Rector’s “Annual Address”

The 29th February 2020 sticks in my mind – as the date of our Parish’s last, organised Social Event.
That evening we gathered some of the Altar Servers and their families, for skittles and pizza, little knowing what sweeping changes were just around the corner.

Since then families, and individual households, across the UK and elsewhere, have been through the most enormous challenges:
the strain of financial uncertainty – whether through loss of jobs or loss of interest on savings;
the emotional strain of disrupted lives and separation from loved ones;
and, for many, the loss of loved ones in the most awful circumstances.
And I don’t believe that there is a single family, in the broadest sense, that has not been changed by the experiences of the past 15 months.

Faced with those pressures, some families have drawn closer together – helping each other out as best they could, keeping in touch more frequently, through whatever means was possible.
Other families have fallen apart – as individuals at breaking point have lashed out, and caused hurt that cannot easily be forgotten or forgiven.

And I think those same pressures have faced us, as the family of the church.

You’ve already heard the challenging financial situation we find ourselves in – and I don’t want either to overestimate or underestimate the seriousness of our situation.
What I do want to say, first of all, is thank you.
We have weathered the past year far better than many churches. And that’s due, at least in part, to those who responded to our pleas last year to join the Parish Giving Scheme, so that we have known that regular income was coming each month.
And, irrespective of how you gave, thank you for continuing to give – despite the worrying economic backdrop.

The life of our churches has been disrupted, just as significantly as our home life. None of us has been able to worship as before; weddings and funerals have been curtailed; patterns of prayer and the way we receive the sacraments have had to evolve – none of which has been without emotional cost.
So, once again – thank you.
Thank you for being bold, and coming to church even when you weren’t completely sure it was the right thing to do.
Again, we have managed to do far more than many neighbouring parishes: partly because of the size of the building here, we were able to keep at least two services going every week, at a time when many churches had their doors firmly shut.
And our celebrations of Confirmation, Christmas and Easter – here and at St Catherine’s – gave a much-needed lift to many of us, I know.

Like so many others, our family has lost some of its members – and we miss them and all that they brought to us. We have also gained new members; and fresh insight, as a result.
We are not, then, the same mix of people that we were 15 months ago.
And almost certainly, as individuals, we have been changed by our experiences – and we mustn’t forget what we’ve learned from that, as if it was all just a bad dream from which we’ve now woken.

We’ve learned over the past year that we can adapt what we do; that our services can be shorter, without losing the essence of our worship – and that has been crucial for some of those currently attending church.
It also opens various possibilities for outreach into our communities if we are confident enough to explore them.

It’s tempting to fall back on familiar ways, and the reassurance that provides – but we are entering new territory now, and we need to be aware, that anything which we now take up again means diverting time and energy away from both our current activities and any such future possibilities.
So we will need to think carefully about what it is we are really trying to do, and what will be most effective in helping us achieve it.

Much of this past year has been spent reacting to events – responding to each new development sometimes in hope, sometimes despairing as we seemed to lose ground again.
Now, at last, it feels as if we are entering more of a recovery phase, and can start to plan ahead with a little more confidence.

Now, we need to keep on being both generous and bold.
If we are going to flourish, as the church family of Wilton with Netherhampton and Fugglestone, we need to keep coming to worship as frequently as we can.
Simply by gathering in sufficient numbers to feel a part of something significant, we can support and encourage each other.
And if we want this family to grow, then we need to demonstrate by our actions that worshipping together is important to us – otherwise, why would anyone else want to join in?

One of the first tasks of the new PCC will be to review our worship, in the light of recent developments.
We’ll need to find a new pattern of services that will work for all of us, across the parish, including those who have not yet had any of their services restored.
That IS going to need generosity as we adapt to each other’s needs, and flexibility, over timing and content of services, as we work out what we can sensibly manage, and still offer the best that we can on each occasion.
There is still uncertainty about a number of things, and we really do need to pull together, in the months ahead, as one parish, to ensure no part of our family is overlooked, or taken for granted.

