, and its daughter church Christchurch, for Harvest, Christmas and Chrisngle services. There was again an emphasis on mission and outreach, parcularly on Church Without Walls iniatives.
The Holywell Community continued their service to both church and the wider community.
The range of acvies for St Mary’s with Christchurch can be split broadly into three categories – worship, prayer and pastoral care; mission and outreach; and fundraising, fellowship and hosng events.
Worship, prayer and pastoral care
The Revd Canon Mark Soady connues to serve St Mary’s Priory Church with Christchurch as Vicar; St Peter’s, Llanwenarth Citra, as Rector; and Holy Trinity Church, Abergavenny, as Priest-in-Charge, as well as Prior of the Holywell Community. He connues to serve as Area Dean of Abergavenny and as a Canon of Newport Cathedral. The Revd Sarah Gillard-Faulkner serves as Sub-Prior and Deacon of Abergavenny, while connuing her work as a prison chaplain. In December, former lay minister and now the Revd Jeff Pearse was ordained Deacon at Newport Cathedral.
In its third year, the Holywell Community saw two of its members move on to the next stages of their Chrisan journey. Samuel Pa@erson was selected for the priesthood and began studying at St Padarn’s, Cardiff; Amy Pope left to consider where her role will lie. Also Adrian Price started a six-month sabbacal at Mucknell Abbey. Brother Michael Topple was joined in August by Sister Jennii Shaw and, in December, Brother Simon Pratt became a member of the Community as Concentor.
At that service, Michael Woodward and David Fraser were admitted as associate members. The Community works both in the Church and the wider community, running all-age worship, vising schools, and volunteering at a centre for young people in the town and at the Little Footprints playgroup. Their wide range of dues included vising the sick, gardening at the Tithe Barn and Church, serving at regular and special services and, acting as Verger at weddings and funerals. The Community also undertook a week-long Mission to Merthyr in March, with prayer meengs and walks, dramasaons of Gospel readings, café church, a film night and talks at the four churches in the parish.
As well as the usual weekday and Sunday worship during the year, Canon Soady organised and/or presided over a number of special services and events. There were two major dedicaon services in July this year—that of the Jesse Window and of a plaque in memory of Dr David Lewis, both in the Lewis Chapel.
The Jesse Window, which recreates in stained glass the genealogical tree which would have grown out of the side of the 15th century oak Jesse figure in the church, was dedicated to the memory of the late Very Reverend Jeremy Winston. Fr Jeremy had been parish priest of Abergavenny for 18 years before he become Dean of Newport in 2011 He died two months later. The window was financed by local fundraising and grants—the major one being from Co@am Will Trust, administered by the Friends of Friendless Churches, of which Fr Jeremy was a Trustee. The window was dedicated by the Bishop of Monmouth, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of St Mary’s Priory Church Development Trust. Work is connuing on the design of a new plinth to enable the Jesse figure to be relocated beneath the window and of an associated altar.
Over a thousand people visited the church in the weeks following the dedication to view the window, it has formed the basis of a number of sermons, and been used by schoolchildren as part of their curriculum.
Later that month, the Lewis Chapel was the scene of the dedicaon of a plaque to the memory of Dr David Lewis, whose tomb in is the chapel. Dr Lewis, an Abergavenny man, was the first principal of Jesus College, Oxford, and the east end of the church was packed with over 100 alumni and guests for the service.
Other special services included:
• In January, St Mary’s hosted Abergavenny’s joint service for the Week of Prayer for Chrisan Unity;
• In February, Canon Soady preached at the Gwent Federaon of WIs 75th anniversary service;
• During Lent a series of Evensong addresses saw vising preachers, beginning with the Bishop of Monmouth, explore the five Anglican Marks of Mission;
• In March the SSC Synod, at which Bishop Phillip North preached as Episcopal Visitor;
• The Vicar led the congregaons’ tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on her Accession Day and the Rt Rev Richard Fenwick, Bishop of St Helena, which includes the Ascension Island, preached at a joint service held in the grounds of the Holywell Community house;
• In July, the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme was commemorated;
• Later that month, the Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams preached at a bi-lingual service at the start of the Naonal Eisteddfod in Abergavenny;
• In October, the congresstions gave thanks for the bounty which the earth brings at their Harvest Thanksgiving services, raising money for Embrace the Middle East;
• In November, the All Souls Mass and Remembrance Day Masses took place;
• In December, Bishop David Thomas, former Provincial Assistant Bishop, celebrated the 20th anniversary of his consecraon as Bishop;
• Later in the month, there were more joyous occasions as local schools used the church for their Chrisngle and Christmas services – thousands of youngsters, their families and teachers visiting the church in the space of a week.
