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Nunthorpe Methodist Church
Connaught Road,
Nunthorpe,
Middlesbrough
Sat Nav TS7 0BP
Rev Susan Greenwood (Superintendent)
suegnms@ntlworld.com
 01642 288075

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Page last updated 11/5/20

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Annual Church

Report 2019

Our vision is …

To make the best use of our resources and, in partnership with other churches, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our local community, and work for peace and justice in the world

Letter from the Minister

Dear Friends,

I would like to warmly invite you to the Annual Church Meeting which will be part of our Worship on Sunday 8th September 2019. Thank you to those who have sent written reports for inclusion into the Annual Report and thank you to Geoff Payne and Elaine, our Circuit Administrator for collecting, compiling and printing it for us all - it really is a good read!

As you read, I hope, like me, you are tremendously grateful for the way God has blessed us over the past year. We have so much to be thankful for - new friends and Members - new groups and opportunities to serve and new ways to express God's Love in the community.

If you haven't experienced some of the newer groups, please do go along and see for yourself what is happening and encourage them by showing an interest, you might like to go again!

We are all very grateful to those who serve the church in so many ways, practically; looking after the property and finances and those who lead and help with the various groups as well as those who lead both adult and children's Worship on Sundays and through the week.

In the past year some of us have shared in happy celebrations, the birth of a child into our family, weddings, special occasions with loved ones, achievements, of which we are rightly proud. It has been good to be part of those times of joy. For others there have been times of sorrow, illness or anxiety when we have greatly valued being part of the church family at Nunthorpe. At these times, we have been able to share and serve in a very special way.

All this is what makes us part of the Body of Christ and makes me overwhelmingly grateful to be your minister - it is an enormous privilege.

As I write this letter, I am aware that this time next year I will have, (in that inimitably Methodist phrase), 'sat down,' to most of us that means, 'retired.' So, I sincerely hope and pray that these next twelve months will be really positive. We should soon hear if we have been successful in finding a new minister for the Circuit who will also serve as our Superintendent. Nunthorpe is well represented on the Invitation Committee and has offered clear and visional advice when writing the profile.

So, what should we be doing over these next months? I believe we should be supporting, with prayer and action, those things which we are already doing so well. Who we are and what we do sits under the umbrella of 'Our Calling.'

We are called by God to Worship him. We are called to Learn and Care. We are called to Serve him as we serve his people. We are called to invite other people to know God and have a relationship with him through Jesus, in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. Praise God! this is happening at Nunthorpe, and he will bless us even more, as we seek to serve him today and tomorrow and into the future.

HOW? We need to be equipped through prayer and study of his word. We need to be equipped for mission both inside and outside the walls of the church building. We need to be invitational and hospitable; remembering ALL are welcome, people similar to us or different from us, and we need to be equipped and ready to share our story of faith and tell why and how we know Jesus is our Lord and Saviour.

This is my prayer, will you make it yours, too, as we journey together through these next months?

With sincere Love,

Sue

Church Stewards

The present Stewards are Ann Gartside, Brian Henderson, Linda King, Jillian Lambert, Jennie Mc Neal, John Parratt, Cynthia Robson, Sunhil Sinha and Janice Thomas.

We meet every couple of months and with the help of the minister help the smooth running of the church referring some matters to other committees.

Recently we have requested more hymn books, as there never seem to be in the right pews, and some tune books for the choir. We discussed what to do with the old hymn books and decided to keep some as they contain hymns not in the other books and copyright is an issue. All hymn books not in the pews are now together in a bookcase in the crush hall.

We recommended lighting along the side of the church where the trees screen the streetlights. Another suggestion was more sockets in the large hall. It was realised that the church didn’t have a benevolent fund which we thought was need in the present climate. This has now been introduced.

As well as duties on a Sunday, the Stewards are responsible for church rotas, articles in Snippets and the Services at the Oaks. We suggested altering the time there to 5.30p.m. and this is working well although numbers fluctuate. Two of our Stewards are on the Committee which is overseeing the stationing of a new Superintendent for September 2020.

Jillian Lambert

Property & Finance Committee Report

The Property Committee has a membership that includes our Minister, Church Treasurer,

Committee Secretary and six Property Stewards. Accountable to the Church Council, the Committee is responsible for the effective stewardship of Church finances and for ensuring that the premises are fit for purpose, both for regular worship and for the many groups and organisations that use it.

