Churches Together in King’s Lynn
Minutes of the AGM held on Wednesday 21th September 2016.
Attendance: 35 people from different Christian denominations attended the AGM which was chaired by Revd Catherine Dixon (deputy moderator).
Opening prayer: Catherine opened the meeting with a prayer from the Methodist’s Handbook and, in honour of St Matthew’s day, a poem by Malcolm Guite from his book ‘Soundings of Seasons’.
Welcome and introductions: Catherine introduced Revd Julie Boyd who is the new rector of St Faith’s. Pastor Oladapo Adegoke from the RCCG Church of The King’s Glory introduced himself.
Review of the past year: Catherine went through the Moderator’s review of the year’s activities October 2015-September 2016:
At last year’s AGM on 30th September 2015 an audience of 43 heard a talk by Bob Wilson about his work in prison chaplaincy. Tony Kendall left the executive committee and was thanked for his 17 years of service. Revd Zoe Ferguson also had to leave and was thanked for her role as Christian Aid co-ordinator.
On Wednesday 11th November Paula Hall, the CEO of the Purfleet Trust gave a very informative up-date talk about the management of homelessness in King’s Lynn. Houses are now available for emergency accommodation for some homeless people.
Between January 18th and 25th 2016 the annual week of prayer for Christian Unity was held with variable levels of attendance. The Sunday service was held at St Faith’s church and the preacher was John Myhill.
The Foodbank thrived at the new premises of the Red Cross Centre and, under the leadership of Kat Taylor, it expanded to provide extra services like food in school holidays, soup and bread for the homeless and ‘Eat well, Spend less’ training sessions. The total number of people fed in 2015 was 3146 and food supplies were supported by several supermarkets.
The executive meeting on 2nd March 2016 was Revd Dale Gingrich’s last meeting as moderator and he subsequently took up a new job in Oxfordshire. He was thanked for all his work and Revd Catherine Dixon took over as moderator.
Chris Lindley continued to work on the statistics of poverty in King’s Lynn with a view to handing over the work to Andrew Frere-Smith who started in 2016 in a post funded by the Church Urban Fund. Chris decided that the best measure of poverty is the percentage of children who receive free school meals. The highest number was 37.5% at St Edmunds and the least was 5.2% at the Woottons.
Christians Against Poverty finally appointed a debt centre manager, Emily Hart, so she was able to start to see clients in April. The centre is backed by local churches that provide funding, volunteers and prayers.
The Good Friday walk of Witness was held on Friday 25th March starting at 10am at St Faith’s. Walkers stopped at different churches collecting additional walkers along the way. Prayers and singing occurred through the town and about 80 people entered the Minster for prayers and refreshments at the end of the walk.
On 1ST June Revd Catherine Dixon gave a talk entitled ‘Thinking Things Through: Christian Perspectives on Assisted Dying’. Catherine is currently working on a PhD in this area.
Alison Hill and her team provided a Celebrate King’s Lynn event on the Walks on Saturday 11th June 2016. Most of the churches in Churches Together supported the event with stalls, games, live music, refreshments and family activities which were all free. It was an opportunity for churches to show the public what they do. Several hundred people attended the event which was a great success.
Andy Moyle continued to maintain the website with information about events, church contact details and service times. Andy also organised the rota for the ‘Thought for the Week’ which is published in the Lynn News.
Mike Ikwuagwu from the Gateway Church continued to run a job club and this is a valuable contribution to the local community. Lucy Faulkner from the Quakers runs a literacy project.
There are currently 13 denominations who are members of churches together.
A Quiet Day will be held on Saturday 24th September 10am -4pm at Upwell Methodist Church and will be led by Helen Randal.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2017 will be held on Wednesday 18th to Wednesday 25rd January 2017. The theme will be ‘Reconciliation: The Love of God Compels Us’. The programme is as follows:
Wednesday 18th January: The Church of the Nazarene. The London Road Methodist Church, King’s Lynn PE30 5PU: Pastor Steve Taylor: 12.30-13.00hrs
Thursday 19th January: King’s Lynn Baptist Church, Wisbech Rd, South Lynn, PE30 5JS; Pastor Kevan Crane: 12.30-13.00hrs.
