Hastings Old Town Parish

One Modern Parish, Two Medieval Churches

 

St. Clement and All Saints

Old Town Parish Hastings

 

Year ending 31st December 2021

 

Annual Activities Report

 

This is the informal report on the parish activities and should be read together with the

Trustees Annual Report and Accounts for the year ending 31st December 2021.

 

 

 

Electoral Roll

We have 101 members on the Roll. Jean Donaldson Electoral Roll Officer

 

This report further reflects the life of the Hastings Old Town Parish throughout 2021. The year was a combination of Covid 19 restrictions and cautious reopening church for services, fellowship and fundraising.

 We began 2021 with a further lockdown, public worship suspended, buildings closed, schools back to home schooling, people working from and a trip to the shop a risk or an opportunity for a change of scene. We missed the friendly day to day contact of normal life, but St. Clement’s Church was open 11.30 to 1.30 for private prayer and we were able to use our new found technology skills to worship, reflect and extend fellowship to not just the regular church congregation but to the wider community.

The restrictions eased and we were able to gently open again, although it seemed very hesitant at times.

We hope that the two annual reports (Trustees and Activities) give a flavour of our endeavours during 2021. We look forward to being able to approach with enthusiasm the challenges and opportunities that 2022 will surely bring.

 

************

The Parochial Church Council

The full PCC met nine times during 2021, with standing committee meetings as necessary, a mixture of in person in the church buildings and Zoom when this was not possible due to regulations.

The Trustees Annual Report, reports on parish activities, and the annual accounts for the year ending 31st December 2021, give a full picture of the parish throughout 2021. Worship and church services are always discussed. Finance is also on every agenda. Through the year the PCC looked at the lower income, due to less activity during Covid 19 regulations, and the parish’s fixed costs, including the Parish share, insurance, gas and electric bills, maintenance and repairs. The best use of assets was considered. The move of the Parish Office into St. Clement’s Church, incurred some enabling expenditure, but released the All Saints’ Lower Hall for letting; the completion of the refurbishment of the Upper Hall will continue to attract valuable lettings. The adjacent garage was cleared and let, and staffing levels reviewed. St. Clement’s crypt was improved for storage use. The use of the church buildings continues to be considered, including the possible sharing of the use and cost of one of the buildings, new exhibitions to increase footfall, and more community use for concerts, meetings etc. Contactless donation facilities have been provided in both churches, together with donations via the new Website. Fundraising was limited during 2021.

Care of the buildings was also discussed and actions agreed by the PCC. Major restoration projects, regular attention to minor repairs and maintenance from our jobbing builder demonstrate that the buildings are watertight and well cared for.

The Reverend Paul Hunt has worked to raise the parish profile through the local media, the new website, and the Parish News. He has also been instrumental in producing the risk register, a tool to highlight risks to PCC as a charity and to inform decision making.

Health and Safety and Safeguarding are standing agenda items.

Reports from the Deanery Synod are also received. The Synod met on 27th September, the first since the start of the pandemic, and was a general update and review of the Deanery Budget.

Minutes of PCC meetings are available in the Library in whichever church is in use for worship.

Authorised Lay Ministers

Sandra Bentall completed a further three months of study and training in Hove from October for Worship and Liturgy elective and Keith Leech undertook further training and practicals for Mission, mostly Zoom training. We looked forward to our commissioning in Chichester Cathedral on 8th January 2022. Since Paul became Priest in Charge he motivates a collaborative ministry team to be very active serving the church and the community, though Covid restrictions severely curtailed getting together for services and meetings.

SUNDAY SERVICES were held when restrictions were lifted, with appropriate health control measures. Note special services and church open events.

HOLY WEEK – ministry team members were involved in the evening services, the address each day being about a different character of the Passiontide story.  Although the Good Friday Procession of Witness could not be held physically, pre-filmed Stations of the Cross along the route were zoomed out.

SWAN INN memorial service – a crowd gathered alongside Swan Gardens after morning services on May 23rd.  Names of those killed by the bombing 78 years ago on 23 May 1943 were read out.

OLD TOWN WEEK in August – Old Town Service of Thanksgiving, at which many organisations were represented.
Services were held every day in both churches – Morning Prayer in St Clement’s, and an evening service in All Saints every day, of Compline, Holy Communion or Eucharist, and the Pets’ Service.
Teddy Bears Picnic, much enjoyed by little children with handcrafts, games and a Bible story.

RIDE & STRIDE by bike, horse or walk between participating churches in Hastings – both churches open all day September 11th.

REFLECTION SERVICE in St Clement’s at the end of Hastings Week, October 17th.

BOROUGH SERVICE OF COMMEMORATION & THANKSGIVING on November 7th with several front line workers talking about their experiences working during the Coronavirus pandemic.

ADVENT SUNDAY TAIZE SERVICE 28th November, our first Taize service since March 2020 just before Lockdown.

ADVENT CAROL SERVICE closed the Christmas Tree Festival on December 5th.

PARISH CAROL SERVICE on December 19th.

CHRISTMAS SERVICES included Children’s Nativity Service, Midnight Mass, and Christmas Holy Communion and Eucharist.

Sandra Bentall ALM

Social Media

It has been an interestingly different year and difficult at times to keep things going. The use of social media to keep people informed of what is going on in the church and to help with their spiritual nourishment has proven invaluable and will continue after the pandemic.

Very sadly the Good Friday Procession of Witness could not happen, therefore various members of the congregation and the cast did readings and played music which was put together so that people could join the procession online. This proved to be very popular and the consequent YouTube video of the whole event has had thousands of views from around the world. Performing and dressing up, this is what the Old Town does best and this parish has certainly made its mark. The parish service for May Day even formed part of the online for Jack in the Green that happened.

Keith Leech

Home Communion

With restrictions in place in 2021, Old Hastings House and The Laurels have been closed to visitors. Both opened up again at the end of the year. The numbers attending from Old Hastings House are low compared to a few years ago. The Laurels numbers are increasing. Holy Communion is taken to both houses from the Reserved Sacrament and using the BCP services booklet.                                                     

One Home Communion has been taken to someone in their own home.

