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CHURCHES TOGETHER IN LICHFIELD AND DISTRICT

 

DOCUMENTS FOR THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2018

 

 

CHAIRS’ REPORT

So we come to the end of another year.  It is always difficult to write a report in the summer of one year about the activities of the whole year before.  So here are some reflections about 2017.

 

We continue to support and encourage the sharing of information via our web-site which is a frequently visited resource. 

Many people from a variety of churches  continue to extend the hand of welcome to those in need in our community via Food Bank,  Places of Welcome,  Late night Listeners,  to name a few.   In addition, Christians have been actively involved in Lichfield Christian Schools Work Trust supporting students through employability workshops and mock interviews and by being mentors to students who need a little extra support.

The Christmas Day Lunch was another success and with give thanks for all involved. This work continues to expand with concerns being raised regarding those who sleep on our streets and those who suffer from dementia and their carers.  A work for 2018.

 

In September of 2017 we published a detailed report on church activities in our community who provide both companionship, food, entertainment, social activities and groups of various kinds.

 

We continue to share times of worship for example in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Good Friday Walk of Witness, Evening Worship in the Cathedral and through the medium of the Street  Passion Plays. Thy Kingdom Come event also gave opportunities for gathering together in prayer.  Unfortunately  the Keswick in Lichfield bible study had to be deferred to 2018. 

 

Looking forward to working together in 2018.

 

Pat Maguire and Rick Hill – chairs of CtiL

 

 

TREASURER’S REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 2017

I am glad to report that our financial situation is “adequately satisfactory”.  By which I mean there is a sufficient cushion for contributing to start up projects, such as Places of Welcome, but not what might be described as “cash fat” in the bank.

Voluntary Subscriptions were paid virtually in full during 2017.

Turning to figures, I should point out that the surplus of income over expenditure shown in the accounts is almost entirely due to a balance carried forward from Grants and donations made in respect of the Christmas Dinner, after the costs had been provided for.

Our largest out-going was the pre-payment for the 2017 Lent Group study books, a large proportion of which came back in donations.

Two years ago, the AGM was unable to find a volunteer to act as Treasurer. I offered to take on the role, rather in an interim capacity, in the hope that someone better qualified would emerge.

I am glad to report that a suitably qualified and willing candidate is now at hand.

Mrs Liz Ridler has recently moved into the area; she is an accountant and also a member and the administrator of Wade Street Church. Following approval by the Forum, she is now a signatory for C.T.L. Bank accounts.

After the accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017 are approved, I propose that Mrs Ridler should be appointed Treasurer of C.T.L. in place of myself. A formal motion from this meeting will be required by Lloyd’s bank.

I submit the audited accounts for 2017 for your approval, with my sincere thanks to our auditor, Mr. Tony Linger, on whose help I have again relied.

Canon Brian Maguire

 

REFUGEE SUPPORT

 

The placement of two Syrian refugee families in Lichfield has prompted a response with which CTL member churches and worshippers may wish to be associated. The mosque has taken the lead in providing welcome and support, with Lichfield Refugee Aid joining in; liaison with the families is identifying material and social needs, with growing scope for volunteers to contribute. Ways are emerging of dealing with the language issue: English classes for the parents and children are in hand, but anyone able to offer Arabic translation will be particularly welcome. The agency contracted to manage the relocation programme with the County Council is Refugee Action, with whom we have a close working relationship.

 

Another refugee need suddenly emerged when we learned that Birmingham City Council had contracted to place an Eritrean family in the Barton under Needwood Travelodge on the A38, with no facilities of any kind for two young children and their pregnant mother. An instant rota of daily visitors with food, clothing and toys, and transport to shops and services, was set up, at the same time as we pressed for the family’s return to Birmingham where there would be support from its church: this was achieved after three weeks, following legal intervention.

 

While these particular needs were emerging, the situation of asylum seekers with a wide range of status issues continues in Birmingham and beyond: what the hundreds affected hold in common is experience of deliberate destitution as part of the Home Office’s hostile environment policy. Lichfield Hope Support Group continues to work with women in particular, and always welcomes further participation and funds.

 

It is open to CTL to decide how to respond to these different needs: noting these opportunities for compassionate intervention, or setting up a group which would keep churches informed of needs as these occur, maybe with a register of volunteers. Such a group could be supported by Lichfield Quaker Meeting, with members of other congregations as welcome participants, if that was the wish of CTL members.

 

Anthony Wilson

 

 

 

 

LETTER FROM LICHFIELD BRANCH, WORLD DAY OF PRAYER

(To be dealt with under ‘Any Other Business’)

 

I wonder if I might put in a request for an AOB item, which I mentioned to Rick some time ago but failed to follow up with specific details.