Friday 20th January: Salvation Army, Wellesley St, King’s Lynn, PE30 1QD.
Major Barbara Jeffery: 12.30-13.00hrs
Saturday 21th January: The Gateway Church, 99c High St, King’s Lynn PE30 3BS. Pastor Andy Moyle at 12.30-13.00hrs.
Sunday 22nd January: The London Road Methodist Church, King’s Lynn PE30 5PU: Revd Catherine Dixon: Preacher: Rt Revd Alan S Hopes B.D. A.K.C. Bishop of East Anglia. 17.00-18.00hrs.
Monday 23th January: Church of St John the Evangelist, Blackfriars Rd., King’s Lynn, PE30 1NT; Revd. Rebecca Rogers. 12.30-1300hrs.
Tuesday 24th January. Church of the Annunciation, London Rd., King’s Lynn, PE30 5HQ; Revd. Peter Rollings. 12.30-1300hrs.
Wednesday 25th January: All Saints Church, Hillington Square, Church Lane, King’s Lynn PE30 5AE. Fr Adrian Ling: 12.30-13.00hrs.
Christian Aid Co-ordinator: Catherine announced that Revd Heather Berry has kindly agreed to take over the role of Christian Aid Co-ordinator. Heather gave a short talk about the role and is hoping that each church will provide a link person who could be involved in the annual collection. Peter will send Heather Zoe’s procedure which she wrote for the role.
Election of Officers: The current executive committee of Churches Together were re-elected with Revd Catherine Dixon as Moderator, Revd Rebecca Rogers (St John’s) as Deputy Moderator, Mike Brown as Treasurer and Peter Coates as Secretary. The ordained members are Pastor Steve Taylor, Revd Heather Berry and Pastor Kevan Crane. There is space for another ordained person. The lay members are Chris Lindley, Rachel Vyse and Kat Taylor. There is space for one other lay person.
Finance: Mike Brown presented his annual financial report. At the end of June the account contained £137.65. There had been a grant of £750 which was spent on the Celebrate King’s Lynn event in June.
There was no other business for the AGM so the meeting was closed by Catherine. Tea was served prior to the speaker meeting.
Speaker meeting: 13 speakers were each given 5 minutes to talk about the local church project which they helped to organise.
The first talk was given by Revd Andrew Macguire who works with Revd Rebecca Rogers on the North Lynn Ecumenical Partnership Project: For a number of years, North Lynn Methodist Church has had establish outreach groups: Tiny Tots, on a Wednesday afternoon, Coffee on the couch on a Thursday morning and Community meal on a Thursday evening.
All of the groups are reaching a small group of people, and meeting real needs. Coffee on the couch provides a welcoming space for local parents, older people and church members. Members of the Borough council often drop in for a coffee. Community meal is a lovely chance for us to eat together- it consists of a few church families, and a few local families. We take it in turns to cook and eat together, and we have some great and close friendships. Tiny Tots is currently tiny tot- singular (!) as our recent contingent just moved up to school!
We know that there is so much need in North Lynn and so much opportunity, and so we would love more people to make use of what we offer. We recently ran a ‘Family Fun day’, where we provided a free barbecue, outdoor games and face painting. It was a huge hit and around 80 people came. Because of where we are, in the middle of a residential area, it is impossible to miss us, so we want to build on this, possibly having a harvest service outside, and something at Christmas. As more people get to know us, and the fact that we are ‘for’ the community, we hope that more people may come along.
Other developments have been that we now run Messy Church once a month at community meal, and this has gone down well. It is wonderful to share Bible stories and prayer with families who we already know well. Recently, one of our Mums was in hospital, and another Mum, who would not class herself as a church member, wrote on Facebook ‘we prayed for you at Messy Church’. It felt a very significant moment.
Following the EU referendum, and the news of a rise in hate crime across the country, we have also felt challenged in our engagement with the migrant community. There are many in North Lynn, and there are very obvious divisions, within the local community. The Hanseatic group, who work particularly with migrants, are going to be holding a new group in the Methodist Church, teaching people basic skills. Local Brits are also welcome. We hope that this will help us to build a new number of relationships with this part of our community, and in turn, help our local friends to befriend those from elsewhere.
