The Parish Church of St James, Merton

Report from the Parochial Church Council (PCC), on the year in the life of St James Church, 2019.

2019 was another year with much going on and much to be grateful for, including the blessings of people able and willing to take a lead and run with projects and events. We continued to take our MAP seriously, based on the Diocesan framework of Marks of Mission, recognizing that however good an idea is, if there aren’ t enough people with the skills, time, strength and ability to take it forward, it can’ t happen at this time. We welcomed Elaine Lambie as churchwarden and Nick Alexadrou, Graham Aslett and Carolyn Doswell to the PCC.

Parochial Church Council (PCC) Structure and Process

The PCC is the elected body making decisions on behalf of the church on issues about the church. It met formally on 6 occasions during 2019, with average attendance of over 80%; committees and working groups met between meetings, and individuals attended a number of Diocesan or Deanery meetings or training sessions – all feeding back to the main body. These meetings are the driving force of “ keeping the show on the road”; everyone who joins the PCC has the church’ s best interests at heart and brings their own viewpoint, experience and skills. The meetings are formal business meetings, but they take place in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere over a cup, or perhaps a glass, of something and we hope that everyone feels they can ask the “ stupid” question, or offer the “ what if… ” suggestion.

Worship and study

As before, there were many opportunities for worship and study, with huge variety and diversity – something for all, led and supported by our vicar, Fr Jim. Invitations to events and services, and “ street specific” prayer request forms were delivered and collected, notices were posted and work on the website and social media continued, and improved information is “ out there”.

Our main services every week were the Sunday and Thursday Eucharists; Sunday sung in church with full altar party and choir, and Thursday in the Chapel, with Healing. During the year, the time of the Sunday Mass was changed from 9. 30 to 10. 00am so both services were at the same time for clarity. Inevitably, some people welcomed the change and others were dismayed; there will be opportunity for comment and discussion at the APCM. All are made welcome to the services and the coffee and chat following; Fr Jim and/or Fr Mark continued to welcome visitors at the front door, and from the altar during services, and many people went out of their way to welcome visitors and newcomers before and after. We hope the message is very clear – we are a diverse community and all are welcome at St James’s.

Monthly Rosary Prayers (led by Mike McCormack) and Bible Study (by Simon Emdin and Fr Mark) continued but a real sadness was that the First Sunday School closed in August as we recognised that no younger children were following through from the very small numbers of those who were almost ready to grow out of it. We need to welcome and involve those children who come occasionally in a different way.

There was opportunity for Confession at Easter and Christmas and other times by request. The open front door each day during daylight hours was an invitation to the chapel for private prayer and lection, and prayers left on the noticeboard in the chapel went to the Thursday Mass and were prayed there as well as privately. The prayer box in the church garden was not much used, but there were numerous prayers left on the board in the chapel. Cards were distributed at different times to various streets, advising residents that their street would be prayed for on a certain day, and inviting them to use the cards to request prayer. It was a constant joy to see people “ popping in” to pray or to light a candle, and to know that people considered this “ their church” and there for them, although we may not know their names.

Home Communion was taken to the sick, those in hospital, and housebound by Fr Jim and Mike McCormack, and Fr Graham, Fr Mark and Simon Emdin are all able and willing to do at need.

Three very wise guests, robed and bearing gifts, visited on Epiphany Sunday as we continued to celebrate the great mystery of Christmas but it barely seemed we were over Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas before it was Ash Wednesday, with services and ashing. Wednesday evening Lent groups, led by Simon and Fr Mark, studied and discussed in some detail, the readings from the Sunday, and on Thursdays after Mass, we studied the “ Resurrection Appearances”, led by Mike McCormack. Very unusually, we had a great celebration in the evening of Passiontide as Fr Jim was transformed from Priest-in-Charge, to become our Vicar.

As Easter approached we processed outside around the church on Palm Sunday, and Holy Week was celebrated with evening Mass on the first three days, Foot Washing and Vigil on Maundy Thursday and, on Good Friday, with a very sunny and warm Silent Witness outside in the morning, and Stations of the Cross, the Liturgy, and a reflective evening service. Easter was celebrated firstly on Easter Eve with the Easter Vigil and First Mass, and again on Easter Day with a joyous Parish Mass. Ascension Day was followed by observance of the Archbishop’ s Novena – nine days of prayer from Ascension to Pentecost - celebrated in red with helium balloons representing the lightness and life of the Holy Spirit.

