The Annual Parochial Church Meeting was held in Church House on Sunday 28th April starting at 3.00 pm.
The following officers were elected:
Churchwardens: Loraine Bant; Michael Little
Assistant Churchwardens: Dave Alker (All Saints) Chris Hedges (St Thomas)
PCC Secretary: John Hawkins Treasurer: Sarah Gower
Deanery Synod Representatives: Loraine Bat; John Hawkins; Margaret Hawkins; Dave Alker; Dough Holmes
PCC: Pam Boulton; Lionel Carpenter; Margaret Coombs; Hazel Hedges; Maureen Hudson; Steven Mayes; Michael Ransley; Sarah Seyler; Kath Porteous; Lily Doody; Eddie Doody; Jan White
Here are the reports for the meeting from the various Church Groups:
CHURCH GROUPS’ REPORTS TO THE APCM 2019
Report of Birchington PCC to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting April 2019
The PCC met during the year as follows;
22nd April 2018
23th May 2018
27th June 2018
25th July 2018
5th September 2018
21st September 2018
14th October 2018 (APCM Extraordinary meeting)
24th October 2018
28th November 2018
23rd January 2019
20th March 2019
The meetings were chaired by Revd Graham Colley until October and thereafter by Loraine Bant (CW. ) We were fortunate to be joined on a couple of occasions by Archdeacon Jo to keep us abreast of developments re the appointment of a new incumbent.
The APCM was called on 14th October to approve the appointment of Mike Little as Churchwarden.
The focus throughout the year was on the path leading to an appointment of a full-time priest, the official formation of the Seamarsh Group, Church finances, the installation of a new boiler in All Saints, the smooth running of the parish during the interregnum and the allotments.
Meetings were generally well attended. The next PCC meeting will be immediately following the APCM on 28th April. This will be the first meeting of the new PCC.
John Hawkins, PCC secretary.
Electoral Roll Officer’s Report to the APCM, 2019.
The total number of parishioners recorded on the Electoral Roll as of last year’s APCM on 22nd April, 2018 was 196.
It is necessary to prepare a new Electoral Roll every 6 years, which I have duly completed.
The total number of parishioners recorded on the new Electoral Roll as of the APCM, 2019 is 170.
Geoff Pegg, Electoral Roll Officer
Church Wardens Report to APCM 2019
It seems a long time since our last APCM although the months have raced by – but we are not writing to solve the meaning of this but to inform the Parish of the activities of the Church Wardens in this year.
It is good to see that we are now having more Parish services together now – this can only grow our church and develop more unity between us all. This is down to a legacy which Graham left us with and he also wanted us to meet and worship altogether if there was a fifth Sunday in the month as well as at other key times. There has also been a necessity to ensure that there is at least one Eucharist as a main service in the Parish each Sunday and if only one member of the clergy was available, and no Reader, there could only be the one service. We thank the retired clergy, Sue and David,; Readers, Margaret and Jim; ALMs, John, Angela and Paul for all their work in our services but there have still been several gaps to fill and we have been lucky to welcome a variety of clergy and Readers who have been happy to assist. We must thank Archdeacon Jo especially who in our hour of need has turned up herself or has been round the Cathedral and Diocesan House to find volunteers! It has taken many hours to ensure that our services are covered although a few BCP services could not run but these congregations were given plenty of warning that there would be no service
The PCC have been involved in many activities this year – dealing with issues to sharing successes. Before Graham and Jenny left us, we have received notification that all was not well at the Epple Hill allotments – which the Church owns. We decided on the request of some of the allotment holders to review the rents and investigate and establish rules and procedures. This process is not fully in place yet – we will be holding a meeting next week when we hope to complete this piece of work. We have taken advice from the Archdeacon, Bishop’s office and Diocese. Our thanks to all those who have been involved in this process.
We are pushing ahead with having our pieces of land valued by the Diocese so that we are aware of the value of our assets.
