Annual Church Meeting 20 May 2012
MINT METHODIST CHURCH –
ANNUAL CHURCH MEETING
SUNDAY 20th May 2012
AGENDA, MINUTES OF LAST MEETING
AND ANNUAL REPORT
1. Welcome and opening devotions
3. Minutes of previous meetings (8th May 2011, 6 November 2011)
4. Matters arising not otherwise covered
5. Feedback and Discussion on current issues:
6. Annual Church Report. The report is attached to this agenda, and further copies will also be available at the meeting. The meeting is invited to receive the report. We will not be going through the document section by section, but this is an opportunity for any member of the meeting to raise comments or concerns about any aspect of the report or the life of the Church.
7. Any other specific matters raised by members of the meeting (please notify the Chair (Rev Andrew Sails) at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting)
8. Appointments and Elections
(a) Church Stewards
(b) Congregational Representatives to the Church Council
9. Closing devotions
MINUTES of Meeting held on 8 May 2011
1. Welcome and opening devotions. The Minister, Rev Andrew Sails (Chair), opened the meeting with a prayer.
2. Attendance and Apologies. There were 61 people present and 10 apologies for absence were received (list filed in minute book).
3. Minutes of last meetings (9th May 2010). These were signed as a correct record.
4. There were no matters arising which had not already been concluded.
5. Feedback and Discussion on current issues:
(a) Vision Day - Stephen Lea highlighted points included in his tabled report and which endorsed the recent Mint Vision Day as an enjoyable and productive event. It was noted that there was a positive feel about the Mint and despite a diverse range of ages, viewpoints and visions, the congregation is keen to consider ways of doing more. These include more care for those on the church periphery and to increase means of Christian education in order to deepen our faith and share it with others.
It is clear that we need similar events in the future in order to talk to each other more often. Bud Wendover thanked the Friday Fellowship group for making the initial suggestion and helping to take this forward. Andrew Sails said that another idea arising from the event was to include a section of the website for newcomers and this was being addressed.
(b) Mint 200 - Viv Davies updated the meeting on the report which was included in the circulated papers. Eunice Attwood had now confirmed that she would be available to participate which meant that all four invited speakers had responded positively and quickly. The flower festival may now just be arranged by Mint members as there are insufficient windows etc. for a larger event. Exeter Festival chorus may perform a concert at the Mint while the BBC are also considering whether to broadcast one of our services. It is also possible that one of the Bishop Prideaux lectures will be hosted by the Mint in 2013.
Possible twinning links with Korea and Zimbabwe remains under consideration by the group but also being discussed elsewhere in the Mint and a booklet on the history of the Mint is in planning. Finally, there is a very strong desire to clear all Mint debts by the time of this anniversary.
Janet Robb asked for details concerning the amount of the debt and George Hood queried whether paying this off so quickly was feasible. In response, Andrew Green said that the current debt is around £180,000 with £60,000 scheduled for repayment to Chapel Aid over five years and £15,000 repayable to the Circuit (terms to be finalised). Otherwise, interest free loans from the congregation totalled £111,000 and were technically repayable on demand or within five years. However, £120,000 was currently in the bank as cash in hand.
Viv Davies asked whether £1000 which had been sent to support two students in Zimbabwe at the request of Philip Bhebhe and paid temporarily from Church funds had been covered by donations. Precise figures were not available but it was known that at least £600 had been raised so far.
(c) Discussions at the last Church Council - Martin Myhill outlined the restructuring of the Church Council and its associated committees following in recognition of more modern ways of working at the conclusion of the redevelopment programme.
It was recognised that the committee structure had become dated and that much work is being carried out by small groups, often using e-mail. It is consequently intended to have four main coordinating groups (Church Life, Worship, Mission and Outreach and Property and Finance) and each to oversee and report to Church Council on the work of relevant sub-groups. It was also noted that the relationship between groups was often interrelated and the proposed structure will also ensure effective means of overlap.
Other areas discussed at recent Church Councils had included the public image of the Mint (noticeboards on the Fore St frontage), arrangement of the Reception Area and use of audio-visual facilities in worship.
(d) Exeter Coast and Country Circuit - Andrew Sails briefly mentioned the fact that from 1 September 2011 we would be part of a large new Circuit stretching from Crediton to Honiton and Seaton to Whiddon Down. There would be 130 members om the new Circuit Meeting and the initial event would be a welcome service for Rev Beth McDowell at Tower St, Exmouth on 1st September.
6. Annual Church Report. The printed report was considered briefly in pairs before being opened for discussion. Andrew Sails thanked all those who had not only provided the content but also contributed so much to the life of the Mint in the past year. It was noted that the website and Forward took the Mint’s activities well beyond the local congregation.
Maureen Coleman emphasised the need for new leaders for Young Church as three existing leaders wished to resign. It was felt that a church the size of the Mint should be able to provide new people.
Tim Davies noted that finance issues would be aired at the September Church Council and the employment of the cleaner had been extended for a further two hours per week to ensure the kitchens were kept clean and tidy. In general there was cautious optimism regarding the Mint’s finances but those depended on continued generosity of the congregation and especially at the forthcoming Gift Day in June.
Ann Forsyth raised concerns regarding the lighting and prominence of church flowers given the increasing cost. While some new lighting had been installed behind the screens at the front of the church, there was better lighting directly under the cross although that location would not always be suitable for the pedestal. Peter Coleman was currently considering possible, portable flood-lighting for this purpose. It was noted that the flowers would be moved to the main part of the Reception Area at the start of each week.
Amanda Hough thanked Maureen Coleman for her work in organising the volunteer reception duty rota. It was noted that to cover holidays etc. there was an urgent need for more volunteers.
7. Margaret Andrews was invited to speak briefly on the attendance of six members of the Mint at the RD&E Hospital service that morning in order to support and assist worship there. The attendance was much appreciated by the small number of patients able to attend the service and it was hoped that this support might become a regular activity, perhaps on one Sunday morning every two months.
Appointments and Elections. a) Church Stewards
Church Stewards, continuing: Irene Jarvis (Senior Steward), Elizabeth Webb, Bill Barter, MiKyoung Lee, Keumjoo Park, Alan Worthington
New steward nominations unanimously elected: Peter Cordery, Jonathan Cordery, Peter Webb, Abigail Mureva, Keun Woo Rhee and Bo Mee Kim:
The Minister thanked the retiring Stewards (Viv Davies, John Draisey, Jack Priestley Deryck Laming and Jeumson Nam), for all their work, with special thanks to Viv Davies who had acted as Senior Steward for two consecutive years.
(b) Congregational Representatives to the Church Council
Under Standing Order 610 (section x) the General Church Meeting may appoint up to 15 representatives to the Church Council. These elected representatives are in addition to the Church Stewards and other appointed and ex officio members.
(a) Currently serving elected representatives, continuing (7):
David Horn, Janet Robb, George Hood, Kirsty Mottram, Olive Nightingale, Nina Black, Paul Johnson
(b) Nominated and unanimously elected for a 2nd 3 yr term (2): Sue Cordery, Ann Forsyth
(c) Nominated and unanimously elected for a 1st 3 yr term (6): Alison Franklin, Alan Bullock, Fay Priestley, John Draisey, Joyce Lee, Stephen Haddad
The Minister thanked Stephen Lawson, Jack Priestley and Deryck Laming who were all retiring after long-standing membership of the Church Council.
8. Close. Stephen Lea thanked Andrew Sails on behalf of the Mint for the superb way he had led and guided the Mint in the past year. Peter Coleman also thanked the Church Council Secretary for his work.
Rev Andrew Sails recalled the very considerable achievements that the Mint had made in the nine years of his ministry with us and offered his deep gratitude for the way the Mint had worked as a unified team in the service of the Lord.
The meeting closed with the Grace at 2pm.
MINT METHODIST CHURCH - CHURCH COUNCIL/OPEN CHURCH MEETING, SUNDAY 6 November 2011
1 The Minister, Rev Andrew Sails, opened the meeting with a prayer.
2. Andrew welcomed everyone to the open meeting of Church Council. There were 59
people present of whom 37 were members of the Church Council. There were 19 apologies for absence (list filed in minute book).
3. It was agree to defer receipt and consideration of the minutes of the last Church Council until the next meeting. The minutes of the last General Church Meeting will be taken at the Annual Church Meeting in May.
4. Annual Review of Church Aims and Objectives. These were taken in order with supporting information provided by Church Council members.
