ANNUAL REPORT

 

BELHAVEN AND SPOTT PARISH CHURCHES

 

APRIL 2015

 

 

“Still amazing…after all these years”

 

I looked around the Church on Sunday 11th January, as the New Year rolled into life, and my heart was warmed by the sight of so many people – committed, caring, supportive, faithful, loving , embracing, generous and committed people. This was where I wanted to be – these were the people I wanted to be among. This was the church I wanted to serve. The passion was as strong as ever, the sense of purpose clear and firm, and the feeling of being in the right place, working shoulder to shoulder with the most amazing group of people alongside whom it has been my privilege to serve for almost 37 years – that feeling of togetherness and Christian love was deeply felt , genuine – and well-founded. Belhaven and Spott Churches – still amazing after all these years! My blessing and my delight.

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If 2013 had been something of an Annus Horribilis for my life – and it had been…then 2014 brought astonishing undreamt of joys, personally and within the life of the congregations an d their development and progress. New people into our story – fresh initiatives to explore – additional opportunities for the church to serve the parish and bear witness to the Gospel…and most of it unexpected and fresh.

 

There were for me invitations to be involved in local radio through

“Mr. T’s Pleasant Sunday Afternoon” the religious programme on East Coast FM – a chance to explore the faith of people deeply committed to the Christian way – and for them to share their story. Also time to cover the big religious themes of the week’s news – the whole programme a recognition of the place of religion in general and Christianity in particular in the real lives of real people living in the real world. The offer to present the programme game out of the blue – and it has proved a delight for me….meeting and interviewing interesting and committed people, who speak freely and frankly about their faith.

 

A quite separate invitation came from the Editor of the East Lothian Courier to write an opinion column every two weeks for that section of the paper where regular contributors look at this aspect of life or that, from their own particular perspective or discipline. Readers might not agree with that the columnist says – but if it provokes discussion, reaction, comment – then it has fulfilled its purpose.  Once again, an invitation from left field, that provided a delightful opportunity to challenge assumptions, probe issues of the day – reflect the richness of the tapestries that are our stories.

 

All these were in addition to the normal work of parish ministry – hospital visits, many funerals…occasional weddings, general visits, where time allows – and the ever open door into our local schools – to share in their life, good times and bad – and to help articulate the feelings, and walk with people in their hurts and hopes – with their quest and with their questions.

 

The highlight of the week is always for me, worship on a Sunday – at Spott and Belhaven – singing with congregations who love to sing…appreciating the old songs, exploring the possibilities of the new – and being real congregations who care about one another enough to carry and share – but yet who are open and welcoming and quick to embrace the newcomer and include them in.

The steady trickle of new folks into the life of the church over the last year has been a special joy – and our hope is that people will very easily feel the special sense of belonging and welcome that continues to be in the very DNA  of the congregations.  Of course, we need to be alert to the risk of someone, for whatever reason , slipping through the cracks – and constant attention to that is a responsibility we all share.

=

This last year saw the final part of our three year Stewardship Strategy, which we have shared with the whole Church of Scotland. The first two elements of the strategy – how we use our TIME in the service of God, and how we make our TALENTS available to the cause of Christ – were completed, and this brought us how we utilise our MONEY to encourage, support and resource the life and work of the whole Church. 

 

The Church Treasurers will tell us in their reports how successful those initiatives were – and whether Exhibitions, and letters sent and challenges offered had the desired effect. We certainly know that a number of members increased their giving significantly , in response to the invitation to consider prayerfully the nature of our Christian giving, and there were significant one off gifts to the Church work.  All this has helped nudge us towards the kind of thinking that understands how the church works, what it needs, and what can and cannot be done, depending upon resources available – And all of us have been made aware of the centrality to all of this of our own commitment to God and to his service. Without that Spirit loose in our heart – there will be little to celebrate.

=

The continuing week to week life of the congregation moves forward with energy and purpose.

The Inspire Women’s continues to be a place of welcome, support, and bridges built, friendships formed.

 

The Men’s Group – now in its 25th year has energy, warmth and a real sense of learning together, journeying together.

 

The Guild is in great heart, full of people of faith, with a capacity to roll up sleeves and make a big difference, locally, nationally, and internationally.

 

The Book Group has continued its steady trajectory towards understanding and sharing ideas – evolving and developing, and always interesting.

 

Prayer and Bible Study; at the heart of who we are, and all we do are the prayers of the people – and without their prayerful support things would be threadbare indeed.

 

Toddler Group; Full to the brim…and full of vim…it serves the community, makes important connections and demonstrates the compassionate and wide-hearted nature of the church.

 

Belhaven News - so attractively presented, and always a great read - helps to keep channels of communication open, and as the Website:

 

Social Events; - whether the Burns Supper – hot ticket of the year of a musical concert that celebrates the gifts of the children in our local schools – the people who make these special moments happen bring something inclusive and enriching to our shared life.

 

Singers: we are hugely blessed in the rich seam of musical talent within our congregations and when special gifts are brought to the worship of the church, there is real blessing.

 

Flowers; We see them week by week, and they don’t appear by magic! Kind donors and clever arrangers make things lovely, and enable us to take a message of love and warmth to those who receive the church flowers – a true sign of their belonging.

 

Overheads:  Technology is wonderful…when it works….and those who wrestle with its complexities week by week and enable the recordings of the services to go out to those who cannot attend worship – do a great job. Part of the team.

 

Musicians: all our musicians are a boon, a blessing and a delight, and we are thankful for the range, variety and faithfulness of those who make up our music rota – as we have been to Jane for all her years of service as the person who makes the rota work!

 

 

Places change, and we have seen that even in the last year with the church fabric being brought up to a high standard of maintenance and efficiency, the place made bright and welcoming, and all necessary provisions put in place to make it comfortable and well-cared for. People sense that here is a group of people who care about their church buildings and facilities, and want them to be the best we can make them. David Wight is the prime mover in keeping standards high and the work he does in the course of the year is astonishing, invaluable and hugely appreciated.