Before Graham and Jenny left us, Graham had produced service booklets for Ordinary time, Advent and Lent – and Sue and David produced the Christmas and Epiphany service booklet. We still have a few more seasons to complete.
Our Parish fundraising hit our target although the small group who organise these events would still like to hold an event that brings in thousand of pounds to help towards the Parish Share. We know that everyone enjoyed the Vicarage being open for the ‘Vicarage Fair’ before it becomes a permanent home again for our new vicar.
The boiler has been installed in All Saints Church – a long process because we completed an Archdeacon’s approval form and then needed to upgrade to a faculty application. Our thanks must go to the congregation who moved out of the Church into Church House for a month, without complaint, and all the people who assisted in this process. We have since had issues with the boilers in Kearns Hall and Church House – neither being serviced since installation – but all our boilers will now be serviced and repaired by CS Heating who put in the All Saints boiler.
The data for the Diocesan was completed and returned on line by the date due – this requires scrutinising the three service registers in the churches, looking at the baptisms, weddings and funeral figures that Sue in the office keeps and completing the forms. This has now been completed comprehensively for three years so there is a more accurate picture of our Parish on the Diocesan website of our areas of growth and decline – we are a few years behind other Parishes, so it is difficult to read trends presently.
The Lightning conductor on All Saints Church will need replacing in the next few months.
Sara, our treasurer, has worked hard to make our money go as far as possible – all her fundraising though recycling and leading the Fundraising committee. St Thomas gave an extra £6000 to help with one month’s payment during the year – we are told that a new Vicar should invigorate giving and fundraising. Our thanks must go to Sara who has loyally and firmly dealt with our finances since becoming our treasurer.
The three church committees have worked extra hard during this interregnum – fund raising for their churches and halls. The halls are important to our Parish fundraising – Church House has new flooring, chairs and cupboards in recently years and St Thomas is about to spend money on the electrics and décor of Kearns. The Village Hall committee at Acol has made improvements to the kitchen which makes it far more practical to hold Church social events there.
The Parish profile has been produced and is to be sent to Archdeacon Jo ready for inclusion in the advert for the vacancy, to be advertised nationally. The PCC received some training from Revd. Steve Conney and Richard Braddy prior to completing this so that we could identify what we were looking for in our new vicar.
The PCC agreed to form a group ministry with St Saviours, Westgate and the Wantsum Group of Churches – to be called the Seamarsh ministry.
The Governing Body of our Church School has reconstituted and will now have three Foundation (church) Governors rather than two – one of which is ex-officio (the Vicar – with the Archdeacon’s permission Margaret Hawkins has been in this position for several years now. Chris Hedges has moved across from co- opted Governor to Foundation allowing the FGB to bring on new governors with skills that are needed on the team.
We have had some lovely services this year – Harvest, The Bereavement Service, Remembrance Sunday, the service to remember the 100 years since the end of WW1, an assortment of Christmas celebrations, Epiphany, the end of Christian Unity week and Easter. There have been a range of social activities from Harvest suppers, Christmas teas to Lent lunches and quizzes. The good thing is that we can look forward lots more in the next twelve months. We sadly said goodbye to Graham and Jenny in 2019 and we hope to say hello to our new vicar in 2020 – let’s hope that everything goes to the plan published in the April magazine and that God sends us the person who is right for Birchington.
Thank you to the PCC for all their support and assistance this year, all those involved in leading our services, Sue in the office and everyone in the Parish who has stepped forward to assist us this year.
Loraine Bant, churchwarden.
