St Francis of Assisi, Petts Wood

For it is in giving that we receive.

Vicars report to PCC
January  2020


Our  once a month Evensong continues to be well supported, the  service of Benediction which follows less so at present, but still with 3 or 4 attenders.  The Taize service  continues to attract people from other churches.  From this coming  Sunday (19th) we will start to run this service alternating each month with Christchurch URC, keeping to the third Sunday of the month, and starting in January at URC. I think this  will be one of several valuable links strengthening ecumenical working together in Petts Wood. Masses on Tues, Weds, Thurs,  continue to have  regular attendees.  Morning Prayer in church daily is at 7.45, Evening Prayer time fluctuates. The new year has started with a first, as  a passer-by actually came to evening prayer! If anyone wants to attend on a particular day, I am very happy to change times, ‘one off’ or regularly. It is certainly helpful for my prayers if others are able to join me. I ring the bell for the daily services. We continue to have the invaluable help of Father Bob  most Sundays, maintaining the  general pattern of concelebrating at 10.30 most weeks, his preaching at 10.30 once a month, celebrating and preaching at 8.0 am once a month, and of course cover for me when I am on leave. The use of our Family Service format for services including baptism continues. Our Carol Service and Crib Service were as popular as ever, but otherwise Christmas Service Attendance was down on last year. I think this just reflected different relatives visiting/not visiting this year. Thanks to all who made our Christmas Celebration so uplifting and beautiful.   

Our Requiem Mass as an alternative form of commemoration was for Remembrance Sunday attracted  less worshippers than we normally have on a Sunday. It is likely that some of our congregation  chose to attend the URC service. Our service incorporated poems by Wilfred Owen and was designed to reflect on the tragedy of war as well has to honour the fallen. One church member who attended our service said he had found it more meaningful than in previous years. Otherwise, I have had no comments.    

I intend to start the  ‘coffee and chat drop in’ at the vicarage before the end of the month. I  announced a Pet Service for February on the Christmas Services notices so that the maximum of families would see it. I have been trying to organise a family Barn Dance but am finding it difficult to find a suitable Caller.      

Our deadline for  organist for applications has passed without any real interest. We need to consider whether we advertise again, and if so whether we need to make any changes regarding whom we are hoping to attract. The alternative is to use a small group of itinerant organists as a permanent measure. I intend to do this as an interim measure in any case from now so that we have an organist for most services each month.  The  donation of £3.5K we have had,  plus its associated Gift Aid  will cover this cost for a year      

I have  repaired  the hearing aid loop which had not been operative for sometime. There are some other minor improvements to the sound system to be made, such as additional speakers and a better Bluetooth transmitter  and we have the budget to do these. I am auctioning these at present. 

I have identified the following portable font as suitable for the church. I would be grateful if you could take a look before our meeting. It is product 9310 on this page, made of oak and costs £1350 plus £250 for the lid.

We have funding for this in the balance of our West End Development Fund. 

Children’s work

I am meeting with Sarah before our meeting and so should have an update on her Community Choir Project.  I continue to hold  Sunday lunch parties for baptism families with the intention of introducing them to other younger church families. 

I am  continuing to email families to alert them to Family Services.

At Christmas we tried to get email contact addresses for families visiting the church. Unfortunately this was a spectacular failure and we got only two!!  

I managed to share leading an assembly in Crofton School in December and another is planned for February. Year three classes will be visiting us again this year as part of their curriculum.

Following our Confirmation Service in the Autumn, I am hoping to start a regular follow-uo group for teenagers. So far though only two parents have expressed an interest on behalf of their children.  We also have another adult preparing for confirmation with me. 

Communication and Outreach       

The extension of our bereavement work into a PCWT project is progressing. Several volunteers have been trained by St. Christopher’s and the launch date is 3rd February. We will continue our own Bereavement Cafe for an overlap period. 

Please keep supporting the Facebook page.  This ideally needs new material two or three times a week to make it engaging. We have to be mindful of GDPR and Safeguarding, but photos gathered from any church related events anyone is involved in and emailed to me would be greatly appreciated. Also please, if you are on Facebook please let me know so that we can ‘Friend’ you. A summer newsletter has been published.

A winter newsletter was  prepared and it will soon be time for the Spring one. 


We convened a short meeting of some PCC members plus David (as a member of the original project group) to discuss the re-ordering of the west end. There was agreement on almost everything apart from the position of the two sideboards. Having had these across the back of the pews for several months, we moved them to  where they are at present for Christmas. We have had a couple of months to get the feel of this arrangement, so I suggest we make a final decision at this meeting. 

Most of our ladies who clean are wanting to reduce their workload or give up altogether. This will mean I think us having to pay for some cleaning. I attach a separate paper on the subject.

So Far I have succeeded in getting only one estimate for the insulation of the Hall loft- £1950. I will keep trying to get another.

Irene and I completed the mandatory Diocesan review of any historic abuse cases. This included contacting and asking previous incumbents. I am pleased to say that we had a nil return for any un-dealt with matters. 

The  new  study group continues to meet with seven regular members fortnightly on Wednesdays from 8 to 9.30 pm. New members are most welcome. 

Occasional Offices 

In the past  two months I have officiated at four  funerals, with a further one to come this month.  We have four baptisms at various stages of planning. We have two weddings confirmed for this year.    

Pastoral Work Home Communion continues regularly to four housebound members with regular visits to a fifth. 

My Air Training Corps chaplaincy in Penge has resumed. I have taken on the role of hounary chaplain to the Guild of Servers of the Sanctuary.  I am chair of PWCT for a second year   

Social Activities and Fund Raising

Thanks To Sarah for drafting a plan for social activities this year which includes a lot of music. So far we have confirmed a classical concert on 13th June, and a concert from the Bromley Boys Singers in December. A gospel concert is to be confirmed for 21st March and a vocal concert of varied music with food in May. I am proposing a film night in February, and a quiz in March. For April, there is also an idea for a children teenagers event doing some planting in the church gardens with Pizza in June,  also a ‘Hymns and Pyms in the garden’ gathering.  

We are planning a bigger Summer Fair this year with a proposed date of July 4th. Amongst other things we will have a dog show competition. We will need to put together a small steering group to lead the planning for this.

Our  pilgrimage to Assisi for March 2020 is confirmed with  ten definites. Our thanks to Fr. Bob  for taking the lion’s share of the organising.  


Judith and I will be away from on the pilgrimage from 9th to 13th March. Taking into account days off, this brings the total of Annual leave taken to 35 days and uses up my leave to the beginning of the new leave year in April. We will also be on leave from 7th to 20th October, and will take some leave in August. My health seems back to normal!


Father Stephen sig

Fr. Stephen
January  2020