For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
Matthew 18:20
 

UPCOMING EVENTS:


Church Life

Sunday Services

10:00am Morning Service with all age Junior Church

6:00pm Evening Service

 



IMG_2005.jpg


CHRISTCHURCH ABBEYDALE MEMBERSHIP FIGURES

          December               2016         (2015)

Church of England               43              (43)

Baptist                                 10              (10)

Methodist                            36              (36)

URC                                      17              (17)

Ecumenical                             6               (7)

__________________________________

Total Membership               112            (113)

Adherents                            67             (68)


CHURCH COUNCIL REPORT

The Church Council meets monthly and reviews the life of the church across all the areas of church life, and ensures that the Aims and Objectives are respected. 

The use of the building by Community and other Groups remains high.  We also supported Society Sunday in 2016, and were privileged to have our local Member of Parliament visit the Sunday before (as he was already committed to other engagements), with Ward Councillors, and representatives of local schools, health providers and businesses at, and contributing to,  our church service at which we celebrated "community" and our society in general.

Following ratification of a revised and updated Constitution by Denominational Partners, the 2016 Annual Church Meeting formally voted to introduce this with immediate effect.  The Charities Commission has been informed.

Council expresses its thanks on behalf of the Church to all Council Members who stepped down at the Annual Church Meeting for their invaluable service to Christchurch.

Val Doll, Howard Francis, Chris Pearce, Jane Sims, Audrey Staite, Val Stephens, Carol Terry and Steve Tranter were elected to Council by the Annual Church Meeting.  Chris Pearce was elected as Church Secretary and Howard Francis as Treasurer by Church Council.



FINANCE REPORT

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR THE GENEROSITY OF FRIENDS AND MEMBERS

Offerings:

This year we had offerings totalling £40,909 very similar to what we received in the previous year.

With a slight reduction in attendance, it is appreciated that those who attended have given generously.

Other Givings

This year we received £260 towards the cost of the chronicle, it reflects on how well received the magazine is to members and friends.

Charitable Donations and Appeals

Our twelve charities between them received £1,195 and special appeals during the year raised £679. Some of our monthly charities might need additional internal promotion to raise their profile.

Donations

We are grateful for the donation of £1,600 from Christchurch Holiday & Travel and all the individuals and groups who have made special donations to the church amounting to £630.

Other Fund Raising Activities

Fund raising quiz night, barn dance, ride & stride, John Clargo, plus concerts and fairs have contributed £3,103 towards church funds. It just goes to show how beneficial your support of these events are.

Gift Aid

With the inclusion of The Small Donation Scheme amount of £1,250 to our claim, this year amounted to £10,255. Although it is a reduction of £1,699 on last year, this amount is essential in contributing to meeting the church expenditure

EXPENDITURE

Denominational Payments

Church membership has not changed over the year and the denominational payment amounted to £ 8,130.

Ministerial Costs

There has been no significant change to this amount, and the payment for this year was £44,728.

Building Maintenance

This year there were outlays for replacement double glazed glass for some of the windows and the purchase of some new arm chairs. There was also attention for minor repairs and material cost of work week.  The amount this year including building insurance came to £2,356.

Accounts Summary

With Balance of £7,736 brought forward, the total incomings including gift aid was £82,190 and we had expenditure of £76,769 to leave us with a current account bank balance of £5,421.

The accounts during the year operated within the confines of the budget which was set at the start of the year.

Reserve Accounts

The COIF Charity Deposit Reserves stands at £15,845 representing three months expenditure.

The COIF Charity Property Reserves stands at £13,683 and the annual amount of £2,500 was transferred into the account.

The Treasurer is therefore recommending to the church meeting:-

1.   That the Independent Examined Accounts be accepted.

Howard Francis (Treasurer)


HEALTH AND SAFETY REPORT

During the year, the Health and Safety Policy document with associated Guidance was updated and re-approved by Council.  In response to current circumstances, a new section regarding Terrorism and similar threats has been included.

The Church is subject to a quarterly risk review and actions noted are monitored and dealt with in a timely manner.  No significant or unusual hazards have been noted.    The Lone Working Policy and Safeguarding Policy forms part of the Health and Safety overall Policy.