Birchington Churches Together 2018-19
This past year all the churches of Birchington have continued to work closely together to provide several powerful cross-denominational events. In additional to the traditional Remembrance Sunday service, a special service was created to mark the anniversary of the ending of WW1. This saw not only the denominations but also other village organisations and groups working together. The Village Carols saw more people attend than ever – the uniformed organisations enhanced the event with a memorable nativity tableau to the sound track of “The Little Drummer Boy”. It was also a moment to remember with gratitude the work that Revd Canon Norman Baldock had achieved over the years in helping BCT to work effectively. The coffee mornings and reflections for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity culminated in a lovely service at St Thomas’ and Lent has seen over 85 people across the village follow a York Course entitled “Better Together”, in a variety of cross-denominational groups. At the time of writing we look forward to the annual Good Friday March of Witness to the Village Centre.
As well as these events, it is clear that members from the different denominations find it natural to attend and be involved in activities organised in other churches, for example in Youth work, care for the homeless or contributions to the food Bank.
Birchington Churches Together is a feature of this area that is envied by many elsewhere in the country, and is down to the hard work of the lay representatives that form the steering group. Thank you for all that you do!
Revd Dr Sue Woan
The Seamarsh Group Ministry
The Church of England in:
Acol, Birchington, Minnis Bay, Chislet, Minster, Monkton,
St Nicholas-at-Wade, Westgate-on-Sea
This is an exciting time for the churches in the western end of the Deanery. In recent years we have been investigating how we can work more closely together to support each other in the mission and ministry of God’s church and creating a model that is sustainable in the future. This has led to the creation of The Seamarsh Group Ministry at the start of Advent 2018. Why Seamarsh – the name is what geographically holds us together – the sea and the marsh.
Key to this is the working together of licensed clergy forming a local chapter. The clergy have been meeting for lunch and spending time listening and supporting each other and looking at any issues arising across the Group. We do this 2 – 3 times a month and the new Priest in Charge at Birchington would be expected to become part of this.
As part of the Group Ministry each Parish currently maintains its own PCC and independent finances.
The steering group will continue to meet and plan possibilities for the Seamarsh Group and other groups within the Seamarsh group will start to be developed – ie treasurers, Readers and ALMs for example.
The aim is to keep the individual characteristics of each of the eight churches.
Rev Richard Braddy
All Saints Committee Report to APCM 2019
2018 proved to be a productive but largely uneventful year, which does not mean nothing interesting or exciting happened! Firstly, I want to acknowledge the hard-work, enthusiasm and commitment of all the committee members and thank them for their many contributions.
The committee was strengthened during 2018 by the addition of both Lionel Carpenter and
Mick Ransley while Mike Little was co-opted in his role as churchwarden.
Bernard Taylor replaced Dave Alker as chairman in January 2019 while Dave was also appointed as Assistant Churchwarden at All Saints during 2018.
The major work at All Saints this year involved replacement of the boiler and I would like to thank Loraine for all her hard work in making this happen. Apart from that only minor repairs have been necessary, consistent with the upkeep of a church building of that age.
A number of maintenance activities were undertaken in Church House during the year and I would like to thank those responsible for these, particularly for painting and grouting the toilets and clearing the gutters (thanks to Rob Teale for the latter). One consequence of replacing the flooring in 2017 was that the cupboards could not be reinstated and was replaced with new ones during the year. Because of the threat of persistent vandalism it was decided not to repair or upgrade the CCTV system.
Although TDC are responsible for maintenance of the graveyard, a small band of willing volunteers have ensured that the paths, graves and bushes are kept in good order. I would particularly like to thank Lionel and Marilyn Carpenter for smartening up the Rossetti grave as this attracts a significant number of visitors.
The All Saints fund balance as at 31.12.17 was £1463.23.
The committee again kept All Saints open every weekend during the year – although visitor numbers are often low, there is a wide diversity and all welcome the opportunity to visit. Apart from contributing to the ‘2018 parish quizzes’, the committee organised an afternoon tea on 18th August. However, in 2019 we plan to hold a quiz on 16th November to raise funds for the ‘Christmas candles’ and well as a ‘Fish & Chip supper’ on 22nd June and an All Saints-tide event on 2nd November.
Details of all activities can be found in the committee meeting minutes which are available for inspection from the Parish Office.