This report is concerned with the property only. Kay has provided a separate report addressing

finance. Mark has also provided a report concerning safeguarding and health and safety.

Noah’s Garden continues to be an outstanding success, much enjoyed by members of COGS and also the many children who attend Play and Chat.

The latest project has been the refurbishment of the Lounge. This has given the Church an excellent leisure and meetings facility. The Committee is grateful to the Church member who paid for this work and also to Janice and her team for expediently implementing the work.

At the request of the Church Council, the Committee looked at the possibility of creating a car park on the Church premises. The conclusion is that this project cannot proceed because the Church cannot afford the estimated cost of £30,000 and no grants are available.

Recent repairs and maintenance include;

- Paving of the area behind the Guide Hut. Also, the hut has been refurbished.

- Replacement of the windows in the Choir Vestry.

- Repairs to leaking windows in the Church.

- Maintenance of the play area in Noah’s Garden.

- Routine cutting of the lawns and tidying of the adjacent bushes and shrubs.

- Annual inspection of portable electrical equipment.

- Servicing of the gas heaters.

- Annual inspection of the fire extinguishers with some items replaced.

- Tuning of the organ.

Projects for the coming year include;

- Replacement of failed window units in the COGS room, Small Hall and Main Hall (£900).

- Security lighting above the path on the east side of the Church.

- Additional electrical sockets in the Main Hall.

- Painting of the Crush Hall and the Main Hall, subject to funds being raised.

- Purchase of a digital projector.

Lettings continue to be a source of essential income for the Church. We thank Marilyn and John for their ongoing management of this activity.

We also thank Janice for cleaning the Church premises to a very high standard.

Keith Armstrong

Chair (July 2019

Finance

Reporting on the financial year 1st September 2017 to 31st August 2018 the church had a small excess of expenditure over income of £1835.

You will recall that earlier in the year I produced an information sheet which highlighted the income and expenditure streams and the fact that to break even the church needs in round figures £1010 per week, I am always emphasising the need to encourage everyone to engage in regular giving and that giving is reviewed by people every year to ensure that we can at least keep up with inflation. It’s important to particularly consider ‘standing order’ type giving which tend to get forgotten about!

We are fortunate that weekly groups continue to flourish and bring in our local community - particularly at Play & Chat and Nunthorpe & Marton Knitters. They too make a valuable contribution to our funds and I know many now feel welcome and have a real affiliation to our church.

A generous donation allowed for the redecoration of the Lounge area. A great team effort by Ryan, Abigail, Janice and Christine. This has, however, made us realise that the rest of the premises have not been decorated since our refurbishment in 2001 and so I will attempt to budget for this in the coming year.

Since my last report we have a new cleaner, Mrs Janice Thomas and I think that you will agree that she has made a significant difference to the cleanliness of our lovely premises.

Kay Braithwaite - Treasurer

Church Life and Mission Committee

Mission in Britain Sunday was held on 28th April 2019. The service was led by Rev. Charity Hamilton, recently appointed into the Circuit.

Boxes opened 80.05

Envelopes from Home Missions Sunday 179.39

Total £259.44

World Missions 2018/2019

World Mission Church Service was held on 5th May 2019, and was led by Rev. Richard Andrew, Chair of District.

Boxes opened 48.66

Envelopes from World Missions Sunday 74.97

Total £123.63

Dorothy Douglas - Missions Secretary

Health and Fire Safety

Following the reform of fire safety legislation, the Finance and Property Committee took steps on behalf of the Church Council to comply with the requirements of ‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’ by appointing a member of the Committee to carry out the protective and preventative measures required.

A comprehensive Fire Safety risk assessment is carried out on an annual basis (most recently in March 2019) following the servicing and testing of all appliances and detection systems and fire safety is discussed as a standing agenda item at all Finance and Property Committee meetings. The church complies with the ‘Smoke-free’ legislation enabled in July 2007 with appropriate signage and the adoption of a supporting policy statement.

In similar fashion, a Health & Safety assessment of risk is carried out annually and the results reported to the Finance & Property Committee for attention as required.