Thank you to colleagues for joining me in this special ministry.

Ann Wing

Junior Choir

Following last April’s award of a grant by the Batley Hibbert trustees to support the formation of a Junior Choir, six applicants passed auditions with Malcolm Lock (Director of Music) in the autumn of 2021 and began their training. By the end of March 2022, it is expected that they will have passed the White Level of the RSCM’s Voice for Life scheme and be admitted as full members of the choir by Easter 2022.

The introduction of the junior choir has been the fulfilment of a long-held ambition within the choir and congregation, and the enthusiasm and commitment of these young people is a delight. These recent comments from three of their number are very encouraging:

‘I like church more now that there are more children because of the choir.

I like singing together. Singing in the choir makes me feel more part of the church, and I am giving service to God.’

 

‘I really enjoy choir as I get to do my hobby – singing.

I enjoy helping Heather tab the books and collecting them up at the end of each service.

I enjoy going to church more now I’m in the choir.’

‘I really enjoy being in the choir because I love music and I am learning so much, which is incredible.  Also I love singing with other people, and I love the music that we’re singing and the hymns that we’re learning.  It makes me feel closer to God.’

p.p. Malcolm Lock

Servers

Church Services were cautiously restarted during 2021 as regulations changed. As things opened up, we have managed to recruit more servers for the team who are currently in training. We hope to have a full team complete with gospel procession from Easter 2022.

Keith Leech

 

 

 

 

All Saints Organ Concerts – 2021

Despite all the restrictions placed on us by Covid-19, we were able to proceed with the Organ Concert series in the summer of 2021.

This was a very special series because during the first 6 months of the year the organ in All Saints underwent a complete restoration by B C Shepherd & Sons Ltd costing in the region of £70,000 +. The repairs were able to proceed due to the generosity of patrons over many years and to the generous legacy left to us by the late Elizabeth Stevens. Gordon Stewart gave an outstanding performance for the grand re-opening concert on 05 July and also returned for the final one on 30 August.

The restored organ sounded stunning and received many plaudits from all the organists that played during the series. Despite Covid, attendance numbers were only down by about 8% from the previous year and we had a series of top performances given by leading organists from around the world.

Be sure to come to the 2022 series which starts on Monday, 11 July 2022 when we shall welcome a return visit from Daniel Moult.

Malcolm Lock

REPORT ON THE LINK BETWEEN THE PARISH AND ALL SAINTS CE JUNIOR ACADEMY 2021

Prior to the first UK Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, the aspects of the Parish-School Link Worker’s role description that had been developing to that point related to class based activity, student worship group activity and church-based activity. The periodic constraints on visiting which continued into 2021 have imposed limits on what it has been possible to achieve during the past year.

Class-based Activity

For a few weeks during 2021, lesson time on each visit was divided between one-to-one support with reading with one Year 3 class, and in-class mathematics support in the other Year 3 class.

 

Student Worship Group Activity

Following a meeting with the RE Lead, who is also responsible for aspects of the school’s Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) targets, plans were made to incorporate the roles developed in Worship Group* (and already carried out on occasions when its members have led school worship under the guidance of the Parish-School Link Worker) into the School’s regular, weekly pattern of worship.

A consequence of the pandemic restrictions has been the temporary suspension of Worship Group led services in school, and the participation of the Link Worker in the annual School Leavers’ Service.  

 

Church-based Activity

No church-based activity was possible during this period because of measures put in place both nationally and by the School to limit the spread of the virus.

 

*‘Hushers’ (‘H’ intentional!), ‘Welcomers’, ‘Gatherers’, ‘Worship Leaders’, ‘Prayer Leaders’, ‘Senders’, ‘Servers’ and ‘IT Assistants’

 

Heather Summers (Parish-School Link Worker)

 

 

St Clement and All Saints Guild of Ringers’ Annual Report 2021

Covid restrictions initially in 2021 meant we were unable to ring.

When regulations allowed for six people to meet indoors, we resumed ringing practices at All Saints by invitation only. As regulations lifted, we gradually returned to normal numbers at practices. Sadly, due to different circumstances we lost two of our regular ringers which now only leaves three of us. This has meant that service ringing hasn’t been possible apart from special occasions when Christ Church St. Leonards, Christ Church Blacklands and St.John’s Sedlescombe have been kind enough to help out.

With Old Town Week back last year we once again opened All Saints’ Tower to the public in conjunction with the Two Towers Trust who were providing refreshments.

For the first time in my fifty years of ringing we had no weddings but our services were requested for more funerals than usual.

We were able to provide bells for some Christmas services though sadly not all.

I have ordered new muffles for both sets of bells at a cost of £1,171.00. Any donations towards the cost will be gratefully accepted.

We need to encourage some new ringers and this will be something that needs some consideration during the coming months.

Rosemary Smith (Tower Captain)

Two Towers Handbells Annual Report 2021

When the regulations allowed more than eight people to meet inside, we reinstated our weekly practices in St. Clement’s Church.

We had hoped to be performing for some of our regular care/nursing home residents with our Christmas programme but due to Omicron this sadly was not possible. We did however perform on both Saturdays during the Christmas Tree Festival. A recording was made and edited (thanks to Heather and Keith Leech) and put on You Tube which could then be accessed by those whom we should have been entertaining.

We look forward to an exciting Platinum Jubilee Year and to being part of the celebrations.

Rosemary Smith

SPLASH Sunday School

Sunday School has not met as a group since March 2020.

We formed a Facebook messenger group and kept in touch with our children and parents throughout the year. Some parents attended the church services with their families when permitted throughout the year. At the end of the year we were able to arrange and take part in the Christmas Eve Children’s Nativity Service.

We look forward to relaunching Sunday School as JAMS (Jesus And Me Sessions) during 2022.

 

Night Church

 

Like so many other events and services, Night Church has had to cease temporarily whilst the country has battled to reduce the rate of infections and the devastation caused by the pandemic. My heart goes out to everyone that has suffered bereavement, loss and anxiety in this difficult time.