St Thomas Church & Kearns Hall Report for APCM
We have been pleased to welcome a number of visiting clergy to St Thomas Church during the interregnum, including Reader Sally Willins, the Revd Jenny Corocan and the Revd Peter Ingrams. We are looking forward to welcoming the Revd David Springthorpe on 5th May and Archdeacon Jo on 26th May and a return visit by the Revd Steve Coneys on 16th June.
Immediately before each service at St Thomas Church, the clergy together with all those contributing to the proceedings (i.e. Server, readers, intercessor, sides-people, coffee-makers, organist) meet in the Lady Chapel for “Vestry Prayers”.
Following a generous bequest, we have purchased a new Ciborium and two Chalices which have been appropriately engraved. We were also able to make a contribution of £6000 towards the Parish Share.
An instantaneous water heater has been installed over the sink in the WC.
It has been proposed to remove the hymn book stands beyond the front row of seats to enable more flexible use of the seating area in the nave.
The All Saints Parish board in the front garden of St Thomas church was blown down in the recent gales because the wooden legs have proved to be rotten! This is a Parish board, showing the times of services and will require replacing as soon as possible (with a space for the name of the new incumbent!)
The two small notice boards are become unserviceable and need to be removed and replaced. Different locations are being discussed.
In keeping with tradition at St Thomas Church we organised a Harvest Supper, Christmas Tree Festival, Christmas Tea and Epiphany Lunch in Kearns Hall.
A “Bangers and Bingo” evening in Kearns Hall was well supported and proved to be a successful fundraiser.
The Shrove Tuesday Soup and Pancake Lunch in Kearns Hall was very well attended and the fare was delicious. It was also a successful fundraiser for “Helwel”.
There was a Lenten Coffee Morning at Margaret Hawkins House on 25th March.
There was a St Thomas Lenten Coffee Morning with Bring-and-Buy Sale in Kearns Hall on Monday 8th April at 10.30 am. Almost £60 was raised for “HelWel”.
There will be an Easter Garden in St Thomas Church from Wednesday 17th April.
There will be a Maundy Thursday “Last Supper” in Kearns Hall on 18th April at 6.00 pm.
There will be an Easter Sunday Breakfast in Kearns Hall on 21st April from 9.00 am.
St Thomas-Tide is 29th – 30th June.
On the Saturday, there will be “Open Church” with a display of talents celebrating “We are St Thomas”. There will be coffee and cakes and a Ploughman’s Lunch in Kearns Hall.
On the Sunday, there will be a Sung Eucharist with wine and coffee served after the service.
Kearns Hall – work is needed on the electrical circuits in the kitchen because contact-breakers have occasionally been tripped by small appliances.
Redecoration of the kitchen and WCs is planned in conjunction with the two local Rotary Clubs>
Chris Hedges has taken over responsibility for taking bookings. Contact him on 833565 or 07981 736555 or firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability.
St Mildred’s Report 2019
Our year has been a quiet year but tinged with sadness. In our own way we have carried on well without an incumbent with great help from a few dedicated folk helping out with our services. We would like to thank both, retired clergy and our Readers for their worship and a special thank you to John Hawkins who has helped by taking many Morning Prayer Services over the past year. We have continued to grow in our congregation if only by a couple of new members and still take pride in the warm welcome given to any new members of our Church.
As I have said this year has been tinged with sadness with the death of our good friend Bob Lawrence on Christmas Day last year. Bob was such a big part of our Church and our community in Acol. He was the ‘go to man’ for so many things with regard to Acol and we will always have warm memories of this special man.
We look forward to welcoming a new incumbent as the year progresses and thank all those who have given their love and time for our small church.
Yours in Christ Jim Barber
Junior Church Report 2018 – 2019
We have a small group of regular attenders after losing older children in September. Unfortunately there has been no new intake.
The children enjoy taking an active part in the monthly Family Service reading from the Bible or a prayer, taking the collection or giving out books and welcoming people at the door.