In July we welcomed Bishop Christopher again, and celebrated our Patronal Mass in great style. The next few months offered many opportunities; “ Mass on the Grass Outside the Front of Church” for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was rained off as a torrential downpour hit less than 5 minutes from the start but even the setting up was a witness and we saw and heard passers-by noticing and reverencing – and the community spirit and help was phenomenal as the service hastily transferred inside. Back to Church Sunday, Harvest Festival and our Pet Blessing with a visit from St Francis himself brought local people and a chance to witness to our locality.

The annual Walsingham pilgrimage was enjoyed in June but before that a group went to Westminster Abbey to celebrate the Walsingham Festival there. Another small group went to Westminster Abbey for St Edwards day – a day of services, and opportunities for awe, reflection and prayer as the Abbey closed to tourists and became “ just” a church. In all pilgrimages from St James, there was a feeling of being part of a group and doing things together, but also the freedom to take time alone and find personal space for worship and reflection.

A week later, in church, there was a healing service on St Luke’ s day. More reflection at All Saints, All Souls and Remembrance Day, then before we knew it, we were at the beginning of the Church’ s calendar again at the onset of Advent, starting with a service of carols, music and readings that was atmospheric and mystical. The annual leap of faith that is our carol singing outside the church was dry this year; wonderfully accompanied by members of the strings from Wimbledon Community Orchestra (WCO). We had the empty and waiting manger and seats in the front porch, and our frankly retro (for which read old and well loved) crib scene illuminated and some local people came especially while passers-by stopped and joined in for a carol or two.

Moving towards Christmas, the Joseph Hood School Nativity and Christingles were enjoyed by all and the children (and adults) were models of good behaviour. “ Our” service on Christmas Eve, when excitement and sugar levels are a little higher, was noisy and joyful until the moment when the circle was made, the candles lit, the lights went out and we prayed and sang quietly. Later, worship started with candlelit music and readings, seguing into Midnight Mass; a beautiful start to Christmas. The smaller number who attended on Christmas morning welcomed the day joyously with carols and said service.

In 2019, as well as “ our” three priests – Frs Jim, Mark and Graham Derriman - we were blessed with preaching, praying, teaching from many bishops and priests especially including Fr David Hastings; we thank all of them and give thanks for hem.

Members of the Wimbledon Korean Baptist Church (WKBC) continued to use the church, hall and chapel several times a week for worship, services and fellowship. Their style of worship is quite different to ours – as Fr Jim and Pastor Ha, who have both attended the other’ s services, can testify. But we worship the same God and it was good to have the church filled with prayer for more of the time. We can learn from them and try to increase our numbers and copy their enthusiasm.

Children and Families

A big sadness of the year was the decision that it was no longer viable to run a regular children’ s service. Over a number of years, the Godly Play services had tried different times and various formats to appeal to families but while those who attended enjoyed and benefited, numbers stayed small and inconsistent. The 2 most regular attenders were fast approaching the age of growing out and moving on and there were no families bringing younger children, so it stopped in August. Happily, both of those children continued to attend church with their families and Theo went on to be Boat Boy so on occasion it was a real family gathering “ up front” with Aunt Debbie, Dad Nick and sisters Tia and Thalia all serving.

Close links with Joseph Hood School continued with assemblies taken by Fr Jim and Elaine McCormack, and the Nativity and Christingle services in church. The Joseph Hood School Choir came to our Christmas Fair and sang, bringing parents and families, and meeting St Nicholas in the process. The PTFA had stalls at our fairs and we lent tables and stall surrounds for their fairs.

We tried to be clear, by provision of play space, and Fr Jim and others welcoming families with children during services, that they are an integral part of the church and welcome at every service – not just their “ special” ones. There were opportunities to join the choir, to serve at the altar and to take a full part in the life at St James.

Church Members

Carolyn Doswell, our Electoral Roll Secretary undertook a complete revision of the roll; 12 names were removed and 9 added so the total number was 60. This year, average attendance at “ ordinary” Sunday services was 47, and the Annual Count – Sundays in October – 46. Most members of the congregation took an active part in services by reading, praying, serving, acting as chalice assistants and welcomers, collecting the offertory and singing in the choir. We were ever mindful of the “ behind the scenes people” who, for example, printed, copied and delivered leaflets and service sheets, kept the linen beautiful, counted the collection, worked the sound system, and bought and arranged fresh flowers for the church, chapel and lobby.