Naturally, this has greatly affected the more vulnerable members of our society. Some of the organisations that have provided food to the street community have changed the way they provide their services. Rather than handing food out on the street, they are making home deliveries or providing access to vending machines. This enables them to provide essential items at all times of the day but loses the personal contact and fellowship that so many vulnerable  people appreciate. At Night Church, our visitors can sit and soak up the calm and beautiful surroundings of St Clements, whilst enjoying the company of our volunteers and the plentiful soup, sandwiches and treats on offer.

We have missed welcoming visitors to Hastings, people passing the church and being intrigued by the beautiful lighting, and venturing inside to explore this wonderful building and appreciate the hospitality on offer.

However, St Clements endures, and is ready to welcome more visitors, old and new. We are hoping to be up and running again by June 21st 2022, if not before, and I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone on “The Team” and as many of you as possible to come along and show your support and see our Church, the beautiful lighting, the soothing music and enjoy the fellowship within.

 

A big thank you to everyone involved, look forward to seeing you at Night Church soon!

 

Ian Gallager

House Groups

House groups continued to meet as possible during 2021. Monday evening group started with outside evening meetings in July, and indoor meetings during Advent, which followed the “Caring for Creation” York Course. Wednesday evening Advent meetings also followed the York course. This proved to be one of the most thought provoking courses, looking at climate change and the threat to the environment. God created a wonderful world and gave an even greater gift in the person of His Son Jesus. What have we done with those precious gifts? What will we do in the face of the forecast catastrophic changes to our world? Full of information and questions, this course stimulated lively debate and thoughts of what actions individuals could take to help avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Thinking of joining a group? Groups are friendly and thought provoking ways to share and explore our faith. All are welcome, you do not have to be a regular member of our congregation or commit to every session, come and try a group in 2022.

Thank you to all who host and lead the meetings. We had 28 regular participants during 2021.

 Sue Phillips co-ordinator

Friday Evening Group

The study group who usually meet in The Stag for Lent and Advent had to find other ways of meeting. We started by using online meetings for last year’s York course. When the course finished we decided to continue throughout lockdown to maintain some kind of fellowship within the church. We have met every Friday night since, usually with a pint in hand and it has kept us going when the church was closed. It has been a good way of keeping a least some of the congregation together.

Keith Leech

Wednesday Morning Bible Group Report for 2021

On June 2nd we started a 3 weeks course on Healing, written by Canon Keith Pound. There were 7 of us, Jim  and  June Smith, Sue & John Phillips Eunice Britten, Nick Rowden and me. Carol Cabban was unable to join us as she had family visiting and Kate Numun now has moved to Guestling and is attending the Church there, so it was nice to welcome John to our weekly meetings.

We held our meetings in the garden as the government had said only six people could meet in a house. After having tea or coffee with some homemade goodies we started with prayers, then we read the Healing script that Keith had written. He asked us to discuss it, adding our own thoughts and experiences. This proved very interesting and opinions could be very lively at times.

On the second week we welcomed The Reverend Paul Hunt and the3rd week we were joined by Canon Keith Pound. It was very good of them both to attend our group meetings. We decided to meet the following week as we felt we had more to discuss on the subject of healing. On behalf of us all I would like to thank Keith for writing such an interesting course.

Our next meeting was a four weeks York course on “Caring for our World”, this was on climate change, what we could do and what we think the Church should be doing. Again we held these meetings in my garden, we all felt we should do a lot more to increase awareness of the need to save God’s creation.

For Advent we had a CD with a 4 weeks course with a conversation between the Archbishop of York Stephen Cockrill and Canon John Young about their earlier lives and how they had changed over the years to the present day. It was so good to hear two leading men of the Church talking so naturally. The questions they raised included how had we changed and grown as Christians, after much discussion we all felt we had some thins some not so.

On the 4th week we finished with a buffet lunch.

As I am writing this in 2022, we are just starting last week another York course titled “On the Third Day” which I think will be very moving and thoughtful as it should be at this time of Lent.

I would like to finish this report by thanking the group for the support they have given me over the years, sadly we lost June Smith this year both her and Jim have been with me since I started, June had always taken a great part in the readings and discussions, she will be sadly missed as a great friend to us all, I am delighted that Jim still wants to come when he can.

Evelyn Harding Leader of the Group

Fund Raising

Unfortunately 2021 was nearly a complete disaster owing to the coronavirus all planned events had to be cancelled, and the car rally treasure hunt was cancelled because of the fuel shortage.

When in July the government were lifting the restrictions, the Reverend Paul Hunt asked if we could have a late Summer Fair, so we had a committee meeting to start the arrangements, our concern was having one in September and another in November, would we have enough things to sell? We planned the September Fair a little differently; we had a few different stalls, one being remnants of material and balls of wool, knitting and sewing items. We still had glassware, pottery and the added kitchenware, plenty of books, plants, pots, and garden equipment, jewellery,  nearly new clothes, bedding, curtains, and covers, and as always cakes and preserves plus a grand raffle.

For the children beside lots of toys and books there was a treasure hunt map, and prize every time.

The Two Towers Trust sold packed lunches and we served teas and coffees.

We kept the doors closed until 10am and when I opened them, I could hardly believe it! The queue was down the steps and into the High Street. It was a great day, and I would like to thank all those who helped in any way to make it a successful one, we raised £1,006.80 from the stalls; the money raised for the lunches went to the Two Towers Trust.

We held our Christmas Fair two months later, on 20th November. This was a great worry, that first would the people come and would we have good quality things to sale. I need not have worried, we had the best handicraft things we ever have had and so much we had to have 3 tables for it all.

Every stall had high quality items to sell, and everyone made such an effort to make it the success it was. The Church looked lovely and very Christmassy, trees with coloured lights and decorations, also thanks to Malcolm, we had Night Church lights on the pillars. I and several others had congratulations saying what a wonderful atmosphere there was.

The final total was £1,768.00.

The following week was the Two Towers Trust Christmas Tree Festival where Joy Meech and myself had another stall with the left-over goods from the handicrafts, and the Christmas items. We took another £235.90 which we added to the Christmas Fair total, with the 3 totals we raised in the year £3,010.71.