I believe that the Women's World Day of Prayer (as of this month called World Day of Prayer) has an important role in highlighting issues that affect women and their communities across the world and bringing a Christian viewpoint to bear on them. This year the Lichfield Committee has been encouraged by representatives joining us from churches in a wider area, and we are  determined to continue to be part of this annual world-wide prayer movement. 

The Lichfield Branch has managed to be financially self-sufficient over a good number of years. I find that this is due in part to office holders dipping into their own pockets for various expenses. The committee has agreed that this is not desirable, at the very least because others might be deterred from taking up a role if they cannot afford to contribute in this way. There are a few expenses that we are entitled to take out of the offering but these are quite restricted by the national guidelines. We had a number of extra expenses in planning for the 2018 service (including purchase of extra CDs due to the number of groups taking part, purchase of a new candle and other small items for the service). We give a small gift towards expenses to the hosting church each year, which we do take from the offering. We also make small gifts to those who lead and accompany the music, and  practice has varied as to the source of finance for these. The publicity materials have normally been produced free of charge, though there is no guarantee that this will continue. Photocopying expenses have not usually been claimed. A few committee members attend area preparation days each year and pay for their own travel, though I'm aware that there might occasionally be a case for offering support with this. 

In short, this year we have spent the very small amount which had been retained in our bank account and that leaves us without funds to purchase items for 2019. CTiL has always been very supportive of the (W)WDP and we therefore wondered whether you would consider making us a small grant, say £40, as a starter for next year.   

I'm very happy to speak to this item at the AGM. Unfortunately, I will be late for the meeting as I have a Trustees' meeting in Selly Oak in the late afternoon, but I should be there in time for AOB; failing that, Margaret Israel, who is a long-standing committee member, would be happy to speak on our behalf.

 

Hazel Rendle

 

 

 

REPORTS OF AFFILIATED GROUPS

 

Lichfield Christian Schools Work Trust                  

 

The Trust continues to run 3 successful projects supporting students and children in their development and, in Primary schools, telling Bible stories in imaginative and relevant ways.

 

Shepherd’s Crook Puppets

In the last year, the ‘Puppets’ have delivered about 15 sessions in primary schools. The Bible stories are illustrated by the use of puppets and a pre-recorded script that bring the stories to life.

2 Schools Weeks have been held at Christmas and Easter. These have involved individual year groups in Lichfield Primary Schools. The children visit Wade Street Church for a morning or afternoon session during which the ‘festival’ stories are outlined using hands on materials and drama.

 

Lichfield Community Mentoring

This project is led by Tina Cadwallader and a team of about 15 volunteers. About 75 secondary (and some primary) students are mentored to help them with self confidence and self esteem issues. The service is in demand by the schools and is highly valued. More suitable volunteers would enable additional schools/colleges to be supported.

 

Bridge Builders

This project aims to support secondary school students with the self confidence needed as they mature and enter the world of work or further education. There is a team of about 70 volunteers who deliver employability workshops and mock interviews in 9 secondary schools across the Lichfield area. About 15 sessions a year are delivered using up to 25 volunteers at any one time. Sessions often involve working with 200 students in a morning.

 

LCSWT will be holding their AGM on 4th July at 6pm at St Chad’s Church. This will be an opportunity to encourage volunteers (a good number of whom are not linked to churches) to see how the work of the Trust is underpinned by Christian Faith. All are welcome – it will be an inspiring evening.

 

Rick Hill, Trustee

 

 

Fairtrade Lichfield, 2017/18 

Lichfield’s Fairtrade movement - Fairtrade Lichfield – has continued to encourage shops and cafes in the city to stock fairly traded products and to urge people to ‘buy Fairtrade’ whenever they shop or have a coffee/tea at a local café. We believe that trading fairly with poorer countries is one of the most effective ways of combating global poverty. Because it is based on ‘partnership’, Fairtrade builds up poor people’s sense of self-worth and dignity whilst at the same time improving their standard of living long-term.

The 10th anniversary of Lichfield achieving Fairtrade City status was marked during Fairtrade Fortnight in March by a Reception hosted by the Mayor, Cllr Janice Greaves, in the Mayor’s Parlour at the Guildhall. About 30 people drawn from local businesses and community organisations attended the reception.