The range of groups using our Halls is astonishing and makes clear that our desire to serve the community is a genuine one, and is fleshed out in welcome and warmth.

==

On a personal level -  there have been new connections made that have become important and precious. Lightning never strikes twice, they say…but apparently it can!

It’s also been a time of encouraging developments in the lives of the children, which certainly makes my sense of well-being deep and appreciated.

 

And always, those wonderful people of Belhaven and Spott – their countless kindnesses, their generous and gracious tolerance – and the warmth and open-mindedness with which they serve the Church and the Lord of the Church.  They are my inspiration, support and delight and I count it the greatest privilege and profoundest blessing to continue to be their minister.

My thanks to you is sincere and heart-felt.

Laurence Twaddle

BELHAVEN SESSION CLERK’S REPORT.

 

 

Perhaps we might be forgiven for liking things that have “aye been” (for wanting them to be so, for comfort's sake!), but when a new year comes round and there's a looking-back, changes are more easily seen and recognised. And of course 'new' can be good, and a real sign of life!

 

From the Kirk Session's perspective, looking back over 2014 at Belhaven, we can see that we've been privileged to encourage and enjoy chances to welcome new folk, to see them become involved in what's going on, and to appreciate new initiatives. It's been great to get alongside Jacqueline Waugh during her training period here, and now also Mike Weaver. The Session has been happy to encourage and support Maureen Watt in her Wednesday Worship venture, and Grahame Templeman in the revitalising of the Prayers Programme, and there have been some new faces among our visiting preachers during the year. Linking us with a wider community there have been various new happenings and opportunities to grasp – for example, the church website has been given an upgrade, thanks to Malcolm Payton; we found ourselves well-positioned to offer roadside hospitality on the occasion of the Queen's Baton Tour pre-Commonwealth Games; we hosted a Fischy Music event; the church was open for worship on Remembrance Day; and recently we've been discussing the possibility of a new link-up with the Rev Paraic Raemonn (some time ago minister in what is now Dunglass Parish) who is now the Church of Scotland minister in Jerusalem. I realise that sometimes I use the word 'we' in a wide sense – it is of course not just elders who are involved in all these new ventures, but we, as elders, certainly hope we are always able to respond sensibly, supportively and thoughtfully to new ideas and fresh ways of making Belhaven Church a good place to be for as many folk as possible.

 

Of course in our meetings there has “aye been” much regular business to occupy us  – in 2014, for example, being responsible for hosting the Dunbar Churches' Joint Service, meeting with Spott's Session for what could be called our annual linkage-lunch, welcoming Margaret Cannon's Safeguarding report (and indeed thanking her for the enormous amount of time and effort involved in keeping us on track with latest policy and regulations), discussing as directed by '121' and Presbytery - which in 2014 meant giving feedback to the Presbytery Forward Planning Group, and considering how to be a more open church in a wider community in new times...

 

During this year one of our treasured elders - Audrey Purves - has stepped back from the front line, yet remains very much part of our Session, and we are very grateful for her tremendous contribution, for all that she has thought, said and done for us and with us, and for her continued support. And indeed I must thank all Belhaven's elders for their support and for what they do unstintingly and faithfully throughout the year. We are hoping very much that we may have some more elders before too long – it would be so good to have some new folk on the Session to help us plan and shape the way forward, to keep us lively so that we are not in danger of being an “aye been” kind of Session!

 

But of course some of the things that have “aye been” are good, and lovely, and valuable, and we want to and should keep them... one of these traditions is that the Session Clerk has “aye been” happy to say a sincere 'thank you' on behalf of us all to Laurence for his commitment, encouragement, guidance and loving care – this year is no exception.

                                                                                                          Barbara Richerby

 

 

 

SPOTT SESSION CLERK’S ANNUAL REPORT

 

One stimulating aspect of our work in the Kirk Session stems from the wide range of different topics that come before us.  As ever, our agenda has included lots of nuts and bolts items - church maintenance and repairs, routine correspondence, and all the rest.  But at the other extreme we have spent considerable time discussing vital issues covered in papers from Presbytery and the General Assembly concerning the future pattern of ministry in our parish and in the wider Church.

 

The latter topic has been occupying the attention of many across the Church.  Issues about future ministry gather particular urgency from our knowledge that there is inevitably going to be a growing strain on ministerial resources with each year that goes by. 

 

Our range of work has been expressed in an ever rising flood of paper which comes our way.  Sometimes one senses it is generated without any concern for the time available for its consideration.  Of course, all the bodies of the Church have a duty to bring before us matters that need to be discussed.  But there is no doubt that the time required for doing so is mounting inexorably.  Part of that simply seems to be that we can no longer rely on a settled pattern of routine administration.  Evidence of this ranges from the fact that we find ourselves having to correspond regularly with the local authority over graveyard matters, to a substantial project we are having to undertake related to data protection legislation.  This obliges us to seek the consent of members and adherents to retain and keep confidential their names and addresses.  Watch this space!

 

All of us remain ever conscious of the value of our links with other Christian communities in our area, in this country, and overseas, not least through our very happy relationship with our brothers and sisters at Belhaven.  We value too, our connections with the wider Church through Presbytery where Fiona has continued to serve and where Duncan will be our representative from this summer; with the General Assembly and all its workings - we had two attending representatives from Spott this year; with the work of the Church overseas and the activities of the World Mission Council; and with other parishes in Scotland, particularly Clachan in the Western Islands.  Hopefully nobody can think us introverted or too self-centred!

 

We continue to be blessed by the ministry and support of Jacquie Waugh, our trainee Reader, and we welcomed Mike Weaver later in the year as a trainee for the ministry.

 

We have again been much heartened by the work of the youth worker in our area and rejoice in the success of Richard Taylor and all others who are involved in building up a faith-based community of young people in and around Dunbar. 

