Minutes of the Churches Together in Witney Council Meeting (on Zoom)

Thursday 15th July 7.00pm 

 

 

  1. Welcome and Prayer: Rev Toby Wright welcomed the members and Rev Jacky Bone led devotions and prayers based upon Psalm 37:1-18: to apply this passage to us as a group/community; not to worry about those who do not like church but to trust in God, delight ourselves in Him who gives us the desires of His heart, and our desire being to see those in Witney come to know Him.
  2. Present:

Rev Jacky Bone         Witney Benefice Team  

Fr Pat Broun               Our Lady and St Hugh RC

Kathy Carter               Witney Community Church

Leah Cotton               Congregational Church

Anne Crawford         High Street Methodist Church

Cordie Edwards         Holy Trinity

David Hare                  Oxford Churches Together Rep

Judy Marshall             St Mary’s Cogges (Secretary)

Jacky Milner               Davenport Road Methodist

Terry Powlesland     Congregational Church

Jacqui Powlesland   Congregational Church (Treasurer)

Mary Lou Scott          St Mary’s Cogges

Matt Watts                 St Mary’s Witney (Ordinand on placement)         

Rev Toby Wright       St Mary’s Witney (Chair)

 

  1. Apologies for absence: John Baigent, Rev Ness Brunner-Ellis, Rev Jason Cooke, Sally Down, Rev Judi Holloway, Rev Simon Kirby, Rev Rose Westwood

 

  1. The Minutes of the AGM and Council Meeting held on 27th April 2021 were approved and will be presented for signing.

 

  1. There were no Matters Arising from the Minutes.

 

  1. Reports:

Chairman:- 

  • Much is going on behind the scenes to do with how we best respond at this time as CTiW. What is the right thing for us to be doing? 
  • There is a need to look at the constitution as this has not reviewed for a while.
  • At subsequent meetings ideas of what to do as per Toby and Jacky’s vision outlined at the last meeting will be presented and discussed.
  • Covid has struck CTiW’s attendance and so we are going to work on increased representation across the churches.

Treasurer (circulated):-

  • Nothing has really happened over the last couple of months and no-one had any questions for Jacqui.

Monthly Prayer Meeting (circulated):-

  • This has continued to be held on the 4th Saturday of each month on Zoom. The group are hoping to meet in-person outside at the back of High Street Methodist Church at the end of this month.  They have no speaker coming this month but are going to use the opportunity to pray for the speaker they had last month/Open Doors.

Street Pastors (circulated):-   

  • In Paul’s absence, Toby said that this is an interesting and tricky time for Street Pastors.
  • Questions to focus upon are: What is the current demand?  What should our support for the Witney late night economy be?  What are the effects of Covid – will it be the same or not?  Therefore, there will be a review during the summer to see what the needs are and then to be agile and respond, which may obviously be frustrating for the Street Pastors and Late Night Café volunteers. 
  • Huge thanks were given to Rosemary Peirce who stepped down from Late Night Café. Someone to replace Rosemary is still needed.  Therefore, were Street Pastors/Late Night Café for a season and now it is time to put our energies into something else?  This will be discussed at future meetings in terms of suitability, sustainability and need.

September Mission (Jacky Bone):-

  • A group of six people from across churches have been meeting to work out how to love people and welcome them back into the town from September 22 – 25th, including linking in with the Big Green Week (see Item 9) at the same time.
  • During the day there will be free cake and coffee in the Methodist Church Café with cakes provided by local cake/coffee shops so as to support them and not be in competition.
  • The idea is to invite friends to the HSM for coffee. In the sanctuary stations will be set up for Covid reflections with a team from Oasis to pray with and talk to people who come into that space between  10am – 2pm. 
  • There will be opportunities for prayer walking around the town and The Turning team will also be out. It is also hoped to launch the new Chaplaincy Neighbourhood Team.
  • There will be a Celebration on the last evening and on other evenings people can come to the team evening get togethers.
  • A short video is currently being put together.
  • Jacky asked would CTiW pay for the cake and coffee? Jacky aims to put a budget together soon. The treasurer said there were funds available and Toby suggested we say yes to this request.  Jacky said she will be trying to get freebies.
  • This would be a good missional exercise for this group.
  • For more information the following can also be contacted: Rev Jason Cooke, Sonia Duratorio (St Mary’s Cogges), Charlotte Osborn and Cedric Hobbs (Witney Community Church).