4.1 To develop the size of our Church Community and our worshipping congregation in order to allow us to offer the sort of depth and diversity of programme best delivered by Churches which are numerically strong.
(a) to increase the total of those coming through the doors of the Mint for worship on a Sunday to an average of over 200 per week; The October 2011 average is 187 although attendances do now top 200 on some occasions. It was noted that increasing numbers could cause some pressures on our infrastructure although there was still plenty of room for expansion (e.g. seats in the balcony).
(b) to increase our Sunday collections to £75K p.a. (representing an increase of 10% p.a. for each of three years); It was noted that collections were below target (currently £60,000) and that external giving had also dipped. However, Andrew Green (Treasurer) reported that the financial situation was encouraging overall. We should not be complacent but collections had increased despite the loss of some high-giving members.
(c) to develop a way of monitoring volunteer hours and demonstrate significant rate of annual increase. This linked in to aim (6) but was still pending action. It was agreed to refer this item to Bud Wendover, Barbara Pillidge and Alan Worthington for further consideration.Maureen Coleman also highlighted the need to have at least 40 volunteers to staff the reception across each month.
4.2 To develop the size and scope of our international work, within our Korean community and more broadly.
a) to list at least 15 different nationalities amongst active Community Roll members. It was agreed that a specific numerical target of nationalities was not meaningful although it was noted that currently there were 14 or so nationalities currently represented UK, Korea (30+), Australia (2), Ghana (1), Hong Kong (1), India (3), Japan (2), Kenya (1), Namibia (1), Philippines (7), Singapore (4), South Africa (14), USA (3), Zimbabwe (7).
(b) to explore the possibility of adopting the title “Mint International Methodist Church”. The conclusions of a previous Church Council that this be deleted from the aims and objectives was confirmed.
4.2 To develop our outreach work in the local neighbourhood and city centre in co-operation with circuit and ecumenical partners.
Specifically: to help develop, and begin implementation of, plans for
(a) ecumenical city centre chaplaincy. Andrew was involved in discussions with Sidwell St, South St Baptist and the Central Parish to establish a chaplaincy of this type. It was likely to zone the city centre into areas for each church to work in. Although progress was slow, it was sure.
(b) enhanced support for the homeless people in the city centre. Viv Davies outlined arrangements to support Gabriel House on days where the mean temperature dipped below freezing. This was work in progress. Peter Coleman also highlighted the work of the Exeter Food Bank which runs from the Mint twice per week.
(c) further initiatives building on the work of Midnight Mint. Peter Coleman noted that further offers of help had been received from other churches and numbers had increased. However, as yet there were no links with other schemes such as the Street Pastors.
(d) a more co-ordinated approach to work currently undertaken by Sidwell Street, the Mint and other city centre Churches. There was still some way to go on this aim and Sidwell St had started to consider a building redevelopment scheme. If this proceeded it would be important to discuss the mission schemes for both churches.
4.3 To develop programmes of activity helping those seeking to explore issues of faith.
Specifically: to develop at least three projects, series or groups particularly designed to include those on or beyond the fringes of Christian faith. Significant work was already undertaken for those wishing to deepen their faith through midweek meetings and housegroups. There had also been Circuit discipleship courses. It was recognised that there was still much more to do for those who were new to the faith and particularly international groups (e.g. China and Japan).
4.5 To develop our premises, so that they become more accessible to, and more fully used by, the Church community, individuals in the neighbourhood, and external groups. Specifically:
(a) to ensure that the Church premises are easily accessible to passers-by for at least 50 hours per week. It was noted that including Sundays and occasional Saturday events, this figure already reached around 65 hours per week.
(b) (as a proxy indicator of usage by outside organizations) to increase our annual letting income from £20,000 (07-08) to £35,000 p.a. (11-12). This was a major success as lettings income already totalled £47,000 for 2010-11. While fundamental for financial viability it also reflected considerable volunteer and paid effort to staff the reception desk.
Sing Nightingale queried whether we should do more to outreach to our community users at Christmas. In discussion Sue Cordery pointed out that Easter cards and gospels had been distributed in this way and we expected to give all users (and members of the neighbourhood) a Christmas card produced in-house by Maureen Coleman. This would detail services and events. The difficult logistics of handing these out during busy reception duties were also noted. Sing agreed to discuss the matter further with Sue Cordery.
4.6 To develop our involvement with a wider range of charitable and campaigning organizations, and seek a reputation in the city for our concern for peace and justice. Specifically: building on our current informal list of around 25 groups, to develop a regularly reviewed list of 40 charitable and campaigning organizations with which we maintain regular links (through annual collections, special events and publicity, and/or named contacts).
Barbara Pillidge had already undertaken work on this aspect (see also Aim 2) and will put a list of names and organisations in Forward.
4.7 To develop our work on behalf of the wider Methodist Circuit and District.
(a) to enable and support the creation of a District Office at the Mint; This has been completed.
(b) to increase our annual financial contribution to the Circuit Share Scheme by 5% p.a. Although our contributions are slightly lower than the target figure they have continued to increase significantly each year. However, creation of the Exeter Coast and Country Circuit will mean that the share scheme will be replaced by a fixed assessment levied, in part on income and membership.
(c) to recruit one new Local Preacher in training or candidate for ordained ministry each year. We have three local preachers on trial and hope for more.
It was agreed that the main areas for further action are:
• to devise ways of monitoring volunteering inside and outside of the Church Community
• to develop projects for those new to the Faith.
5. Elizabeth Webb introduced an updated paper from Stephen Lea arising from the Vision Day. The ‘Messy Church’ had been a great success and needs to be repeated. The outcomes of the Outreach session were broadly similar to those already considered in section 4.4 of our Aims and Objectives. The Worship and Prayer sessions had resulted in a short time of quiet before the morning service which had been well received although it was noted that there was still more room for contemplation. A prayer group had also been established. The Large Church outcomes required an agenda for growth while Discipleship fed into Bible Study groups and discussions on faith. These also had a close relationship with our Aims and Objectives.
6. Elizabeth Webb, our new Prayer Co-ordinator, introduced new prayer initiatives, referring to the recent article in Forward, two new boxes available for prayer requests and plans for a prayer chain. A small prayer group had started meeting on the landing in the old Foyer ahead of the Wednesday Coffee morning. Following some discussion with the Church Administrators it was felt that this might not necessarily be a suitable space for those who called in at other times to pray and the location would be further considered. Elizabeth was thanked for taking on this initiative.
7. Notice Boards: It had been agreed to review use and lighting requirements following installation of new notice boards on Fore St. Fay Priestley pointed out that the right hand (Bikeshed) board had very small text and was very dark and that it was important to light at least one board at night. Ian Black said that both boards were already equipped with lighting and existing mains power could be connected to the right-hand board for around £400 plus VAT. However, trenching would be required for the other board at additional cost of at least £2000 plus VAT. Peter Coleman supported lighting both boards while Angela White said that Fore St was already well lit and we should be mindful of environmental issues. Ian Black confirmed that the left-hand board could be connected at a future date. Church Council members unanimously supported a motion to light just the right hand board for the time being.
It was noted that the right hand panel of the right-hand board listed all the organisations which used the premises. There were so many that the font size was smaller than originally envisaged.
The need to light the name on the front of the Church building was also raised for consideration at another meeting.
8. Hymn Books: Provision of “Singing the Faith” was considered in detail. It was pointed out that the hymn boards need to be re-labelled although Janet Robb said that only Hymns and Psalms number should be displayed as STF words should be on the screen. Irene Jarvis suggested using one board for H&P and one for STF while Stephen Lawson recommended the use of different number colours to signify different versions. Ian Black suggested we no longer use the boards and Rosemary Allen emphasised the need for clarity for the sake of newcomers.
A discussion followed which considered purchase of 150 STF word copies to complement the existing 40 music copies or continued use of the screens for STF to save money. Maureen Coleman suggested buying just 40 additional words-only copies for use in evening worship and five large print editions. A straw poll of those present revealed:
• It was unanimously agreed to buy 5 large print copies of STF
• 15 attendees preferred the Mint to buy 40 words-only versions of STF for smaller meetings etc.
• 7 attendees preferred the Mint to buy an additional 150 words-only copies of STF
• 25 attendees were happy to use only the screens for all STF hymns
• 25 attendees were happy to only use the screens for all hymns
• 15 attendees expressed the wish to have the right hymn book in front of them.
