ST GILES’ PARISH CHURCH WREXHAM
EASTER VESTRY REPORTS 2019
Babes in the Pew
Me and My Dad
It is now nearly four years since I arrived at St Giles’, and, to be honest, the time moves on so quickly, that I can scarcely believe it is only a year since the last annual vestry. Every year at St Giles’ is busy, in fact every day seems to be busy: it is a church where there is always someone around, and always something in the air: in fact, it is probably the most exciting church I have ever been to, and certainly the busiest I have ever been involved with. At St Giles’ more seems to happen in a single week than happens in many churches in a month (or even longer).
And I feel really blessed in my ministry here, particularly by my colleagues, clerical and lay. Heather has now been with us for eighteen months, and has grown into her ministry in that time. She will be ordained priest at Petertide, and will then serve with us until at least the end of the calendar year, and I value her kindness and the way she uses her pastoral skills to help us all. James Tout as you know will join us as a deacon at Petertide, and I look forward to his ministry with us too. I also value the support and kindness of my retired colleagues Barrie and Glynne, and also of the wider Mission Area Team.
My lay colleagues continue to work very hard for us all, so I would like to pay tribute to them, to Joanna, Pearl, Trish and Diane who have served as wardens; to the amazing Stella who, on top of everything else, has kept me going this year with endless cups of coffee; to Ann who does so much in the office, but is always prepared to stop and listen; to Roger who as treasurer helps us run a tight ship, but not too tight, and to Stella, Jan and the fundraisers who ensure we have additional funds coming in. A lot of the financial work is back room, so thanks too to Clive and Ann Moore for getting systems in place and running. Clive and Roger, of course, have formed their own building committee, and have worked with the Grounds Team on the churchyard. This is only one area where we all miss Peter Blore who sadly died last year, but whose contribution to the life of the church was immeasurable. The PCC continues to keep its strategic overview, chaired by John Gallanders, and the vital work of Child Protection is overseen by Dr Alison Ledward. Musically this has been a good year. Chris our director of music has worked tirelessly, not just on services, but also on our organ recital series, and of course there have been many other concerts too from full scale operas to barbershop choirs, as well as our own choir in residence. Much of the pastoral work has continued with Amanda and Monica Wynn, whilst Paul Wynn looks after our website and social media accounts, and Paul Whitham continues to act as our Tourism Officer: we are continuing to work with Council on Tourism Projects.
In terms of fabric, this year we look forward to the restoration of the Myddleton Monument (complete with a new trumpet) with funds from the Dilettante Society of London, as well as to the arrival of a new drive in time for Christmas!
Our visitor numbers have increased massively this year, partly due to our enhanced profile, and partly due to the Remembrance Tide Poppies which saw over two thousand visitors over one weekend. Thanks to all those who knitted or contributed poppies: this year is of course the Year of the Mouse!
All this activity would not be possible without the nearly 100 volunteers who do everything from the bells to the grounds, who do the flowers, assist in so many ways in the liturgy, who welcome the visitors, provide tea and support to the Memory Café, the Babes in the Pew, the Me and my Dad group, the Activity Group, who do the laundry for the homeless, and feed pretty much anyone who walks through the door from the Bishop to the many down and outs, and those who give their time to sit in the church and welcome people. The liturgical life of the church runs like clockwork, as the sidespersons, servers, readers, intercessors, offertory procession people, sacristans, volunteer musicians, and random people plucked from the congregations to do things just get on with it – this last is a particular feature of the 9.30 Service!
The worshipping life of the church is doing what it should do. We are able to provide a range of services from the quietness of the 8am to the chaotic noise and bustle of the 9.30 All Age Service which now of course meets weekly. The Sunday at 11am congregation still forms the backbone of the church, but the Thursday at 11am continues to attract increasingly large numbers of people from far and wide. The Cymun Bendigaid also goes from strength to strength and the Taizé Service has been successfully revived. For those who are interested in numbers, over the course of an average week, there are around 118 people who will come to church, although the size of the congregation from which these people are drawn would be much closer to 200 – they just don’t all come on the same week!
