The Church in Abingdon

The Church in Abingdon
Report of the Governing Body for the Year Ended 31st December 2013
Nature and Purpose
The forerunner to the Church in Abingdon (CiA) was The Abingdon & District Council of Churches. The CiA
was formed in 1988 when the Ministers and Congregations of eight churches signed THE LOCAL COVENANT
and in that Covenant they agreed:
 to work together to proclaim the Gospel and encourage neighbourly care;
 to pray for unity and yet to value the spiritual traditions of all the churches;
 to share the ordained ministry and Holy Communion according to the disciplines of each
Subsequent to the original Covenant, five further churches have become part of the CiA.
Mission Statement
The mission statement of the CiA was developed in February 1992 and is:
 to bring a fresh global vision of hope through God's love to the people of Abingdon, offering them good
news of forgiveness, reconciliation and new life through Jesus Christ;
 to rediscover, live out and present the Gospel through our fellowship and worship, unity and diversity;
 to express this message through relevant words and actions in the community and by cooperating with
others to identify and meet specific needs so that lives are changed, the Church grows and our local
community increasingly reflects the values of the Kingdom of God.
The governing structure of the CiA has been in place since July 2007, and is as follows:
The Governing Body comprising:
 all staff members and one lay representative from each church
 the Administrator (employed by the CiA and non-voting)
 the CiA Treasurer and Finance Committee
 a Minute Secretary (non-voting if co-opted)
Representatives from any CiA Task Group may also attend when required. The Chairperson shall be
appointed from among the Governing Body at the beginning of the year to serve for 12 months. The Governing
Body will meet five times each year. The Governing Body will:
 be the main decision-making and action group of the CiA;
 advance and develop strategy for the ongoing mission of the CiA;
 accept and approve the financial accounts of the CiA;
 review and give oversight to special Community Projects and Task Groups.
The first meeting of the Governing Body each year will be the Annual General Meeting, which will be open to
The Leadership Team comprising:
 four members elected from the Governing Body, two staff and two lay, including the Chairperson (one
staff and one lay person being elected each year to serve for 2 years);
 the Administrator (who will take minutes for the Leadership Team);
 the CiA Treasurer/member of the Finance Committee.
The Leadership Team will meet three to six times each year. The Leadership Team will:
 provide day-to-day management of the CiA by making essential decisions in between meetings of the
Governing Body and liaising with the Finance Committee and the Task Groups;
 arrange for the agenda of the Governing Body;
 prepare and circulate discussion papers and preliminary thinking sufficiently prior to the meetings of
the Governing Body and to enable the Governing Body to function effectively in its strategic and
decision-making role;
 be accountable to the Governing Body;
 think and pray about the advancement and strategy for the ongoing mission of the CiA;
 provide ongoing oversight for the Administrator.
The Leadership Team, following a vote by the Governing Body in April 2011, is not as formally constituted due
to a lack of willing volunteers. This is a challenging position, especially for the Administrator, who tries to keep
people informed and up to date between GB meetings, and maintain some continuity and impetus in the work
and activities of the CiA without the support of the LT. Three of the four remaining members including the
Administrator meet at Finance meetings, which now also act as support for the Administrator. This state of
affairs needs to be reviewed until such time as a more permanent solution can be effected.
The Staff Group comprising:
 all the employed and voluntary leaders in the CiA member churches.
Staff members will take it in turn to lead the monthly staff meetings. The Staff Group will meet monthly except
August and in the months the Governing Body meets. The Staff will attend all meetings of the Governing Body.
The Staff Group will meet:
 to pray for the town, CiA member churches and the mission of the CiA;
 to offer mutual support through prayer and deepening relationships;
 to engage in Bible study and theological discussion;
 to feed ideas, suggestions and concerns to the Leadership Team.
Review of the Activities of the CiA
1. Member churches and staff: The life and work of the CiA has continued through 2013, both in the
worship, mission and ministry of our individual congregations and in our life together. This year has seen
one major change in the clergy – David Fleming left Abingdon Baptist Church in the summer and it is
unlikely that ABC will have a new minister until June 2014.The Governing Body has seen a few changes in
lay members from various churches.
2. Task groups and associated projects: The work of the Task groups, which concentrate on specific areas
of cooperation, is outlined in the CiA Year Book.
● Christian Aid organised many activities over the year, including carol singing in the market square, a new
year sponsored walk, a market square sale, the house-to-house collection in Christian Aid Week, themed
evenings and much more.
● The Town Twinning group continue to build links between the churches of our twin towns.
● The Bereavement Support Group did not reform this year after the Annual Bereavement Service due to
a poor take-up last year.