Ever a joy, new members were Baptised and, of course, there were sadnesses of funerals – but no joy of weddings, although some banns had been read.

The usual busy-ness went on behind the scenes – preparing for services, making lunches and coffees – and clearing up, taking food to the food bank and clothes to Faith in Action, lifts, visits, shopping, home communions, organizing hall lettings and opening and shutting up the church, daily, and the hall for one off lets – all and more carried out by very many members of the congregation. Practical help was always available when needed, by a variety of people with many skills; whether for the church as a whole or for an individual.


The completion of the new heating system in 2018 freed up time, energy and talents towards routine maintenance, and “ making good” and mitigating against some of the more unsightly but necessary pipework for the system. The Diocesan Architect, on his visit, thought we had made a very good job of it – as did those who no longer froze to their seats on Sunday mornings. On the very coldest days, it may still be chilly as the ceiling is insulated but thin walls and large single glazed windows cause a lot of heat loss. But it’ s much better than it was, praise be.

Wendy Faulkner, Director of Music, identified a problem with the organ requiring substantial repair, and a faculty application. Fund raising was started and events planned for 2020.

Health and Safety is one of those things that takes regular attention, from the yearly Fire Inspection “ walkabout” to observing problems and dealing with them before they become a bigger problem. There were risk assessments before many events eg services with candles and we made every effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our regular and occasional congregation and visitors. We all carry some responsibility for this – if you see a potential problem, tell a churchwarden about it so we can see how best to make it better.

The hall continued very well-used for many things – fairs and book sales, CAMEO and Café St James, Lent lunches and Sunday School. It was also used by many others – WKBC, Kumon, WCO, Malookoo Dance group for young people with learning disabilities, adminton clubs, keep fit and line dancing groups, clubs, classes, meetings and children’ s parties; all used the facilities and saw the pictures on the wall illustrating what St James is really about. The lobby and church were also used, and the task continued to move people from the secular use of the hall and church, and into services. Richard Thomas and Sheila Coverdale between them field all the queries about hall use, the billing, chasing and dealing with any problems and this is a valued and valuable work for all at St James and helps placing the church in the centre of the community.

We took pride in our lovely building and grounds, kept clean and cared for by a mix of valiant volunteers and Judith Lee, Carol Hounslow and Gary Curtis, and Ray King and Paul. The lobby and chapel were open for private prayer and shelter during most days, managed by a small group of people opening and closing up (led by Simon Emdin) and the message from the open door and invitation sign was a powerful one. Notice boards in the porch and lobby told the story of St James with invitations to services and events, notices, rotas, photos (a new innovation being pictures of all the members of the PCC) and displays. Apart from those who just walked in because of the open door, these were seen by a large audience as the lobby was used as a waiting area for the parents of the children at the Kumon Maths Centre, an additional rehearsal room for the wind section of the Wimbledon Community Orchestra and by Robin and Sandra our Community Police Liaison Officers, for the Community forums held there.

Fundraising and Social Activity

Hospitality was an important part of life at St James’ s and resulted in a busy year for the members of the small Social and Fund Raising Committee and myriad others who helped with many events - attached to services, mainly fund raising with outreach, and purely secular for fun and fellowship. We held the hospitality and invitation to be at least as important as the fundraising, and tried to keep prices as low as possible; this was true across the whole of the year at big events and small.

There were regular events that never “ just happen” but needed organising, and running. Led by Jean Lamb, Café St James (after services every Sunday and Thursday – with the introduction of “ real” coffee) and “ CAMEO” (Come And Meet Each Other) on first Thursdays of the month continued. A free, informal “ village hall” type morning with cake, tea and coffee, and sit and chat, CAMEO was enjoyed by those who came, but numbers of “ non-regular St James congregation” were low; there was discussion at PCC about starting a home visit group, but this foundered on practicalities of the safety of lone visitors, data protection etc. This already happened informally and, as with bringing people to and from church, shopping etc we were thrilled at this individual witness and mission but, sadly, could not offer an organized service, under the St James banner.