The subject of Health and Safety is a regular agenda item at both Church Council and Church Meetings.   The Policy is clearly displayed on Notice Boards and copies are available for use by church members and leaders of organisations using the church.

No serious incidents have arisen in the year.  An Incident Book is held in the Church Vestibule.

In April 2016 we ran a St John's Ambulance "Essential First Aid- all ages with AED demonstration" course in church.  Twelve church members attended and passed the course.  Their names have been added to the First Aider's List displayed in the church.

SAFEGUARDING

Christchurch Abbeydale is committed in providing a safe place for all to come to. We have adopted the Safeguarding guidelines of the Methodist Church and follow their processes. We ensure that anyone involved with children and young people and/or vulnerable adults has a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service check) appropriate for the level of contact.  We recognise that safeguarding is not a "nice to have", it is essential.  Policies for Safeguarding Children and Young people and Vulnerable Adults have been posted in the vestibule. They are displayed so that everyone who comes to Christchurch is under no illusion as to our view of Safeguarding. If anyone enquires about Safeguarding policies they should be directed to the notice boards in the first instance. The policies are important as they demonstrate quite clearly that any kind of abuse must not be ignored be it emotional, physical, financial, discriminatory, domestic, neglect, institutional, spiritual, or sexual.

Refresher training for Christchurch members is being planned for later in 2017.  No incidents have been recorded in the last year.

Mike Thomas has stepped down as Safeguarding Officer and the Minister, the Reverend Steve Davies, now fills this role until a new Officer can be appointed.

PASTORAL REPORT

Pastoral Care is undertaken by the Minister and a team of Pastoral Links.  Members of the team are dedicated to giving their time to support members of the congregation.  We do this because God has called us to the role.  Much of the work is unseen.

During the year we welcomed Mrs Chris Draycott to the team, which brings our numbers up to 20.  We have a set of Guidelines to help us and we meet together regularly for discussion and mutual support.

At present we are aware that many of the congregation and others in the community need our support and prayers, whilst awaiting test/operations or are just finding life difficult.  Our message is "DO not be afraid to ask for help".  If we cannot help personally, in the words of the old advert "we know a man who can", and with your permission we will seek to find that someone else. [Ed: man or woman]  Ultimately this is God working through us.  Be assured anything you tell us is treated as confidential unless you say otherwise.

Whilst recognising and appreciating that some people need our prayers long term, it was decided to use the prayer list in the weekly notices for immediate prayer needs with names staying on the list for an initial four weeks.  After this names are transferred to the white monthly prayer diary insert in the Chronicle, so that we will be very much aware of those people's continued need for prayer.  The insert is not circulated outside the church congregation.  The Prayer Chain continues to operate with total confidentiality between members of the chain and is listed within the Chronicle.  Any Prayer Chain member can be contacted to start the circulation of a prayer request.

The Sunday flowers continue to be taken on a Monday morning to anyone who needs cheering up or has a special celebration.  If you know of anyone who would appreciate flowers please speak to Carol Terry.  Our thanks go to all who carry out these deliveries.  We need to show our loving care in times of need but also to rejoice with those who are celebrating.

Many times I hear from people that Christchurch Abbeydale is a very welcoming church and thanks for this are due to every member of Christchurch, not just the Pastoral Team.

May God be at the centre of our pastoral care.

Audrey Staite

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Our thanks go to all who have contributed to the youth work of the church.  Activities are covered by the various reports in this Annual Report.  Relevant sections are:  Boys Brigade and Girls Association, Experience Easter and Christmas, Junior Church and The Core, and Open The Book.

REPORTS ON CHURCH ACTIVITIES

Banner Group

We are still a small group of only four members and would welcome anyone who’d like to give banner making a try.

Making the banners is not as difficult as it seems and rest assured that very little sewing is done.  The pattern pieces, wording and shapes are cut out using templates from our stock then ironed on to the banner using a self-adhesive material or fabric glue.  The only sewing we do is to hem the actual banner which is done by one of the group at home on the sewing machine.

