Annual Report 2023















MAY 2022 – APRIL 2023



RECTOR’S REPORT – Revd Canon Howard Gilbert

In the last 12 months we have been seeing more and more of our pre-lockdown activities coming back, as well as more new projects coming online.  We certainly live in interesting times. 

Our vision is to offer something to people of every generation, and to people of every stage of faith.  This is partly born of our being a people who have two commandments (love God and love our neighbour as ourselves) and a commission (to make disciples of the nations).  This was also born of our need to address the challenge of our ageing congregation.  This is hard work, and we are proud of what we have achieved so far, not least through our partnerships in the benefice and through Churches Together.  A great deal of this work has been maximising the opportunities God has brought our way.

One measure of the health of a congregation is, I think, if new people are joining our number, and we are really delighted that we have welcomed a number of new members to God’s church here, and our Junior Choir has now spawned a Youth Choir. 

Challenges that continue to face us are:

  • Paying our full parish share is increasingly difficult.  Despite the remarkable generosity of our congregation, it is increasingly clear that our existing congregation cannot support our financial outgoings, and that we must continue to work hard on mission and church growth, as well as creative financial solutions.
  • Encouraging younger people to worship with us was never going to a quick fix, but Junior Choir and Youth Choir are beginning to show real fruit, both for them as individuals, and also for our worship experience.
  • Opening up our church building to the community continues to go well.  Warwick continues to put on wonderful concerts, events like Experience Christmas and Easter have been powerful ways to engage with all ages at Minchinhampton Primary, and we are seeing a steady stream of concert bookings as well as week-long bookings for choirs to make recordings.


Our staff team has been maturing, with Coral (our curate) taking on responsibility for Box church, and Tracey (on long term pastoral placement from theological college) is about to be ordained and will continue to work with us in the role of a curate.

Part of our strength as a church stems from our retired clergy, both in wisdom, but also in the hard work of delivering ministry in a new and very challenging generation.  We have been covering for the vacancy in Avening and Cherington for some time, and we are just starting to cover the vacancy in Amberley as well.  There cannot be many churches in the diocese that have such strength in clergy.

Looking to the coming year, we will be hoping to:

  • Build on our vision as a church, committed to bringing in God’s Kingdom together.
  • Explore ways to go deeper in faith, and be more powerful in prayer.  New house groups and a course on praying in power are in the pipeline.
  • Continue to develop our work in the community.  Making the most of our partnership with other churches and community organisations.
  • Continue with our 6Ps fundraising campaign.  We are now focusing on fundraising ready for our organ to be taken away and refurbished for around 10 months from September.
  • Develop our working relationships with the rest of the benefice, Churches Together in Minchinhampton, and also with our neighbouring churches in Avening and Cherington, bringing more blessings upon each other as we work as a team.


Over many generations we have built fabulously strong foundations.  Now we are beginning both to rely on those foundations in challenging times, but also to build the church of the future in a way that could not be without those foundations.

The Revd Canon Howard Gilbert






ELECTORAL ROLL – Jackie Natt, Electoral Roll Officer

The Church Electoral Roll is our parish church’s register of electors. It is the list of those qualified to attend and vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM).

The APCM is where the elections take place for the PCC (Parochial Church Council) and the parish’s representatives on the Deanery Synod. By enrolling, you become a voting member of the Church of England and so help ensure that all the church councils are fully representative of its members.

We are now at a total of 217 people.

This is exactly the same number as 12 months ago …however, since April 2022, 6 people have sadly died and have been deleted off the register. So, as the number has kept steady, this means that we have had a growth of 6 new people .

This is only a 2.6% growth …but it is a growth!! This is good news as over the past 3 years (and during Covid) our numbers were dropping significantly.

 If you are not on the ER and would like to be a member, please use the application form at the back of the porch room. Once completed, the forms can be left in my pigeon hole in church under ‘N’.

We take GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) very seriously and the only people with access to the ER are myself (as ER officer) and the clergy

Thank you.


PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL – Margaret Sheather, Honorary Secretary

At the APCM Angie Ayling and Caroline Thackray were re-elected as Churchwardens and William Reddaway was elected to the PCC.  At its first full meeting the PCC co-opted John Jutsum to continue as Honorary Treasurer. Margaret Sheather and Jackie Natt continued as Honorary Secretary and Electoral Roll Officer respectively.

There were four members of Deanery Synod.  The Synod brings together all the clergy and representatives of the laity from across the Stroud area.  It provides a forum for sharing ideas (or problems!), hearing about developments across the diocese and is a channel of communication through from the parishes to the leadership of the diocese.  It elects representatives onto the Diocesan Synod and onto the General Synod.  Our representatives have been Alison Wood, Jackie Natt, Julian Elloway, and Margaret Sheather as our representatives.

The Parochial Church Council has met ten times during the past year with all meetings this year able to be held in person with the exception of an extra meeting held in August by correspondence to agree the response to a theft of lead from the church. It has a total membership of 15, of whom 9 are ex officio (clergy, reader, wardens and deanery synod representatives).  Average attendance was 12.

Ministry in the Parish was carried out by Revd Canon Howard Gilbert as Rector and Revd Coral Francis as curate.  Linda Jarvis has continued as Reader and Tracey Clements, as an ordinand, has taken an increasing role. They were also supported by a number of retired priests.

