Be still and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10
 

UPCOMING EVENTS:


Church Life

Many regular events encourage fellowship in the church.

·         Weekly ‘Coffee and Chat’ is held on a Friday morning, when the church is open for people to meet informally over a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This means the church is open and available to all who wish to call in for any reason and as well as fellowship provides an opportunity to give a Christian welcome to the people of the area.

·         ‘T @ 3’ is a monthly venture, which is open to all and has encouraged social contact with a growing number in the local community who would otherwise have little contact with the church.  People come to Christchurch on a Saturday afternoon to meet one another, enjoy a cup of tea and listen to a guest speaker.  Attendance is usually in excess of forty people.

·         Keep fit classes, held on Monday and Tuesday mornings, are another activity drawing on support from the wider community.

·         The Craft Circle provides two hours of relaxation and pleasure for those who enjoy handicrafts, and their products are often sold for charitable purposes.

·         The Banner Group meets to create beautiful banners for the church.

·         A monthly Lunchtime Fellowship Club lays on a meal, followed by a speaker, for twenty or so people, who are a mixture of members and local elderly folk. As a result, those who normally eat alone find fellowship and look forward to this break in their routine.

·         A well supported monthly Walkers and Strollers group organises rambles in the spectacular countryside of the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean and other parts of Gloucestershire. 

·         A programme of holidays and excursions is organised by two church members, but open to others in the community; in a typical year, up to ten day trips and four residential stays are arranged through Airedale Tours in a variety of UK locations.

 

We have a weekly news sheet and publish a monthly magazine, the ‘Christchurch Chronicle’.  The Church has its own website: www.christchurchabbeydale.org.uk and is on Facebook

 

Bible study groups meet at the church weekly on Monday afternoons and in various homes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, studying topics from both the Old and the New Testament as well as special courses for Advent and Lent.

 

Christchurch hosts the Gloucestershire branch of the Progressive Christianity Network, which meets monthly.

 

Pastoral care is exercised through Pastoral Links in partnership with the Minister.  The Advocate for this area of church life is a member of Council and runs the Pastoral Link Group.  This Group meets regularly.

 

A group of talented volunteers produce colourful and ambitious arrangements of flowers for the church each week.  These are distributed to the sick and elderly after Sunday worship.

 

We believe that there is scope to build on our present strengths of welcome, fellowship, prayer and pastoral care.  There is enthusiasm for house groups of many kinds, but a lack of potential leaders and ever increasing demands on time restrict us.

 

Many of the church activities described above attract people from the local community, who otherwise would have no connection with Christchurch.  Jubilate, the worship group is open to all and visits other churches to lead worship.


HEALTH AND SAFETY

During the year, the Health and Safety Policy document with associated Guidance was updated and re-approved by Council.

The Church is subject to a quarterly risk review and actions noted are monitored and dealt with in a timely manner.  No significant or unusual hazards have been noted.    The Lone Working Policy and Safeguarding Policy forms part of the Health and Safety overall Policy, and have been subject to annual review and re-approved by Council.

The subject of Health and Safety is a regular agenda item at both Church Council and Church Meetings.   The Policy is clearly displayed on Notice Boards and copies are available for use by church members and leaders of organisations using the church.

Six members have undertaken Food Hygiene Courses and have received certificates, valid for three years.

2 serious incidents have occurred in the year during services (1 fall and 1 collapse) and both were managed in an effective way by our trained First Aiders.  An Incident Book is held in the Church Vestibule.  An in-house First Aid refresher course was run in house by St Johns Ambulance trainers and 9 members have renewed their certificates (valid for 3 years).


SAFEGUARDING

Christchurch Abbeydale is committed in providing a safe place for all to come. We have adopted the Safeguarding guidelines of the Methodist Church and follow their processes. We ensure that anyone involved with children and young people and/or vulnerable adults has a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service check) appropriate for the level of contact.  We recognise that safeguarding is not a "nice to have", it is essential. 

I am almost up to date with all the records and have a greater understanding of the requirements. There are continual DBS applications as members leave and join teams within the church. I shall be attending an Advanced Safeguarding Course on 12th March and we have ten members of the church attending a Refresher Course on 12th May.