In addition to this, as you will all be aware, I have occasional extra duties. I continue to serve on the Church in Wales Governing Body as I have for 19 years out of the 21 I have been ordained and am also on the Electoral College for Bishops which has not met (yet), and I also serve on the Doctrinal Commission. In the Diocese, I continue as Youth Vocations Officer, and have been elected to the DAC which looks after buildings (and which has been very useful this year) and have been appointed to the Diocesan Board of Education. As many of you know, I also convene the Deliverance Group on the Diocese – with apologies to those of you who found out via “The Sunday Times”. In addition to this, I’ve appeared on TV and radio, and have even been approached to find out my views on the Loch Ness Monster!
The great Jesuit writer, Gerald Hughes, described God as “the God of surprises”, and if this house of God in any way reflects an aspect of God maybe it is this one. Ministry here is never dull, and really can be full of surprises!
Reverend Jason Bray
This year there have been four wardens: Pearl Shone, Trisha Hamill and Diane Forward, who joined us after last year’s vestry meeting, and me, supported by our Treasurer, Roger Graham Palmer. My colleagues are hardworking and committed and have been a pleasure to work with, I thank them for all their work this year.
We have held over 300 services, Jason having presided at over 275 of them, as well as social events and concerts. The congregation’s support has been outstanding, and we have attracted many new members who have taken on reading, intercessions, sidemens’ and other duties during our services, as well as helping to keep the church open every morning and busy throughout the year. Our visitor numbers have been outstanding. Can I extend an enormous thank you to everyone who has given up their time to make St Giles a warm and welcoming church and especially I would like to extend a very special thank you to our Verger, Stella Whitham; she has worked tirelessly during the year, coming up with inspirational ideas involving both church members and people in the wider community. We are all very grateful to her for masterminding the poppy display that was so appreciated by all. The event raised substantial money for forces’ charities and also meant that we welcomed many visitors from the surrounding area who had never visited the church before.
In the office, Ann Owen has continued to field endless enquires with patience and understanding. We would all be lost without her. Thank you, Ann, very much.
In terms of work to the church, we have avoided major expenditure again. I wish I could tell you that the drive had been replaced but it has been dogged by delays. We hope very much that this year…
This year we have however been able to upgrade the sound system and complete the overhaul of the lighting which is much improved.
We had hoped that our energy bills might be reduced through changing suppliers and lighting improvements but this has been frustrated by price increases. We need to be energy aware and try to turn off unnecessary lights in the brighter months.
Finally, we have said farewell to Rev Mary Stallard when she left at Easter, to be an Archdeacon in the Bangor Diocese; but we were all pleased when Heather, became curate.
The music at St. Giles continues to be a credit to the church, due to the hard work of many, all of whom must be thanked and congratulated.
Throughout the year there have been a number of concerts, of varying musical styles, which have been greatly enjoyed. Some have been exceptionally well attended.
Last year we had the pleasure of another Choral Evensong from the choir of Mossley Hill conducted by Colin Porter. This year I hope to have Colin’s choir back, and also the Nave Choir of Chester Cathedral.
Last year’s eighteen Organ Recitals were, yet again, most successful and we were lucky enough to be able to have some excellent recitalists, including several current and former cathedral musicians. We must be particularly grateful to these professional organists for giving their time freely. It says much for the quality of the organ here at St. Giles’. The average audience numbers were about the same as previous years, but the donations were a little down. I would encourage congregation members, if they have time, to attend some of these recitals as they will hear, properly, what the organ is capable of; this is not necessarily so during a service. Stella and all her team must be warmly thanked for their hard work in providing the excellent lunches on recital days. It does take them a long time to prepare everything and clear up afterwards and the results are always excellent. The 2019 recital series begins on 6 May for eight weeks and continues from 26th August for ten weeks. This year again please make every effort to attend some of these, three of which fall on Bank Holidays; any publicity for the recitals would also be appreciated. The full details of both the recitals and recitalists can be found on the church notice boards and at www.organrecitals.com
I have written in previous reports about the state of the organ, particularly the action and the winding. It is now well past the time when serious consideration should be given to getting the problems sorted. I have in my possession organ builders quotes for the work required from more than a decade ago. The problems will not go away, and some serious consideration must be given to this problem, particularly as St. Giles has one of the finest organs in Wales which we should cherish
Finally, I must thank the congregation for their splendid singing at the Sunday morning Eucharist. It really is first rate, most particularly the psalm, which is always difficult without a choir.