I would like to thank everyone who helped in any way for us to get that total at the end of the year which was excellent, and I am so pleased I can say with a very difficult year we ended up able to hold our heads high.

As this is now my last year for organizing the Fairs, I wish my successor a very happy and successful year ahead

 

Evelyn Harding  Lead Fundraiser

 

Safeguarding

Mrs Heather Summers nominally succeeded Dr Pat Lock in this role at the end of July 2021, and her appointment, together with an updated version of the Parish’s Safeguarding Policy, was ratified at a PCC Meeting and endorsed by Revd Paul Hunt and Mr Gareth Bendon (churchwarden) on 21st October, 2021.

In this parish, the Parish Safeguarding Officer also acts as the Recruitment Lead, with responsibility for raising DBS checks. These are two distinct, but interlinked, aspects of the role.

Recruitment

The priority in the period to March, 2022 has been to register through the Diocese with the company that processes DBS checks for the Church of England. Although some checks have been carried out progress has been slow, partly because the Church’s latest amendments to eligibility criteria and guidance (published in January, 2022) are still being digested at diocesan level, and partly because the Church now requires that every remunerated and voluntary role is defined by a Job/Role Description to justify decisions taken about DBS applications and the level of check requested.

 

 

There is much work to be done, and an initial implementation plan has been created, as below:

 

 

Action

Resources

By

Monitor

Success Criteria

Evaluator

·      To secure an up-to-date list of everyone who regularly attends services on a Sunday, and to set up a mechanism by which the names of all newcomers are passed to the PSO

 

 

 

·      Ensure Job/Role Descriptions are in place for all members of the Ministry Team.

 

·      Ensure all Ministry Team members have a current DBS Certificate.

 

 

·      Raise a check on the Director of Music (a priority with the introduction of a Junior Choir)

 

·      Raise checks on the Churchwardens, as appropriate, following diocesan advice.

 

·      Ensure that all volunteers with new or renewed DBS checks are registered on the Update Service within one month of receiving their certificate.

 

·      Create a comprehensive list of paid and voluntary roles.

 

 

 

 

·      Ensure checks on all other eligible roles have been carried out as Job/Role Descriptions are finalised.

 

·      Create/amend  other Job/Role Descriptions, as appropriate, with PH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existing Job/Role Descriptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existing Job/Role Descriptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

 

ASAP

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun. ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept.’22

 

 

 

Ongoing

PCC

That a list of all current attendees has been passed to the PSO and filed.

That a pilot scheme for informing the PSO when new people join us is in place for testing and monitoring.

 

That these Job /Role Descriptions have been agreed and filed.

 

 

That the deadline has been met, and that the certificate numbers and dates have been logged.

That the deadline has been met, and that the certificate number and date has been logged.

 

[Guidance from Diocese on updated guidelines awaited.]

 

 

That all volunteers have sent a confirmatory email to the PSO when this has been achieved.

 

 

That a list has been created by this date that indicates whether or not a DBS check is required, and at what level.

 

That the checklist indicates  that these are all in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PH

Safeguarding

The priorities in the period to the end of March, 2022 have been 1). to secure adequate display space for safeguarding in both churches for the updated version of our Policy Statement and the Church of England’s Safeguarding Policy; and 2). To ensure that all currently active in roles which require Leadership level training have been able to complete the course, and that a copy of their certificates has been filed for our records;

Action

Resources

By

Monitor

Success Criteria

Evaluator

·      Ensure that there is designated noticeboard space allocated for Safer Recruitment and Safeguarding in each church and that the Policy Statement is clearly displayed.

 

·      Place a file containing the updated version of the diocesan policy and procedures in both churches.

 

·      Create a comprehensive table of activities and roles requiring safeguarding training, and to which level.

 

·      Ensure that everyone who needs to do so has completed the Leadership Level of safeguarding training and emailed a copy of the certificate to the PSO for filing.

 

·      Ensure that everyone who needs to do so has completed the online Basic Level of safeguarding training and emailed a copy of the certificate to the PSO for filing.

 

·      Ensure that everyone who needs it has completed the online Foundations Level of safeguarding training and emailed a copy of the certificate to the PSO for filing.

 

·      Create a comprehensive list of all Church activities with a brief summary of what they entail, and when they happen.

 

·      Together with the Health and Safety Officer, create a Risk Assessment for every activity organised by the Church, as required by the Church of England for safeguarding purposes.

Noticeboard space in each church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A flat surface close  to  the Safeguarding Noticeboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Mar. ’22

 

 

 

 

End of Apr. ’22

 

 

 

 

End of May ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Jun. ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Jul. ’22

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing

 

PCC

That sufficient board space has been allocated for the policy and any other safeguarding notices, leaflets etc.

 

 

 

That a surface near the Safeguarding Noticeboard has been provided.

 

 

That all roles requiring safeguarding training have been identified by this date.

 

 

That these certificates have been filed by this date.

 

 

 

 

 

That these certificates have been filed by this date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That these certificates have been filed by this date.

 

 

 

 

 

That the list created is sufficient to indicate where further safeguarding training might be needed, and to highlight specific matters pertaining to Health and Safety and the protection of the vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

PH

 

Heather Summers Parish Safeguarding Officer

 

Parish Library

The Parish Library continues to be underused due to its location being All Saints’ Church, although a small selection of books can be found in St. Clement. It is to be hoped that future access may improve if the proposed installation of the Bayeux Tapestry replica leads to increased opening outside of service times.

The books continue to be used by people on the rota for intercessions, those participating in Lent or Advent groups and for research purposes by the Accredited Lay Ministers. These uses can take many forms including personal spiritual development, Bible study and as basis for discussion and debate.

Ideally we would like to see more material be made available for those seeking theological insights and, while the continuing donation of books is very welcome, if a small amount of money was forthcoming purchases could be made to help keep the library up to date and relevant.

Laurence and Carol

 

 

Thank you to all who have contributed to the life of our parish throughout this difficult year. Our prayers and thoughts are with all who have been touched by illness and bereavement. With many thanks to all who contributed to this report on behalf of the PCC.