 

Our blessings are not taken for granted.  Among them is the fact that the support for weekly worship in Spott week by week seems to be as strong as it has been in the last 30 years or more.  Several factors account for this gradual strengthening.  They include friendly, extended arms of welcome here, the special character and tranquility of Spott itself and, before all, the gifted preaching and leadership of Laurence.  Anyone looking at our position alongside that of sister churches across the nation must think us truly blessed by the Lord. 

 

As ever, we also give thanks to you, the Spott people, who have responded so generously in spirit and in kind to the calls made upon you.  We thank you for the priceless blessing of your friendship and support and remember especially those of you who have lost loved ones during the year. 

 

And big thanks too to those who attend to the mechanics of our work week by week and make it all happen.  The Spott community remains a happy place to be.  Our task is to bring others to recognise what involvement here can mean for their hearts and lives.

 

Thank you all.

 

V N U Wood

Session Clerk

9.2.2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOTT PARISH CHURCH – TREASURER’S REPORT 2014

 

Following efforts to encourage giving in the congregation, we are pleased to report an increase in giving both by Monthly FWO, and Ordinary Offerings, over the year. We were also fortunate to receive some generous bequests.

 

This has resulted in increased income in funds over the year sufficient to fund our ministry, and other costs, incurred in supporting our congregation, and the wider community.

 

The summary income, and expenditure, figures are:

 

Treasurer’s Account

 

Income:                                                                                           £13,770.22 

Expenditure:                                                                                               £10,749.60 

                                                                                                            __________

                                                                                                           

Income less Expenditure:                                                                      £3,020.62   

 

Some £2,000 of income should be regarded as non-recurring, so the measure of the surplus is rather less than shown in the summary figures.  Costs are expected to rise appreciably over the coming year.

 

Spott is also fortunate in having some reserve funds in other accounts, from which to draw, should it have to meet exceptional items of expenditure.  These are not inexhaustible and should not be looked at as a continuing source of funds for meeting regular commitments. The two reserve funds, with amounts held, are:

 

Local Deposit Account:   £13,632.10

 

Funds held by Church of Scotland (used for large fabric expenditure only): £8,560.81

 

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LETTER TO THE CONGREGATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF STEWARDSHIP

 

March 2015

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

I write to thank you most sincerely for supporting the worship, mission and service of the Church through the money you give in your offerings.  It is important that you should know what happens to this money and this letter (along with the enclosed Ministries and Mission leaflet) intends to explain how your congregation's Ministries and Mission Contribution will be used to enable the work of the Church in 2015.

 

Lothian: Belhaven  - 030186      £50,326

 

Lothian: Spott  - 030245              £9,008

 

Total Contribution to Ministries and Mission -          £59,334

 

Ministries (86%)

£51,027 of your total contribution will go towards the costs of providing over 1,000 ministers and other parish workers in communities throughout Scotland and in the Presbytery of England.  This contribution also assists with the costs of recruitment and training.

The 2015 cost of a parish minister at the top of the stipend scale is £41,048 (stipend plus employer's national insurance and pension contributions).  If your contribution to Ministries is above this figure, then your church is meeting the full cost of your ministry and supporting other congregations.  If it is less than £41,048, your congregation (or linked charge) is being supported by other congregations.

 

Mission (14%)

£8,307 of your total contribution  will be used to support the Church's work in: resourcing congregations for Christian education and outreach; providing social care services in Christ’s name to further the caring work of the Church to people in need; accompanying partners around the world on our shared Christian journey;  contributing the Church’s opinion in public debate and on issues affecting Scotland and the World; providing central day-to-day service work in administrative, financial and legal matters; and in planning the General Assembly and ensuring the Moderator represents the Church.

---

As you will see, the contributions your church makes ensure a very diverse ministry is maintained and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared in many ways and in many places.  Many churches have made additional Ministries and Mission contributions throughout the past year and these have also been gratefully received.

Should your church wish any support or resources from the Stewardship and Finance Department, please do not hesitate to contact me.  The National Stewardship Programme is now into its second year and our team of consultants are willing to guide your church through a stewardship programme, or simply to provide you with some ideas and advice.  Please remember that the consultants will work with your church free of charge – there is no cost for their time.

I do look forward to assisting you in any way I can.

Yours in Christ,

Alan Gibson

Rev Alan W Gibson    Head of Stewardship

BELHAVEN PARISH CHURCH - TREASURER’S REPORT

 

 

2014 was a busy year for the Congregational Board and the Finance Committee.    In 2011 the General Assembly had instructed congregations to participate in a   National Stewardship Programme, over a three year period, focusing on time, talents and money   During 2014 Belhaven focused on money.    Initially the Finance Committee and the Congregational Board met with a Stewardship Consultant from the Church of Scotland to plan a strategy.   This resulted in a Stewardship Leaflet being sent to the congregation in April, an Exhibition being held in May, a follow up Stewardship letter being sent in September and a celebratory Lunch being held in November.      

 

The Exhibition focused on Belhaven Church Past and Present and provided an opportunity to showcase what takes place in the church and on the premises.   People who attended the Exhibition seemed genuinely amazed at the number and variety of things that take place on a week by week basis.   The Exhibition also provided comprehensive information on church finances and encouraged people to think about the future of the church and the ongoing importance of Belhaven Church in their life and in their family’s life.    

 

The Stewardship Leaflet and letter asked the congregation to reflect on their giving and how they might support the church into 2015 and beyond, both in financial and practical ways.  

 

The Lunch was hosted by the Congregational Board as a celebration of the life of the church and as a thank you to the congregation for all the different ways they support the church. 