The Parish Office continues to be very busy. It is open within the Church every weekday morning and is accessible by email and mobile phone at all other times. The work includes the recording and circulating of the weekly Ministry Team and Management Team Meetings notes, and the editing and printing of the weekly Services and Notices Sheets and Posters. The Calendar is maintained also on a daily basis.
In addition to these regular tasks, there is a varied daily flow of visits, emails and phone calls, the Office providing a conduit for many differing requests for information and help. These may range from the booking of funerals and providing information on how to arrange weddings and baptisms, to researching the Archives which are held in the RE Centre at College House.
The Office liaises with a number of external bodies, ecclesiastical and secular and enquiries are often both immediate and complex. The aim is always to respond quickly and positively, supporting the huge daily demands made upon the Vicar, and enabling St Giles’ reputation as a friendly and effective Christian witness to be maintained at all times.
St Giles currently uses three Social Media platforms:
- Webpage: www.stgilesparishchurchwrexham.org.uk
- Facebook St Giles’ Parish Church Wrexham
- Twitter St Giles’ Parish Church Wrexham
Part of our church Mission Statement declares that we seek to be ‘a visible and active Christian witness…..’ During the last year we have continued to promote our Parish Church of St. Giles Wrexham through our social media platforms.
There has been considerable growth in activity on our Facebook page over the last year. We gained many new followers as a result of the Poppy Display last November with over 16000 visitors viewing the display photographs. At present we have 1046 regular followers on Facebook – 27% are male and 72% female. 998 of our followers live in Wrexham. Facebook followers from other countries include the USA, Australia, Poland, South Africa, Germany France, IOM, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, Estonia, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Singapore, and Sri Lanka
The current Age Distribution of our Facebook visitors is:
Our Weekly Services/News Bulletin is published on Facebook and our Website. In addition, some former members of our congregation, who are no longer able to attend church, receive a copy of our notices sheet every week by email.
Our Twitter page enables us to advertise many of our forthcoming concerts and events.
We welcome any comments and suggestions on how we can improve our Social Media pages in the future.
During the year we have enjoyed a regular practice on a Tuesday night as well as introducing on the first Sunday of the month, a late afternoon practice when we ring the ten bells before the Welsh Service.
We have increased the number of ringers again this year and we now have 13 Adults and two Juniors with another two learners. We have welcomed visiting ringers from the Wirral, Cheshire, Shropshire, Hertford, Derbyshire and South Wales. Our ringers joined in the Annual Bell Ringing Outing and rang at Prestatyn, Rhyl, Llandudno, Bodelwyddan, and Abergele.
We have again helped with the Tower climbs which take place on the last Saturday of the month to coincide with the Saturday Street Market and took over 130 people up the Tower raising funds for the church. We had two unwelcome visitors in the belfry in the form of pigeons but with the help of the RSPCA they were released and more wire was put up to stop a recurrence.
We purchased muffles for our bells so that we could ring, along with all the towers in the country, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ending of the First World War on the 11th November. There was a national campaign to recruit over 1400 new ringers to coincide with the number who were killed during the war and in fact over 2,000 people are now being trained. We had three new ringers during this period and they each received a special badge in recognition of the event. If there is anybody who is interested in ringing here at St. Giles’, please let one of the Wardens know.
The Groups are developing strongly and are engaged in important projects. St Joseph’s is working on single-use plastics and St Richard Gwyn is embarking on this issue as well, St Christopher’s on expanding the use of British Sign Language, while the new group at Hawarden High wishes to start up a ‘safe space room’ to support young people with mental health issues.
TCC continues its work in relation to the Hungry at Breakfast issue, and Ken Skates AM has written to Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, in support. Contacts with the Welsh Local Government Association are being helpful also.
The launch of Wrexham as a Town of Sanctuary attracted significant support from faith groups, BAWSO, the British Red Cross, AVOW and Coleg Cambria. Other towns have followed the lead, and resources from Wrexham are available for sharing,
TCC is researching the issue of Mental Health, particularly in the context of GP surgeries, and is pursuing contacts with local MIND branches. The potential of mental health first-aid training is being developed; information is available about an accredited 2-day training course. Sarah Wheat from the Diocese is keen to support this issue.
The TCC Week this year will focus, not on fundraising, but on raising awareness and building relationships.