The ‘ROOTS’ scheme is still used which mainly ties in with the Sunday readings in church. We use other material when appropriate. To fit in with our themes we act, enjoy creative activities and play games, some even involve eating—very popular.
Our main charity is the Children’s Society which we support throughout the year but especially at Christmas when the children fill their Christingle candles with change to take to the service on Christmas Eve. Some of Junior Church past and present also help to make the 200 Christingles in the church hall.
During Lent we support the charity ‘Water Aid’ filling jars with change and asking the Parish congregations to help. We should like to thank them for their support especially at St Thomas’ for supporting throughout the whole year.
The annual treat to the Guild of Players pantomime at the Village Centre in February was greatly enjoyed by all including the group from Messy Church who joined us.
My thanks go to Sara Gower for all the excellent activities she conjures up, and to Deidre Elliott, Pat Couzens-Howard and Sue Murphy for their loyal support and encouragement.
Tessa Hinge – Leader
Choir & Organ, 2018/19
For the choir, this has been a slightly disappointing year in regards to numbers. Having lost various members over the recent years, it was sad to see Stephanie & Charlotte also move away. However, by tailoring the music to the forces we have, as well as utilising extras on occasions, we have maintained a suitable programme of music for Sunday services. With current numbers and attendance, though, I do not foresee us putting on a concert in the near future.
Moving to the organ, we have had another basically uneventful year – it just works. It may be a case of “watch this space” though, as there are thoughts about a small amount of work to be done. More info when we know more.
Tim Attride, Director of Music
Bell Ringers report from 2018 – 2019
During the last year we have gone from strength to strength. We have been training up to 12 new ringers after a national challenge to replace 1400 ringers lost in the 1st World War. Most of the new ringers did manage to ring for 100th anniversary of the end of the war on November 11th 2018. We have had up to 23 ringers / visitors on a practice night. We continue aiming to ring a quarter peal each Sunday morning – only missing out on three Sundays last year – with 65 quarter peals rung altogether. We named a 28 new methods for specific events & anniversaries such as “significant” birthdays for members of the congregation etc.
The bells and frame and ropes are fine. Visitors are always welcome to come up on Tuesday evening.
Birchington Handbell Ringer’s Annual Report 2019
The Handbell Ringers have been beavering away as usual and had another successful year and we resume practices soon to prepare for our next season. This past year has meant we have had to bid farewell to two wonderful ringers, Stephanie- who started with us at the beginning of our journey as a group and Jenny Colley- who wonderfully stepped in and learned how to ring the bells during her short time in Birchington.
We rung at our usual festive events leading up to Christmas, the carol services at All Saints and Christ Church in Ramsgate, along with the Christingle at All Saints. We were sadly unable to raise a team ring at Acol Village Carols but look forward to this year.
Another exciting venture was being invited to meet with the Minster Handbell Ringers to share music and ringing together.
We were invited to the Vicarage twice to ring, once for the choir and ringers’ lunch and once for the fair that was held there during August.
We are still looking to increase our funds to complete our set of bells to 25 and thank anybody that has contributed in any small way to helping us achieve this.
Having explored the possibility of completing our compliment of bells to 25 we are still short of funds to achieve this but hope to be able to fulfil this soon.
Although we don’t have any confirmed dates for this year, we do look forward to beginning to makes plans to get out and about with our bells. Thank you to the parish for your continued support.
Parish Pastoral -Team 2018 – 2019
The Pastoral Team has met at intervals during the year to review and discuss the on-going work within the Parish.
Thanks to Sue the prayer list is continually updated so the team is aware of those needing help. Visiting and care for each other is strong in the Parish. Angela, Paul and Margaret take many Home Communions to the housebound and those in residential homes.
Our thanks go to them for all their hard work and time.