Trustees Annual Report April 2022

Trustees Annual Report and Financial Report

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish ofSt. Clement and All Saints

 The Parish Office, St. Clement’s Church, Swan Terrace, Hastings, TN34 3HT

Registered Charity no. 1139491

For the year ended 31st December 2021

Priest – in – Charge: The Reverend Paul Hunt

Independent examiner: Ashdown Hurrey, 20 Havelock Road, Hastings,

 East Sussex TN34 1BP

 Bankers: CAF Bank, 25 Kings Hill Ave, West Malling, Kent

Administrative Information

St. Clement’s Church is situated off the High Street, Old Town, Hastings and All Saints’ Church is at the top of All Saints’ Street, Old Town, Hastings, East Sussex.

Correspondence on administrative issues should be addressed to The Parish Administrator, The Parish Office,  St. Clement’s Church, Swan Terrace, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3HT email: .

The Parish is currently a charity and registered in 2010 with the Charity Commission within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, Charity number 1139491. Its governing document is the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956.

During the year ended 31st December 2021, the following served as members of the PCC.

Priest-in-Charge:

The Reverend Paul Hunt

 

 

Vice-Chair:

Dr. Pat Lock until 15th June 2021, Judy Cubison from 15th June 2021

 

 

Hon. Treasurer:

Simon Scott

 

 

Hon Secretary:

Sue Phillips

 

 

Church Wardens:

Gareth Bendon (All Saints), Judy Cubison (St. Clement), Pat Lock (St. Clement), Ann Wing (All Saints).

  

Representatives on Deanery Synod:

Ken Bentall, Sandra Bentall, Sue Phillips

(all elected APCM Oct 2020 for 3 years)

  

Elected Members:

Eunice Britten (from APCM April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Natalie Broomfield-Hill (from APCM April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Evelyn Harding (from APCM May 2021 until APCM 2024)

Laurence Homewood (from April 2019 until APCM 2022)

Rosemary Pronger (from APCM May 2021 until APCM 2024)

Carol Ridge (from October 2020 until APCM2023)

Simon Scott (from October 2020 until APCM 2023)

 

 

Co-opted member:

Jean Donaldson. Parish Administrator and Electoral Roll Officer

 

 

Safeguarding Representative:

Pat Lock until July 2021, Heather Summers from July 2021

 

 

Co-opted Health and Safety representative:

Keith Leech

 The Parish of St. Clement and All Saints, Hastings

Trustees Annual Report for 2021

OUR AIMS AND OBJECTIVES AS A CHARITY

The Primary objective of St. Clement and All Saints Parochial Church Council is the promotion of the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the doctrines and practices of the Church of England.

The PCC has the responsibility of co-operating with the incumbent in promoting the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelical, social, and ecumenical within the ecclesiastical parish. Developing links in the wider community, growing the membership of the church in faith and fellowship and maintaining our two medieval Churches and All Saints’ Church Hall, whilst working towards their financial viability, their availability and suitability for use by the whole community. We aim to provide support and care for people in the parish, from the youngest to the eldest, irrespective of the level of need, ability to pay, including those of any religion or none.

As a charity, we are a not-for-profit organisation.

WHAT WE PLANNED TO DO TO ACHIEVE OUR CHARITABLE OBJECTIVES

When planning our activities for the year, our incumbent and the PCC have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the specific guidance on “charities for the advancement of religion”.

The PCC has complied with its duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016, fully recognising its duty to have regard to the House of Bishop’s guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

The following continued as the objectives and activities to fulfil our aims in 2021:

  • Enabling as many people as possible to become part of our parish community and to worship at our churches.
  • Teaching, baptising and nurturing new and existing believers. Offering worship and prayer, through scripture, music and sacrament. Putting faith into practice, and giving service to the community. Provision of pastoral care for people living within the parish and those outside the parish associated with the church. Overseas mission.
  • Reaching out to the wider community. Strengthening links with our local schools.
  • Maintaining the fabric of the church buildings as historic centres and focus of life in the Old Town

 

WHAT WE ACHIEVED AND HOW WE AFFECTED BENEFICIARIES’ LIVES

Some comments received whilst Saturday church sitting in St. Clement during the pandemic.

“I am not religious but thank you so much for allowing me to sit in this place of peace. It has really helped”.

“My aunt is in the hospice and I came to light a candle and pray. Thank you for being open”.

“Please sit with me a while, I have just come from my sister’s funeral and I need someone to talk to and to light a candle for her”.

“I decided to take a walk to the Old Town as I haven’t been out for weeks.” “You are a sanctuary for the lonely and afraid”.

“Please may I come in? I am not a church goer but I saw your door open and it looked so welcoming”.

“I don’t know how to pray, please pray with me.”

“My husband is suffering from Dementia and is in a Care Home, I find peace here when everything else is closed”

There are also many who just like to sit quietly and pray or just think. A few like to sit and look at the stained glass windows in contemplation. Jewish friends attended Midnight Mass. Both Muslim and Jewish friends love visiting our Churches.

It has been a good experience for us as well when we were so worried about our own family and friends who we were supporting with practical help and prayers. Carol and Laurence

“I love this place; you can feel the years of prayer”

“I haven’t spoken to anyone all week, I am so pleased you are here”

I haven’t been out for weeks, I just had to come down to Hastings from Tunbridge Wells. It took me two buses, I just wanted to be here again”.

St. Clement and All Saints Parish has two medieval churches. It is in the heart of Hastings Old Town, with its active fishing community, tourist attractions, artists and local businesses. Both churches are used for regular worship, on a four monthly rotation. In addition to Baptisms taking place in our Parish Churches, they are also held in the Fisherman’s Museum, (St. Nicholas Church) and an annual Carol service usually takes place there and at the Lifeboat Station.

St. Clement and All Saints’ churches both have modern facilities and are used for alternative community use, concerts, etc as required. St. Clement is near the sea front, shops and car parks and has disabled access via the west door and internal ramps. All Saints has disabled access via a slope. A well regarded “Father Willis” organ is maintained at All Saints and used for regular services and concerts. There is a “Doom” wall painting which attracts visitors.