You will have no doubt all seen or read about the recent Press Release about Visitor Numbers in 2018. In summary: there were a total of 33,300 visitors to St Giles for the year 2018, a 21% increase over 2017 and a near doubling in the five years since 2014. I am extremely grateful for the interest and support to Tourism/ Visitors given by our Vicar, Rev’d Dr Jason Bray. I believe that much of this growth reflects that. Thank you, most sincerely.
I suggest that it is first worth taking a moment to remind ourselves of the need to encourage tourists /visitors. I can think of four reasons:
- Principally, for the past 800 years or so, St Giles has always been - and hopefully will remain –a place of pilgrimage and hospitality; for the lonely, the frightened, the troubled, the unloved, the happy, the sad, unbelievers, those seeking a bit of peace and quiet etc. Maybe that is something that we could all do with!
- Secondly, like it or not, the church is probably the most important Town Centre building to visit. Also, a former incumbent once said: “we should look to turn visitors into pilgrims and pilgrims into disciples”. Whilst that may be difficult if not impossible for us in respect of overseas visitors, it still holds true for more ‘local’ visitors.
- Thirdly, these days, for any sort of projects, having significant tourists/ visitors are a mandatory pre-requisite for successfully bidding for any public grants.
- Fourthly, and certainly finally, visitors/ touristsmay provide a small source of additional income, bearing in mind that many of our visitors pay/ donate for concerts/ services etc, many of them are children, and many are from overseas countries where their own churches may be state owned and state funded. I am liaising with an English Cathedral to see if, when ‘asking’ for visitor donations, we can utilise their (mulit-lingual) form of words which I thought eminently suitable. It satisfactorily answers the key questions: why is the church asking for money? Ditto, all the time?
We continue to be very grateful to all the Welcomers who give unstintingly of their time and interest – in all weathers, many or few visitors etc - and who provide a widely recognised warm welcome. We may publicise to visitors that the church is ‘open, warm and lit’, but the human presence when they come is at least as important. Largely as a reflection of the Welcomers efforts, we have retained the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and currently rank no 5 out of 61 TripAdvisor ‘Places to Visit’ in Wrexham County Borough. Thank you all, most sincerely. As the busy Tourism/ Visitor and ‘Welcomer holiday’ season approaches, we do need more Welcomers, so if you can offer a couple of hours each week, do please let us know.
We are also grateful for church visitor ‘walk round’ leaflets now in Estonian and Portuguese, in addition to Spanish, Chinese, Polish, German, Russian, French, Italian as well as Cymraeg and English. By no means are all our overseas visitors English speaking and to be able to offer them a ‘walk round’ leaflet in their native tongue is hugely important.
2018 saw a number of Events and Activities which may have contributed to increased visitor numbers including eg the Poppy Display and WWI Armistice Commemorations; continuing seasonal Tower Climbs; the publication of a new Guide Book; joint working with Wrexham Museum with two 17th Century Bibles loaned for display at Wrexham and Mold Museums as part of the ‘History of NE Wales in 100 Objects’ exhibition; joint working also with the Museum with pull-up Banners displayed in the Soldiers Chapel alongside the Poppies etc. This was part of a 3 way display held at St Giles, the Museum and the Memorial Hall.
During the year, St Giles hosted one of the regular meetings of the ‘Town Centre Forum’, with excellent resulting publicity (real thanks to the catering team). More positive publicity has continued, including at the time of writing (30th March) St Giles being the first place mentioned in an ‘Insider’s Guide to Wrexham’ featured on the Visit Wales website and written by local author
Laura Leigh Dickinson (per www.thisiswrexham.co.uk – Facebook pages 7,800 likes!).
It has to be remembered of course that growing interest in St Giles is part of a wider, growing, pan North Wales National/ International tourism interest. In 2016 Lonely Planet ranked North Wales the 4th most important place in the world to visit, Wrexham has had a World Heritage Site (Pontysyllte Aqueduct) now for ten years, Wrexham has two Michelin starred restaurants, the annual value of Tourism to the local (Wrexham) economy is £117m.
As usual, during 2018, often with Jason, I have attended various Tourism and related events including regular meetings with the Destination Manager (WCBC), meetings of the Town Centre Forum and (usually as arranged by the Destination Manager) Tourism Workshops, Breakfast Seminar and Familiarisation Visits, sometimes involving other local/ regional/ national Tourism organisations/ operators.