Once we have decided on an idea, which can come from many different sources, we try to meet weekly until the work is completed after which we take a break before meeting up again. We would also welcome any ideas you may have for future banners.

Carol Terry

Boy's Brigade and Girl's Association Report

Firstly we would like to thank the church for its continuing support and encouragement in the ongoing running of our Boys Brigade and Girls Association.

Our numbers have dropped a bit over the last year, and we have only have 7 Anchors, but the Junior Section has grown to 15 and Company Section has dropped by two to 13 as Margaret and Kira have now become Officers. We have had one new Anchor in the last month, and hope this section will continue to grow. We have a great team of helpers and I would like to thank them for all they do in supporting both myself and Gordon.

Throughout the year we have taken part in the Gloucestershire Battalion events, District competitions at Yeovil, including the Scripture Exam for the Juniors.  At National level we travelled to Dunstable, taking two teams to take part in the BB National Ten Pin Bowling.  We were very successful last month in the Battalion Ten Pin Bowling competition, winning both Company and Junior trophies and both individual trophies as well.  The Juniors have also just come third in the Battalion Swimming Gala.

We did our usual car wash in aid of the Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal and helped one night at the warehouse.  November saw us at Morrison’s selling for the Poppy appeal, which they all enjoy doing.

The Company Section children, once they are old enough, take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and we have a bronze group just started training who will be doing their expeditions over the next few months and Margaret is starting her Gold Award, after receiving her Silver award last year.

The Juniors go away for four days in the May half term and last May we went to stay at a site just outside of Weston Super Mare, which has an outdoor heated swimming pool, and we enjoyed it so much we are going to the same place this year.  In the autumn we took the Juniors on a weekend camp (in tents) to a camp site at Newent, with other Companies in the Battalion.  It was a very successful weekend, and has become an annual event.

At Christmas the Anchors and Juniors joined 5th Gloucester for a party with a magician, and finished off the afternoon taking part in the churches Christingle Service.  The Company Section went to Jumptastic.

Company Section went to camp to Kirkham, which is near Blackpool, last summer with 5th Gloucester for a week.  It was a good week.  Devotions at camp are always a special time and this year saw Margaret realise from those times that she wanted to be baptised, which she did recently at Hillview Evangelical Church where her family worship. She actually said this in her testimony, so we were very proud that we had a part in this decision.

We are doing some fund raising for ourselves this year, and have taken part in the Christmas Fayre at church.   We are looking to continue fund raising for ourselves in the future if needed.

In September we thought we would lose both Margaret and Kira to university, but Margaret has stayed in Gloucestershire doing an apprenticeship so still comes on a Monday evening. Kira has gone to Cambridge but comes in when she is back from university.

All in all, another busy and successful year, for 7th Gloucester Boy’s Brigade and Girls Association.

Diana Dale
Captain

Christchurch Walkers and Strollers

March 2016- Walkers wandered around Withington woods.  The walk started and finished at The Mill Inn.  A dry cloudy day and a walk with no stiles.

April 2016- 12 walkers went around Selsey Common, Penn Woods and along the Cotswold Way.  Signs of bluebells and wild garlic could be seen on a walk with wonderful views and only two stiles.

May 2016- 9 walkers enjoyed a bright sunny day around Woodchester Park and Mansion, seeing several rare breeds and herons.  There were no stiles and we found a nice picnic site.

June 2016- 10 Walkers visited The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, a walk of 5 miles with no stiles.  Picnic was taken at the end of the walk, seated on tree logs and accompanied by ice cream and coffee.

July 2016-8 walkers enjoyed a walk around Park End, Mallards Pike, the Go Ape picnic site, old mine sites and railway tracks.  There were no stiles and the walk finished with ice creams whilst watching steam trains come and go.

August 2016- 12 walkers became "GONGOOZLERS" for the day walking from Saul Junction to Splatt Bridge, on to Frampton Court and with a picnic by the River Frome.  The walk finished with ice creams, and narrow boat watching.  There were only 4 stiles.