Although we still use the name ‘Prayercare’ when visiting Highfield and Grenham Bay Court residential homes we are no longer connected to the group. Prayercare now seems to operate mainly in the Broadstairs area. A small team visits the homes each month to give a short talk with music, visual aids and a prayer time. We are lucky to still have a URC member as part of our team visiting Grenham Bay Court.
The Bereavement Service was once again held in All Saints Church. As usual it was very moving and much appreciated by the wider community. Many enjoyed the chance to chat afterwards over a cup of tea.
Thanks go to Rev. Sue Woan for some in house training for the team; it helps to widen our horizons. Lastly a big thank you to all of the Pastoral team for the work they do and the time they give.
CAMEO (come and meet each other) report to APCM 2019
This group is open to all ladies of the parish. We meet in each other’s homes on the evening of the first Thursday of the month. Our programme includes talks or demonstrations from local people and in the summer this year we have organised a Bat & Trap evening at the Quex Barn to which all are welcome. During our meetings we collect 5p coins to support charities. This year we will be supporting a local charity Louie’s Helping Hands which aims to help improve the lives and futures of children, aged 2-11 living in Kent and the South East with multi-sensory impairments. Quex Park Estate has very generously offered a plot of land to build a single storey, timber framed school within their grounds. The school is called Llewellyn School and Nursery.
Please take a look at our programme and join us at our friendly meetings.
‘Parish Breakfasts’ APCM report 2018 -2019
2018 proved to be both successful and eventful as far the parish breakfasts were concerned, with March being particularly interesting! Following a very successful and well attended breakfast in February when Sue Woan updated us on her charity ‘Still Waters’, the March breakfast fell foul of ‘the Beast from the East’ and was postponed although 5 of us did manage to brave sub-zero temperatures to share fellowship and a ‘full English’. Our interim priest Graham then asked me to add an additional breakfast on Easter Saturday featuring a mystery speaker – this turned out to be the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and around 100 of us enjoyed his messages of hope and salvation. The November breakfast featured a talk by Jennie Burgess, ‘World War I: Birchington Remembers’, as part of the activities marking the centenary of the end of WWI. The remaining 2018 breakfasts saw Christine March explain the difficulties of living with facial paralysis, Andrew Ogden encourage us to visit Monkton Nature Reserve and Jon Lambert explain the services and advice available through the hearing charity Hi-Kent while December saw Neville Hudson reminiscing about past Christmases in Birchington. This last breakfast was followed by the now traditional Christmas carols with David Ruddock on the organ – many thanks David as this is always very much appreciated by the attendees
Attendance remains sound and the audiences are drawn from across Birchington and Westgate. The balance of the accounts was £61.00 at year end (£80.00 on 01.01.2018) and a donation of £100 was made towards parish funds during the year – copies of the accounts are available from Dave Alker. Dates for the rest of 2019 are now fixed and these breakfasts are open to all – prior booking through Sue Murphy in the Parish Office or Dave Alker (email@example.com or 845783) is recommended. Volunteers to speak are also welcome!
Men’s Supper Club APCM report 2018 – 2019
The Men’s Supper Club members continued to enjoy fellowship and food together in 2018 and I’m pleased to report that the standard of the cooking was maintained throughout the year yet again (though I fear that is not saying much! ). The highlight was the traditional BBQ at the Quex Tower, where 24 members and guests enjoyed good food, while attendance at the other meals averaged 22. The balance of the accounts was £82.00 at year-end (£80.00 on 01.01.2018) and a donation of £100.00 was also made during the year to parish funds. The cost of meals was maintained at £6.00 for 3 courses including a pre-dinner drink, wine and coffee
After discussion with the Birchington Guides and Brownies leaders, meetings in 2019 will be held on Thursday evenings as an experiment. Membership at the end of 2018 was 37, an increase from 30 at the start of the year, and the members agreed not to invite additional folk to join as catering becomes more difficult with larger numbers, although guests are welcome if space permits
Church House Report for the APCM 2019
For the past year the day to day running of Church House has been the responsibility of the All Saints Committee and the Office. Maureen Hudson looks after the kitchen, Sue Murphy orders and replenishes cloakroom supplies and Doug Holmes takes charge of the outside notice-boards, Storehouse and inspects the fabric from time to time. Mick and Marion Ransley have painted and improved the tiling and decor of the cloakrooms. The bookstall is run by Maureen Bradley-Young. A working party organised by Dave Alker, keeps the outside area looking attractive and tidy. Thank you to all these wonderful people.