However, ‘Fairtrade Lichfield’ future would seem to be uncertain as the active FTL campaign group now stands at about five people. It is ably coordinated by Iwan Griffiths and I remain the Treasurer (as we have about £75 in the Fairtrade Lichfield bank account). However, the vitality of the movement is in stark contrast to the situation 10/15 years ago when there was a vibrant Lichfield Churches Global Justice Group actively supported by all CTL churches. Lichfield’s Fairtrade movement is no longer supported in a pro-active way by any local church minister and some churches no longer have Traidcraft stalls.

In my opinion, Fairtrade Lichfield should now cease to be affiliated to CTL.

I would like to end this report with a brief personal reflection on why Fairtrade Lichfield now seems to have ceased to be a viable movement. In recent years there has been a steady demise of justice-oriented groups in our churches. In my opinion, it is a result of a very different kind of mission theology developing within our churches over the past decade - from a ‘kingdom/liberation’ theology that focussed on challenging structural injustice in our society to a ‘’welfare’ theology that focuses on helping disadvantaged or vulnerable people but not challenging the causes of poverty whether locally, nationally or worldwide. Both aspects of mission are clearly important but the current theological culture in our churches does not, in my opinion, encourage Christians to see the Gospel as calling for radical action to overcome injustice. I find myself asking the question - how do we recover a sense of radical Christian prophetic witness in the current climate?

As an after-thought, I am struck by the fact that neither our Lichfield Christian Committee nor the local Christian Aid Action Group are reporting to Churches Together in Lichfield’s AGM this year. Is this an example of the point I am making?

Michael Hawkes, Treasuer, Fairtrade Lichfield

 

Lichfield Foodbank

A fourth year has passed in the life of Lichfield foodbank - Happy Birthday!

 

Many of you will have caught the Trussell Trust media and press releases in late April, giving the headline numbers of clients fed in 2017/18 - upwards of 1.3 million and 13% up on the previous year - truly alarming national figures. Nationally, 28% of the referrals resulted from 'Low Income - benefits, not earning'. Benefit Delays accounted for 24% and Benefit Changes for 18%.

 

The Trussell Trust team has provided us with regional breakdowns. Unfortunately our area of operations sits right on the border of the West and East Midlands, which doesn't make things quite so easy to analyse! Demand overall is about 80% greater in the West Midlands. Taking the two regions together, the client number increase is lower than the national figures at 11%. Low Income is 27% of referrals, with the same figure for Benefit Delays and 17% for Benefit Changes.

 

So how do we compare with all of this? Overall we fed 21.5% more clients in 2017/18 than the previous year, and this is the third year in a row the figure has increased by more than 20% - which doesn't make good reading. We can be confident that we have passed the stage where people are unaware of what we do (in the main) and this, sadly, must reflect a real increase in need. Benefit Delays account for 29% of our referrals, with Benefit Changes at 25% and Low Income 'only' 22%.

 

We continue to be very grateful for the generosity of people in Lichfield and the surrounding areas as donations were up 13.5% on 2016/17 - thank you. We distributed nearly 35 tonnes of food, 51% of it locally. We support charities in Burton and Walsall on a weekly basis accounting for 27%, and 18% has gone a little further afield to exceptionally worthy causes in Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent. Regrettably, as much as 2.5% has had to be disposed of, being out of date or damaged when it arrived with us.

 

Our ‘all time number of meals distributed’ will be approaching 300,000 by the time you read this.

 

Whilst we continue to hope that one day we will not be needed, it has been a fantastic year for Lichfield foodbank - well done and thank you to all our volunteers and supporters!

 

David Clarke

Chair - Lichfield foodbank

 

 

 Keswick in Lichfield

 

The highlight of the year was Bishop Pete Wilcox's Bible Study on 21 st.April at Life Church on the four Gospels with the theme, ''Who Jesus was and is today''.

It was a marvellous systematic and stimulating analysis of each Gospel in in four hourly sessions which inspired all fifty five of us who attended.We learnt so much and came closer to Our Lord. The whole day was recorded on Life Church's web-site and is available to everyone.

 Our thanks go to Maria Pavey,Steve Speight,and all the team at Life Church who organised the day and made us so welcome. It was a lovely example of Christians gaining so much by being together than staying isolated in our enclaves!

 The only sadness of the day was the serious illness of our chairman,Michael Jefferson,currently in hospital,who originally invited Bishop Pete to address us in Lichfield. He was unable to attend and dearly wanted to do so. Please remember him and Sue and family in your prayers.

 

Richard Henshaw

 

 

Lichfield Inter-Faith Forum

                         

Here is a review of the year June 2017-June 2018 and our plans and hopes for the next year.

