Churches Together in Formby, Altcar and Hightown

Chairman's Report - 27th June 2018

 

When I was told that it was St Stephen's turn to hold the Chair of Churches Together I thought "Oh well I can do that just make the refreshments and chair the meetings.  We have a wonderful secretary who does the minutes and June and Bruni always seem to know what is going on".

That was all true but in reality the position was quite a steep learning curve to get my head round the various events that occurred during the year.

First there were the flu jab sessions at the Gild Hall. All the churches are well organised and the refreshments always welcomed. I always feel it is a good community event and gives us the opportunity to speak to people particularly those who are on their own. £307 was raised towards the Village Nativity.

In October we organised the first Pause for Hope service to be held in Formby at St Anne's Church. When Ray Donnelly came to speak to Churches Together about this service and we agreed to have one in Formby I don't think we (and I certainly didn't) realised that we were organising the whole service. It took a lot of work in the planning and we were very grateful to Mgr John Walsh for the use of his church, G Force Gospel Choir and Jo Brian for their musical contributions and Father Bernard Higham for his moving reflection. Over 100 people attended the service and lit candles for loved ones affected by cancer. The service was very well received and uplifting and raised £410 for the charity. We have agreed to host one every other year the next one in 2019.

Soon we had to start thinking about Christmas and the end of November saw the switching on of the lights in Formby village. This has grown into quite a huge event with the village closed to cars and the road packed. The Churches Together tent with nativity scene, dressing up clothes and balloons was popular and the event gave the opportunity to give out fliers advertising the  Village Nativity. This amazing production took place on Sunday 10th December in the grounds of the Formby Pool and the amount of work that goes into the preparation is unbelievable both for weeks beforehand and on the day. Many people worked very hard but I would like to thank Dympna and Mark for writing, co-ordinating and allowing their home to be used for recordings, storing of costumes and dressing by the cast.

The usual carol singing took place in the week up to Christmas at Waitrose and Tesco and over £1009 was raised for the homeless and hospices.

A new year saw the annual week of prayer for Christian Unity starting on the 15th of January. Morning prayer was hosted by different churches each day and the unity service on the Sunday at St Stephen's. I, personally, was delighted when Father David, from Our Lady's agreed to preach the sermon.

As part of our programme for Lent a quiet morning at St Joseph's was organised by Bruni and led by Ted Woods. This was a time for reflection and fellowship during the morning and later at lunch and was much appreciated by all who attended.

 

Good Friday was marked by the Walk of Witness through Formby Village and the very moving Passion Play held in the grounds of Formby Pool. Again many people were involved in the performance, the staging and seating and thanks must go to Dympna for adapting the text and her and Mark for once again opening up their home. There was a good attendance with very positive feedback.

Hightown also held its usual Walk of Witness which starts with hot cross buns at St Stephen's then over the railway line to Our Lady's where everyone walks round the signs of the cross finishing with bread and soup in Our Lady's hall.

What a lovely evening on the 3rd June when St Michael's held their Summer Evensong preceded by delicious refreshments which we were able to enjoy in the garden.

Now my year in the chair is drawing to a close and I would like to say a few thank yous.

Morning prayer is held once a month at Holy Trinity Church and I would like to thank Helen for her preparation in leading this so ably.

This year all organisations have been burdened with new regulations regarding data protection and I would like to thank June for her work in producing the privacy policy - not I am sure the most exciting of tasks.

Keeping the finances in order is always very important and thanks must go to Alistair for undertaking managing our money and keeping us 'in the black' a

Lastly, but most certainly not least, I would like to thank Dympna for everything she does as secretary in 'keeping the show on the road' so to speak I really don't know what we would do without her.

And now it is my pleasure to hand over the chair to Formby Elim church. It has been a great privilege to hold this office on behalf of St Stephen's but also a pleasure and I know that you David in bringing  your own great strengths during the coming year will ensure that Churches Together is in very good hands.