A new DBS application has to be undertaken every 5 years and refresher training every four years. My database will tell me when something is due and I will make contact when necessary.

The policies are displayed so that everyone who comes to Christchurch is under no illusion as to our view of Safeguarding. If anyone enquires about Safeguarding policies, they should be directed to the notice boards in the first instance.

Yvonne Heggs (Safeguarding Officer)


DATA PROTECTION

New General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) became law in May 2018 and apply to all organisations, including churches and charities.  The purpose of the law is to ensure that personal information is kept securely and handled appropriately.  At Christchurch we maintain various items of data which include the church directory and other documents such as the community roll and members’ list; we also hold some financial information, such as that relating to gift aid, safeguarding information and contact details for those who belong to the various church groups.

In response to the new law, the Church Council now regularly discusses data protection matters.  We have conducted a data mapping exercise to ensure that we know what information is held in the church, by whom and for what purposes.  We have also drawn up a data privacy notice, which is displayed in the entrance to the church.

The main implication of the arrangements for church members is that any personal data, which includes addresses and telephone numbers, must be treated as confidential.  Such information may only be used or shared if the running of a church activity makes it necessary.


PASTORAL

Pastoral care has continued as we have said “goodbye” to our minister Steve Davies, and looked forward to the appointment of a new minister.  At present we are 19 Pastoral Links and we meet four times per year.  We have a Pastoral Care Policy and Pastoral Care Guidelines to help us with our work, but it is important as a team to share within the bounds of confidentiality any concerns or difficulties, and to share any positive ideas.  On occasions we have studied work sheets or topics such as the Pastoral Cycle, Confidentiality and Bereavement.   In addition, Steve left us to consider “The Seven Ages of Man”.

If you have any concern, please share it with your Pastoral Link.  There will always be someone who will do their best to help, and always in confidence unless you give permission to do otherwise.  If we do not know, we cannot help!

We have welcomed some new members and adherents this year, including some folk from Park Road URC that has sadly closed, and we hope that they will all find this to be their spiritual home.  Due to Data Protection we require all new worshippers to complete a form giving permission if they wish their details to be included on the membership List, the Community Roll and Pastoral Lists.

During 2018 we have celebrated special wedding anniversaries and landmark birthdays, but we have sadly said goodbye to several of our members who have died, and supported others who have lost family members or friends.

The Dementia Group met to look at the church from the perspective of a person with dementia.  As a result, we now have clearer signage, a larger mat in the entrance Vestibule by the car park door and an emergency alarm in the disabled toilet.

Prayer requests are included in the weekly notice sheet for a maximum period of four weeks, and then the names are transferred as appropriate to the prayer sheet included in the Chronicle for longer term prayer.  The Prayer Chain exists for immediate prayer requests and is confidential.  Contact information is in the weekly notice sheet, the Chronicle and the Community Roll.

Weekly flowers from church are delivered to folk who will appreciate a lift on Monday mornings.  Please contact carol Terry if you know of anyone who would appreciate flowers.

We look forward to working with our new minister, the Reverend Peter Clarkson when he takes up his post later in the year.

As a Pastoral Team and as a church we all have different gifts, but confidentiality, Caring and Concern are important and as we are reminded in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, “the greatest gift is love”.

Audrey Staite


Junior Church and The Core

We are very grateful to those who lead and help our children and young people each Sunday.  There is a prepared rota to ensure that each group has a leader and helper each week.  

During 2018 it was decided to invest in some good teaching material and we now use Roots which gives plenty of ideas to get the message for the day across in an attractive way for both children and Young People.

We now have 5 children in the Junior Church with ages ranging from 4 – 9 and Matthew who is now 15, is often joined by Jessica or Jack in The Core. At other times we are beginning to encourage Matthew to help with the activities of the younger group

There are All Age Worship services about once a quarter when sometimes the children take an active part such as at Harvest and Christmas. The Harvest service saw the children pretending to be seeds and growing up, choking or blossoming depending on the part of the story. For the Christmas service they played the part of the animals in the stable, although that did include a pig!!!! .   