Bud Wendover said that we should aim to use only one printed hymn book with words from other editions appearing on the screen or in extended versions of the service sheet. Sue Cordery pointed out that we still have a large debt to pay back so shouldn’t spend money unnecessarily while Ian Black highlighted the logistics of having to move and store hymnbooks from the seats when the worship area was being used for social purposes.
Debra Myhill pointed out that Maureen Coleman’s proposal to buy an additional 40 words-only copies of STF, supplemented by 20 existing music copies, would be enough for smaller meetings, evening worship and those who preferred to have access to a hymn book during the morning service. The words would also be displayed on the screens and in extended versions of the service sheet. The door stewards would be responsible for issuing and collecting printed copies at the start and end of services and all copies of Hymns and Psalms would be temporarily stored pending long-term consideration.
This was proposed by Maureen Coleman and agreed by 33 members of Church Council present with four against and no abstentions.
9. Vina Flores, Richard and Jane Cabaya were appointed as Communion Stewards. Ruth Jordan was thanked for all her work as part-time Mint administrator and Maureen Stoolman was welcomed as her successor from January 2012.
10. Dates of next meetings:
o Monday 6 Feb Church Council (NB Change of date)
o Wednesday 21 Mar Church Council
o Sun 20 May Annual General Church Meeting
o Sun 24 June – Anniversary Service, Rev Beth McDowell (Exmouth)
11. There were no items of other business notified in advance
12. Closing Devotions:
Hymn HAP 764 “Christ from whom all blessings flow”
Reading: Luke 4:14-21
Prayer led by the Minister
Hymn HAP 778 “O God our Father”
The meeting closed with the blessing at 2.25pm.
MINT METHODIST CHURCH
ANNUAL CHURCH MEETING - May 2012 -
SECTION 1: MANAGEMENT REPORTS
Minister’s Annual Report
2011-12 has been another busy and positive year in the life of the Mint.
It has been a joy to see our vision for our new premises become a reality. We are now open Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 9.30 pm, and on many weeknight evenings we have six or seven different groups meeting at the same time. The large new external notice boards advertise a list of 44 groups now regularly using our premises. Links between the worshipping community and other users of the building are growing. The premises lend themselves well to major events, and we were delighted to be able to host the District “Biblefresh” event this year.
Our website has had a major re-launch and is widely used by those in the congregation and beyond.
We continue to develop our outreach through Midnight Mint, the Monday lunch club, and our Wednesday at the Mint speaker programme, as well as hosting the Exeter Foodbank. We also now support the RD&E Hospital service on one Sunday every other month. Our other activities include walking, film and theatre groups, house groups and discussion meetings. We have also started a weekly morning prayer meeting which is becoming an integral part of our programme of pastoral care.
Sunday worship continues to be the focal point of our weekly programme, and morning numbers (English and Korean) continue to average around 175 people per week. Rev Inderjit Bhogal led an extended evening service to mark Corrymeela Sunday on March 18. All hymns are now displayed on the screens at the front of the Church. Copies of “Singing the Faith” are also available for those who prefer to sing from these. The Choir continue to offer a range of music including a sung Communion twice a year, and we are enjoying exploring “Singing the Faith” and other new hymnody.
Our Korean congregation continues to flourish under Rev Sungil Han. The Korean Methodist Church has now appointed Rev. Tae-Hyeong Kim to work as assistant Korean pastor here as his first placement following Theological College study. Rev Francis Acquah helped develop our African work during his time with us, and we now have a monthly African Fellowship.
Our thanks to Ruth Jordan, who retired from her part of the Church Centre Administrator job share in December. We have been delighted to welcome Maureen Stoolman, to take her place. The increasing workload running the centre has lead us to increase the overall job from 40 to 45 hours per week.
The University Chaplaincy remains a key part of the Mint’s ministry. The University continues to grow, with around 17,000 students plus many staff. The Multi-faith Chaplaincy team is increasingly busy, and the Chaplains now have a room in the major “Forum” building, opened recently at the heart of the campus. This will require significantly more hours of direct contact time from the Chaplaincy team. Sungil Han and I both give time to Chaplaincy work, but the Methodist presence is currently less than that provided by several other faiths.
The Mint finances are on a good footing, and our redevelopment debts have been reduced by £70,000 in the past year. This is due to continued sacrificial giving and dedicated fundraising by members of the congregation , but also due to greatly increased letting income - £44,000 in the last year. This is very encouraging, but needs to be balanced against the extensive costs of running, staffing and maintaining the building, meeting the circuit assessment, making further debt repayments and supporting our outreach work including the Korean pastor post.
We have also faced significant repair and maintenance bills for the older part of our extensive premises in recent months, but in spite of this we are still seeking to remove the remaining £112,000 of debt as soon as possible. We are planning exciting celebrations to mark our 200th Anniversary year (2013) – it would be wonderful if we could clear our outstanding debts by the end of that year.
The new Exeter Coast and County Circuit is now finding its feet. As in the old Exeter Circuit, we understand the need for the larger Churches to support the smaller causes. Hence in spite of the very complex and challenging nature of the Mint role, we continue with only one circuit funded ministerial appointment to cover the Mint, the Chaplaincy and two village chapels. The appointment of a part time separated University Chaplaincy post linked to the Mint and working with students and staff here and at Sidwell Street has been suggested, but this would require funding.
We aspire to work more closely with Sidwell St and other city centre congregations, and we need to explore how best to do this.
I complete my eleven years of ministry here at the Mint in 2013, and the Mint will enter the stationing process in Autumn 2012. We ask God’s blessing as we prepare for this new phase in our work
The work of the Mint continues to be carried forward by a huge group of committed and hard working members, far too many to mention here. I would like to record my huge appreciation to all those who support our work in so many ways. It remains a joy and a privilege to share this work with you.
Senior Steward’s Report to AGM
The past year has been eventful, challenging and rewarding.
In May 2011 we welcomed four new stewards for the English speaking congregation and two for the Korean congregation, a 50% turnover. With only a year's experience as a church steward, I took on the senior role. Thanks to the excellent example of my predecessor Viv Davies, and her careful preparatory training, and valuable support from the continuing stewards, we fairly quickly learned what we were supposed to be doing and formed a new team. We have continued to carry out our basic duties of preparing for services and supporting preachers and congregations. With new church council ways of working we have taken on new tasks. Worship Co-ordination is now a regular item on our stewards' meeting agendas.
We were deeply saddened by the sudden death of our friend and colleague Bill Barter in November 2011. As a church steward Bill was reliable and efficient, but we most of all valued his wisdom and his unassuming but very firm faith. He has been much missed.
I am grateful to all my fellow stewards for their cheerful willingness to take on extra duties in order to fill the rota over the last six months. Many thanks too to the support stewards who contribute by helping cover evening services for us.
I would also like to thank the many people at the Mint who carry out some of the tasks which traditionally are done by church stewards in other churches. Your help is invaluable.
Andrew and Han have been inspirational and supportive too.
We look forward to meeting the future changes and challenges which are sure to come in a busy dynamic church like the Mint, God being our helper.
Church Secretary’s Report
The Church Council has met on seven occasions during the year:
8 May 2011 Annual Church meeting (minutes appended)
25 July 2011 Mission, Outreach and Church family issues
27 Sept 2011 Property and Finance
6 Nov 2011 Open Church Meeting/Church Council (review of Aims and Objectives)
18 Dec 2011 Extraordinary Church Council (Property items)
6 Feb 2012 Mission, Outreach and Church family issues
21 Mar 2012 Property and Finance
At each Church Council there is always a Pastoral agenda item, time to consider other urgent business and affirmation that safeguarding arrangements are in place and being adhered to.
This has been the first year of ‘revised ways of working’ which were intended to streamline the decision making business on day-to-day matters to allow the Church Council more time to consider critical issues in the life of the Mint and move away from Property and especially redevelopment matters. As will become apparent from other reports, property issues have continued to dominate a lot of business despite an incredibly favourable Quinquennial Report which reflects the dedication, hard work, vision and delivery of those associated with the redevelopment project. Hopefully urgent property issues will fade off most agendas. The Church Council and associated Mint Groups are well organized to move on to maximize the potential of our premises and members. Inevitably anything to do with property also has a financial consequence but it is heartening to note that our debts are being repaid and despite rumblings over changed means of raising the Circuit assessment, Church Council meetings have not been dominated by financial matters and I am particularly grateful to Andrew Green who has arranged for David Wortham Associates to compile and audit not just the Mint’s annual accounts but also our full return and reports to the Charity Commission – a painstaking process and a statutory requirement on us.