PCC meetings covered a wide variety of issues which were thoroughly discussed.

  • The implementation of the Vision that had been agreed during the previous year
  • Regular updates on the work of and relationship with the Community Hub
  • Approval of an updated Safeguarding Policy, an updated employee handbook and updated and simplified schedule of fees for use of the church and porch room..
  • Regular updates on the progress of fundraising for the Organ Project, which has been very successful.
  • A range of fabric matters, including the installation of improved live-streaming equipment, the receipt of the architect’s Quinquennial report and its recommendations, which needed to be considered alongside an electrical survey report.  The latter led to approval of necessary expenditure to ensure safe and efficient systems were in place. 
  • Approval of a churchyard plan that will now be taken forward by a committee, including the installation of a bicycle stand.
  • Registration for and early actions to get endorsement of the EcoChurch scheme.
  • Appointment of a new Foundation Governor for the school


The Treasurer provided quarterly finance reports and at the meeting held on 21st March he presented the year end accounts which were agreed.  Regular reports were also made on safeguarding and Deanery Synod.

Warm thanks are due to Joan Goldsmith, Ian Jarvis and Tracey Clements whose terms of office end this year.

Further detail of the parish’s activities can be found in the reports from Committees and Organisations later in this report.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – John Jutsum, Honorary Treasurer

These are provided in a separate report.

FABRIC REPORT –Angie Ayling and Caroline Thackray, Church Wardens

6Ps progress

Organ restoration project Work by the Organ Restoration Project Group has continued with growing success. By the end of October, £156,685 had been raised from a variety of sources including a successful sponsorship scheme. At the end of the year, actual and pledged funds had significantly increased to £172,785.35. Our fund-raising target has thus reduced to just under £60,000k. This has given us sufficient confidence to sign the contract and thus ‘fix’ the overall cost of the project.

The 6Ps fund-raising Group has been revived (suspended during the covid pandemic), and there are a number of fundraising activities planned for the months ahead.

Progress overall is really encouraging, but we continue to work to keep up momentum and meet the target. Please contact Leonora Rozee or one of the church wardens if you are able to help.

The restoration work is due to start in June, with the organ being removed from church in September and is due to be reinstated towards the end of September 2024. In the meantime, the piano will be used instead. A celebration will be planned for its re-installation.

Windows There is some good advice in the commissioned reports (April 2021 and August 2022) from specialist glazier, Dan Humphries. The Hardman windows in the chancel are in need of attention, but he recommends some further environmental monitoring before proposals for treatment are finalised. The glazing in the rose window in the south transept needs conservation, and the QQ architect advises the need for masonry repair as part of this programme of work. It would also provide a good moment to conserve and re-present the medieval tomb/monument to John Ansley and his wife, Lucy. We will continue research and planning for this project as advised by the specialist advisers, which is timed to follow on from the completion of the organ restoration.

Other fabric issues

Porch room kitchen – problem with damp again Last July the masonry lintel above the window was repaired to prevent damage from rain leakage. Unfortunately, this seems to have failed and again, we have a damp problem in the same place. Nick Miles (builder) has been informed and we await his decision on what action to follow.

Live streaming The faculty for work to upgrade the sound system and provide for live streaming was finally granted in April 2022, when our updated GDPR policy for ‘live streaming’ and ‘privacy’ was approved. DM Music spent a week in June installing the new equipment, and returned in October to complete it. This has provided a greatly improved and easier to use system and we have successfully (with an occasional ‘blip’) been broadcasting certain services and events since then.

During the installation work, to enable access to the cabling ducts, it was necessary to have some of the paving stones lifted. To make this easier and less expensive for the future, stone access panels are to be fitted in the stone floor inside the sacristy and choir vestry. 

Electrical inspection The regular (3-4 yearly) Electrical installation condition assessment took place in July. Unfortunately, it reported a number of issues to be resolved before a satisfactory certificate can be given. The more urgent of these have been prioritised (with professional advice) and a work schedule and quotation approved by PCC. The remedial works are about to take place (Feb 2023).

Quinquennial review The quinquennial review by the architect, Anthony Feltham-King, took place in August. It produced a full and very helpful report. This mostly reflected that the church fabric is ‘generally in very good condition’, but not surprisingly, flagged up the need for the electrical remediation work as a priority for action. He stressed the need for particular vigilance on maintaining clear gutters and removal of vegetation where it appears, on stonework; this was already planned as a regular task and took place in October. He noted and approved work to date on the planned major projects of the organ restoration to be followed by the windows project.

Lead flashing theft from porch room roof In early August, all the lead flashings were stolen at night from the porch room roof, leaving these roof areas vulnerable to water ingress. With advice from the architect and builder, we sought and were given diocesan consent to replace the stolen lead with an alternative, approved material (tern-coated steel) to avoid repeated theft. This was achieved during September and a successful insurance claim promptly presented.

Eco Church Group This group has been formed to help us begin and progress the task of moving towards the Church of England goal of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions. The PCC has made a formal commitment towards improving the environmental credentials of the church, starting with working towards a Bronze level award.

