Annual Report 2015

When planning activities for the year, the incumbent and PCC have considered the Commission’s guidance on public benefit and the specific guidance on charities for the advancement of religion.
We strive to enable parishioners to explore and develop their spiritual awareness and to live out their faith, by means of prayer and worship, Bible study and ethical discussion, and provision of pastoral care to all sections of the community.
The work of all three churches is summarised on the parish website, http://www.wiltonparish.co.uk..

The PCC aims to provide public worship appropriate to the varied needs of the inhabitants of the Ecclesiastical Parish.
Where practical this includes ecumenical cooperation with the local Baptist congregation and members of other Christian denominations living in Wilton.

The clergy seek to respond to all requests for the “Occasional offices” of the Church – Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals from those living in the Ecclesiastical parish, or with a legitimate connection with any of our churches and to provide appropriate preparation and pastoral care.

We seek to foster a sense of community within the town of Wilton through the provision of social activities and active involvement in other local organisations.

To facilitate this work, we strive to maintain the fabric of our church buildings and meeting room in good order – taking due note of the recommendations included in our Quinquennial Inspections.

In December 2009 it was agreed that the PCC would discontinue its policy of making annual grants to specific charities and would instead encourage individual Church-members to support such charities as far as they are able. In addition, the PCC nominates a monthly Charity – for which donations are invited at Coffee after the principal Eucharist each Sunday – with a balance of local, national and international charities. In addition Wilton’s congregations’ continue to sponsor the education of Richnaider Paul, in Haiti – through the Charity “SOS Children’s Villages”

The PCC makes provision for regular public worship in all three Parish Churches, as well as a Trust-owned Chapel in Wilton. Regular worship in St. Peter’s, Fugglestone, was suspended from the end of September 2013 due to lack of heating and lighting. A monthly Evensong was held during Summer months and an evening service was also introduced at St Catherine’s, Netherhampton.
Occasional services were also held in Old St. Mary’s and elsewhere in the town.

During 2015 “The Coffee Corner”, held in the Parish Church on Tuesday mornings, continued to attract a good number of young parents and children – the membership of which has constantly evolved – and also to provide a regular haven for some older parishioners.

The Ecumenical “Open the Book” team continued to flourish – meeting in the primary School, on alternate Mondays, to present dramatised Bible Stories and engaging the pupils and staff in various ways. Feedback from the school – including pupils’ consultations – is very positive!

In our aim of drawing parishioners, and others, to God through worship
we have again benefitted enormously from the commitment of our Parish Choir, Organists, Ringers, Verger and Altar servers, Lectors and Intercessors and have been very well supported by our Churchwardens, Sacristans, Flower Arrangers and team of sidesmen and women – all of whom show admirable dedication.
A number of new Ringers were recruited and, during the latter half of the year a team of seven “junior servers” was recruited and a set of children’s albs provided by private donations.
Two church-members, Valerie Jackson and Judith Kemsley completed the Diocesan “Aldhelm Certificate” Course in December.

Rosie Stiven, leader of the Mother’s Union evening group was also announced as the next Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union.

In March the Rector, Revd Mark Wood, succeeded Revd Steve Morgan as Rural Dean of Chalke. With new responsibilities for the licensed clergy and their families, and general oversight of an additional twenty nine parishes, the Rector has relied heavily on both retired clergy and lay officers for the smooth running of this parish. The Revd. Janet Mugridge has played a more prominent role at St John’s Priory and Canon Chris Savage at Netherhampton.

Sadly the Parish’s team of Lay Pastoral Assistants was further depleted with only two remaining actively involved in pastoral care. Wilton’s congregation lost a number of members, who moved from the area, including former Churchwarden Peter Newall and his wife Tricia, who had contributed a great deal to the Church’s life for many years.

Sue and Steve Hart moved to Oxfordshire, where Sue began residential training for the ordained Ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.

Current Churchwarden Julian Lyne-Pirkis embarked on a year-long posting with the E.U. Mission in Somalia and George Barsby spent six months working with Tearfund in Tanzania. Heidi Scott made a sponsored climbed of Mount Kilimanjaro, raising funds for the Laurence Homan School, in India, and Ben Kinsey “Trekked the Grand Canyon” to raise funds for the “Stars Appeal” (Salisbury District Hospital).

Andrew Rickett, the parish’s newly appointed Parish Safeguarding Representative, undertook a thorough review of the Parish’s Safeguarding policy. This was adopted unanimously by the PCC and it was agreed to revisit this policy at or immediately after each Annual Meeting to ensure best practice.

In February and March, a thorough review of “Lent, Holy Week and Easter” was undertaken – with some forty seven church-members completing a questionnaire – and a number of adjustments were made to the pattern of services, attempting to balance the diverse of the Parish as a whole:
The planned Palm Sunday procession of Anglicans and Baptists had to be abandoned due to rain – but members of both congregations joined together on Good Friday for the procession of witness from the Parish Church to St. Peter’s Church.
On Tuesday of Holy week, the large “Experience Easter” stations were put in place in the Parish Church at a families’ “workshop” and a service specifically for these families was introduced on Good Friday. On Good Friday afternoon, the Parish Choir with guest soloists, led a liturgical performance of John Stainer’s “Crucifixion”.
The Easter liturgy moved to midnight, at the beginning of Easter Day – with a brief “Watch” beforehand.
On Easter morning we welcomed a number of families and visitors to both the Holy Communion at St Catherine’s and the Parish Eucharist at Wilton.

Two successful Parish Lunches were organised – for St David’s day, at the Pembroke Inn and Harvest at the Greyhound Inn. In addition a “Christmas Dinner” for the Altar Servers was arranged at the Greyhound Inn.