● The Town Centre Chaplaincy is still not functioning due to a lack of chaplains. The scheme could be
revived should further chaplains come forward.
● The Welcome to Abingdon initiative is no longer functioning as a group although it is suggested that
churches run their own scheme of sorts to supporting and provide resources for welcoming teams in the
various congregations.
● The weekly Christian Forum column in the Herald series of newspapers has continued under the
direction of the CiA Administrator Debra Mcknight.
● Abingdon Street Pastors has continued to care for, listen to and help people out in Abingdon town centre
late at night on Saturdays every week.
● The DESIRE network of youth and schools workers has continued to work in Abingdon secondary
schools and to host youth worship events.
The CiA supports a number of projects that do not fall entirely under its own jurisdiction - often because
they work across a wider area than the town of Abingdon itself or for legal reasons. The work of these
groups is still very much the fruit of the CiA and its member churches, but also draws on others in the
surrounding region or from national organisations.
● A group from a number of CiA member churches, working with the team from the Anglican Diocese of
Oxford, have run ‘prayer spaces’ in a number of Abingdon schools over the past year.
3. Communication: The CiA News and website have continued under the direction of the CiA Administrator
Debra Mcknight. The Christian Focus saw an appointment of a new editor, Ben Jeapes. John Shore and
Linda King continue to collect copies from the printer and Margaret Langsford distributes them.
4. United activities 2013:
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was marked by three events. The Annual Quiz, which was hosted by
Abingdon Community Church, was won by Christ Church/Long Furlong and raised £118.42 which was split
equally between Thameside School and Helping Hands for Uganda. A United Service was held at Salvation
Army Citadel led by Major Anne Myers. Midday Prayers also took place at St Nics throughout the week but
were poorly attended possibly not helped by the poor weather. An Alpha event took place at the Spice Valley
restaurant with speaker Tim Saiet of the Philo Trust. About 80 people attended.
Lent Lectures were held at All Saints with guest speaker Joanna Collicutt on the theme of ‘Praying the Lord’s
Prayer’. The Women’s World Day of Prayer was marked with a service at St Michael’s and raised
£331.80 for this year’s cause. Easter Experience again took place at Trinity Church. The Abingdon Passion
Play took place in the Abbey Grounds.
On Good Friday, there was a procession of witness through the town followed by a service in St Nicolas
Church led by Richard Bittleston.
Abingdon Street Pastors celebrated their second anniversary with a service at Abingdon Baptist Church.
Over Christian Aid week, events included a Christian Aid Service at All Saints Church with speaker Maranda St
John Nicolle, a sale in the market square, as well as the door-to-door collection. £9863.26 was raised during
Christian Aid week by the Abingdon group.
Various churches represented the CiA in the Fun in the Park event.
Year 6 children in Abingdon primary schools received an Its Your Move book published by Scripture Union
from one of the CiA member churches.
Richard Bittleston led the Michaelmas fair service.
The Annual Bereavement Service was organised in conjunction with local funeral directors. It was held at
Trinity Church and was led by Richard Bittleston. The £48.76 raised was sent to the Abingdon Alzheimer Day
Support Group.
Several activities, including short concerts, children’s crafts, various stalls, task groups displays, refreshments.
were hosted at St Nics as part of the Abingdon Extravaganza.
Christian Aid carol singing with Abbey Brass at pre-Christmas Farmers’ Market.
The agreed policy on the main account is to limit the retained balance to £6000 and this is intended to equate
to one year's normal expenditure. The balance at 31 st December 2013 was £5279.70.
The expenditure for Community Projects is normally funded by church donations indicating that only a small
balance in hand is necessary. The retained balance for Community Projects is currently at £2502.36, with a
commitment of £6050 as detailed below for the coming year:
The Abingdon Bridge
DESIRE youth-work network
Abingdon Street Pastors
Experience Easter
£2500 a year
£750 a year
£1000 a year
£650 a year
35 Ock Street
£500 a year
Back to 35
£150 a year
£500 a year
for their work with disadvantaged young people
to help run schools weeks and larger events
to fund their ongoing help for people out at night
to help school children and their teachers explore the
Easter story
to support their work as a meeting place for church and
the community
for their work providing a place for retired people to
for their work with people to alleviate loneliness
Requests for member churches contributions will be issued at the end of March and grants will be paid out in
The members of the Leadership Team are as indicated below and we would like to record our thanks to them
for all the work that they have put into this aspect of their Christian work:
Margaret Langsford
Debra McKnight
Linda King
Revd Richard Bittleston
March 2014
(Trinity Church)
(Treasurer/Finance Committee)
(GB Chair)