Parishes of Scremerston, Spittal and Tweedmouth.

ANNUAL REVIEW of  2017

Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 2

How to Use this Booklet. 2

Vicar’s Letter. 3

Mission Action Plans. 5

Young People. 8

New Service Pattern. 12

Growing in Faith. 14

Meeting Together. 15

Connecting With Our Community. 19

Miscellaneous. 21

Activities Beyond the Parishes. 24

 How to Use this Booklet

·         Give thanks for all God has done for us in the last year, and how he has enabled groups of very ordinary people to be church in Scremerston, Spittal and Tweedmouth.

·         Pray for all that God is inspiring us to be and do in the future. Pray for those in leadership and pray about what part you can play. We can all be involved in praying for each other.

·         If you are new to our churches, this booklet will help you to get to know us better. You are welcome to speak to anyone whose name you read here, to find out more.

·         If you are a visitor, please feel free to take a copy of the booklet away with you, we would be most grateful if you use some of the information here to pray for us.


 

Vicar’s Letter

Dear Friends,

It has been another good year of development of our parishes.  My thanks go, as ever, to all who have served to enable us to be that Church that God calls us to be, and to reach out in His mission to His world.

Some new developments are worth singling out.  Firstly, the Coffee and Chat in Spittal, on Thursday mornings.  It has been wonderful to see how people from the different churches have worked together to enable us to open our doors and reach out in a new way to people who normally don’t come into church.  Now, regularly, we have people who meet, chat and are developing friendships.  Babies and toddlers can come to the sessions put on in the warm Mercers’ room, and we have developed the relationship with the nursery, who often bring children.  Adults and children who come can see the genuine faith of those who serve; they know prayer is available if requested; and several new people have taken to the church in new ways, including taking on the care of the garden.  I’ve been particularly pleased that I have not had to initiate or drive this venture: Instead I have had the privilege of encouraging Mary and her team in the great job they are doing.

Secondly, there have been some important developments in our buildings again this year.  Scremerston’s interior has changed significantly (and will continue to do so due to the generous grant from the Mercers and other match funding we hope to receive).  In Tweedmouth, the defunct organ has been removed, opening up the north transept considerably (thanks to Steve, Ian and team for this).  In Spittal, the new use of the back of the church on Thursdays with Café Trio and the prayer tent has transformed that space (plus we have applied for a grant for the development of the garden at the rear of the church).

Thirdly, we are in these three parishes set to become a united benefice.  Nothing will change in terms of day-to-day arrangements, as we are formalising legally how I have been working since coming here.  But we are ministering together more and more closely.  This was evidenced this year when we had our joint open PCC meeting in June.  I was so impressed by the generosity from each parish to each other, and by the way we came together for a new service pattern across the three, thinking of each other’s needs and recognising there had to be give and take.

And together we can inspire each other. 

·         Spittal people inspire the rest of us with their faithfulness.  Week in, week out, they faithfully attend a small congregation.  Month in, month out, the Creative Church team reviews, plans and enables (most Messy Churches last a few times: with ours we have done it now for over 80 months without a break). 

·         Scremerston people inspire the rest of us with their openness to change and development.  This year, real grace has been shown by those for whom change to the long-standing parts of the church was not easy.  Now though, we can move forward in enabling the space to be much more welcoming to the community, and we can be a hub in the village, and a beacon of light and hope.

·         Tweedmouth people inspire the rest of us by working together in teams: lay-people using their God-given gifts so that we can be a priesthood of all believers, and every person can get involved.  We have social teams (for both events and rotas), a welcome team, a worship team (for intercessions, readings and sacristan duties), a finance team, a communications team, a Sunday School team, plus more.  And in all these teams, we have lay-leadership and proper accountability.  There is a move for all this in the Church of England in general and we are leading the way.

·         And thanks to Linda, Gordon, Harry and Phil (our Ministry team) and the retired Clergy who help out across the three parishes, and to each of our dedicated churchwardens.

Looking back over these seven years, it’s really amazing to see how far we have come.  Almost none of the things that you will read about in this booklet were happening when I arrived.  Now, together, we have built Home Groups, Creative Church, Sunday School, Craft Groups, After School Clubs, Social Events, and leaders for each: the list goes on.  And we have developed our prayer and worship and welcome, as well as our mission, and community engagement.   And there have been loads of new people who have joined us in this time (and each of the last seven years, we have had people for Confirmation).

