Lastingham Group of Churches
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2007
The reports presented to
the 2008 Annual Parochial Church Meeting
16 April 2008
Electoral Roll & Easter Communicants
Worship, church attendance and
Music & Choir
Work with children
Ministry to visitors and pilgrims
Financial Statements for 2007
Fabric & Churchyard
The Friends of Lastingham Church
1. ELECTORAL ROLL & EASTER COMMUNICANTS
There has been a
slight increase to the Electoral Roll figures since the new Roll
was prepared in 2007. The figures for the four parishes are given
below, and this year with the former barometer of Easter
(in population of ~1350)
2. PCC ACTIVITIES
There have been
a total of 23 PCC meetings. Apart from the usual housekeeping
matters of stewardship, finance and maintenance, highlights of the
year’s discussions were as follows.
met only once, and matters discussed included:
and limitations of sharing of ministry between priest and people.
music & worship: the danger of losing core liturgical texts, the
Psalms in particular, through apathy and disuse; the challenge
this poses to us. Choosing the music.
usefulness to us of away-days and pilgrimages. Possible
proposal to appoint a Stewardship Officer/Giving Officer (Penny
Leask has been appointed).
Zimbabwe: a proposal for a small contribution from the Lastingham
Group of Churches.
idea of a traditional church fete, with each Church and the
Friends of Lastingham Church participating.
met eight times, and matters discussed included:
importance of accommodating children in church.
Giving: towards renewed efforts in best practice.
Organ Project (a working party was set up to operate as a
subcommittee of the PCC).
need for a churchyard and maintenance working group (set up in
Crypt stones: what to do with them.
for a Lastingham Festival: ‘Flowers and Angels’
many evident priorities but scarce resources for achieving them.
met four times, and matters discussed included:
future of Christ Church: the need for an all-hands-on-deck
approach if this church, like so many in Britain, is not to become
redundant, and in particular a call for as many as possible to
attend the monthly 10.30 Eucharist on a regular basis.
appreciation of the celebration the 10.30 Eucharist with informal
commentary instead of a traditional-style sermon, making it a
‘teaching service’ for confirmation candidates and others.
to two good musical events (see below), a flower workshop at
Burlington House, a confirmation service and some new helpers, the
PCC felt that 2007 had ended with a much brighter outlook than a
met six times, and matters discussed
Corner: the provision of picture colouring sheets at the back of
the church for visitors’ children is very popular.
duties of PCC members, especially of regular church attendance.
the sharing of ministry between priest and people, the necessity
for training for those involved in various church roles and
duties; the need for PCCs to look favourably on the value of
training at all levels; e.g. for instruction about the duties of
sidesmen, and how to read the Office.
advantages of some sharing of duties between the parishes.
purpose of combined PCC meetings – to meet up with other churches
in the benefice and share ideas about the wider issues of church
a ‘best practice’ in the management of Regular Giving; how to
encourage our people to give regularly and realistically – and the
need to set a good example ourselves.
decision to hand out Gift Aid envelopes, with hymn books and
service sheets at regular services and also at baptisms, weddings
& worship: brief review; the desirability of offering course fees
for our musicians.
advantages of participating in liturgy, worship and music
elsewhere. Hence a plan for one or two Sunday mornings away.
the new entrance; mowing regimes (Living Churchyard regime is
followed; voluntary or paid labour?
met four times, and matters discussed
and worship: a brief review; prayer boards; All Souls-tide
Representation Rules: in view of the difficulty of filling the
posts, the need to encourage a culture in which everyone should
take a turn – on the understanding that they can stand down after
a year or two.
and Giving: the danger signals of lack of financial health; streamlining
Gift Aid procedures.
Charitable giving: St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy, the Barnabas
Fund; Eliah Mafigu in Zimbabwe.
the 2007 Lenten exercise was reported – looking at the past,
problems of the farming community; the sad loss of the Cropton
future: in an ageing population, churchgoers too will be aging.
But special services are well attended, and the church was still
important to people. Those who have had a baptism, marriage or
family funeral to be invited to take on some small job.
reservation of gravespace not normally necessary, since all
present and recent parishioners have the right to be buried; tree
work (phase one successfully carried out)
3. WORSHIP & CHURCH ATTENDANCE
to be a service in each of the five churches on most Sundays and
Festivals. Some follow the 10.30 Eucharist through the villages,
but a good number follow the more traditional 8 o’clock Holy
Communion from the Book of Common Prayer. Others attend the
service in their own village even though the service and the time
will be different each week.
