CRANLEIGH METHODIST CHURCH
ANNUAL REPORT 2016-17
In partnership with the church across the world, the other local churches in Cranleigh and community organisations:
We believe our calling is to bear witness to Christ by:-
Offering worship to God which celebrates our relationship with Him and enables us to respond to His endless love for us.
Honouring God in our daily lives by caring for the needs of others and doing what is required of us with integrity and faithfulness.
Serving the God who is within and around us by building bridges between the church and the wider community, developing partnerships and encouraging the sharing of resources.
Seeking by our words and actions to show the love of Christ to others, encouraging them into relationship with Him.
We believe that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence can be known through us, and we commit ourselves to building His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Cranleigh Methodist Church is situated on the High Street in Cranleigh in the centre of the village just off Stocklund Square.
The address of the Church is Cranleigh Methodist Church, 188 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8RL.
The Minister, to whom correspondence should be addressed, is the Revd Dr Claire Potter, whose address is 8 Eastgate Gardens, Guildford GU1 4 AZ.
The Church Council is responsible for all matters relating to the policy of the Church. It has two committees – the Pastoral Committee and the Finance & Property Committee and also establishes ad hoc groups as necessary.
Chair: Rev’d Dr Claire Potter
Church Council Secretary: Pamela Newman-Horwell
Stewards: Jane O’Leary (Senior Steward), Glenda Sewell; Pat Mottram (from Spring, 2017)
Treasurer: Adriaan Berrevoets assisted by Stella Halloran
Secretary to the Pastoral Committee: Marion Pratt
Chair of the Finance & Property Committee : Jane O’Leary
Circuit Steward representative: Philip Beastall
Review of progress and achievements
Since September 2016, and the formation of the Wey Valley Circuit, here in Cranleigh we have been visited by an increased number of preachers. This has resulted in a greater variety of content and style of worship week by week.
Sunday services have continued every Sunday morning at 10.30am and approximately once a month in the evening at 6.30pm. The evening services are often Communion services, and are sometimes different styles of worship, such as discussions and reflections.
The morning services have been enhanced by a short and enthusiastic presentation by the Sunday Club most weeks, informing the congregation about what they had been learning in their session.
We are grateful to all those who have led our worship for their thoughtful preparation and for delivering messages that are often relevant to our lives. Members of the congregation enhance worship by leading readings, dramas and prayers of intercession.
Music, by the Choir and, on occasions, the Music Group, also add to the variety and form of the services.
In the year September 2016 to August 2017, we continued receiving the ministry of 8 pastoral visitors. Three of them, Brian Treharne, Ian and Helen Smalley, were new to the role this year, and they have embraced it fully and have worked hard at getting to know the people in their groups.
Membership numbers are recorded each November (as part of the Methodist Connexional statistics).
Cranleigh Methodist church had 48 members in November 2016.
We were delighted to receive 2 new members by transfer in December: Russell and Liesl Corbauld-Warren.
Another member made the decision to move their membership to another church, a loss for us, but we are glad it is the right place for them.
Sadly two of our very long-standing members died. Geoff King died on 1st April 2017 and Rod Sewell died on 12th May 2017. Both are much missed but their legacy and inspiration live on. Cranleigh Methodist Church resounded with celebration at both of the services held to give thanks to God for their lives. The prayers of the church community are with Helen Bright and her family (Geoff’s daughter) and Glenda Sewell and her family (Rod’s wife).
So at the end of the year the membership of the church stands at 47.
There also currently 26 people who are very involved with the church, called in Methodist terms adherents’. They are all equally part of the life of the church and are fully included in the pastoral system.
The pastoral committee meets each October (comprising all of the pastoral visitors). We discuss the church community (with proper care for confidentiality) and identify any particular needs or issues. We make any necessary changes to the pastoral groups. We talk about how membership classes are made available. And we discuss provision for bible studies and fellowship groups. The Monday afternoon housegroup began in September 2016 in response to needs identified through the pastoral system.
Membership classes were run by the circuit in this year, and two people, from Knaphill and Weybridge churches attended the classes and have now been received into membership.
These classes are run annually and publicised around the circuit. They can be run for churches separately if that is easier for those who are interested.
Anyone wanting to know more about church membership is invited to have a conversation with Claire Potter or their pastoral visitor.
Stewards’ Report 1st Sept 2016 – 31st Aug 2017
Stewards Jane O’Leary (Senior Steward), Glenda Sewell and Rev. Dr Claire Potter met as the Stewards’ Body on 20th September, 16th November 2016 and 31st January 2017.
The instigation of a Leadership Team, which included Stella Halloran, Hilary Strawson and Pamela Newman-Horwell together with Claire Potter, Jane O’Leary and Glenda Sewell began meeting on 20th March and met subsequently on 9th May (which then included Pat Mottram as a new Steward), 26th June and 15th August 2017.