And our buildings have been improved substantially (as mentioned above, plus the significant development of the Church Hall in Tweedmouth).  And we’ve experienced more generous giving (so we now pay our parish shares in full), and we’ve been blessed to receive various grants (bringing in a lot of much needed money to our parishes), and we’ve now got an excellent finance strategy and finance team.

All this growth has not been easy!  There has been a lot of hard work, with people being self-giving and self-sacrificing.  Thank you to all who have done so.  But it has been worth it, and we must give all the glory to God for what He has achieved in us and through us, by empowering us by His Spirit.

But it’s not just about what we do.  It’s about who we are.  When I started, I talked about a Vision, where we look UP to God in Worship, INWARDS in discipleship, AROUND in Fellowship, and OUT in Mission.  And I think we are people who are like this. 

It’s been a privilege to serve you during this transition from three quite separate parishes to a United Benefice of three parishes.  We’re still different in character, and that’s good, but we are united in looking up, inwards, around and out, as we grow and serve and share together.

Thanks to Gordon Chapman and Anne Wadey for compiling and printing this review and to all who have written for this.

Finally, thanks to Clare, my wife, for all she gives and has given up to enable my ministry here.

May God bless each of you

Matthew

Mission Action Plans

Mission is about God sending.  He is the God who loves His world and longs for people to know His love.  He sent His Son into the world, He sent His Holy Spirit.  We now join in God's Mission, as He sends us to be and bring good news. 

We developed our present Mission Action Plans for these 3 parishes after a 3-parish day away in May 2016, praying and seeking God’s guidance.  Now we have been fulfilling them gradually.  Here, you can see the summary for each parish, with comments on progress.  To look at the wider vision and the specific actions we plan to take (and also at the process of how we got here), please see the docs attached at www.potss.co.uk/mission-action-plans

Summary for Tweedmouth

1.       Deepening discipleship.

We have tried to equip our people to share their faith with their friends outside the church by running a Lent Course on this topic, through co-ordinating homegroups in the run-up to “Thy Kingdom Come” in Ascension to Pentecost, and through 3 invitation social events per year.  We have enabled people to give financially as part of discipleship, by producing a new giving pack.  Linda has ably taken over leading the After Schools Clubs and developed a team.  We have enabled the building to be more welcoming and appropriate for worship. We plan on developing a new website after Easter, and later this year to think about a mentoring scheme. 

2.       Developing friendships.

We also have 3 social events per year aimed at those in the congregation to get to know each other better (in addition to the coffee morning and socialising after the services).

3.       Furthering our prayer.

Mary has led a team from Tweedmouth, combining with a few from Spittal for the Coffee and Chat, and there have been events at Spittal for the 3 parishes.  Resources have been made available for the journey from Lent to Pentecost, including a booklet on Fasting.

4.       A more generous spirit

This is something that is ongoing, as we continue to foster a whole spirit of encouraging.

Summary for Spittal

1.       Explore the use of this space.

On Thursday mornings the space is transformed.  In addition to the prayer tent, the back of the church is made into Café Trio, and the Mercers’ room is made into a toddler area.  It is then carefully put back, so that worship can take place.

2.       Explore the development of a prayer space.

The prayer tent is permanently in place, plus on 4 occasions a year, at the prayer-services, there is further development of the space to enable prayer stations etc.

3.       Develop services that connect.

We are continuing to think how we can enable discipleship at Creative Church, rather than “entertaining.”  We have expanded our team and have someone specifically to think about welcoming and connecting with the parents.

Summary for Scremerston

1.       To continue to develop our building, with the hope of making a space in the heart of the community where people can meet. 

The space has been opened up at the back and front by the removal of the organ and some pews, and a new platform at the front.  There is a new kitchenette, a new toilet, and running water.  The Mercers have awarded us a very generous grant so that we might next concentrate on the heating, décor and heat retention, and we are applying for other grants to match fund this, so we might fix the south roof and further develop the interior.

2.       To enable the church to be open more, to enable people, especially those who are connected through loved ones in the churchyard

The church is open every day now, so people can come and pray. The prayer tree at Christmas was inside the space now at the back of the nave, instead of in the porch as in the previous couple of years, and this was appreciated. We are starting weekly coffee mornings in May, which we plan will become soup lunches in the winter.