The core congregation of the five villages remains about 60
in winter (that’s 4.6% of the population), while attendances in
summer may be over 100.
are due to three retired priests: Canon Gerald Pearce and
the Revd Michael Stephens; and to the Revd Maurice Pettitt for
faithfully attending the Saturday Morning Prayer at Lastingham and
for his strong support generally.
availability of clergy is generating a difficult dilemma: should
we reduce the number of services – thus decreasing church
attendance and therefore financial income? Or should we strive to
keep up standards at all costs? One solution is to have a
layperson read Morning or Evening Prayer for just a few people in
those churches not having a celebration of the Eucharist that day,
thus ensuring that every building is used at least once a week and
prayers said for that village. We are trying this out when it
communicants last year were lower than might have been hoped – at
105 compared with 117 in 2006. That’s 43% of the Electoral Roll.
weekday Office continues to be held in each church, at least once
a week in rotation, in addition to the weekday Eucharists in
Lastingham and Rosedale. The weekday attendance, at around 26 per
month, is very commendable. Weekday attendance is considered a
good barometer of spiritual health in a parish.
The Choir and
one or two of the PCCs have studied the question of whether
worship is a ‘consumer’ activity. Do we go to church mainly to
‘charge our batteries’ or is there something more involved? It can
be well said that attendance out of pure duty, as a
witness to others, is not ‘hypocrisy’, but may be a spiritually
mature way of looking at things.
Occasional Offices in 2007 were at follows:
& Blessings of Civil Marriages
4. MUSIC & CHOIR
The Benefice Choir
We are pleased
to report that the Benefice Choir is now moving into its fifth
year. This committed group of singers continues to meet weekly and
work hard to learn new repertoire, whilst maintaining established
material, to support many of the larger services across the
It has been a
challenging year for the choir, following a rather discouraging
Christmas and the continued difficulty of working without an
organ. However at this time we feel a sense
of new life and encouragement in our ministry. We have recently
been joined by some additional singers and are working on a more
systematic Sung Eucharist to a setting by Martin Shaw, who
wrote very much for parishes like ours.
In Holy Week
2007 we again hosted the Archbishop and clergy for a Chrism Mass
at St Mary's Lastingham – a privilege, and a considerable
challenge for our small choir.
second year we have enjoyed collaboration with Fr Alexander of
Ampleforth Abbey and the Choir of Our Lady and St Chad,
Kirkbymoorside. It was a privilege for many of us to take part in
an Orthodox Liturgy at Ampleforth in November and in a follow up
recording early this year.
have also enjoyed visits from the
Chanticleer Singers, the Elizabethan Singers, the Staxton Singers,
and York Chapter House Choir.
We have been
pleased to see the successful launch of the Lastingham Organ
Project, and as a group within the Benefice the choir are putting
considerable energy at this time into fundraising projects. In
May we will be hosting a second Three
at Lastingham, once again sharing our voices and our venue with
two other local choirs, the Elizabethan Singers and Echo. We also
look forward to close involvement with the Festival of Flowers and
Angels in August.
We have been
pleased recently to have increased our number of singers from
around the benefice, but would also like to renew
our encouragement to those of you who may like to join us. If you
enjoy singing you would be most welcome to come along and try us
Concerts & Playreading
programme continues to attract large numbers of visitors from the
Ryedale music community and from further afield, and we have been
able to welcome some fine amateur and professional musicians
(often sponsored by generous benefactors). During the year we have
hosted six concerts in St Mary’s (which was always full to
capacity) – two choral concerts, and four recitals of chamber
music. At Appleton-le-Moors two wonderful musical events
were held: Jamie Walton’s Bach by Candlelight – a recital
of three of the Bach cello suites; and the Archdeacon of
Cleveland’s Organ Lecture and Recital. (Our Forster &
Andrews organ has been declared an instrument of historic
significance, and ought to be registered with the British
Institute of Organ Studies.) At Lastingham in November we
put on another play-reading, when a number of local people
gathered in St Mary’s to read through Dorothy Sayers’ The Zeal
of thy House. Everyone enjoyed the experience, and we hope to
do more in the future. Between 2001 and 2007 Lastingham
Church has hosted 35 concerts, with audiences generally between 50
Lastingham Organ Project
By the end of
2006 the Lastingham organ was unplayable and had been declared
past restoration. Lastingham Organ Project was set up in August
2007, and has the tagline ‘Bringing new life and music to an
ancient church.’ A late 19th century organ by Peter
Conacher has been earmarked for us, and is to be restored and
adapted. Selected pipework from the existing Lastingham organ is
to be re-used. Some new ranks and other equipment are to be added
to make the instrument suitable for recitals. The replacement
organ, restored and adapted, will benefit church and community: as
well as being used to accompany choir and congregation, it will
also be a recital instrument, and be a wonderful resource for
encouraging present and future organists. We have almost 65% of
the funds, either in hand or pledged – a magnificent effort.
