Vicar’s Review 3
Associate Vicar’s Review 7
A Curate’s Perspective 10
Ministry at St Mary Redcliffe 11
From the Churchwardens 12
From the PCC Secretary 14
Electoral Roll 15
Church Lands Charity 16
Temple Ecclesiastical Charity 17
From the Head of Operational Development 18
Deanery Synod 19
Diocesan Synod 21
DEVELOPMENT, BUILDING and FABRIC
Project 450 25
Wardens’ Fabric Report 27
From the Church Architect 29
Textile Conservation 30
The Canynges Society 31
Readers, Intercessions and Offertory 32
Guild of Ringers 33
From the Director of Music 36
Vocations Group 41
Theology Book Club 41
Feminist Theology Group 42
OUR CHURCH COMMUNITY
Mothers’ Union 44
Pot Luck Lunches 44
Christmas Puddings 45
Parish Magazine 56
OUTREACH and SOCIAL ACTION
From the Community Development Worker 49
Churches Winter Night Shelter 52
BS3 Community Larder 54
FAMILIES, EDUCATION and YOUNG PEOPLE
From the Families and Youth Minister 59
From the Community Youth
Development Worker 63
From the Education Officer 69
St Mary Redcliffe Primary School 72
elcome to A Year (and a bit) at Redcliffe 2020, our annual review of life
at St Mary Redcliffe Church.
Covering the period since the last Annual Parochial Church Meeting in May
2019, this booklet includes updates and reports from the many groups,
activities and organisations associated with the church, and provides a snapshot of the diverse
and fascinating life of this community and the magnificent building we call home. As well as
an account of the work and activities of 2019, you can read how the life of the Church has
adapted to the new challenges presented by Coronavirus as we serve God, our church family
and the people of the parish.
We hope you find this publication enjoyable as well as informative. It’s not fully exhaustive and
there’s a lot more to discover in the weekly newsletters, on our website at
www.stmaryredcliffe.co.uk, and via Twitter and Facebook.
If you’d like to keep up to date with everything that’s happening at the Church, why not sign
up to receive our e-newsletter by visiting https://forms.churchdesk.com/f/By8U8h0gM
St Mary Redcliffe Church
t’s hard to remember the start of 2019. So much change has
been forced upon us that the perspective we now have on life
almost entirely eclipses that which went before. Nonetheless,
as we ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’, it is
helpful to turn our attention back to the time before Coronavirus,
to remind ourselves of what was happening at St Mary Redcliffe in
2019 to help us not become overwhelmed by our current situation.
More than that, we can begin to notice what this new perspective
has to offer as we begin to imagine what life might look like beyond
Covid-19. For as many have said: “There is nothing good in this
virus, but it doesn’t mean that nothing good can come from it.”
To help me think that far back, I started by checking a few things: Bishop Viv had been installed
as Bishop of Bristol by then; Richard James was one of our Churchwardens, though (in his own
words) he was getting ‘demob happy’ and Theresa May was Prime Minister! We were anticipating
a very special Good Friday service, the arrival of a curate, a parish weekend and the centenary of
the end of the First World War. However most of us probably weren’t expecting Notre Dame to
be gutted by fire, the phrase “Brexit backstop” to be part of the vernacular or the Vicar of St Mary
Redcliffe to be installed as an Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral!
It was very surprising to be invited by Bishop Viv to become an Honorary Canon of the cathedral.
The installation service was at the end of July and all arranged in rather a hurry. By then David
Hoyle, Dean of Bristol, had been announced as the next Dean of Westminster and I was
particularly delighted to learn that he was keen that the service should happen whilst he was still
in post. David and I had developed a strong working relationship since I became vicar and it was
really lovely to have him preach at that installation service. Despite the relatively short notice and
the service being held in the school holidays, there was a really good SMR contingent at the service
and I felt as though this was not only a significant moment in my ministry but also an important
event in the continuing unfolding journey of SMR.
A month before that, I was at the cathedral for another significant moment and important event:
the ordination of Aggy Palairet to the diaconate. Aggy, Ed and the boys had moved into Colston
Parade a few weeks earlier from Knowle where they had been living for a few years. It was on that
Sunday morning that Aggy took her place as an ordained minister of the Gospel and began the
next phase of her walk with Christ. It was a significant moment for her and an important event for
us: for we, as a church, are charged with Aggy’s formation as a priest in the church of God, enabling
her to exercise all functions of ministry as a priest whilst at the same time to fulfil her calling to ‘be’
a priest. Aggy made a fantastic start in those months before lockdown, showing herself to be not
only very able in her role but also highly versatile in her attitude to ministry. I look forward to her
ordination to the priesthood in October and to walking alongside her during the rest of her curacy.
Aggy’s is not the only vocation we are nurturing. We have a thriving Vocations Group which
continued to meet throughout 2019 and we saw one of our number, Simon Goodman, be approved
for training for ordination. We are expecting his ordination to the diaconate in July 2021, and
much more recently Becky James also was approved for training and we are looking forward to
her ordination in 2023.
Good Friday 2019 was a real ‘one-off’. Rather than a standard preached service, David Stancliffe
(former Bishop of Salisbury but really in his capacity as a musician) with a handful of singers and
players, as well as our choir, came to Redcliffe to bring an experience of the Passion according to
St John through the theology and musical imagination of Johann Sebastian Bach. David explained
to the congregation how Bach understood St John’s Passion in its three parts and how “the
dramatic passion narrative is complemented with evocative arias that allow us to meditate on Jesus’
sufferings and death, and how the whole is undergirded by well-known chorales that earth our
response to the passion in the hymns of the church’s worship.” The service was very well attended,
highly appreciated and shows how SMR can use its place within the city to do things that blur the
boundaries between faith and art, between worship and culture.
The notion of blurring boundaries emerges from our engagement with HeartEdge which is an
initiative of St Martin in the Fields in London. This idea encourages churches to think about the
life of their church within four strands: congregation, compassion, culture and commerce. The
underlying theory is that, working together, these four themes can provide the bedrock not only
for sustainable church life but also for evangelism and community outreach. It is worth pointing
out that these four themes map entirely onto the four strands of vision statement:
Singing the song of faith and justice
- as a thriving, inclusive Christian community congregation
- as a recognised, welcoming heritage destination culture
- as a church that makes a difference in the parish and beyond compassion
- all animated by a sustainable and progressive organisation commerce
And as the year was drawing to an end, we marked the anniversary of Armistice Day. We invited
people to bring in artefacts from WW1 (including my grandfather’s communion set from the
trenches) which were displayed in the transept before a special service during which we created
the Poppy Cross. I was surprised by just how many artefacts were put on display, and then amazed
at the number of people who came to the service. Again, we should never underestimate the pulling
power of St Mary Redcliffe especially when we are creative in providing special moments for people
who feel that, despite everything, the church threshold still seems too high to cross.
2019 was also a year of transition in the parish office. We said “Farewell and Thank You” to Ros
Houseago, who retired; to Pat Terry who also retired from employed work with us but has kept on
her role as Clerk to the Church Lands Charity and Canynges Society; to Pete Rignall who moved
on to pursue other activities after three years with us; and to two people who most of you won’t
know but who have provided invaluable back-of-house work for SMR for over twenty years, Tanya
Stratton and Marlene Green who both left their work with our accountants. This meant that we
spent quite a lot of the spring and summer of 2019 recruiting, and the autumn and winter inducting
Sarah Purdon as Parish Administrator, Roseanna Wood as Head of Operational Development
and Héloïse as my PA. These new members of staff, all excellent appointments, were just
getting stuck in when Coronavirus hit.
Since March, along with everyone else, we have had turn to learn how to do things very differently.
Those of you who tried to stay with our attempts at live streaming know how frustrating our early
efforts were. We now have a tried and tested procedure (which always remains at the whim of the
internet connection and electricity supply!) which other churches are now asking us about as they
seek to learn how to bring a live streamed service to their congregations.
We reframed what we were trying to do and embraced three key themes:
- caring for the congregation
- connecting with the community
- creating an online presence
We created a phone contact system using 50 people who volunteered to contact some 300
households, and we are now reviewing how this can continue to contribute to our pastoral work.
Our community staff worked with others across the city to set up an emergency foodbank which
is going to get busier as the economic crisis begins to bite. We have had Morning Prayer live online
every day since lockdown, a live service every Sunday and created videos from bible stories to
poems and musical offerings. We really did turn on a sixpence to become a very different looking
Now we are beginning to think about what the future may hold for us:
- what did we put down in lockdown that we need to pick up soon
- what did we put down in lockdown that we need to leave there
- what have we done in lockdown that we need to end at some point
- what have we done in lockdown that we need to carry on
What happens when we look at something familiar from a different perspective (hence the photo
on the front cover)? What does it mean for us to recover, rebuild and reshape? How much of 2019
will we (can we) take into 2021? How can we ensure that, whatever we are doing with whatever
resource we have to hand, we are Singing the song of faith and justice as best we can?
Covid-19 has created the most astonishing six months that we will ever live through so I want to
end by offering my heartfelt thanks:
- to my colleagues, who have stepped up to the plate with remarkable resilience despite
the challenges they faced and
- to you, who have been consistently supportive of our efforts, understanding of our
failings and prayerful in your encouragement.
I think we can safely say that 2020 has shown some of the very best of what SMR can be.
ooking back at 2019 from the vantage point of summer
2020 is a strange exercise, and probably throws up rather
different highlights than the same exercise might have in
January. Flicking through my 2019 diary I’m struck by the
“bread-and-butter” parts of ministry that have looked so different
this year – baptisms, weddings, funerals; admission to communion
and confirmations; other special services in church; pastoral visits
and outreach activities. Those all have continued to be a core part of
how I spent my year.
Supporting and enabling the work of my fantastic team has once
again been a pleasure, and you will find reports from them elsewhere in this publication – David
Cousins, Community Youth Development Worker; Becky James, Families and Youth Minister;
Rachel Varley, Community Development Worker; and Sarah Yates, Education Officer. Once again
we welcomed ordinands from Trinity College, Alex Podd and Jon Ball, and a Licensed Lay Minister
in training, Simon Williams, all of whom I supervised in their placements, and I also took on
supervision of a home-grown ordinand, Simon Goodman, as he started his training at Sarum
College. It’s always a real pleasure to be part of people’s formation for ministry and to take the
opportunity to reflect on my own.
A piece of work that Alex, one of our ordinands, was able to kickstart for us, was our EcoChurch
survey. Thanks to her groundwork we had a clear understanding of the areas we need to improve
on and we were able to make good progress over the autumn of 2019 to the point where we were
awarded our Bronze EcoChurch award at Diocesan Synod in November. This focus was sustained
into 2020 and we will continue to work on our EcoChurch credentials.
2019 also saw the second Parish Weekend (of recent times!) which I co-ordinated along with
Anthony Everitt and Becky Macron. A group of nearly 50 of us spent a glorious weekend in
Sidmouth, learning, praying, eating and relaxing together. Once again we had a great spread of
ages and it was an especially lovely chance to get to know Aggy and her family who were brand
new to Redcliffe that weekend! The two all-age sessions were great opportunities to learn together
– a session on prayer which had lots of different resources inside and out, including a labyrinth,
and the learning Eucharist where we explored the different parts of the service as we went through.
I began a second term as a member of Bishop’s Council in January 2019, and through that was
involved in 2 significant pieces of work over the course of the year – being part of a group working
on the next Diocesan Strategy, and leading a consultation for women clergy in the Diocese around
the creation of a Dean of Women’s Ministry role. I also continued to serve as a Local Board
Member (governor) at St Mary Redcliffe Primary School, which you can read about in Jenny Hall’s
Throughout the year I was planning and looking forward to my Extended Ministerial
Development Leave, which was approved in the summer; having such a fantastic team of colleagues
and volunteers around certainly made planning for my absence a lot easier! I’m so grateful to the
parish and the diocese for the opportunity my whole family was able to make the most of.
The early part of 2020 was, of course, my Extended Ministerial Development Leave, and in
retrospect it seems extraordinary that it was possible for us to have this opportunity, given how the
year has turned out. On our way to New Zealand we stopped off in San Francisco for a few days,
and we were in Chinatown there the day after Chinese New Year towards the end of January, and
there was definitely a feeling of caution there… however we did make it to New Zealand and had
a good couple of months of ‘normal’ life there before we went into lockdown and plans had to
We stayed at St John’s Theological College in the Eastern Bays area of Auckland – a city many
visitors pass through fairly quickly but a place we very much enjoyed living. We found the housing
much less dense than in British cities, high rise living is fairly unusual and there is a lot of green
space. So while the city is rather sprawling, the boundary between urban and wild spaces is much
more blurred. We had an area of ‘bush’ at the end of our garden and a view of the sea and the
iconic, and now beloved to us, Rangitoto volcanic island, and we loved having access to beautiful
beaches in the city.
I joined the clergy team at Holy Trinity Cathedral where I was made very welcome. The cathedral
is a huge modern building with similar congregation and visitor numbers to us at SMR but a much
smaller staff team. Having recently completed the building of the cathedral with a beautiful chapel
at the east end, they were in the process of establishing a new trust to support the mission, ministry
and music of the cathedral into the future, and it was very interesting to have an insight into their
operations and finances, as well as being part of the worship and faith life of the cathedral.
One of the things that left the greatest impression on me was being part of a bicultural church in a
bicultural society. Te Reo Maori (the Maori language) is woven into everyday conversation, school,
and worship alike, and cultural practices and concepts from Maori culture are integrated into
many facets of life. It’s not a society without inequalities but I sensed a real commitment to
addressing historic wrongs and celebrating cultural diversity. I’ve found it a very helpful experience
for informing my thoughts and reflections on how we deal with issues of racism and the legacy of
slavery in our society here.
We went into lockdown in New Zealand about the same time as you did in the UK, and although
that was a strange time and uncertain time, we were embraced by the college community and well
looked after by our neighbours. I continued to lead worship on the Holy Trinity Cathedral
YouTube channel, although we did play in our Easter Day worship at home with a recording of
the bells of St Mary Redcliffe! We finally made it home in mid-April, safe, although sad to have
missed out on our travels we had planned for April.
Readjusting on our return was challenging and it was a few weeks before I really felt I’d arrived
and caught up at SMR. However, it was clear that Dan and others had worked hard to keep the
leadership and staff team together via various digital means, and it wasn’t too long before I was
back in the swing of things.