The front lobby now houses the parish’s recycling collection which has grown significantly under the able and enthusiastic direction of Sara Gower. Sara has devoted considerable time and effort to the scheme, making additional funds for our parish and also leading the way to reducing the disposal of plastics in landfill sites. Thank you Sara, for your splendid work.
Hall and Committee Room bookings, managed by Sue Murphy, continue to do well. There have been a few changes to regular bookings and it is pleasing to welcome the very successful Brownies and Rainbows along with the Guides on Wednesday evenings. The hall remains popular for boot fairs, quizzes, parties in addition to church events.
It is evident that Church House acts as a hub in the Community. May it go from strength to strength providing service to the people of Birchington.
The Epple Hill Allotments
Since the PCC has become involved in the management of the Epple Hill Allotments the number of plots that were not well attended has reduced from about twelve to three or four still needing increased activity and requiring the removal of years of accumulated rubbish. This needs action to remove this rubbish as it is attracting rats. Two new plot holders are actively and enthusiastically working on plots 34 and 35.
Many of the plot holders just want to spend a few productive hours per week growing crops, share time with likeminded people, exchange gardening knowledge and help each other out when needed.
The PCC is working hard to establish rules and procedures that will further enhance the allotments and allow all the allotments to run as well as the majority are now.
Thanet Deanery Synod
Loraine, Margaret and John sit on the Deanery Synod. This year the synod has been focussed on growth and mission and we have had some speakers talk to us. At the last synod Steve Conney led the session as we looked at how to develop and grow disciples. We work together and share ideas of good practices in our own churches across the Deanery. It is intended to have a day of working in churches within the Deanery in the Autumn – the day will be led by Steve Conney and we hope that a group from each of our three churches will participate.
Again Loraine, Margaret and John are on Diocesan Synod – elected from the Deanery Synod for a three-year term – we are in the first year and meet three times a year. The first meeting was agreeing the budget in relation to the Parish Share following on from the last meeting of the previous year – it was a difficult meeting with difficult decisions to vote upon. The second meeting held a few weeks ago was the Bishop of Dover’s last as the President – he gave a moving and thought-provoking address. This was followed by a series of speakers who addressed the open Synod on how we can grow our Churches though better use of the buildings that we have – to the extent of striping out the pews so that the church could be used in a variety of ways during the week.
We would encourage people to attend any open Synods – they only last a morning but give everyone the opportunity to listen, share and work with other members of the Diocese.
Birchington Church of England Primary School
The school continues to grow numerically, and this coming year will be the fourth that it takes in three forms of entry. The new building is well used and there is plenty of pupils work on display. Before the new build was started the rest of the school was reorganised and each year group is together with its own play area and the years 2 and 3 playground has been planned by the school council. When a visitor walks around the school the pupils are working hard – and focussed on the activity and can talk about their learning. The staff have an excellent knowledge of the children they teach and use their planning time well in school to work with other staff in their year group for the benefit of the pupil’s learning. The head-teacher and her senior staff are very much focussed on the wellbeing of the children and staff. She has introduced supervision for all staff this year which is not usual in schools – it is often only available for senior teachers. The curriculum is broad with the pupils having the opportunity to learn Science, about the world around them (History and Geography) Expressive Arts, PE, RE alongside English and Maths.
The church now has three Governors (foundation) who visit the school regularly – to led and review Collective Worship, speak to pupils, attend and participate in RE reviews and to support the school in preparation for SIAMs.