Lastingham Organ Project will enable good music, encourage
organists, and be a resource for younger musicians. All this will
help to renew our musical and liturgical heritage at a local
5. ECUMENICAL ACTIVITIES
Our choir once
again joined with the choirs of Our Lady and St Chad, and All
Saints, Kirkbymoorside, in the singing of the Liturgy of St John
Chrysostom at Ampleforth Abbey. St Mary’s hosted a celebration of
the Divine Liturgy by the Orthodox Church in Doncaster. Groups
from Ampleforth Abbey and elsewhere continue to celebrate Mass in
Lastingham Crypt. In 2008 it is hoped that we shall again host
the group of asylum seekers, whom we have got to know, inviting
their contributions from the various countries and denominations
they represent. At Hartoft, in the parish of Rosedale, an
Anglican Eucharist is held each month in the Methodist Chapel (or
in a private house in the colder weather). Appleton and Cropton
parishes continue to alternate a service with the Methodists each
month. – ASF
6. WORK WITH CHILDREN
Lastingham & Spaunton
collaboration with Rosedale, a Children’s Mass has usually been
held once a month. More help is however going to be needed in
working with children and young people, if there is going to be a
church for the next generation. – ASF
This year we were proud to host a confirmation service, and two
of our previous Sunday School children ‘graduated’. The
preparation for this took the form of an informal commentary plus
hands-on assistance by the children at the monthly 10.30
Eucharist. At the Crib Service the handbells were played once
again. Although further Sunday School sessions are not being held
at present, it is planned to build on the work already done, and
it is hoped that activities such as hand bell ringing, as well as
assistance at the altar, can be kept up
Our Sunday School continues to be held on the 3rd Sunday of the
month during the 10.30 service, with an attendance of between
three and six, plus occasional visitors. When a ‘special’ service
takes place we often get a record number of children e.g. Harvest
Thanksgiving 27, Mothering Sunday 14. The Mother and Toddler
service is held on first Friday of the month at 9.30am. The
children like to help prepare the service and serve at the Altar.
Two of our ex toddlers, now at Rosedale School, regularly attend
the 10.30am Eucharist and are assistant servers. On the
social-side we held an Egg Hunt on Easter Day and in December, to
round off the year, a hectic afternoon making decorations singing
carols and trimming the Christmas tree. – SKG
The Vicar continues to visit Rosedale School each week, to take
assembly and teach the children. In these days when it is
sometimes considered un-PC to teach Christianity in non-church
schools, this is an important part of our outreach into the
community, providing in many cases virtually the only contact with
It has again been a pleasure to have children read at the Harvest
Thanksgiving and at the Carol Service. – ASF
7. MINISTRY TO VISITORS & PILGRIMS
In the seven
years from 2001 - 2007 almost 160 groups have taken part in a
Quiet Day or pilgrimage at Lastingham. Most of these represent
bookings from outside. Some bring their own priest and celebrate
the Eucharist in the Crypt, and some ask us for a talk or
conducted tour. In many cases visitors have been given
refreshments or a simple lunch. In summer this can seem quite a
substantial part of the our workload, but we gather from their
comments that this ministry is appreciated.
Pilgrimages & Quiet Days at Lastingham:
figures include a small number of benefice events.
It is also clear
that a large number of people visit our churches, often lighting a
candle or placing a prayer request on the board. Last year over
5000 people signed one of the visitors books. If it is true, as
research suggests, that one in eight visitors sign the book, this
means that in 2007 we received well over 40,000 visitors.
the visitors books
(= recorded numbers x 8)
St Mary &
St Laurence, Rosedale Abbey
In 2008 it is
intended in Rosedale to provide light lunches – soup, sandwiches,
etc., for walkers and visitors on some weekends. We will inform
local walking groups of our intentions with dates, etc. and put up
8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
available separately, and are presented by each Treasurer.
Sincere thanks go to all who have done the bookkeeping and
compiled the Accounts over the past year, or helped with them in
any way: Gerald Blakey, Alison Dodgson, Sara Goodswen, Anthea
Read, Nigel Roberts, June Scarth and Terry Sunderland. Mention
must also be made of those who count the collections, empty the
wall boxes and bank the money. Thank you also to our Independent
Examiners: David Anderson for Lastingham, Hutton and Appleton,
Alison Dodgson for Rosedale and Sally Sleigtholme for Cropton.
Tax-efficient Regular Giving
Parish Share **
light, insurance &
figure includes legacies totalling £10,500.
Some of the
Share (Common Fund) has not been paid.