As I have served seven years in this role I must now step down and am delighted that John Draisey is taking over as Church Council Secretary with immediate effect. I will close by paying tribute to the excellent support I have received from the very large Church Council membership over my term of office and especially to Andrew Sails who has not only been an excellent and supportive chair throughout but also kept his finger firmly on the pulse when compiling agendas, papers etc and even finished these very important and business-heavy meetings on time (mostly).
Circuit Steward’s Report
In September we became a super circuit welcoming additional folk from the old Sidmouth and Exmouth & Budleigh Circuits. The CLT within a very short time were a cohesive unit and didn’t think of themselves as being from one of the other former circuits. We soon became friends relying on each other as if it had been the norm for a long time. We have benefited from learning from each other and have discovered that various things can be changed for the better and that there is no need to change other things!
We are grateful for the leadership of Rev. David Easton our Superintendent and Dr. Alan Mcilveen the Senior Circuit Steward. Alan will step down as Senior Steward in September though continuing as steward and will be replaced by Mrs. Margaret Fogerty who was formally Senior Steward of the old Exeter Circuit. Pleasingly we are being held up as a good example of how enlarged circuits should work.
At the time of writing this we still have to decide how we ‘do’ assessments. The meeting to decide this will be held towards the end of May so please remember this in your devotions. This is to some quite a difficult area.
Several churches are planning improvements. These include Silverton, Crediton and most notably Sidwell Street. Tower Street has serious problems and at present are looking at schemes that will probably involve the selling off of unwanted parts of their building. Seaton is having repairs done following a fire caused by a hand drier.
Sidwell Street recently had two very interesting days which involved student from Plymouth University School of Architecture. It was a very positive occasion with some very exciting ideas. Even though S.S. is Grade 2* listed there is still room to be flexible. The onus is on S.S. to prove that the alterations are really needed. For instance the removal of the downstairs pews wouldn’t be frowned on as long as examples say upstairs could be left. The pulpit area would have to stay but that was already realised. The students came up with a perfect logo for S.S. which the folk there wondered why they hadn’t thought of it before using the landmark of the Cupola. A very simple but effective idea.
On the second day the students presented their ideas. Some covered in the side alley and some left it open with improvements to make it more attractive.
One of the best liked and radical ideas was the opening up of the front RHS of the building and replacing it with glass so that folk on the pavement could actually see what was going on in the church.
Interestingly the Exeter City Council Conservation Officer was very keen on this idea.
These are all I stress ideas and S.S. have a long way to go before any decisions are made.
On both days there was input from Mr. John Harvey the City Centre manager who also spoke of the plans for the re-generation of the S.S. area, and also from the ECC Conservation Officer.
The new manse at Honeylands is now circuit property and shortly work on adaption, general replacement, maintenance and re-decoration will begin. Aldrin Road will shortly go on to the market. The new circuit office will be at Alphington and work to convert that will shortly begin
There are several staff changes this year. Andrew Brazier will be leaving at the end of August to take up a position as chaplain at Birmingham University. David Easton will take over S.S. Anne Varker will take on pastoral care of Silverton for the rest of her time here in addition to her other churches. Julian Albrow will become minister for St.Thomas, Alphington and Exminster from September.
We are currently looking for two new circuit stewards. One for Sidmouth to replace Chris Bradnock and the other for the St.Thomas section to replace Colin Arscott. We are extremely grateful for all their dedication over the years. We are planning to regularise the appointment of C.S. as it is important to have regular replacements as it can only strengthen the team.
The Stationing process will soon commence for the Mint. The first meeting when we’ll receive dates is on 30th April. The Circuit Invitation Com. will meet for the first time the following Wednesday. The whole process will then move up a notch with hopefully a suitable match in November. As you can see it’s not a quick process with the emphasis making sure that everyone starts from a level playing field. Please remember that though a large number of ministers are in stationing every year there aren’t that many who wish to come south of Bristol.
Please remember everyone involved in the stationing process in your prayers. It is a difficult and time consuming time for everyone.
Two important diary dates:
Sunday 22nd July 6.30 at Sidwell Street. Farewell Service for Rev.Andrew Brazier
Sunday 9th September 6.30 at St.Thomas welcome service for Rev. Julian Albrow.
Bookings continue to be on the increase and in 2013, when the Library closes for refurbishment, we will welcome 6 new large groups for regular bookings. We also have 5 other large one-off bookings for 2013 to date.
At the moment we have about 27 regular booking including different Yoga and Pilates groups, Baby Ballet, Kung Fu, Bujinkan, Tai Chi, Exercise classes, Indian and Brazilian Dance and Japanese language classes. We also have regular classes run by the WEA, Exeter College and U3A who have one large group booking a month and 6 other smaller but regular group bookings. Trinity Guildhall Music exams are also held on the premises. We continue to host concerts performed by groups from the University and Choirs and Orchestras from around Exeter. The Big Noise Choir also performs here.
Saturday bookings are on the increase and these have been managed by Jon Cordery, Abigail Mureva or one of the administrators.
We are grateful to Maureen Coleman and all the people who volunteer to be at our reception and also to Lesley Dolby who cleans the premises; without them and many others who give their time in assisting us during the week, we would not be able to open 12 hours a day.
Maureen and Amanda
SECTION 2: CHURCH BUSINESS GROUPS
Church Life Group
“Church Life” is one of the major areas of work of the church. The Church Life Committee succeeded the old Family Committee, but also took on some of the responsibilities of the Consultation on Worship. However under the church’s New Ways of Working, the committee no longer meets; instead:
Constituent groups report directly to the Church Council and Annual Church Meeting. Some Church Council meetings are regularly set aside to give priority to Church Life affairs, usually alongside one or two other major areas of work such as Neighbourhood or World Service and Mission.
Ad hoc groups are convened from within the formal membership of the committee, with others co-opted as required, to consider particular issues
The officers of the committee (Stephen Lea as Chair and Bud Wendover as Secretary), and other members, are consulted by the Minister and Stewards on particular issues, to bring a Church Life perspective to bear on them.
These arrangements have been in place for two years now. They work well, and the evidence of all of them can be found in many other reports to this meeting. However, it is our view as officers of the committee that they leave a significant gap. In the absence of regular committee meetings, there is no machinery either for keeping track of the work that is being done within the new arrangements, or for taking a strategic view of the whole area covered by the Church Life committee. To give an idea of how extensive that area is, the following is a (probably incomplete) list of the activities within the church that are formally represented on the Church Life committee: Bookstall; Brownies; Catering; Cradle Roll; Forward; Korean Congregation; Luncheon Club; Meth/Ang; Pastoral Team; Safeguarding; Tuesday Fellowship; Website; Wednesdays at the Mint; Young Church. In addition the committee has cross-representation from other groups such as the Stewards and the other major committees.
We do not wish to propose a return to regular committee meetings. In the last years of the old ways of working, these had proved themselves to be ineffective; they were thinly attended, too infrequent to be a useful forum for decision-making, and duplicated work that had to be done by the Church Council and Annual Church meeting in any case. We propose instead that we should institute an annual strategic meeting open to all those interested in the Church Life area, in advance of a Church Council that will be focusing on that area, to review past activity and propose future directions. Such a meeting should be specifically banned from receiving formal reports.
The need for a new direction makes this an appropriate moment for me to lay down the task of chairing the Church Life group. I do not know how long I have been doing this job, but it is at least 13 years, and I am no longer doing it effectively. Accordingly, I will be asking the Church Council to accept my resignation from this position.
Since the last Church Meeting in November 2011, the Finance Group has met in March this year and reported to the Church Council on March 21. At this meeting there was considerable debate on the question of fund raising to repay loans and the relationship with the general church account and reserves policy following a proposal from the Finance Group to Church Council –
- that fund raising events state very clearly if proceeds are for reducing debt or general operations. Funds raised for reducing debt will be recorded immediately on the chart in the reception area but that loan repayments would be made when due and/ or possible regarding other commitments and the funds raised would then contribute to the repayment.
As a result of the discussion at Church Council it was agreed - .
- that the Finance Group would reconsider the Reserves policy and processes and report back at the May Church Council/ Church meeting. Specifically this would include a redefinition of the Mint’s reserves policy, including an amount and how it would be used, the policy and means of replenishing reserves and guidance on the intended use of the Gift Day appeal in this context.
The following paragraphs set out the interlinked issues involved in addressing the Church Council resolution and options for the future. A key point in the discussion was how to motivate the congregation to contribute more to the repayment of loans, keeping members engaged now that the development work is complete and informed as to the funds raised for loan repayments. There is also the aspiration that the Mint could be debt free by the end of 2013, our 200th year.