 

In addition to the above the Finance Committee and the Congregational Board explored and discussed how Belhaven’s financial resources could be better invested.   A meeting was held between Finance Committee members, the Church of Scotland General Treasurer and the Investment Trust Secretary.   Finance Committee members also attended a presentation by the Investment Trust Fund Managers.   The outcome from these meetings was reported back to the Congregational Board and further discussions took place to consider transferring Belhaven Church money from the Church of Scotland Deposit Fund to their Income and Growth Funds which yield a higher rate of return.   Decisions were made by the Board to start this process but at a measured pace.        

 

During the aforementioned discussions it was suggested that Belhaven’s financial reserves could be managed in a three part approach with one amount  being set aside for major fabric expenditure; a second amount for development work/ outreach; and a third amount being held as reserve capital and this is now being adopted by the Congregational Board.   A fundamental tenet underpinning this approach is regular income needs to exceed regular expenditure with financial reserves not being used to pay for regular expenditure.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELHAVEN PARISH CHURCH                                                                            

EXTRACTS FROM ACCOUNTS FOR YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2014

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

INCOME                                                                               2014              2013   

 

           

 

1.  Voluntary Income

 

Offerings                                                                              59789                         56398                                  

Tax recovered on Gift Aid                                              14043                        13139

Other donations                                                                  5856                           1676 

Legacies                                                                                2000                         55855

Contributions from congregational organisations               300                   530

                                                                                                81988             127598

           

 

 

2.  Incoming Resources from Activities for Generating Funds

 

Use of premises                                                                  5500                           4726

 

 

 

3.  Investment Income

 

Bank interest receivable                                                               979                   955

 

 

 

4.  Incoming Resources from Charitable Activities

 

Weddings and funerals                                                     2435                           1900

Coffee mornings etc.                                                          980                  915

Concerts                                                                                 1033                             673

Other income from charitable activities                   4418                5147

                                                                                                  8866                           8635

           

 

 

TOTAL INCOME                                                                  97333             141914 

                                                           

EXPENDITURE                                                                     2014            2013   

 

6.  Costs of Generating Voluntary Income                   

 

Envelopes for offerings                                                    296               248

          

7.  Costs of Charitable Activities

Support costs                                                                       89432             92660       

 

8.  Governance Costs

 

Independent examiners fee                                            930                   900   

 

TOTAL EXPENDITURE                                                        90658                   93808   

 

________________________________________________________________

INCOME/EXPENDITURE 2014                                                               2014

 

TOTAL INCOME                                                                                        97333 

TOTAL EXPENDITURE                                                                             90658

 

                                                                                    Surplus                     6675

 

This initial surplus of £6,675 needs to be viewed in context as it includes income donated for named church funds.   These fund donations have been given for a particular purpose and cannot be included as regular income.   In addition legacies are not  included as regular income.   When fund income and legacy income are deducted from the initial surplus this results in a revised surplus figure of £1,823, as shown below:   

 

                                                                        Initial Surplus                     6675

             Legacy                                                                                           - 2000                                                                                                                                      4675

             Special Fund                                            2002.00         

             Mother & Toddler Fund                         496.14

             Famine & Disaster                                     16.91

             Flower Fund                                                 60.00                                              

             Music Concert                                         277.00                                    -2852

 

                                                                        Revised Surplus                     1823 

 

In relation to 1. Voluntary Income set out above, under ‘Offerings’, the figure of £59,789 shows an increase of £3,391 on the 2013 figure.   In turn this has boosted ‘Tax recovered on Gift Aid’ by £904.    ‘Other donations’ show an increase of £4180.   A legacy of £2,000 was also received from the estate of the late Mrs Rose Russell.   Belhaven’s premises are well used by the community and income generated from this shows an increase of £774.   The Hall and Stables are kept in good order by the Fabric Committee making church premises an attractive venue for various community events.

 

There has been no major unexpected expenditure during 2014.   Painting the church foyer and stairs cost £2580 but was part of budgeted expenditure for 2014.   The cost of the new carpet for upstairs in the church was fully met from  donations - Burns Supper income of £756.50;  Guild donation of £300;  Mother & Toddler donation of £483.86.   The Hall entrance and toilets  were also painted - donation of £690 received towards this cost.       

 

During 2014 Belhaven Church was able to make a donation of £800 from the Famine & Disaster Fund to the Ebola Appeal.   The Christmas Eve collection of £196.42 was donated to the Gaza Appeal.   The Remembrance Day retiral collection of £150.20 was donated to the Earl Haig Fund.   £200 was donated from the Music Concert to Dunbar Grammar School’s Music Department and £63.10 was donated from the Aspire Group to East Lothian Foodbank.    

 

Overall the financial position for 2014 has been positive resulting in a small surplus figure.   Offerings have increased and this seems to be a direct result of congregational members making the decision to increase their regular level of giving to the church.   A number of specific donations have also been made thereby minimising expenditure on the fabric of the church.   Generous donations have been made to the Minister’s Special Fund enabling Fischy Music concerts to be held in both the school and church.    In addition various donations were made by Belhaven Church to a variety of worthwhile causes, as listed above.   

 

The Finance and Fabric committees continued to work closely together during 2014 to ensure  careful management of Church finances.   The Accounts have been verified by the external examiner and a copy is available in the Session Room.

 

 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AT END DECEMBER 2014

 

BALANCE IN ACCOUNT                                                                      13,162.25

INVESTED WITH CHURCH OF SCOTLAND                                   170,000.00

 

TOTAL RESOURCES AT 31/12/14                                                £183,162.25

 

 

It is important to give thanks for the financial giving of the congregation on a week by week/month by month basis and to acknowledge the generosity of the late Mrs Rose Russell and her valued support for the work of the church.    The congregation also give freely of their time and talents and a number of very successful and thoroughly enjoyable events were held during 2014 - Burns Supper, Fete, Musical Evening, Sunday Lunches.    Without the spirit of caring and cooperation that abounds in the church and the generosity of giving from the congregation,  Belhaven Parish Church would be unable to minister to the needs of the community and we thank God for this commitment.  