Part of the challenge of being in ministry as lockdown eases is the constantly shifting ground of
what is and isn’t allowed or recommended, and having to keep up with guidelines and reassess
where we are and what we do. For all of us in the leadership team, significant time and energy over
the last months has gone into reading guidelines, discussion and decision-making, and detailed
planning, over and over again. I’ve also been supporting my team, who each have a specialist area
with its own guidelines, as they do the same for different areas of our ministry and mission.
However, there have been some parts of ministry in Covid that have been a real pleasure and I’ll
end by sharing a couple of these highlights.
In June, as we have done for the last few years, we welcomed ordinands on placement and Jo and
Simon joined us. Although this looked totally different from the experience we have offered
ordinands in the past, it provided the same opportunity for me and the wider team to talk at a
theological level about what we do here as a church, and how, and why, which is always enriching
as it brings the different perspectives, questions and insights of each ordinand.
Something I missed in New Zealand was all-age worship, so it was a particular delight to begin our
zoom Family Services in June, which have been a great success. We’ve been discovering how to
get creative on Zoom with our prayers and the image attached is a snapshot of our prayer activity
on our recent Patronal Festival, thinking about Mary’s song that she just couldn’t keep in, and how
she might encapsulate it as a T-shirt slogan!
It has also been a huge pleasure to work with our Community team as they have progressed our
ambitious plans for supporting and engaging with our local community during the covid crisis,
and as we seek healing and recovery in the future.
And, finally, it was announced at the end of August that Bishop Viv asked me to take on the role
of Dean of Women’s Ministry for the Diocese, alongside my role here. It’s a huge privilege to be
invited to take this on and I hope it will provide me opportunities to develop my ministry while
remaining in the parish I love.
y first year at Redcliffe has been wonderful and
eventful; I mean, not many curates can boast
about serving their deacon year during a
pandemic! The word deacon means ‘servant’,
and some of the major roles of a deacon consist of learning to
serve, to assist, to instruct and to lead. That is why I am usually
the person preparing the table for Communion, reading the
Gospel, and directing responses from the congregation, such as
saying ‘let us share with one another the sign of peace’.
It has been a joy to worship in a style that is uniquely St Mary
Redcliffe’s. With the wonderful music, beautiful vestments and
the light pouring in from the windows, they all add to the atmosphere that display our devotion
and reverential respect for God, directing our hearts and minds to worship Him together. Some of
the learning that I must do during my curacy include leading Baptism services, and participating
in weddings and funerals, which I was able to do just before the lock-down, phew!
Whilst the building speaks of grandeur and wealth, I am inclined to think that SMR is highly aware
of the need of its community. I am inspired by our motto ‘singing the song of faith and justice’ and
by all the activities and charity events that the church set up to meet the needs of the community.
Just this year I have been involved with the Redcliffe lunch club, the Redcliffe Emergency
Foodbank, the Modern Slavery Initiative, the Lent eco appeal, The Noise, the Befriending service
and leading groups of school children around the church.
I am impressed with how well we are connected with each other. For those who were unwell, I had
the privilege to visit them in hospital and in their homes, to give home communion and to be there
for them for the last rites. Since the lock-down, the congregation has taken part with the
ContacTree and actively assisted those who were housebound with shopping and collecting
prescriptions. What a great team we have!
As I transition from deacon to priest, I look forward to journeying with all of you in this new phase.
inistry at St Mary Redcliffe has continued to
develop through 2019 and well into 2020; not
always in the ways we would expect! At the start
of 2019 the clergy team of Dan, Kat, Anthony and
Peter shared much of the leadership and preaching at the Sunday
Eucharists and Evensong, and in June Aggy joined St Mary
Redcliffe as deacon and curate following her ordination. The
ministry of deacon is unique and reminds us all, ordained or not,
that at the heart of Christian ministry is the ministry of service of
one another and of those outside the Christian family. It is that
ministry of service that underpins our wish to be an inclusive
church that makes a difference in the parish. It is a ministry for all of us to own.
Each of the clergy team has different ways of leading and preaching which, hopefully, enrich the
worship and teaching tradition, prompt consideration and renewal, and enable many to engage
with the gospel of Christ. Since the start of lockdown in March 2020 the attendance at the worship
at St Mary Redcliffe has spread outside the walls of the church and beyond the boundaries of Bristol
as we have streamed our Sunday Eucharist, Evensong and daily Morning Prayer; enabling both
our regular congregation and many others to worship as community of some form throughout the
Of course the work of ministry is not limited to the clergy. Our lay leaders of worship have
important work in leading Matins, Evensong and other worship. We also have the work of our
Families and Youth Minister, and of our Community, and Youth Community Development
workers. Becky, Rachel and David respectively have developed this work further over the last 18
months. That development has proved invaluable as church and the wider Redcliffe area have
sought to maintain and develop community in what, for many, have been difficult months. We
should thank God for the foresight of those who helped establish these areas of work, and for those
who have given us the means to fund it. Surely this Covid period has helped all of us to see how
important those elements of ministry are.
The Christian life is one of ministry and service. In our baptism all Christians are called to God’s
work and so to some ministry. Despite, or because of, the months since March 2020, in many ways
St Mary Redcliffe’s ministry of service is doing well; but there is always more to do. The harvest is
plentiful, the workers are few; is God calling you forward to help?
ast year’s Annual Meeting of
Parishioners saw the
replacement of one Richard
with another. We take this
opportunity to express our personal
thanks to Richard James for his years of
service and particularly for his support
of Elizabeth during her time as “Junior”
While summer 2019 seemed to be much
like any other, come the autumn,
everything started to shift. First, we had
major changes in the staff, with the departure of Peter Rignall, the retirement of Ros Houseago,
and Pat Terry’s move to confine her work to support of the Church Lands Charity (CLC). All three
contributed greatly to the life of this church over their years of service, and we are grateful for their
work and dedication. We took an active part in a long and careful recruitment process, and were
pleased to welcome Héloïse as the Vicar’s Executive Assistant, Sarah Purdon as Parish
Administrator, and Roseanna Wood as Head of Operational Development. The first was a new
post, and neither of the others is a straight replacement of what went before; and there is still some
working out of who best does what. But these changes have brought a new vitality to the Office
and our new staff members have worked hard not only to settle into their new roles but also drive
forward various additional changes.
For our large services during Advent and Christmas 2019, we instituted a formal system of “duty
wardens” to assist us and the sidesmen in ensuring the safety and the comfort of our big
congregations. This worked well, and we are very grateful to all those who volunteered. We were
especially pleased to be joined by some younger volunteers, some of them parents of members of
our Children’s Church, and we hope they will be able to serve again, perhaps even on occasion to
join one of us at normal Sunday services. We are only too well aware that for the most part those
who stand with us are not as young as they used to be!
By the time it came to Easter 2020, services, never mind large services, were not possible at all.
Services went online, first from the homes of clergy, latterly streamed from inside the church. The
Rush service, alas, was similarly affected, though it was good to video-record the lessons in the
south churchyard. It is only recently that we have been able to move tentatively, against a
constantly-shifting barrage of advice from Government, the C of E and the Diocese, towards a new
pattern of worship within the church; again, we are grateful to those who have helped to manage
these occasions, with their demands for distancing, sanitising and record-keeping.
We spent the winter of 2019 in a mood of ever-increasing anxiety about the failure to find a
successor to David Harrowes as PCC treasurer, knowing as we did that if the PCC fails to appoint
anyone, the role defaults to the wardens. And thus it came to pass. So since about April 2020, we
have been doing two jobs. But what became apparent, as we dug into this new role, was just how
much more work was needed to get the church’s financial management systems into good order.
Fortunately, at around this time Elizabeth was able to take a sabbatical from her employment, and
she has devoted this to a thorough overhaul of those systems. The staff and volunteers, all of whom,
from clergy to those who provide refreshments (when those are again permitted), will be engaged
in the new way of managing our money; it is good to record that, so far, they have responded with
Partly as wardens, partly as treasurer, we have been working with the Church Lands Charity to
develop a new relationship. This began in 2018 with the transfer of staff from the CLC to the PCC
as employer. It has since moved further, with the CLC becoming ever more a grant-giving body
and the PCC a grant-seeking body. We think this is very healthy, as it means that the PCC must
make a case for its spending, and that that case is carefully scrutinised. And what has been borne
in upon us, not least when we look at the position of other large churches, is how very fortunate
we are to have financial support, through the CLC, deriving from our historical endowments, and
also from the Canynges Society and the Temple Ecclesiastical Charity.
We continue to play our part as members of the PCC, the Standing Committee, other committees
(eg Personnel, Safeguarding, Fabric), and as trustees ex officio of both the CLC and the Bedminster
Our next report, whenever that may be, will record the departure of Elizabeth after her four years
as Warden. We are even now anxiously considering who might replace her. If you think you
might, do please speak to one or other of us. Meanwhile, one further word of thanks to those to
whom falls the day-to-day, delegated exercise of many of our functions; the office staff we have
already mentioned; but we depend heavily of the service of our verging team and of our team of
sidesmen, duty wardens and other volunteers.
The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Mary, Redcliffe.
Registered Charity No. 1134120
ome months before the planned Annual Parish Meeting I had indicated to Dan that I
would wish to take the opportunity of that meeting to stand down as Secretary to the
Parochial Church Council of St Mary Redcliffe, a role that I had been fulfilling for some
years. Those who had been used to my occupying a stall in the choir will have known that
I had not been in that place for some time; I have, in fact, been filling a vacancy in the choir of
Wells Cathedral and the restructuring of the administration and office of SMR afforded an
opportunity both for me to relinquish those duties and for them to be taken in house.
Much has changed since my decision and I have slipped quietly away from the involvement that I
have had as the office works out how to function in the new circumstances that we all face.
When I first came to Bristol in 1971 to train as a lawyer the choir at SMR welcomed me warmly
and, after a while, Bryan Anderson suggested that I convert from a bass to sing alto. That
suggestion shaped my life over the succeeding fifty years and since then SMR has had a pivotal part
in my life; I did, after all, end up marrying the daughter of Kenneth Clark, the Vicar in the seventies
and have run youth groups and the parish magazine in the past!
Being Secretary has been the most recent incarnation of my involvement and has been most
interesting coming, as it has, at a time of great change and development for which I wish those that
follow me in the administration nothing but the best."
his year the Electoral Roll has risen from 272 in April 2019 to 286 with 42 resident in
the Parish, a ratio of 14.6%. 19 names were added to the roll and 6 were removed
during the course of the longer period this year.
Names added were: Sebastian Charles, Judith Elisabeth Chidgey, Anna Chimenti,
Sarah Helen Cleave, John Anthony Cooper, Mary Millicent Cooper, Keith Cogger Donoghue,
Laura Donoghue, Maggie Donoghue, Francis Richard Ross Dyton, Claire Holly, Rebecca James
(name changed), Dr Edmund Ian Marshall, Grace Martin, Edward Palairet, Jean Margaret Taylor,
Matthew Anthony Tomlinson, Bernard John Wilson, and Joanna Wyld
Names removed were: Rita Button, John Anthony Cooper, Helen Jack, Rebecca Macron (name
changed), Alberdina G J Tiemens, and Eric Stanley Tyley.
Registered Charity No. 211109
s in previous years this historic charity has continued to provide substantial support
to the PCC. This support is given not only by way of grants for fabric projects, staff
salaries, and church expenses, but also by way of making the charity’s premises
available for use as the Parish Office and church staff accommodation.
The major fabric project funded during this period comprised the urgent works to the church spire
which have now been completed. Other possible projects for the current year are under active
discussion with the PCC.
The charity relies on its investment income to fund these grants. At the end of its last accounting
year at the beginning of April there was a substantial fall in capital values of its funds as a result of
stock market turmoil triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. These losses have since been partially
reversed by subsequent stock market gains.
Of greater practical concern is the likely short and medium term reduction in investment income
of the charity, which is another consequence of the pandemic. The extent of this reduction is not
yet clear but is being monitored closely by the charity’s investment committee and investment
The charity does however have substantial reserves. Its annual report for the Charity Commission
states that the charity directors have no concerns over the charity’s financial sustainability and
ability to remain a going concern.
Recruitment of new directors of the charity’s corporate trustee has been a major preoccupation for
the existing directors during this period. We were lucky enough to recruit Karen Brown as a direct
replacement of Chris Ladkin who has retired as director. Karen has insurance expertise and has
taken on Chris’ role in that respect.
We were also lucky to recruit Paul Anning as our new treasurer to replace Rob Tyley who retired
as treasurer in April after many years’ of service to the charity. Paul is a recently retired chartered
accountant who took on the role just in time to confront both the annual audit and the Covid-19
turmoil, but has not (so far) complained!
For many years the system of recruiting new trustees and directors from personal contacts has
served us well, as exemplified by these two new appointments. However we were encouraged by
Charity Commission guidelines concerning diversity to try also recruitment through a recruitment
Our employment of Moon Executive Search – in the middle of the lockdown – produced an
extraordinary amount of interest from admirably qualified people. It was a difficult task to narrow
these down to the maximum number of new directors who we feel can be taken on right now, but
following a process of selection, interviewing and induction, the choices have been made and the
appointments are being formalised and will be publicised in due course.
Registered Charity No. 229907
emple Ecclesiastical Charity is a local charity that supports the work of the Church of
England in Bristol. It provides an annual grant to the parish of St Mary Redcliffe and
considers and gives grants to other Church of England projects within Bristol.
The Charity is an amalgamation of the Church Lands and other ecclesiastical charities
of the ancient parish of Temple or Holy Cross in Bristol. The former parish church in Victoria
Street was gutted in the Second World War; what remains of the building is now managed by
For more information about the charity, the grants they’ve given and how to apply for a grant
please visit their website http://www.templecharity.co.uk/ or talk to Dan Tyndall or Greca Warr,
both of whom sit on the Temple Ecclesiastical Charity board of trustees.
éloïse, Sarah and I were warmly welcomed into the Redcliffe team in Autumn 2019.
We have encountered many (and some unexpected!) challenges since then but
along with the rest of the staff team, we have begun to adjust to life working for this
incredible church and working to support all that it has to offer.
In March, just before lockdown began, we embarked on an IT systems overhaul. This has changed
the way we work for the better. Although moving to Office365 during the pandemic has not been
without its challenges, it has enabled us to work collaboratively from the safety of our own homes.
March also saw the launch of our new website by Rhys, which has been integral to building our
online presence and improving digital communications.
