Latest Team Rector’s Report

28 Jan

Team Rector’s Report Winter/Spring 2015

This report covers principally the Christmas season, although you will note below that there are some key issues which have been raised by the diocese recently that we will need to discuss.  Please see the appendix to this report.

December proved to be its usual busy month for the churches of our Team.

  • Swithun’s held a very successful Christmas Fayre and raised £800 for church funds.
  • During the period of Advent ‘The Haven’ proved successful at St. John’s. The worship followed a Celtic pattern and included hot chocolate and cakes!
  • John’s and St. Swithun’s hosted a series of well attended carol and Christmas concerts including the New Elizabeth Singers. The Gallery Quire, which only performs in two churches which retain galleries each year, came to St. Swithun’s and the church was full.
  • Mary’s played host to the Sir John Colfox School carol concert and St. Mary’s CE school carols as well as the ‘Blue Light’ carol service for our local emergency services. All were well attended.  Many passersby and shoppers came in to see the Nativity.
  • Holy Trinity Bradpole hosted the Preschool Christmas concert.
  • Tots@ten and Munch Club had Christmas parties.
  • Churches Together in Bridport open air nativity in Bucky Doo Square was blessed with excellent weather this year and a large crowd of shoppers and passers-by gathered to watch.
  • Of the seven memorable events reported in the Mayor’s review of her year in office in the Bridport News FIVE were initiatives of or hosted by St. Mary’s in Bridport on behalf of the Team.


I thought you might like to read a comment sent to the Headteacher of the St. Mary’s after the school carol service:

Dear Staff and Pupils, I have just returned home from the Carol service with a song in my heart and happiness in my soul.  There was a real sense of family and the church and school felt at one with each other. Thank-you to all for everything you did to create such a meaningful, heart-warming service blending the traditional and the new. Once again it is a privilege to say to people that I have a link with St Mary’s and that it is a brilliant school. Have a happy, sprout and sock filled Christmas.”

And this comment from the Headteacher of Bridport Primary School about the Christmas hampers and stockings:

Having nominated a large number of families I was anxious that some may feel embarrassed or upset to be singled out. The opposite was however apparent immediately I invited the families to pop in and see me. I was overwhelmed by their responses which ranged from tears to hugs….no one felt compromised and all were touched by the kindness shown to them. I was left feeling like Mother Christmas spreading a little happiness. After the holidays with all festivities behind us imagine my surprise when representatives from at least 8 of the families approached me or other staff during week 1 back at school to thank us again for the ‘huge hampers’ that arrived in time for Christmas Day.  For some this was undoubtedly the thing that allowed the holidays to be a positive experience. I feel privileged to have been allowed to play a small part in your wonderful scheme. A difference was made this Christmas in the homes of some of our very special families and for this I thank you and anyone who donated to you. I know you enabled my pupils and their families to find a reason to smile by reminding them they are valued and cared for.  The ‘Travelling Nativity’ rested in 12 homes.  Some Mums commented: ‘a lovely addition to Henry’s first Christmas, thank-you’ and ‘We loved having the nativity. Peter made each person sing their part in his school’s nativity and Sam invited Batman to join in!’

We had the full range of Christmas services including carol concerts, crib services and celebrations of the Eucharist. This year St. John’s and St. Swithun’s had a combined crib service in West Bay. Holy Trinity Bradpole held a Christingle service which was well attended as was the Crib Service at Bothenhampton. St. Mary’s Walditch celebrated a ‘Messy Christmas’ which resulted in a shepherd keeping an eye on things over the season!

The trend in attendance seems to be that crib services are well attended and growing while midnight Communions and Christmas morning is declining. There seems to be a cycle of folks being at home one Christmas and away the next, but attendance at night and on Christmas morning is often made-up of visitors. At St. Mary’s in Bridport, for example, attendance at the crib service was over 200, more than 75 up on 2013, but attendance at the midnight service was almost halved. St. John’s West Bay had 60 at worship on Christmas morning.

Cupboard Love: The response to Cupboard Love was of particular note this year. Several thousands of pounds was donated in cash and donations of food stuffs was tremendous, so much in fact it has created a storage problem. Morrisons, Waitrose and Barclays Bank all had bins for food to be left. LIDL continue to be extremely supportive. Nina, the owner of the local fruit and veg shop, organised a donation of fresh produce for the Christmas hampers and our local health food shop donated sacks of rice and porridge.

Fifty individualised Christmas hampers were prepared and delivered to homes that had been identified by our local schools and other referring agencies. (There are now XXX such agencies). A further fifty Christmas stockings were distributed to families in need. Mustoe Shorter solicitors donated twenty hampers which were distributed via Bridport Charities to senior citizens.

There was a staggering amount of work involved in this and I would like to record my thanks to Chris Newton-Evans the Cupboard Love co-ordinator and her team of volunteers who worked so tirelessly to ensure the gifts were purchased, sorted and delivered.