August 2017 saw the successful series of events Faith Month at Speaker’s Corner with three sessions on August 5th,12th and 19th on Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

February 2018 saw an innovative liaison between members of the Interfaith forum and Netherstowe School.Year 8 were focusing on Religious Tolerance in the Spring Term and Mrs Alice Thompson welcomed Martin Hill and Dr Moosa from the Mosque to lead three sessions on Friday the 2nd of February, Tuesday the 6th of February and Wednesday the 7th of February.

They started with a five-minute introduction to what it means to actively pursue a dialogue of religious tolerance and peace between diverse peoples.

Given that most of the pupils do not have an organised religious background, they were split up in to small groups to use their imaginations to think up a religion of their own making

They were presented with an A4 sheet to guide and complete as to what they will need to 'make their own religion'. They will be asked to use their own imaginations in order to form their religious group so it may be as weird and wonderful as anything we have encountered.
A person or object that is their lead or focus of belief.
Some form of inspiring literature or a teaching that will shape their lives together and individually.
Principles or values by which they will live (I had thought five would be enough)
What would be their community practices (worship, prayer, food requirements or restrictions, good works, Holy days and/or festivals)
Their view of life after death.

When this task was completed, each group then presented to the other groups and all were expected to listen with respect and then enter into friendly discussion and questioning.

It is hoped to continue this with Netherstowe and possibly other schools.building up to an event in the Cathedral in 2019.

The major project for this year is Hospitality.

The plan is for members of the Interfaith forum to offer hospitality to one another during Interfaith Week 11th-18th November.

Hospitality is welcoming in others and may/may not involve food, education, an organised event.

So far, the Mosque and the Buddhist Temple will be participating.

We would like to encourage Churches Together and its participants to offer similar hospitality to show their commitment to Interfaith.

Churches may invite ALL to participate in their normal activity or offer something different.

It will need Churches Together to provide some co-ordination.

We also hope to provide a Saturday morning event in early 2019 focusing on Faith and Refugees.

Paula Knight

 

 

Places of Welcome

 

 St Chad’s Place of Welcome has been running at Curborough Community Centre, Reynolds Close WS13 7NY for the past 15 months every Tuesday morning from 10.30 until 12 noon.  The only day we didn’t schedule the PoW was the day after Boxing Day!  3 people from St.Chad’s are rota’d to run each morning from a group of about 16.  Over the year we have welcomed 22 different people from the local area, but on average we may have between 3 and 5 people on a regular basis.  The PoW has been given very favourable terms to rent the room which has helped tremendously.  The initial seed corn provided by CTiL got the PoW up and running. 

One thing we have discovered is not only the growing fellowship among the visitors, but also among the volunteers and how important that has become.

 

Lilas Rawling

 

 

Christian Aid Action Group

Lichfield CHRISTIAN AID Action Group came into existence about 5 years ago, when a group of us were inspired to try and raise the local profile of CHRISTIAN AID the prolific work, of the organisation, world-wide, was realised. 

For more than 70 years, CHRISTIAN AID has provided humanitarian relief and long-term development support for poor communities around the world, while highlighting suffering, tackling injustice and championing people’s rights. 

Over the last four years the Action Group has undertaken projects, giving the general public an opportunity to think and pray about those who, through no fault of their own, live in abject poverty or who are marginalised, simply because of where they were born. 

We embraced the national campaign by lobbying local banks.The big banks in the UK could be funding the creation of a cleaner, safer planet for us all, but instead they are funding the destruction of our common home. 

The group also organised a moving street vigil for Climate Change in December 2015, while two of it’s members joined others from all over the UK on the Pilgrimage2Paris to the Climate Change Summit. 
More recently we have held two vigils in the City Centre, to remind people of the desperate plight of over 65.3 Millions displaced people while one of our members walked 412 miles from Lichfield to Iona, off the West Coast of Scotland to make people aware of the refugee crisis. 
In May of this year, at the start of CHRISTIAN AID Week, the group held a Big Breakie event. With the help and support of Lichfield Methodist Church, over 100 people were served with breakfast, which raised over £700 for CHRISTIAN AID. 

Two members of our group, Diana and Peter, are both Licensed Readers within the Church of England. They go out separately to preach in local churches and chapels on behalf of CHRISTIAN AID. If you would like one of them to come to your church, please get in touch with Diana ( diana.hill53@icloud.com) or Peter( aplphillips65@gmail.com
We are only a small group, but are always looking for new members to join us. If you would like to join the CHRISTIAN AID Action Group, get in touch with Peter Phillips 
for the dates of our meetings over the next few months. 
We would really love to see you. 


Peter Phillips 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Page last updated: Thursday June 7th 2018 11:30 AM