In 2020, we were blessed to welcome the Reverend Paul Hunt as our part time Priest- in- Charge, licensed on 22nd October. This had ended our interregnum, and as the church year started on 1st January 2021 we were ready to embrace the challenges set by our aims and objectives for 2021. However, the country was in a further “lockdown” due to the coronavirus pandemic, with churches again closed for services for some weeks. Services, meetings and activities continued to be affected by ongoing restrictions throughout the year. Paul is an enthusiastic preacher, strong teacher and inspiring leader. He has a great vision for the future of our parish and the enthusiasm to achieve it, which he has imparted to the members of the PCC.

This report reflects how the PCC has worked throughout 2021, continuing with innovative ways of reaching out to the parish, and the wider community, offering comfort and support, both physically and with regard to mental health, whilst respecting government guidelines and individual’s desire for social distancing.

Attendance at worship

The church family usually welcomes visitors from within as well as outside the parish boundary, at regular services, special services and celebrations. Visitors are also welcomed to concerts, community, social and cultural events, attending by personal choice. It is our pleasure to welcome anyone from all walks of life to take part in the life of the church. We consider this to be a major demonstration of the public benefit of our activities.

We are pleased to report that our goal to increase the Electoral Roll has been achieved, with 101 members now on the roll. We resumed Sunday services as regulations changed. Average weekly attendance, counted during October, was 56. At this time we were able to hold an 8am Holy Communion (BCP) and a 10am Sunday Eucharist, with all Covid measures in place. Numbers had continued to fluctuate throughout the year, as even when services were possible, many of our regular congregation were still “shielding” or not confident of any exposure to possible infection. In Old Town Week we were able to hold a special Sunday morning Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for the communal Life of Hastings Old Town and the always popular Blessing of Pets. Daily services were held during the week, Morning Prayer in St. Clement and an evening service in All Saints. The Annual Magdalen and Lasher Thanksgiving service was held 25th July in All Saints’ Church. On 7th November, twenty months after the first Coronavirus Lockdown, we held an afternoon Service of Reflection, Thanksgiving and Hope. Other occasional services included a Harvest Service, an Advent Taize service. Christmas services, including Carol services and a Family Nativity Service on Christmas Eve were also able to be held this year. There was an Act of Remembrance, Swan terrace, remembering those who lost their lives when the Swan Inn was bombed May 23rd 1943. These were well attended and a welcome return toward normality. All followed the Covid secure guidelines laid down by the government and the diocese at the time.  The special services attract community figures, including the MP, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mayor and Mayoress of Hastings, and local councillors, those who do not usually attend together with regular worshippers. St.Clement’s Church was open daily for visitors and for private prayer during Old Town Week, and every Saturday during the year as allowed by regulations.

The Annual Good Friday Procession of Witness was specially adapted for on-line viewing with music and readings by members of the congregation and cast. The consequent YouTube video had thousands of views from around the world.

The Church building may have been closed at times but we worked to keep the church community active and available to all.

During the lockdowns we had found a new way of communication and mission, and we built upon these innovations during 2021. A new website was designed, oldtownparishhastings.org.uk with pages of up to date information on the churches, services and parish activities. The Sunday sermon is available for all to read on the website.  A “Giving” page was included for those wishing to support the work of the parish financially. Throughout 2021, our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/The-Old-Town-Parish-Hastings-1422296627985553 continued to be updated with church notices, photographs, sermons and thoughts and reflections.  Zoom meetings and social media posts continued to prove valuable ways to keep the business of the parish functioning and to nurture new friendships. The Reverend Paul Hunt was instrumental in continuing to raise the profile of the parish with articles in the local press and press releases. The Parish News was able to resume printing and to be distributed to all households in the parish. This includes articles of local community interest, giving a voice to non- church based community groups as well as details of church services and activities. This is largely self- funding from local advertisers and donations, with financial support available from the PCC as necessary as it is seen as a valuable outreach.

This demonstrates how we have been working to offer an alternative to our traditional church-based services throughout the year, engaging with different groups of people and going out into the community using on line technology.  This has enabled us to continue working towards fulfilling our objective of promoting the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Teaching, baptising and nurturing new and existing believers

The Reverend Paul Hunt has led the team of retired priests, Reader, and authorised lay ministers, developing a collaborative ministry. Four House groups have continued to provide fellowship and space for discussion and sharing of our Christian faith, both face-to-face and by Zoom as appropriate.

Three baptisms, one wedding and five funerals were held at the Old Town Churches during the year.

Sunday School teachers have maintained contact with the families who usually attend. Teachers planned the Christmas Eve Family Nativity Service this year, in which the children and families were able to take an active part. This was well attended.  

Choral singing was slowly introduced, as regulations allowed. A junior choir was recruited, six members, from Years Four, Five and Six.  This is supported by the Batley-Hibbert Music Fund, administered by the Magdalen and Lasher Charity. The children attend one weekly practice and sing at the 10am Sunday service, receiving a musical education (shown to help with other school subjects, such as maths and foreign languages) and £10 week. Recent comments

 “I like church more now that there are more children because of the choir.”

“I really enjoy the choir as I get to do my hobby –singing.”

“I really enjoy being in the choir because I love music and I am learning so much, which is incredible. I love singing with other people and I love the music that we’re singing and the hymns that we’re learning. It makes me feel closer to God”

Reaching out to the wider community

When allowed in 2021, we have opened St. Clement every Saturday, 11.30am to 1.30pm, for private prayer. A regular number of parishioners enjoy the peace and calm of the church to pray and perhaps light a candle.  Visitors passing by, or arranging socially distanced meetings on the church steps have also been pleased to find the door open.  Refreshments have been available when possible, and we hope to reopen our Open Church Saturdays  as the situation allows in 2022. The successful Night Church has also been paused, awaiting a change in infection rates and regulations. Those Saturday nights are much missed by helpers and guests, especially the hot drinks, bacon rolls, sandwiches and cake. 

“I get asked every week, by our vulnerable friends, when will you open again?” I. Gallagher.