Churchyard Group This small group arose from a desire to make more of our beautiful churchyard and improve its environmental and wildlife as part of its regular management. More detail is given below.

Welcome Group A small group focused on creating improved presentation of the church, explaining its liturgy, mission and ministry, and history. A work in progress!!

Warm Spaces We have joined the wider ‘warm spaces’ Minchinhampton network, inviting anyone to come into church on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy the warmth, security and companionship. It is well supported and we hope that it offers sanctuary from a chilly winter and high energy bills.

Visiting sculpture – by Peter Barnes During the summer and until the end of November, we were fortunate to be able to host an unusual and extraordinary contemporary sculpture of ‘The Last Supper’. Installed temporarily in the Lady Chapel, it attracted a good deal of interest and visitors, many of whom became regular callers. Our dedicated visitors’ book soon began to fill up, with some lovely comments made. The statue was only with us for a few months and then moved on to Cirencester, St John’s – its next port of call, where it also seemed to be much cherished.

The Churchyard The churchyard has undergone a positive transformation over the past year with the appointment of Steve Bennett to carry out the mowing and the development of a committee to carry out some strategic planning and put this into action. A plan has now been developed for the mowing of specific areas; Steve has a range of machines to cope with the different needs of each area. Two churchyard clearing days were held (spring and autumn) with a number of volunteers coming along to help (and one of these volunteers now regularly strims the cremation area). Huge thanks are due to Gerald South for all his work on this.

The lime tree avenue was pollarded in the autumn – a task which was long overdue; more work is needed to some trees to address health and safety issues as well as manage the trees themselves.

A car crashing into the wall by the lychgate in the early autumn necessitated applications for listed building and faculty consent before it could be repaired; it was therefore lying in pieces for many weeks.

A faculty application is now in for the installation of bicycle bars to enable cyclists to be able to secure their bikes; listed building consent was not required for this.

Three information boards have been erected to explain very clearly what is and is not permitted on and around the graves; the next step here is to contact families where graves continue to contravene the rules and ask them to remove the offending items.

The flagpole was repaired before Christmas with the cost being paid part by a generous donation from a member of the congregation and part by the Parish Council. Thanks to David Goldsmith for arranging this.

Our volunteers This report reflects a fraction of the work that is willingly undertaken on a regular basis by our church members. Thank you for all your support.


DEANERY SYNOD – Synod Representatives

Stroud Deanery Synod continued to meet three times a year in May, October and February.

The Deanery Strategic Plan has been a theme throughout the year as we continue to work on how parishes and benefices across the Deanery can work well together to have mutually flourishing and sustainable worshipping communities and resource clergy and laity for ministry.  As in our own parish, many congregations have a mixture of concerns about number and age but also encouraging new developments.  The next stage is for the plan in its current shape to be presented to PCCs across the Deanery, so watch this space!

In October there was also a focus on Living in Love and Faith as the report summarising the outcome of the consultation was published.  In February, the speaker was Revd Jo Wetherall, Diocesan Growing Faith and Spirituality Officer gave a thought-provoking presentation on inter-generational worship and community engagement.

Throughout the period, finance and the parish share continued to be a subject of concern. Parishes committed to £612,000 in 2022 as compared to the £786,000 requested by the Diocesan Board of Finance and, although there has been no percentage increase in the request for 2023, there is likely to be a similar shortfall.  It is recognised and appreciated at both Diocesan and Deanery level that parishes work hard to contribute what they can, but the Diocesan deficit cannot continue indefinitely.

Agendas, minutes and supporting documents are publicly available at . The current Deanery Synod representatives are Julian Elloway, Alison Wood, Jackie Natt and Margaret Sheather but their terms of office end this year and lay members are elected or re-elected this year so do consider whether you can contribute in this way.


ST BARNABAS CHURCH, BOX – Revd Coral Francis

Ann Morris continues to preside and preach on the first Sunday of the month, and Gerald South and I have worked together to help look after the other services in Box since September 2022.  Gerald has been regularly attending the Friday coffee morning and the Box Bar evenings in the Village Hall and I have been getting to know people whilst rehearsing with the Box Players for the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. 

As well as the usual Sunday morning services we have had a variety of special services including a baptism and a memorial service following a funeral. 

In September we celebrated harvest with a bring-and-share brunch after the Harvest service and donations of produce went to the Foodbank.

In October we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the dedication of the church building with a special Songs of Praise service, with members of the community sharing something about their favourite hymns.  Vera, one of the members of the congregation, was especially pleased to be there, as she remembered attending the dedication service!

In Advent Mary and Joseph (and their donkey) greatly enjoyed their journey around Box homes and would like to thank all those who gave them rest and shelter.  From their diary, which is still in the church, we can see that they had a lovely time meeting people in Box and their visit encouraged some marvellous artwork from some of their host.

Their journey ended as they arrived at the Crib and Carol service on Christmas Eve, an event which filled the church with villagers celebrating the Christmas message.  All possible seating spaces were used in the church, including the balcony – and some even stood during the whole service!

With thanks to the Box Committee for their support. 


The Committee has continued its regular work throughout the year to ensure that worship and related activities are well-planned and communicated.  We also look back particularly on major festivals and other significant occasions to see what can be learnt about how to improve them in future.  The prayer group has continued to meet and, in addition to the main prayer resources in the Lady Chapel, we have had prayer stations specifically for the war in Ukraine and the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria.