As well as these special services, we connued to try to enable the wider community to live out their faith as part of our parish community through:
• Worship and prayer, learning about the Gospel, and developing their knowledge and trust in Jesus • Provision of pastoral care for people living in the parish
• Mission and outreach work
Acts of worship, including some of the Benedicne Offices, were celebrated on almost every day of the year, and pastoral care continued throughout, in particular, the vising of, and on occasions taking Communion to, parishioners who through sickness or age were unable to come to church. The average attendance at the main services at the churches was 136, and the number reported to be recorded on the new Electoral Roll completed during the year for both churches on 31 December 2016 was 211, reflecting the sad loss of some parishioners while others have moved away. In addition to our regular services, we enable our community to celebrate and thank God in the milestones of the journey through life. Through bapitsm, we mark new disciples,and in marriage public vows are exchanged with God’s blessing and through funeral services friends and family express their grief and give thanks for the life which is now complete in this world and to commit their loved one into God’s keeping. This year, we celebrated 27 baptisms and 16 weddings in the Parish. There were 65 funerals. Ecumenically, the parish shared services of Compline and Stations of the Cross with the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Michael’s, Abergavenny, during Lent, as well as participating fully in the Abergavenny Council of Churches, including the now-annual ecumenical Christmas carol service.
Mission and Outreach
Much of the parishes’ mission and outreach work was organised by the Abergavenny Anglican Churches Together group (AACT), established during 2012 and with members drawn from all four churches in Canon Soady’s incumbency and coordinated through the Joint Warden’s Meengs.
The year saw church members looking even further outward in their mission and outreach, including:
• The Holywell Community working in Church, Schools and among young people of the town;
• Again running a marriage preparaon course, with seven couples exploring their relationship and what marriage will mean to them;
• Members of our Mothers Union connued to volunteer at a contact centre for children suffering family break-up;
• Members of all four churches in the incumbency collecng baby items and food for asylum seekers in Newport;
• Families who had suffered bereavement during the year being personally invited to the All Souls Service and attending weekly self help bereavement group, with many taking up that invitaon;
• At Christmas, the congregations filling boxes with small items as part of the Shoe Box Appeal, sending 60 boxes to orphanages in Romania;
• Parishioners contribung staple foodstuffs and toiletries to the Abergavenny Food Bank; • The hostsing of a weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting;
• Members of the church connuing to be involved with the 7Corners project in Abergavenny, which aims to provide a place for young people to meet;
• Church members contribung to Velindre Cancer Care by knitting chicks for Easter, which were then sold in aid of the charity;
• The Parish Fellowship also contributing over 40 Christmas parcels of items such as toiletries, gloves, and small gifts for older teenagers in Abergavenny who, through no fault of their own, are living by themselves, again an increase on last year’s total; • Contribung to the Additional Curates’ Society;
• Contribung to the Bishop of Monmouth’s Lent Appeal.
The Church Without Walls initiave saw members of the public offered Ashing on Ash Wednesday; shoe polishing to shoppers on Maundy Thursday; and the Walking Navity through busy Saturday morning Christmas shoppers with two donkeys and members of the congregaon dressed up as the Holy Family, angels, shepherds and kings, singing carols and praising the Lord.
Also in December, members of the congregaons sang carols in care and nursing homes and in local pubs.
We also gathered at a local coffee shop on Saturday mornings for Chit Chat, looking at the day’s news through a Chrisan lens and inving other coffee drinkers to join in. Bible Story reading sessions were held at Abergavenny Library.
St Mary’s Priory Choir went on their annual Singing Week in July, singing at St Laurence’s Church, Ludlow; Wells Cathedral and Brecon Cathedral. The choir connued to provide grants for Choral Scholars, providing training opportunies for young people of sixth form age, who might otherwise not either be involved in choral singing or come to church.
Members of the congregaon again joined fellow pilgrims from all over the country for the annual Fr Ignaus Memorial Pilgrimage through the Llanthony Valley in August.
St Mary’s was visited by people from all over the world and from nearer home, with many groups such as U3A, local history organisaons, Mothers Union and other church groups booking tours to learn about the collection of medieval monuments in the church – said to be one of the finest in the country – and to sit quietly in a church which has been a place of prayer for nearly 1,000 years.
The church bells, described as the finest ring of 10 bells in Christendom, were rung on Sundays, at funerals and weddings, and on special occasions, including the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. They were also rung by a number of visiting groups of ringers.