There were fun and cakes for our now traditional Simnel Cake Competition on Mothering Sunday; the star t of Lent was preceded by a pancake party in the vicarage on Shrove Tuesday, and then a modest lunch served each Thursday after the Lent group – donations for all these went towards the Bishop’ s Lent Appeal and, with other gifts, £ 667 was sent.

Easter Eve service was followed by a small party; on Easter Day the Parish Eucharist and Easter egg hunt, were followed with drinks and cold hotcross buns. Saturday cleaning, polishing, flower arranging, gardening etc to make the building ready to greet Easter Morning was a sociable experience – with real pleasure in seeing the church bright, gleaming and glorious the next day.

Music continued as a feature of life at St James; our organist and small but valiant choir led singing, prayers and meditation in our regular Sunday services and pulled out all the stops on feast days and festivals. Merton Baroque, the Recorder group that was born for the China Concert in 2018, played for us many times and continued to grow and develop their repertoire.

The church “ as concert hall” was full several times. The WCO rehearsed in the hall, and held their concerts in church, and it was packed for the St Raphael’ s Hospice fundraising concert. Again, it was lovely to welcome “ non-church goers” into these surroundings and who knows what may have awakened in some, but even if not we tried to be the church at the heart of the community, with the community at its heart – and these events were certain evidence of that.

Regular events of Jumble and Book Sales, Summer and Christmas Fairs, Patronal and Harvest Breakfasts, Outdoor carols, and post-service parties in the back of the church came and went with, in general, good success financially (for church funds and various charities) and in terms of fun had by us, our neighbours and our visitors. The Christmas Fair was a wonderful event with a visit from St Nicholas, with Fr Jim in attendance, and the choir from Joseph Hood singing. The hall was packed, the atmosphere great, and a substantial amount was raised for TwinnedToilets (enough to “ twin” all the toilets in the building) plus encouragement to others to buy for their homes.

We continued to support the Wimbledon Foodbank, Christian Care, Faith in Action and the Bishop’ s Lent Appeal. Substantial donations were sent to Embrace the Middle East, and The Childrens’ Society, plus many smaller donations. Half the money from the fairs went to charities – from the Summer Fair to Faith in Action.

Homelessness continued on our mind this year; two homeless men, at different times, took to sleeping behind the hall and it was difficult to find a path between supporting them in their troubles, being aware that sleeping there was unsafe for them and unhelpful in trying to move on in life, and a potential risk and hazard to other hall and church users. Fr Jim and Simon, our churchwarden, were supported by our Community Liaison Police Officers, by Faith in Action, by our own and the Diocesan Safeguarding Officers and by the Merton Street Pastors; we are grateful to them. Good news was that accommodation was found and both individuals, at the time of writing, were not homeless. Late in the year, the opportunity arose for us to volunteer for one night a week, hosting the Merton Winter Night Shelter from March through to the end of April 2020, and we were pleased to be accepted this time, having been declined in the past as too far away from the town centres.

It may not be widely known, but there is a clear pathway to the vicarage door for people asking for money, help, and often for food. We are strongly advised not to give money; advice had previously been given about the Foodbank and Faith in Action. Sometimes these answers are not enough and our project with the Martin Way Café and Martin Way Fish and Chips continued. They had a float of money and Fr Jim gave out laminated “ IOU” cards, which were exchanged for a hot meal to the value of £ 6. Both shops were and are happy to support this (and we feel we support them in some way). The cards were taken and used with much success, and the float “ topped up” numerous times on return of the cards, collected and reimbursed at the cafes by our Treasurer.

Aside from gifts given (toys, food, clothing etc), there was much activity related to our Charitable giving, and a total of £ 3, 278 was given during 2019. Main recipients were Twinned Toilets(£ 750), Bishop’ s Lent Fund(£ 667), Faith in Action(£ 600), Childrens Society(£ 342), Embrace the Middle East(£ 331), Merton Street Pastors(£ 300), Church Urban Fund(£ 163), and Christian Aid(£ 95).

Administration and Policies

In 2019, the PCC continued to implement the requirements of the Health and Safety Policy, Fire Policy, and A Safer Church Policy, with the lead from our Safeguarding Officers, Anne Fleming, and Linda Laffar, but we still had not fully implemented the changes brought about by the introduction to new Data Protection law(GDPR) in May. We completed an audit of data held and used, and changed practice, but have not been able to appoint a GDPR officer, to sustain and progress this and keep under review – if there is someone who would be able to take on this, not onerous but ongoing task, that could be managed around your own timetable and at home, please speak to any member of our Standing Committee.