Running such a large church with the on -going commitments to the Circuit , operation and maintenance of complex buildings ,staffing etc is a substantial business. Annual Income and expenditure is now of the order of £160,000 - £170,000 each – total £340,000 per year - almost double the pre development position. About 30% of Church income now comes from lettings and 20 % has come from the annual Gift day in the last 2 years, in addition to the regular giving by the congregation.
The position this month on budgets, loans and funding is that cash in the bank stands at £ 65,000, loans total £112,000 (MCA £30,000,with repayment of £6,000 due in June , Interest Free £67,000 , Circuit £15,000.) A very generous donation of £10,000 has allowed early repayment of a further year’s amount to MCA. The £ 4,000 raised for repayment of debt since September 2011 has been used and recorded. The Chart in the reception area is up to date.
Increasing cost pressures on the general Church operations must be recognised. The circuit assessment is £62,000 this year and £67,000 has been accepted for 2012/13.It could be approaching £75,000 the following year. It maybe unexpected that after spending over £1m on the development works over the previous 3 years, that this year (2011-12) the expenditure on electrics, health and safety requirements, items identified in the Quinquennial survey and the dry rot in the Wesley Room will be of the order of £25,000, However, with the intensive use of our building now we must expect and plan for sizable expenditure on repairs and maintenance from time to time.
The current objective is to have a balanced General Church account or small surplus, and it is expected to be in balance at the end of this year after repaying the MCA loan scheduled for this year. To accommodate the increases requires a serious uplift in regular giving which is running at about £60,000 per year and for the annual Gift Day -£30,000. The annual gift day giving is very much needed for the general running of the Church at present and to enable us to continue reducing the redevelopment debt.
The Methodist Church recommends that individual churches maintain a reserve equal to 6 months expenditure which for the Mint is currently about £80,000. The reserves policy was last reviewed and set at the September 2011 Church Council when it was agreed to offer to repay interest free loans up to a total of £35,000 and retain about £70,000 as a reserve. In our current financial position, holding funds in the bank is more as a cash flow requirement and provision for repaying interest free loans on request rather than as a separate reserve.
Last September it was considered prudent to have funds in hand broadly the same as the outstanding interest free loans. The fact that repayment can be requested at any time has just been evidenced by an urgent request for repayment of £9,000 in April, which it has been possible to honour immediately. Repaying all interest free loans in the near future is not possible as there is not be enough cash in the bank whilst retaining a minimum of about £30,000 for cash flow purposes. This would also result in having very low reserves which would then have to be rebuilt.
Over the period from September 2011 to this May a total of £75, 000 of loans have been repaid – 40% or so, which can be considered good going. However, with over £112,000 still to pay off it requires a tremendous effort to be debt free by the end of 2013. There is no doubt that to clear all debts in our 200th year and coincide with Andrew completing his time at the Mint is a brilliant target. As scheduled at present the MCA loan will be repaid by June 2014, the Circuit loan is due by September 2014, and the Interest Free loans from the congregation of £67,000 on request.
The repayment of tax for the year ending 5th April 2011 amounted to £21,235:12 (previous year £22,169:65). The drop is due to the reduction of the tax repayment from 28p per £ to 25p per £. The figure for the half-year to 5th October 2011 was £10,671:35 (previous year for same period £14,322:58, a more serious drop).
As usual I appeal to any of you who give to the church and who pay UK tax, but do not yet gift aid your giving, and would like to do so, to get in touch with me (01392-421790). I will make the necessary arrangements. In order to reclaim tax, contributions must come either via a Standing Order with the Bank or through the Envelope Scheme. Ann Churchward (01392-874181) can provide the envelopes. Please note that you must pay an amount of tax at least equal to the tax reclaimed on your giving.
Gift aid is a valuable resource for the church, and I am grateful to all of you who gift aid your giving.
Mint 200 Group
The committee wish to start by encouraging the Church Family to begin thinking, that commencing in April 2013, which is now less than a year away, we will be celebrating our 200th Anniversary, concentrating mainly from April 14th to the end of May with maybe one or two other items later in the year.
We have slightly altered the theme on our leaflet to:-
Alive with Christ in the Community
The logo will be also altered slightly to give more emphasis to the cross on the Mint leaf.
We have been exploring the possibility of a Concert to start our Celebrations. We are hoping to have Exeter College Music Department to entertain us. I have been in touch with the Head of Music and they are enthusiastic about it and will include it as part of their Festival. They have Victoria Singers, Inspirational Choir, orchestra, and other small groups which would be suitable. We also have to finalise cost, which will not be great. The date has to be finally decided, but it looks as if it will be at the beginning of April after the Easter holidays.
The Celebration Party /Social Gathering of former students will be the Saturday of May wk-end, 4th May.
We have four Sundays of special preaching services:-
14th April Deacon Eunice Attwood, previous Vice-President of Conference
21st April Rev. Keith Jones, previous Dean of York
28th April Rev. Peter Macdonald, Leader of the Iona Community
12th May Rev. Martin Atkins, Gen. Sec. of Conference
There will be a special form of Covenant Service and a commitment to offer our gifts and talents on Pentecost Sunday, May 19th.
There will be a Celebration of Flowers in June. We will ask the groups who use our building to contribute to this if they wish. It will show all the activities that take place on the premises. Some of course will not want to do a Flower arrangement, but we may be surprised and our Flower Team will help them. There will be a token donation for the cost of the flowers.
It was decided to put aside the idea of Twinning for the present. It needs a lot of work to succeed. It is only delayed, but not now on the Agenda for 2013.
Finance -- We have discussed our original hope of clearing the debt by the end of 2013 and we still think this is achievable, but it is in the hands of the Finance Committee and Church Council.
We have started working on publicity (which will be included with the Easter Leaflets), and souvenir mugs. We hope to have the leaflets ready by October 2012 so that the Church Family and the wider Community will have plenty of time to get dates in their diaries.
Mission and Outreach
We now prepare all the Christmas and Easter cards in house using images from our church life – thanks go to Mick Moffatt and Maureen Coleman for the production of the cards and to Margaret Andrews and the teams of helpers, who deliver them. They provide a valuable witness and invitation to join in with the life of the Mint church and community.
Welcoming our neighbours
• The Mint Administrators and Volunteers welcome all those who come into the Mint Reception during the Centre Opening Hours
• Lunch Club continues to provide a good meal and social contact for around 30 people each Monday. From the regular profits of Lunch Club we propose buying a new commercial quality food processor as the previously donated one is worn out. The puddings, cakes and bread rolls made with it each week are much appreciated. Volunteers to come and have a meal and a chat once or twice a quarter would be appreciated.
• Coffee mornings are regularly enjoyed by a mixture of Mint folk and people attending classes or popping in off the street. Thanks to all who help provide this opportunity
• Mint Film Club – monthly – these events attract a good crowd of viewers
• Wednesdays at the Mint – monthly speakers on topics of interest
30 May – David Reece ‘Occupy Exeter’
20 June – Kerry Macnish – hospice care – ‘supporting people with loss’
• There is still a need for a Mint representative to look after Christian Aid issues –more information is available on request.
• Mint links with local and national charities can be promoted through Forward – this is an invitation to any who would like to raise awareness make an appeal, or invite participation in a cause to use the MINT LINKS page. Please make use of this opportunity to bring causes to the attention of the Mint church family.
• A good response followed the Bethany House appeal for toiletries to provide a welcome pack for new residents in this Exeter hostel for homeless women – you will find a small box within the Gabriel house crate for donations
• Gabriel house staff, too, appreciate the continued support for their residents as they move from being street homeless to supported accommodation
• We expect articles about worship in the hospital and in the prison. Devon and Cornwall Food Trust in the near future – add your name to the list of charities
Winter Provision for the Homeless
This was provided between 8 and 10 at Gabriel House, St Petrock’s and Esther on nights when the temperature fell below 00 on 3 consecutive nights – not very frequently this last winter – most of the volunteers were Methodists or Quakers.
Refugee Support Group
This group is moving to new accommodation at St David’s Centre in June.
• Tony Wragg (Wonford Methodist ), has been appointed Chair and Wendy Milne
• (Southernhay URC) has taken over as secretary. The membership of CTAX now includes almost all the Christian Churches and Fellowships in Exeter.