I began by looking back to our last “family gathering” on the 29th of February – which has been enshrined on the noticeboard to my left for the past year.
We have to wait until 2024 for the next 29th February – and I very much hope that by then we will have pulled though and bounced back, as a parish, stronger and more confident than ever.
But it IS going to be a long haul – and we will need to pace ourselves, and to be careful not to expect too much of any one member of the family.
Individuals, like families, can be broken and are not then easily fixed.

I want to end with a familiar tale of two sisters – Mary and Martha.
In Chapter ten of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is described visiting their home, where Martha scurries around preparing dishes, serving food and generally doing everything she can to make him welcome.
Mary, on the other hand, sits around, listening to Jesus – without lifting a finger to help.
And when Martha protests to Jesus, he takes Mary’s side!
She, it seems, has noticed that Jesus is worth paying attention to, whereas Martha effectively treats him like any other house guest – getting on with her familiar tasks as hostess.

We have been kept afloat, over the past year and a bit, by a number of Martha’s – who’ve beavered away tirelessly to keep things going as best we could, and without whose efforts we may well have fallen apart by now.
But they too need the chance to draw breath and reflect on all that’s happened – all of us need our “Mary moments” – otherwise we risk being so wrapped up in our own endless round of tasks that we too miss the point of it all, and fail to pay any attention to what Christ himself is saying.
The beginning of this period of recovery is both a call to action – for all of us to get involved and share the load, as Martha would have liked; and it’s also an invitation to watchfulness – making sure that we ourselves make time to stop and pay attention to what’s going on; but also looking out for other members of the family who may be wearing themselves ragged and encouraging them to slow down.
And if, along the way, we notice that certain things are not being done – then there is a choice: either to get involved and do them, or simply to accept that sometimes there will be more important things going on.
Our family can flourish again, if we commit to the welfare of all our members, and if we pay attention always to Christ as its head.
As we prepare ourselves for all that the year ahead will bring, then, perhaps we can adopt (as our family prayer) the word of Richard Gillard’s hymn:
Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

Annual Report 2018

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/quarterly 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” and, through the Chalke Deanery, agricultural and social projects in the Diocese of Cueibet, South Sudan.

The PCC makes provision for regular public worship in all three churches, as well as a Trust-owned Chapel in Wilton. The former Parish Church, “Old St. Mary’s”, is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust and is used only occasionally for worship.

At the Parish Church, Morning Prayer was said Monday – Saturday and on Sundays either one or two celebrations of the Eucharist have been held.

At St. Peter’s Church, Fugglestone, regular services were suspended from the end of September 2013 due to lack of heating and lighting. Thursday morning Communion services were introduced in 2016 and these were continued in 2018, along with occasional Evening services. These attracted a small but committed congregation, including some of the new residents of the “Wilton Hill” development.

At St Catherine’s Church, Netherhampton weekly morning services were held – alternating between Holy Communion and Matins. Festival services were especially well attended in 2018.

Parish Clergy continued to be assisted by two Lay Worship Leaders, Christine Lawson and Tim Purchase, and by the retired clergy – notably Canon Chris Savage and Canon Michael Goater. The Revd. Janet Mugridge continued to play a significant role at St. John’s Priory and to assist at the Parish Church.

At Petertide, The Revd. Caroline Titley was ordained Priest at Salisbury Cathedral and celebrated her “First Mass” at the Parish Church on 8th July.

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, Eucharistic Assistants, 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. In September, Andrew Hanley was appointed as “Director of Youth Music” and a Junior Choir formed. The children led their first service in October and sang at further Eucharists in November and December and to a very well-attended “Crib Service” on Christmas Eve.
In December, St. Catherine’s Church’s second organist David Brown retired and was replaced by Ben Maton, who had recently also taken over the Treasurer’s role for St. Catherine’s.

After seven years in post, Mrs Ann Hindley stepped down as Churchwarden. Peter Gulliver succeeded her as Senior Warden and was joined by Andy Tyrer as second Churchwarden.