Mark R. Braithwaite (July 2019)

Pastoral Committee

The pastoral care of our Church Family is important, everyone connected with our Church belongs to one of our pastoral groups, whether they are members or on the Community Roll. We have at present 15 groups, those serving as Pastoral Visitors are Christine Armstrong, David Alford, Irene Barratt, Helen Click, Dorothy Dodgson, Catherine Everitt, Rose Ghosh, Diane Gordon, Shirley Hinchley, Jackie Johnston, Cynthia Robson, Jean Scarlett-Carr, Lalita Sinha, Ruth Taylor and Jenny Winnard. The Pastoral Visitors try to visit the people in their group each quarter, distributing the ‘Memo’ magazine, Snippets newsletter and Circuit Plan, and the yearly Membership tickets. They will pass on to the Prayer Group any requests for prayer or concerns to the Minister. The Pastoral Committee meets annually, usually in November, to review membership and discuss any changes needed in pastoral care. Visitors have a re-dedication and communion service each year. Hopefully, by their efforts, the Pastoral Team are creating and strengthening the bonds of love and fellowship within our Church Family. Dorothy Dodgson.

MHA – Elder Care

This useful Methodist Charity endures throughout the UK. Main areas for donations: Music Therapy (this church); Chaplaincy - every home has access to a Chaplain; Live at Home Scheme for those who need a assistance for day to day care - shopping, lifts, companionship etc. whilst staying in their home. The Book Table money (30p to buy or borrow), is with MHA at present, it will change to Action for Children in August.

Check information stand for magazines and other reading material - take home if interested. Many thanks. Helen Click – Rep

Women’s Hour

Women’s Hour going from strength to strength, good number of core members, we have had a good season of interesting activities and speakers, not to forget the friendships we have together. Tea and biscuit time are full of chatter which we like, hard to shoo people away to lock up, which is good, we are all having a good time, this year members were very generous in the collection, we raised £600 for charity. We decided to give as usual £300 to Church Funds, thanks for use of the room, £100 to The Renal Unit James Cook, £100 to Air Ambulance, £100 to Davidson Trust. We are now on our Summer Break re start in September when we have decided to meet 2nd and 4th Wednesday’s, instead of 1st and 3rd Wednesday’s. Hopefully over the Summer Break I will be able to devise another exiting programme, not forgetting our old favourites, Christmas Party, Strawberry Tea etc etc. Rose Ghosh Secretary. p.s. thanks to our small group of men (husbands) who rally round to give us a helping hand.

Contact Ladies Fellowship

Throughout the programme we have been both educated and entertained by a wide variety of speakers ranging from 'Pierrots' to 'Twitchers'. We invited three charities whose representatives made us appreciate the lifesaving work done by 'Blood Emergency Volunteers,' ‘Leprosy Mission' and N.E. ‘Air Ambulance.' The musical evenings were popular, we sang and tapped our feet to three of those, and a beaded Christmas card was the result of crafting session which we all enjoyed. The Christmas and Easter devotions were once again extra special with thanks to Rev Sue and Ruth Taylor. Thank you also to Shirley Hinchley for organising our theatre evening. This year the excess subscription money was donated too Church Funds, Methodist Women in Britain, Zoe's Place, Blood Run Emergency Volunteers and Leprosy Mission. This was agreed at the A.G.M. The 2019/20 programme begins on Tuesday 3rd September 7.30pm. Come and join us. Joy Britchford

Coffee Morning

Once again, the Coffee drop-in centre has enjoyed a successful year. The knitting group has continued to increase their numbers and people attending have enjoyed the company and conversation. We have continued through August, and my sincere thanks go to members who provide the service from September through to July. Our Minister Sue joins us every second Tuesday in the month, for a short service and we thank her for this. Mavis Williams

Luncheon Club

We have had a successful year with luncheon club meeting on a Thursday, monthly from October to June. Numbers average 40 members. There’s a lovely atmosphere with much ‘buzz’ of conversation and quite a few laughs.

The Christmas luncheon 2018 was particularly well received. We were delighted that ladies from Nunthorpe & Marton knitters joined us for their celebrations too. Extra numbers mean extra helpers and we are glad to say that as usual church members ‘stepped up’ and helped. We also were grateful to Kim Tsang for her musical accompaniment and to The Avenue Academy KS2 children who sang beautifully for us. The knitters ran a raffle, which raised £110 for church funds.

For the year 18/19 we also donated £580 to church funds in lieu of use of the kitchen and heating – so a total of £690 for the year.