 

Myra Johnstone (Treasurer)

 

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ANNUAL REPORT

 

BELHAVEN AND SPOTT PARISH CHURCHES

 

APRIL 2015

 

 

“Still amazing…after all these years”

 

I looked around the Church on Sunday 11th January, as the New Year rolled into life, and my heart was warmed by the sight of so many people – committed, caring, supportive, faithful, loving , embracing, generous and committed people. This was where I wanted to be – these were the people I wanted to be among. This was the church I wanted to serve. The passion was as strong as ever, the sense of purpose clear and firm, and the feeling of being in the right place, working shoulder to shoulder with the most amazing group of people alongside whom it has been my privilege to serve for almost 37 years – that feeling of togetherness and Christian love was deeply felt , genuine – and well-founded. Belhaven and Spott Churches – still amazing after all these years! My blessing and my delight.

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If 2013 had been something of an Annus Horribilis for my life – and it had been…then 2014 brought astonishing undreamt of joys, personally and within the life of the congregations an d their development and progress. New people into our story – fresh initiatives to explore – additional opportunities for the church to serve the parish and bear witness to the Gospel…and most of it unexpected and fresh.

 

There were for me invitations to be involved in local radio through

“Mr. T’s Pleasant Sunday Afternoon” the religious programme on East Coast FM – a chance to explore the faith of people deeply committed to the Christian way – and for them to share their story. Also time to cover the big religious themes of the week’s news – the whole programme a recognition of the place of religion in general and Christianity in particular in the real lives of real people living in the real world. The offer to present the programme game out of the blue – and it has proved a delight for me….meeting and interviewing interesting and committed people, who speak freely and frankly about their faith.

 

A quite separate invitation came from the Editor of the East Lothian Courier to write an opinion column every two weeks for that section of the paper where regular contributors look at this aspect of life or that, from their own particular perspective or discipline. Readers might not agree with that the columnist says – but if it provokes discussion, reaction, comment – then it has fulfilled its purpose.  Once again, an invitation from left field, that provided a delightful opportunity to challenge assumptions, probe issues of the day – reflect the richness of the tapestries that are our stories.

 

All these were in addition to the normal work of parish ministry – hospital visits, many funerals…occasional weddings, general visits, where time allows – and the ever open door into our local schools – to share in their life, good times and bad – and to help articulate the feelings, and walk with people in their hurts and hopes – with their quest and with their questions.

 

The highlight of the week is always for me, worship on a Sunday – at Spott and Belhaven – singing with congregations who love to sing…appreciating the old songs, exploring the possibilities of the new – and being real congregations who care about one another enough to carry and share – but yet who are open and welcoming and quick to embrace the newcomer and include them in.

The steady trickle of new folks into the life of the church over the last year has been a special joy – and our hope is that people will very easily feel the special sense of belonging and welcome that continues to be in the very DNA  of the congregations.  Of course, we need to be alert to the risk of someone, for whatever reason , slipping through the cracks – and constant attention to that is a responsibility we all share.

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This last year saw the final part of our three year Stewardship Strategy, which we have shared with the whole Church of Scotland. The first two elements of the strategy – how we use our TIME in the service of God, and how we make our TALENTS available to the cause of Christ – were completed, and this brought us how we utilise our MONEY to encourage, support and resource the life and work of the whole Church. 

 

The Church Treasurers will tell us in their reports how successful those initiatives were – and whether Exhibitions, and letters sent and challenges offered had the desired effect. We certainly know that a number of members increased their giving significantly , in response to the invitation to consider prayerfully the nature of our Christian giving, and there were significant one off gifts to the Church work.  All this has helped nudge us towards the kind of thinking that understands how the church works, what it needs, and what can and cannot be done, depending upon resources available – And all of us have been made aware of the centrality to all of this of our own commitment to God and to his service. Without that Spirit loose in our heart – there will be little to celebrate.

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The continuing week to week life of the congregation moves forward with energy and purpose.

The Inspire Women’s continues to be a place of welcome, support, and bridges built, friendships formed.

 

The Men’s Group – now in its 25th year has energy, warmth and a real sense of learning together, journeying together.

 

The Guild is in great heart, full of people of faith, with a capacity to roll up sleeves and make a big difference, locally, nationally, and internationally.

 

The Book Group has continued its steady trajectory towards understanding and sharing ideas – evolving and developing, and always interesting.

 

Prayer and Bible Study; at the heart of who we are, and all we do are the prayers of the people – and without their prayerful support things would be threadbare indeed.

 

Toddler Group; Full to the brim…and full of vim…it serves the community, makes important connections and demonstrates the compassionate and wide-hearted nature of the church.

 

Belhaven News - so attractively presented, and always a great read - helps to keep channels of communication open, and as the Website:

 

Social Events; - whether the Burns Supper – hot ticket of the year of a musical concert that celebrates the gifts of the children in our local schools – the people who make these special moments happen bring something inclusive and enriching to our shared life.

 

Singers: we are hugely blessed in the rich seam of musical talent within our congregations and when special gifts are brought to the worship of the church, there is real blessing.

 

Flowers; We see them week by week, and they don’t appear by magic! Kind donors and clever arrangers make things lovely, and enable us to take a message of love and warmth to those who receive the church flowers – a true sign of their belonging.

 

Overheads:  Technology is wonderful…when it works….and those who wrestle with its complexities week by week and enable the recordings of the services to go out to those who cannot attend worship – do a great job. Part of the team.

 

Musicians: all our musicians are a boon, a blessing and a delight, and we are thankful for the range, variety and faithfulness of those who make up our music rota – as we have been to Jane for all her years of service as the person who makes the rota work!

 

 

Places change, and we have seen that even in the last year with the church fabric being brought up to a high standard of maintenance and efficiency, the place made bright and welcoming, and all necessary provisions put in place to make it comfortable and well-cared for. People sense that here is a group of people who care about their church buildings and facilities, and want them to be the best we can make them. David Wight is the prime mover in keeping standards high and the work he does in the course of the year is astonishing, invaluable and hugely appreciated.