The office team has significantly adapted to ensure “business as usual” and to meet increased
demands imposed by the Covid-19 situation. A lot of consideration and planning has also gone
into the plans to reopen the church directly following the great effort that went into putting church
online and setting everyone up to work from home. Regular meetings have continued and staff
have been impressive in their efforts in supporting one another and keeping channels of
Work has gone into ensuring that those not accessing online services stay up to date and connected
to Redcliffe life. Each member of the staff team has brought to the table ideas which have meant
continued engagement with our congregation and Parish. Lockdown has given us the blessed
opportunity to spend time working with the Churchwardens in implementing new financial
processes, which will be managed by the staff team going forward.
We are grateful for the support and encouragement received from members of the congregations
and volunteers over recent months. We are excited about what lies ahead in our journey of
transformation as a progressive and sustainable organisation.
highlight of Deanery Synod meetings this year was a meeting with Alice Kemp -
Diocesan Disability Advisor. Alice's role is to support parishes in implementing the
Equalities Act, but the EA is only a minimum baseline. If we are following God's
word, we will want to do much more.
Alice can work with churches to do an in depth audit for all kinds of disability issues, developing
an action plan which leads towards a "Safe and Welcome" award. Understands that some churches
will have more difficult challenges than others, and it is not about being immediately perfect but
about working towards improvements in the right direction. She will return a number of years
later to see how the church is doing against the identified action points.
Different types of issues: Hospitality and welcome, Accessibility, Youth & Children, Health &
Accessibility is not just about having a wheelchair ramp or a disabled loo. Think about all kinds of
disability - hearing, sight, mobility, sensory issues, learning disabilities. Not everyone can manage
screens, everyone has different needs, some people prefer to be left alone.
16% of people of working age are disabled, but 92% of disabilities do not require the use of
180 disability hate crimes are reported in the UK every day
90% of the general public agree with the statement that disabled people are a social burden.
60% of non-disabled people choose to avoid interacting with disabled people because they
feel awkward about how to interact
We cannot assume that we know who has additional needs. Not everyone's disability will be
visible, and not everyone will feel confident and assertive enough to ask for what they need. So we
need to cultivate a culture of assuming that anyone may need something a little different, and can
access that if they want to.
Thinking about how language can affect people's feelings. "Please stand" being replaced by "please
stand if you are able" sounds like a good adjustment but may make people with fluctuating
conditions feel they ought to, even if it might cause pain, because they can. Consider "Please stand
if that is comfortable for you - or feel free to sit"
Some changes are very easy - e.g. a choice of different kinds of chair, with and without arms.
A Dementia Church resource pack was handed out, including the idea of an occasional event
service focusing on creating a specifically tailored experience for people with dementia and their
carers. When people get confused and dislocated in time, the familiarity of a traditional church
service can be joyful.
Alice has some copies of the NIRV Bible Accessible Version - Large print, less metaphor, easier to
understand. If we have a church member who could benefit we can have a free copy in exchange
We spent some time talking about some sample quotes from the experiences of a number of
"Remember that many disabilities like mine fluctuate so if I'm not using my stick please don't
ask if I am cured"
"Please don't underestimate the pain that an individual dealing with mental illness
encounters. It is real and, at many times, so pervasive that you can't see or feel anything else.
And yes ending it all appears to be the only way to end that pain"
"I am not incapacitated and I don't want to be treated as though I can't be trusted to do
"Since being diagnosed my world has shrunk down to four walls. People can't see I'm ill so
they judge me"
"See beyond making sure I can get through the door, to valuing me. Remove barriers to me
serving and leading.
"They tend to write me off and say God can't use me"
"I would love to read in church but no one will let me as I am too slow"
"The church ought to be the very best place for folks with mental illness, but often we are
judged and blamed for our illness"
"The first time I googled 'deaf church' I found the John Stott quotation 'a deaf church is a
"If I ask for prayer, remember I have the same issues as everyone else - don't assume I want
prayer for my disability"
"I wish churches knew how hard it is for hearing impaired people to do crowds and noisy
things - after church coffee, meals with more than 4-5 people"
Thinking about SMR, what might we do with this? We could we involve Alice in the current plans
for Church Development - it will be easier to wrap recommendations into existing plans which are
not yet firmly fixed rather than coming to this question in a few years’ time when projects are
already starting to advance. This is true both for the "physical" developments adding to the fabric
of the church and for the community development aspects of our plans.
ince St Mary Redcliffe's APCM in April 2019, the Diocesan Synod has met for business
four times: 8 June and 16 November 2019; 9 March and 14 July 2020. Synod also met on
13 June for prayer to discern God's calling in the present time. Meetings since lockdown
in March have been conducted online via Zoom.
Leaving aside key Diocesan governance, fiscal and safeguarding reports necessarily and regularly
presented at Synod, a number of public interest matters were raised over the year. This report
concentrates on some of the issues discussed and the feedback from the prayer meeting in June.
June 2019 – Pastoral Principles for living well together
The substantive agenda item was the presentation and discussion on the Pastoral Principles for
living well together, a resource focusing on LGBTI+ issues that also applies to wider issues of
diversity. Synod learned that a process indicating the way these conversations could happen across
the Diocese would be outlined later in the year. The document explores pastoral engagement in
terms of six principles: acknowledging prejudice, casting out fear, speaking into silence, admitting
hypocrisy, addressing ignorance, and awareness of power issues. Members reflected on the need
for non-confrontational debate in church as part of the wider need to be welcoming to all
irrespective of views and experiences. Bishop Viv concluded by reflecting on ways to extend such
discussions across the Diocese.
November 2019 – Diocesan Environment and Climate Justice Policy
Synod discussed the Diocese Environment and Climate Justice policy, voting on motions to adopt
and commend it across the Diocese's parishes and schools. The policy resolutions included: (i)
declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency; reaching net zero carbon across the activity of the
Diocese by 2030; (ii) supporting the Church of England's Environmental Working Group in
bringing forward a motion for debate to declare a climate emergency; (iii) working with other parts
of the church, government and other organisations sharing the same purpose locally and
nationally, and (iv) calling on others to do the same. Bishop Viv announced immediately afterward
Synod's agreement to declare a Climate Emergency, saying “Bristol is the first Diocese to make this
declaration and pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions in its life and work, by 2030.”
The meeting also debated the proposal to adopt Swindon Deanery's Real Living Wage policy, the
vote for which was adjourned to give time for the Deanery to amend its motion.
March 2020 – Real Living Wage
The debate resumed, focusing on information supplied outlining the difference between the
government statutory Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, and the higher but voluntary
Real Living Wage (RLW) calculated by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) based on the cost of
The proposal articulated the harm caused by poverty, and in-work poverty (earnings below RLW),
and welcomed “the accreditation of the Diocesan Board of Finance as a real Living Wage
employer”, noting also the 2012 General Synod resolution “strongly encouraging Church of
England institutions to pay at least the ‘Living Wage’”. The new motion called for (i) “all Church
of England bodies, schools, academies and churches in Bristol Diocese publicly to commit to
paying the real Living Wage, so that directly employed and regularly contracted staff are paid the
real Living Wage”; (ii) those bodies “to consider formally becoming accredited as Living Wage
employers to demonstrate this commitment to our communities”. The motion was agreed.
Information supplied also covered questions as to whom RLW applies, and arrangements for third
party contracted staff (“those who work regularly, for 2 or more hours a week, for 8 or more
consecutive weeks a year … excluding contractors that supply your organisation with products,
e.g. stationery suppliers”).
Further details included a thumbnail of LWF, whether accreditation endorses the gambling
industry (it was agreed that it doesn't), reasons for accreditation (public accountability; influencing
the wider community for the common good – as with Climate issues), and whether accreditation
is good value (figures were provided and it was explained that the National Audit Office, watchdog
for use of public money, is an accredited RLW employer together with over 500 organisations,
including Bristol City Council and other local authorities, police forces, universities, NHS Trusts
and individual schools).
To complete the picture, Synod learned that the living-wage movement began with faith leaders
and community organisers in a church hall in East London in 2001, and heard the theological
rationale for paying RLW in the following comments from the Archbishops:
The Christian faith makes a strong moral argument for paying the living wage. The Bible
urges us to treat one another fairly: those who are on the breadline are to be given back their
dignity and self-respect. That means ending their uncertainty – Archbishop Sentamu
This is a moment to celebrate what can be done when faith organisations, civil society and
businesses pull together around values that unite us. With our presence in every community
around the country, I'm delighted that the Church of England is part of this exciting and
essential effort to ensure every person can have, in the words of Jesus, ‘life in all its fullness' –
Archbishop Welby on the Real Living Wage
June and July 2020 – Church Beyond 2020
The “Church Beyond 2020” agenda item for the July meeting provided the opportunity to respond
to themes emerging from the June prayer meeting, to reflect on current experience and to discern
themes for future Diocese vision and strategy. Synod divided into 10 breakout groups whose
discussions yielded some 100 comments. Here are a few of them – the headings below are
particular to this report and are provided to reflect the spread of discussion and viewpoint:
On God's words
Path of righteousness from Psalm 1 (quoted by Bishop Viv and recognising a journey for
the church to speak out on the ‘way of righteousness') | Remember you are holy | Behold I
am doing a new thing | Free my church, think my kingdom | Walk in my ways not your
On being church
Pray for kingdom not empire | What does it mean to be Christ’s church in a virtual world?
| We will come through this; economic hardship can be addressed, but the ways of the Lord
must be practised. Kindness, unselfishness, across boundaries, and have hope | Can the
church rediscover its prophetic voice? ... Is God calling us to account to be more like salt to
change our priorities and structures? | The church needs to learn from Black Lives Matter
and help others to learn | Great opportunity for churches to start again | A Church for
On being a Christian at this time
Words from the hymn, Holy, holy, holy: “Though the darkness hide thee”. The impact of
Covid-19 has been darkness, in isolation from friends, and families and from church; God
has felt hidden, but that does not mean that we cannot connect with Him – He is there –
but we do need each other, as church | We need to be self-critical as we engage in BLM and
On the environment
Be aware of my creation and the seasons you have noticed with new eyes since being
isolated | Noticing and treasuring the natural environment, enabling those who have not
had opportunity to enjoy it to do so |
On keeping in contact
Remember the value and preciousness of the physical (creation/human contact) |
Lockdown v. outreach; on the surface lockdown is inward looking and yet church has
reached out in new ways; paradox here; all happened in Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost
– resonance with disciples being told to ‘stay in Jerusalem’ and then Pentecost sent them
to the ends of the earth; live streaming means from our front room on a Sunday we reach
far more people wherever they are | The great opportunities we have with technology to
make connections in prayer and service | Touch is valuable – sacrament is valuable – all
part of the shared life of the church | Connection – overcoming isolation, reach out, praying
for wisdom and judgement and the ability to listen, not just for now but a long term thing.
Opportunity to build different ways of life – so as to be ‘fairer’ or ‘greener’ | Remarkable
demonstration of an Increasing strength in creativity and innovation | Significance of
neighbourhood belonging and interaction | Many volunteers helping others in the
community – the work of Christ being done by non-Christians working in a Christ-like
way | Greater awareness of the number of people housebound and the connections which
have been made with them which need to be continued and built on | Drawing out greater
awareness of inequality.
On mental health and disability
We must address mental health concerns | Drawing out people's compassion | Awareness
of the church’s role in wellbeing as we face a “tsunami” of mental health problems that
comes from lockdown | Rediscover confidence to help others to engage with anxiety | We
have undervalued carers and care homes, NHS. Hope that it will be transformed. Hope
that church will continue to engage with those with disabilities who haven’t been able to
engage with church for years, and the 25% who have engaged recently.
On the experience of lockdown
During Lockdown the Alpha Courses have continued and continued to grow | Discovering
the significance of not being over busy, and how being alone might have become a blessing
for some. | We live near the M4, in the lockdown with the motorway quiet we’ve heard the
birdsong – a helpful metaphor for today? | Image of a patchwork quilt representing our life
in lockdown – what do we need or want to sew into the quilt now and in the days ahead? |
Don’t lose the lessons learned in lockdown | The gift of time.
Fuller reports of each meeting can be downloaded from the Diocesan website or I can provide
them on request. Beyond this? A note that next year is an election year for Diocesan Synod –
please give thought in your prayers as to whether you wish to stand, or nominate someone to stand,
for the triennium planned to commence in 2021.
or the last six years the church has been working on its facilities development initiative,
Project 450, the purpose of which is to help the church realise its vision for the future: to
be a welcoming heritage destination, a thriving Christian community, a church that
makes a difference in the community and a progressive and sustainable organisation.
During the last few years, the church reached a series of significant milestones in project planning,
which is proceeding in accordance with the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architecture) industry
Following a significant period of preparatory work, during 2018/19 Lead Architect Dan Talkes
completed the RIBA 1 work stage, which looked at options and helped develop the brief for the
church’s new facilities. Between autumn 2019 and early 2020, Dan completed the RIBA 2 work
stage, which involved looking in more detail at the design and making sure that the project is
proceeding in line with the church’s vision, brief and budget. The RIBA 2 Stage End Report was
delivered in early 2020. This, along with all of the other studies relating to the project are available
to view on the church website: https://www.stmaryredcliffe.co.uk/project-450
Broadly speaking the current proposals present three development areas within the curtilage of the
At the north west corner of the church in the area of the undercroft
At the north east corner of the church in the area adjacent to Pump Lane
At the south west of the church grounds, running from the south east entrance to the
churchyard to the church building
IMAGE: The north elevation of the church showing a
proposal for buildings to accommodate accessible
toilets, a café, shop, new music facility, exhibition
spaces and a lift to nave level These buildings are
deliberately low, to avoid obscuring the view of the
IMAGE: South elevation showing proposals for new
buildings to the east of the south churchyard. These
buildings will house facilities for hosting weddings and
larger events, a bespoke space for Children’s Church as
well as community and educational facilities.
The new buildings located in these areas will accommodate accessible toilets, a lift providing level
access to the nave, a new music facility, a new café and shop, facilities for hosting wedding
receptions, a bespoke home for Children’s Church, an educational facility and new exhibition
spaces. As well as this, the choir vestry will be opened up to visitors and house a permanent
exhibition that help us to tell the story of the church and its people. We also hope to bring the
Hogarth altarpiece back to the church to be housed in a newly constructed gallery space.