September 2016-9 walkers left Toddington GWR station, crossing the fields to Hailes Abbey and church.  After a picnic, the way led across fields to Winchcombe, walkers collecting some free marrows on the way.  We made friends with a local donkey!  Ice creams, tea and cakes were eaten at Winchcombe before catching the steam train back to Toddington.  There were only 2 stiles.

October 2016-10 walkers set off in the footsteps of Bertie May and Mrs Fish, walking from Kilkenny to Pegglesworth, and to Lineover Woods along the Cotswold Way.  It was a bright sunny day and there were no stiles.  A pub lunch was taken at Seven Springs.

November 2016-Walk was cancelled owing to bad weather.

December 2016- "Ian's Christmas Walk": 17 walkers enjoyed the walk up to the Royal William for lunch and drinks, braving the cold, frosty start under a clear sky with light breeze. 

January 2017- 10 Walkers started the year with a 4.5 miles, 2.5 hour walk on a dry, sunny but cold day around Haresfield Beacon, a walk with 3 stiles.  Lunch was taken at the Beacon Inn.

February 2017- 9 Walkers set off from The Bell Inn at Frampton on Severn to walk to Saul Junction, visiting Whitminster House and church, crossing fields to the River Frome and Stroud Water Canal.  After a history talk we walked back to Saul Junction.  It was a dry cloudy day with cold winds.  There were no stiles.

"CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER EXCEPT THEY BE AGREED?"  Amos 3v3

Vic Dowdeswell

Chronicle

The Church magazine is produced ten times a year.  It has a monthly circulation of around 150 copies. Most material is readily provided by church members and this includes information on the outside organisations members actively support. It is seen as a way of sharing the experiences of members both with each other and with the wider community. The Chronicle is also distributed to members who are housebound and unable to get to services. In addition it is made available to other organisations and individuals in the local community.

There is no charge for the Chronicle but once a year making a voluntary financial contribution is suggested.

The Chronicle Team covers all aspects of production ‘in house’ and thanks are due to this extended team. 

Mike Wood

Craft Circle

There is always plenty of laughter at the Craft Circle Meeting- it must be all the chocolate we enjoy whilst we work!  We sent three large bags of crocheted/knitted items to Greenfields Africa over the year; although they will be the last as the charity has slowed down and no longer needs our support.  We have decided to nominate a yearly "cause" and up to August 2017 "The Chernobyl Children's Lifeline" will be our main charity.  We made 83 knitted hanging hearts for the James Hopkins Trust to sell at their fairs and also gave them 30 teddy bears to use as needed.  The Special Children's Baby Unit at GRH received 17 hats, 17 cardigans, 5 pairs of booties and 27 blankets from us.  Sales at the Church Fairs raised £194.22 for Christchurch.  We donated £70 to Greenfields, Africa, £50 to the British Heart Foundation, £20 for the Gnome Hunt supporting Cheltenham Royal Oncology Unit and St Leonards Church Repair fund.  We also sponsored Andrew Harris' Marathon for the National Autistic Society with £20.

Sheila Whitaker asked if we could make some puppets for Operation Christmas Child.  Sheila was travelling to Macedonia with Samaritan's Purse in December 2016 and wanted to put some in her suitcase for the children.  We hoped that in the two weeks we were given about 10 could be knitted but the grand total was 45!!  Some will be going to Zambia in May as Sheila could not fit so many in her bag.

We thank our Lord for the talented ladies in our group.  They never stint in their generosity and through their work many are kept warm and shown they are loved.

Val Doll

Crèche

This service is available for all pre-school children. However, due to lack of help, we ask that a baby can sit up unaided if he/she is to be left in our care.  If a child is not comfortable leaving his/her parent/carer then the choice is either for the parent/carer to accompany the child to crèche or for the child to remain in church.

Our minister has no objection to the child/baby staying in church and suitable toys will be provided to help keep the child occupied.

There is a desperate need for help in running the crèche and although at present we only have one regular child the problem arises when more than one child attends, which does happen from time to time. If you feel you can help then please have a word with either Steve or Carol– this will not commit you to being on a rota, it would alert us to those people who can help when there is a specific need.

Carol Terry

Experience Easter and Christmas

What a joy it is to welcome so many children into our church to explore the true meaning of Christmas and Easter.

