A major responsibility for churchwardens is to ensure that the church building is open and set up for Sunday services. Thank you to our PCC, Worship Team, coffee makers, Sound team and flower arrangers for enabling us to run our Sunday morning services so well. We are particularly grateful to members of the congregation who carried out a clean, which really refreshed the appearance of the church in the new year. Thank you to everyone who works up front or behind the scenes doing all the many jobs that are needed to keep us going, you are all necessary members of the team.
One of our favourite initiatives this year has been introduction to Morning and Evening Prayers on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays at 8.30am and 5.30pm. The Quinquennial Report indicated that overall St. Peter’s was in a good shape. Thank you, Gillian, for the tremendous amount of work you had put into this committee and its responsibilities. We are grateful to the PCC for their support and especially our Finance team who promptly transferring the necessary payments. The Collation and Induction of the Reverend Dr Simon Cuff as Vicar of the Parish of St Peter De Beauvoir Town took place on 21 November 2021. We were delighted to re-introduce Open Church from 2nd January 2022 and Noisy Church. The return of Souper Tuesday in the crypt, which is offering free soup and bread to all was a success and remains very popular.
Our Sunday livestream services are now up and running and in regular use, which has been very useful for congregants to attend services remotely via Facebook and YouTube. St Peters has a good tradition of welcoming refugees and we had successful fundraising events for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK. St Peter’s welcomed author and activist Renie Choy as Guest Preacher who is the author of Ancestral Feeling: Post-Colonial Thoughts on Western Christian Heritage and the principal investigator in the Inclusive Christian Heritage Project. It was wonderful to welcome Ordinand and educator Grace Bally as the Guest Preacher in the spirit of Mardi Gras. Tropical Isles, the local carnival troupe, who performed at the end of the service, and to hear the music during the service from musicians supported by St Peter’s ‘Save the Music’ fund during the pandemic. Finally, we would like to thank Jay, Vivette and Paul for their ministry as expressed in their care and concern for our church and community and their approach to running the church and commitment to having good systems in place, therefore making the role of Churchwarden so much easier to manage than it would be otherwise.
Anna Dalton (Churchwarden)
As the pandemic recedes, income from voluntary contributions by standing order remains low but steady and building hire income has continued to recover slowly. We still have a good tenant in the curate’s house. Nevertheless, we do need to increase our income in order to sustain our mission and keep our building in good order. To protect our remaining cash in the bank, our contribution to the common fund was dramatically reduced for 2020 to 2022. This needs to be increased again in a phased manner over the next three to five years. Contactless payments in church and crypt are now possible and initial results suggest that this is a good investment. We are being more active in looking for new ways to fund projects such as seeking grants and are also beginning to take a less conservative view on the level of reserves that we need to hold.
Paul Snow (Acting Treasurer)
All churches are inspected every 5 years by professionals appointed by the Diocese to ensure its buildings remain sound and beautiful. Our Quinquennial Inspection (QI) in October 2021 reassured us that we face no really serious structural problems. The four finials on the Tower, erected 180 years ago, now need attention but we have been reassured there is no immediate danger of collapse. However, we must agree steps to restore them over the next 10 years. Offering our church for wider use by our community demands improved audiovisual systems, a safer gallery, and improved fire exit/disabled access provision. All of these are now being explored. Liz Kohler’s legacy has funded a feasibility study into the possibility of building a ramp from the unused door above the east end Crypt door to street level in Northchurch Terrace to improve safe and accessible access. This is a fitting tribute to Liz who championed increasing participation and access amongst a wide range of people in all that she volunteered. The initial report has suggested this is structurally unlikely, but investigations continue. Our building maintenance budget for 2022 will allow us to commission essential work to the roof, drainpipes and gutters. Be prepared to see scaffolding up over the summer months! All this costs money; a lot of it! We are working to identify charities and grant-making bodies to help us but all local fund raising will also be an essential part of securing and widening access to our building for the years to come.