Under normal circumstances, the church would now be ready to move on to the RIBA 3 work
stage, during which the designs will be further refined and by the end of which the church will be
in a position to submit a planning application. The Church Lands Charity and The Canynges
Society have generously committed funding that will allow the church to complete RIBA 3.
However, The Canynges Society has asked that the church submit a planning pre-app to gauge the
mood of the planning authorities and check that there are no major objections to the design before
releasing funding for RIBA 3.
So, immediately prior to Coronavirus the church was taking stock and considering how to
approach and fund an intermediate pre-app and consultative phase following the completion of
RIBA 2 and prior to embarking on RIBA 3.
Of course, Coronavirus has had an impact on planning and we are now considering whether the
current proposals will need to be modified to take account of the ‘new reality’. The current plans
are predicated on raising sufficient funds to realise the proposals, and attracting an increased
number of visitors to make the scheme sustainable. As Coronavirus has had a negative economic
impact and decreased the numbers of tourists and domestic visitors, we now need to embark on a
process of analysis to determine whether this impact will be sustained, remembering that the
scheme we’re working on needs to be viable in the world of 2024/5, rather than 2020. To this end
we hope to embark on a Project 450 Review during the autumn, which will tell us whether aspects
of the project need to change and, if so, how.
(This is a shortened version of the full report and covers the period from May 2019 to July 2020.)
he major project in 2019 was works on the spire. There were repairs to masonry; a
finial was replaced on the east elevation; and the stained glass in the lower course of
windows in the spire was replaced by plain, with the idea that when we have tower
tours, visitors will be better able to enjoy the spectacular views over Bristol.
During the night of 2-3 February 2020 a banner on its stand in the north-east corner of the Lady
Chapel caught fire and was destroyed, with consequent damage to the stand and staining by smoke
of the walls and vaulting in the vicinity and the deposit of soot on the furnishings of the Chapel.
The banner will not be replaced; the other fabrics were cleaned with great care; the stand can be
repaired; and work is in hand to clean the stonework.
Two controversial decisions: first, the grant of a faculty to install an electric bird deterrent system
in the north porch. Birds, and in particular feral pigeons, entering, roosting and nesting in the
north porch have created problems over many years. Various methods have been tried to keep the
birds away, none of them with lasting success. An application to install metal strips which would
carry a low-voltage charge sufficient to deter any bird pitching on them was referred to the
diocesan Chancellor in view of concerns about the effect of legislation on cruelty to animals. The
Chancellor concluded that the “suffering” (the term used in the legislation) to birds was mild and
brief, that this treatment was not inhumane, and that it was necessary to prevent the hazards
presented by the birds. This provoked criticism by organisations concerned with animal welfare
and members of the public, some of them misled by inaccurate reporting, for example that the
birds were to be “electrocuted”, i.e. killed. At around the same time the Covid-19 emergency
caused the closure of the north porch; and it remains closed, so no pigeons have been able to get
in, nor has any work been done to fix the metal strips. We shall keep the position under review
when the porch re-opens, and continue to consider other methods of deterrence.
Second, the replacement with plain glass of four small panels at the base of the “Colston window”
in the north transept. Following the Black Lives Matter protests, and the toppling of Edward
Colston’s statue in June 2020, the Cathedral and SMR decided that references in their windows to
Colston by name and images associated with him should be removed. In the case of SMR this
attracted very little attention, perhaps because the focus was on the cathedral. A range of views
was expressed by members of the our congregation at the decision taken by the PCC’s Standing
Committee; these were very largely supportive, though accompanied by regret both at the public
disorder, and at the way the decision had been forced on us by events.
Less controversial, we hope, was the decision to move the wardens’ seats and staff mounts. SMR
was unusual in having the wardens at the front rather than the rear of the nave seating. By moving
nearer the back of the nave, the wardens feel that they will both be in the heart of the congregation
that they serve rather than detached from it, and be better able to observe and if necessary take
action should untoward events occur.
Plans to improve access to the Chatterton Room were put on hold when the Covid-19 emergency
led to what we hope will be only the postponement of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of
the boy poet’s death.
In prospect is Phase 2 of the relighting of the entire church with low-energy LED lights and the
introduction of more flexible management and safety systems. This phase will see the complete
re-lighting of the Lady Chapel and the choir stalls, replacement of the high-discharge lights above
the crossing and of the naked bulb in the south porch with a proper lantern fitting, and the
installation of an electric winch to lower and raise the Easter Cross and Advent wreath. We expect
this work to begin in the autumn and to be completed by Christmas; the Lady Chapel will need to
be closed for a week or so, but we do not expect the other works to cause any significant disruption.
Also in prospect over the next few months:
1. a programme of minor works, like replacing damaged or missing mesh screens on windows,
removal of vegetation growing on the church, repairs to external masonry and internal
2. Vodafone will be laying a fibre-optic cable from Redcliffe Way across the north churchyard
and into the church – once the work is finished no part of the cable will be visible – and will
also (timing uncertain) be upgrading the antenna in the spire to 5G standard.
We are also working to develop two new projects. First, the installation of photovoltaic cells on
the church roof to generate electricity; and secondly, how we might create some spaces for
wheelchairs, provision for which at the moment is inadequate.
None of what we do to maintain and improve our glorious building would be possible without the
generous support of our funding partners, and in particular the Church Lands Charity. This
support comes not just in the form of money, but also a careful, critical but sympathetic
understanding and assessment of our requests for funding. For all this, we are deeply grateful.
Finally, we obtained an award for the restoration and protection of the medieval stained glass in St
John’s Chapel from the Diocesan Advisory Committee, the body which advises on faculties. The
glass is now effectively protected internally from further loss of colour by reason of condensation,
and externally from damage by wind and weather; repairs and the undoing of crude restoration in
the past have improved the appearance, particularly of small detail; and the replacement of metal
mesh screens with secondary glazing has also improved the visibility of the glass. The award will
be presented when conditions once again permit large gatherings.
he year 2020 has thus far been a quiet one for fabric work but in the latter part of 2019,
a significant repair project was undertaken to the spire. These works comprised both
masonry repairs and the repair of the four large lucarne windows at the base of the
spire. A drone survey had previously identified an area of detaching stonework and this
was followed up by a roped access assessment of the issue. This physical inspection revealed a line
of iron cramps in a section of the spire rib on the northwest corner. The ironwork related to an
earlier twentieth century repair but the exposure to air and water had caused the ironwork to
expand and damage the stone. The solution was to cut out a section of the rib and renew the
stonework with new stainless steel fixings. At ground level this is a relatively easy task but 200 feet
above the pavement makes the work all the more
challenging. The cost of scaffolding would have been
huge and so a decision was taken to undertake the
works entirely using ropes. Vitrivius Conservation
undertook the work with safety nets suspended at
lower levels and the public excluded at ground level
and by the start of winter, the works were complete.
High up on the east side of the spire above the large
lucarne window, a new pinnacle was also carved and
fixed in place following its removal on safety grounds
a few years ago.
The other aspect of the project was the re-leading of the spire windows which hadn’t been worked
on since the spire was rebuilt in the 1870s and here Dan Humphries Stained Glass removed the
existing windows and made new leaded lights. The existing opaque glass has been set aside and the
windows re-glazed with new clear glass in the hope that visitors might one day be able to climb to
the base of the spire and admire the magnificent views out over Bristol in all four directions.
With a halt to works in the spring and early summer, fabric repairs have now re-commenced with
roped access removal of vegetation already completed and other works planned for the coming
weeks. In parallel, the next phase of the re-lighting of the church will take place and this will see
significant improvements in the lighting around the pulpit, lectern, chancel and Lady Chapel.
his has been a very unusual year for us all
and sadly we have been unable to meet since
the end of February to continue our work
on the Vestment collection. We do not yet
have any idea of when it will be safe and sensible to
continue our work. We hope that we shall be able to
check that the collection is still stored correctly and all
items are still in the place designated for them before
the end of the year but this will depend on the course
the virus takes.
I should like to thank all the team for their efforts and
to acknowledge the contribution they have all made
towards safeguarding one of our most valuable assets at
St Mary Redcliffe.
Registered Charity No. 242231
he Canynges Society was formed in 1848 to raise funds to support the maintenance of
the fabric of the church and its enhancement. It is a Charity registered in England and
More about the history of the Canynges Society and the role it has played in the life of
the Church can be found on our new website www.canynges.co.uk. We would always welcome
new members and supporters to assist in this valuable work.
The last 18 months, since the last report, has seen many challenges and changes. The investments
of the Charity and its fund raising continued against much uncertainty with Brexit and a General
Election all creating a challenging period. The Society was ably steered through these times by our
President Nicky Rylance. The President’s appeal raised funds towards the Chatterton Project, a
celebration that should have taken place with a series of events cross the city. Towards the end of
her term of office, which is held on an annual basis, we experienced the arrival of the global Covid-
19 pandemic. This has had the most significant impact on all our lives.
Due to the lockdown restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, the normal AGM did not take place.
In the new look world of Zoom online meetings the Presidency passed to the current President
Richard Clarke. The changes we have all experienced included the closure of the church building.
The Church has moved into providing online virtual prayer and services. This new normal has
seen steady growth in support and has gained following from outside the city.
This year the Canynges Society will continue to support the day to day maintenance of the fabric
of the building. Old buildings, whether in use or not, still require regular up-keep and
maintenance. In addition, we wish to support the work to provide an enhanced virtual offering so
bringing a new form of access to those who are not mobile or are “visiting” from far away.
None of us know what the new normal will look like and how it will impact the way we go about
our lives. The Canynges Society, which is run by a small group of voluntary trustees, will continue
to support St Mary Redcliffe and the work the Vicar and his team deliver for the church and in the
Further information can be found on the website www.canynges.co.uk or by contacting the
Canynges Society administrator Pat Terry by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
t Mary Redcliffe is proud to have a large number of people who, in normal times, read
lessons in church on Sunday each week and at special services throughout the year. There
is also a smaller group of people who prepare and pray the intercessions, again in church,
and yet another group who form the offertory procession.
During 2019 and early 2020 things moved along steadily but sadly, with lockdown and the closure
of churches, all rotas were suspended and we moved to live-streamed services. As time has moved
on different ways of doing things have evolved and readings and intercessions are now provided
by video from people’s homes. It has been good for us to rise to these new challenges, to step
outside our comfort zones and it has been good to see so many of our young children reading so
We look forward to the time when, once again, readings and intercessions can be in person in our
wonderful church building.
e have a team of 16 lay administrants who, until lockdown and the closure of
churches, assisted in worship at the two communion services each Sunday with
a small number assisting at the twice-monthly Thursday service for wholeness
and healing. Duties are on a rota basis and it is to be hoped that at some time in
the future a return to this role may be possible. As we have not been able to meet together in recent
months regular contact has been by e-mail.
he year 2019 was a typical one for the bell ringers at Redcliffe with the usual Sunday
service ringing and our weekly practice on Thursdays. But then in mid-March 2020 the
bells fell silent because of Covid-19. It is only the second time that our glorious bells
have not been rung since the Second World War – the only other time being in 2017
for maintenance to the bell frame and fittings, which put them out of action for 3 months. We are
extremely pleased to have resumed ringing at the end of July 2020, albeit with restrictions and
limitations so that we have a Covid-safe environment. But the bells are at least ringing out over
Redcliffe and the city on a Sunday morning.
We are pleased to have rung for all Sunday services throughout 2019 and right up to lockdown.
The Bristol team which enters the National Twelve-Bell Striking Contest each year has continued
to ring monthly on the third Sunday, which gives the best Bristol bell ringers the opportunity to
ring together. The Guild has also rung for Evensong every Sunday afternoon, with the last ringing
for this service taking place on Sunday, 15 th March 2020. Christmas morning 2019 saw a record
13 ringers at Redcliffe and, despite the majority of our team being away for the festive period, we
also called those to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
Bell ringing practice
Thursday practices have continued to thrive throughout 2019 and have been very well attended by
guild members and other ringers from the city of Bristol and beyond. Practices are important
because they give us much-needed time to ring together to perfect the rhythm and evenness of the
sound we produce. It also allows us to try out new ‘methods’ or set pieces of change ringing before
we ring them on Sunday mornings, which is when we aim for the sound of our ringing to be at its
best. The band is going from strength-to-strength with an ever-increasing repertoire of advanced
The bells of St Mary Redcliffe are extremely popular for visiting bell ringers from all over the
United Kingdom, especially those who like to ring ‘peals’, which many would describe as bell
ringing marathons. There were four successful peal attempts by visiting bands – each lasting
around four hours and consisting of over 5,000 unique permutations - or changes - of the twelve
bells. The guild also achieved two very special peals in memory of Steve Bateman (“Batman”) and
Keith Scudamore who gave much of their lives to ringing at Redcliffe.
National 12-Bell Striking Contest
Redcliffe was delighted to host one of the three eliminators of the National 12-Bell contest in March
2019, which saw six teams - including St Paul’s Cathedral, London - ring their best for a place in
the final held at Exeter Cathedral later that summer. The Bristol team comprising of 10 Redcliffe
ringers came a very close 2nd place with a judges’ score of 91% (only 1% behind the winners,
Birmingham). A great day was had by all with the Redcliffe team working very hard to host and
provide hot and cold food and a superb selection of local real ales. We are preparing to host the
contest final on the 50 th anniversary of the contest which was first held here at Redcliffe in 1975.
IMAGE: The Birmingham team
in action in the ringing chamber
The Guild participated in all three Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association striking
competitions. In April 2019, we came 4 th of nine teams in the 8-bell at St Briavels and 3 rd out of ten
bands in the 6-bell at Hewelsfield. Closer to home in November we entered the Bristol branch 5-
bell at Horfield coming 2 nd . In addition, we won the Doome Trophy for the Stedman Doubles
category. Redcliffe was also awarded the Bristol branch Tower of the Year in recognition of the
excellent work hosting the national eliminator. We took part in the Tewkesbury Shield in May
2019 ringing Stedman Caters and was awarded 2nd place with 86%, beat only by Birmingham St
Paul with 90%. The South West 12-bell was held in October in which Redcliffe came 3 rd at South
Petherton with 80%.
Bristol Open Doors
We had great pleasure in opening the bell tower in September 2019 for Open Doors Day. Nearly
300 people saw the bells and learned about the great English art and tradition of full-circle bell
ringing. I particularly like this photo, which shows the inside of the clock face - usually only seen
from the outside:
We paid tribute to Lewis Cobb who passed away on 11 th September 2019 and Jim Cook who died
on 9 th January 2020 (just short of his 89 th birthday). Both were honorary life members of the Guild.