The range of groups using our Halls is astonishing and makes clear that our desire to serve the community is a genuine one, and is fleshed out in welcome and warmth.

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On a personal level -  there have been new connections made that have become important and precious. Lightning never strikes twice, they say…but apparently it can!

It’s also been a time of encouraging developments in the lives of the children, which certainly makes my sense of well-being deep and appreciated.

 

And always, those wonderful people of Belhaven and Spott – their countless kindnesses, their generous and gracious tolerance – and the warmth and open-mindedness with which they serve the Church and the Lord of the Church.  They are my inspiration, support and delight and I count it the greatest privilege and profoundest blessing to continue to be their minister.

My thanks to you is sincere and heart-felt.

Laurence Twaddle

BELHAVEN SESSION CLERK’S REPORT.

 

 

Perhaps we might be forgiven for liking things that have “aye been” (for wanting them to be so, for comfort's sake!), but when a new year comes round and there's a looking-back, changes are more easily seen and recognised. And of course 'new' can be good, and a real sign of life!

 

From the Kirk Session's perspective, looking back over 2014 at Belhaven, we can see that we've been privileged to encourage and enjoy chances to welcome new folk, to see them become involved in what's going on, and to appreciate new initiatives. It's been great to get alongside Jacqueline Waugh during her training period here, and now also Mike Weaver. The Session has been happy to encourage and support Maureen Watt in her Wednesday Worship venture, and Grahame Templeman in the revitalising of the Prayers Programme, and there have been some new faces among our visiting preachers during the year. Linking us with a wider community there have been various new happenings and opportunities to grasp – for example, the church website has been given an upgrade, thanks to Malcolm Payton; we found ourselves well-positioned to offer roadside hospitality on the occasion of the Queen's Baton Tour pre-Commonwealth Games; we hosted a Fischy Music event; the church was open for worship on Remembrance Day; and recently we've been discussing the possibility of a new link-up with the Rev Paraic Raemonn (some time ago minister in what is now Dunglass Parish) who is now the Church of Scotland minister in Jerusalem. I realise that sometimes I use the word 'we' in a wide sense – it is of course not just elders who are involved in all these new ventures, but we, as elders, certainly hope we are always able to respond sensibly, supportively and thoughtfully to new ideas and fresh ways of making Belhaven Church a good place to be for as many folk as possible.

 

Of course in our meetings there has “aye been” much regular business to occupy us  – in 2014, for example, being responsible for hosting the Dunbar Churches' Joint Service, meeting with Spott's Session for what could be called our annual linkage-lunch, welcoming Margaret Cannon's Safeguarding report (and indeed thanking her for the enormous amount of time and effort involved in keeping us on track with latest policy and regulations), discussing as directed by '121' and Presbytery - which in 2014 meant giving feedback to the Presbytery Forward Planning Group, and considering how to be a more open church in a wider community in new times...

 

During this year one of our treasured elders - Audrey Purves - has stepped back from the front line, yet remains very much part of our Session, and we are very grateful for her tremendous contribution, for all that she has thought, said and done for us and with us, and for her continued support. And indeed I must thank all Belhaven's elders for their support and for what they do unstintingly and faithfully throughout the year. We are hoping very much that we may have some more elders before too long – it would be so good to have some new folk on the Session to help us plan and shape the way forward, to keep us lively so that we are not in danger of being an “aye been” kind of Session!

 

But of course some of the things that have “aye been” are good, and lovely, and valuable, and we want to and should keep them... one of these traditions is that the Session Clerk has “aye been” happy to say a sincere 'thank you' on behalf of us all to Laurence for his commitment, encouragement, guidance and loving care – this year is no exception.

                                                                                                          Barbara Richerby

 

 

 

SPOTT SESSION CLERK’S ANNUAL REPORT

 

One stimulating aspect of our work in the Kirk Session stems from the wide range of different topics that come before us.  As ever, our agenda has included lots of nuts and bolts items - church maintenance and repairs, routine correspondence, and all the rest.  But at the other extreme we have spent considerable time discussing vital issues covered in papers from Presbytery and the General Assembly concerning the future pattern of ministry in our parish and in the wider Church.

 

The latter topic has been occupying the attention of many across the Church.  Issues about future ministry gather particular urgency from our knowledge that there is inevitably going to be a growing strain on ministerial resources with each year that goes by. 

 

Our range of work has been expressed in an ever rising flood of paper which comes our way.  Sometimes one senses it is generated without any concern for the time available for its consideration.  Of course, all the bodies of the Church have a duty to bring before us matters that need to be discussed.  But there is no doubt that the time required for doing so is mounting inexorably.  Part of that simply seems to be that we can no longer rely on a settled pattern of routine administration.  Evidence of this ranges from the fact that we find ourselves having to correspond regularly with the local authority over graveyard matters, to a substantial project we are having to undertake related to data protection legislation.  This obliges us to seek the consent of members and adherents to retain and keep confidential their names and addresses.  Watch this space!

 

All of us remain ever conscious of the value of our links with other Christian communities in our area, in this country, and overseas, not least through our very happy relationship with our brothers and sisters at Belhaven.  We value too, our connections with the wider Church through Presbytery where Fiona has continued to serve and where Duncan will be our representative from this summer; with the General Assembly and all its workings - we had two attending representatives from Spott this year; with the work of the Church overseas and the activities of the World Mission Council; and with other parishes in Scotland, particularly Clachan in the Western Islands.  Hopefully nobody can think us introverted or too self-centred!

 

We continue to be blessed by the ministry and support of Jacquie Waugh, our trainee Reader, and we welcomed Mike Weaver later in the year as a trainee for the ministry.

 

We have again been much heartened by the work of the youth worker in our area and rejoice in the success of Richard Taylor and all others who are involved in building up a faith-based community of young people in and around Dunbar. 

