Services and Events
SEC Daily Prayer - Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer (Compline)
Attendance at church
It is no longer necessary to book a seat and people can sit where they want, keeping a 1 metre distance between households. It is still necessary to wear a mask, even when singing; to sanitise hands and to give contact details.
The toilet project is progressing well. We have paid the first invoice to the contractor of £13,500. This cost has been reimbursed by the Garfield Weston Fund (£7,500) and the Provincial Grant (£6,000). We have also paid the sewage connection cost to Business Stream, totalling £749.
Annual General Meeting
The AGM was held on Sunday 21st November 2021. The meeting was chaired by Bishop Mark, with twelve members present. Minutes have been placed on the noticeboard at the back of the church, and a summary is shown below.
1. Minutes of the AGM held on 15th December 2019: Jeanette Harper read the previous meeting minutes, which were agreed unanimously.
2. Priest's Report: The Bishop wished to record his thanks for the welcome he and Jane received at St John's. He felt that the charge was coping in the current situation. Ministry had been sustained throughout the lockdown through the use of Zoom technology. He thanked everyone for being patient and showing good will. The investment portfolio had performed well, bringing valuable income. The construction of the toilet extension had just begun, and was expected to be completed by the start of April 2022.
The Bishop thanked Rev Ellie for her ministry. She had now moved to take up a post in Inverness. The parsonage in Thurso was to be sold. A replacement property close to Wick would be sought, to be more attractive to future priests. Diocesan funds could be used to purchase the property. A review of the shared expenses between Wick and Thurso may be necessary. There was a possibility of Rev Heather Dunbar and Rev Don Grant assisting with services in future.
3. Elections: The following were nominated and duly elected:
Voting Vestry Members: Neil Thompson, Alan Finch, Peter Darmady, Pat Stanley, Lyn Ball, Roger Bamfield
Treasurer and Secretary: To be appointed by the new Vestry.
4. Treasurer's Report: Pat presented the accounts for the year ending September 2021. She noted that a sum of £3000 received from the Allchurches Trust had been transferred from the main account into the toilet fund. During the first 18 months of the pandemic the Free Church had continued to pay their monthly donation of £40. This stopped in April 2021 as they were not sure when their services would resume. The bell ringers contributed £60 per quarter. Pat thanked the congregation for their continuing generosity at a time when usual fundraising activities had not been possible. The balance in the current account stood at £14040. Priest's expenses had been higher during the financial year, but would now reduce. A monthly payment of £582 was made to Thurso for shared expenses and the stipend fund. The Clydesdale Bank in Wick would close in January 2022. Alternative ways of banking such as using the Post Office or mobile banking were to be investigated.
Gordon Johnson asked if the book sales could restart. The Bishop mentioned this would be possible if a risk assessment showed it could be done safely.
The meeting thanked Pat for all her hard work throughout the year.
5. Any Other Business -
- Report of the Priory of Servers: Neil reported that the Priory had met on five formal occasions since December 2019. Due to the pandemic the duties of priory members had been considerably curtailed. The Priory now had four full active members, but were currently without a chaplain following Rev Ellie's move to Inverness. Discussions had taken place on a variety of subjects including Post Communion prayers, choice of hymns, storage of wafers, Covid restrictions and their implementation and on-line services. Priory members continued to take an active part in the planning of church services and providing assistance to Bishop Mark. They had continued to lead services when required, particularly important now there was no resident priest.
- Report on Protection of Vulnerable Groups: Clemency Crow had moved away. Bishop Mark noted that it could be possible to have a PVG coordinator for Caithness rather than individual charges. To be discussed at the next Vestry meeting.
- Appointment of Auditor: It was agreed that John Cormack of Victor Frasers should continue as the independent examiner.
- Advertising of Christmas Services: Agreed to put a notice in the local papers, at a cost of £60.
There being no further business, the meeting closed with the Grace at 2 pm.
A Special Meeting was held on Sunday 21 November 2021. The meeting was chaired by Bishop Mark and twelve members were present. The purpose of the meeting was to make two alterations to the constitution.
Alter Clause 5 from "The Constituent Members of the Congregation shall be the communicants of not less than eighteen years of age . . ." to "The Constituent Members of the Congregation shall be the communicants of not less than sixteen years of age . . ."
Add a new Clause 28 entitled "Virtual Meetings" to read: The Annual General Meeting, Vestry Meetings or Special Meetings may be held where arrangements have been made in advance to allow participants to attend the meeting by means of a conference telephone, video link or similar means of electronic communication at which all participants can be heard and can hear each other without the need for them to be physically present at the same location. A person participating in a meeting by such means shall be deemed to be attending virtually and be included in any quorum. A hybrid meeting may be held at which some participants attend the meeting in person and others attend virtually. A person attending a meeting virtually shall have the same rights to receive notice, speak, vote and otherwise participate in the meeting they would have if attending the meeting in person. Where arrangements have been made for a meeting to be held virtually or as a hybrid meeting, the notice calling the meeting shall state that fact and include details of the means by which a person may attend the meeting virtually. Where a vote is to be taken by means of a secret ballot, any arrangements for a meeting to be held virtually or as a hybrid meeting shall include a means for those attending virtually to cast their vote secretly. The minutes of a meeting shall record the names of all persons present at the meeting without distinction between those who attended in person and those who attended virtually.
vote on the resolution was taken by a show of hands.
Notice of Special Meeting
At the Special Meeting held on 21 November 2021 it was agreed to amend the constitution. There has to be a follow-up meeting within three months of the Special Meeting to adopt the revised constitution. This meeting will take place on Sunday 30 January 2022, directly after the morning service. The adoption of the revised constitution will be confirmed by a simple majority of those present and voting, and afterwards assented to in writing by the Bishop.
Toilet Fund Sponsors
My Dear Friends in Caithness,
Hark the Herald Angels Sing, words of joy and hope in the darkness of a winter's night. We hear the story again and each time we still feel the sense of wonder and anticipation. I have now preached at Christmas for over 40years and sometimes people say "why don't you try a new angle on the story" and I reply, "how can I improve on angels, stars, bemused shepherds, wise men and the birth of Jesus".
The realisation that God becomes one of us, that the incarnation means that God has been here and understands us, that ordinary people were involved in extraordinary things and all because we are loved, I can't find a better angle than that.
I still feel the thrill of expectation, the story does not become stale, we just need the courage to tell it again and again, emphasising the humanity and the heavenly aspects of the story. It is a far more powerful story than you will find in most of the films you might watch over Christmas. The difficulties of life overtaken by the glory of God, is that a stale message or is it still a message I want to share.
So go Tell it on the Mountains, go tell it on the shore, go tell it in the towns, go tell it at St John's and St Peter's, go tell them Jesus Christ is born.
Glory to God in the Highest and peace to God's people on earth.