Those items discussed on a regular basis were a review of Services and planning for Services. Special ones included Harvest, (including Harvest Supper), Remembrance Sunday, Advent with Advent Liturgy, Christingle, Gift Service and Carol Service, the Covenant Service and subsequently Lent and Easter.
Other events considered were the Christmas Tree event at St Nicolas over the early part of December, the website and the Alterations Overview. We were also involved with the planning for the first Service of the Churches Together Week of Prayer for Christian unity in January, The Wey Forward Magazine and our contributions, the lightning damage as to how it affected the Church Services etc. Local Arrangement Services (only one for 12th February) and planning for this year’s Advent and Christmas Services and events, and of course the review of the In Touch Magazine.
As the Leadership Team, we also included discussion on general Church Meetings, The Holiday Club/Sunday Club for our youngsters, the new Prayer Book, fundraising for the Church events, i.e. the stall at the Lions Carnival Day, review of the Mission Statement, photographs, Worship Songs, recordings of the Services, destination for the flowers and training for Prayers of Intercession.
It has been a difficult year with only two Stewards at the beginning of it, but the instigation of the Leadership Team and the addition of a further Steward, together with the cooperation of very many members of the Congregation with regard to readings, Stewarding duties, flowers and generally helping out, has made the load lighter for the Leadership Team and the Church in general.
To reiterate Claire’s message at the recent Circuit Service, we must work with what we have rather than wait for new blood or other people to volunteer, for each one of us to make our own talents and contributions available for the work of the Church in whatever direction that takes us, and I feel as the retiring Senior Steward, that this next year will see more change but hopefully an enthusiasm for the work of our Church, both physically and spiritually.
Jane A O’Leary, Senior Steward
Communication with the church community
A weekly notice sheet is produced for each Sunday which gives details of the worship for the day and contains other items for the attention of the congregation, e.g. House group meetings, Wednesday Group meetings, choir practices and future events in the Church and Circuit.
In Touch, a quarterly magazine, is circulated to all members by the team of pastoral visitors. Copies are also made available at the back of the church, where there is also an informative and regularly updated noticeboard.
Additionally, the activities of the church are reported in ‘The Wey Forward’ the quarterly magazine of the Wey Valley Methodist Circuit, which contains information about a wide range of circuit events.
The Circuit has a website on which Cranleigh Methodist Church has an information page (weyvalleycircuit.org.uk).
Cranleigh Methodist Church website (cranleighmethodist.org.uk) gives information about the church and its activities. Recordings of services are also available on the website.
Our small mixed group of singers has continued to offer each Sunday morning an introit and an anthem, mostly in three parts and accompanied. We have practised every Friday evening at 7.45. We have not met for practice or sung separate pieces in services during the last two weeks of July or the whole of August. Sometimes, the choir has sung special music for particular services, or other celebrations. At these times we have enlisted the help of a few friends. At the Harvest Supper, 2016, we sang some well-known popular songs, and later, as usual at Christmas, again with additional singers, we presented two concerts of Christmas songs and carols, the first at the December Community Tea in our church and the second in the new hall at Elmbridge Village, both with audience participation, though the choir pieces were not the same at each venue. At these concerts, we were pleased to have items from our talented recorder players! We raised money for Action for Children (about £150). At the Carol Service in church, we contributed more items than on other Sundays. Later, several of us joined the choir at St Nicolas Church for the Village Carol
Service. After Christmas, we continued with our usual routine, hopefully contributing music which enhanced the Service and helped to underline the subject matter presented by the preacher particularly at Lent and Easter. Just before our summer break, on the first Sunday in July 2017, we celebrated our Choir Anniversary, as we usually do at this time. The Service was conducted by our own minister, Claire. The choir chose three of St Paul’s Fruits of the Spirit –love, joy and peace – and sang an anthem on each of these. Claire chose appropriate hymns and readings for each, and again we enjoyed the support of our willing friends…..we still hope to recruit new members who might help us more regularly on Sundays, though we appreciate greatly the encouragement we sometimes receive from members of the congregation. I could not hope for more loyal support than I already get from our organist and the other singers!
The music group continues to contribute to the Sunday morning service either when requested by the preacher or when there is a suitable hymn. The group consists mainly of recorder players with a full range of decant, treble, tenor and bass and is supplemented by a rain stick all accompanied by keyboard.
At Christmas the music group takes part in the choir’s outreach concert at the church and also the annual Christmas Concert held at Elmbridge Retirement Village in aid of Action for Children. This is an opportunity to share with the wider community both the sacred and secular music that we play.