Gillian Borrie, Buildings Team
Regular giving through stewardship pledges – no matter how small – is essential to St Peter’s financial stability and the sustainability of its mission. As of this report only 32% of the current electoral roll contribute to stewardship funds through Standing Orders or the Envelope Scheme. The PCC appreciates and values these 52 pledges and prays that the generosity of these individuals and families will inspire others to commit to regular giving, as they are able. Going forward, we encourage people to transfer their valued contributions to standing orders. We appreciate for some, this is not possible. With the recent introduction of contactless payment points in the nave and crypt and updating of the website, those who wish to ‘top up’ their regular giving, mark a special anniversary or contribute to a specific funding appeal may do so with ease and security. All this goes towards fulfilling our mission within the parish and beyond.
We offer our gratitude for those who continued to support the daily rituals and ongoing maintenance of this church throughout the pandemic and interregnum. There are 52 individuals/couples/families whose contributions are received monthly, quarterly or annually, via envelope or bank transfer. Their generosity provides, on average a monthly income of £2982.66. To put this figure into perspective, the cost of keeping the whole church lit and heated so that we can welcome the whole of the parish on a daily basis comes to £16,000 per month. For the PCC to fulfil its role as stewards of the many resources of this church – material and spiritual – we need your support to raise awareness and increase not only the level of contributions but the level of commitment to our shared stewardship of all God’s bounty. We ask that everyone on the electoral roll consider not only how much they can pledge on a regular basis yet also to seek ways to encourage others to support the daily life and long-term mission of St Peter De Beauvoir Town through sustained and regular giving.
Margaret Glover, Stewardship Officer
Space Users (Hirers) Report
What a difference a year makes! At this time last year, only support groups and those for children could meet in the crypt. Now we are overflowing with users and visitors. Most of our previous groups returned after June 2021, and we have gained new users. Now there is demand to hire the spaces in the crypt and we have difficulty finding available times. This is a positive problem to have.
I want to thank the members of the CPT for their work and enthusiasm in the past year. Their influence and advice ranges from helping with risk assessments to ensure a covid-safe space to updating the pricing structure for users. I would also like to point out the quiet work in the background of Haren Copeland, which keeps everything running smoothly, both in the crypt and church. Debby Lawrence also has a key role, both on the CPT, as a steward and making cakes for Hackney Playbus. There is something beautiful about the love that people have for St Peter’s and the crypt – the way groups work together and have created a crypt community. I am always touched to learn how user groups mix together and support one another. Someone booking a children’s Christmas party told me they all met at NCT classes in the crypt and went on to do Monkey Music together, again, in the crypt. Other examples include the Gardeners, sharing their projector with other users; Happy Baby Community and Hackney Playbus sharing their equipment both with one another and other groups; and members of Woven Gold volunteering with Happy Baby Community.
Highlights from 2021 include the Burley Fisher book fair, the De Beauvoir Welcomes Refugees concert and the return of the DBA Christmas Fair. And the return of almost all of our regular users, and welcoming many new ones.
Julie Talbot, Operations Manager
Welcome Team Report
The Welcome Team provides a warm and welcoming environment at our church. The team work in pairs and greet people as they enter the Church. There are currently ten members of the welcome team, and we are always looking for new people who might help out in this crucial area of our ministry!
Within this, it is our role to make sure that new people or those who haven’t been coming for long feel particularly welcome; special attention is paid to people with needs, hand out service booklets, Welcome leaflets, hymn books, newsletters and usher people to their seats. We also hand out to all first-time visitors with a welcome information form and collects the returned visitor information. A second member is always by or near the door, where they will remain for the service in a designated chair – to stop the door from slamming, to look after latecomers and provide other support as needed.
To ensure we receive regular offerings, the Clergy and the Stewardship Team have worked hard to find the most effective and flexible COVID-19 safe ways of adopting appropriate health and safety protocol ways to make this happen by the introduction of QCode and contactless giving. Instructions on how to process the contactless device was sent to the team to assist givers. When we were able to open for services, in the midst of the pandemic, the Welcomers proved crucial as in addition to the usual welcoming face of the church they had the additional task of trying to keep everyone safe due to the need to follow appropriate safety guidelines and rules in terms of maintaining social distancing amongst the congregation, ensure hygiene standards were adhered to and names taken in case of need by the track and trace services. Heartfelt thanks to all of those who were able to carry out this role without whom St Peters Church would not have been able to carry out open church services. To help us grow our skills together and review of the welcome teams practices, Fr Simon held a successful meeting with a handful of the team and the Pastoral Assistants on Saturday 26 February 22. We strive to make the congregation, visitors and guests to feel accepted, informed, and most of all feel that their visit is appreciated, and that they too might experience St Peter’s as a welcoming home and church family.