For a range of supporting concerts, event and activities being held at St Giles, I try to arrange for posters, flyers etc to be put up in church, TIC, Ty Pawb, generally around the town centre and sent to e.g. all local Hotels, Guest Houses, B&B’s etc, local businesses etc. Coverage is however never 100%, whether in terms of relevant concerts etc or all possible publicity. More publicity needs to be done e.g. entries in local ‘What’s On’ events diaries etc.
Complementary to the work of Ann and Jason in the office and as a former Council employee, in 2018 I also made, with Jason’s agreement, contact with
representations to/ encouraged visits by e.g. Council officers, Council Leaders, Chief Executive, Mayor etc in respect of WCBC public consultations on three major Council Strategies: their ‘Destination Management Plan’, their ‘Wrexham Heritage Strategy’ and their ‘Town Centre Conservation Area Management Plan’. All three Strategies have now been formally approved and adopted. They will all directly impact upon St Giles in one way or another. I have mentioned several times and also requested in writing that for St Giles they must be considered together!
During 2018, in discussions with Jason and the Destination Manager, a number of areas were identified where, as opportunities arise, we can benefit from improving and developing ‘the visitor experience’. For example, these might include: the use of the Welsh Language in notices, signage, welcoming, publicity, marketing etc, annual membership of a Regional Tourism Organisation, design, production and distribution of tri-fold publicity, greater use of colour (e.g. two examples: posters and flyers, replacement interpretation boards at the top of the Tower), more banners for events, advertisements in North Wales Tourism publications, ideas seen at other churches/ Cathedrals etc. Whilst they will all cost some money, it is worth pointing out that St Giles has achieved its level of interest (e.g. 5th out of 61 ‘Places to Visit in Wrexham’) by having a marketing/ publicity budget of . . . . £Zero! Also, it seems feasible that by working collaboratively with Ty Pawb and the Museum – the otherprincipal attractions in the Town Centre – some of the costs and benefits canbe shared. There are clear advantages in so turning a one-hour Town Centre visit into a half day visit. Also, it may be that the Destination Manager can come and give a presentation to us on the Council’s ambitions for visitors/tourism in Wrexham in general and the Town Centre in particular.
Finally; thank you for reading. I hope you have found this Report to be of interest. Earlier, you will have seen the specific appeals for help - Welcomers and Publicity. As you may have gathered, more Press Releases would be advantageous and, as I have discussed with Paul
Wynn (our Webmaster), there are continuing ‘technology’ aspects that can be further developed, including e.g. greater use of Twitter/ Tweets, replies/comments to statements made on TripAdvisor, events and activities maybe uploaded to YouTube etc. I would be very happy for others to join me on this journey – none of us goes on for ever! It is really is quite a long list and any assistance you might be able to give with any of these items would be really appreciated.
There has been a great spirit of cooperation, especially in practical ways, during the past twelve months. We have had a good committee in Janet, Joanna, Margaret, Tricia, Pru and Elizabeth and also have valued Stella’s input and advice.
All those members who are able to attend have played their part – providing and serving refreshments, or distributing magazines (Tricia), or leading worship and taking minutes (Rosie and Amanda).
We were pleased to know of Pat Bithell’s 90th, Peggy Matthews’ 91st and Doreen Tantrum’s 99th birthdays; but there was sadness when we attended the funerals of Ivy Griffith and Carol Jellicoe. (Since then, we have been grieved to hear of Pat Bithell’s death.)
We held a Coffee Morning in January, organised by Diane, which raised more money than ever. We went out to lunch in Rossett in February (postponed from December); in March, Jason took our Lenten Communion service; later that month, on Maundy Thursday, we provided a FrugaI Lunch – thanks to Deryl Roberts and Tricia. In April, two of the Mersey Girls came to tell us about their experiences; in May, Joanna gave an excellent presentation on the 2018 theme of ‘In Mary Sumner’s Footsteps’; in June, Eileen Spencer, from the Alzheimer’s Society, gave us an illuminating talk, with advice on how to relate to those who have dementia; we all enjoyed the Deanery Strawberry Tea, organised by Stella, later that month. In July, we had a very pleasant time at our Bring and Share supper; Kate Tiltman came to speak about her trip to Iran in September, with lovely photos and artefacts to show us; also in September, six of us went to the Archdiaconal Service in Buckley – it was rather crowded, but we all managed to have a very nice tea there afterwards! At our October meeting, we heard about the work of the Prisoners’ Fellowship and about Angel Tree, from Michael and Joan Winwood; the profit of £26 from the frugal lunch was donated to Angel Tree. Later that week, some of us joined the Babes in the Pew ladies for supper in St. Giles’, which was lovely. Then in November our meeting took the form of a WW1 Remembrance, kindly put together by Doreen and Rosie, with Stella managing the music, when we sang along to songs of that era and listened to poems read by members. Also, in November, Stella, together with Jennifer and Vera, produced an excellent lunch at the Ladies’ Day held in St. John’s, with up to 50 ladies attending. Our last meeting was in December and we had a very good Christmas lunch in the Nag’s Head.