In early September all 3 of our Churches welcomed riders in the Wiltshire Historic Churches Ride and Stride, while four of our parishioners took part as sponsored cyclists, with one of them achieving the accolade of Runner Up in the most money raised category.”

Following a successful appeal, a new set of hymn books was purchased for the Parish Church – with appropriate dedications where requested – and dedicated at the Harvest Festival at the beginning of October.

A Stewardship campaign was launched in Wilton which resulted in increased regular giving of around £6000. The parish was able, just, to meet the increased Parish Share – although the final quarterly instalment had to be rescheduled as monthly payments. A further increase was advised for 2016. An appeal for clemency was rejected, but the outgoing Diocesan Treasurer advised that a request should be made in 2016 for “alleviation” based on a reduced membership. The Deanery “Mission and Pastoral Committee” gave unanimous support to such a request at their meeting in October. The financial challenge remains a significant one.

Pastoral Offices

In 2015, parish clergy officiated at 18 baptisms, 10 weddings and 19 funerals.
(In 2014 13 baptisms, 6 weddings, and 36 funerals.)

Community

Members of all three churches are involved in other community groups and organisations – including the Community Centre, Public Library, Burnbake Trust, Alabaré, Riding for the Disabled and also assist with events such as the Christmas Day lunch for the elderly. A number of church-members are Trustees for almshouses at St John’s Priory and St Giles’ Hospital and for three separate Educational Trusts. In addition to the Rector, the Parish Church provides two Foundation Governors at Wilton and Barford School, one of whom is currently Chair of Governors. Educational visits to and services in both the parish Church and St Catherine’s church have been arranged – with the local Primary schools and nursery schools and with the local “uniformed youth organisations”

As Trustees of the Wilton Middle School Educational Trust, the Rector and Churchwardens contributed further significant grants to local schools and to the Youth Centre in Wilton. Further commitments were agreed to the First Wilton Scout Group, for the purchase of a new minibus, and to the Wilton Surestart Centre.

The Rector continued to attend monthly meetings of the Wilton “Town Team”.
and to represent Wilton at Area Board “Youth Network” meetings.

At the beginning of May, the Wiltshire Cycling Grand prix returned to Wilton. Church services were rearranged to accommodate the necessary road closures and a viewing area and barbecue provided within the Parish Church grounds. The Archdeacon of Sarum, Ven. Alan Jeans, was the celebrant at the principal Eucharist.

The Parish Church’s Summer Festival, held in June, again attracted a number of local visitors to the church. And a steady flow of tourists and pilgrims visited throughout all but the coldest months of the year. A small, but dedicated group of “church guides” were on hand during the summer months to greet visitors and enrich their experience.

During the Autumn term the Rector rehearsed the newly-formed School Choir, 19 of whom gave their first performance at a concert in December, given jointly with the Wilton and District Band, at the Michael Herbert Hall.

In October, a “Friends’” event was introduced – to coincide with the Parish Church’s Dedication Festival, providing an opportunity to recognise the generosity of the Friends and to inform them on current achievements and future aims.

As a further innovation, in December, the Parish Church hosted a Business Breakfast – for members of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce – in order to consolidate relations with local businesses.

The South Wiltshire Credit Union merged to become Wiltshire Savings and Loans.
A team of local volunteers continued to operate the Wilton branch on Thursday mornings, in the Church Room, and in November a folding wheelchair ramp was purchased to improve disabled access.

Remembrance services were well attended. The service at St. Catherine’s was led by the Bishop of Ramsbury, Rt. Revd. Edward Condry.

On Armistice Day a sizeable congregation, including pupils from the Primary School, gathered for a short Act or Remembrance and two minutes’ silence.

Wilton’s annual “lighting of the Christmas Tree and children’s Nativity” provided further opportunities for ecumenical cooperation and for partnership with other Town Team organisations. The event was enlarged – beginning earlier and, helped by the mild weather, attracting a significantly larger number of participants.

The Rector officiated at the annual Carol Service for the Pembroke Centre (Riding for the Disabled). A welcome development was a revision, by volunteers at the centre, aimed at involving young riders more actively in the preparation and in the service itself.

The Christmas Fayre was again held in the Community Centre. Additional stall holders and a “Christmas Grotto” added to the vibrant feel, attracting a good number of visitors.

Several musical organisations have made use of Wilton Parish Church for concerts and we have hosted events for the Salisbury Festival of Arts and a number of distinguished professional musicians.

The “Wilton Windows” giant Advent Calendar, introduced in 2012 was again repeated involving 24 households and businesses in providing window displays in the countdown to Christmas. In 2015 an element of competition was introduced – with a prize donated by the Reclamation Centre.

During the year, the developments at Wilton Hill and Erskine Park began to emerge and new residents moved in. In December, the Rector delivered a “welcome” leaflet to the 56 houses then occupied and also led an ecumenical group of Carol Singers to serenade Wilton’s newest residents!

Buildings

St. Mary and St. Nicholas’ Church:
Repairs to the church roof and tower, previously highlighted in the architect’s Quinquennial inspection, were carried out in March.

Approval was finally obtained from the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the installation of a new “Sound System”, just before Easter.

The churchyard continued to be maintained to a high standard, largely to due to the efforts of Nick Barsby and Neill O’Connor.
St. Catherine’s Church
The new architect, Helen Martin, conducted a Quinquennial inspection in September. Immediate repairs to guttering and adjacent masonry were recommended and carried out by Mouldings. Additional electrical work was recommended and repairs to the Chancel roof recommended.

St. Peter’s Church
The situation remained unchanged, as negotiations about the possible sale of the Hawes Cup (in order to fund repairs) proved somewhat protracted and frustrating.
A quinquennial inspection, in October, suggested that there had been little further deterioration.

The churchyard continues to be maintained – with the assistance of Andy Hogan – and remains open for burials.

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