Amanda Bart-Plange, Pastoral Assistant
Pastoral Team Report
As we are all very much aware Covid changed our way of life, including the way we worship and enjoy fellowship at St Peter’s. As a result of that, Home Worship was introduced during the first lockdown. Home Worship is continuing and some members of our congregation who are housebound receive theirs in the post each week. Every family of our church continues to be prayed for through our weekly prayer cycle. The wellbeing of our church family is at the heart of the Pastoral Team, so we call some of our church families either by phone, text, WhatsApp, and email. We also do home and hospital visits, and communion is also administered to some of them. Get well cards are also sent to those who are sick and the bereaved. Sadly, some members of the congregation have died in the past year and we continue to offer pastoral care to the bereaved as appropriate. The Pastoral Team, the Clergy and Church Wardens gave every family of our church a signed Christmas card at Christmas time. From June to November 2021, eleven baptisms took place and Irena Edgcumbe presided over them. Due to restrictions at the time, attendance at these baptisms was limited to 30 family members and friends. Two of the Pastoral Team members were present at each of the baptisms to represent the church and support the baptism families. Fr Simon has also presided over six baptisms between February and May. On May 8th 2022, baptism was restored to its place in the Sunday eucharist. Five of our young people are being prepared for First Communion on June 19, 2022 and the Bishop of Stepney is with us on Sunday October 30th to Confirm any candidates who would like to be Confirmed. Do get in touch if that’s you!
Boachie Dankwah, Pastoral Assistant
There have been several new appointments in the Safeguarding Team in the Diocese of London. There is now an obligation for anyone undertaking a DBS this year (Disclosure and Barring Service) check to have this repeated every 3 years. There is also an expectation that training both on e learning (basic level) and by zoom for leadership training is kept upto date at least every 3 years. The PCC have complied in having due regard to comply with the House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance. We continue to develop St Peters as a safe space. We aim to enable conversations concerning issues of safeguarding to take place and where those who need support can be directed towards assistance.
Jay Wilkes, Safeguarding Officer
Children & Young People Report
St Peter’s for me is a warm place of faith, hope, peace and happiness and reflection, everyone at St Peter’s are so welcoming and warm. I always class St Peter’s as my second family, because that’s the way they have always made me feel. It’s been a difficult year through COVID where we have lost some great friends, we will always hold them in our hearts forever because they will forever be like footprints in the sand. Just to be able to see everyone face to face at church for me was a beautiful feeling. I love working with Margaret and all of the other leaders and helpers in noisy church, the children bring so much joy to the church and they are the future, listening to their views and opinions is great, so working alongside them always makes me smile. Fr Simon is a wonderful new Vicar and I know he already fits right in with St Peter’s family. The highlights for me was listening to all the beautiful prayers from each and everyone and seeing the images of the station of the cross. Each image gives us vital information about what happened to Jesus, that was very special for me to see. I also loved each and everyone who shared their own special reflection about the stations of the cross, different stories all amazing and emotional. It’s such a wonderful feeling when you can get up and go to a church and feel safe secure and content in your surrounding and that’s what I love and cherish about St Peter’s. St Peter’s is so diverse they welcome everyone because they know that each and everyone is special and unique and their own individual way. I look forward to more special prayers, new people and young children attending church, more special guests, and the beautiful singing that our congregation has to offer.