A note on Signpost magazine
covers both church and community and is published
eight times a year. About 420 copies are printed in summer (less
in winter), of which about 50 are distributed to hotels, holiday
cottages and campsites, and another 25 sold in the churches. Over
20 are sent by post. A donation of £1 is invited, or £5 for the
eight copies. Revenue from advertising in 2007 was around £540
(for which our thanks are due to Jo Taylor). This year shows a
small deficit. However, the purpose is not to make a profit, and
as has been mentioned a number of copies are left free of charge
in holiday premises. Thank you to all who contribute in any way –
writing, dealing with the advertising, editing, folding,
delivering and collecting the subscriptions. – ASF
9. FABRIC & CHURCHYARD
The lead of the
roof on the north aisle was replaced following the theft in
The lighting in the Crypt needs to be upgraded, and this is being
looked into. The other recommendations of the latest Quinquennial
still need to be addressed. A wonderful set of Purple vestments
and hangings for Advent and Lent have been purchased
with the help of
a legacy made some years ago specifically for that purpose. –MSC
The building has
been maintained in good condition with the help of many volunteers
during the year and no problems have been encountered. –
A new altar
superfrontal in Red has been made by Sue Fleus and Eileen Chapman
of Teale Embroiderers, to replace the old one. Alan Hughes
from the Whitechapel ell Foundry (who originally made our ring of
six bells) inspected the bells and told us they were in need of
much restoration. The handbells too were inspected, and need
restoration. The woodwork in the bell tower needs Rentokil
treatment. – MI
St Mary and
St Laurence, Rosedale Abbey
No major work
has been undertaken this year, as all our energies have been
concentrated on the new entrance, but there is outstanding work
from the last Quinquennial. We have had a quote for
repair/renewal of the east window of the sacristy. The fitting of
the roof plates and painting of the ceiling still need to be
done. It is hoped that we will have the funds to do the new
church lighting whilst the scaffolding is in place. We had a
visit from Patrick Nisbet of Maison Bouvrier, who has quoted for a
new Green altar hanging, pulpit fall, and veil and burse. –
has been carried out on the stained glass windows, and an estimate
obtained for cleaning and restoration. The work will be carried
out when funds permit. A new electric door lock has been installed
to replace the old one. We are shortly to have the outstanding
electrical work completed, together with replacement of any faulty
radiators. The rest of the fabric appears to be in a very sound
condition. – AMT
There has been
great progress tidying up the churchyard. We now have a rota for
cutting grass and general maintenance work, and it is looking much
better cared for. In the Spring the south path was re-laid, the
cost being borne partly by the PCC, partly from financial tributes
to several of our much loved members who have died, and partly by
a gift from the Friends of Lastingham Church. – MSC
has been maintained in good condition throughout the year with the
help of volunteers and a contractor, at minimal cost. – AGC
has been maintained in fairly good condition. A new oil tank on a
concrete base has been placed next to the northern boundary
fence. – MI
St Mary and
St Laurence Church, Rosedale Abbey
The highlight of
the year must be our new entrance, which is nearly finished.
There have been a few problems, but these are being resolved and
it is hoped that work will be finished by early summer 2008.
William Foster took over the grass cutting in the churchyard in
August and has made a splendid job – it is hoped that he will take
on the job in 2008. We are continuing, as best we can, to follow
the guidelines set for us by the Living Churchyard Project.
The churchyard is nearly full and we are in negotiation with
Faccombe Estates regarding a plot of land for new gravespace. –
earlier this year a clump of conifers was felled, which has given
a more open aspect to the churchyard and has uncovered some
gravestones which were hidden by the trees. The area exposed is to
be raked over and seeded. At the same time the yew tree by the
church door was taken down to base, and will now be kept in shape
as it grows again. The two yew trees by the gate need further
pruning, but due to the weather this will probably now have to be
postponed until the Autumn. It is hoped that the path will be
re-gravelled later this year. – AMT
10. THE FRIENDS OF LASTINGHAM CHURCH
Last summer the
Friends organised a concert by York Chapter House Choir, which was
well attended and evidently much enjoyed. The 2007
Lastingham Lecture (the fourth) took us far forward from Celtic
and Saxon times to the nineteenth century; Dr David Miller of the
Physiological Society spoke on Sydney Ringer, a Pre-eminent
Victorian: his Place in Medicine and at Lastingham. The
Friends has provided funding for the re-laying of Lastingham
churchyard’s south path, and have also offered funds for a set of
folding chairs and a disability ramp. We were sorry that in
January 2008 Neil Davidson, who had founded the Friends in 2004,
resigned as Chairman. It is anticipated that a new chairman will
be elected at the AGM to be held in May.
11. DEANERY SYNOD REPORT
A report was
received from Diocesan Synod on their proposals for coping with
the reducing number of clergy. This generated much discussion.
The administrative skills needed by churchwardens, treasurers and
others were to be recognised as gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Team building is important, for both support and leadership.
team of Readers would form an essential part of future rural
had expressed his thanks for the deanery almost meeting its
obligations in contributing to the Common Fund
(95%) – AM