Another great day out was had by our ringers in Devon on the tower outing in September 2019
with magnificent rings of bells at Tiverton, Crediton and Kingsteinton among others - not
forgetting a good pub lunch and a splendid tearoom in the afternoon. Sadly, our 2020 tour had to
be cancelled because of Coronavirus. In December a record thirty-eight members and friends
enjoyed the Christmas meal at The King Street Brew House.
We have our own page on Facebook featuring information, photos and video clips of bell ringing
at Redcliffe. Search for St Mary Redcliffe Guild of Ringers and ‘like’ our page.
Would you like to see what we do?
We are always very happy to welcome members of the congregation and friends up the tower to
see what we do. If you are interested in watching the ringing, seeing the bells, learning more about
the guild or are interested in learning to ring, then please get in touch via the Parish Office.
Here are some of the choir highlights from April 2019 to March
Further RSCM Gold, Silver and Bronze Award successes
Rush Sunday sung by the boys and adults in June 2019
Make Music Day (June 21) Concert with SMR & Bristol
St Cecilia’s Day Choir Concert (Nov 22) with Celebrity
Organist David Briggs
Two successful Advent Carol and Nine Lessons and Carols
A Christmas Concert at Tyntesfield Chapel for the National
Centerparcs weekend with the girls choir in January 2020
Mixtape Concert in March to celebrate a big birthday – then
Lockdown started for us after Sunday 15 March, a week earlier than the official government date!
Despite the challenges, there have been many positive developments and different ways of ‘being
choir’ in the past few months:
Weekly Rehearsals by Zoom –learning new ways to keep choristers engaged!
Recording Virtual Choir Tracks for Rush Sunday and with our Choral Scholars
Surveys of children, adults and choir parents to determine future priorities
Quizzes, Homework, Awards Training, New music to learn.
Social Media Presence – Claire Alsop lunchtime concerts, over 20,000 views.
‘Sounds of the SMR Organ’ Youtube Video by me– over 1,000 views.
Recording, Editing, Archiving tracks for use in the new Livestream Service
Virtual Farewells for five choristers leaving the choir – really hard to get right!
I’m not entirely sure what the long-term effects of the pandemic will be on our choirs? How will
we look back on all of this in 3, 5 or 10 years time?
In October 2019 we had a peak in the boys’ choir, when we were able to sing the Redcliffe Te Deum
at Mattins, which Herbert Howells wrote for our choir in 1965 to celebrate the restoration of the
church. It has been over 40 years since the choir last performed the piece – in part due to its
complexity. It was a challenge well worth doing
and we performed the piece again in February
By the end of 2020, we will have lost 7 or 8 boys
through voice change and we haven’t been able to
recruit their replacements as might normally
happen. We are currently giving the choirs a more
active presence on social media, so that we can
recruit some additional choristers that way. Any
members of Children’s Church who would like to
come to try out our choirs will be very welcome.
Please contact Andrew Kirk if this is of interest.
Being a chorister is a great way of singing to a high standard, making new friends, being part of a
team and contributing to the worship and witness of a thriving Christian community.
In the back rows we said thank you to Stephen Brooke after 19 years in the choir as a loyal tenor,
second adult, Safeguarding Officer, PCC member and much else besides. He will be greatly missed
and we send him best wishes and thanks for his huge contribution to the church and choir. We
also said thank you to Daniel Alsop who goes to Swansea University next month, after 12 years in
There were over 25 Thursday lunchtime organ concerts which had to be cancelled due to the
pandemic, along with a number of prestigious concerts by outside organisations (Gesualdo Six,
Selwyn College Cambridge, a Colston Hall New Music Collaboration). There were 7 visiting choirs
booked over the summer – our largest number ever – all of which had to be cancelled.
Matthew Brown (organ scholar) and Izzy Reid
(choral scholar and girls’ choir vocal coach)
both achieved first in their music degrees from
Bristol University. Congratulations to them
both on a fine achievement alongside their
commitment to us. I look forward to
appointing their successors in the autumn.
Matt will be studying at the Guildhall School of
Music and Drama for a Masters, and Izzy goes
to Worcester Cathedral as a Choral Scholar
and for work at King’s School.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Claire and Graham Alsop for their support as
Assistant Organists, along with the clergy. We are very fortunate that the Church Lands Charity is
able to support all the costs of the choir, organ and the music staff salaries. Whilst other churches
are not in such a fortunate position, especially during lockdown, I am really grateful that we were
able to keep working throughout.
t present we have thirty-two sidesmen, assisted by the Vestry, to cover all services,
baptisms, weddings, funerals and concerts throughout the year. As the church is used
extensively for so many events the sidesmen are regularly on duty. The duties are
varied and are organised on a rota basis but are flexible to suit people's needs.
Training, including first aid, fire drill, evacuation and ongoing support is offered to all sidesmen.
The role of a sidesman is interesting and enjoyable, extending a warm welcome to all people
attending an event or just visiting the church. As this is a voluntary service we welcome anyone
who would be interested in fulfilling such a position.
During these difficult times our duties have been slightly curtailed but we are looking forward to
resuming a normal service as soon as it is safe to do so.
ateful thanks to the small band of Stewards who welcomed visitors and “kept the ship
afloat” during the summer of 2019. Since then a recruitment drive has taken place and
we now have 32 Regular Stewards and 5 Reserves. Two meetings were held at the end
of September and the new Rota commenced at the beginning of October. During that
month 3,687 visitors from 53 different countries were welcomed.
Stewarding is voluntary from the beginning of November until February half-term because of
fewer visitors, special events like Treefest and Carol Services in church and the fact that it is getting
dark earlier, but it was back to “business as usual” from 17 th February to 15 th March. Then came
Covid-19. During this strange period in all our lives I have kept in touch with everyone once a
month by email or “snail mail” with news of SMR and to try to boost morale and the two Stewards
who are members of another church have been especially appreciative of this. I have also more
frequently phoned several of them who are either on my branch of the Telephone Tree or who
were already personal friends. I have no idea when we shall be able to start welcoming visitors
again but it would be good to have some more volunteers to become Stewards then. Could you
help? Each duty lasts for 3 hours – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., (except on Sundays when
it’s just the afternoon slot) and people can opt for weekly/fortnightly/monthly duties. It’s very
interesting and also heart-warming to meet so many people who want to spend time in our
beautiful church, so please think about joining our team sometime in the future.
Since submitting her report, Marion received a call from Maurice Schofield,
90 year old Steward, who wished to convey the following message:
“Profound thanks for the wonderful work done by everyone at the church to
support people like me confined to home”.
eefest 2019 had a distinctively musical theme. Our special charity was Preludes,
sponsored by the Bristol Ensemble, which enables children from disadvantaged areas
of Bristol to learn to read music, sing, and play a range of musical instruments, in a
supportive setting. https://www.bristolensemble.com/preludes/
This meant that we were able to
present a wide-ranging music
programme during Treefest,
including performances by the
schools who were benefitting
from the Preludes initiative.
These pupils came along and
brought their parents with them
– and in 2019 we had a record
number of 5,000 visitors!
We also had the highest total of
donations we have had so far -
£6,350 - to be divided between Preludes and the SMR Outreach projects. Well done and a huge
vote of thanks to all who contributed this year to our success! Thanks to all who exhibited such
imaginative trees; special thanks go to Christine Bush and her refreshments team, who achieved
record takings in the pop-up café, and all those people who kindly made and donated cakes every
day. Also to Andrew Kirk for sourcing so many diverse musical events, and to Allan Schiller and
Roger Huckle for giving of their time to perform. Thanks to all who volunteered to be stewards,
welcoming our many visitors. Thanks also to the vergers, and to the Parish Office staff who helped
with design and printing. Thanks to John Rudin for doing the lighting, and thanks to our sponsors
Hollis Morgan, Benjamin & Beauchamp, and Queen Square Chambers for helping us to cover our
As always the competition for the most liked tree attracted many entries, and this year was won by
a new exhibitor, the 255th Bristol Channel Sea Scouts, with an innovative tree made out of oars
and nautical items.
t SMR we have a thriving vocations ministry: not only are we nurturing Aggy in her
formation as a deacon and soon as a priest, but we have two members of the
congregation in training to be ordained. Simon will finish his training in the summer
of 2021 and Becky a couple years after that.
The work of the Vocations Group has been central to the discernment of those vocations, the
examination of those callings and the support of those individuals. Currently we have around half
dozen other people talking about what God might be calling them to do or to be.
The Vocations Group isn't just about getting ordained. Over the last few years we have talked with
people who have become Lay Ministers and explored the fact that every Christian has a vocation
which is laid on them at their baptism.
Do get in touch with Dan if you would like to know when the next meeting of the group will take
the Theology Book Club continued to meet regularly until lockdown, discussing a
number of books on theological topics.
Sadly, shortly after lockdown Canon John Rogan died. John had been a guiding spirit
of the group. He encouraged its inception, we met at his house, and he guided and led
our discussions. The group feels very privileged to have been the last that he led, which he did with
his extraordinary combination of erudition, wisdom and gentleness.
He will be a very hard act to follow, but we hope that the group will re-form and continue to meet
as we go into the new term.
ver the past year-and-a-bit, the Feminist Theology group has engaged with a variety
of texts that engage with Christian scripture from a feminist perspective. In a variety
of ways, each text we have chosen has challenged our approach to the Biblical canon.
This year has particularly provoked discussion on how we, as readers and people of
faith, engage with the treatment of women in the Old Testament.
We began in February 2019 with Wilda Gafney’s Womanist Midrash, a work which seeks to look
creatively at women in the Hebrew Scriptures from a Womanist perspective, an approach which
bases itself in the lived experiences of women of colour specifically. Gafney uses the introduction
to assure the reader, who may be unfamiliar with Hebrew scholarship and/or womanism that they
are ‘welcome to the table’. We learned about the use of Midrash, the practise of Rabbinic
commentary on the Hebrew scriptures, and read Gafney’s own use of her ‘sanctified imagination’
to create her own Midrashic works on some of the women of the Torah. Deftly leading the reader
between complex linguistic analysis and Midrash, as a group we were able to ‘be’ with some of
these stories of women in the Old Testament. In the introduction to Womanist Midrash, Wilda
Gafney states something which encompasses much of the work this group does when we talk about
women in the Bible: ‘I wrestle with the text, more bruised than blessed’.
In January 2020 we read Phoebe by New Testament scholar Paula Gooder, a fictional account of
the deacon of the church at Cenchreae. It was interesting to go from one text that combines
scholarship and imagination to another, as we read Gooder’s creative work in giving Phoebe a full
character and story arc supported by extensive notes and references in the book’s appendix. During
our time reading Phoebe, lockdown restrictions saw us move our gatherings online. For our group,
this had the effect of increasing the numbers of regular attendees. Being online has meant that the
group fits comfortably into life at home, though the rich bounty of shared snacks has certainly
been missed. Following our move to online sessions, we sought to invite further interest in the
group with a ‘taster’ session, based on the Bible Society series #SheToo, which explored the ‘texts
of terror’ - sites of explicit violence towards women in the Bible – and how these texts can be used
to give a voice and act as a platform for those who survive abuse and acts of violence today. This
session included four new members to our group, with additional messages of interest in the
meetings to follow.
We are currently reading An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation by Nyasha Junior.
Compelled by the Black lives Matter movement, we wanted to learn more about the history and
theory of how women of colour have influenced (and been influenced by) the field of Biblical
interpretation. We have just learned about the background of womanism as a distinct movement,
and we have now started to read about some of the first recorded accounts of womanist biblical
interpreters. We have plans to read Elaine Storkey’s Women in a Patriachal World once we have
completed our sessions on An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation.
he role of Safeguarding remains very important and potentially even more so in these
uncharted times caused by Covid 19.
Our church community is grateful for the continued support of the many volunteers
who have been supporting activities coordinated by Becky James, Andrew Kirk, David
Cousins and Rachel Varley. Even though face to face activities have not been possible since March
2020 in light of social distancing, our safeguarding procedures remain strong and unchanged.
Anybody working with children, young people and vulnerable adults must go through our
safeguarding vetting procedure.
The role of Parish Safeguarding Lead has been excellently fulfilled by Stephen Brooke for the past
three years; he handed over that baton to me in June this year. Thanks go to Stephen for his
commitment to this role and I am grateful to him for the handover time and information.
Safeguarding training will be done online for the foreseeable future and sessions are organised
through the diocese. New recruits/volunteers will be signposted to the relevant training and
ongoing and refresher training will also be signposted to relevant staff and volunteers.
Our policies and procedures can be found on our website www.stmaryredcliffe.co.uk - we ask all
members of the church community to stay vigilant and be aware of potential risks to children,
young people and vulnerable adults. And if there are any worries then please do not hesitate to
contact myself or Dan or Kat.
I look forward to fulfilling this role to the best of my ability and thank people for their continued
support of this very important area of work.
February 13 th The Speaker at our meeting was Mr John Pickard whose subject was Stained Glass
Home and Away. We always looked forward to his talks.
March 1 st
March 13 th
April 10 th
April 30 th
Women’s World Day of Prayer
We had a Communion Service led by Revd Kat Campion-Spall who also chaired
Mrs Mary Hall gave us an interesting talk on her work with the deaf.
Our annual dinner in the Undercroft at which, as for many years, Mrs Pat Jones
and family did the catering.
On May the 10th I left Bristol to live in Wiltshire. The Branch continued to be run by Revd Kat
and members until Christmas.
I would like to thank all members and those who supported me over the years I was Branch Leader.
ot Luck Lunch was normally held on the first Monday of each month at the Pickards’
home and was an informal group for making and meeting friends over a simple shared
meal as everyone brought either sandwiches for 2 or fruit for 2. Mugs of coffee or tea
being provided by the host.
The idea of an informal meeting for a friendly chat over a simple lunch was started over 20 years
ago, to give the opportunity to chat to more people for a longer time and so get to know them
better than was possible in the gap between the two morning services, and so Pot Luck Lunch was
The name is indicative of the surprise that may await the content of the sandwiches or the type of
fruit in season. Sometimes small pieces of pizza or quiche arrived, left over from a weekend party
the day before and Christmas was celebrated with non-alcoholic punch, festive-themed delicacies
and a Santa’s surprise!