• Major Events
• The Exeter Nativity
• A gathering in Princesshay followed by scenes from the nativity featuring a
• donkey and sheep and the appearance of the Angel Gabriel high on the West
• end of the Cathedral finished with a service in the Cathedral with a capacity attendance mainly of people, who were visiting the city centre for
• Christmas shopping
• The Good Friday Cathedral service and Walk of Witness
• This event attracted a large attendance from the city centre churches again. Andrew Brazier (Sidwell St Methodist), who has done sterling work
• in producing the Gospel Scene at venues in the city centre will be leaving
• this year for a new appointment.
• City Centre Chaplaincy
• A group of ministers from city centre churches is meeting to plan the development of a city centre chaplaincy.
This is going well and a joint celebration was held in the summer, which was well attended. It is planned to celebrate Interfaith week in October.
We give thanks for the life and service of Mint members Amy Beattie, Bill Barter, Annie Stephenson, Gwen Grimson and Alan Gardener, who have died in the past year. We remember them with love and gratitude and miss their sharing in the life of the Mint.
Membership stands at 222 (previous year 233)
Transferred out Ji Ae Yang, Jihyon Choi, Jeomsoon Nam, Kim Jin Ho, Lee Dong Geon, Hyunwoo Bae, Yoo Young Ae, Mike Payne, Charlotte Payne, Justus Mathias, Lyla Mathias, Gwen Smith, Caroline Colin
Deceased Amy Beattie, Bill Barter, Annie Stephenson, Gwen Grimson, Alan Gardener,
Transfer in Ann Elwood, Kathryn Rowden, Debbie Winship
Joint membership Jen Stoneman, Anne Pyne, Sheila Scarr, Bryony Gilbert,
This is my final pastoral report after 7 years as pastoral secretary. I have enjoyed working with the pastoral team and have been privileged to get to know so many of the church family members both in times of sorrow and of joy. Under Andrew’s leadership membership numbers have risen from 172 to 222 and we have a congregation with a widespread range of age, profession, nationality and interest. Many people who use our premises also see themselves as part of the Mint church family.
With the growing number of people in our church each week comes the challenge to provide contact and pastoral care for all. We are all part of the wider church family. We are challenged to listen to each other’s stories and to pray and care for all in our worshipping community.
I would like to thank so many, who have helped with the pastoral care - welcoming, listening, befriending, visiting, providing hospitality, CD recordings, flowers, caring, keeping in contact and praying for our family and friends. We are truly all called to the pastoral role.
I would like to recommend to pastoral contacts and to others in the congregation the planned visit of Kerry Macnish from the Hospice to Wed@themint on 20th June. Kerry will talk about ‘ a day in the life of a hospice care volunteer – supporting people with loss’ - useful to all of us.
I am glad now to hand over to Sue Cordery, Elizabeth Webb and Helen Beardsall. They will be an excellent team to take the pastoral care further this year and into the arrival of a new minister for the Mint.
Property Schedules and Insurance
Methodist Standing Orders require that Schedule A (Property and Legal Matters) and its supplements be submitted to the Circuit each autumn. Some questions always give pause for thought - and a couple of new items seem to be introduced each year. However we are at the stage where the general condition of the property is very good, and the matters needing attention are primarily those associated with ongoing maintenance and the proper management of our affairs.
Our insurers now require – as a condition of providing cover – that external metalwork be marked with a registered forensic tracer to enable the source to be identified, and for the presence of the system to be prominently advertised. This was carried out in December meaning not only that the metalwork, but also consequential damage due to its removal, remains covered by our policy.
Building Fabric and Quinquennial Inspection
The Quinquennial Inspection was carried out in November 2011 and the Surveyor’s overall reaction is captured well on the first page of his report: “…what was a plain 1970s church with tired Victorian ancillary buildings has now become a magnificent building with well-equipped church and fantastic ancillary rooms” and later that the “metalwork, woodwork and paintwork is all in magnificent order”.
Well, up to a point – there is no doubt that this person, making his third inspection, saw a major transformation in the spiritual as well as the physical ambience at the Mint. However there are obviously a number of less complimentary comments within a twelve-page report, not all of which find their way into his summary recommendations (Schedule G). The formal recommendations, together with brief commentary, are tabulated as follows:
Priority Survey Recommendation Commentary
Of utmost urgency (i) Carry out electrical works as identified in periodic inspection report
Essential within 12 months (i) Cracking to the walls in the organ loft to be filled and monitored Mint considers this very old cracking, will monitor
(ii) Examination of flashings and chimney adjacent to the ceiling to Epworth Room to be carried out when a builder is next on site Inspected via the improved access recently installed and found dry (old stains)
(iii) Two portable steps to the Altar area must be made bigger/more substantial or fixing Action complete
(iv) Gothic window in the old school room to be firmed up
Essential within the next five years (i) Bubbling to the roof over the new reception area to be monitored Roof under long term guarantee, will monitor
(ii) Moss to roofs to be removed
(iii) Overhaul of gutters and downpipes Actioned, recurring need
(iv) Handrails to be provided to steps in the altar and pulpit area Difficult, we need to consider
Advisable within the next five years (i) Tarmacadam to car parking area requires remedial works Not considered immediate hazard
(ii) Dehumidifier to be used in the original reception area to ease the condensation within this area Maintain observation
Matters for further investigation (i) Corrosion to the reinforcement bars of the central portion of the southern windows of the church needs attention and making good
Action needed – category refers to WHY it is like this
Contracts and Schemes
- Main redevelopment scheme (Arque) Contract: completed.
- External wall / roof refurbishment (1st Maintenance) Contract: snagging now completed and retention money released. H&S File received but final information awaited to enable back-up and making available for use
- External Notice Boards: Complete
- Internal Directional Signage: Format agreed, procurement in hand
- Wesley Room Dry Rot: Being allowed to dry out pending completion of investigation and carrying out of reinstatement work.
Management and Maintenance
- Management systems: The need for better integration of our procedures was identified in the H&S Audits 2010 and 2011 and this needs to be completed.
- Maintenance: A number of maintenance agreements have been in place for the principal items for a few years, new ones are being implemented where necessary – recently for window cleaning and for servicing of the main entrance doors.
In addition to maintenance certain items require regular statutory certification, requiring work to be done by persons holding specific qualifications. However in cases where work can safely and legally be carried out by volunteers working parties are being convened to supplement paid or contracted resources.
- H&S Policy: A draft policy was adopted by the Church Council in autumn 2011. Further work is being carried out by the H&S sub-group to complete the background procedures.
Lettings and Licences
The lettings group reports that the premises remain very popular and receipts from users continues to be an important source of revenue. Formal agreements are in place in respect of four organisations:
- Plymouth & Exeter Methodist District:
Rental, Loan and Working Agreements are in place. The Working Agreement is due for review April 2013, or earlier at the reasonable request of either party.
- Locality / DTA:
Licence expired April 2012, following which the Martin Luther King room will soon be available for general lettings.
- Exeter Food Bank:
A new licence is for the year ending 10 January 2013 has been prepared, awaiting signature on behalf of EFB.
- Lunch Club:
An ongoing agreement is in place between the Mint, and the Devon & Cornwall Unpaid Work Unit of NOMS, for the provision of lunches each Monday apart from Bank Holidays.
Once again, thanks are due to the many members and friends without whose efforts the continuing work of the Mint would be impossible!
Mike Pillidge (Property Secretary)
Social Events & Fundraising Group
This group meets twice a year to plan a calendar of social and fundraising events so that we can enjoy the company of others and enrich our fellowship here at the Mint, as well as raising money for charities and, also, helping to pay off the outstanding debt of our redevelopment.
Since the last Annual report fundraising events for the Redevelopment have raised over £7000.
In the last few weeks there has been a Quarterly Cake Sale after morning worship, a Book Stall at the entrance to the car park and coffee morning, and a May Market and Plant Sale; also Jean Usher has run a Coffee Morning for the Alzheimer’s Society, and Ruth & Derek Boobier have held their “Day” for the Force Cancer Charity.
The planned events for the next few months are:
• Saturday 16th June 2012: Dickensian Safari Supper
• Sunday 24h June 2012: Church Anniversary and Gift Day
• Saturday 21st July 2012: Mint “Alternative Games” at the home & garden of Lizzie St George (or at the Mint).
• July/August: Quarterly Cake Sale – if you are willing to bake a cake, please talk to Margaret Farrow.
• Summer Events: Coffee Mornings, Afternoon Teas, Barbecues etc. . Please contact Nina Black if you are willing to host an event at your home.
• Saturday 11th August: Exeter City Wall Treasure Hunt with cream teas at the Mint. .