3.       To enable services that connect with both the changing and traditional nature of the village.

The re-vamped Family Service has proved popular with adults and children alike, and several new people have joined us for it.  The new Evening Communion Service now gives people who can’t be with us on a Sunday morning an opportunity to come.

4.       To continue to connect with the community

We continue to have good relationships with the local school.  The Knit and Knatter group continues to be a good meeting point for those who are regulars in the congregation and those who aren’t.  The group met in the church in the summer, and we look forward to improving our space in church for this and other groups to meet.

Joint MAP across the 3 parishes

1.       Enable more joint social events

These have happened on various occasions like Maundy Thursday, a Creative Church BBQ, and 4 joint services/year with coffee afterwards.

2.       Continue with home groups and opportunities to disciple together in small groups

This last year, one of the homegroups has grown and split into two new homegroups: one for Christians longer in the tooth, and another for those newer to the faith – with the hope of enabling an Alpha Course to run within this group after Easter.

3.       Support joint youthwork across the parishes (and Youthworker).

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Henry after just over a year in post.  We are busy trying to recruit another youthworker for the 3 parishes, with the remaining funding, and partner with Scripture Union.  Please do pray for this.

4.       Consider the pattern of services across the three parishes.

This pattern has been completely revised, after a very positive joint open meeting.  The new pattern has now embedded well, showing good unity across the three parishes.

5.       From this joint working, we are to develop a new joint identity.

We are now in the formal process of becoming a joint benefice.

Matthew

Young People

After School Clubs

‘Messy Monday’ at Scremerston First School
‘Birds of Pray’ at Prior Park First School Tweedmouth

Both clubs have continued to meet in term time this year, for around 20 children at Scremerston and 12 at Prior We have aimed to provide Bible teaching, games, craft work, and of course refreshments on every occasion.

Programme
Summer 2017 – The Holy Spirit and the Church (Fruits of the Spirit hangings in church)
Autumn 2017 ­ Belonging to Jesus’ Kingdom (parables)/All the nativity stories
Spring 2018 – Jesus growing up/ Jesus in control. (Major events in Jesus’ ministry)

Please continue to pray for the children, our leaders, and the schools as we offer these precious things.

Thinking of leaders, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them so much for their faithful, skilful, and unselfish contributions to the life of the clubs.

Rev Linda Chapman

Family Services at Scremerston

Of course, there have been Family Services at Scremerston for many years, but last summer we decided to present them in a new format with PowerPoint, craft, refreshments half way through, and songs for all ages. The first of these new-style services was on June 21st, Father’s Day. With around 20 adults and 10 children coming for several months now, we have been thrilled to see the response. Please pray for this opportunity to welcome the community into worship as we enter our second year, and for numbers to consolidate and then increase.

Getting the message out that the Family Service is happening is key, so please also pray for our communication as well as for the new families that have begun to attend.  Many thanks

Rev Linda Chapman

The Holiday Club St Peter’s Scremerston and Berwick Churches Together

The holiday club this year was held at the rugby club as the school was out of action, so we had a slow start but built up as the week went on and parents realised the change of venue. We had 22 children ranging from 4 to 13 years. Our theme was Noah and John Vilaseca from Berwick parish church acted as Noah. There were both children and helpers from all the churches in the area and it proved to be successful with the final session being a chip picnic on the grass adjoining the rugby field. I was very kindly presented with beautiful gifts as a thank you and goodbye as it was my final holiday club having undertaken it now for 10 years and time to have a rest and hand over to someone a bit younger.

Anne Bradley

Tweedmouth Sunday School

Sunday School have been using ‘The Beginners Bible’ DVD and resources which covered both the Old Testament and New Testament, and has been a good resource, the children really enjoyed it.

We have a stable core group and a sizeable group of regular children who attend when they can. We take the children to the upper room of the Church hall and watch the DVD whilst we wait for parents/carers to collect their child/children. This has worked very well, and we know that their parent/carer has collected the children.

We are going to look at Easter and Ascension then we are going to look at ‘what prayer is’ using ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative that Archbishop is encouraging us to use.

We are then going to teach the children the Lord’s Prayer, going through it line by line and explaining what each means, the children will make their own book/poster of the Lord’s Prayer to take home and keep.