Unfortunately, like other meetings, this all stopped at the beginning of March this year, and in the
present circumstances, I regret that I shall not be hosting another PLL in the foreseeable future.
he sunny, summer month of July is the usual time for the congregation of SMR to start
thinking of Christmas! Every year, the Pew Leaflet for the first two Sundays of July
carried a notice reminding the congregation that, should they like to be absolutely
certain of a Christmas pudding that year, then now was the time to reserve what they
might require as the order had to be submitted to the bakery so that the puddings arrived in time
to be sold on Doors Open Day.
This fund-raising venture was started 19 years ago when an article appeared in the Church Times
regarding a very successful Lake District Cottage Industry that would only sell to Charities (and
Fortnum and Mason!). It was tried as a ‘one-off’ but the congregation thought otherwise, and now
there are over 60 regular customers in addition to the ‘casual trade’, usually raising well over £200
for SMR, firstly for the SMR Organ Trust and when that closed, for the general PCC fund.
The price of each of the small and large sizes of puddings (£5 and £8) has remained the same with
the small rise in costs being absorbed in the profits to benefit the congregation for their continued
support. Small, individual puddings were introduced in 2014 and these are ideal for visitors’
mementos, or even for an any-day dessert for someone living alone, as all three sizes of puddings
can be microwaved in minutes – thus, saving time and space on a busy Christmas Day cooker!
Owing to a hiccup last year and a change in financial arrangements, this year the money was not
borrowed from the PCC to purchase the puddings and after scrutiny by independent auditors, the
profits of £136.00 went to ‘Friends for Parents’, a Charity supported previously through the now
disbanded SMR MU. ‘Friends for Parents’ provides free refreshments at any time of day or night,
for the parents of very sick children at Bristol Children’s Hospital, many of whom have been rushed
there for emergency treatment.
By the time you read this, my ‘regular customers’ will know that, after 19 years I have decided to
retire and that Greca Warr has very kindly agreed to take over the organisation of this venture. If
anyone else would like to purchase one of these delicious puddings, Greca can be contacted via the
Parish Office tel.no. 03301 594 919.
My thanks to everyone for their support over the past years, whether it be for just a few or all
This year's Parish Magazine report for A Year at Redcliffe comes in two 'halves' (¾ to ¼):
one a known busy and engaged 12-month period, the other an uncertain mirror-image six
months and future.
Known period: April 2019 to March 2020:
Magazine structure, content, format
This report, as last year's, provides an outline of the magazine structure to give readers an idea of
the way its organisation and content fit together, and what 'drives' the content. As always, the
whole reflects the church’s 4-point mission statement (in short: church, heritage, parish,
sustainability) albeit the structure is now simplified to provide an easier read, with content falling
into two main sections, At Church and Community, framed by the Vicar's Letter (front) and the
Listings, Editorial and Prayers sections (back). Generally speaking, At Church accommodates
worship, diocese matters, church year, church news and governance; Community accommodates
parish outreach, arts and heritage, city and wider Church communities. Notifications from or
about people belong as and where the items best mirror the to and fro of life and mission 'across
the church doorstep'. Within this framework, items fall into regular, semi-regular and ad hoc or
occasional categories. For instance, liturgy, service details, prayers, music and children's church
news occur regularly; meetings, parish outreach, arts and history items semi-regularly; birthdays,
commemorations, book clubs, interviews, outreach overseas and more occur ad-hoc or
occasionally. But it's a fluid arrangement adaptable to growth and change.
Themes and thanks
Contributions – text and images – this year have been extraordinarily varied and interesting,
covering all the above areas and more, with some spectacular images (especially on the 2020
February-March magazine and unpublished April-May edition covers).
Key items of staff news have been Dan's instalment as Canon, Kat's EMDL, Aggy's ordination and
start of her curacy, and Parish Office staff changes in which we said farewell to Peter, Pat and Ros
and welcomed Roseanna, Héloïse and Sarah.
The topic most clearly present over the year is care for the planet, the defining issue of the age,
which was given social, biblical and theological exposition in an assortment of contributions.
These include: Kat's introduction to the topic [June 2019]; the Vicar's Letter God's Beloved
Creation, and A Rocha Eco-Church audit by ordinand Alex Podd [July-Aug 2019]; Kat's article
Caring for God's Creation citing St Francis of Assisi; the school climate strike article by 11-yr-old
Lois, the interview by 9-yr-old Astrid and 6-yr-old Iris [Sept 2019]; the report on the Diocesan
Synod vote to adopt carbon-neutral status by 2030, and Bishop Viv's presentation of SMR's Bronze
Eco-Church Award [Dec-Jan 2019-20]; the work of the Lent Appeal team, Appeal charity partner
the John Ray Initiative (JRI) and art exhibition Beauty in ashes. [Feb-Mar 2020]
Thanks to all contributors at church this year – the list is very long (60 contributors) which makes
it difficult to thank people personally, but contributors will know who they are. Very many thanks
to each of you.
Thanks to Dan and the clergy team for the Vicar's Letters, the church wardens and staff
contributors, the Parish Office (previous and incoming teams) for regular assistance, ditto the
vergers and stewarding team; special thanks to the magazine's eagle-eyed proof-readers, to Kat for
help with the magazine Survey and to all who gave time and help setting up the team.
Thanks to visiting contributors: Dr Martin and Revd Margo Hodson at JRI [Feb-Mar 2020]; poet
Margaret Histed [Oct 2019]; Lois, student at SMRT [Sept 2019]; Dr Jenny Gaschke at Bristol City
Museum; Revd Jason and Dr Monique Ingalls and family from Waco, Texas; Sarah Williams at
CSS Adoption, Lent Appeal charity 2019; Simon Williams, LLM in training [Apr-May 2019].
Lastly, to the memory of Canon John Rogan with grateful thanks for his generous articles over the
last two years touching on history, theology and ecclesiology from his well of knowledge and
Magazine survey, team and next moves
In 2019 we designed a Survey to better understand reader and non-reader responses to the
magazine. There was an encouraging response. Questions targeted respondent profile,
preferences on magazine content and style, and options for change (including the magazine title).
Findings indicate a good variety of articles (individual preferences notwithstanding), interesting
material, lively design, that print output is valued and that the title 'Parish Magazine' preferred.
Thanks for all comments received.
From the New Year onwards, a small number of us convened to form a magazine team and take
things forward. Our next meeting was due mid-May, albeit prior to that was the matter of
preparing the April-May (Easter and Pentecost) edition of the magazine – a process already begun
that included the usual editorial chase-up of missing content. After lockdown on March 23rd the
chase became a rush to secure essential pieces before the end of the month – but it became
increasingly clear to all that the door had already closed on life and process as we knew it, that
essential copy would not arrive and the edition for the summit of the Christian year would remain
unpublished. 2020 – a promising start cut short.
Uncertainty: the 'new normal' – April 2020 onward:
[ Time for a coronavirus joke? “2020 is a unique leap year. It has 29 days in February, 300 days
in March and 10 years in April”, ref: Bored Panda online, accessed May 87th (spot the genius free
haircut ideas)! ]
The role of the magazine has traditionally been to keep readers in touch with the worship,
missional and pastoral life of the church, parish news and events, and each other. It has done so
monthly (10 issues a year) in print and online. Circumstances are different for the magazine today:
(i) the decision for practical reasons was taken to publish the magazine bi-monthly, meaning its
relationship to news is altered; (ii) news and events are readily accessible online at SMR's updated
website; (iii) 'new normal' conditions mean that until further notice the magazine will be available
online only (the current print format weekly Newsletter is sent to those without internet access);
(iv) planned events may just never take place (the Lent Appeal event plans covered in the February-
March magazine were cancelled, with the art exhibition similarly affected).
The value of the parish magazine? Retrospective comment and opinion on news and events;
interviews; opinion pieces on subject matter relating to the church mission statement; the
opportunity for readers and others to 'speak' and publish views – all these and more have been and
remain valuable magazine activity. Even more so now given the fleeting nature of online news and
the proscriptions on physical assembly.
Lockdown and emerging into the 'new normal'
Thanks for all contributions for the April-May magazine.
The hope is to publish them before the end of the year. In
the meantime, here is the cover originally designed for that
edition but shown instead with suggested post-lockdown
headings. The image shows a detail of a photograph by
Dominic Hewitt (with thanks) exhibited at Beauty in ashes
in which sunlight streams through trunk and branch
formations, suggestive of a cross, and pierces the
undergrowth. An image for the season of Easter, and for
the season of Trinity too – green shoots of the emerging
Church born of the Spirit in wind and flame at Pentecost.
Are 'new normal' weasel-words indicating the 'cancelling'
of physical community? I don't know but in the midst of darkness come Isaiah's words: “Remember
ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing...” (Isa 43:
18-19 KJV). I trust the Church will re-emerge as a network refreshed, with sharp-eyed vision and
compassion. I trust the Parish Magazine will be part of that future.
Working in Partnership
This year we developed a partnership with Bristol
City Council’s Community Development Team who
deployed a Community Development Practitioner,
Tamadour, to work alongside us in our communitybuilding
activity. Together, we have hosted events
and sought to engage those living in different parts
of the neighbourhood in community activities. In
particular, we have seen a group of women from minority ethnic backgrounds come together to
socialise and work together on issues that concern them. With gentle encouragement, these women
have set up regular meetings, hosted events in the neighbourhood focused on ‘wellbeing’ and
continue to support one another socially via a WhatsApp group.
In June 2019, we hosted a ‘Faith and Community Building’ conference, for members of the SMR
congregation, and Christians from across the diocese, to explore faith-driven community building
and social action. We were joined by Revd. Al Barrett from Birmingham for a key note talk and
participants spent the day learning about ‘asset-based’ approaches and tools for ministry and
We have continued to meet monthly with others working with a community focus in the
neighbourhood and are regularly joined by representatives from the local children’s centre,
secondary school, resident action group, Bristol City Council and the police. It has been great to
continue the conversations about how we can work well together, avoiding duplication and finding
opportunities for collaboration.
You can read a short article about our partnership working with the council via this link:
Being a good neighbour
A focus for us this year has been on what it means to be a ‘good neighbour’ to the community
outside of our church. At the conference in June and in the summer edition of the parish magazine,
we reflected on the idea that community-building is not just about what we can do for our
neighbours, but about how we can work with them and receive from them, too – a two-way
With that in mind, we have spent time this year considering how we can be intentional in inviting
Redcliffe neighbours to activities in the church, as well as going out and joining in with the things
organised by others in our community too.
In the summer holidays, a local mum hosted a series of play sessions in the local park for families
to socialise throughout the school break. It was a great opportunity to chat with parents and learn
about their experience of life in Redcliffe, as well as share about other community opportunities
we were aware of.
In September, SMR hosted activities as part of Bristol Open Doors Weekend. It was wonderful to
have help from a lady living in Redcliffe, who doesn’t attend our church, but who wanted to be
involved as a volunteer and to help show it to visitors. In addition, we hosted some exclusive
behind-the-scenes tours to local residents who had never been into the church building before.
Redcliffe Lunch Club continued to be a much-loved space for members of our wider community
to gather over food and share conversation with others. The fantastic volunteer team ensured that
each week included a warming two-course meal and a varied programme of entertainment,
including music, history, crafts and more.
Christmas Day Lunch
A highlight of our year is sharing lunch on Christmas Day with neighbours. This year it was
wonderful to be joined by familiar faces as well as new guests to celebrate together.
We were grateful to the support of the Doubletree Hilton Hotel who provided the meal, as well as
support from the John James Foundation which enabled us to purchase small gifts for those
The event was coordinated by Jenny Martin, to whom we are very grateful. Thanks, also. to the
willing volunteers who gave their time to set up and facilitate the occasion.
The Noise 2019-20
In May 2019, we joined with hundreds of volunteers to take part in an annual event called ‘The
Noise’, which is hosted by churches across the city. The aim of the event is to ‘show God’s love in
practical ways’ through social action in our communities. In our community, we gave a hand to
the Redcliffe Nursery School to help clear their garden area and painted some railings for Dr
White’s alms-house. We also hosted a free afternoon of games in Faithspace and invited the whole
community to join us for fun and cake! It was a great opportunity to live out our faith; to show
love to those living and working here in very practical ways; and to connect with those who do not
attend our church.
In May 2020, we were due to host more activities as part of the 20th anniversary of ‘The Noise’
event in Bristol, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, plans had to be put on hold. Instead, we
hosted an interactive online ‘family fun afternoon’ which was live-streamed on our social media
for the community to enjoy from home.
Celebrating Redcliffe Treasure
We think that Redcliffe is a brilliant community with lots of great
people and things going on. However, sometimes the treasure that is
here can be a little bit buried under the challenges and issues that we
This year, we have spent time uncovering the treasure that is here in
Redcliffe. We have had doorstep conversations to find out about
those living here and the gifts they bring to the community; we have
hosted events that invite people to come and share and learn together;
and we have spent time showcasing what we have found on different
At Treefest, we decorated a tree with stories of how neighbours have been sharing their time and
skills to build community in Redcliffe. We have also continued to use the Redcliffe Voice social
media platforms to share community news and opportunities for others to get involved and it has
been wonderful to see an increase of people using this space to connect with what’s going on in the
In March 2020, we were invited to establish as a ‘community anchor’ for the Redcliffe
neighbourhood in partnership with Bristol City Council (BCC), as part of the council’s
coordinated response to support local residents through the Covid-19 pandemic.
We set up a helpline number and spread the word to our local community that we were available
to give support and signposting to practical help for those unable to leave their home or struggling
with isolation as a result of lockdown. With a dedicated page on our website, we were able to guide
people to resources and information that would be helpful during the pandemic.
Two key concerns we were invited to address, as a result of lockdown, were social isolation and
food poverty. We partnered with a national Christian charity, Linking Lives UK, to develop a
telephone befriending project, equipping volunteers from our church congregation to provide
weekly phone calls to individuals living nearby who were struggling with loneliness as a result of
In addition, we partnered with Faithspace community centre and North Bristol Foodbank to set
up an emergency foodbank delivery hub, meaning that neighbours who were struggling financially
and unable to afford food could receive an emergency food parcel to tide them over.
We have been blown away by the support from our local community, with donations of food
amounting to nearly 1.5 tonnes in weight. We are incredibly grateful for the support of our
neighbours to make this run so smoothly, including the volunteer support given by a small team
of local residents.
t Mary Redcliffe was one of sixteen Bristol churches to be involved with the Bristol
Churches Winter Night Shelter (BCWNS) in 2020. We hosted the shelter at Faithspace in
Redcliffe for six Friday evenings starting in early January.