The usual programme of planned concerts, fund raising events, special services and social events were not all able to take place, but a late summer church fair was held in September and a Christmas Fair 20th November raising £1.006.80 and £1,768.00 (plus additional £235.90 from post fair sales) respectively.  Two Towers Trust were also able to organise a successful Christmas Tree Festival in December in St. Clement’s Church. These events were financially successful and many visitors enjoyed the opportunities for social inter action.  Evelyn noted that there was an enthusiastic queue waiting for the doors to open at the Christmas Fair, and there were many comments on how lovely it was to be at a normal event and meet old friends in beautiful surroundings, with smiling stall holders and the chance of a bargain.

The refurbished 1878 Father Willis Organ sounded spectacular for the 32nd Organ Concert series which started 5th July 2021 at All Saints’ Church and raised over £1,600. The first concert being a “Grand Re-Opening Concert” given by renowned organist Gordon Stewart following the renovation and cleaning of the All Saints’ organ by B C Shepherd and Sons of London.  Gordon Stewart has been a regular and steadfast performer and supporter of the concerts and the remarkable Father Willis organ. He was welcomed by a large enthusiastic audience of old and new friends.

The Church Tower Bells usually practice Saturdays, in alternate churches; Covid restrictions have meant that practices were not possible for much of the year but restarted when 6 people were allowed to meet indoors. It was good to hear bells rung for some of the Christmas Services. Bell ringers, many from outside our parish, had missed meeting in person and were pleased to be able to end the year with the sound of the bells ringing out across the Old Town valley. Practices were able to start as soon as 8 people were able to meet indoors ringers were able to perform on both Saturdays during the Christmas Tree Festival. Sadly, it was not possible to perform our Christmas programme for care/nursing home residents due to continuing Covid restrictions. 

The Food Bank collections have continued at St. Clement’s Church. Our Parish News magazine is the interface between the church and wider community of the Old Town, encompassing local news, events and articles of general interest as well as publicising the services and activities that take place within the churches. Paid advertisements and donations allow for 2,000 copies to be distributed free of charge to homes and businesses within the parish. A further 400 copies are usually distributed via the churches and other points.  Another casualty of the pandemic, the magazine had temporarily become an “on line” publication, with a few printed copies available in the church. It resumed full distribution in 2022.

The planned move of the Parish Office into St. Clement’s Church was accomplished in 2021. It is intended that this will help to extend opening from Saturdays throughout the year with Sundays in summer, to include regular weekdays. We now have WiFi in the church, to facilitate the Office and the use of Contactless donation facilities.

We also had plans for a permanent exhibition based on the Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elisabeth Siddal’s time in the Old Town and the relationship between Christina Rossetti and Charles Cayley. The working title is “Rossettis in Love”. This will also increase footfall for the church and hopefully local businesses, creating a “buzz” in High Street. This opened in March 2022. The PCC is seeking further community use for both churches and the Hall, considering possible partnerships and exhibitions to make full use of our assets and to serve our community. We are increasingly open and accessible to all in person, whilst keeping our new technology in place.

Schools

We have two schools within the parish, one of which is a Church School. All Saints’ CE Junior Academy has a “link person” from the church, who would normally attend the school weekly. Pupils are encouraged to take part in Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival and the Parish Carol Services. Both schools usually have End of Term services, Carol Concerts and Nativity Plays in the church and are welcomed to use the churches as educational resources.

Restrictions imposed in 2020 following the first UK Covid -19 Lockdown have continued to limit what it was possible to achieve during 2021. Up to the first lockdown, the link worker continued to act as an additional Teacher Assistant on class-based activities. While our schools link worker has not been able to enter into the school life of All Saints’ School during the pandemic, she has kept in close contact with the school and is looking forward to renewing her work during 2022.

Historic links through the William Parker Foundation with Ark Alexandra are also being renewed. The William Parker Foundation was merged with the Magdalen & Lasher Education Foundation on 30 June 2020, and now stands as a ring-fenced fund within the larger Charity, both having strong historic links to the Old Town Churches. The foundation has provided funding to enable the school’s CCF contingent to be re-established.

We were pleased to host an educational visit from Torfield Special School.

We look forward to being able to resume this contact with the students and teachers in 2022.

Truly a church for the community and for the 21st century.

Provision of Pastoral Care for people living in the Parish

The Magdalen and Lasher Charities, whose origins go back to the thirteenth century, are local charities governed by a board of trustees, five whom are ex- officio from the Parish, together with three nominated by the Borough Council. These co-opt seven other trustees. The composition of the Board means that the charities are greatly influenced by the Christian principles espoused by the Parish. The objects of the charities are relief of poverty, support of the elderly and local education. Grants in aid to individuals and to local organisations in 2020/21 totalled some £269,916. Educational grants to local individuals and schools are also made. The PCC is able to refer identified needs to both this and other local charities and all work for the relief of poverty in the wider area of the Borough of Hastings and St. Leonards-on-sea.

Old Hastings House is a 60-bedroom residential care home owned and managed by the charity on a not-for-profit basis. It is across the road from All Saints’ Church and the pastoral outreach extends into the Home. This includes the provision of a Chaplain and regular services are usually held in the Home. Lay members and the Chaplain visit Old Hastings House regularly. If residents are unable to attend, then Holy Communion is taken to them in their bedrooms. A weekly Evensong is also held, provided by the parish and volunteers from other denominations. The church hosts an annual service of thanksgiving for the Charity which draws beneficiaries from all over the town. This service is followed by refreshments provided by the PCC. Unfortunately, during the lock-down period it has not been possible for the Parish’s pastoral services to operate within the home, except in end-of-life situations.  Normal service will resume when the lock-down has ended.  It is noteworthy that alone among residential care homes in Hastings, Old Hastings House had no Covid19 infections among residents 2020/21.

The Laurels Nursing Home within the Parish also has regular pastoral visits and a monthly service of Holy Communion, taken by a Lay administrator of Communion.

This is an important part of our Outreach Mission to all.