The children have lots of fun in Sunday School, singing, playing games, have snack and craft.

Barbara Donaldson

Schools and Youthwork

We have had good relationships with all seven of our local schools again this year: First schools in Prior Park, Scremerston, Spittal and Tweedmouth West; the Middle School, the Grove and the Academy.  We have had the privilege of welcoming them for their Christmas services (or going in school for theirs).  Several have had other end of term services, I lead assemblies in various schools, and Linda leads the after school clubs with her wonderful teams in Scremerston and Prior.  It’s been a joy this last term to read to the Reception children every week a bible story and to teach a few songs.  I continue as a governor in both Scremerston and Prior, and Clare is Vice-Chair of Tweedmouth West.

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Henry Schutte, our youthworker for just over a year.  Henry developed the youth group for Middle School aged children, so that it was on a Saturday evening in St Paul’s hall, and also ran a summer holiday club with plenty of good activities.  Thanks to all of his team who helped, who gave up their time and gave much energy to the group and care for the young people.  Thanks also to those who helped Henry with his Hot Chocolate project in Scremerston.  We are currently trying to recruit a new youthworker, so that we might continue investing in young people here – do please pray.

Matthew

Safeguarding

Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults are taken seriously in all three Churches, and we follow the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy which all three Churches have adopted. These are posted on the Churches’ notice boards and in Tweedmouth church hall.  There are new guidelines that we have to follow; all people have to fill in a Volunteer declaration form, and to attend at least one Safeguarding training session.

This will start for all new people wishing to join any team in the Churches.  This will help to create a safer place for all in the Churches.

Another change this year is how we do the ‘DBS’ checks, they have to be done electronically now which is much quicker than when we had to do them before.

Parish Safeguarding officers are required to do the Diocesan training, which we have done.

If you have any concerns you can speak to any Safeguarding Officer:
Barbara Donaldson for Tweedmouth and Spittal.
Tina Penny                for Scremerston.
Or you can speak to: Rev. Matthew Knox   tel: 01289 305290
Ruth Rogan, Diocesan Advisor at r.rogan@newcastle.anglican.org
                                                Tel: 07825 167016

Barbara Donaldson

New Service Pattern

Space for centre page spread on new service pattern.


 


 

Growing in Faith

Prayer Space

Throughout the year four initiatives were held in the Prayer Space at St John’s Spittal. Berwick Churches Together ‘kicked off’ with a three-day opportunity to come and pray for Christian Unity in our area. The Salvation Army provided literature, meditations and prayer stations to stimulate our intercessions. This was followed in Lent by an evening of Worship and Prayer led by Rena Telfer and Anna Raine, in which the focus was on Blessing. Those who came also appreciated the wonderful refreshments afterwards, organized by Church Warden Moira.

During Pentecost we joined with other churches across the Diocese and Nation in following the Archbishops’ call for “a wave of prayer” under the banner of “Thy Kingdom Come”. The prayer space was filled with stations focusing on different petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, providing people with ideas of how to both pray for five people they know, but also focus on national concerns such as the recent Manchester bombings. Prayer for our own personal issues was encouraged too. The week culminated with an overnight prayer, which several participants said they found inspiring. Thanks to all who gave up sleep to do this for the second year running! 

In Advent, Alison Lansdale of Borders Lydia came and led us in an evening of Worship with a challenging message on Prayer Walking. This was timed to coincide with our annual distribution, throughout the three parishes, of invitation cards for the different Christmas services.  Alison encouraged us to pray for the homes and streets where we delivered cards and gave inspiring examples of how she had seen God answer prayers for areas in the Borders.

Please note that the Prayer Space is open daily March – October for private meditation and everyone is welcome to visit.

Mary Higginson

Tweedmouth Church Library

The church library, located in the upper room behind the kitchen and up the stairs is now organised and ready for use. On some Sundays in February we had a table in the church hall, near the coffee table, with a selection of books displayed and some people did borrow books. We will continue to do this in future.

There is a wide range of Christian books, by many highly respected authors past and present such as Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, John Bunyan, John Stott, John Ortberg, R.T. Kendall, Watchman Nee etc. You may also be interested in books on the subject of revival that tell of amazing moves of God such as that in the Welsh valleys, one in the Hebrides, and a lesser known one on the east coast of England among fishermen.

