News for June 2017

Dear Friends,

Another busy month ahead!

It starts with our celebrations of Pentecost (Whit-Sunday) on Sunday 4th June. Do come and join us for our 10 o’clock All Age Service to mark the Church’s birthday and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost brings the great season of Easter to an end; fifty days beginning on Easter Day.

Our Pentecost celebrations end with a Songs of Praise in the evening at 6pm. Do let me know any of your favourite Pentecost hymns, or other hymns and readings which are significant for you.  It is lovely when there is a ‘story to tell’ to go with your request. Do suggest hymns and readings, and please come to the service!

Our new Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Steven Croft, is spending a day in our deanery on Tuesday 6th June. He will be having lunch with the clergy, visiting a few projects within the deanery, having a discussion over an evening meal with selected Lay Leaders from the various churches, and finishing off the evening with a meeting for everyone at 7.30pm at St Stephen’s Church, Vansittart Road, Windsor. This will include some worship together and a chance to ask Bishop Steven questions. PCC members are particularly encouraged to come, but it is open to everyone.  Do come and meet our new Bishop if you can.

As you will know, we are celebrating the Community Centre’s 40th Anniversary this year. To mark this significant anniversary, there is going to be a special service of Thanksgiving on Saturday 17th June at The Good Shepherd. Our Area Dean, and former curate, the Revd Margaret Bird will be coming to preach. Sadly, due to concerns about numbers, the celebrations on the Saturday have had to be restricted to invitation only, but we will all get chance to celebrate in our service on the Sunday.

You will be aware from the papers that went out prior to the APCM in April that our church is currently facing financial challenges. We anticipate that there could be a £7,000 deficit at the end of the year. This is clearly a serious situation. A finance group, chaired by Rob Winlo, has been hard at work looking at ways to address this situation by increasing our income and reducing expenditure.

We now have an electoral roll of 108 adults, but out of these there are still only 44 planned givers and 11 of these are partners of planned givers.Of the £30.8k of income from standing orders and envelopes in 2016 approximately half of this is attributable to just 10 people from our church (15 when one includes spouses/partners).Signing up for planned giving either through envelopes or a Standing Order is such a help to us. It makes budgeting easier.

Sometimes people worry about the commitment of planned giving, but any pledges made can be changed if circumstances make this necessary. Do pick up a leaflet or talk to Philip Leonard if you would like to find out more about planned giving.

The good news is that loose collections can now be claimed under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. This has meant we have been able to claim a rebate of £500 on the 2015/6 tax year. We can’t claim for earlier tax years, but the scheme will certainly be a help to us going forward.

Our church has also been signed up for the Church of England’s Parish Buying Scheme which enables us to benefit from the joint purchasing power of all registered churches.

Many churches hold an annual Gift Day.This works especially well in smaller, rural parishes, where those who live in the parish are happy to contribute once a year to support their local church, even if they don’t regularly worship there. In larger parishes like ours it can often be an opportunity to invite those who perhaps don’t regularly come to church but attend some church events or activities, or are on the fringes of church life, to support the church; to this end we are planning to hold a Gift Day the weekend of Good Shepherd Sunday (i.e. 15th/16th July).

How can you help with our financial situation? Please pray! If you are not already one of our planned givers, please consider signing up, even if only committing to a small amount. It will still help us. If you weren’t able to increase your giving during our annual stewardship review in January, is this something you could consider next January, or even earlier? We never expect people to give what they can’t afford, just to prayerfully consider what they can give. Perhaps you could organise a fundraising event – large or small – I am planning a coffee morning at the Vicarage during the summer! Do come! I wonder what you could do?

Finally, we have the General Election on 8th June. Do pray for that too, and do vote! Remember the HUSTINGS being organised by Churches Together at High Street Methodist Church on Saturday 27th May at 7.30 pm.

Wishing you all a blessed Pentecost.

Joan