Fundraising, Fellowship and Hos1ng Events
A number of concerts, for both the Church and outside organisations, took place at St Mary’s, including:
• The Davide Logiri Jazz Quartet;
• St Mary’s Priory Choir and Abergavenny Borough Band concert for the Queen’s 90th birthday;
• Engima harp and violin duo;
• Harpist Kathryn Thomas
• St Mary’s Priory Choir and Pitsburg State University Choir;
• St Mary’s Priory Choir’s sacred concert on Good Friday;
• Abergavenny’s ‘Elvis’, Keith Davies, singing Gospel in aid of the restoraon fund of sister church St Peter’s;
• Abergavenny Borough band and Blaenavon Male Voice Choir
- St Mary’s Choir and the Voskresenije Choir of St Petersburg.
St Mary’s was used as a venue for preliminary competions for the Naonal Eisteddfod and the Priory Centre was the venue of the Eisteddfod Choir practices.
The Priory Centre Hall and Christchurch Hall continue to be resources for the community. As well as hosng church fundraising events and after-service fellowship, Christchurch Hall was used by an art group for vulnerable adults and as part of Cantref Open Gardens Scheme, the later raising money for Target Ovarian Cancer.
The monthly coffee mornings held at Christchurch are well supported by both members of the congregaon and people from the community.
The Priory Centre provided the venue for various fundraising acvies and celebrateions, including St Mary’s Patronal Fesval lunch. We also held a race night and provided refreshments during Abergavenny Food Fesval.
In June, the Rt Hon Baroness (Shirley) Williams led an informaon evening on ‘What has EU has done for us’, which was well -attended and much appreciated.
The congregations of all four churches in the incumbency joined fellow Christians
from the Govilon group of parishes for a picnic to celebrate the Queen’s birthday—the two groups of parishes will form the Abergavenny Pastoral Area of the Ministry Area.
Reference and administra1on details
St Mary’s Priory Church and its daughter church, Christchurch, is in the Parish of Abergavenny, in the Deanery & Ministry Area of Abergavenny and the Diocese of Monmouth in the Church of Wales.
Incumbent and ministers
The Incumbent is the Reverend Canon Mark Soady. From September 2014, he has been assisted by Deacon the Revd Sarah Gillard-Faulkner and by the members of the Holywell Monasc Community .
The worship in the parish has been made possible through the on-going contribuon of our Licensed Lay Ministers Jeff Pearse, Gaynor Parfitt and David Meredith; retired ministers the Revd Canon Andrew Willie, the Revd Frances Buxton , the Revd Malcolm Lane and the Revd Canon Roger Williams.
Objectives and ac1vi1es
We review our aims, objectives and activies each year, looking at what we have achieved and the outcomes of our work in the previous twelve months. The review looks at the success of each key acvity and benefits of acvies in a wide variety of cultural areas. The review also helps us ensure our aims, objectives and activties remained focussed on our stated objecve. When reviewing our aims and objectives and in planning and considering our acvies for the year, the incumbent and the Parochial Church Council (PCC) have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in parcular, the specific guidance on charies for the advancement of religion. The objecttive of the Charity is promoteng in the ecclesiasticcal parish the whole mission of the Church. Encouraging and facilitang the practice of the Chrisan Faith by the Churches includes the following:
• Conducng regular Chrisan worship in both Churches;
• The cerebration of the Holy Eucharist, on at least six days each week at St Mary’s Priory Church
•marriages, funerals and baptisms;
• The provision and maintenance of the fabric of St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny, and of Christchurch, Abergavenny and their associated buildings;
• Opening St Mary’s daily for the public to enter and benefit from personal spiritual contemplaon; and to be able to view the medieval monuments and learn about the Benedictine foundation of the Church and its place in the history of Chrisanity and of Abergavenny;
• The maintenance of Christian burial places;
• Promoting the study of Chrisan teaching, practices and Scriptures;
• The provision of means and encouragement to promote fellowship within the membership of the Churches and the wider community;
In addion to the above, Christian devoteonal acts and outreach work is carried out, including:
• Vising the sick;
• Administering the Sacraments to those unable to attend regular acts of Worship, to the sick and dying;
• Supporting pastoral work;
• Fostering ecumenical links between differing Christian denominations;
• Supporting the work of other charies through, among others, the Mothers Union and AACT’s Mission and Outreach Committee.
Further achievements in the year
Monies were raised by freewill offertory, fundraising acvies and specific appeals. These were used to support the work and administraon of the churches and wider mission. Volunteers, who helped at each act of worship to support the clergy, have donated their me. The churches will continue with their acts of worship and pastoral care during 2017 and will continue actively to try to increase its Electoral Roll, through its mission work in the community. The acvies of the committees and groups within the churches connued during the year. The monies raised contributed to the general income of the churches.