Christmas is our busiest season. All of the above is in addition to the normal weekly ministry of the church. Late December/early January has been busy with a number of funerals.  Schools work and chaplaincy has continued apace.

A huge ‘thank-you’ to all who were involved in the myriad of activities and jobs who made our celebration so meaningful.

Staffing: Revd. Janis Moore has begun a three month period of cover in the Golden Cap team as Revd’s Skinner have gone on sabbatical.

Revd. Ringer continues to help out in the Bride Valley team.  A new Team Rector begins his ministry in May.

Revd. Margaret Preuss-Higham was licensed as Associate Priest (house for duty) in Chesil Churches on 20th January and has thus left the Bridport Team. We wish her and the family every blessing and happiness.

Revd. Richard Adams has withdrawn from active ministry at the moment following the serious stroke suffered by his wife just after Christmas.

Revd Pete Stone has attended a week’s training at Amport House in his role as a Reserve Chaplain.

Mr Peter Jezzard has announced that he is to retire as Director of Music at St. Mary’s, Bridport in April.

In recent months several of our LPA’s have stood down or moved away.  I am pleased to say that three new LPA’s have completed their training. We also welcome Mrs Dove, an LPA in Bride Valley who is transferring to Bridport Team. She, Steve her husband and daughter Gemma worship at Bradpole/Xalt.

Communications and Mission Outreach: The numbers of volunteers who deliver The Bridge has declined in recent months. This means that a growing numbers of copies remain undelivered each month.

The sermons recorded at St. Mary’s Bridport and which are featured on our Team website have been downloaded over 2,000 times, an average of 92 additional listeners for each sermon. The single most popular was a sermon entitled ‘Feed the poor’.

I continue to offer a weekly ‘Just to say’ to the Bridport News and will continue as long as the invitation extends.  The certified circulation of the newspaper is 8,000.  So, if between 1-10% of the readership read the article, it means contact with a further 80-800 people a week.  Well worth the effort!

There have been two successful Men’s Breakfasts at Holy Trinity, Bradpole and a similar meeting of men is planned to be hosted by St. Mary’s in February during evenings.

Walditch held a successful ‘Curry Night’.

Weycroft Reunited is not holding any meetings over the next quarter.  Members of the team are meeting for prayer to discern the best way forward.

June Goodburn is standing down from Saturday Club at St. Swithun’s.  Membership has declined of late.  June has been involved in youth work at the Church for nearly 40years and I would like to record my thanks to her for this marvellous commitment.

National Holocaust Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was marked with readings and reflections at St. Mary’s Bridport.

Church 2004 2012 2013 2014 % decline in last 10 & 3 years Electoral Roll 2013 Electoral Roll 2014
Allington 116 59 54 43 63/27.3 87 81
Bothenhampton 54 38 39 37 32/2.6 69 69
Bradpole 133 60 54 49 55/18.3 98 93
Bridport 117 77 73 77 35/0 117 116
Walditch 35 13 14 13 63/0 31 31
 West Bay 28 8 6 6 79/25 15 14


APPENDIX to the Team Rector Report 

A comparison of Share count figures and Electoral Roll.

Mr Gil Williams, Chair of the DBF notes ‘These are the count figures for Share returned every year by each parish – in other words the adult worshipping community (18+).  So the decline across the Team for the last eleven years has been from 483 to 225 – 53.4% – as reported to us.’

The Electoral Roll figures (as reported by our Team Electoral Roll Officer) show a decline on the roll of 2.65%, 2012-2013.  Across the Team there were 16 additions and 27 deletions.  Of these, 9 moved away, 12 died and 6 changed church.

We have been in long-term decline for over a decade.  According to the figures above, over the last three years:

I would ask DCC’s to review their figures for church attendance for 2012-2014.

  • What trends and patterns are discernible?
  • Who might be on the Electoral Roll but not attend worship (i.e. through infirmity or ill health)
  • Who have we lost and why? Who have we gained?
  • Some figures are discounted. g. harvest, civic occasions and other special services. When included do they change the picture at all?
  • What other church activities are taking place that might be deemed ‘Fresh Expression’ but not show on the figures?

We recognise that:  our congregations generally are aging.  This ‘demographic time bomb’ is facing the whole Church. The need for mission strategy has been recognised, something underlying the philosophy behind our Mission Partners.  The appointment of a Team Vicar for the whole team who acts as Community Mission Partner is also a recognition of this need.  It is very early days for Pete Stone in this post.

I wish each DCC to take responsibility for a short report (500 words) about their current issues/challenges and areas of growth and that these form the basis of on-going discussions at the PCC.

I acknowledge that this is about numbers and that can be a very blunt tool by which things are measured and judged.    I completely acknowledge the amazing commitment of so many dedicated people who do so much in the Lord’s name, that is that discipleship + commitment = social capital.