The Friends of St James the Great, Thorley


Report by the Secretary to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, 17 April 2016

In last year's report to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) I was pleased to note that the total funds at the Friends' disposal had reached a level that was judged sufficient to be able to make a grant to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) to cover the full cost of the design and installation of a new system of Church lighting. After considering a number of options, the PCC successfully applied for a faculty for the work associated with the design that was ultimately selected and this was installed and commissioned during February of this year. The new system uses the latest LED technology and is fully programmable, enabling pre-set scenes to be configured appropriate to different forms of church service and events.

As a result of another successful year of fundraising, the Friends hope to be in a position in the next year or so to also make a grant to the PCC to cover the cost of the planned redecoration of the interior of the Church. The need for such redecoration was discussed at last year's Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends and, with the agreement of the PCC, was subsequently declared to be the Friends' latest fundraising objective. With the likely funds required for this close to being in place, consideration is naturally being given to what the next fundraising project might be. The matter was discussed at this year's AGM, when a consensus emerged that the two most important issues that needed to be addressed, and in respect of which the Friends might offer to assist the PCC in funding, were improvements to the Church heating system and ensuring that the Churchyard remains open for burials.

The Friends main fundraising event during the past year was, as usual, our annual Festival of Flowers and Music held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Visitors to the 2015 Festival were able to view flower arrangements on the theme of A Good Read. They were also treated to a number of musical moments and group singing throughout the Festival. Together with a Craft Fair on all three days of the Festival, a Mini Fete on the Monday, and a chance for visitors to sit and chat over refreshments, the Festival was once again a great success, both as a significant outreach opportunity and also financially.

The Friends other fundraising activities during the course of the past year were a sale of plants in May, an Autumn Craft Fair in November, and our sale of Sunday Afternoon Teas from the Church Room during the summer months. Most recently we held another very successful and most enjoyable Quiz Evening in February of this year.

The Friends would like to be able to once again offer Sunday Afternoon Teas from the Church Room during the months of June, July, August and September this year. However, this will only be possible if volunteers are forthcoming who are prepared to organise rotas for segments of this season, together with those willing to sign-up for the individual weekly slots in these rotas. Please let me or any of the other Committee members know if you are able to help in either way. Do not worry if you have not been involved with the Teas before, as training will be provided. By volunteering you will be helping the Friends to continue with this important means of outreach.

New members of the Friends are always welcome. The minimum family subscription is only 5.00. By joining you will be supporting the work of the Parochial Church Council by helping to preserve our ancient and beautiful Church building and to maintain our Churchyard.

Philip Hargrave

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