Sunday Club has continued every Sunday morning apart from on Christmas Day. Usually we have had a few children and occasionally none, but this hasn’t happened very often and we are always prepared for whoever may turn up. We run appropriate activities for different age groups and crèche facilities for little ones.
During the year we undertook to take part in a toilet twinning project which the children enjoyed planning and organising, with help. As a result, our church toilets and those of some members of the congregation, have been twinned with some in other countries, enabling some outlying places to benefit from better sanitation.
Hilary, Pamela and Deborah are always grateful for any help especially on the odd occasions when we are not available.
This has been meeting for probably the last twenty years at 8.30am on Tuesdays in the Church. Of late, for various reasons, attendance has been dwindling, and for the weeks just before and just after Easter, 2017, there have usually been only two people present, the convenor and a friend from the Baptist Church. It was therefore decided for the moment to discontinue the meetings in their present form, but in the hope that it may be possible to set up a new group in the future.
We have had another good year in terms of a varied programmed. We had ten speakers, two member evenings, a visit to the theatre in Ewhurst and the year ended with an evening at some
delightful gardens in Horsham attended by 25 members and their families. One highlight of the year was a celebration of our 50th anniversary in January which was attended by 16 current members with messages of good wishes from three previous members, including one who was a founder member of the or original Young Wives group.
We have had to make minor changes to the programme during the year partly because speakers were unable to come and partly because members were unable to host meetings, however the programme largely ran smoothly.
We are grateful to all those who have hosted our meetings this year. It is our aim that most of our meetings are held in members’ homes as this seems to add to the feeling of fellowship amongst our group. We have held three open meetings at the church to which people outside of our group were welcomed.
The start time was moved from 8.00pm to 7.30pm to enable people to be home a bit earlier. However some members found it difficult to make the earlier time and at the AGM in June it was decided to revert to 8.00pm. At the same meeting it was decided to remain a women’s group but with a number of open meetings throughout the year to which everyone will be invited.
We always welcome new members and if anyone is interested in joining us please see the programme at the back of the church, just turn up, or speak to Hilary or Hazel or one of the committee.
Saturday Coffee Morning
Members from the Church organise a coffee morning every Saturday. These coffee mornings are well attended by members of the local community and members of both our own and other churches. From time to time members provide home made preserves or cakes, or home grown produce for sale for the benefit of church funds, and occasional plant or book sales are held. A stall for the sale of Fairtrade goods is available occasionally.
A small (but lively!) group led by Claire Potter meets for bible study and discussion at 2pm on alternate Mondays at the home of Eric and Audrey Stoakes or at Birtley House.
The group’s first sessions began by looking at some of Carravagio’s paintings of biblical events, which Claire had studied during her sabbatical. We found much of interest and depth of meaning in them, and they gave us new thoughts about familiar Bible passages.
Since we enjoyed these so much and found it so helpful we have continued to use pictures as our starting point, studying a variety of works from more modern artists. They are extremely varied and give us much to think and talk about.
Come and join us!
‘Refugees Welcome’ Group and ‘Friendly Voices’
The ‘Refugees Welcome’ group was inaugurated in November 2016 as a result of the ecumenical Lent Discussions on ‘Hospitality and Sanctuary’ (held at our church in 2016) together with conversations about how we, as a church, can be of greater service to the community. After advertising around the village an open meeting was held in November 2017 for those who shared our concerns for the plight of Syrian refugees. By the New Year over 50 people had expressed interest in the work of the group, which by this point had worked on a ‘welcome plan’ and set up eight sub-groups drawing on members’ skills and experience, to research housing, practical
(furnishing etc), cultural awareness, initial welcome, ongoing support (education, therapies, local network), language and befriending, long-term support, and media & publicity. Our minister, Claire Potter, chair of the group, was in correspondence with Waverley Borough Council, and in the spring the group was able to assist with the setting-up of a house in Haslemere for the first family coming in to Waverley.
By the end of August 2017 the achievements of the group were:
an established group actively supporting the local authority in the resettlement of refugee families under the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme
readiness to welcome a family into our community as a result of extensive research and preparation
an accessible conversation group for those for whom English is an additional language, which a refugee family can easily join
practical support given to a refugee family, and readiness to provide similar support when further families arrive
opportunities for the community to be involved in making a contribution to the welfare of refugees
‘Friendly Voices’ is a conversation group initiated and hosted by our church.
Each week during school term times we offer the opportunity for those for whom English is not their first language to come together in a relaxed, informal setting to talk about general interest topics.
Early in 2017 the decision had been made by the ‘language and befriending’ sub-group of the ‘Refugees Welcome’ group to begin these sessions now, so that there would be an established group for the time when a refugee family might be housed locally. Advertising was through the local magazines and in the local care homes, at care agencies, the local schools, the nearby Japanese school, and the (horticultural) nursery. The first session was held in the Spring. Although take-up has been quite small it has been appreciated by those who come.