Lorna Wilby, Children’s Champion
Over the past 12 months, worship at St Peter’s has been on a thrilling journey; a pilgrimage if you will, to a destination both mysterious and filled with resonance. We have travelled from a pandemic church in interregnum to a church filled with transcendent energy, renewed by the spirit of God. A new chapter of worship began in November 2021, with the arrival of Fr Simon Cuff and a deeply liturgical approach to worship. This has included the re-introduction of morning and evening prayer, with Contemplative Eucharists offered on significant days in the Christian calendar. Parish Eucharist has seen a greater emphasis on devotional practice, with bell-ringing before and during communion. This richer approach to the Gospels was fully in evidence at Easter, with a dramatic service on Good Friday and a holy fire lit on Holy Saturday.
Worship at St Peter’s now reaches out to a wider range of people, welcoming everyone’s gifts. Whilst Christmas was muted due to a wave of Covid, we welcomed many members of the community in a reflective service of words, music and carols. An uplifting Mardi Gras service included the local carnival troupe based in the Rose Lipman Centre. On International Women’s Day, members of the De Beauvoir WI celebrated a service in the Lady Chapel. Noisy Church has resumed, and Sundays have been enriched by a broad range of fresh voices; from visiting clergy to lay preachers and speakers. Deeply Anglican in nature while welcoming those from all backgrounds, this journey is for everyone. All of us are invited to share thoughts and feedback, as together we create a flourishing life of worship at St Peter’s.
Huge thanks go to Eckart for all he has done as Head Server and Chair of the Worship Team, and especially for his role in organising Home Worship during the vacancy and pandemic. We are excited that Hope has agreed to take on the role of Head Server as we continue to welcome new servers and young people in to playing their part in our worship.
Sarah Dallas, Licensed Lay Minister
Like so many other aspects of church life, music has been deeply affected over the past year by the pandemic. But there have, even so, been lights which have shone brightly in the darkness – perhaps none more so than the ‘Save the Music Fund’ initiative. As well as giving local professional musicians a chance to play when their usual performance venues were closed, they brought such a variety (and wonderful quality) of music to our Sunday worship. The Fund finally closed in February, when we celebrated it at our Sunday Mardi Gras service – and when we also welcomed Tropical Isles, who gave us an uplifting and colourful dance display to our final hymn (O When The Saints Go Marching In)!
For so much of the past year our choir was silenced, and our psalms were said not sung. But, as 2021 drew to a close we celebrated – at long last with our choir – the coming of Christmas with a poignant Service of Words and Music for Advent. And as 2022 dawned our sung psalms returned, as did a full complement of Sunday hymns. But every week, and particularly when there was no other music, Romee kept the light of music shining by enriching our worship from both the organ and the piano.
The coming months will see further change to the musical life of the parish, as I step down as our choir leader as Michelle and I move from De Beauvoir to our new home in Kent. As a church family, we look forward with much joy and anticipation to the appointment of a new Director of Music, and all that is to come in the years ahead.
David Millington, Director of Music
Deanery Synod Report
Towards the end of last year, the Deanery Synod met to discuss the ongoing Covid situation at that point in the pandemic and to hear a presentation from Fr Daniel Gerrans (Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, London Fields) on his parish’s experience of engaging with the Living in Love and Faith course as part of General Synod’s engagement with reflection on issues in relation to human sexuality.
At the last Deanery Synod meeting, there was an update on the recent elections to the Synod. The main speakers on this evening were discussing the local churches emerging out of the Covid Pandemic. From St John’s, Hoxton, Rev Stephen Millar explained that an intake of Iranian Christians had impacted very positively on the church community. The Revd Laura Luz from Trinity Saints United described a grieving process within the congregation and a more gradual recovery. We discussed our own experiences in small groups and whilst there were some new opportunities, most churches were finding emerging from this period quite challenging.
The other main point of note was the raising of the issue of Child Q and police behaviour as a matter of AOB. Views were aired by several participants who were concerned that children upset by this incident were in our churches and communities and that we should be supportive to them and responsive in our condemnation of this incident.
The Synod also noted the Pastoral Principles recommended by Bishop Sarah:
- To acknowledge prejudice
- To address ignorance
- To admit hypocrisy
- To pay attention to power
- To cast out fear
- To speak into silence
Jay Wilkes, Paul Snow, and Fr Simon (Deanery Synod Reps)