 Crèche is also available for babies and pre-school children.

As always it would be good to have some more help with leading these two groups as due to lack of helpers, we do have to put all the ages together sometimes, which is not ideal with ages ranging from 4 to 15.

The children are a very important part of our congregation and we show we care for them by taking an active interest in their lives, sending birthday cards, and gifts given at Easter and Christmas.

Pauline Evans and Sheila Whitaker


Crèche

At present we do not have a regular Sunday crèche as the children have moved up to Junior Church having reached school going age.

However, there is always someone on standby for any visitors or new comers who may wish to leave their children in crèche during morning worship.

Carol Terry


Jubilaté

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It’s been another busy but enjoyable year in Jubilate. Alongside our usual morning services and Café Church, we’ve had the pleasure of leading worship at Lydney and St Mary’s churches, which is always appreciated by their respective congregations.

 

One of our highlights this past year, though, was singing Graham Kendrick’s “The Gift / Make Way for Christmas” for the Café Church just before Christmas. A combination of well-known and new songs made it an enjoyable piece to learn and perform, and it seemed to be received well by the congregation who were there to listen.

 

We look forward to singing the Easter musical “Jerusalem Joy” by Roger Jones on the 14th April, which we are currently busy rehearsing for, at which we have Devon Brown – who played Jesus in the original recording – joining us as a ‘guest star’.

 

Numbers in the group have increased slightly over the past few months, which is wonderful. Huge thanks, as always, to all the members of the group who continue to sing and play instruments with joy and enthusiasm (which incidentally are the only two pre-requisites for joining us, if you’re interested!) and thanks also to those in the congregation who support and encourage us in our small part of leading worship within Christchurch.

 

We look forward to the coming months and all that will bring.

 

Daniel Tuck


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Firstly, can I thank all those people who put their names down on the flower rota last year to pay for flowers in the church on a Sunday, it is really appreciated, particularly by those that receive them on a Monday, for special occasions or if they are poorly. 

 We are grateful to all those people who pay for flowers for the Sunday morning service, to celebrate special occasions or in remembrance of loved ones. The cost of doing this is usually between £15 and £20.00, and one of us from the Flower Team will be happy to arrange them for you, if you do not feel that you would like to do this, but would like to contribute.

In May 2018 we did another Flower Festival and I would like to thank Jan, Audrey, Alison and Isobel who did displays, and all those in the church that helped over the weekend as stewards and in the kitchen.  It is always hard work, but this year we made an excellent profit and there were so many people who visited that had not been in our church before, that we have decided to do another one this year (2019).

I would like to thank Audrey, Isobel, Jan, and Alison for their support over the last year, especially at Easter and Christmas when the church is so well decorated with flowers.

Diana Dale


Monthly Prayer Meeting

This has been slow to get going and I would value everyone’s prayers as I try to make this as user friendly as possible. I would like to include a missionary prayer meeting as well as a time for God to heal meeting in the next few months if there is a need. I can see so many possibilities for these meeting to grow but only if there is support and encouragement from the church.  Please come and talk to me if you have any thoughts or ideas.

Val Stephens.


Prayer Groups, Prayer Diary.

We have 1 prayer group that meets as often as they able to get together.

The Prayer Diary is produced each month and I would value thoughts and ideas and information to include in it. Prayer diaries from other organisations are always helpful to me as I try to make our diary as helpful and informative about worldwide issues as well as local church items.

Val Stephens.


Thursday Bible Study Group

Our little group continues to meet and thrive, and we’ve been very pleased to have two new members join us in recent months. During the past year, we’ve looked at a number of topics, and have seen how The Bible speaks to each one of us through them. They include being a good neighbour, things you can say to make someone’s day, making decisions, dealing with worry, dealing with difficult people, keys to good communication, and coping with stress.  We usually stray off the subject for a while, but always find something to laugh about. We enjoy being able to share our fellowship in confidence, and find we are often coming close to God through our time together. We look forward to another year of enjoying opening God’s Word, and seeing where it leads us.

Norman Whitaker