We have some new members and we’ve also managed to recruit some new helpers in the kitchen – a huge thank you to them, they certainly help to take the stress out of those last minutes before ‘service’!

Julie O’Key & Kay Braithwaite

Action for Children

2019 marks 150 years of Action for Children supporting disadvantaged children, young people and families across the UK. Unfortunately, that work is still needed today.

Financial contributions from members of Churches like ours are very welcome to help the work continue.

During 2018, I was able to send these amounts on your behalf;

Book stall to August 2018 202.00

Home collecting boxes 119.21

Christmas card display and box 96.50

Christmas morning collection 273.50

Primary School concert 141.00

Total £832.21

The Gift Aid envelopes received on Christmas morning were forwarded to Action for Children for their office to submit that claim.

All amounts have been acknowledged and letters of thanks displayed in Church for all to see.

The Christmas card posting box was used again by request and was welcomed. However, more Church members are now using the display boards. One card to the whole congregation and the saving to the work of this charity.

The book stall income will again be for Action for Children from August 2019.

Thank you on behalf of Action for Children for your support.

Christine Armstrong.

Food Bank

There continues to be a collection point for Foodbank in the Crush Hall, and this is delivered with any money donations to the Baptist Church at Coulby Newham who has a Foodbank session once a week on a Monday.

The Harvest donations were taken to the main depot at Skippers Lane.

All donations are very gratefully received, and some members of church give me monetary donations on a regular basis. I have given Foodbank a total of £500 from September to June (this includes the Harvest collection).

I would like to thank you for your continued support to this invaluable service which helps poorer families in Middlesbrough, who struggle to feed their children.

Many thanks,

Julie O’Key

Music Group

As members of the congregation will have noticed the number of singers who meet regularly on a Sunday morning has reduced in recent months.

However, because of the dedication of the members we always manage to provide some musical input to our Morning Worship, whether it be an introit, a prayer response or a blessing, a fact of which I am very proud.

We, as always, have experimented with different types of sacred music, sometimes singing unaccompanied, sometimes in parts, sometimes using soloists and sometimes employing our talented guitarists.

We are not discouraged by the fact we are a small group because we know we can count on members of the congregation to swell our numbers on special occasions, in particular our musical men folk.

During the early part of this year I invited some members of COGS to join us. We enjoyed having them with us and they said they enjoyed being with us. There are some very lovely voices amongst our young people, and it is my intention in September to involve them perhaps once a month.

Another innovation this year has been the involvement of the choir in supporting Worship Songs sung by Kim Tsang. This is a refreshing change and has introduced the choir to the works of modern composers who write for voice and keyboard. I am pleased that her contributions have been extremely well received.

Music and singing have always been an integral part of Worship at Nunthorpe Methodist Church and I am always open to ideas for new music.

Sadly, during the year, we have lost two very loyal members, Chris Howsam died just before Christmas, and Hazel McAllister left to live in Scarborough. We miss their presence and dedication very much.

I am grateful to Linda King, Helen Click, John Parratt for their help in rehearsals.

However, thanks must be expressed to the loyal group who come early every Sunday morning to learn new music in order to praise God in our morning service. Thank you to you all

Beryl Lindley July 2019

Junior Mission for All

Junior Mission for All

We continue to have six young JMA (Junior Mission for All) collectors and last year was another good year for JMA fund raising from this church, as the children collected £562.75 which was an excellent result.

A very big thank you to all our collectors and their supporters. Certificates and badges were presented to the children in October 2018.

Julie O’Key JMA secretary.

Monday Morning Prayer Group

You will notice that the Wednesday Prayer Group has moved to Monday. We are thinking about meeting in the new lounge instead of the vestry.

We have had a busy year again with many prayer requests. Most requests have been “word of mouth” but Janice has put a box for prayer requests in the porch on the prayer table and I would encourage you to use it. We also suggest people to put in the Flower Book so if you know anyone who would welcome the flowers, please tell us.

Rose had the good idea of having a “Pray at home” group running alongside the morning group and that is being very successful because Rose diligently keeps in touch with all its members and updates them weekly with the current prayer requests. Please get in touch with her if you would like to be one of the “Pray at home” people. We still miss Mavis and Hazel very much.

Did you know that we would love anyone of you to join us every Monday or for a one-off session when you want to pray about something close to your heart?