The feedback that we get from both schools, Heron and Abbeymead, is that the teachers and children really look forward to their visits and appreciate all the effort that we make with the displays.

We have a dedicated and talented team who always turn out each time but a few “new faces” would be made most welcome.

Val Stephens

Fellowship and Fairs

The year started with our annual quiz, which Val Doll organised for us, and it was held on the 26th February. This is always a great success, and well supported. Refreshments were provided during the evening.  The Beetle Drive was next on the 2nd April. This was purely for fun, and what fun we had trying to work out which way was clockwise to the next table when someone had completed their beetle, we enjoyed good fellowship. We held a Summer Fair on Saturday 4th June, when we had a lovely range of stalls and lunches were available. We had live music from the Mid Morning Stompers, which I think adds another dimension to the day. The next event was the Barn Dance on the 24th September. Frank Heggs was our caller and, together with the musicians, we had a lovely evening of dancing, and a ploughman’s supper.  Di Dale ran a Fashion Show together with Hucclecote Methodist Church Boys Brigade, on the 4th November and the funds raised were shared between the two Churches. The Christmas Fair was on the 26th November, and we had a good number through the doors. There were a variety of stalls, some with a Christmas theme, and we had live festive music from the Mid Morning Stompers. Refreshments and lunches were well received.

This year we invested in some new bunting for the fairs (which can also be used for other occasions), and two new advertising banners which can be used for future fairs as they are generic.

I may be writing this report but I didn't do all this on my own. There were numerous people in the background helping in the kitchen and with the advertising, getting the Church ready for the event and then tidying up afterwards or getting it ready for Sunday morning Worship. I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to give a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed to fellowship and fundraising during the last year.

Alison Apperley

Flower Report 2016/17

Firstly can I thank all those people who put their names down on the flower rota last year to pay for flowers in the church on a Sunday, it is really appreciated, particularly by those that receive them on a Monday, for special occasions or if they are poorly.  I would especially like to thank those that put their names on the list two or three times a year, such as Greta Knowles, Carol Terry, and Ron Polledri to name just a few.

There is a list outside the Church office on which it is possible to sign if you wish to sponsor the flowers for a particular week.  Flowers have gone up in price but we can still do a nice arrangement for £15.00.  Empty weeks are paid for from normal church funds.  The church also bears the extra cost for special occasions such as Easter, Harvest and Christmas.

So, if anyone has a special occasion they would like to celebrate or have flowers in church on a Sunday for their birthday, or would just like to donate towards the flowers, please put your name on the list in the foyer.  If you are a tax payer and gift aid your donations to the church please give the extra money in your normal way, e.g. put the money in an envelope marked ‘flowers’ with your name (assuming you have an existing Gift Aid declaration in place) and add it to the collection plate; otherwise please give me the money to buy the flowers.

We all like to see and enjoy the flowers in the church on a Sunday.

In May 2016 we did another Flower Festival and I would like to thank Jan, Alison and Dawn Pearman from Hucclecote Methodist Church, who did displays, and all those in the church that helped over the weekend as stewards and in the kitchen.  It is always hard work and although we did make a reasonable profit, I am not sure if we will do another one in 2018 or not.

If you would like to have flowers in the church but do not want to arrange them yourself then one of us in the flower team is happy to do this for you, but why not have a go yourself?

I would like to thank Audrey, Isobel, Jan, and Alison for their support over the last year, and especially Alison who like me has done a great deal of flower arranging over the last year.

Diana Dale

Food Bank

The Trussell Trust operates 425 food banks across the UK providing emergency food and support for people in crisis. Last year, the charity’s food banks gave three-day emergency food supplies to more than 130,000 people in the UK, nearly half of whom were children.

Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK, with individuals going hungry every day for a range of reasons, from benefit delays to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

We at Christchurch continue to support the important work of the Food Bank. The Gloucester Food Bank fed a total of 5186 local people including 1727 children and provided emergency toiletries and food to people in desperate need. 

Of the 37.11 metric tonnes of food and toiletries donated by churches, schools, supermarkets and local people of Gloucester during the calendar year, Christchurch Abbeydale donated 622.75 Kilograms, an increase from last year's half tonne.