It is good that we have been able to open up a number of our meetings to other church ladies, who are always welcome.
In August of last year the Society was greatly saddened by the passing of Mr Peter Blore, the “Main Stay”, long standing Secretary/Treasurer and Main Organiser of the Society. Peter was one of the Founder Members of the Society.
The Society had met previously as a group once a month, both in the Church (south aisle) and at The Ramada Hotel every quarter.
A Special Meeting was convened in September 2018 were tributes to Peter were expressed and followed by discussions as to the future of the Society. It was agreed “that the meetings should be held only every quarter”, owing to the difficulty finding appropriate speakers. The meetings would be held in The Ramada Hotel in-line with previous arrangements.
Two meetings have now taken place as per the new arrangements. The first meeting took place in December 2018 (Christmas Themed), with the Speaker Canon Rev’d Ian Davenport, Vicar of Malpas, talking about his role as one of the Queens Chaplains, which proved to be a very interesting insight to the role.
The second meeting took place in March 2019 with the speaker being Mr Dylan Williams from Pentre Broughton (one of our new members). The talk by Mr Williams was about his visit to Jordan and along with slides was well received.
Both meetings have been well supported by the men of the church. It is hoped that this support will be maintained to ensure the continuance of the Society.
We extend a warm welcome to All MEN of St Giles and invite ALL MEN of the Benefice Churches to our future quarterly meetings.
Wow! What a year and again!. Thank you to all who gave, supported and bought to make our fantastic fundraising figures.
So how have we done this? As we did last year, we start with teas/coffees after every service - you really don’t know how much the odd donation adds up. Next, by conferences and meetings, attended by Clergy from other parts of Diocese/Representative Body, who have passed the information on to other colleagues encouraging them to use St Giles with our brilliant catering team! Once again, we have had various meals - the Sunday ones, the evening ones with ‘Quizzes’ and ‘Themes’ and every other opportunity where food could be served.
Hirings for various concerts, choirs, associations and orchestras, (along with the refreshments provided in intervals), have also helped. Again, we have had two programmes of organ recitals, organised by Chris Pilsbury, with wonderful lunches served beforehand.
Other events include: our 4th Craft Fair (with an increased attendance than previously) and our 2nd “Assiette de Desserts” – unfortunately not very well attended. As usual, we took part in the Council run ‘Victorian Christmas Market’ and, again all the raffle tickets were sold. (Unfortunately, we were unable to put on our stall outside due to staffing and also the number of food outlets in the market.) Again, a big ‘thank you’ to all the Craft makers -their contribution has been amazing throughout the year from Easter Chicks to the magnificent Poppy display already mentioned.
None of this could have happened without the great teams who make things work - the Fundraising Committee, who worry constantly if something is going to work, but always ‘pull it off’ with everyone’s help and, of course, the magnificent catering team.
If anyone wishes to help or join us at anytime, please do not hesitate to contact a warden who will pass your information on.
Memory Lane Group
The Memory Lane group is held every second and fourth week at 1pm to 3pm. This group is now coming into its third year and at present we have a very good attendance. The group is supported by Home Instead which is a private care company. A member of their staff, Sue, comes to assist and we also have the support of Mary from Asda who is their Community Supporter. Last, but by no means least, Vera and Doreen keep us fed and watered.
We have service users from Emral House, Hafod House Ruabon, and people from the community, all with their carers. We have numerous activities including bingo. We also now have a bowling game and crosswords. We discuss the past and talk rather a lot!
This group is for people with learning disabilities. They come from the Beeches and are very loyal to our group which is held on the first and third week in the month from 12pm to 2pm. Vera and Doreen again help me by keeping the tea and cake going.