These activities are expected to connue during 2017. All those involved in group acvies and who assist with the main funcons of the churches are volunteers who have freely donated their me, energy and skills. In order to continue to foster increasing unity between the different Churches and congregations within Canon Soady’s Incumbency, regular meengs of the Wardens from all four Churches were held.
The trustees who served the Charity during the period from the Annual Vestry Meeng in April 2014 unl the end of the were as follows:
The Revd Canon Mark Soady, Chairman
The Revd Sarah Gillard-Faulkner
Mr Robin Alldred
Mrs Andrea Corley (in part) Assistant People’s Warden
Mrs Sheila Davies Vicar’s Warden, Representave on the Deanery Conference
Mr Lyn Evans
Mrs Anne Griffiths
Mrs Rebecca Jackson
Mr Steven Lamerton Gift Aid Treasurer
Mr Vernon Lewis
Mrs Eunice Marsh PCC Secretary
Mrs Jenny McPherson
Revd Jeff Pearse, Licensed Lay Minister, representave on the Deanery Conference and the Diocesan Conference untill his ordination on December 10th
Mr Andrew Powell
Mr Tim Pratt, People’s Warden
Mrs Patricia Ransome
Mr Robin Smith, Assistant Vicar’s Warden, St Mary’s Treasurer
Mrs Sheila Woodhouse, People’s Sub-warden at Christchurch, Christchurch Treasurer
Ms Caroline Wollard, Vicar’s Sub-warden at Christchurch, representave on the Diocesan Conference and member of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales
In addition (from January 2016 to the Vestry meeng in April 2016): Mrs Janet Battersby
Structure, governance and management
The Parish of Abergavenny is part of the Diocese of Monmouth within the Church in Wales. The Church in Wales is a Province within the Anglican Communion and, as such, exists to advance the Chrisan Religion through world-wide mission. The object of the Parochial Church Council is to ensure that the life and work of the Church within the Parish helps to fulfil that mission, both locally and more widely.
The Representave Body of the Church in Wales holds the land and property of the Church in Wales, including St Mary’s Priory Church, Christchurch and other church buildings, and including the Garden of Rest at St Mary’s, and their contents. The Representave Body is an exempt Charity and was set up under Secon 13(2) of the Welsh Churches Act 1914. It acts on behalf of the Province in paying the stipends of the full time clergy, and administers the Church in Wales scheme of covenanted and gift aid giving recovering tax on behalf of the parishes.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is not a body corporate, its composion, procedure and powers being regulated by the Constuon of the Church in Wales as amended from me to me by its Governing Body set up under Secon 13(1) of the Welsh Church Act 1914. Elecons are held at an Annual Vestry Meeng which must take place on or before 30th April each year. All persons whose names are entered on the Electoral Roll are entled to vote and stand for elecon. Before assuming office, every member of the PCC publicly makes a declaraon that he or she will be bound by the Constuon. The Members and Officers of the PCC, including the Incumbent, on appointment, become Trustees of the “Parish of Abergavenny Parochial Church Council Charity Trust”. The PCC also appoints the Priory Trustees, a body set up under a 1925 Deed of Trust to administer certain lands and properes held by the Representave Body as Custodial Trustees on behalf of and for the benefit of the Parish. The Trustees report to the PCC and their accounts are kept separate but consolidated with those of St Mary’s and Christchurch within the Charity Accounts presented with this report. Property administered by the Priory Trustees includes the Priory Centre, the Tithe Barn and the Curate’s House. The la@er two have been purchased in recent years and their freehold values are shown in the Accounts of this Charity. The St Mary’s Winston Appeal also works under the auspices of the PCC and its accounts are also kept separate but consolidated with those of St Mary’s and Christchurch within the Charity Accounts presented with this report. Commercial operaons undertaken in the Priory Centre and the Tithe Barn are administered by The St Mary’s Priory House Company Limited, a Service Company registered with Companies House and in which the Priory Trustees, on behalf of the PCC and the “Parish of Abergavenny Parochial Church Council Charity Trust” hold 51% of the shares. The remaining 49% are held by the “St Mary’s Priory Development Trust” (Charity No 107744) a separate but related Charity set up by the Priory Trustees in 1999.
