On Sunday 5th December, Operations Director Nick Turner gave a brief update over coffee of some of the workings of the church that may not be seen by the congregation.
He began by giving a brief overview of the duties of some of the permanent staff, particularly Tess (administrator), Duncan (verger/caretaker/events), Andy (finance), and Amber (graphic design), and thanked them for easing his transition into his new role over the past ten weeks.
He then outlined three key issues for the church which he has identified through his work.
The first of these is finding the right vicar. Having advertised and interviewed candidates three times without a successful appointment, the churchwardens and PCC are adding some additional lines to the Parish Profile and are working with the Diocese to get the post re-advertised again in due course.
The second issue is the church finances. Ed, in collaboration with Emma, Nick, Margaret, Jean, Amber, and Andy, is working on building a stewardship campaign, in part to address our projected deficit of around £60,000. They are also working to lay the foundations of a major fundraising campaign in aid of fabric repairs in 2024.
The third issue is volunteer recruitment and retention. We currently have a good number of very committed volunteers, but a need has been identified to lessen the burden on some of these by spreading the workload. Key to this is improving communication, through not only notices in church but also on the website, social media, and the email newsletter. We have recently increased our MailChimp subscription to cater to our growing number of subscribers in this regard.
He then gave an update on the major works currently in progress or being planned.
The steel fabrication is almost complete which will be installed early next week to strengthen the roof and support the stonework which has now been cut. Stonework fitting will commence as soon as the steel is in place and also the leadwork will be undertaken next week. The internal scaffolding will be taken down by the end of November. Soon after the bellringers will be able to have a ‘practice ring’ to check the bearings on the bell mounting having stood for so long: (Peter England, Peter Rogan will liaise and may want a structural engineer present to observe the work done and other walls) It is strongly anticipated that the bells will be able to be rung from Christmas Eve onwards!
Most of the fabrication has now been completed, there is some intricate hand carving which is taking additional time. A ‘four way’ tap system has been procured which will provide hot, cold, filtered cold and boiling water (with a safety mechanism to prevent inadvertent use) The units should be on site by 15 Nov 23 and the installation work completed by 21 Nov 23. A decision will need to be made on how to use the 600mm space for either a dish washer or fridge; in the interim a shelf has been fitted which is easily removed. Provision will be made for a power and water feed to a coffee machine and a power and water feed and drain to and from a dish washer. Nick will research suitable coffee machines for submission to the SC/PCC to select. (Ed and Len have ideas and submitted details of machines/setting up site visits).
West End Porch
The work will be complete by the end of the week. For safety purposes masking tape will be put on the doors pending the final ‘manifestation’. From earlier conversations ‘words’ have been discounted as they would only be able to be read ‘one way’. Peter Rogan is to draw up some designs based on lace patterns and submit them to the SC/PCC for selection. From the selection decision to installation the ‘manifestations’ should take no more than 14 days.
Water Ingress to the Chancel
Derek has been up onto the Chancel roof and applied mastic as a ‘quick temporary fix’ where it appears the water could have seeped in. The Chancel roof will require significant work soon. A fully costed quotation has been prepared by MSM in 2021, who ‘won’ the bid which will be revised and used as a core component when submitting a grant request to the Headley Trust (submission by end of November by Nick).
Flagpole and Lightening Conductors
Spoke to Trevor (Cedars Steeplejack (Midlands) Ltd) work will commence w/c 6th November, weather permitting, and should be conclude within 14 days.
The report should be with us by 17 Nov 23.
Movement Monitoring Report
Peter Rogan has the Movement Monitoring Report (which is literally a record of the movement recorded without context) He will be discussing the findings with a structural engineer and report back. From a layman’s perspective all seems satisfactory.
Further discussion required.
Student Placement (2024)
We have been approached by the University of Nottingham to offer a placement for a second-year humanities student – likely history or theology. Applications and interviews will take place in November/December, and the placement will take place one day a week for eight weeks in February and March 2024. Peter Rogan is on board to support a student undertake a ‘Bike Rack’ Project – one day a week over eight weeks. The task will be to ascertain the appropriate planning authority, fundraise groundworks and installation.
An SDF (Strategic Development Funding) Project Group has been formed to take forward the next steps. We hope to advertise for a Student and Young People’s Leader and a Children and Families Worker in the near future. These posts form part of the funding provided to St Mary’s from central diocesan funding.
The Christmas Tree Festival is once again programmed for December, where we will have twenty trees sponsored by local businesses. The children’s choirs will also have a tree. Representatives from the businesses involved are invited to decorate their trees on the afternoon of Friday 1st December.
Looking ahead, Nick is planning a Parish Lunch early in 2024, to be held at Fletchers, and a reception to welcome our new Vicar when they take up post. We are also in the early stages of planning the Nottingham Nativity to be held in church in December 2024, which is being written and directed by members of the Nottingham Passion cast, ably supported from afar by the Rev’d James Pacey (now Canon Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral) and the Rev’d Anna Alls (Vicar of Burton Joyce).
Finally, Nick wished to underline that if anyone has concerns about anything related to the church they are very welcome to speak to him – he hopes this will snuff out any rumours as and when they arise and keep the church a happy and welcoming place.
He then ended by thanking the congregation for their support, welcome, advice, and enthusiasm as he has stepped into this new role.