We continued to work on and extend our MAP with its long term goal of increasing average attendance by 50% over 5 years (from 2015) but sadly it appears we were wildly optimistic or, our faith wasn’ t strong enough to move mountains! Numbers stayed fairly constant against a backdrop of falling numbers throughout the Church of England so we continued working and planning our next steps, under the Bishops’ 5 Marks of Mission, plus one. See the MAP review below.

As before, for each of these targets, individuals or small groups took responsibility for taking a lead in “ stepping stone” manageable actions which were reviewed at each PCC meeting into 2020. Some were more successful than others; that is the nature of the planning and reviews, to see what is working and, if not, change the step or recognize that something cannot happen at the moment, and move on. If you feel you can help in any one of these goals, there will be someone delighted to talk to you about it; speak to any member of the PCC for more information.


2019 was a strong year for the Church finances and an excess of income over expenditure of more than £ 3, 000 was recorded. The Direct Giving of the congregation was, as always, the largest source of income, and church and hall hirings and fund raising were also of great importance. We paid our Parish Share of £ 26, 000 in full, and after a number of years of very little expenditure on our buildings, in 2019 we spent nearly £ 12, 000 on major and minor repairs, redecoration, and new equipment and furniture in the Church and Hall.

Sum up review

In 2019, the Diocese took the decision to “ restore the benefice” and to change Fr Jim from “ Priest-in-charge” to Vicar; an indication of no further immediate plans to change our status within the Diocese or deanery. Led and encouraged by Fr Jim, our clergy, churchwarden, and the PCC, we walked, worked and prayed together on a pathway to serve God, our local community and the wider world. We achieved some great and some important things, and struggled or failed with some others – such is life. We continued to look in depth at how to live to our ideal of growing out to our community and the wider world; growing together and growing up towards God, both for support and strength. This aspiration and faith drove our life here at St James during 2019, and carried us forward to the next stage in our journey together in 2020.

Signed, on behalf of the PCC:

Fr Jim's signature

12th August 2020

Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts

Mr Richard Evans has agreed to continue as Independent Examiner of Accounts for the 2020 financial year

Electoral Roll Report 2019 – 2020

The Covid lockdown and subsequent disruption impinged on the revision to the Electoral Roll and there may be some further additions next year. There were 5 names removed and 1 added making a total of 55.

Deanery Synod report – 2019

Deanery Synod met in October 2019 but did not meet again until July 2020 (via zoom) due to Covid 19. A survey amongst the churches in the Deanery had highlighted the wish for more networking, information about local and national initiatives regarding mission, best practice about evangelism and how to measure success. Revd Duncan Swan gave a presentation about the role of the Deanery in relation to mission. He noted that deanery boundaries are not set in stone and that we need to learn from other deaneries and share good practice. We should also encourage new ideas from the laity and recognise the gifts and abilities of individuals who can offer specialised knowledge. We have to consider risk taking in order to stimulate growth. Revd Swan gave examples of projects developed within other deaneries including intercession training, joint lent groups, schemes for the homeless, interfaith dialogue, a deanery youth weekend, a clergy wellbeing group and development of Lay champions. It was agreed that an audit of the activities that each church is involved in within our deanery would help future discussions about our local mission.

Bishop Christopher has said that mission activities should not be constrained by synodical structures and processes, rather we should all create space for the Holy Spirit to stir us with imagination and creativity towards the task of mission in our areas. Anne Fleming.

Safeguarding report 2019

Safeguarding at St James involves implementing the policies of the Diocese of Southwark to protect the well-being of children, vulnerable adults and all people in the congregation and during church activities, to support and encourage safeguarding training needs and to keep relevant records. Also, to ensure that those who hire all church buildings abide to safe practice.

Regular safeguarding training and DBS checks have been undertaken by relevant people and St James, as a congregation, is committed to ensuring that this is a place of safety and inclusion for everyone.

Our Parish Safeguarding Officers are Anne Fleming and Linda Laffar. Their contact details are on the noticeboard in the church lobby.