If you would like to borrow a book there is a notebook for writing in your name, the name of the book and the date borrowed. When you return it, there is a section for you to write the date returned. This helps us to keep track of books if someone is looking for a particular book.

Barbara, Sheila and the other ladies who run the Sunday School have some lovely books and Children’s Bibles in the children's section with a cosy book den where the children can look through books and decide what to borrow.

We pray you will feel led to make use of this great resource, especially as we no longer have a Christian bookshop in Berwick and be inspired.

Chris Lees, Chris Marshall, Karen Strachan,

Meeting Together

House Group at Lord’s Mount

To be honest this group was beginning to struggle during the summer months, and for various good reasons failed to meet at all during the autumn. Two of our regular members moved away, another left. Sometimes when this sort of thing happens it’s right to be radical, so we decided to split into two to see what would happen. Linda continues with two of the original members – three more folk have joined us, so we are six. There is plenty of room for more members! We are a group which seeks to understand and apply the Bible stories, often starting from scratch; please let me know of anyone interested in joining (307466). The other part of the original group now meets at Anne Wadey’s home – please see her notes on their progress. 

Rev Linda Chapman

Home Group at Estuary View

Two couples and myself from Linda’s home group felt that we wanted to continue to meet and to build on the relationships of trust and care and concern for each other that had developed under Linda’s leadership. We appreciate the opportunity to safely ask any question we want as to how the Bible should be understood and applied to life in 2018 and explore issues of interest and concern together. As a small group, some of whom are unable to attend on a regular basis for entirely valid reasons, it was great to be able to invite 3 people who have fairly recently joined the church. We are not of great age (despite Matthew’s description) but do have some years of Christian experience between us.  Having just started to get to know each other, most of us are enjoying the Lent Course but are looking forward to meeting together again after Easter.

Anne Wadey

The Afternoon Bible Study Group

Our numbers have been steady over the last year, with between six and eight people attending regularly. We spent most of the time studying Luke's Gospel, using Tom Wright's book as a guide. We had a short look at On the Front Line and most recently we have started to discuss James’ epistle as a short filler before the start of the Lent Course.

Carol Rowett

Wednesday evening home group 1

During the year Ruth Wadey joined Mary Higginson in leading this home group.

We’ve been flexible in how and when we meet, but due to personal circumstances several members have not been able to get to the meetings, so we’ve become small in the number of regular attendees.  However, those no longer able to meet with us continue to be prayed for.

Our studies have included the Frontline series (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) which several members found helpful in encouraging them to be open about their faith with their colleagues at work.  Learning about the practical application of our faith in our daily lives has been continued with our study and discussion of James, using the LifeBuilder Bible Study, by Scripture Union.

Ruth Wadey

Wednesday evening home group 2

This group continued with a very faithful membership studying a range of Bible material. We also explored the challenges of everyday living through the LICC “Life on the Frontline” course. This focused on the premise that firstly, God longs for us, his people, to grow as disciples of Jesus; and secondly, that as disciples, God longs to use us seven days a week wherever our everyday lives take us.

We’ll be continuing after Easter with thinking about some of the misconceptions we often develop about aspects of our faith.

Gordon Chapman

Friday Morning Group

A home group also meets weekly on Fridays – led by Gordon Ritchie and Joanne Murray at Scremerston.

Knit Knatter and Kake

Although we do not claim to be a religious group we have strong connections with the church in Scremerston. The church is the community. We have now more members than ever largely due to a campaign I launched to depict the history of the village in a collage that has had a very good response from people in the village. We got a grant from the Berwick community trust for £300 and a grant from the parish council for £100. The collage is now well on its way to completion and hopefully will be unveiled by the headteacher at Scremerston School, Mrs.  Helen Harrison who, after 15 years in the village, is to retire this Easter. We are holding a service on 26th March. The collage consists of knitting, crochet, felt work and cross stitch. The figures, representing the occupations of the village over the years, are being completed in felt by the children at the school. In addition, we have delivered fiddle muffs and prayer shawls to Tweed view care home as well as Garden house.

We put a prayer request box out for people to request any prayers each week and have had responses.

In addition, we have also received a grant for further projects from the North Northumberland Voluntary Forum for £100. 

