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Minutes of the Meeting of Witham Deanery Synod
held at St Nicolas’ Church, Witham on Thursday 9 February 2017 at 8pm
To be approved at the next meeting
There were 10 Clergy members present with apologies from 1 Clergy member and 24 Lay members were present with apologies from 5 Lay members.
The Revd Canon Sally Lodge opened the Synod with a prayer.
Welcome and Minutes of Meeting
The Area Dean, the Reverend Canon Sally Lodge, chaired the meeting. With the clarification that the Deanery Evensong mentioned in the Area Dean’s Notices was held in 2016, the minutes of the meeting held on the 4October 2016 were approved and signed.
The vacancy for a Lay Member on the Standing Committee has still to be filled.
Revd Alex Jeewan – A Curate’s Visit to Kenya
The area of Mount Kenya East is twinned with the Chelmsford Diocese and was recently split into 5 separate dioceses: Kirinyaga, Embu, Meru, Mbeere, & Marsabit. All curates in the Chelmsford Diocese have the opportunity to make a visit to the Mount Kenya East during their curacy.
Alex flew to Nairobi before spending time in Marsabit, Samburu Nature Reserve and Embu. The Kenyan economy is reliant on visitors to the Wild Life Parks, as well as from agriculture (tea, coffee and cut flowers); however, 50% of the population live in poverty.
Apart from St Andrew’s Theological College, Alex visited many churches, schools, children’s homes hospitals, Anglican Development Services and the Kibera slum. A feature in country areas, are Tree Churches where nomadic tribes worship in the open as they move from place to place.
Alex visited a Deaf School which had been built on unstable black sand; the building is suffering major structural damage, but there is no money to build a replacement school building, so lessons continue in a building that should be condemned.
His final visit was to the Kibera slum which has 0.5 million inhabitants living in tin shacks with little electricity and open sewers. The main railway line to Uganda runs through the middle of the slum; children play on the track apart from when 2 trains a day pass through. The church serving the Kibera slum is built over an old latrine.
From his visit Alex learnt that:
You can support the work in Kenya with prayer, alternatively become a Friend of Marsabit. Alex can give details to those interested. A copy of Alex’s presentation is available should members wish to share it.
Brian opened his report by advising that the new Parish Share process will have another ‘transition year’ in 2018. Communication will be with the incumbent, and again will include a detailed statement explaining how share is calculated; again it is expected to be ~2%. For single parishes it is straightforward; however multi-parish benefices should get time to review who pays what! There will be no transition grant for MMUs so they will need to apply for a share of the Mutual Support Fund.
The Deanery Share paid in 2016 was £590k out of £630k, equivalent to 94% as against 92% in 2015. 23 parishes out of 33 paid in full.
As Brian advised at the last meeting ‘cash giving’ is in decline and gave some updates on some alternatives – JustGiving, Parish Giving Scheme, JustTextGiving. Hatfield Peverel has some experience with the Parish Giving Scheme, and St Nicolas’, Witham, has adopted the Vodafone JustTextGiving scheme. John Hassler, who set up the Witham scheme, advised that it had been fairly easy to arrange but people need to be aware that checks will be made by the Charity Commission, so the registration should be handled by the Treasurer or a member of the PCC.
Donors can make payments using a 6-digit code plus the amount to a text number and the PCC receives 100% of the amount donated on a quarterly basis; the one issue is that you need a mobile signal! Further information from https://www.vodafone.co.uk/about-us/just-text-giving/index.htm
School for Disciples 2017
As part of Transforming Presence, School for Disciples is the project of Bishop Stephen and all clergy, PCC members and churchwardens are expected to attend Wickham Bishops Village Hall on 14 June at 7.30pm.
‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Initiative
This initiative of Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu is a week of prayer for Pentecost from 25 May until 4 June; further information & resources are on the website www.thykingdom.co.uk
Area Dean’s Notices
Any Other Business
The speaker at June meeting of Synod will be Carol Richards on ‘Mission in Areas of Regeneration’. Please note the revised date.
The meeting closed at 9.14 p.m. after a service of Compline.
Dates of Meetings in 2017:
Standing Committee Deanery Synod Venue
Tuesday 23 May 2017 (8.00pm) Wednesday 21 June 2017 Hatfield Peverel
Tuesday 19 September 2017 (8.00pm) Wednesday 4 October 2107 Kelvedon