If you have any concerns about the safety of a child or adult in their home life, here at St James's, in our worship, or in any activities that take place in our Church Hall, you can discuss it with the Parish Safeguarding Officers, or with Father Jim, our Vicar. Linda Laffar

Fabric report 2019

St James’ s Church, hall and grounds were used daily by many and varied members of the community of every age, and ability – or disability. The position of our church is a powerful tool in our outreach and the message we try to give is “ You are welcome here, you are safe here. ” To this end much work on routine maintenance had been put on hold pending the installation of our new heating system in late 2018, so much was needed after its installation make good damage done in the process, and catch up. Most work used to be done by volunteers but we are an ageing and shrinking congregation, so we were pleased to have Ray King nearby as someone who if he couldn’ t do the work himself, knew someone who could.
In 2019 work completed included: fitting of cabinet over external gas meter, repositioning of St James banner and board, various repairs to leaking toilets and taps, hooks to secure open various doors, repair of broken glass panels, grab rails fitted in toilets and toilet seats replaced, old radiator removal, painting of galvanised metal flue and gas pipes and cables, walls made good and repainted, main front door repaired and refitted so easier to open, hall, office and kitchen wall heaters fitted, car park wall repositioned and rebricked, heater in sanctuary fitted, repair to hall leaded window, refixing of coping stones, replacing kitchen oven knob, repair outside lighting, remove and replace church guttering, construction of shelving in office, repair of various fluorescent lamps, removal and re-installation of church heater covers for routine maintenance, refixing lid on prayer box, external window grids resecured, replacement disabled door push button transmitter, fitting soap dispensers and hand dryers, installation of wall mounted baby changing table, repair to boiler room door after forced entry, painting of non-slip contrasts to external steps and myriad smaller running repairs.

There was also purchase of comfortable hall seating and dolleys to move them around safely, more hall tables, a trolley for moving other heavy weights, a coffee filter machine and other ongoing smaller purchases.

The garden was kept safe and attractive, and the hall and church area are cleaned regularly and many people picked up a piece of litter, tidied away something left out, kept the notice boards attractive and up to date.

All of the above made St James a safe and beautiful environment. There is always more to be done and we are aware of other issues in the Quinquennial report and are working towards as many of those to be fixed as possible.

MAP Review 2019

This (on following page) is the Mission Action Plan as updated and agreed in November 2019, and worked towards during the early months of 2020. Given the Covid19 Pandemic and complete lockdown, most of the work here went by the board in March 2020, concentrating initially on setting up pastoral and liturgical support, services, and networks, digitally, by phone and by remote personal contact. As lockdown eased, concentration was on safely re-opening the chapel for private prayer, the church for services and currently, the hall for community use while still reaching out to those unable to attend and needing the remote support as before. At time of writing, COVID infection rate is rising and more restrictions are expected; we watch and work with what we can, as we can.

Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
aTo enhance and build on prayer invitation cards and personal invitation Near final printing.Deliver
Formalize system of which streets & when
Invitation to come to church for discussion/study each 1st Saturday after Rosary prayers, or email topic/questions to SE
bTo re-establish JHP assemblies and Christingles.2 assemblies this term and Christingles for whole schoolContinue assemblies and ask again.
cTo advertise and publicise services and events before and after Instagram and facebook pages set up. Posters/info of forthcoming events and services to be emailed to NA to upload.
Teach, nurture and baptize new believers
aContinue with Baptisms; improve further contact with Baptism families 2 children reading Bible story at Christingle. Encourage visiting children to take an active part in church service eg presenting packages for foodbank.
bNurture and welcome new servers No further response from prospective server. Still coming to church No further action at this time.
cLent and Advent Groups, Bible Study Bible Study continues; most recent everybody attending felt able to speak and be involved. Investigate further film for showing.
Respond to human need by loving ervice
aProvide “ Meal IOU” cards for vicarage to give to people, offering a hot meal from café or F& C. Continuing use of cards at café and chip shop.
FrJ brings people into church to offer food etc from foodbank pile.
Investigate doing similar “ IOU” cards to small supermarket or Sainsburys. Monitor and keep toppng up money for cards.Consider “ vicarage bags”
bSupport charity concerts in church – St Raphael’ s, WCO, or ourselves. Free St Raph’s use finishing December. To continue with subsidized use. Concert for organ fund Once organ fixed, consider an organ recital.
cVisiting system for lonely members of community Complicated re-Commitments and safety. Invite and encourage to join CAMEO
Seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
aSupport twinned toilets scheme Leaflets/balloons, bunting received. Publicity planned for and at fair. Direct contact at Fair
bSupport Food Bank, Faith in Action, Christian Care Food taken to foodbank, clothes to FiA Raise profile of food bank donations by processing to altar.
Support in delivering goods to foodbank.
cSupport Children’s Society, etc by services and publicity Children Society boxes, Christingle.Continue
dTo build closer links with our companion parish in Africa Feedback from Canon Coulson in pack. Main thing to do is continue to pray. Intercessors
Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Set up defibrillator New plan to place inside hall so available to hall users, church users and public when hall is open. Assemble and mount in hall
bSt Francis/pet services Went ahead, less good attendance at 10. 00