The Parish’s Safeguarding Representative moved to a new post in the Diocese of Llandaff. The Revd. Dr. Stella Wood was appointed as the new PSR – with the added proviso that any concerns relating to members of the clergy should be referred directly to the Diocesan Safeguarding Representative.
The Parish Safeguarding Policy was adapted to reflect changes in terminology in national policies, pending a fuller revision before the next Annual meeting.

The Tuesday morning “Coffee Corner”, held in the Community Centre, lost a number of children – who moved on to school or nursery – and in the summer it was decided that a fresh approach was needed. Initial focus on the older members resulted in a new Friday afternoon group “Young at Heart” – which attracted a membership of some 20+ people and is well supported by a strong team of volunteers, providing cake and refreshments and engaging with the attendees.

The Ecumenical “Open the Book” team continued to meet in the Primary School, on alternate Mondays, to present dramatised Bible Stories and engaging the pupils and staff in various ways.

Two Mothers’ Union Groups and the men’s group, “Grapevine”, continued to meet regularly. Three new groups were introduced in the Autumn: an afternoon Bible Study Group, an evening Discussion group and Christian Mindfulness group.

In July, the Rector shared in the leadership of the “Pulse Camp” weekend at the Hampshire Christian Trust, Lockerly – attended by young people aged 11 – 17 from various Christian denominations including three young people from Wilton.

In April, the Parish Church hosted the Salisbury Branch of the Prayer Book Society, for their AGM and Evensong. A second Branch Evensong was held at Michaelmas and an Advent Carol Service at St Catherine’s in December.

A training course for Lay Pastoral assistants was run, from February to July, co-led by clergy and an experienced LPA, Tim Purchase. Four new LPAs from this parish were commissioned on St Edith’s Day, along with a fifth from the Chalke Valley.
The rejuvenated “Pastoral Ministry Team” subsequently adopted a pattern of monthly meetings to establish priorities – reviewing patterns of home-visiting and “Home Communions” and monthly Communion Services were established in two residential complexes: Olivier Place and Pembroke Court.

Services for Holy Week and Easter followed the comprehensive pattern established in 2015, following a major review. These were well attended, as was the Ecumenical “walk of witness” on Good Friday.

In early September all three of our Churches welcomed participants in the Wiltshire Historic Churches Ride and Stride, while we deployed one cyclist to visit Churches in the Wylye Valley.
Pastoral Offices

In 2018, parish clergy officiated at 17 baptisms, 4 weddings and 19 funerals.
(In 2017 – 19 baptisms, 12 weddings and 17 funerals.)

Community

Members of all three churches are involved in other community groups and organisations – including Wilton 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.

As Trustees of the Wilton Middle School Educational Trust, the Rector and Churchwardens contributed further significant grants to local schools, the Youth Centre in Wilton, Youth Action Wiltshire (for work with Young Carers) and provided assistance to a Nursing Student and an Apprentice Carpenter. The Rector continued to represent Wilton at Area Board “Youth Network” meetings.

The Revd Caroline Titley serves on the Board of the Wilton Community Land Trust and as a Trustee on the Church of England Pensions Board.

In January the Primary School was placed in “Special Measures” and in August became an Academy, as part of the Salisbury Diocesan Trust. A considerable amount of support has been given by Foundation Governors – Ivan Seviour (Chair of Governors), Revd. Caroline Titley and Ben Kinsey. After ten years as Governor, the Rector stepped down from this role, but maintains an active pastoral role among staff, pupils and parents. A Baptism service was held at the school for one of the pupils, attended by staff and pupils from Years 1 and 2.
In September, a favourable, external review of “Christian Ethos” drew attention to the quality of support provided by Parish clergy.

Educational visits to, and services in, both the Parish Church and St Catherine’s Church have been arranged, involving local Primary schools and nursery schools.

A steady flow of tourists and pilgrims visited the Parish Church throughout much of the year, with a number of U3A groups arranging guided tours, aided by our dedicated group of “church guides”.