 

  1. Community Pastors Update (Jacky Bone):-
  • Three terms are currently being used to mean the same thing: Community Pastors, Town Centre Chaplaincy and Chaplaincy Neighbourhood Team.  This group is going to come under the national Neighbourhood Chaplaincy and so this will be the term we will use going forward.  For more information go to https://www.countiesuk.org/neighbourhood-chaplains
  • Currently twelve people have been trained now and are receiving their application forms and being interviewed. Interviews are hoped to take place in August so that we can have a September launch.
  • This initiative is being run by the High Street Methodist Church.
  • Abingdon & Witney College have invited chaplains back after their successful work last year. These chaplains are now going to come under our Neighbourhood Chaplaincy.  Jacky has received a letter from the college’s Deputy Principal to thank the chaplains for what they did last year. 
  • The funding given to this from CTiW was not all used as some of it was going to be used for uniforms but now this will come under the national Neighbourhood Chaplaincy. Funding may be needed (approximately £15 per week) if food is allowed to be served.
  • This will be an item on our next meeting’s agenda when we hope to hear the first report.

 

  1. What Went Well: Members were split into breakout rooms to celebrate things within individual churches since the last meeting.  It was also a chance to get to know each other a bit better.  Each group brought back one thing and these were:-
  • Group 1: How to keep everyone together when people who cannot use the internet are potentially going in different directions.
  • Group 2: Reaching school pupils via pre-recorded video with continuity presenter every week meaning many more schools have been reached more regularly.
  • Group 3: How people with bigger church spaces have been able to open them and also how with a choir there has been singing.

 

  1. The Big Green Week September 18th-26th:https://greatbiggreenweek.com/ 

Looking at environmental issues is something CTiW are already concerned with.  We need to think about how to raise the profile of this week and respond.

 

  1. Service for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 23rd 2022 6pm:
  • Decision made to hold this at Our Lady and St Hugh RC Church but a group from as many churches as possible are needed to arrange it. Fr Pat will be one of the team and Kathy Carter to find someone from the Community Church.  This will be re-visited at the next meeting but we need more people to come forward before then. 
  • This will also be followed up at Ministers’ lunches.
  • Members need to ask people within own churches, including worship bands, to participate.
  • If no-one comes forward then we need to decide if it is a priority. We need to get as many people as possible involved.

 

  1. Mapping Mission:
  • Jacky Bone is going to be asking all the churches where all their mission opportunities are happening and when, for example Alpha courses etc, to get the big picture of what is happening.
  • This mapping will probably happen in the early part of next year, starting small and building up.
  • Holy Trinity have an outreach team and Cordie Edwards outlined the kinds of thing they do – this is an example of what Jacky would note down to be aware of.
  • This will be on our next meeting’s agenda.

 

  1. Subscriptions Update:
  • Jacqui Powlesland reported that we did have seventeen churches as part of CTiW but there are two who are no longer going.
  • Subscriptions have already come from thirteen churches so the other two will be chased up only if necessary.
  • Subscriptions have been at least as good as normal and with maybe even a little bit more.

 

  1. Constitution Review Working Party:
  • David Hare will serve on this with Toby, and Jacky as next year’s Chair will be involved too.
  • This should not be onerous with a meeting between now and November to put together a draft to come to the next meeting.
  • David suggested it may only need tweaks pertinent to our locality.
  • Judy to remind the working party to do the draft before the next meeting.

 

  1. Toby brought to members’ attention the Government’s recent announcement of cutting the overseas relief budget by £4bn. He outlined that we could donate 0.2% of our income on a monthly basis as well as write to our MP as to when the budget will be going back to 0.7% nationally.  More information about this can be found through Christian Aid.  Toby will put something in these minutes (see below) going out from Christian Aid which churches can choose to pursue or not but said it would be a great witness.

 

What can I do?

  1. Contact your MP asking for a clear plan back to the 0.7% commitment
  2. Make the Christian Aid 0.2% pledge and donate 0.2% of your salary to the world’s poorest.Here’s how.

I’ve just done this myself and the Christian Aid calculator is really very simple to use and is a wonderful way of ensuring some additional levels of care for those most in need at this time.  Why do this?  Well the reality is that these cuts mean that in areas of relevance to children such as education, humanitarian assistance and water sanitation will be reduced by 36%, 45% and 47% respectively.  Of course these are difficult times, and yet the impact on those in poverty will be massive.

 

 

  1. AOB:-
  • Anne Crawford has sent a CTiW 1987 – 2007 archive box to the county records office which Anne hoped Council would approve of. Many thanks to Anne for doing this and not leaving it to Judy!
  • Leah Cotton alerted members to this year’s Ride and Stride date: September 11th.  Packs should now have come to the churches who participate and that all proceeds go to OHCT with 50% of what individual churches raise going to where they nominate.
  • Jacky Milner gave details of Davenport Road Methodist’s Prayer Weekend culminating with a service on Sunday morning 28th-29th
  • Jacky Bone reported that she is no longer the minister of Witney Baptist Church but has an ecumenical agreement with Toby so that she remains a Baptist minister but works on the ground with the Witney Benefice Team. This means she can continue her face-to-face work with the Windrush Place community.

 

  1. Date of Next Council Meeting: Tuesday 9th November 7pm – venue tbc

 

The meeting closed with prayer.