 

Our blessings are not taken for granted.  Among them is the fact that the support for weekly worship in Spott week by week seems to be as strong as it has been in the last 30 years or more.  Several factors account for this gradual strengthening.  They include friendly, extended arms of welcome here, the special character and tranquility of Spott itself and, before all, the gifted preaching and leadership of Laurence.  Anyone looking at our position alongside that of sister churches across the nation must think us truly blessed by the Lord. 

 

As ever, we also give thanks to you, the Spott people, who have responded so generously in spirit and in kind to the calls made upon you.  We thank you for the priceless blessing of your friendship and support and remember especially those of you who have lost loved ones during the year. 

 

And big thanks too to those who attend to the mechanics of our work week by week and make it all happen.  The Spott community remains a happy place to be.  Our task is to bring others to recognise what involvement here can mean for their hearts and lives.

 

Thank you all.

 

V N U Wood

Session Clerk

9.2.2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOTT PARISH CHURCH – TREASURER’S REPORT 2014

 

Following efforts to encourage giving in the congregation, we are pleased to report an increase in giving both by Monthly FWO, and Ordinary Offerings, over the year. We were also fortunate to receive some generous bequests.

 

This has resulted in increased income in funds over the year sufficient to fund our ministry, and other costs, incurred in supporting our congregation, and the wider community.

 

The summary income, and expenditure, figures are:

 

Treasurer’s Account

 

Income:                                                                                           £13,770.22 

Expenditure:                                                                                               £10,749.60 

                                                                                                            __________

                                                                                                           

Income less Expenditure:                                                                      £3,020.62   

 

Some £2,000 of income should be regarded as non-recurring, so the measure of the surplus is rather less than shown in the summary figures.  Costs are expected to rise appreciably over the coming year.

 

Spott is also fortunate in having some reserve funds in other accounts, from which to draw, should it have to meet exceptional items of expenditure.  These are not inexhaustible and should not be looked at as a continuing source of funds for meeting regular commitments. The two reserve funds, with amounts held, are:

 

Local Deposit Account:   £13,632.10

 

Funds held by Church of Scotland (used for large fabric expenditure only): £8,560.81

 

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LETTER TO THE CONGREGATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF STEWARDSHIP

 

March 2015

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

I write to thank you most sincerely for supporting the worship, mission and service of the Church through the money you give in your offerings.  It is important that you should know what happens to this money and this letter (along with the enclosed Ministries and Mission leaflet) intends to explain how your congregation's Ministries and Mission Contribution will be used to enable the work of the Church in 2015.

 

Lothian: Belhaven  - 030186      £50,326

 

Lothian: Spott  - 030245              £9,008

 

Total Contribution to Ministries and Mission -          £59,334

 

Ministries (86%)

£51,027 of your total contribution will go towards the costs of providing over 1,000 ministers and other parish workers in communities throughout Scotland and in the Presbytery of England.  This contribution also assists with the costs of recruitment and training.

The 2015 cost of a parish minister at the top of the stipend scale is £41,048 (stipend plus employer's national insurance and pension contributions).  If your contribution to Ministries is above this figure, then your church is meeting the full cost of your ministry and supporting other congregations.  If it is less than £41,048, your congregation (or linked charge) is being supported by other congregations.

 

Mission (14%)

£8,307 of your total contribution  will be used to support the Church's work in: resourcing congregations for Christian education and outreach; providing social care services in Christ’s name to further the caring work of the Church to people in need; accompanying partners around the world on our shared Christian journey;  contributing the Church’s opinion in public debate and on issues affecting Scotland and the World; providing central day-to-day service work in administrative, financial and legal matters; and in planning the General Assembly and ensuring the Moderator represents the Church.

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As you will see, the contributions your church makes ensure a very diverse ministry is maintained and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared in many ways and in many places.  Many churches have made additional Ministries and Mission contributions throughout the past year and these have also been gratefully received.

Should your church wish any support or resources from the Stewardship and Finance Department, please do not hesitate to contact me.  The National Stewardship Programme is now into its second year and our team of consultants are willing to guide your church through a stewardship programme, or simply to provide you with some ideas and advice.  Please remember that the consultants will work with your church free of charge – there is no cost for their time.

I do look forward to assisting you in any way I can.

Yours in Christ,

Alan Gibson

Rev Alan W Gibson    Head of Stewardship

BELHAVEN PARISH CHURCH - TREASURER’S REPORT

 

 

2014 was a busy year for the Congregational Board and the Finance Committee.    In 2011 the General Assembly had instructed congregations to participate in a   National Stewardship Programme, over a three year period, focusing on time, talents and money   During 2014 Belhaven focused on money.    Initially the Finance Committee and the Congregational Board met with a Stewardship Consultant from the Church of Scotland to plan a strategy.   This resulted in a Stewardship Leaflet being sent to the congregation in April, an Exhibition being held in May, a follow up Stewardship letter being sent in September and a celebratory Lunch being held in November.      

 

The Exhibition focused on Belhaven Church Past and Present and provided an opportunity to showcase what takes place in the church and on the premises.   People who attended the Exhibition seemed genuinely amazed at the number and variety of things that take place on a week by week basis.   The Exhibition also provided comprehensive information on church finances and encouraged people to think about the future of the church and the ongoing importance of Belhaven Church in their life and in their family’s life.    

 

The Stewardship Leaflet and letter asked the congregation to reflect on their giving and how they might support the church into 2015 and beyond, both in financial and practical ways.  

 

The Lunch was hosted by the Congregational Board as a celebration of the life of the church and as a thank you to the congregation for all the different ways they support the church. 

 

In addition to the above the Finance Committee and the Congregational Board explored and discussed how Belhaven’s financial resources could be better invested.   A meeting was held between Finance Committee members, the Church of Scotland General Treasurer and the Investment Trust Secretary.   Finance Committee members also attended a presentation by the Investment Trust Fund Managers.   The outcome from these meetings was reported back to the Congregational Board and further discussions took place to consider transferring Belhaven Church money from the Church of Scotland Deposit Fund to their Income and Growth Funds which yield a higher rate of return.   Decisions were made by the Board to start this process but at a measured pace.        