Wilton’s “Mayor’s Sunday” service was held on St Edith’s Day, in the afternoon, and attended by members of the uniformed Youth Organisations. During the service, the school’s new Headteacher, Richard Boase, was formally welcomed and commissioned.
Remembrance services took on a particular poignancy in 2018 – marking the centenary of the Armistice – and were well attended in both St. Catherine’s and the Parish Church. A banner was created for the Parish Church, by children from the Primary school, Cubs and brownies, commemorating 290 soldiers from WW1, and was hung from the gallery during the season of Remembrance.

Wilton’s annual “lighting of the Christmas Tree and Children’s Nativity” provided further opportunities for ecumenical cooperation and partnership with other Town Team organisations.

The Rector officiated at the annual Carol Service for the Pembroke Centre (Riding for the Disabled).

Year 5 Pupils from the Primary School attended a special 50th Anniversary Christingle Service at Salisbury Cathedral and, on the final day of term, a “whole-school” Christingle Service was held in the parish Church.

The Christmas Fayre was again held in the Community Centre, with a similar format to previous years.

The new Parish “Newsletter” was delivered to all dwellings in the parish in March, June, September and December. Costs of production were met from advertising charges, involving a number of local businesses.

Buildings

St. Mary and St. Nicholas’ Church:
The Town Council continued to arrange the grass cutting, and other aspects of the churchyard continued to be maintained to a high standard, largely due to the efforts of Nick Barsby, Neill O’Connor and David Fraser.
Further works were undertaken to upgrade the electrical installations and, in September, the lighting system was adapted to house LED bulbs throughout, resulting in vastly improved light levels and presentation of the building and reducing energy consumption and running costs.
St. Catherine’s Church
In March, the church suffered a break-in, resulting in a broken window in the South Aisle and damage to the Vestry Door Frame. Cathedral Glass was instructed to repair the window and Mouldings Builders Ltd was asked to tender for repair of the woodwork. It was also proposed that the porch should be repaired and estimates sought.

St. Peter’s Church
In February, the church suffered a break-in through a vestry window – resulting in significant damage to the glazing and also to the casing of a donations box in the church. Cathedral Glass was instructed to repair the window.

Annual Report 2017

ANNUAL REPORT 2017

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/quarterly 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” and, through Chalke Deanery, agricultural and social projects in the Diocese of Cueibet, South Sudan.

The PCC makes provision for regular public worship in all three churches, as well as a Trust-owned Chapel in Wilton.
At the Parish Church, Morning Prayer was said Monday – Saturday and on Sundays either one or two celebrations of the Eucharist have been held.

At St. Peter’s Church, Fugglestone, regular services were suspended from the end of September 2013 due to lack of heating and lighting. Thursday morning Communion services were introduced in 2016 and these were continued in 2017, along with occasional Evening services. These attracted a small but committed congregation, including some of the new residents of the “Wilton Hill” development.

At St Catherine’s Church, Netherhampton weekly morning services were held – alternating between Holy Communion and Matins. The Congregation were saddened by the death, in April, 2017, of The Revd Sue Porter, who had continued to lead services until the previous month. Canon Stella Collins and Revd Ronald Broadbent, who had previously assisted at St. Catherine’s, also died in 2017.
Parish Clergy continued to be assisted by two Lay Worship Leaders, Christine Lawson and Tim Purchase, and by the retired clergy – notably Canon Chris Savage and Canon Michael Goater.

The Revd. Janet Mugridge continued to play a significant role at St. John’s Priory and to assist at the Parish Church.

In July, The Revd. Caroline Titley was Ordained Deacon and licensed as Assistant Curate – working in the Parish on three days per work plus Sundays.

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, Eucharistic Assistants, 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.

Two Mothers’ Union Groups and the men’s group, “Grapevine”, continued to meet regularly, as did the Bible Reading group established in 2016. A Study course on “Worship” and a successful Lent Course were also held. In the Autumn, two separate evening groups were established – using material from “The Emmaus Course”.