Tweedmouth Church Craft Group

The Craft Group meets every Friday from 1.00 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. in the Upper Hall, Tweedmouth. All are welcome to come join us for a chat and tea, coffee and biscuits.

Over the year we have continued to knit and crochet and we have sent five large boxes of clothing items to Christian Hope International for distribution to areas in most need.

We have sent three financial donations away this year, one of £25 to Christian Hope International for their emergency appeal and two donations of £50 each to our sponsored orphanage in Kinshasa (Prokin).

Sheila Barringham

Connecting With Our Community

Wider Church & Community Involvement

It’s great how we continue to be involved in our parishes.  This happens in many ways, as many church members visit others, and are part of community groups.  We also join in with wider things, such as collecting in each church every week for the Berwick Food Bank, and host the Credit Union (with church members serving there too).

We have services in all the Care Homes in our parishes.  Thanks to Harry for taking a lead monthly in Tweedmouth House, Hillside Lodge and Turret Villas, and for Jennie Ritchie and Gordon Chapman for leading quarterly in Garden house.

And thanks to Harry also for the Home Communions he brings to those who are housebound.  It’s great that although someone can’t get to join with us, they can know they are very much still part of the church, and still in Communion.  If you know someone like this, who is not yet being visited, please let me know.

And we serve through Occasional Offices – churchwardens and team work hard to make sure our buildings and grounds are good for those who come, and we visit and prepare people for baptisms (of which we have plenty) and weddings (of which we have some) and funerals (of which we have many).

And we connect through our Bereavement Service, through our special invitation services (Harvest, Easter, Remembrance, Sea Sunday, Salmon Feast) and are involved in the Community at events, like the Tweedmouth Old People’s supper, and serve on bodies like the Askew Housing Trust – not even to mention schools (see elsewhere in this review).

Christmas was particularly big this year.  Thanks to all who enabled the almost 5000 invitation cards to be delivered.  We hosted 23 services - 8 school, 3 nursery, 4 Care Home, and 8 community/parish. Thanks to everyone who prepared, and sang, and read, and invited, and led, and opened, and welcomed, and served. It was great to have almost 2000 people join us.

It’s great that we are a church that looks outward.  Thank you to each for all you do – many not even mentioned here.

Matthew

Coffee And Chat

This is held every Thursday during term-time from 9:00 -10:30am at St John’s Spittal. It provides a ‘Drop In Welcome’ for anyone of any age.  A number of mums who have children at the local primary school are regulars and enjoy a time to relax with warm drinks and home baking. We also provide a Supervised Toddler Area which twice per month hosts little ones from the neighbouring Nursery school. Toddlers can play and then enjoy an activity session with craft and story time and singing. We long to see more come along to this! Some members have become involved in a gardening project for the church and appreciated a helpful session  in weeding by the Girl Guides. Other ladies are knitting items for premature babies. We have held two fund raising events –  a Table Top sale for Mothers’ Day and a Fayre on August 12th, as part of the Spittal Seaside Festival. All these activities have enabled Coffee and Chat to reach out more into the local community, as well as try to be self-sustaining.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to all the wonderful volunteers who help Coffee and Chat run smoothly each week: setting up and dismantling tables & chairs etc for the Café and the Toddlers Area; baking; serving refreshments each week; fund raising; organising the events; preparing the children’s material; welcoming and listening. The list is endless!  But special mention must go to all those who have prayed Coffee and Chat into being and who continue to pray – holding dear its aim of reaching out to others with the love of Christ.

Mary Higginson & Barbara Donaldson


 

Miscellaneous

Tweedmouth Welcome Team

Due to the generous and willing participation of all the volunteers on the rota, I never have any problems filling gaps. That said, I’m always happy to have new faces included in all areas. I feel every job is vital and goes to the smooth running and welcoming feel of our Sunday services and I am very grateful for everybody for giving up their time to help.

I have reduced the number of people who welcome from 4 to 2. Except at busy times when some more volunteers to help welcome and steward people would be useful, I feel 2 is adequate and stops over reliance on a few people. I’m pleased we have given this a good trial. For special services such as the carol service we have ensured people are available to direct people to available seats.

I want to make a special mention of the Sunday coffee team who always miss the very end of the service and the various people who ensure the washing up is done.

Moving the Welcome into the back of the church itself has been very helpful. It’s warmer for the welcome team but also encourages people into the church adding to the feel of a community of people together.