 

During the aforementioned discussions it was suggested that Belhaven’s financial reserves could be managed in a three part approach with one amount  being set aside for major fabric expenditure; a second amount for development work/ outreach; and a third amount being held as reserve capital and this is now being adopted by the Congregational Board.   A fundamental tenet underpinning this approach is regular income needs to exceed regular expenditure with financial reserves not being used to pay for regular expenditure.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELHAVEN PARISH CHURCH                                                                            

EXTRACTS FROM ACCOUNTS FOR YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2014

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

INCOME                                                                               2014              2013   

 

           

 

1.  Voluntary Income

 

Offerings                                                                              59789                         56398                                  

Tax recovered on Gift Aid                                              14043                        13139

Other donations                                                                  5856                           1676 

Legacies                                                                                2000                         55855

Contributions from congregational organisations               300                   530

                                                                                                81988             127598

           

 

 

2.  Incoming Resources from Activities for Generating Funds

 

Use of premises                                                                  5500                           4726

 

 

 

3.  Investment Income

 

Bank interest receivable                                                               979                   955

 

 

 

4.  Incoming Resources from Charitable Activities

 

Weddings and funerals                                                     2435                           1900

Coffee mornings etc.                                                          980                  915

Concerts                                                                                 1033                             673

Other income from charitable activities                   4418                5147

                                                                                                  8866                           8635

           

 

 

TOTAL INCOME                                                                  97333             141914 

                                                           

EXPENDITURE                                                                     2014            2013   

 

6.  Costs of Generating Voluntary Income                   

 

Envelopes for offerings                                                    296               248

          

7.  Costs of Charitable Activities

Support costs                                                                       89432             92660       

 

8.  Governance Costs

 

Independent examiners fee                                            930                   900   

 

TOTAL EXPENDITURE                                                        90658                   93808   

 

________________________________________________________________

INCOME/EXPENDITURE 2014                                                               2014

 

TOTAL INCOME                                                                                        97333 

TOTAL EXPENDITURE                                                                             90658

 

                                                                                    Surplus                     6675

 

This initial surplus of £6,675 needs to be viewed in context as it includes income donated for named church funds.   These fund donations have been given for a particular purpose and cannot be included as regular income.   In addition legacies are not  included as regular income.   When fund income and legacy income are deducted from the initial surplus this results in a revised surplus figure of £1,823, as shown below:   

 

                                                                        Initial Surplus                     6675

             Legacy                                                                                           - 2000                                                                                                                                      4675

             Special Fund                                            2002.00         

             Mother & Toddler Fund                         496.14

             Famine & Disaster                                     16.91

             Flower Fund                                                 60.00                                              

             Music Concert                                         277.00                                    -2852

 

                                                                        Revised Surplus                     1823 

 

In relation to 1. Voluntary Income set out above, under ‘Offerings’, the figure of £59,789 shows an increase of £3,391 on the 2013 figure.   In turn this has boosted ‘Tax recovered on Gift Aid’ by £904.    ‘Other donations’ show an increase of £4180.   A legacy of £2,000 was also received from the estate of the late Mrs Rose Russell.   Belhaven’s premises are well used by the community and income generated from this shows an increase of £774.   The Hall and Stables are kept in good order by the Fabric Committee making church premises an attractive venue for various community events.

 

There has been no major unexpected expenditure during 2014.   Painting the church foyer and stairs cost £2580 but was part of budgeted expenditure for 2014.   The cost of the new carpet for upstairs in the church was fully met from  donations - Burns Supper income of £756.50;  Guild donation of £300;  Mother & Toddler donation of £483.86.   The Hall entrance and toilets  were also painted - donation of £690 received towards this cost.       

 

During 2014 Belhaven Church was able to make a donation of £800 from the Famine & Disaster Fund to the Ebola Appeal.   The Christmas Eve collection of £196.42 was donated to the Gaza Appeal.   The Remembrance Day retiral collection of £150.20 was donated to the Earl Haig Fund.   £200 was donated from the Music Concert to Dunbar Grammar School’s Music Department and £63.10 was donated from the Aspire Group to East Lothian Foodbank.    

 

Overall the financial position for 2014 has been positive resulting in a small surplus figure.   Offerings have increased and this seems to be a direct result of congregational members making the decision to increase their regular level of giving to the church.   A number of specific donations have also been made thereby minimising expenditure on the fabric of the church.   Generous donations have been made to the Minister’s Special Fund enabling Fischy Music concerts to be held in both the school and church.    In addition various donations were made by Belhaven Church to a variety of worthwhile causes, as listed above.   

 

The Finance and Fabric committees continued to work closely together during 2014 to ensure  careful management of Church finances.   The Accounts have been verified by the external examiner and a copy is available in the Session Room.

 

 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AT END DECEMBER 2014

 

BALANCE IN ACCOUNT                                                                      13,162.25

INVESTED WITH CHURCH OF SCOTLAND                                   170,000.00

 

TOTAL RESOURCES AT 31/12/14                                                £183,162.25

 

 

It is important to give thanks for the financial giving of the congregation on a week by week/month by month basis and to acknowledge the generosity of the late Mrs Rose Russell and her valued support for the work of the church.    The congregation also give freely of their time and talents and a number of very successful and thoroughly enjoyable events were held during 2014 - Burns Supper, Fete, Musical Evening, Sunday Lunches.    Without the spirit of caring and cooperation that abounds in the church and the generosity of giving from the congregation,  Belhaven Parish Church would be unable to minister to the needs of the community and we thank God for this commitment.  

 

Myra Johnstone (Treasurer)

© 2018 Belhaven Church. The Church of Scotland - Scottish Charity number SC011353