Early in 2017, a decision was taken to move the Tuesday morning “Coffee Corner”, from the Parish Church to the Community Centre – which was felt to be warmer and safer for young children at play, and also provided opportunity to use the enclosed outdoor garden. Attendance proved variable, but a good number of children and carers visited during the year.

The Ecumenical “Open the Book” team continued to meet in the Primary School, on alternate Mondays, to present dramatised Bible Stories and engaging the pupils and staff in various ways.

The Parish’s Safeguarding policy was re-adopted, pending revision in line with changing Legislation and the 2016 Health and Safety Policy retained.

In March the first “Triennial Inspection” was conducted by the Archdeacon of Sarum, Ven. Alan Jeans, resulting in only minor recommendations and a requirement for updating of Graveyard plans and a proper legal agreement for the leasing of land adjacent to 29 West Street, Wilton.

In January the Parish Church hosted a meeting of the Deanery “Pulse Camp” – attended by 19 young people aged 11 – 17 from various Christian denominations. The summer camp in July was held in a new location – the Hampshire Christian Trust, at Lockerly – in order to cater for larger numbers of young people, with over 70 attendees, including 6 from Wilton Parish Church.
A change in Deanery personnel, and also the increase in scale, prompted a request to bring the Pulse Camp accounts under the control of Wilton Parish.
The PCC agreed in principle, subject to the Parish Treasurer’s approval, after seeing the “Pulse” accounts.

“The Hermitage Ensemble” – singers from St. Petersburg – returned to the Parish Church in March for a concert of Sacred and Secular music, attracting a large audience and staying overnight with members of the congregation.

In April, the Parish Church hosted the Salisbury Branch of the Prayer Book Society, for their AGM and Evensong.

The Parish Church was closed/partially closed for a number of weeks in April and May as urgent Electrical repairs and (unexpected) emergency repairs to the gas main and flooring were undertaken.
In May, the Bishop of Ramsbury, Rt. Revd. Dr. Edward Condry, presided at a service of Confirmation in the Parish Church. 5 adults and 8 young people from our own congregation were Confirmed – the largest group for 25 years.

Also in May, the Parish Church hosted the “Visitation Service” at which more than a hundred Churchwardens were commissioned for the following year. As well as the warmth of welcome, the Archdeacon commented on the quality of the organist and choir and thanked them for their contribution.

The Archdeacon returned in July, to Commission our two Lay Worship Leaders, and also in October to lead the Principal Eucharist for the Feast of Christ the King.

Services for Holy Week and Easter followed the comprehensive pattern established in 2015, following a major review. These were well attended, as was the Ecumenical “walk of witness” on Good Friday, although it was again noted that many regular members of the Congregation were away for the holidays, leaving the remaining core to minister to a large number of visitors.

In early September all three of our Churches welcomed participants in the Wiltshire Historic Churches Ride and Stride.

Mid-September brought a visit from Glass Specialist, Pascale Lemaitre, from Paris – recording detail from the windows in the Parish Church’s main Apse – in the hope of recreating some of the panels originally from the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

Parish Share continued to pose a serious challenge to the mission and ministry of the local church. After the annual APCM four parishioners volunteered to form a “Finance Group” to scrutinise Diocesan Spending and the fairness of what parishes were being asked to find. The PCC recognised the need for ongoing promotion of Stewardship matters and also the need to press for the greatest possible clarity and accountability in Diocesan and National Church Budgets.

More happily the Treasurer announced that Wilton Church had been left a generous bequest of £160,000 – from the estate of the late Gwen Filbee – which, subject to certain “provisos”, could provide valuable opportunities to strengthen the PCC’s work.

Pastoral Offices

In 2017, parish clergy officiated at 19 baptisms, 12 weddings and 17 funerals.
(In 2016 – 25 baptisms, 9 weddings and 8 funerals.)

Community

Members of all three churches are involved in other community groups and organisations – including Wilton 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 provided two Foundation Governors and two other Governors at Wilton and Barford School.