So there is lots to be encouraged about, and lots to pray about!!
Contact: Office telephone: 01553 772649 ( Mon-Fri 10-12)
The second talk was given by Andrew Frere-Smith who started in June as the Imagine Norfolk Together Development Worker, who is funded by the Diocese of Norwich and the Church Urban Fund. Andrew’s job is to facilitate projects in the churches by networking, bringing groups together, advising on funding and governance and helping volunteers. Andrew gave two examples of projects which he may get involved with: Fr Peter Rollings proposed project at the Catholic Church to start free meals on Saturdays for the homeless and the elderly and Julie Bowyer’s charity called ‘Right Tracks’ which helps to support homeless 16-25 year old teenagers. Some are young Mums who can be linked up with the service provided by the ‘Baby Basics’ charity. Right Tracks is part of the Benjamin Foundation who work in partnership with Saffron Housing, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk County Council and the Housing and Communities Agency to deliver the housing service for these homeless young people.
The third talk was given by Mike Ikwuagwu about the Christians Against Poverty Job Club at the Gateway Church. The club is open 10am-4pm on Tuesdays at 99c High St, King’s Lynn. Mike and 2 other workers undertakes job coaching for over 18 year old job seekers. This is an 8 week course helping people learn about job applications, job seeking, interview skills and CV writing. Many of the clients have a myriad of problems and require social support. The course gives hope, prayer and support.
Contact: The Job Club takes place at our office, 99c High Street, Kings Lynn, on Tuesdays from 10am (except school holidays). Please call 01553 774881 or 0800 3280006 to book into the Job Club or for more information. Alternatively you can email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4th talk was given by Mike Brown about the CROWNS (Christians Reaching Out to West Norfolk Schools) Trust. CROWNS was started in 2002 by Kevin Baldwin who’s vision was for 6 workers going into junior and senior schools to bring the Christian message. Now 14 years later CROWNS supports one paid worker, Sally Beadle, who goes into schools to give assemblies and workshops. The charity is supported financially by local churches and local individuals and is overseen by 4 trustees. Brain and Josephine Griffin go into many junior schools locally and took the Easter story using puppets and singing. Kevin has moved on and travels round the country visiting schools with a lorry containing a show about Jesus.
Contact: Mr. M. J. Brown. Telephone 01553 772036. Website: http://www.crownstrust.org.uk. Email: email@example.com
The 5th talk was given by Mary Uttin who talked about the Methodist Knit and Chat group. The group originally met up to knit items for the crib scene for Advent, including kings, sheep, shepherds etc. They also produced caps and vests to send away for charity to poor children. Since the first Advent scene they have done work on Easter, Palm Sunday and Good Friday themes and this has helped them to understand and know the stories involved. It’s also a chance for a good chat.
Contact: Lesley Evans 01553 829528. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam from the Foodbank gave the 6th talk. Adam is one of the 10 people who are from different churches and who are on the management team of the Foodbank. The project started in 2011 to provide emergency food supplies to people in crisis. 2400 food parcels have been distributed this year. The Foodbank is also a chance to see people who have many needs and who can be signposted to other services. Free events for families are provided like Food in School Holidays (FISH) and the ‘Eat well, spend less’ courses. The charity is supported by local churches, schools, supermarkets and local government. The project needs your prayers.
Contact: Foodbank Manager – Kat Taylor 07582 558143; The Red Cross Headquarters, Austin Fields, King’s Lynn, PE30 1PH. Info@kingslynn.foodbank.org.uk
Emily Hart is manager of the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre in King’s Lynn and she gave the 7th talk. Since launching in April Emily has had 16 new bookings and 11 of the clients are still active and working towards becoming debt free. Indebted people also struggle with depression, anxiety and isolation. Some have addiction or problems with the law. CAP offer prayer and befriending as well as a way out of debt. At last week’s national conference Emily was able to meet and network with other debt centre staff round the country. Emily said ‘Thank you’ for the support from local churches. Emily needs more volunteers to befriend clients.