The following were the members of the Stewardship Committee: Tim Mowat (Chairman), The Revd Canon Howard Gilbert(Rector), Angie Ayling and Caroline Thackray (Church wardens), John Jutsum (PCC Treasurer), Pat Swift (Recorder), Geoff Lloyd (PCC), Peter Lapping, David White.

In 2022 stewardship receipts were above forecast by £4,700 

 Our 2023 forecast returns (figures for 2022 in brackets) are:

Number of regular contributors       139              (145)
Total pledged incl. Gift Aid                   £97,500      (£110,970)

We are very grateful to existing donors who generously increased their donations. These increases did not make up for the reducing number of donors unfortunately.

For 2023 the committee hope to raise the profile of Stewardship further during a campaign in the Autumn. We hope to further increase the number committed to the Parish Giving Scheme.
On behalf of the Stewardship Committee, I would like to thank all who have supported the churches over the past year, not only with their money but also their time and talents. The committee members are grateful to you all. We hope to see support for our living church continue strongly in 2023/4.

I retire at this APCM. I would like to record my thanks to all the past and present members of the Stewardship Committee with whom I have served on this committee over more than 15 years. 

PASTORAL CARE TEAM (PCT) – Linda Jarvis, Co-ordinator

Since the pandemic I can now report that life has returned to normal and that members of the PCT are able to visit the housebound in their own homes.  Communion services continue to be held at both Cecily Court and Horsfall House but on several occasions the visit to Horsfall House has been cancelled at late notice due to a Covid outbreak.  I am pleased to report that the service at Horsfall house, like Cecily Court, now includes hymns. A thank you to John Cleever who plays the organ at Cecily Court, and also to Judith Cleever, who comes every month as well.

The PCT met a couple of times this year, but the planned workshop by Pauline Godfrey on ‘Unconscious Bias,’ had to be cancelled, due to Pauline having compassionate leave. Next year I am hoping to have a talk about how to communicate to someone who is very hard of hearing as well as a Stroud Social Prescriber (A social Prescriber connects people to activities, groups and services in their community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing)

In 2022 Christine Gibson and Sylvie Thomas decided that it was time to leave the PCT and I thank them for their hard work over the years, however I am pleased to report that Jamie Dalrymple-Hamilton, William Reddaway and Stephen Jarvis, have joined the team so our numbers have increased to fifteen. Jennie South will be also joining the team as soon as her DBS check is completed.

Howard and Linda would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the Pastoral Care Team for their continued and much appreciated support.

For your information here is a list of all those who are currently DBS checked and who are on the PCT.

Paul Boon                      Stephen Jarvis                William Reddaway       

Mick Evans                    Judy Lucas (Box)             Cheryl Ritter                    

Sandy Emery                 Jackie Natt                      Margaret Sheather             

Jamie D-Hamilton        Lynne Swift                      Jane Walden               

Linda Jarvis                    Gill Price                          Alison Whitaker                             


Please phone Linda Jarvis on 01453 884545, if you know of anyone who would welcome a visit.

ECOCHURCH – Jennie South on behalf of Steering Group

The Steering Group was set up in June 2021, consisting of: Darren Clements, Lena and David Homer, Jo Smith, Jennie South, David Thackray and since November, Eleanor Chard. 

Caring for creation is an integral part of loving our neighbours and following Christ faithfully. The Church of England’s Fifth Mark of Mission is ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’ One way of helping us bring this vision to reality is by participating in the A Rocha UK Eco Church scheme. 

The A Rocha Eco Church award scheme provides a structured survey framework for this and as a church we are working towards the initial Bronze level award.
There are five areas of focus.
Community and Global Engagement
Worship and Teaching

We have undertaken an audit in relation to the survey questions that have to be answered under each heading. We have identified some small steps that could be taken which build on the things we are already doing. Much of this has been reported via the pew sheet, the Parish Magazine and directly to the PCC. We have liaised with existing church groups and committees asking for information, to make suggestions, and we have had an input in activities and events organised locally with others. We are building supportive and helpful relationships with other Eco Churches, locally and across the Diocese. In November one of the group took part in the Carbon Literacy Project run via the Church of England by the diocese. Following the end of course assessment they met the requirements of the Carbon Literacy Standard.

At the time of writing we are on track for submitting the survey responses so far in the hope of achieving the Bronze Award by June. It is important to note that this is a steering group. The Eco questions need to be considered in all our decision making as a church, by groups, committees and as individual members of it. It has been great to have such interest, help and some great ideas from many of you – do keep them coming. There are still many exciting challenges ahead.


Since April 2022, the hospitality team has seen several changes.

Mary Codling’s sudden diagnosis and subsequent resignation as chair was a huge shock to us all. Christina Gooch and Marilyn Browning admirably stepped up to take over the team and we are very grateful to both of them for their service.

Since January 2023, Darren and I have now taken over to lead the team forward.

In 2022 we had all the usual Church celebrations plus the Queen’s Jubilee (70 years) in June.

Coral’s first mass was also celebrated later in June.