The project ran for thirteen weeks in total. It began at the Salvation Army in Easton for
six nights, after which seven venues each ran the shelter once a week for six weeks. In mid-February
the guests spent a week in a central venue before beginning to stay at the second set of seven venues.
However, part of the way through this time the guests were accommodated in a hotel due to
For our part, we were fortunate, in setting up the project, to have funds donated by Marcus and
Jane Ashman which they raised by selling Christmas cards, designed by Eleanor Vousden. We also
had funds from a collection in church. This money paid for all the food and cooking equipment
we bought as well as enabling us to pay for several people to complete the Food Safety and Kitchen
We were very grateful to be able to use the main room and kitchen at Faithspace to run our shelter.
The venue is ideal as there is space to lay out the mattresses as well as to have the tables set before
the guests arrive. We are grateful to Sarah James at Faithspace for generously offering the
Faithspace building for this project.
We had 37 volunteers in total from a variety of churches (or from no church) including a good
number of people from St Mary Redcliffe Church and St Paul’s Church in Southville. As well as
two teams of evening chefs who cooked for over 20 people each Friday, we also had chefs who
cooked breakfasts each Saturday morning. We had volunteers who helped in the evenings making
up the beds, setting the table, eating and chatting with the guests and helping to wash up and tidy
up before the night shift. We had four people staying overnight each week and a team who made
breakfast and those who cleared up in the morning, as well as a laundry team. There was a role for
In total this year BCWNS offered 1032 beds for guests to sleep in. 86% of the beds were filled during
the course of the project. In total there were 23 guests. Nine of the guests were able to continue
working whilst staying at the shelters. Three guests found work during their time with the project.
Three guests found somewhere more permanent to live. Eight guests stayed with the project for at
least 60 days. There were more than 600 volunteers across all the venues from over 50 churches;
24% of volunteers came from the wider community. There was a ‘minibus team’ which transported
guests to and from the venues outside the city centre; a ‘van team’ which moved the mattresses and
bedding between the venues; a ‘Goodgym’ team who ran over to help carry in the mattresses to a
venue and then ran off again!!
At the Faithspace venue, there was a great atmosphere amongst the volunteers and the guests. I
think everyone enjoyed their involvement and felt privileged to be part of this great project.
n the second half of March, I was asked by Rev Jacqui Kean, the curate of St Paul’s Church
in Coronation Road, Southville if I would become a member of the core team for the new
foodbank serving the BS3 part of Bristol. BS3 Community Larder was initially suggested by
the BS3 Community Covid-19 Response Facebook group. The group, which has over 5,500
members, asked St Paul’s Church if they would be willing to host some kind of food initiative.
As the church was no longer able to host their congregation on Sundays, nor any of their other
groups during the week, it was felt by the clergy and church council at St Paul’s that it would be a
great use of the building.
St Paul’s is quite a large church and the space is very flexible because there are no pews. Hence it
is possible to spread out, have tables full of food with four or five people in a team working very
The speed at which things happened was amazing! Within about ten days from the initial idea, we
were beginning to operate as a foodbank.
We started with just a few referrals in the first week or two, but that has built up over time and in
the five months since opening we have sent out 292 parcels and fed 801 people. The numbers
referred have been growing each week.
St Paul’s hosts a team from Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and two of this team had considerable
experience of working in similar settings. I was asked by Rev Jacqui Kean to come on board to be
the volunteer coordinator and to help with publicity, promotion and general organisation. It was
wonderful that each person brought just the right skills needed and so we had our core team of
Fortunately, there were five obvious team leaders who had relevant experience and were
committed to leading a team one day a week. The team leaders were absolutely fantastic with all
the care and responsibility they took on for their team and with their willingness to support each
other throughout the week.
We began running the foodbank from Monday 30 March.
A large number of people from the local community had already registered as volunteers and some
from St Paul’s Church. I was able to publicise the Larder at St Aldhelm’s, St Francis and St Michael
and All Angels Churches and a few more local volunteers emerged.
I was in touch with all the volunteers to sign them up, ensure that they did the safeguarding training
and to ascertain their availability. Slowly the numbers of volunteers crept up and we had over 60
people signed up as active volunteers.
“It's amazing to see how much the BS3 Community Larder has grown and it's incredible how
organised it is when it was set up in such a short space of time.
So much work has gone into this, it's beautiful to see how we are all looking out for each other.
I'm really honoured to be a part of it. When I do return to work, I am going to see if I'm able
to carry on volunteering with you at least once a week as it's something that I'd really like to
Everyone deserves food, everyone has a right to eat no matter what their circumstances are.
Thanks for letting me be involved.” BS3 Community Larder Volunteer
Each week I needed 40 volunteers for the foodbank to operate smoothly. Creating the rotas each
week was a lengthy and challenging process!
It is encouaraging that new volunteers are still coming forward as people’s availability is changing
constantly and many of the original volunteers are now back at work.
For the first two weeks, we ran the Larder for three mornings per week but quickly realised that it
would be better to run each weekday morning as it was so busy. Throughout the school summer
holiday we reduced to three mornings and from September 2020 the Larder now operates on
Tuesdays and Fridays.
Each week, I sent out rotas for the following week. However, even though the team was in place,
things changed rapidly and every morning tended to be a scramble sourcing volunteers to help
with additional collections of food or to take on additional deliveries to clients!
The Shift Leader and the volunteer who makes the telephone calls have DBS certificates. All the
other volunteers have completed safeguarding training. There are usually six people in the church
disinfecting and sorting food and packing parcels.
Other volunteers use their vehicle to collect goods from stores around Bristol. At the end of the
morning a team of four drivers arrives to deliver the parcels to clients.
The church team takes delivery of donations from the community or from shops.
Everything is disinfected, weighed and the weight is logged onto the system. Other food is
quarantined in order to be weighed and logged a few days later.
IMAGE: Food parcels,
ready to go out
Some fresh food is refrigerated or frozen and we had a whole wall of fridges and freezers which
had been donated or lent to the Larder by various organisations.
Many streets have WhatsApp groups in which they share what our needs are, make collections and
bring the food donations along to St Paul’s Church. This happens far less now than during the
early stage of the lockdown. In addition, with the money which people had kindly given, we were
able to place food orders from a supermarket.
Later in the morning, as the parcels are made up, the food is weighed again and logged out on the
system by the volunteers in the church.
There has been a wonderful team of drivers who collect from stores as well as deliver to the clients.
They have been so willing to help with last minute requests and are wonderful about fitting driving
jobs around their home and work commitments.
The drivers have collected food from stores all over Bristol such as Aldi, Lidl, Marks and Spencer,
Asda. Each morning, the situation could change rapidly as notifications from Neighbourly came
in. The drivers were very flexible and able to respond to last minute requests to collect food and
toiletries. We are doing fewer collections from stores now but we still make a large weekly
collection from Fareshare. Fortunately we have had many generous financial gifts enabling us to
place a weekly supermarket order.
Four drivers arrive at St Paul’s at 12:50pm each day the foodbank operates to deliver the parcels to
the clients. The delivery protocol respects confidentiality, the safety of the drivers and social
Referrals come from organisations such as charities, schools, GPs and public sector agencies. Each
organisation needs to register with the Larder as a referral agent in order to be able to refer a client.
Each person or family referred receives a phone call from a team member who has a current DBS
certificate and has been trained to undertake the role. The client will be asked what they require,
so that parcels can be tailored to meet their needs. Sometimes we are able to add activities for
children and flowers for the adults. It all depends on what we have at the Larder.
Each food parcel has enough food to make meals for three days. There are also toiletries and
The referrals grew week on week as the Larder became better known and increased the number of
referring agencies but also as the need grew in the local community. We have linked up with the
city-wide foodbank network and are working closely with the East Bristol Foodbank which is part
of The Trussell Trust and we comply with their referral process.
Feedback from Clients
Our volunteers sometimes feed back after their delivery….
“It’s important that you know that people are very grateful for what you are doing. This man
hadn't known where he was going to be able to get food from for a couple of weeks. He can
relax now and get on with looking after himself, without having to deal with those anxieties
all the time. Without the Community Larder helping him, he wouldn't be feeling that way
tonight.” BS3 Community Larder Delivery Volunteer
“Feedback from one of today's happy customers, whom we're supporting through BS3
Community Covid-19 Response. He wanted me to thank you and let you all know how much
he appreciated what you have done for him. He is very grateful. Great work.”
BS3 Community Larder Delivery Volunteer
The Present and the Future
With St Paul’s opening for worship at the start of September, all the food needs to be packed onto
storage every Thursday and wheeled into a cupboard to be brought out again on Monday. We are
fortunate to have been donated funds and awarded grants, which have enabled the purchase of
The aim is for the Community Larder to continue as there is still a need in BS3. The recent
organisation of the Larder has been a new challenge as people began to go back to work, however
new volunteers continue to register every week.
Since the beginning of September the foodbank is operating two mornings each week. The aim in
the near future is to offer advice on housing, debt and cooking healthy meals when clients come to
collect their parcels. This is very much a work in progress.
As my involvement with BS3 Community Larder comes to an end, I would like to thank my
colleagues and the PCC at St Mary Redcliffe for generously allowing me to use some of my time,
usually spent working for them, towards the foodbank at St Paul’s. It is has been a valuable and
rewarding venture to be a part of.
am now in my second year as Families and Youth Minister and I continue to love my role!
In the past year (and a bit) we have welcomed new families to our church, bringing our
numbers to a record high. Before lockdown, it was certainly a squeeze to fit into the
Undercroft on a Sunday morning! It was only just prior to our church doors closing, that
our Children’s Ministry Team, unaware of the changes we would be facing, met to reflect and
discuss how we could develop our ministry, and meet the needs of our families and children. The
Children’s Ministry team are fantastic – and it really is a great pleasure to lead this part of our
ministry together. This year, we were delighted to welcome Holly Rosegnk to our team and Helena
Hoyle King to the role of Deputy.
Meet the lovely Holly!
And our talented Helena!
As well as Children’s Church, both Toddler Church and Youth Church seemed to really take shape
in the early part of 2020. I had trialled many ways of running our Youth Church, but in the past,
it never seemed to work quite right. After prayerful reflection, I followed the model of Rosemary
Kingsford’s Sing-along, and began a monthly Youth Church on a Sunday afternoon. We soon
developed a core group and begun to welcome members from the local community.
Toddler Church also seem to really take off during this time. For months we were very quiet, but
over time we were joined by carers, parents, grandparents and their children, most of whom came
from outside our church. From Toddler Church grew “coffee club” – and then a more
intergenerational Toddler Church, bringing together different members of our community. It
really brought home to me what church is all about - it’s for everyone. And I really cannot begin
to express the joy I feel when I am leading our children’s sessions, no matter what the age-group!
Back in February half-term this year, we were once again joined by Noah’s Ark outreach team for
a Meet and Greet for our Animal Day. It was a great success and we welcomed more than a 100
people through our doors, from our local community and beyond.
Just prior to the Animal Workshop, Kat, my line manager, headed off with her family to New
Zealand for her extended ministerial leave. Whilst I missed her greatly, for Kat is a great person
to work with (as are the other members of the team!), Kat’s time away gave me an opportunity to
experience a wider breadth of ministerial life. I especially enjoyed planning and leading the Family
Service in the Undercroft and writing and delivering the Lent Bible Talks with Aggy. One of the
roles I took on during Kat’s leave was the co-leadership of the Lent Project with Aggy. This year,
we’d decided to write our own material and created a series of four sessions exploring the first four
marks of mission through the lens of the fifth. On the day we were due to deliver our third session,
like everything and everyone around us, life was turned upside down by Coronavirus. As we
entered unimaginable times, we began to re-think how we would be able to fulfil our ministry.
Two weeks later, we finished the sessions, with meetings on Zoom. Up until that point, I’d not
even heard of Zoom! It became clear to me at this moment, as our world fixed its eyes firmly and,
in some cases perhaps unwittingly, on the fifth mark of mission, to protect Creation, we were being
guided by God on the action to take – adapting our ministry to tell, teach, tend and transform, for
the love of His people.
For the last few years, I have had the wonderful opportunity to do the Talk on Mothering Sunday.
You may remember that our very first Sunday spent in lockdown was in fact Mothering Sunday.
Our theme for the service had been: “Gifts”. The gifts of our church – and that’s you. We’d created
our Children’s Church altar frontal and had gathered some answers from our families on the
question: What do you think that Jesus would have given Mary as a present for Mothering Sunday?
I can’t remember all the responses; I know that chocolate had a mention! But the word that sticks
out in my head was an answer from our Sparks’ group: peace of mind.
I can’t say that I have always had peace of mind over the last six months! Home-learning, working
and preparing for BAP was quite an experience. However, all I can describe of my own feelings in
those early stages of lockdown was an overwhelming urge to keep our children’s and family’s
ministry alive. I also felt a great sense of gratitude for the position I was in; and, thanks to the
church and the staff team, our children’s ministry soon became equipped with the resources and
knowledge we needed to make our mission possible.
Weekly videos, newsletters and social media all served to enable our children and family’s ministry
to tell the good news, even on Mothering Sunday. In just a few days, our families sent in videos of
their children performing familiar songs, reading bible passages and poems, and playing
instruments; collectively contributing to a whole selection of gifts for our church to enjoy.
We introduced an online Youth Church, which met more frequently than before, and, with the
help of my daughters, our Toddler Church became a weekly online Dolly Church. To my
astonishment, both Youth Church and Dolly Church grew in number. We also began our weekly
Children’s Church ministry videos which went onto become a part of the Live Worship at 10am.
This was an extraordinary experience for me – both daunting and exciting. I had been used to
doing my bit down in the Undercroft - “behind the scenes” so to speak, and I initially found it quite
difficult to be seen in action by so many people beyond our families. I did however discover just
how much I really enjoyed and valued the opportunity to explore and share the Good News of the
Gospel; I feel it’s really shaped me in my ministry. I would also say that one of the most positive
outcomes of lockdown from my perspective as Families and Youth Minister has been the sense of
togetherness. Children’s Church really feels integrated and fully a part of church life.