Contact: Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre: Referrals ring 0800 328 0006 (Bradford head office).
Emily Hart, the Debt Centre manager: email email@example.com or ring 07495017364.
The 8th talk was about the Celebrate King’s Lynn event which was first held on the Walks on 11th June this year. Alison Hill and her organising team produced a free event for the public and all the churches contributed stalls and events. Organisation starts for the next event at a meeting at the Baptist Church at 7.30pm on Tuesday 27th September. Alison has booked the bandstand for singing, mulled wine and mince pies on Saturday 10th December this year to celebrate Christmas. We hope that one key person from each church will help so that more churches get involved.
Contact: Alison Hill: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrienne Dean representing the charity ‘Open the Book’ gave the 9th talk of the evening. The charity runs a 3 year programme of Bible stories for children in schools using props, acting and audience participation. There would be an introduction, then the main story followed by a conclusion, a quiet moment for reflection and a prayer at the end. The children are keen to be part of the story, for example in crowd scenes, and many props are used e.g. boats, beds, food and gates. It’s all a lot of fun and the children are given a sticky label afterwards to show that they were involved. The teacher will then incorporate the same story into their lessons.
Nicky Robinson talked about how St John’s Church have just started an ‘Open Church’ event weekly on Tuesday’s between 10 and 12 mid-day. The event includes a welcome with tea and cakes. 6 people came in the first hour. Highgate Methodist Church have been doing the same for some time and now find that there is not enough room for all the people who turn up. This was the 10th talk.
Contact: Office telephone: 01553 772649 ( Mon-Fri 10-12)
Lucy Faulkner-Gawlinski from the Quakers Society of Friends gave the 11th talk about a project called ‘Read, Write, Click’. When Lucy was an adult education tutor she discovered that there are some illiterate adults who undertake reading and writing courses but always fail the course. Other tutors who Lucy spoke to had found the same. Most literacy courses have to justify themselves by collecting data to get funding and this can result in the speed of the course being inappropriate for some learners. So Lucy started this course. The course is supported by the Quakers so it is free to the learners and they can make progress at their own pace. All that is asked of the clients is that they attend regularly. Lucy now has excellent equipment because it has been donated by generous people. The course is run each Wednesday 12-4pm with a 30 minute lunch break at the Friends Meeting House, 38 Bridge St, King’s Lynn. Lucy also helps the clients to use a computer. There are no exams and the course is now starting its second year. One of the attendees described the course as a ‘warm and welcoming place to learn’.
Contact: E-mail: email@example.com
Jonathan Burr gave the 12th talk about Klimate Concern, a group of people in King’s Lynn who want to try to understand and contribute to the work of climate control. The group was started 2 years ago by Daphne Sampson who was originally inspired by a Christian Aid film about climate change and who attended the recent international climate meeting in Paris. There are many aspects to the environmental debate and some local work has included tree planting, partnering with the Council on recycling, lobbying politicians and understanding new technology. Next Tuesday the group are meeting with local MP Sir Henry Bellingham and in the evening of Tuesday 18th October at the Friends Meeting House, 38 Bridge St. there will be a talk on solar and battery technology.
The final talk was given by Revd John Belfield, deacon at the Catholic Church, and Chaplain to Whitmore Prison. The parish priest Fr Peter Rolling, identified a need to help homeless and elderly people locally who regularly ask for help. The initial plan is to open a meeting room at the Church in London Rd on a Saturday afternoon for food, a chat and signposting. The project will be helped by Caritas East who are funding a worker to help at the Purfleet Trust. Many of the people needing help are ex-offenders who have been released from Norwich or Peterborough jails in an unprepared and vulnerable state. Some suffer addiction and some are in debt. They need our help.
John also felt that we need a directory of projects in King’s Lynn so that people can get involved. Peter plans to add this to the Churches Together contact list.
Contact: The Presbytery, North Everard St., King’s Lynn, PE30 5HQ.
Telephone: 01553 772220
Peter Coates (secretary) firstname.lastname@example.org Friday 23rd September 2016