·             The Food Bank uses a voucher system and specified referring agencies to ensure that all clients are genuine.

·             The Gloucester Food Bank has a guideline of giving no more than three vouchers in any six month period to ensure that both clients and agency are working toward financial independence for users of the service thus avoiding dependency on the Food Bank.

·             All users of the service receive financial advice to enable them to move toward financial self-sufficiency.

It is therefore a very important part of treating this tough social problem.

Donations of cash are welcome to help the Food bank meet running costs of the programme.  Please give cash or cheques for donation to the Food Bank to the Treasurer or your Food Bank volunteers, Sam and Jane Sims and Carole Francis-McGann so that a record can be kept of our annual donations for the church accounts. 

The Food Bank represents an important part of our giving to benefit local people, and this is recognised at Morning Communions where the Food Bank Hamper is brought forward and presented with the offertory.

Carole Francis-McGann, Jane and Sam Sims

Friday morning Coffee and Chat

We have had another good year meeting every Friday from 10.30am - 12noon. Numbers vary but usually between 10 and 20 each week.

We still have our loyal band of helpers, Audrey Cooke, Greta Knowles, Ron Polledri, Pauline Corcoran and Val Doll.  Val Bolton joined us in the autumn and has become a valued member of the team.

We've welcomed several new folk during the year and would love to see more new faces in the coming months.

Judy Potts


Jubilaté

We have had another busy but enjoyable year in Jubilate. I was away from the group up until September last year, to give me the chance to complete my degree studies, so I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Brenda for stepping in to play piano in my absence, and to Catherine for keeping things going. Thanks also, of course, to the whole group for their support and understanding whilst I was away.

In September we were invited to sing at the GL4 day, where we sang a selection of our favourite songs. We had some great feedback, which also led to us being invited to carol sing at Morrison’s the weekend before Christmas. It was freezing cold, and a bit of a mix-up when we got there, but it was great to share some of our Christmas songs with the shoppers.

In October, we were once again invited to lead the service in Lydney, which is always an enjoyable experience for both us as a group and the Lydney church. They are always very appreciative of our visits and seem to look forward to them. After the service we were immediately re-booked for this year!

We’re planning on setting aside some dedicated Thursday evenings to practice new songs to increase our repertoire. We’ve made a start on this already with learning a new favourite (certainly for me anyway!) called Magnificent, which was only released at the end of last year.

We look forward to what this year has to bring, and we’re so grateful for the support and encouragement we consistently receive from the congregation.

Daniel Tuck

Junior Church and The Core

We are very grateful to those who lead and help our children and young people each Sunday.  There is a prepared rota to ensure that each group has a leader and helper each week.

The Junior Church and The Core groups meet most Sunday mornings during the 10am service.  They cater for school age children.  Many different activities are provided for the children.  These include reading and acting out Bible stories, researching on the computer, prayer time, quizzes, games, puzzles, discussions, crafts etc.  The sessions are organised by a number of leaders on a rota basis and there is always another adult helper present.

There are All Age Worship services about once a quarter when sometimes the children take an active part such as at Harvest and Christmas.  Christmas 2016 saw the children working with Jubilate to produce a Christmas tableau through music.  

Crèche is also available for babies and pre-school children.

The children are a very important part of our congregation and we show we care for them in many ways including birthday cards, and gifts given at Easter and Christmas.

Pauline Evans and Sheila Whitaker

Keep Fit

These classes, held on a Monday and Tuesday morning, continue to be popular as we have welcomed five new members this year.

The exercises are aimed at the over 60’s and designed to keep aging muscles flexible therefore helping with mobility and balance. They are not overly strenuous and consist of standing and floor work. However if floor work proves to be too difficult then the same or similar routine can be done sitting on a chair which is equally as beneficial.  Although the class runs for an hour the actual work out is only 50minutes which enables folk to interact with each other.

There is no charge for classes although donations for church funds are always welcome.

For more information see the outside notice boards or our web site.

Carol Terry

Lunchtime Fellowship

There have been so many changes in 2016 it's been hard to keep up with them all!  We welcomed several new members but we miss others who we used to meet with regularly.