We still pray our way through the directory, so be assured, every few weeks each one of you is lifted up to God in prayer.

We always thank God for his abiding presence with us and for his answers to our prayers.

May he bless each one of you.

Dorothy Dodgson, Rose Ghosh, Janice Thomas and Ruth Taylor

COGS

Our church is so privileged to have the wonderful children and we currently have 21 on our books and 4 leaders in myself, Marilyn, Janice, and Kay. This year has once again been a joy to work with these children and fellow leaders and we give our grateful thanks to all those on our rota to allow us to teach with safeguarding in place. All our helpers have commented on how much they enjoy their engagement with the young members – so if you can help by just being in with us – men particularly! please do contact me. The leaders meet and provide a plan of lessons from Marilyn’s expert help to give a wide range of topics, that is taught across the 3 age groups. Our boards have been revamped, and Marilyn has got one – so please do feel free to come and look at their works that we pin up each week. The nativity was under new leadership too this year as Julie continues to care for her mum, and we took on a more traditional script “The Nativity Story”. The children did themselves proud learning song and script that made our worship that day a joyous one. Our Annual Party of games and food was held in February too – that is always a fun day and lovely to have parents stay and join in. A big note of thanks goes to Janice and her young team for re-designing our lounge room for our older ToGS, they now have their own space to enjoy, and what a fabulous job they have done. We are embarking on a new activity under Janice’s leadership for a monthly ToGS gathering on the last Sunday each month, as an event to be for them by them as their development – so wishing them well and please do check their list - as we need helpers once more to be able to engage these next generation of church goers. This year has been proud to see four of our children confirmed and with such lovely declarations. a true inspiration. Many thanks to all for your help in bringing forward our future church. Jean Scarlett-Carr

Play Group “Play and chat”

We are delighted to report that we have had another busy, fun filled year at Play and Chat group. We have 60 families that attend regularly with an attendance of 40 children most weeks.

We offer a wonderful play environment for our children both inside and outside in Noah’s Garden. There is a craft activity for those that are interested, a session for babies and very young children, story time with singing for all, snack time and a parachute circle time to end the session. Once a term we have a pet’s corner with visiting guinea pigs and birds!

It is a very busy morning!

We have had wonderful support from many of our mums and grandparents especially at tidy up time. We have had regular offers of help in the kitchen and generous gifts of toys and books. Friendships have been made with families and relationships with church members are being established which has enabled us to develop Praise and Play sessions.

At Christmas time in 2018 we purchased a Nativity book published by the Bible society and were able to give one to every family. I heard comments like “she loves that book … I am sick of reading it!” “that is a real favourite in our house”. I believe the families appreciate that church is supporting this venture and we can speak up for our Christian values.

We do not need to advertise our group as we still have a big waiting list which will remain closed as we have had 8 new babies this year which deals with all the spare places we will have in September!

I am most grateful to all who generously give of their time – Play group needs plenty of helpers as we are so busy, so please keep your name on our lists which is in the crush hall. We are always pleased to hear of anyone who can give a day each half term. Come and join us –it is great fun!

Julie O’Key

Praise and Play group 2018-19

A new venture has started with preschool children and their families. Following on from the success of play group we are offering a bible story, praise and craft session on the first Monday of the month.

The team include Ruth Lewis, Kay Braithwaite, Paula Miller, and Pam Banks. We had our first session in October and two families came with three children. At Christmas there were nine children and we told the Nativity story. Some of the families that come are from our other playgroup, but we have families that come who have had other church connections in their lives and who also worship at other churches.

We meet in church and have a welcome and singing time with the musical instruments. We light candles to pray for those we love and are thinking about. We then have a story and so far, we have done, Jesus loves little children, Noah, Nativity and Daniel in the Lion’s Den. In January Light and Dark was the theme and in the craft session we made lanterns.

We have a collection of books of bible stories. We applied and were given monies from a Christian charity “Speaking volumes” and we created a small lending library for our children. We also had a donation from Nunthorpe News and from a generous member of our congregation. We have mainly purchase books with pre-school children in mind but also included some for our older COGS children too.

We have a time for play and chat and snacks, and we are making some more wonderful friends. One of the mums said it was a really special occasion, so it feels we are sharing God’s love in Nunthorpe. This is a time of family worship that is growing, and we would welcome anyone who would like to come and share in this worship.