Once again, I am very grateful that people help out in all these roles, and if anybody would like to try something new e.g. reading or leading intercessions, I would be only too pleased to arrange this. If anybody wants to reduce their role I can easily accommodate them as I do not want people to feel in any way obliged or tied into it.

Rick Chamberlain

Social Committee

The Social Committee continued to be active throughout 2017 in accordance with the Mission Action Plan with the dual purpose of enhancing fellowship within our church fellowship and also to hold Outreach events to which we invited the local community.

The first of these was a Soup Lunch in February when many invitations were delivered to the houses in Tweedmouth but although the lunch was enjoyed by those who attended, there was a nil response to the invitations and we were unable to welcome any new faces. This was followed by a Lent Breakfast in March with a short reflection given by Mary Higginson and this appeared to be popular and possibly something to be repeated.

In April the annual parish Maundy Thursday meal and communion was held in Tweedmouth church hall and was a special time of fellowship and contemplation for the church family. In June we held another Invitational event with a Barbeque at Spittal Church which was a combined event with Creative Church and Thursday morning’s Cafe Trio. This was well attended and many families were able to enjoy sunshine and fellowship in the church gardens.

The annual Salmon Feast at Tweedmouth followed in July and was much appreciated by the Civic party and all the families who attended. A Light Party had been planned for the last Saturday in October but this was cancelled due to insufficient interest.

The committee held its first meeting of this year on January 16th to draw up a plan of events for 2018.

The first of these was the six week Lent Course held during February and March, culminating with a meal during Easter week when there was the opportunity to ask the Vicar any questions that may have arisen during the course.

The remaining planned events are as follows:

Sunday April 29th there will be a Bring and Share fellowship lunch in conjunction with the APGM in Tweedmouth church hall.

Sunday June 24th there will be an Invitational Event – Creative Church BBQ at Spittal church.

Sunday 22nd July – Salmon Feast at Tweedmouth church hall following the service in the church.

Sunday 7th October – Harvest Supper Invitational Service at Spittal

November 3rd – Light Party at Tweedmouth church hall

Matthew and the Social Committee would welcome any suggestions which could be considered for future events.

Heritage Group

There have been no major developments and few requests for information this year. However, research continues with Phil now plundering the Calendar of Border Papers for details from the reigns of Henry VIII/Elizabeth i.

One interesting piece of research supplied details of the siege of Berwick in 1648, previously thought to be a straight forward surrender. In the version Phil came across, Colonel Pride had to capture Tweedmouth and the gate on the Berwick side of the bridge was blown up by Cromwell’s forces.

Heritage Open Days this year are the 15th and 16th of September. This will be discussed in the PCC meeting as to whether the church wants to be involved and in which ways. Possibly a focus on our WW1 memorial for the 1918 centenary might be a good idea.

Although not a church project, several church members are key members of the Tweed 1000 Tapestry team, part of a project celebrating 1000 years of Berwick’s history. St Boisil will be referenced in the Tapestry on a Celtic Cross with the date of the first documented church bearing his name in Tweedmouth.

Phil Rowett

Communications Group

The weekly newssheet produced by Gordon has proved a very helpful means of communicating what is happening in all of our churches, adding to the sense of our being three linked congregations.

Our Facebook page is popular and makes our happenings known to a much wider population than our regular attenders, although it can be a challenge to remember to update it on a regular basis.

We are immensely grateful that Matthew has shouldered the burden of the church website single-handed. We know that a number of visitors who holiday in Berwick find our churches through the website as well as people moving to the town and looking for a church to call home. The big plan for 2018 is to build a new website to allow more of us to share the care of it and have a much greater use of images and a bright modern look. If you have or take photos of any church event (taking account of safe-guarding and other sensitivities), please let Anne Wadey, Gordon Chapman or Matthew know so we can use them.

Anne Wadey

Activities Beyond the Parishes

The Joswigs in Ethiopia

We continue to receive news of and pray for the Corinna and Andreas Joswig working in translation and literature work in Ethiopia and their daughters, one of whom is now in higher education back in their home country of Germany. It has been good to read of some major projects coming to completion and we hope to hear news soon of Andreas being awarded his doctorate. It has also been our privilege to be able to make a small contribution to their financial support.