In August we held a delightful cream tea afternoon in the porch room closely followed the next weekend by a Big Top service at the circus when we served breakfast afterwards. Both these events were very well attended.

The usual pre - Christmas events went ahead and it has been lovely to see more and more people coming back to church since the Covid epidemic.

As well as the church events, the hospitality team has been on duty for the numerous concerts when the church has been booked. Our church is so beautiful with good acoustics for music and the number of bookings for concerts and events has grown steadily this year. This is a lovely way to get people to visit our church ….as well as being a good financial asset.

We look forward to next year’s activities especially as a couple of new members have been recruited to the team. If anyone would care to join the team they would be very welcome.



Although we don’t see lots of children attending our Sunday services, there are a variety of ways that the church is interacting with local children and families.  Some of these are obviously ‘church’ events and others less so, yet they all have a Christian presence.  They are mainly described below, the the Junior Choir is covered in the music report above.

Children’s Church – Joan Goldsmith and team

Junior Church is an age-appropriate experience for our younger children, and takes place in the Porch room during the main 10.00am Sunday service. It does not meet when there is an ‘All-Age Service’ or another special event.  The sessions used, follow the Lectionary and are produced by ‘Roots’

Gill Price, Jo Smith and Joan Goldsmith lead the sessions on separate weeks.  However, we have requested that another adult is present for Safeguarding reasons and would welcome volunteers.

School Work – Revd Coral Francis

  • Collective Worship.  Minchinhampton Primary School has a church-led collective worship (or assembly) each week.  Twice a month they are led by Danny and Steve at MBC and twice a month by the Rector and me.  The school are continuing to keep KS1 and KS2 separate for school worship, which means that we have two assemblies one after the other – first the older half of the school and then the younger half.  Although we tend to give the same talk twice, it does mean that we can tailor the talk and questions a little more according to the age of the children, so that they can engage more with the topic.  This term the school chose the topic of ‘thankfulness’.  Last term Howard and I led a series of collective worships designed by the diocese based on theme of The Language of Spirituality – exploring the ‘ows, nows and wows of spirituality’.  Next term we hope to do something similar looking at ‘An Artist’s view of God’.
  • Experience Christmas.  This year’s ‘Experience Christmas’ for Minchinhampton Primary School was a little different, as we had ‘live actors’ – Mary, a gospel writer, a prophet, a shepherd and an angel – which really enhanced the story-telling for the children.  Some of the youngest children really did think that we had a real-life angel in our midst!  It proved such a success that we have plans to do something similar for Experience Easter 2023.  It is always encouraging to see the questions the children pose, showing that they are genuinely reflecting on the stories we tell. 
  • School visits.  The Rector and I have welcomed the children from school into church to explore big faith questions - the difference between Christianity and Judaism, what is the Trinity and why it is important for Christians, what is baptism, to name but a few.  It is good to be able to reinforce some of what the children have learned in class.

At the Minchinhampton Community Hub – Revd Coral Francis

  • Minchkins.  This is a mother and toddler group meeting in the Hub on Tuesday mornings.  It was set up to provide support and services for parents of pre-schoolers.  It is not specifically a church event, but there are church members who help out.  Special thanks should be given to Alison Wood, who regularly provides craft activities for the children.  Since September I have been taking in turns with Danny Brown (minister of MBC) to help fortnightly at Minchkins.  It has been a great way to get to know some of the families in the area.  Connections made there have led to two weddings and two baptisms. 
  • Youth Club. This is for school years 5-9 and has become really popular with 40-50 children coming on a Wednesday evening.  It is a community group, rather than specifically a church event, but the REctor and I, alongside Danny Brown (minister of MBC) are part of the leadership team and in regular attendance.  There are four young leaders, and four Duke of Edinburgh volunteers.  Craft is always provided as well as computer games, tuck shop, games and sport.  Enrichment activities include forest school, Sportily, circus skills with School of Larks, graffiti art.  Again, it is a great to have opportunities to build relationships with the young people. 

I have found it really exciting to see the connections made between regular church-goers and those who are on the edge of church – especially between school, Messy Church and Minchkins.  Relationships are being formed, trust is being established and families look forward to coming to church or to the hub for events.  My prayer is that over time these families would continue to be open and grow in their relationship with God. 

Messy Church – Deborah Smith and team

 Messy Church was re-established in November 2021 after the pandemic had caused a necessary break.  The next Messy Church was in February 2022 and centred on the story of Jesus walking on the water. It was very well attended and it was becoming increasingly difficult to make space for them all to sit in the porch room for the meal.

We have always had a Messy Church on Good Friday when the children create the Easter Garden – this is just a short session as it has to fit in between the 9 am service and the three-hour meditation starting at midday. It was very busy – a different group really as it is not straight from school and many visiting children come, and we serve hot cross buns, of course.

The summer session in June had a distinctly outdoor theme and we solved the sit-down meal issue by having a picnic. One of the problems we have always experienced is getting the parents involved in the activities. Messy Church has always seen itself as targeting families who generally are not church goers. It is not an after-school activity club just for children, and indeed we are adamant that children are accompanied. We were aware that occasionally adults were coming with several children – not all their own – and taking no responsibility for the children’s involvement in activities.