• Sunday 30th September: Harvest Lunch.(for Christian Aid).
• Friday 5th October: Coffee Morning with cakes, cards, and crafts at St Stephens.
• Saturday 10th November: Murder Mystery Evening (No.2)
• Saturday 8th December: Christmas Market at the Mint 10.30am – 2.00pm.
• January 2013: Mint Quiz.
• Friday & Saturday 8th & 9th February 2013: Mint Pantomime
If you have a good idea or are willing to help, please come and join us at the next meeting: 2.30pm Wednesday 19th September 2012.
Maureen Coleman (Chair)
Liz Sails (Secretary)
SECTION 3: ACTIVITIES
Action for Children
The Mint sent a cheque to Action for Children for £866.84p, together with third-party cheques for £60.00p, being the proceeds of the Christmas collections. This sum was the aggregate of £170.57p from carol singing at Homecourt and our forecourt and £696.27p collected at the Christmas morning service. Gift Aid forms were included for £383.00p of these donations.
Thank you to all who contributed.
We remain grateful to Richard Taverner for his inspiration, guidance, good humour and patience as Director of Music. We have also been very pleased to welcome additional choir members for some special events and particularly Paul Morgan as organist for some of these. During the year we have performed Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir (June 12th), Haydn’s The Heavens are telling from the Creation at Harvest, Ledger’s Requiem on Remembrance Sunday and the Duruflé Requiem on passion Sunday. Smaller sections of the choir have performed during other services and, of course, we held our annual Lessons and Carol Service on 18 December combining a number of new and traditional carols.
The choir numbers around 25 members and additional singers are welcome.
From the generosity of church members we have been able to have a fresh flower pedestal each Sunday over the past year, and I think this is much appreciated by the congregation as they arrive in church each week. For the times of Easter, Harvest and Christmas the whole Flower Team work together to make the church special. It is at these times we obviously have to spend quite a lot on flowers and can I say a big thank you to all those who contributed towards the Easter flowers this year?
During the year we have seen two of our stalwart Flower Arrangers move away to be nearer relatives and we do miss Alice Kingsnorth and Mary Emerson but luckily we have co-opted two new ladies to the team. By having a good number on the team we can spread the load and thus each person only has to arrange twice or three times in the year - so if there are any more of you interested in helping us we would be pleased to know.
Finally, I want to thank all the Flower Team who have been wonderful over the past year and it is nice to see that the new modern stands are being used more and more. Also, on one last note - can I thank 'a husband' who has been of great help at Christmas and Easter - lifting, making coffee etc. We look forward to seeing him at Harvest!
We have now been attending the Hospital Chapel Service at the RD&E for a year and we have a small but dedicated group of volunteers who have a variety of roles. Some of us have been inducted as official hospital volunteers and can fetch patients from the wards in wheelchairs; others read or operate the CD player when we don’t have an organist.
Although it’s a small group and we are only there for a short time I feel that we are making a significant difference to the patients that we come into contact with. Some patients are visited by the Chaplains and their team of Visitors during the week (and some of our volunteers are also on that team) but it’s nice for the patients to be able to come and worship with others on a Sunday morning.
I would like to see the group expand in the coming year and possibly look at covering more Sundays than the 6 we currently attend. If we could provide a regular organist for the Chapel that would be fantastic.
MethAng has had a very successful year. We have enjoyed a range of speakers, including members of the university chaplaincy team, our own members and the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter, who spoke on the subject ‘Capitalism, Consumerism, and Wealth Creation’. We have also enjoyed a range of outings, including a day trip to Bath last summer, a trip to Exeter Quay during Welcome Week and our annual Christmas dinner at Chaucers. Much of the last term was spent preparing Apocalypse Now? (Wait, let me check my diary...), which we really enjoyed and raised £460 for Devon Air Ambulance. During the last year we have become affiliated to the Student Christian Movement.
Midnight Mint is without doubt one of the most important pieces of outreach that the Mint is involved with. All of us that are involved with it consider it a great privilege to play a part. Since September 2011 when we re-opened after our Summer break 303 people have come inside our building to have drinks etc. The greatest number of these are men.
The figures are at present 226 Male and 77 Female.
When MM was first set up we imagined that our greatest number of clients would be female as you can tell we were totally wrong!
The total of 303 are just the ones that we have ‘persuaded’ to come in. The actual numbers we speak to on the gate will certainly exceed that number.
When we opened almost 5 years ago we were aiming at the pubbers and clubbers but initially we were visited by many homeless folk. Now we have far more of our target group as the homeless are now mainly catered for by the extended opening hours on a Friday evening at St.Petrocks. We would however of course continue to welcome any homeless who wish to come in.
We offer a safe, warm place with hot drinks, biscuits and toast. All our clients appreciate what we do and we are often asked ‘What are you doing this for?
MM couldn’t happen without our band of volunteers, these come from at least six dominations around the city centre and some non-church attendees. We aim to have a team of six per session but will never run with less than four. In the five years since we started we have only once had to cancel through lack of volunteers. I would also like to put on record our thanks to the local security staff at The Walkabout who keep an eye on us and lend us a two way radio every Friday.(We have yet to use it). We are currently a little low on volunteers and would welcome some new ones. If you are interested please speak to Maureen or Peter Coleman or myself. Do give this some serious thought. It is great fun and there is never a typical Friday evening. We make no attempt to foist religion on our guests but will happily answer questions on faith and the Bible if asked. We are often asked to show folk the church which I have found quite surprising.
At the end of the day MM isn’t about bums on chairs on a Sunday morning. After-all our target group would still be in bed. It is however a very practical way of showing our Christian faith to our neighbours and beyond.
Over the five years of MM we have met with nothing but the greatest respect and kindness, if at times a slight bewilderment as to why we are doing it!
Ruth Jordan (on behalf of the MM Steering Group)
Northcott Theatre Group
A group of 20-30 have enjoyed a variety of plays during the past year. You would be welcome on a regular or casual basis. Contact Janet Robb on 873283
In February Mint members and friends staged our eighth pantomime, Mother Goose. There were two performances which were well attended and which raised £1003 towards the reduction of the Redevelopment debt.
The screens were used creatively again and a highlight this year was the performance on both nights of Break Dance group who use the Mint premises on a regular basis.. Thanks must be recorded to the large number of people who were involved either performing on stage with true professionalism, or in that all-important backstage work, including scenery design and painting, lighting effects and the making of costumes. The dedication of all who took part never ceases to amaze us. In addition a number of organisations and friends not directly connected to the Mint gave their invaluable support in a variety of practical ways.
Although no definite plans have been made, it is hoped that the Mint will experience yet another thespian extravaganza in 2013 and we look forward to involving both old and new participants.
Maureen Coleman & Gill Horn
The Prayer group meets from 9.45 to 10.15am on a Wednesday morning. We meet around the cross on the small seating area on the landing outside the Rowe Hall. Although this sometimes gets a bit noisy, it is a good place to pray because it is warm, we can see the outside world, and the noise of people around reminds us of the work on the Church Centre as we hold it before God for His blessing.
There is a core group of about 8 who are sometimes joined by others. Our prayers are mainly silent as we hold before God those who have asked for prayer, and those who we know are in need of prayer. Local community and overseas situations are also held before God.
Names and situations come from the Prayer Request sheets that have been placed in the prayer boxes in the Church. A box of prayers is offered occasionally during the Sunday service.
The format and structure of the time together varies and is in the hands of the person leading. Those who come find this time of reflection and contemplation an oasis in their week. We would be pleased to see others come and share in it.
Elizabeth Webb (Prayer Co-ordinator)
We currently have 13 people who do rota duties on a regular basis i.e. once a month or in some cases two or three times a month. Since the Administrators have changed their hours, we now only have 4 sessions a week to cover – Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Thursday morning and Friday evening. However, when an Administrator is on holiday the number of sessions needed to be filled by volunteers can be as many as10. We still do not have a sufficient number of volunteers to ensure that no one volunteer has to do more than one session a month unless they choose to do so.
Having the rota printed each week on the Service Sheets helps to bring to the notice of the church those occasions when there is a gap or gaps to be filled during the coming week, and it has also enabled people to see who the volunteers are, and who will be on duty at any particular session.
We are extremely grateful for the work of our volunteers. Without them the Mint would not be able to remain open for twelve hours each day and the number of lettings would inevitably decrease.