Swift nest boxes No progress so far. Get information
dImprove recycling and waste/rubbish Working well Continue. Investigate further recycling opportunities
Maintain and enhance the fabric of church and church life to support the above.
aSet up Premises Committee Hand dryers fitted. Disabled door working.
Heating Faculty completed; certificate sent.
Continue to identify and price works.

Organ repairs Motion to apply for a faculty agreed. Organ fund growing and some fund raising activities planned. Plan concert for fundraising and profile raising
Investigate crowd funding
Plan work for next summer, during choir break; inform Director of Music.
Collate info for faculty application
cTo progress issues around comfort and seating in the chapel Grey hall chairs tried in chapel – not well received. Consider cushions on existing chairs.

Chairman’ s Remarks. For the calendar year 2019 – another Year of Grace.

Grace, mercy and peace to those on the electoral roll and friends. 2019 was the year that was – indeed full of smiles, tears and experiences. Our strength enabled us to watch for change. In review I have much to be thankful for and I trust the same is true for you. One older person told me, “ St James is all we have, ” thus  our parish  family needs  ongoing  strengthening. Thanks to Simon for keeping the church open daily for prayer. I see a steady flow of people come in and out of our  irenic  Lady Chapel. Candles seem always lighted.

2019 was a year making improvements in the fabric and continuing in our constant generous response to charity appeals. The sacrifice of time, talent and treasure was what helped make 2019 so good for us as a small but dedicated family of faith. We continued to share our life with the Korean Church and those who hire our  hall/community centre.   We need them and we are here for them and their hiring the hall helps us financially.

The rains came down on some of our big services including St James Day (Bishop Doe drenched), Mass on the Grass for Assumptiontide and St Francis pet blessings. The altar party, flower ladies, musicians and readers all supported the liturgy as the clergy made every effort to pastorally enable us in our Christian walk.

A new format for an Advent Service was very lovely and appreciated, as was the visit of St Nicholas and St Lucia.   It is always great to welcome 2 groups for Christingles from Joseph Hood. Elaine and I made visits to run assemblies by invitation of the head teacher. Our Mass attendance hovered around 40 for Sundays and 20 for Thursdays Healing Mass. The response to CAMEO coffee mornings were good and really can be a way to welcome locals. The Bible and the Rosary did not find many attending, maybe we can make Bible and Prayer a firm commitment for 2020 in our claim as a liberal catholic church in this Anglican diocese. One of the highlights for me was the Christmas Fair with the school choir, so many people and Nick (St Nick it is) A great day and a healthy income for the organ fund. Thanks to all who made it happen.

So very much happened, all memorable.   Bishop Richard was very kind to attend my anniversary Mass which was much appreciated. We have welcomed several guests including Frs Yazid; Lorenzo, Bishop Michael, David Hastings and others. I continued to take services at St Mary Merton at the bidding of Revd John Hayward our patron. I enjoy this immensely. The annual Walsingham visit was excellent, as usual, as we are treated so well by the shrine priests.

My special thanks to Fr Mark Budden our licenced associate priest for all he did for us collectively and with individuals during 2019.

I was happy to donate 2 sanctuary chairs in memory of my sister, Sandra Staikos Obrien. Lovely comfy chairs now grace the church hall. They make a real difference indeed.

We remember our Catholic and Pentecostal now departed friend Michael Sutton who attended the Thursday Healing Mass most weeks. He died and his funeral was at Pilgrim Church Tooting.

Whatever your memories are, I trust they will lead you fully into sharing the vision of our Mission Action Plan for the year of our Lord 2020With thanks for our  fellowship in the gospel, Pax et bonum.

Fr Jim. September 2020