At the planning meeting for the October session we discussed changing the format slightly, principally to emphasise the Christian message more, and not providing a meal. This latter had always been a problem as we never knew how many were coming. From October we have greeted parents and children with tea and cake and invited them to sit down for an introduction to the theme of the day and what activities are on offer.  After sharing in a range of craft activities and games we have an act of worship. This has been well received and the next session in October (the story of Ruth and Naomi) was one of the best, although not quite so well attended. The Christingle Messy church in December was lovely and many families came to that.

This is a very important activity as it targets young families, who are the future of the church. We do have difficulty getting enough help for each session and a lot of arm twisting goes on! You don’t need to be “good with children”- we also need cake bakers and tea servers at the beginning of each session. Thank you to everyone who has helped and we look forward to 2023 and the five sessions we expect to have – one each term plus Good Friday and Christingle.


SAFEGUARDING – John Cleever, Safeguarding Officer from October 2022

Records of DBS checks and dates for renewal have been updated as far as possible but, unfortunately, gaps remain.  Forms have been sent out on request but before these could be completed & returned, new ones have been issued by the Diocese, making the task somewhat complicated.  At times, it has been evident that the Diocese had no record of certain DBS checks already completed by parishioners here.  Grateful thanks must go to Kate Peake, DBS and Safer Recruitment Administrator for the Diocese of Gloucester, for all the information and advice given.

As regards training records, Courses have been completed by a number of people at Holy Trinity Minchinhampton.  Information has been sought for any other records that the Officer at the Diocesan Offices can supply.  The lack of training records held here is proving something of a stumbling block.  Covid is in large part responsible for this situation.

As far as possible, every effort has been made to sort & bring all paperwork up to date.


MUSIC – Warwick Cole, Director of Music

The past year has been one of consolidation but one which has shown signs of growth within the music at Holy Trinity.

One particularly encouraging aspect is the way in which the Junior Choir has been flourishing. There are a number of very promising singers who have swelled the ranks (up to about 20 at one point in the autumn) and they have regularly presented sung items at the All-Age services. This in turn has fed into the more, older members coming to join the main choir under a ‘Youth Choir’ scheme. Most recently there have been six trebles singing alongside our sopranos on the top line.

The choir continues to provide music for the liturgy on a weekly basis, singing different repertoire each week (no small ask!). Additionally, we sing a monthly evensong (to which all are warmly invited). The music group as ever accompanies the All-Age services and grateful thanks are due to Alison Wood for her indefatigable organisation of this aspect of our worship.

On a wider front, we have hosted a large number of choirs and orchestras playing concerts and hosted two commercial recordings one by the choir of Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, and the other by the Irish choir Resurgam. The generous acoustics of the church and the relatively low noise pollution locally make it an ideal recording venue and we hope to encourage more outside organisations to come and use our facilities in this way. In addition we have promoted our own MinchFest and the Tea-Time concert series has been well attended , which has raised funds for the organ restoration.

Finally, the organ: fundraising has been going well, thanks in no small part to Leonora Rosee. We expect initial work to commence during the summer of this year and for the organ to be removed for restoration in September. In the meantime, we are grateful to Henry Parker for the loan of a computerised Hauptwerk organ to cover the services while the instrument is away.


BELLRINGING – Angie Ayling, Tower Captain

As well as ringing for most Sunday morning services over the past year, we rang for some weddings; we also rang for the Colesbourne Snowdrop festival in February, for ex-ringer William Page’s funeral in June and for the late Queen in September.

Lack of regular attendance by ringers has been a problem on occasions (absences for a number of reasons including ill-health, accidents, work and travel) and we have often not had 6 ringers. An appeal for new ringers on the MinchLife Facebook page led to 3 new ringers (one of them returning after a 20 year lapse) coming along to learn to ‘Ring for the King’.

Three of us ring regularly at other towers, learning new methods as we do so; our ringing Master Tony is in great demand throughout the county, being such a proficient ringer.

Some maintenance has been carried out ‘in house’ (eg resolving a problem with the clock hammers which was causing the clock not to strike the hour), thereby saving the church a great deal of money. This has been in addition to the annual service of the bells and clock service.


FLOWER GUILD – Kathy Hurst, Co-ordinator

During the Church year we have provided flowers for Easter, Queen’s Jubilee, Harvest Festival, Remembrance and Christmas.  We also helped with Experience Christmas.

We supplied flowers for five weddings but the income from this only amounted to £671, mainly due to the rising cost of the flowers.  We also raised £446 from the flowers we supplied at funerals.  This year there are 3 weddings booked in Church so far but only one has requested flowers , on 1st April.

We hope to organise a special display of flowers for the King’s Coronation taking place at the beginning of May this year.

We also held a successful Flower Arranging Workshop on 10th November.  We are trying to move away from using Oasis in our arrangements and the workshop enabled us to look at other ways of arranging flowers using pinholders and florist wire pieces.  All the Remembrance flowers were arranged using pinholders and chicken wire.

Our two main sources of income for the year came from donations for Liles in Remembrance of loved ones at Easter and from our coffee morning which raised £453, and all this money will go towards providing flowers in Church

Our next event is on Friday the 7th July when we will be holding a Coffee Morning with a raffle and stalls.  This will be held at Little Acre – Mandy & John Jutsum’s lovely garden on The Park.  We hope you will all come along.