Julie O’Key

Film Club+

Film Club+ continues to be a popular event for young people in our area. We average about 25 children attending Film Club+ which takes place one Friday every academic half term. Films screened this year include Nativity 2, Mary Poppins Returns and Hugo. The club remains free entry with a tuck shop and popcorn. I am very grateful to the core of adult helpers who support the event and ensure it can take place each half term. Jennie McNeal

Coach Outings

The coach outings held recently seemed to have been proved successful – if the progressively increased size of coach is anything to go by!! Starting with 18 passengers now up to 36!

After visiting The Dales, Hull City of Culture, City of Halifax and Kendal we have been blessed with fine weather, and suggestions for some fine events.

This year’s outing was suggested by Rose Ghosh after an excellent speaker described the Quaker Tapestry Museum at Kendal describing the development of the Quaker movement and involvement in improving industry and working conditions of their employees.

The museum consisted of a guided presentation followed by free time to further explore the exhibits and to explore the delights of Kendal – the town’s other fame – Wainwright the name known to all walkers in the Lakes.

Both the outbound and return journey by new reg 19 coach was through some lovely undulating scenery, the return trip was punctuated with a pleasant calorie encounter at the Kling’s Head at Ravenstone Dale that kept us energised on the way home!!

If there is still an interest for this type of event a suggestion has been made for a visit to Solitaire - a model village for mill owners’ workers - and surrounding area to places of interest -it is too early to divulge any more information yet!!

The date pencilled in is (DV) Saturday July 11th, 2020 - the equivalent date in July as previous years which has been generally acceptable!

Brian Henderson 15/07/2019

Organ

Played regularly every Sunday. Also, for baptisms and funerals when requested. Very few weddings! Well supported by the Choir, led by Beryl and Linda; also Minister and Congregation. Other musicians – Eric, John, Catherine, Kim. The amplifier is perfect from pulpit to organ – so good to hear the hymn number announced! There are times when I have occasionally been invited to play other organs in the Circuit: eg Stainton, Normanby, Marton; and have scaled the heights to reach the organ in Avenue Methodist to play for MAP Nativity. Sited near the ceiling! I enjoy speaking to other organists if I attend an evening service. Two spring to mind: Charity’s Welcome Service at Grove Hill - good to talk to Colin Bennison. Circuit Service at Trinity- interesting conversation with Geoffrey Foxall. Helen Click

MAP - Methodist Asylum project

Donations continue to be taken on a Wednesday morning from this Church e.g. clothes, bedding, kitchenware to Avenue Methodist Church. Where there is a clothing and household drop in. Breakfast is served, and I have assisted with this, the volunteers work very hard giving help in many different areas. The Ragman calls regularly to collect weigh and donate. Children who are not at school, play and many sports are tried. The English language is learnt, and there is a wonderful atmosphere. Helen Click, Volunteer

Safeguarding Update.

We have all seen safeguarding issues continue to hit the headlines locally, nationally and internationally. It seems that not a week goes by without some current and/or historic allegation(s) making the news and the church in its broadest sense features large.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA for short) continues to hold public hearings and publish their findings. The most recent commentaries focus on historic abuse cases emanating from the Roman Catholic Benedictine Congregation and the Anglican Church although the Inquiry has recently set its sights on scrutinizing a much broader body of faith denominations, including the Methodist Church, a piece of work that will be outlined later this summer and gather pace as we move through 2020.

The Methodist Church is committed to safeguarding as an integral part of its life and ministry. Safeguarding is about action that we as a church take to promote a safe culture and environment. This commits us to promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults; working to prevent abuse of any type from occurring and seeking to protect and respond well to those that have been victims of abuse as well as those who might pose a risk.

Following the Past Cases Review (Courage, Cost and Hope) published four years ago, a significant amount of work followed looking at every aspect of safeguarding across the Methodist Connexion. In consequence, updated Policy, Procedures and Guidance were issued by the Connexional Safeguarding Team in April 2017 and this continues to inform our practice both across the circuit and in local churches.

The procedures are extensive and cover:

• Theological context.

• Safeguarding policy requirements.

• Organisational structure and responsibilities (at Connexion, District, Circuit and local church levels).

• Procedures for responding well (to both victims and those who might pose a risk).

• Information sharing and confidentiality.

• Promoting safer practice.