Janet Brett a regular helper and member died in September and Hazel Ponter died in December both after long illnesses.     Ruth Horton is unable to be with us regularly and Kath Adams is still quite poorly.  We said farewell to Cathy Geoghagen at the end of the year as she was moving to Surrey to be near her daughter.

We couldn't carry on without our wonderful helpers.  Ron Polledri, Pauline Corcoran and Snooks Davies get the room ready and lay up the tables and Jane & Sam Sims, and Pam Kelly help in the kitchen - many, many thanks for all your help.

Judy Potts

Monday Afternoon Bible Study Group

We are a small group who meet most Monday afternoons in Church. We have studied a number of books from the bible as well as biblical themes such as prayer. All are welcome to come and join in as we explore God’s word and pray together.

Val Stephens.

Open the Book

The Open the Book Team continue to operate on behalf of Christchurch. We present the story of the Bible to approximately 520 children each month at Abbeymead and Heron Schools. All the children look forward to us coming and are really excited when we arrive. There have been a number of occasions when team members have had the opportunity to speak to children and parents outside of school about Open the Book when we have been recognised. We have a good rapport with the schools and the teachers. There is nothing more rewarding than telling Gospel stories to children. This makes us all the more grateful that Christchurch has been able to offer this service to schools over the last nine years.

Frank and I went on a Story Teller Day in September for a presentation of the new Christian values material. It was good to meet Bob Hartman the author of the Open the Book stories. Sincere thanks go to the current team. Some weeks the story requires only a small team but other times we need up to twelve people so any offers of help would be welcomed. Whilst we do appreciate a regular team, it doesn’t have to be a regular commitment every month.

Yvonne Heggs

Sharing The Things We Love

Sharing the Things we Love is a new monthly group which was set up in November 2016 by Val Stephens and Judy Clinton. We have now come together on Thursdays (10.30-12.30) for four meetings. Numbers are steadily growing and we have had many different interests shared – from biscuit recipes, to special objects of emotional significance, to inspiring people, to an impressive model pub made by one of our group! Conversation around the subjects, as well other thoughts and memories prompted by them, is proving to be very enriching for those involved. We are coming to know one another better through doing this, and different people coming and going keeps things lively. It seems to be of special value to those who are living alone.

We are taking a break in April as so many people will be extra busy during the Easter period, but will start again in May. We have tried to keep to the first Thursday in the month but this isn’t always possible because of clashes with Open the Book. Forthcoming dates in 2017 (all Thursdays) are:

May 4th
June 8th
July 13th

We will take a break again in August and start again in the autumn, future dates to be announced in The Chronicle nearer the time.

Judy Clinton and Val Stephens

T@3 Report

2016 has once again been a successful year for T @ 3 with attendances averaging 40 at each session, the highest being 49 and the lowest 33. Programmes have been varied and have included talks over a wide range of subjects from Namibian Travels, Birds of Trinidad and Tobago, The Woodland Trust and nearer to home, Gloucester Docks and on our very own doorstep “Abbeydale – An Historian's Perspective” given by one of our own Christchurch members which revealed the story of the area from the very earliest times right up to the present day. In addition we have had musical afternoons and even an “Old Tyme Music Hall” with the performers in period dress!! The year was brought to a close at Christmas in appropriate fashion by the Westbrook Singers and this session ended with the inevitable Christmas cake and Mince Pies!

Once again our T @ 3 meetings have enabled the Church to reach out to the community around us and offer them friendship and hospitality and are open to all who wish to come. We couldn't do it on our own and we thank our willing band of helpers who come along regularly, they are much appreciated. All are welcome and we would love to see YOU there sometime, why not give it a try?

David & Kath Barber.

Wednesday Prayer Lunch

A small group continues to meet on Wednesday lunchtimes several times a month for a half hour prayer time after which sandwiches are enjoyed together. Prayers range over many subjects, from local and church concerns to world church matters and issues highlighted in the Christian Aid weekly newsletter. If you are free and would like to spend your lunch hour in this way then please come. You will be most welcome.