The PCC has conducted it own review of the major risks to which the Charity is exposed and systems have been established to mitigate those risks. The risks facing the Charity include the state of repair of the Churches and the financial requirements to meet its stated acvities, including payment of its Annual Parish Share, bearing in mind the fall in the numbers of regular worshippers and the reduction in regular giving. The structure of the Churches is continually monitored by the Fabric committee and the Church architect, and the finances are controlled by careful budgeting and encouragement and appeals to the worshippers and visitors. There have been no serious incidents or other matters relang to this charity over the previous financial year that we should have brought to the attention of the Charity Commissioners but have not.
The PCC is responsible inter-alia for promong the mission of the Church, the parochial budget and all expenditure there under, the care and maintenance of the fabric of the Churches and associated buildings and of the Garden of Remembrance, and for action on any other matter referred to it in accordance with the constitution. The PCC is also the normal channel of communicaon between the parishioners and the Bishop of the diocese. All members of the PCC are volunteers.
In addion to the election of members, the Officers, i.e. The People’s Warden, the Deputy People’s Warden (St Mary’s) and People’s Sub-Warden (Christchurch) are elected at the annual Easter Vestry; the Vicar appoints the Vicar’s Warden, Vicar’s Deputy Warden (St Mary’s) and Vicar’s Sub-Warden (Christchurch) at the same meeting. New representatives are told of their responsibilies and of the issues facing the Churches by existing representatives, and receive such addtional training as required.
Other Officers, including the Secretary, Treasurer and Safeguarding Officer are appointed at the first meeng of the PCC after the Vestry Meeting. As indicated, members of the PCC also serve as representatives on the Deanery and Diocesan Conferences and the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. St Mary’s and Christchurch are active members of Abergavenny Council of Churches and volunteers help run the Chrisan Aid Fortnight acvities in the town, organise Lenten study groups, and stage a town centre carol service.
The Churches are run enrely by volunteers as the clergy are remunerated by another charity from the Parish Share payments made by all the Churches in the Diocese. Without the work of these volunteers, who, for example, enable St Mary’s to be kept open every day for members of the public to visit and to pray, the Churches would not funtion.
While the vast majority of those employed on the site are employees of the Priory House Company Limited, as of December 2016 the Charity only employed one, the organist. The PCC’s policy is to pay employees at least the Living Wage.
The PCC met eight times in 2016, but between these meetings, a number of committees meet to support the work of the Churches:
• The Mission and Outreach Committee (members of which are from all four churches in the incumbency working under the auspices of AACT.)
• The Finance and General Purposes Committee
• St Mary’s Winston Appeal Committee
Regular inspections and maintenance of both Churches, plus the other buildings and the grounds, were carried out during the year as required. Minor works following the receipt of the latest Quinquennial Report for St Mary’s have continued. In addion the latest Quinquennial Report for Christchurch was received during the year.
Work undertaken at St Mary’s during the year included:
· The installation of the new Jesse Window at the east end of the Lewis Chapel during June, in preparation for its dedication on July 7, as reported above. The window was designed and painted by Helen Whittaker, and the glasswork was prepared, erected and set by Barley Studios of York under the direction of Master Glazier Keith Barley.
· The reinstatement of the window in the west wall of the South Transept. This had suffered damage during a period of high winds in December 2015 when the upper central panel of the wood-framed, leaded, plain glass window was blown out. The entire main frame of the window was repaired and repainted and the damaged panel reset with a new wooden frame but using the recovered leading and incorporating most of the previous glass; the rest being new.
· Trial archaeological excavations along the North Walkway outside the Lewis Chapel were carried out in preparation for a major programme of ground level reduction in this area during 2017 to match the floor levels in the Chapel, as already done in 2015 at the east end of the Chapel, to protect the fabric by eliminating damp ingress into the Chapel walls.
Work undertaken at Christchurch during the year was mainly centred on the Hall adjacent to the Church. In particular the roof underwent major repair and refurbishment to prevent water ingress and deterioration to the fabric of the building which is becoming ever more important as a community resource.
Despite the continuation of historically low rates of interest, the PCC (through its Finance & General Purposes Committee) has concluded the most appropriate policy for investing funds remains to achieve the best possible rate from our Bankers commensurate with maintaining the capability of rapid access to the funds in the event of a call on them.
Lloyds Bank, 54 Cross Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5HB, HSBC Bank plc, 2 Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AF & Barclays Bank, 57 Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AT
Dorrell Oliver Limited, Linden House, Monk Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5NF.
Professional Advisor (Historic Buildings)
Arnold Bartosch Ltd (formerly Bartosch & Stokes), 1 Bath Mews, Bath Parade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL53 7HL
Approved by the Trustees and signed on their behalf by The Reverend Canon Mark Soady