It is important to recognise however that it is people who protect, not procedures and the underlying aim of the guidance is to improve safeguarding understanding generally and to create a sustainable culture of ‘informed vigilance’ across all aspects of our collective ministry.

It is also important to note that responsibility for the implementation of Connexional policy and procedural guidance lies with the relevant trustee body ie. our Church Council.

Current work focuses on:

• an ongoing programme of DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) applications and refresh applications for people appointed to various roles and involved in various activities (eg. worship leaders, youth leaders’ pastoral visitors etc..) through our service provider Due Diligence Checking Ltd (DDC) NB…Methodist Church policy is that DBS applications must be reviewed/refreshed every 5 years;

• acting as an interface with our minister to ensure advisory support and policy compliance;

• linking in with the Regional Safeguarding Officer (RSO) on casework as required; and

• the coordination and delivery of both Foundation and Advanced Level safeguarding training to those that require it.

In addition to the above, as the current volunteer lay chair of the Regional Safeguarding Group (RSG) covering both the Darlington and Newcastle Districts, I have continued to work closely with Carolyn Godfrey (the employed RSO) in providing advisory support as required to the two District Chairs, Rev. Richard Andrew and Rev. Stephen Lindridge, as well as to Ministers and other circuit safeguarding officers across the two Districts.

The safeguarding landscape continues to evolve, and I am on hand to provide whatever help and/or practical assistance I can to any person that requires it.

Mark R. Braithwaite

Church & Circuit Safeguarding Officer (July 2019)

Table Talk

We have a new monthly afternoon group in Nunthorpe Methodists, it’s called Table Talk, a time of Cake, a Cuppa and “guided” Conversation! We meet the last Thursday of most months, at 1.30pm in Church. Table Talk is a set of over 100 laminated cards, each with a different question for discussion letting us share views and memories. There are questions on all sorts of topics like: How did you meet your husband/wife/best friend? If you could enter a time machine, what time period would you go to? What are your memories of illnesses or hospital when you were a child? What’s one thing you know for sure? What fills your heart to bursting point?

In just over an hour, our group can share thoughts and opinions on between 3-5 of the shuffled cards, leaving the rest for another time. The thing is that everyone has an opportunity to contribute and the group takes time to listen to the individual stories. Everyone has within them a story to tell! And we love listening to the shared memories. As well as serious moments, there is a lot of laughter and discovery in a Table Talk session. All are welcome!

Ruth Lewis

Worship

When we realise worship is about pleasing God, not ourselves, worship takes on a whole new meaning. We begin to understand that worship can be part of our everyday relationship with him, not something confined to an hour on a Sunday once a week and maybe twice at Christmas and Easter! You've seen the car sticker which I think was first thought up by the RSPCA, it reads: 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.' Well, we could well turn the spelling of 'dog' around and make a slogan which reads:

' Our God's for life, not just for Sunday's/Christmas/Easter/Holy Days/Troubled days. . . . '

There's a story told of an elderly couple who are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. The wife says to her husband, 'You never tell me you love me.' Indignantly and not lifting his head from the newspaper, the husband of sixty years replies, 'I told you I loved you the day we were married, if that situation ever changes, I'll let you know.'

How lovely that his love never changed for his wife in all those years - but how much more wonderful their relationship could have been if he'd been able to tell her he loved her just occasionally!

That must be how God feels sometimes. The whole purpose for creating us was that we could be in a loving relationship with him - and that loving relationship needs expression.

For us Christian disciples, worship is a way of life. Worship offered as grateful response for all God is and does involves all our lives: our work, our rest, our enjoyment of creation, our service, our eating, our giving - and yes, our gatherings with fellow disciples for the focused activity of praise and worship. So, every part of our lives can be done as acts of worship to the glory of God. As can the celebration of Holy Communion, the singing of hymns and songs, art in all its forms, the offering of our hands, hearts, minds and bodies. In fact, our devotion, our love can and should be expressed through our whole being as part of our rhythm of life.

In our church family there are so many opportunities to express our Love for God; from the faintest cry of the infant brought for Baptism or in Praise and Play - to the silent sobbing of an elderly person in the Oaks or at the Communion Rail.

There are as many stories of our relationships with God and how we tell him we Love him, as there are people in the community of our church. I hope, over these next months to invite some of you to share your stories with us all.

With Love,

Sue

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