VICAR’S REPORT FOR 2021 APCM HELD 22nd MAY 2022
Last year we were slowly emerging from the restrictions of the pandemic and we were thankful to be able to worship with more confidence which included singing hymns again.
Numbers of people joining services on St Helen’s Face Book page reduced as normal services resumed. In the knowledge that there was good and professional online provision from churches within the diocese, the decision was made to stop these services. We introduced a Sunday evening said eucharist service for worshippers who prefer something quieter with fewer numbers.
Last year I expressed concern about some not returning to worship with us and this has proved to be the case. This may be for varying reasons from anxiety about underlying health issues to simply getting out of the habit of regular worship. This has been the experience of churches nationally.
Although we have lost about 10 members, we have gained about 19 new members which include new families who have become regular worshippers.
We had the lowest attendance for Easter services since 2012 apart from when churches were closed in 2020. This may well be because after so many travel restrictions, many took the opportunity to get away on holiday. Christmas attendance was again lower but may have reflected anxiety over being exposed to Covid which was on the rise at that time of year. For the first time we put on a walking Nativity with carols around the village and despite the cold and foggy conditions this was very well attended and appreciated by the families who joined in.
Occasional offices have remained consistent:
Baptisms 11 Marriages 2 Funerals 16 In addition, we conducted 3 Memorial Services for those who had funerals when restrictions were in force.
It was lovely to host a music evening in church in August show casing a wealth of local talent. We also enjoyed the Harvest Supper in September with good food and fellowship. The usual auction was replaced by an excellent quiz.
After the disappointment of cancelling the Confirmation Service twice it was a great joy to welcome Bishop Jill to our church on Monday 18th October. Sadly, 4 candidates were unable to attend because of illness and positive Covid tests but 9 candidates (4 adults and 5 children) were confirmed.
On this our patronal festival we have much to celebrate here at St Helen’s and once again I would like to thank you for your perseverance and faithfulness.
There remains a sense of change in what was the normal in the patterns and rhythms of life in general. My prayer is that the signs of new life however tentative will continue grow as we seek to follow Christ and serve him in this parish.
Charles Scanlan, 02/12/2018