Finally, a big thank you to all the Flower Guild Ladies for their wonderful displays and their willingness to help.

SACRISTANS – Alison Whitaker (Senior Sacristan)

Our Sacristans/server are myself, Paul Boon, Mick Evans &Tim Mowat who serve at 8 am on Sundays; Christina Gooch serves Wednesday at 11 am BCP Service & our Sunday Sacristans Virginia & Geoff Lloyd, Marilyn Browning & Hilary Sparkhall who help at our 10 am Services.

My grateful thanks go to them all for their help and support and thanks also to Darren.

If anyone is interested in being a Sacristan/Server at any of our services please come and talk to me.

SERVERS – Margaret Sheather, Senior Server

The servers’ role is quietly to support the dignity and the drama of our worship, whether at a routine Sunday Eucharist or one of the major festival services of the church’s year. As we are now a rather small group, it may look like a “closed shop” but we would be delighted to welcome new members of the group.  No previous experience is necessary as training will be offered and, in any case, we have all been re-learning what we used to do before the pandemic!  Do contact me or any member of the serving team if you are interested:

I am very grateful to all the members of the team for their flexibility and hard work.


WELCOME STEWARDS (Sidespeople) – Caroline Thackray and Angie Ayling

This year has been a bit more ‘normal’ in its gradual emergence from covid disruption, and we have been able to settle into a more regular routine. Our teams of Welcome stewards at both 8.00am and 10.00am services have continued to greet people and offer a warm and personal welcome each Sunday. They help prepare hymn books and service sheets, guide people to their seats and encourage visitors and new members of the congregation to join us all for refreshments and chat in the porch room after the services – a valuable time for catching up or making new contacts. They also carry forward the Eucharist during the offertory hymn for preparation at the altar.

This year we are losing Mike and Kathleen Gwilliam from the regular team. They have given devoted service as welcomers for a number of years, but now feel they need to take a step back and enjoy a rest! We are very grateful to them both and thank them for all their experience and generous support. Mike and Toni Lambert will be taking on welcome duty in their place and we are delighted that they will join the team. Julia Gerard and Sue Gage have also added to our numbers, giving us a bit more flexibility as the congregations increase. Paul Boon has continued to organise the 8.00am team; we are most grateful.

Thank you to all who continue to volunteer regularly as part of this team. We are always keen to add to the existing group, so please do let us know if you would like to help with this valued and enjoyable role.


TRAIDCRAFT – Deborah Smith

As it turns out 2022 was the final full year of Traidcraft plc which went into administration in January 2023. At the time of writing I have a few items of stock to be sold at the Fair Trade fortnight coffee morning in March and about £200 cash from sales. The surplus cash after selling the last few items and the balance at the bank will go to Transform Trade – formerly Traidcraft Exchange, which still continues to support craftsmen around the world. I anticipate that it will be about £1,400.

I was aware that Traidcraft plc was not going to last long. For some time I have not been able to get carrier bags, catalogues and many products. In many ways it is a victim of its own success as fairly traded products are now widely available in most supermarkets.

I would like to thank Jo Smith and Clare Cooper who ran the Traidcraft stall before me, and all the many people who have supported the monthly stall and our special events in Fair Trade Fortnight and at Christmas. Also Jackie Natt who has worked with me and written monthly in the parish magazine.




Summary of Financial Activity 2017-2022















Sales of Traidcraft products, raffles, donations and coffee mornings







Cost of goods sold = Goods purchased PLUS stock brought forward LESS stock in hand at year end

 £  3,410.67






SURPLUS on year's trading














Add cash and goods brought forward







Less Donation to Traidcraft Exchange







Balance carried forward














Cash Floats







Bank balance







Approximate value of unsold stock at end of year
















MASASI GROUP – Stephen Jarvis

In 2022 our link with the Diocese of Masasi in Tanzania enjoyed some key moments.

Our Friday lunches have continued, which are proving popular, (see separate listing below).

A Masasi day in Minchinhampton was held during a visit by Bishop James, and his wife Veronica.

We were able to pay £2450, for our share of the Bee Keeping project in Rondo, a joint project with The Friends of Masasi and Newala.

In August, Bishop James, and his wife Veronica, spent the weekend with us, after the Lambeth Conference. It gave them the opportunity to meet with supporters from around the area here on the Saturday at a Masasi Day, and Bishop James was able to share further details about his Diocese at the Sunday 10:00 am service.

At the Masasi Day Bishop James was able to bring us up to date with the problems that the whole of Southern Tanzania are experiencing as a consequence of Climate Change. The unpredictability of rain, and its unreliability, has meant that the rainy season starts later, and that the quantity of rain is less. It used to start raining in late November, and it would continue to rain until May, with the quantity of rain reducing from March onwards.

Last year the regular rains were late, not arriving until January, which meant that the crops were not able to grow to maturity, as the growing season was consequently shorter, and then the rain stopped by May. The inconsistent rainfall means that it is difficult to judge when to start planting to take advantage of what rainfall there is, and many people had been caught out by planting too early. This leads to another issue of debt for some farmers, who are lent their seed, against the promise of sharing the harvest with the seed provider. If the crop is lost, they have no means to pay for the borrowed seed.