When Kat returned from her ministerial leave, she introduced our Family Church Service on
Zoom. This was extremely well-received, and, like the rest of our online provision, it is something
we will continue to offer for the foreseeable future. The online church survey was very helpful in
assisting us to evaluate our online provision. We aimed to cater for various preferences, and we
are very mindful that not everybody is able to access online church. During the summer, we were
delighted to offer prayer activities in the church yard (although the final session was sadly rained
off) and we are excited at the prospect of our Earth Church, which we will be introducing in
When I talk about the things “we” have done over the past year, I mean all of us: the children’s
ministry team, the clergy, the staff team, our volunteers and all our people.
I cannot thank everyone enough for their contributions and support - from bedtime bible stories,
arts and crafts and music videos to leading Teddy Church and sessions on Zoom. The list is
endless. We are certainly blessed with an enthusiastic and committed church community who
share their gifts and talents liberally and go above and beyond.
It is a great privilege to minister at St Mary Redcliffe Church.
From Toddler Church …
To Dolly Church…
outh work in Redcliffe through late 2019 and early
2020 really generated momentum and prior to
lockdown we were reaching around 50-60 young
people per week with our different projects.
Covid-19 has changed the way that we are working but it has
been fantastic that the church has been a source of support for
many families during this time.
Our focus over the next year will to rebuild the projects
slightly differently in the changed circumstances and to
ensure the sustainability of youth work in Redcliffe.
Redcliffe has high levels of child poverty (in the worst 1% in the country in 2019). The latest
population estimates show that Redcliffe has a rapidly increasing child population (BCC, 2017)
and the area lacks facilities for children and young people (Vivid, 2018; ERS, 2016). Children and
young people living locally go to different primary and secondary schools outside of the area,
which is a challenge in terms of building a local network.
Alongside local young people and different partners, we are working towards an ambitious mission
to make Redcliffe the best place in the world to grow up. To help structure my work through the
three years we have broken that down into three manageable objectives. These are:
1. Young people are engaged and active in their community
2. Young people in Redcliffe have services that they want and need
3. Develop community capacity to sustain services for young people
The early part of my work focussed on understanding the situation for young people in the
community, seeing how we could strengthen what was working (or had worked in the past) and
the challenges we’d need to overcome. Over the past year we have focussed on delivering services
that young people and their families indicated they want and need.
The Redcliffe Youth Group, which we began in November 2018, has continued to develop in terms
of size and the range of different opportunities we are able to offer. From September 2019 to March
2020 we have averaged 20 children attending every Monday at Faithspace providing a safe space
for local children to come and take part in a range of activities and projects.
Our usual session includes an art and craft activity,
games, Wii, some food and a relaxed area for conversations. We
get a real mix of ethnicity, gender, religion and background in the
group. Most of the children come from the Redcliffe estate but
some are coming from further afield recommended by friends.
We have done different projects together including decorating a
tree for Treefest, cooking, a Halloween Party, and music tuition
from Basement Studio. During the holidays we have given the
children some fantastic experiences such as going to Royal
Victoria Park Bath, a Forest School Session in Leigh Woods,
Freedog [trampolining] and a boat trip to the Underfall Yard.
At the start of November 2019, we began football sessions on a Friday evening at St Mary Redcliffe
and Temple (SMRT) School. Led by qualified coaches these have attracted around 30 teenage boys
per week. Some of the older young people in the group are starting to take on a leadership role
within the sessions. We have secured funding to continue these sessions once the facilities are
available again and to train future potential coaches.
We do community sports sessions as a way of reaching young people who may not be attending
our usual sessions. These have fluctuated between the courts outside Proctor House and in between
Waring, Francombe and Underdown Houses. Usually we have organised basketball sessions for
young people but more recently we have introduced cricket as a good way of keeping distanced
from each other and easing pressure on the crowded spaces for playing games.
One gap we realised in community provision was for teenage girls. We organised a community
meeting with families to discuss the issue and find out what they wanted. We now have a
provisional agreement in place to fund a girls’ basketball session at SMRT once the facilities are
We have continued to work with the local police team and local volunteers to run well-established
sports camps at SMRT for at least one day during the school holidays (3 or 4 in the summer). We
have between 30-50 children attending each day and have developed the offer to include some arts
and crafts and healthy eating workshops.
In October 2019 we were awarded a grant from the Youth Sector Support
Fund (YSSF) to gauge demand for a permanent youth space within Redcliffe
and develop a group of local young people that want to advocate for it.
The funding includes money to bring Young Bristol’s Youth Bus to Redcliffe
as a short-term dedicated youth space for teenagers, which provides
computers, technology and a range of equipment to engage small groups. We
will also be providing music and street art sessions to provide different ways
for young people to express what they want for Redcliffe.
Up to March we had 13 Youth Bus sessions in the local area and had begun focussed music sessions
with a small group of young people in Faithspace flat, providing music tuition to young people
who would not otherwise have access to the opportunity.
Wider Community Work
We are working with various community partners to develop our work. As part of our Quartet
grant, we are working with a Somali Youth organisation called Bristol Horn Youth Concern to
engage more of the local Somali population. We now have regular meetings with parents and have
set up social media groups to ensure information on what is going on is accessible and relevant to
It was fantastic to be nominated as SMR Primary School’s Christmas charity as recognition of the
work we have done to support their pupils outside school.
We helped lead the community Halloween Party
for Redclife Residents Action Group with around
30 young people of all ages coming along to
Yeamans Community Room with many parents.
There were some fantastic costumes, music, food,
games and wonderful decorations courtesy of
local community organiser, Marky.
Young People’s Participation
We have established an advisory group to help
guide the direction of youth work in Redcliffe,
which includes representatives from the church,
YMCA, BCC, local parents and young people. They provide support in implementing our
objectives and influencing factors that encourage young people to engage (environment,
relationships with other organisations/community etc.).
We have regularly conducted focus groups with local young people at SMRT to get a better
understanding of what Redcliffe young people want and need. This group have helped promote
our activities and given feedback on what is available.
Response to Covid-19
Covid-19 prevented our weekly groups from meeting. We identified families who were vulnerable
during lockdown and set-up a weekly telephone check-in.
As a result of some of those
conversations we realised there was a
gap in resources for some of our
families living locally. We provided
activity packs at reduced costs. These
included the basics for schoolwork
(pens, paper, stationery etc.) as well as
arts and craft activities and suitable
Our youth group have been meeting
through the summer in the South
Churchyard with a maximum of 10
children at a time. They are free to play
games, do craft activities like maskmaking
and have a space to talk about their concerns. It has been positive to connect many local
families of all faiths and backgrounds with the churchyard that they previously rarely used.
We have also been doing outreach work since July to re-connect with young people after lockdown.
We have now started detached cricket sessions, offer young people something different to their
normal activities and encouraging sports can be played at a safe distance.
Our focus for Year 3 of this project is sustainability. We will be offering further training
opportunities to our youth team, community volunteers and young people to be able to lead
projects in the future. We will also be working with our advisory group to review our projects to
see if they fit in with community needs and develop detailed proposals to make them sustainable.
We will be completing our YSSF work with more Youth Bus sessions; further work with Somali
groups; music and art sessions and bringing together a selection of young people from these
projects to form an advocacy group for the future of youth work in Redcliffe. They will advise the
project on next steps including scoping out potential spaces for young people in the local area.
We will be piloting a community mentoring scheme to reach children and young people in the
parish that would benefit from one-to-one support to reach their full potential.
If you have any skills, experience, funding or contacts that might be able to help us with any of
these projects then please do get in touch.
he schools workshops ground to a halt part way through March 2020 when all the visits
had to be cancelled for the rest of the school year. I found myself involved in completely
different work (see my other article about BS3 Community Larder). However before
mid-March we had many workshops for Primary Schools and visits and talks for
Here are some highlights:
Following two Year 4 workshops on the theme of Ascension and and Pentecost in May 2019,
Eleanor Vousden and I installed an exhibition of the children’s weaving and printing in St John’s
Chapel. I was particularly proud of this venture and I would like to thank Eleanor for all her hard
work in making it happen.
Using the Pentecost window in the Lady Chapel as
a starting point the children thought about the cool
colours of the wind at Pentecost and the warm
colours of the flames and the dove.
They noted how the colour of blue-grey swept
through the window from the crucifixion, up the
stairs leading to the upper room, through the
servant’s clothing and water pitcher through
Mary’s garment and beyond. We noted that this
was like the ‘rushing mighty wind’ of which the
King James Bible speaks:
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the
house where they were sitting.”
The children were encouraged to think about how the warm colours of red and yellow spread out
from the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove, onto each follower and flickered up into other shapes and
fiery creatures above the main picture.
In January we had a new type of workshop in the church. The whole of Year 4 from Hareclive
School in Hartcliffe came to take part in a workshop on the theme of Sound. Bryan Anderson
kindly gave a talk which gave a simple history of church music and gave the children an
opportunity to take part in a procession with candles and a cross, as if they were mediaeval monks.
Bryan also gave demonstrations of the organ to small groups, whilst I had groups in St John’s
Chapel thinking about how sound resounds and echoes in the space as they each rang a handbell
(like an old fashioned school bell). We went outside to listen to the church clock chime the hour
and then came back in for the most fun – taking it in turns to pull the rope and ring the bell above
St John’s Chapel. I had warned my colleagues in the parish office prior to this event, but they were
still taken aback on the day!
Just before we had to cancel the workshops in mid-March, we had some wonderful sessions with
the local primary school.
We used a story sack with knitted figues made by me and my group of craft volunteers to tell the
Easter Story with the Reception Classes. The children always come for a Christmas-themed visit
but this was the first time they had been for an additional Easter-themed visit. The Easter story is
hard to present to small children, however the workshop went really well thanks to a wonderful
simple book and the knitted artefacts.
We used the knitted artefacts again for an Easter-themed workshop with Year 3. Of course, we did
this in a completely different way and the children were astonishingly thoughtful and perceptive.
I think all of the volunteers were struck by their engagement with the meaning of the Holy Week
narrative. I was thrilled with this feedback from the Deputy Head at St Mary Redcliffe Primary
“Today, my Year 3 class had the pleasure of attending SMR church to participate in a
discussion about the Easter story. Upon our arrival we were met by Sarah who was very clear
in her instructions and provided the children with specific details about the morning's
Firstly, the children participated in a fantastic retelling of the Easter story. Each child had a
role in the story which was beautifully retold by Sarah and the volunteers. During the story,
questions were asked by the children and were expertly answered which raised excellent
debate among the children. The children's voices were listened to and appreciated. I, for one,
was astounded by the level of questioning by children and staff.
After the story telling, the children then had the opportunity to visit parts of the church that
relate to the Easter story. This is where the children were able to apply their understanding
and make vital links in their learning.
Finally, the children were able to produce a piece of art based on what they heard and saw.
This was a fantastic way to end the session and each child produced a beautiful piece of
independent artwork. This artwork will be used for a class display to show the importance of
the Easter story.
Thank you again to Sarah and the other staff members. We all had a fantastic morning and
came away with lots of learning!”
I will leave you with a final photograph of some work by a child in Year Six on the theme of ‘What
does it mean if God is Holy and Loving?’ The
captions underneath the window designs explain
that if God were only holy he would be very
judgmental of everyone who could not be perfect.
It also explains that if God were just loving he
would forgive everyone everything.
The children learned that God is both Holy and
Loving – the perfect balance.
As ever, I would like to thank my faithful band of volunteers, without whom this work would not
“Rooted in Love”
They are like trees that grow beside a stream … they flourish in everything they do. Psalm 1, v 3.
y the time you read this, most of our children should have
returned to school after lockdown, having missed a great deal of
formal education. It has of course been a very challenging time
for all involved. Staff at the school have worked heroically,
dealing with a rapidly-changing situation, some having no break at either
Easter or Whitsun. SMRP never closed, with nearly 100 children considered
vulnerable or whose parents are key workers, reflecting our catchment area. At the same time,
online teaching has been provided, despite a shortage of computer hardware, and the school has
been proactive in ensuring all children have enough to eat, even if they are not physically on site.
Quite apart from the far-reaching and on-going effects of the coronavirus crisis, summer 2020 has
seen major upheaval in senior management structure at the school, initiated by the Diocese of
Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT). Marie Thomas - Headteacher at SMRP since January 2018 and
responsible for many positive changes - resigned as from August 2020. DBAT is now trialling a
new structure: there is a Trust-appointed Strategic Lead for a hub of three schools (SMRP,
Fishponds and Easton) with individual Heads of School at each site. In the case of SMRP, this role
is now carried out by the two previous Deputy Heads on a job-share basis.
Thinking back to 2019, the new curriculum proved very successful, with high levels of engagement
from staff, students and parents. This September will see a greater focus on well-being, as everyone
adjusts to being back at school in very different conditions, but the framework of the curriculum
1 Giving Back (charity focus, values)
2 Wise Choices Bright Future (life skills, PSHE)
3 Take Five (creative)
4 A Moment in Time (history)
5 Our Sustainable City (science)
6 Colourful Cultures (international, geography)
The aim is to prepare children to be responsible global citizens who understand their rights and
responsibilities in their local and wider Bristol community. It is a knowledge rich, language rich
and culturally rich curriculum reflecting the needs of our diverse community and our Christian
distinctiveness (Meg Dudding, then Deputy Head, April 2019).
A final note: please consider whether you could serve as a Foundation Governor for the school.
The local board has already lost one of these parish-nominated roles and my stint ends next
summer. It’s an interesting and varied role, providing an opportunity to contribute to our thriving
and diverse community, with a good group of people. Do get in touch with Rev Kat if you’d like to
Registered Charity No. 1134120
Telephone number for all purposes during Covid-19 office closure: 0330 159 4919
12 Colston Parade, Bristol BS1 6RA – 0117 231 0060 – email@example.com
Revd Canon Dan Tyndall
0117 231 0067
Revd Kat Campion-Spall
0117 231 0070
Revd Aggy Palairet
0117 231 0072
0117 231 0071
0117 231 0067
Revd Anthony Everitt
Revd Canon Neville Boundy
Revd Peter Dill
0117 231 0073
0117 231 0063
0117 231 0072
Matthew Buckmaster (head)
Judith Reading, Paul Thomas
Vestry: 0117 231 0061 firstname.lastname@example.org
0117 231 0065
Claire and Graham Alsop
0117 231 0068
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You can find out more about this scheme by visiting
www.parishgivingscheme.org.uk where you’ll see how easy it is to amend your
regular contribution. Just ring 0333 002 1271. Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.
You will need:
our bank details
our parish name: St Mary Redcliffe
our parish code: 050605010
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SMR PCC account details are: Sort Code 56-00-40 | Account Number 00321710.
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