As Trustees of the Wilton Middle School Educational Trust, the Rector and Churchwardens contributed further significant grants to local schools, the Youth Centre in Wilton, Youth Action Wiltshire (for work with Young Carers) and provided assistance to one mature Student in financial difficulty. The Rector continued to attend monthly meetings of the Wilton “Town Team” and to represent Wilton at Area Board “Youth Network” meetings.

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”.

A steady flow of tourists and pilgrims visited throughout much of the year, although the disruption of closure I the early Summer proved disruptive – not least for the dedicated group of “church guides”.

In April the District Scouts Association again held their annual St. George’s Day Parade and Service at Wilton. Attendance was lower than in 2016, due to the fact that St George’s Day fell during school holidays. Around 300 participants joined in the Parade and Service, followed by a bonfire, picnic and games on the Rectory Meadow.

The Parish Church’s Summer Festival was replaced by a three-day Flower Festival, celebrating 40 Years of the Bemerton Flower Group.

Wilton’s “Mayor’s Sunday” was held on 17th September, the nearest Sunday to St Edith’s Day,

Remembrance services were well attended in both St. Catherine’s and the Parish Church, and a sizeable congregation gathered at the War memorial on Armistice Day for a short Act of Remembrance.

An appeal to villagers, ahead of St. Catherine’s Patronal Service in November, elicited a generous response of around £6,000.

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. New costumes were provided by donations from the Order of Foresters and the Wilton Christian Fellowship, enabling a far larger “cast” to be drawn from the Primary School.

The County Carol Service was held in the Parish Church, on St. Nicholas’ Day (6th December) – with the Bishop of Salisbury as preacher and a large and appreciative congregation.

In the Rector’s absence, the Curate and Baptist Pastor officiated at the annual Carol Service for the Pembroke Centre (Riding for the Disabled).

The Primary School Carol Service, in the Parish Church, marked not only the end of term but the end of the Jan Nock’s ten years as Head, and also of Claire Rendall’s time as RE coordinator and Worship leader. The service was prepared and delivered by staff and pupils.

The Christmas Fayre was again held in the Community Centre, with a similar format to previous years. Despite a cold start to the day, attendance was good – thanks in part to church-members delivering “flyers” to local residents, and to the offer of transport to elderly residents living along The Avenue – thanks to the loan of the Scouts’ minibus.

An ecumenical group of Carol Singers serenaded residents at Olivier Place and discussions ensured about the possibility of further events in the communal area.

“Welcome” leaflets were delivered to all new houses and apartments before Easter.

For the second time in 18 months the Editor of the Parish news stepped down with no obvious successor. It was decided at the November PCC to discontinue the “magazine” format and to produce a slimmer “Newsletter” which could be produced more easily and more cheaply. It was further agreed that this would be delivered free to all households in the parish on a quarterly basis.

Buildings

St. Mary and St. Nicholas’ Church:
The Town Council continued to arrange the grass cutting, and other aspects of the churchyard continued to be maintained to a high standard, largely due to the efforts of Nick Barsby, Neill O’Connor and David Fraser.
A Large Corsican Pine tree, which had been struck by lightning in 2016, was deemed to be unsafe. This was reduced in November to leave a 20 foot “monolith”.
Two local craftsmen were entrusted with salvaging some of the wood taken down with the aim of producing objects for sale in due course.
A feasibility study was also undertaken as to whether the church’s current lighting system could be adapted to house LED bulbs throughout. In December two sample fittings were trialled and the electrician was asked to draw up detailed specifications for the Archdeacon’s approval.

 

St. Catherine’s Church
A new 3-phase electrical supply was installed and heaters were replaced.
The War Graves’ Commission identified two graves in the Churchyard and asked to install a commemorative plaque.

St. Peter’s Church
The heating was overhauled and certified safe for use, enabling services to be held during a greater portion of the year.
The lighting remains unsafe to use, however, and awaits further restoration of the building.
The churchyard continues to be maintained – with the assistance of Andy Hogan – and remains open for burials.