Bishop James also shared with us his vision for the Diocese of Masasi’s centenary in 2026. His plan is to expand the number of parishes, and train new priests to start evangelising and growing these new parishes. We are most grateful to those who came forward to provide funds to train two priests, and we have also agreed as a group to fund two more priests from our fund raising this year.

There were also presentations on a project called WASH, which is putting water into villages; Namasakata School, a church school for girl’s secondary education which is nearing completion; African Palms, the charity which supplies Palm Crosses; the church dispensaries in Masasi; Rondo school for boys secondary education; and the Mtandi Special Unit for children, which is attached to Mtandi Primary School, and houses children who have disabilities, mainly sight loss and albinos. 

We are so grateful to four parishioner who come forward to provide funding for additional food to improve the diet of the children at the unit. This funding is already making a difference.

In addition to our ongoing monthly lunches in 2023, we are also holding a small summer fete, and a quiz in the autumn.

The Cornwall Bursary

This is for funding the education needs of students recommended to us by the diocese, and at present there are no suitable candidates for assistance.

The Friday lunches

Our fund raising initiative of the Friday lunches, have become a successful, and welcome, event for many people in Minchinhampton. It is an opportunity to meet and enjoy good company, and good food.

The January 2023 two course hot lunch, served 47 meals, 45 people in attendance, two meals delivered to those who could not be with us on the day. We hold the lunches on the third Friday of the month at noon in the church, and everyone is welcome. In 2022 there were ten lunches, which raised over £2500, the proceeds from nine lunches went to Masasi, and the tenth was donated to the church general fund.

Thank you to everyone for supporting our friends in Masasi, they really appreciate our link and our support, both in prayer, and in what we have given financially. I would also thank the PCC for their continued support in these difficult times.


Minchinhampton Ladies’ Christian Fellowship 2021 – Deborah Smith

It is with great sadness that we have to report the end of LCF. Several really interesting speakers and events were planned but the response was so poor I had to cancel them. The balance of £126.91 was transferred to church funds.

The one event which I did not want to cancel was our collection of gifts for Stroud Women’s refuge and although it was short notice there was a good selection of items, thanks to June Sidwell and Julia Gerard for sorting that out.


PARISH MAGAZINE – John Mounsey, Editor

I agreed to take over the editorship of the parish magazine from Angie Ayling in November 2021, but did not actually edit an issue until March 2022. In the interim I discovered that Angie had used a desktop-publishing program called ‘Publisher’ which is not available on Apple Mac computers. Since I am a Mac user, this meant that I had to work out how to put the magazine together from scratch, eventually calling on the considerable IT expertise of my eldest son to save me from disaster. It has been a learning curve ever since!

I have now been editing the magazine for a full year and feel reasonably confident about doing it. I have introduced a number of regular new features to the magazine: Pet of the Month (featuring readers’ dogs and cats and the odd pheasant); The Night Sky (an astronomy page); Minch Fact or Fiction (a page based on stories [tall or otherwise] associated with local places); Recipe of the Month (self-explanatory).

In addition, there is now a monthly Eco Church feature (a page devoted to green issues), but the regular Traidcraft feature is being discontinued owing to the recent, sad financial collapse of the Traidcraft organisation. Two previously regular features ‘Reminiscences of Life on the Oil Rigs’ and ‘Choirboy Memories’ have been dropped, the latter because the material ran out, the former because I felt the series had run its course.

Although in general, reader feedback has been minimal over the year (I have tried and failed to get a ‘Readers’ Letters’ page going, likewise ‘Readers’ Photos’), I have received specific requests for two items: a ‘Recent Deaths’ column and a ‘Forthcoming Events’ feature.   The deaths column began last month (thanks to the kind assistance of Vicki Hayward) and the absence of Traidcraft’s regular page means that I should now have room for a forthcoming events page culled from MinchLife.

(I had previously resisted the listing of future events in the magazine because of a shortage of space and because MinchLife covers the subject in exhaustive detail. The new feature [starting in March] should be of assistance to those readers – I am informed that there are quite a number of these – who cannot use the internet.)

Following a magazine committee meeting in November last year, the January issue also saw the introduction of a further 3 pages of colour, making 7 pages in all. This coincided with the cover price increasing by 20p to 80p. The design of the front cover has changed slightly since I took over as editor and continues to evolve.

Finally, Jamie Dalrymple Hamilton agreed to take over advertising duties late last year (?) and I believe is now fully in charge of that side of things.

CHURCH CLEANING GUILD – Angie Ayling, Church Warden

The church continues to be kept clean by a dedicated team of volunteers who operate on rotas for hoovering, dusting and polishing. Without these people, we would certainly not have the beautiful, well-maintained surroundings in which to worship and socialise in such a variety of ways.

The kitchen and toilets are kept clean and tidy by Cheryl Ritter. Many thanks are due to Cheryl and the volunteers for all that they do behind the scenes, as well as to Darren who inevitably ends up doing extra bits of clearing/cleaning from time to time.

One area which now needs some individual attention is the Porch Room; it is hoovered regularly and the carpet is thoroughly cleaned from time to time but, ideally, a volunteer is needed to keep the room tidy (and to prevent it becoming a dumping ground!)


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