We are a group of 15-20 ladies and gentlemen who meet on Tuesday afternoons in the Wesley Room from 2.30 p.m. and finish about 3.30 p.m. with a cup of tea or coffee. Everyone (whatever their age) is welcome to come along. We open the meeting with a couple of hymns and a prayer and have a variety of speakers talking about many topics. Over the past year we’ve had people talk about the work of the Salvation Army, The Red Cross, charities that raise money for groups in this country and abroad, members from our meeting and from the congregation talking about their interests and holidays and regular visits each month from Andrew. The group has grown in size in the last year and we hope that, if you’re not busy on a Tuesday afternoon, you will feel free to join us anytime.
Sue Cordery (Secretary)
Traidcraft continues to be well supported. This financial year we have sold more than £5000 worth of goods. About a quarter of this comes from our Mint customers.
Peter and I are now recognised as Top Traders by Traidcraft. This means we are awarded a higher percentage of what we take. We do not take any expenses from our profits. We send it all to Traidcraft Exchange, which is the charity arm of the organisation. Last year we sent £600 to them. Traidcraft Exchange enables producers to grow better crops, teaches craft workers to make objects designed for the Western market, educates and trains small projects in finance and business plans, and works politically for fairer markets.
Apart from our monthly stall at the Mint, we have had several substantial orders from loyal Mint customers, especially at Christmas. Cards, both Christmas and the embroidered ones have sold well.
When Traidcraft introduces a new line we do give it a try to see if there is any interest from you to buy it. Recently we have stocked couscous, rice cakes, and two sorts of delicious cakes. Traidcraft does a wide range of craft items. We usually have a few examples from the catalogue, but as we cannot send them back if they are not sold, we prefer customers to place orders for specific things.
Elizabeth and Peter Webb
It has been another successful year! We meet about every three weeks for walks of about four to six miles and take in a range of scenery, including coastal, country and moorland.
Numbers vary from six to over twenty. It is an excellent way to explore the area and to get to know people. New members are always welcome. You need to be reasonably fit and possess walking boots, or strong shoes, and a waterproof! Transport to and from the starting point can be arranged.
Wednesday Coffee Mornings
The Wednesday Coffee Mornings have continued weekly throughout the year. They have been supported and appreciated by both visitors and members. There have been a number of charity coffee mornings which have been a success.
Thanks once again to the loyal group of helpers. Monetary donations have gone to Church funds.
2011-2012 has been our busiest programme to date. Our season .began on September 6 when we joined with a group of sponsors, including Amnesty International, to host a meeting at the Mint called ‘No Victory in Violence.’ This involved Israeli and Palestinian ex-combatants talking movingly about the stories of the personal transformations that had taken place in their lives as they moved from violent to non-violent encounters. For the October meeting the direction changed towards new developments in Methodism, specifically the arrival of the new hymnbook, ‘Singing the Faith’. Rev. Norman Wallwork, who was involved in the compilation of the new book, gave a fascinating presentation on ‘the rise and demise of the hymn’. The audience played its part by joining (enthusiastically, of course) in singing examples of many of the newly included hymns and songs.
In November our thoughts turned again to the Middle East, this time to Afghanistan. We were privileged to have a visit from Rev. Andrew Rawding, padre of the 40th Royal Marines Commando in Taunton, a role which included a period of duty in Afghanistan. When he visited the Mint Rev. Rawding was about to leave the army and become a parish priest in northern Ireland. His experiences as a soldier and a priest combined to give us graphic and moving insights into everyday challenges that the conflict poses, challenges that have led him to become involved in PARFAN, a group of Christians committed to peace and reconciliation for Afghanistan.
Our February and March meetings were both concerned with challenges that concern our own society at home. Cathie Holden of the University of Exeter School of Education described a pioneering project in which she has been involved for some time in training children for citizenship. Despite the need for such programmes, and their obvious successes, it is clear they are vulnerable to government policy changes. In March Alistair McIntosh, described the work of Exeter Community Initiatives, of which he was, until very recently Executive Director. Alistair surprised many in the audience by the sheer extent of the programmes under the ECI umbrella. a charity set up by local churches, which works with people experiencing disadvantage, and which encourages the development of strong communities that can work to fulfil their own potential.
Our spring season of meetings began in April with a talk by our own member Chris Jordan on ‘Faith, Hope and Charity: A History of Education in Crediton’. Chris brought a great depth of knowledge to this fascinating presentation. Two further meetings are planned: on May 30 David Reece and a number of others involved in the recent ‘Occupy Exeter’ protests will instigate discussion on the objectives and achievements of the movement. On June 20 Kerry Macnish will speak on ‘A day in the life of a hospice care volunteer – supporting people with loss.’ This is a joint initiative with the Pastoral team.
Over the past year Sunday attendances have ranged between 12 and 24 children in three groups, the Creche for babies and toddlers - Primary for 3 – 6 year olds, Juniors/Seniors for the 7 – 12 year olds. Combining the Junior and Senior groups has taken the pressure off the leaders with regard to preparation and has allowed for more occasions when the leaders can participate in the full morning service. All groups meet together on Communion Sundays.
The Crèche is continuing to use the Wesley room and the Primary department are still enjoying the child friendly atmosphere of the crèche room on the ground floor of the Rowe wing. However, this group is growing and sometimes they move to the Priory room for games that require more space. Juniors/Seniors continue to use the Schoolroom and are putting the display boards to good use.
We continue to use the on-line version of ‘Seasons of the Spirit’ as our teaching resource.
In August of 2011, we experimented with having visitors leading the sessions and this proved very popular with the children. Activities included Break dancing’, writing our own hymn, messy church painting, and making music, with the children using their own instrumental skills to the full.
The hymn the children wrote was also sung by the whole congregation one Sunday morning in the Autumn. Young Church members and staff were also involved in the Harvest Festival and led the Christmas All Age Worship.
We are very grateful to all who either lead or assist in the Sunday sessions. There is always room for further helpers and we ask that the church make this an urgent concern for thought and prayer.
Our principal aim continues to be that the children and young people within our care, will feel happy and at home in the church family, make lasting friendships with people from all age groups and will grow in their understanding of God’s love and purpose for them and our world.
SECTION 4: HOUSEGROUPS
Countess Wear Housegroup
The Countess Wear House Group meets on the third Thursday (sometimes the Tuesday to suit diaries) of each month throughout the year at Janet Robb’s house on the Topsham Road. There is a regular attendance of between 12 and 14 people and we like to draw on members’ own experiences and faith journeys. This past year a mixed programme has included several sessions on the Archbishop of York’s Lent series, a Christmas Bible study and a book discussion The book was Salley Vickers’ Miss Garnet’s Angel. We hope to welcome Robert Gleave in a few weeks’ time to answer some of our questions about Islam. One or two new members would be most welcome.
Lorna and Nigel Collinson
Dunsford Gardens Housegroup
This small group continues to meet on Fridays fortnightly in the home of Mavis Cross [usually], at Lanteglos 5 Lord’s Way [opposite Tesco just off the by-pass]. We are made up of Mint members or former attenders of the Mint.
We begin with prayer and a bible reading. A time of worship from Songs & Hymns of Fellowship, accompanied by Mavis, and sharing of joys and concerns, is followed by a speaker who leads our thoughts in a bible study. We conclude with a time of thanksgiving and intercession, in which members are free to join as they feel led.
We meet in a warm, loving and unpressured atmosphere where everyone can feel relaxed and comfortable. We are all ageing together, and would welcome an injection of younger members.
Since the last AGM, Friday Fellowship, the Mint housegroup for those in their 20s and 30s, has become F.I.S.H. (Fellowship In Someone’s Home). We are now meeting fortnightly on a Wednesday night, which we hope will be more convenient.
For the past year we’ve been alternating sessions between following the Nooma series of Bible studies and social evenings. We aim to be a friendly and supportive group in which we all feel free to explore some of the questions and challenges inherent in our faith whilst having fun!
FISH also wants to make a contribution to the life of the wider church and this year we created prayer stations for Holy Week which we hope helped some people to focus their thoughts during this period of reflection for the Church.
The Ubi house - group meets fortnightly except during the school holidays. We meet in one another’s houses and everyone is welcome. Our age range is very wide and we take it in turns to lead the group on varying topics that interest us, such as areas of social concern and Christian perspectives. We all lead very busy lives and the opportunity for conversation and fellowship is very important for us. Our group starts at 8 pm and we end with tea or coffee. If you would like to know more about us or when we’re meeting please see Debra and Martin Myhill or Sue and Peter Cordery and we’ll introduce you to others in our group.