We have numerous activities very similar to the Memory Lane, one of the things enjoyed by service users was potting Sunflower seeds which they photograph before every session with good results.
Members over the age of 55 meet on a Thursday (2nd and 4th of the month) for social time together over a 2-course meal. The cost has remained unchanged at £3.50 and is self-sufficient. Asda is a great supporter of St Giles through its Community Champion worker, Mary Williams. Mary has helped us obtain grant funding for the Christmas Meal. The Lunch Club continues to pay £30 a meeting for the use of the social area and kitchen. The whole operation is only possible with the loyal support of our members and hard-working group of volunteers, particularly Jen Tattum, Angela Wooster, Gill Hindley and others who willingly help whenever needed. During 2018, a number of our regular members passed away and some are unable to continue due to ill health but we have also welcomed new members and attendance has grown to between 30-40 members each time.
The Craft Group was re-established in the latter part of 2018. The greatest task undertaken was the co-ordination and creation of the Poppy Display for the Armistice Centenary, with approx. 10,000 hand crafted poppies. The ladies still provide ribbon crosses, cross stitch bookmarks, crosses in my pocket, chicks, rabbits etc. Ladies have also made a large number of ladies and children’s cardigans and jumpers and knitted dolls clothes and soft toys which raise a lot of money. We must not forget also the Teddies made and given out at Christenings. To all these very talented ladies, a very big thank you.
Babes in the Pew
Babes in the Pew continues to meet on Wednesday mornings for all children under school age and their carers. During 2018, a number of children moved on to Nursery and numbers have been slow to build up again, but now we have a steady group of eight children with siblings joining them at holiday times.
Me and My Dad
Me and My Dad continues to meet on the 1st Saturday of each month for fathers and their children, led by Captain Chris and Rev Jason and supported by volunteers. Attendance is slowly growing.
Once again, we would like to say a big thank you for all the generous contributions we receive towards flowers, be they in memoriam or for anniversaries or just for our funds. This year we were given a donation in memory of our lovely Mair Mason, and after discussion with Dr Alan Mason it was decided to spend this money on a wrought-iron pedestal and mini-pedestal, together with two handsome black bowls for holding our displays. These gifts were blessed by our Vicar Jason in the presence of Dr Mason and his family at one of our Sung Holy Eucharist services. These welcome gifts will be used for many years to come.
This year, most of the Brides have been happy with the floral displays already in Church and have not requested specific arrangements, so in this respect we have not been busy.
The Team would also like to thank everyone who helps to decorate the Church at Festival times, with making posies for Mothering Sunday, and with supplying us with extra greenery. Without your help at these times, we could not manage.
We are now looking forward to the future and what this may hold for us and our flowers.
Ruth Williams, Maureen Davies, Amanda Berry
The Ground Maintenance Team (Gnomes) which meets every Tuesday morning, 9-30am till 12 noon have again reduced in the number of “active” members, but nevertheless the few remaining members have, with the help of a ride-on mower (when available), continued to keep the Church grounds in a reasonably presentable condition.
Considerable effort is expended grass cutting, along with litter-picking (including lots of empty beer bottles and cans, and the occasional spent needle all mainly located at the rear of the church). The gullies to all the main rainwater pipes have been cleared and north aisle and main roof gutters have been cleaned. With the help of a dedicated volunteer, most of the trees around the grounds have had the low level “suckers” cut back to open up the visual aspect of the church. Minor repairs etc. within the church have also been carried out ad-hoc. It is also important to mention the ladies who keep the driveway flower tubs and the circular garden in order with the lovely displays.
The Church has had the south aisle roof guttering cleaned and the blocked rainwater pipes cleared, along with repairs to the broken cast iron rainwater pipe on the south side. Several solid garden type seats have been purchased and located around the grounds at the front of the Church.
The 100 Club has been running for a number of years, and taken over by myself in 2012The current subscription member number is 141, with some new members over the past few months. This can fluctuate with sad losses and people moving away.
The current annual income is at its highest, as follows:
Total Income: £1, 691
Outgoing from Monthly Draw: £780
Total Profit: £911
Given the unpredictability of members, my goal is to reach a total profit of £1,000. Any new members will be much appreciated, and grateful thanks to our current members.