The hunt is on…

The Church Council met with the Bishop, the Archdeacon, the Patron from Christchurch and the Deanery Lay Chair on Thursday to discuss the launch of our search for a new priest.  Among several encouraging things said, there were also helpful criticisms of the  parish brochure (copies are in the churches – look there to see the current version).

The timetable was spelled out: the earliest we could expect to be arranging a welcome will be sometime in the New Year – but at least we are on the road!

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Tea and Toast Time on Tuesday

St John’s is hosting Tea and Toast this Tuesday (and the first Tuesday in October)

Pop in!

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Church Guides

We have some new church guides at St Andrew’s – and I don’t mean someone on a crowded street with a yellow umbrella!

These are in preparation for the imminent opening of the church for visitors and, alongside the existing War Graves leaflet, they describe some of the things you can find inside St Andrew’s.  Some of them may surprise you!  One pensioner who has worshipped here all of her long life discovered something new and startling…

Want to surprise yourself?

Find out more in the St Andrew’s section.

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September Pinnacle

The September Pinnacle is now ready.

We start with a letter from no less than our Archdeacon who looks ahead to what lies in store.  There are tales of child minding and table tennis; a gruesome story and reports of returning to normality and a re-launch of Chuffs.

Read it all here!

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Scary moment

St Andrew's RoofI have just sent off an application to the Cathedrals and Major Churches people for some serious funding.

If it succeeds – if we can raise the £73,000 match funding – we can start to renew our failing roof.

We can’t do it all; not quite.  The low roof to the south (the “south aisle”) will have to wait its turn – and we will need to do something about the gutters too.  But the exciting thing is that – if we are successful – we can at last begin to make some progress with restoring the church to its proper place in our community – as an open, welcoming, warm and comfortable haven.  Seven days a week!

Watch this space!

And watch out for ways that you can help too.  (And that’s not just a request for you to put your hand in your pocket – though that will be useful!!)

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A Jigsaw newsletter

People of St Andrew’s support the kid’s ministry, Jigsaw that works among slum-dwelling children in Manila.  We have welcome visits from our special link, Tim Lee – and they produce a regular newsletter.

The latest one is available here

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We’re a Major Church!

St Andrew's RoofIt’s official… notice came through on Thursday that St Andrew’s has been designated one of around 300 “Major Parish Churches” in the country.

The application was urged by the Mission and Pastoral folk in the Diocesan office – and they greatly helped us through the whole application process.

First question is:  “What does that mean?”

Immediately; nothing!  It doesn’t mean that St Andrew’s is suddenly greater or more special or more important than it was last week.

To become a “Major Church”, you need to be large (1,000 sq metres) and have a role to play that is not just as a meeting place for parishioners.  There are a number of other criteria and the London-based Church Buildings Council considered all that we had to offer.  St Andrew’s was deemed to fit the criteria (though it is a tad too small, they say) and was admitted to the “club”.

So why the joy?

First of all – there are grants available to Cathedrals and Major Churches that are closed to others.  There’s one such grant open now – and we are pulling out all the stops to get our bid in before Friday.  Putting together a major bid like this normally takes months,  We now have five days…  Fortunately, a great deal of the groundwork has already been done (largely by Louise) and, provided the architect comes up with the figures, we should be good to go – but it is going to be a very tight finish.

Secondly and probably more importantly, there is help and encouragement to lead us into full Major Church mode.  Some changes will be easy.  We are told, for example, that a Major Church must be open for visitors every day.  (It’s what the insurance company has been telling us for a long time!)  There are things to sort out (a bit of security organisation and a workable scheme to lock and unlock the building overnight) but we hope that will be in place soon.

We are asked to set up a CMP.  A Conservation Management Plan for the building allows everyone to agree on the values and significance of the church. It can help the success of grant applications etc. and it fits comfortably in the framework of the project that we are already planning, to agree on a plan to revitalise and preserve a much-loved building from further decay.

Thursday’s announcement offers us a really exciting opportunity to edge the door open on a new and achievable chapter in the 1,200 year story of Christianity on this site.

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Summer is i’cumin in

The Summer edition of the Pinnacle has hit the streets.

We begin with the final letter from Julie – and a thank you for her parting gifts.

There’s a thoughtful piece about open churches, reports of significant meetings and a warning of a Bellringing Bonanza on Yorkshire Day.

There are poems and a tribute to Steel Eye Span and Tales of Chuffs.  No room for quizzes, I’m afraid but we do have a brief “Castaway’s Choices”.

Download it here!

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The June magazine is now ready

This month’s  cover shows a postcard of the Pinnacle dating from the early 1900s.  It illustrates an article by Helen Moran about the building if the Pinnacle.  Amazingly it took …. but you’ll just have to read the article to discover just how long it took to build this iconic landmark!

There are lots of other articles – another well-stocked Disc Cabinet from a sandy shore (Elspeth has chosen ten!) competes for space with news of the MiniRingers, reports of our Annual Meeting and tales of when 19th century vaccination was compulsory.

As usual, you can download it from this site during June.

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Focus on War Graves

A new leaflet details the five graves at St Andrew’s which are cared for by the Commomwealth War Graves Commission.

The leaflet and accomanying poster has photographs of the headstones and their inscriptions alongside a map to help visitors find the graves.

The stories behind these memorials make a poignant glimpse into the “real life” of the first and second World Wars.  We hear of seriously ill soldiers, demobilised to die a few days later.  There is a hint of a Dad’s Army “jolly”, gone tragically wrong  – and the story of a funeral, that symbolised for many the funerals of their own sons and fathers, lost in France.

Read the leaflet here – or see the poster in the church porch.
There’s a longer version of this post here.

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