Pastoral visits, which may include Holy Communion, are made to sick parishioners. A weekly prayer list is maintained and included in Sunday services in Church and on the Pew Sheet.  During the pandemic, when visits to private homes and particularly Residential Homes have been limited for the protection of residents the links have been maintained via the Pew Sheet being posted on line. Regular telephone calls have been arranged to those isolating and parishioners missing social contact. Although some regulations and caution have affected in person contact during 2021, it is hoped to fully restore these visits and links during 2022.

This illustrates how St. Clement and All Saints Parish is responding to the challenge of nurturing and teaching our new and existing believers, and putting faith into practice, through prayer and scripture, music and sacrament.

Maintaining the fabric of the church buildings as historic centres and focus of life in the Old Town and making the best use of our assets

The relationship with the Magdalen and Lasher Charity and the use of the churches for community and civic purposes engenders a great sense of pride and ownership of the old town people for their parish heritage.

St. Clement and All Saints Church Buildings

We have charge of two beautiful medieval churches and a church hall. The PCC is charged with utilising the assets in a financially responsible way.  The parish has raised over £300,000 to enable the generation-long work of restoring the 600 year old St. Clement’s Church to be completed and to refurbish the 1878 Father Willis organ in All Saints’ an instrument of national significance. Once the St. Clement’s project has been completed, the PCC will turn its attention to the almost equally ancient All Saints Church which is in better shape than St. Clement’s, but still needs some loving attention. We also raised £200,000 to achieve the refurbishment of the parish hall.

The PCC seeks grants and raises funds for this maintenance and necessary improvement. We are fortunate to receive occasional legacies and donations, often for specific work. The Two Towers Trust is an independent charity working to raise funds for the maintenance of the two medieval church buildings, but this constant drain on our resources is a financial problem. We have looked at making the best use of our assets.

 All Saints’ Church Hall is usually rented out to various groups from the local community. Following extensive renovations in 2019 we look forward to resuming an upward trend in bookings as regulations allow in 2022.

All Saints’ Upper Hall is used for community rental, the Hall is fully accessible for the disabled and has now been decorated, insulated and gas heating installed, a commercial dishwasher and a small fridge have also been installed. Many users want to come back and rentals have been increasing since May 2021. The Lower Hall, used as the Parish Office until mid 2021, it is now let as studio accommodation, with the adjacent garage also let to raise income.

The following gives a flavour of the constant work and expense of maintaining our property.

 Work is needed on both medieval church buildings; stonework constantly erodes in the salt air, and the large area of roof and damp walls are a threat to the buildings’ integrity. It is hoped to implement the remaining recommendations of the Quinquennial Review of St. Clement’s Church. Working with the Architect a major programme of work was agreed, finance was arranged and it is hoped that work will be finished by April 2022.

Both churches also need regular and expensive maintenance to the boilers and sound systems. Storm damage needs to be repaired, as necessary, and roof gullies and gutters cleared.

Overseas Mission

 Jenga. “SPLASH”, our Sunday school, will be relaunched in 2022 under the name JAMS (Jesus and Me Sessions) This continues to lead our overseas mission, through JENGA, by sponsoring Grace, a junior school girl from Uganda. This helps us to teach our members about the Christian message of love thy neighbour and helping those less fortunate. The congregation usually help with fundraising events, and we hope that in helping Grace, both the Sunday School and congregation alike benefit from this joint exercise in helping others. Schools in Uganda have been closed during the coronavirus lockdown, and had not reopened in 2021. Grace will need help to catch up on her education and we hope that our support will make this possible.

The church also collects for the USPG.

The PCC aims to increase the parish’s charitable giving in 2022.

Financial Review

The full financial report is attached. Inevitably, the parish’s finances were severely affected by the Covid19 lockdown in 2020/21. Fundraising events could not take place, the letting of the hall had to cease, the annual series of organ concerts was suspended in 2020, and weekly collections ended. Restrictions changed during 2021 allowing some financial recovery. We were assisted by kind donations from special appeals, and the continued income of those who gave regularly through the Parish Giving Scheme and standing orders.

We were blessed by a wonderful legacy from the late Elizabeth Stevens, through which our income-generating investment was increased by £10,000 and, in accordance with her stipulation, the All Saints organ fund by £20,000, enabling the overhaul of the organ in 2021 to be accomplished.

Thanks

The PCC extends its thanks to all who bear responsibility for the Church’s work in this Parish, both employed and volunteer, too numerous to mention by name in this report. However, special thanks are due to the Reverend Paul Hunt who has worked far beyond his contracted hours and Churchwardens, Gareth Bendon, Judith Cubison, Pat Lock and Ann Wing, who have worked so hard to support the Reverend Paul Hunt and the PCC to achieve so much in 2021. Thank you also to all who have worked so tirelessly for the church, serving on committees, leading our house-groups, children’s work, running and taking part in services, social events, fundraising, flower arranging, brass cleaning, making marmalade and ensuring that the life of the church and its service to the community has continued throughout 2021.

Statement of Responsibilities of the PCC

Membership of the PCC is determined under the Church Representation Rules and consists of certain ex-officio members (the incumbent/priest-in-charge, curate, Readers licensed to officiate in the church), the churchwardens and 3 members of the Deanery, Diocesan or General Synods and 9 members of the church who are elected at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM).

The full PCC met 9 times in 2021, a mixture of face to face and Zoom meetings. The Standing Committee conducted business between meetings.

Members are warmly encouraged to stand for election to the PCC and we try to ensure a balance of skills and experience where possible.

The PCC has adopted a Risk Register and this is reviewed each year.

The law applicable to charities in England and Wales, which is also applicable to Parochial Church Councils, requires the members of the PCC to prepare financial statements for each financial year which give a true and fair view of the PCC’s financial activities during the year and of its financial position at the end of the year. In preparing those financial statements, the members of the PCC are required to:

  1. Select suitable accounting policies and apply them consistently;
  2. Make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  3. State whether applicable accounting standards and statements of recommended practice have been followed subject to any departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements;
  4. Prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the PCC will continue in operation.

This report was approved by the members of the PCC on  ………………………..And signed on their behalf.

Chair to the PCC…………………………………………………………………………..Date…………………………………………..