Charities supported by the church
Members of the church give generously to collections in response to national and international disasters.
Additionally the church particularly supports AFC and Christian Aid:
This specifically Methodist charity has been supported at various times during the last year, particularly at Christmas (Christmas Day Collection at the service) and also at Christmas concerts at the Community Tea and at Elmbridge Village.
A house-to-house collection has been organised for many years, but it has lately been difficult to recruit collectors and organisers. The two organisers for 2017 have unfortunately had to retire, but there is a hope that a successor will be found. Volunteer collectors are not just Methodists. There is also a Christian Aid Committee which has organised events, which have been successful. During the past year, market stalls and snack lunches have raised funds for the cause, and a very successful concert by the Rushmoor Male Voice Choir on March 8, 2017, raised about £700. The Committee are planning more events.
Report on the Building Project 2016-17
The position at the start of September 2016 was that the original plans for a new entrance and coffee area where the existing entrance and Crick Room are, had been abandoned due to the costs being too high for the additional benefit. A new architect, Derek Kemp of CPL was then appointed. In discussion with members of the Project Group, he advised that a better use of the money would be to replace the existing buildings comprising the kitchen, toilets, Gordon Room and Vestry with a modern kitchen, separate areas of toilets to enable children’s activities to be undertaken at the same time as other use of the rest of the building. It was possible that a new porch could also be built to enable a direct access from the car park to the church. All these facilities would be accessible for all users.
Plans were drawn up, with three options: a) replacing the building as above (without porch) b) replacing the building as above, but with the addition of a porch and c) as for (b), but with an altered main entrance on the Crick Room side of the church. The Project Group was advised to apply for planning permission for the whole project (i.e. option c).
Planning permission was sought and granted in June 2017, and it was hoped that the work could start in July 2017 – but this was not to be.
The initial tender for the work was considered too high and the situation at the end of August 2017 was:
Methodist District Consent still being awaited
CPL re-tendering the work
Grants from the Circuit and District granted
Grants from external funding agencies applied for
The start date for the work has been pushed back to January 2018 and further work is needed to secure a builder and sufficient funds to cover the cost of the work.
In addition to Circuit services, Church members have been able to benefit from the training and fellowship opportunities arranged within the new Wey Valley circuit, including the delightful Wey Valley walk in June to celebrate its first ‘birthday’.
Links with the local community
Churches Together in Cranleigh
The four churches in Cranleigh have continued to work together and support each other’s initiatives wherever appropriate.
United services during the year were the Harvest Festival Evening Service Songs of Praise event at the Catholic Church, the service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the Methodist Church and the Good Friday service in Stocklund Square. Additionally there was the village Remembrance Service in November at the War Memorial, and the Village Carol Service at St
Nicolas Church in December.
Once again we joined our friends at St John’s Seminary for Vespers during Lent, and on the evening of Good Friday the service of Tenebrae at the Catholic church was also attended by members of other congregations.
A new joint venture this year was a summer picnic on the Common opposite the Baptist Church (with the opportunity to use their facilities and their premises if wet!).
‘Churches Together’ was represented at the Community Showcase event organised by the Parish Council in early May, distributing information about each of the churches as well as ‘Churches Together’ itself.
On May 22nd Churches Together sponsored the hustings, hosted by Cranleigh Baptist church, at which all the parliamentary candidates were present.
A short act of worship has been held at Cedar Court Care Home for the residents and any visitors, once each month, usually on a Wednesday afternoon. They have been led by a rotation of ministers.
The church’s continuing support for the Food Bank is much appreciated by those who find themselves in urgent need of help in Cranleigh and the surrounding villages. Some of our congregation are regular volunteers at the sessions which are held on the first, third and fifth Fridays of each month.
‘Open the Book’
The church continues to be represented at the weekly ‘Open the Book’ school assemblies at which members from the local churches present a dramatised bible story to children, visiting each of the three Primary schools in Cranleigh.
Use of premises
Cranleigh Methodist Church rooms are extensively used by outside organisations as well as Church groups. The School Room is used every day in term time by Blossom Nursery which provides educational and structured play and activities for pre-school children.
The Chaundy School of Dance uses the hall on several afternoons each week.
Alcoholics Anonymous meet weekly throughout the year, and a table tennis group meets weekly during the winter.
Cranleigh Arts and Crafts Society,Cranleigh Christian Aid Committee and ‘Sure Start’ use the premises on an occasional basis.
From time to time other events are held here. In November 2016 the Godalming Band gave a concert to launch their new CD, a performance which was enjoyed by many.