THE CHURCH OF ST PETER AND ST PAUL,
Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Sunday 23 April 2023 at 11am
PARISH REPORTS 2022-23
In the Church of England’s “Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders and
Bodies Practice Guidance”, after the sections on national and diocesan roles (Archbishops,
Bishops, General Synod, Church Commissioners, Archdeacons etc), comes the guidance for
parishes. First in that section is the PCC and the Incumbent and only then does one reach
an explanation of the office of Churchwarden.
Notwithstanding how far down the list we are, churchwardens are nevertheless described
as “the senior lay representatives of the parish”. The guidance goes on to explain that the
role of the churchwarden is extremely varied but generally involves “management,
maintenance and mission. They are the foremost in representing the laity and in co-
operating with the incumbent, and they have a duty to maintain order and decency in the
church and churchyard, particularly during the times of divine service. In co-operation with
the incumbent, churchwardens are generally responsible for the day-to-day functioning of
the parish.” In regard to mission, churchwardens are charged “with active participation and
to use their best endeavours by example and precept to encourage the parishioners in the
practice of true religion and to promote peace and unity among them”.
If we take just that last phrase, it has been another fantastically successful year: there is
indeed peace and unity in our parish! And that is not something we should take for granted.
Unity doesn’t mean the same as unanimity and it would be boring to the point of dangerous
if the congregation did not have differing views on all sorts of things, but we are not
quarrelsome and in our experience the PCC works well together on behalf of the
congregation in developing “the practice of true religion”. Nor have the churchwardens had
to issue any precepts!
Perhaps the two key features in the year, from the churchwardens’ point of view, have been
the vicar’s sabbatical and the Quinquennial Inspection, both of which seem to have gone
very well. For the former, we’re very fortunate not only to have such a loyal ministry
support team in Bill and Bryan, alongside our regular visiting priest Adie, but also that Diane
herself had done so much preparation for her absence. For the latter, we largely have our
2 predecessors to thank: the work that John Lyons and Frank Hinks oversaw in connection
with the building of our new Church Rooms (and thereafter), as well as the fundraising that
Frank spearheaded, has left the fabric of the church in good condition and resulted in a very
clean “bill of health” from the inspecting architect last May.
The PCC has met seven times in the year to April 2023, all in person in the Church Room. As
we finally emerged from Covid, in the autumn we also moved away from services on Zoom
and are currently trialling a new pattern of worship, with Breakfast Church now firmly
established as a popular monthly affair, supported by the purchase of extra wooden chairs,
three round tables and a griddle for the bacon! Not to forget the energy and enthusiasm of
all those who plan and lead, set up, cook, clear away and wash up.
Another big step forward has been the investment of £3,000 from the generous legacy of
Ruth Ellis Smith into establishing the first year of our Stay and Play group on Mondays in
term-time in the Village Hall (see below for a full report). The PCC has committed to a
further two years’ funding and agreed that the group should move into the church as soon
as we can provide a suitable environment.
Central to that aim, but also important for our aim to support the church’s drive for carbon
neutrality, has been the work that Kevin, Bill and the recently reconstituted Fabric
Committee have been leading on options for better heating, ideally electric and more
directly warming the people than the roof space. A professional firm has been engaged to
provide detailed estimates for a range of heating options, as well as further improvements
to the lighting (some spots were switched to LEDs this year) and AV system. One of the
factors, were we to go ahead, is the supply of sufficient electricity and just last month we
began exploring the possibility of solar panels on the largely hidden south side of the nave
roof, learning that Salisbury Cathedral and York Minster are already using this technology
and therefore being optimistic that our Grade I listing would not be an obstacle, as we had
previously thought. All of these works taken together are likely to amount to a sum
approaching six figures and the PCC is proceeding with due care and diligence ahead of
presenting any firm plan to the wider congregation.
Somewhat less costly, but also important to our Called to Grow response, was the PCC’s
commitment to joining the Warm Spaces initiative in January and February, with tea/coffee,
soup, rolls and a warm welcome available on Tuesdays and Fridays. Lots of coordination
from Diane and Elaine, a raft of volunteers and a grant from the diocese all helped make this
a success and encouraged us to continue something similar on a monthly basis.
Each year the writing of this report gives us an opportunity to thank the large number of
volunteers (as well as keepers of lists and rotas) on whom we all depend, most of whom
probably do more than people realise. There are dozens of supporting tasks which enable
us all, villagers and visitors alike, to enjoy coming into our lovely church. We’re indebted to
our PCC Secretary, James, who ensures our business is all properly planned, transacted,
recorded and published. Jasper valiantly keeps our website up to date, Bryan now sends a
weekly email update on a Saturday afternoon, and our Facebook page is never short of a
helpful post from Ann or some photography from Alain.
Fabric and Churchyard
As mentioned above, the Quinquennial Inspection went well and the Inspecting Architect
was very complimentary about the new Church Rooms and the accompanying redecoration
of the church. There are a couple of historical damp patches which we are monitoring after
upgrading our downpipes and which we know can take a couple of years to dry out (one
inch per month and the walls can be two foot thick!). Unfortunately the lack of heat since
the boiler malfunctioned in October won’t have helped. Our particular model was
discontinued in 2017 and it has taken a frustratingly long time to track down spare parts,
though most have now arrived, with the remaining few due from France. Our preference is
to repair the boiler and keep it going until we’ve reached a decision on electric heating,
since any replacement would then likely be somewhat smaller. Nothing untoward was
thrown up by all the usual maintenance inspections, but pigeons in the porch and mice in
the food bank basket required some additional measures to keep them out!
But the one thing we did want to bring inside the church took nearly three years and a lot of
pulling and pushing – broadband. Although we’d been registered as part of the village
scheme, we were left right until the end and, as a result, felt constantly at risk of being
charged the normal connection fee of several thousand pounds. The next stage will be to
extend wi-fi through the thick internal walls and hopefully deploy a touch-card payment
system for purchases and donations.
In the churchyard, the installation of the Jubilee Gate in March 2023 to replace the old
kissing gate has been a significant change and, apart from some small remedial work to the
brick path, was funded by The Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme and Shoreham
Parish Council. The Garden of Remembrance has had several interments and we are very
glad that the most recent list of names will shortly be inscribed on the headstone. The
completion of the Blossom Alley as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy was marked with a
fitting ceremony at the end of our special service for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Six
people sponsored the trees: Johnny Aisher, Kevin Scott, Ann Ball, Katie Howie, Bill Lattimer
and Valerie Turner, and our thanks to Dave Ablett who watered them all last summer. Our
other alley, with over 50 mature yews, is also receiving attention, particularly now we have
many more passing through the churchyard and noticing how narrow it is in parts. We’re
very conscious that there will be many differing views on their maintenance, but hopefully
everyone will soon see that the reduction in height and thinning out of the three near the
porch – necessary to help the passage of coffins at shoulder height – is already resulting in
healthy regrowth and will in time (quite a long time, though!) bring the trees back closer to
their original intended shape and size.
We are grateful to Jasper Dale and Neil Vickers who maintain the cutting and strimming of
the grass on the west side, not an easy task in a very hot summer. Our thanks to the Friends
of Shoreham Church who pay for the south side of the churchyard to be cut and they also
paid for the trimming of the yew hedge on the west boundary.
The Churchwardens and Deputy Churchwarden are in their seventh, eighth and ninth
decades. Whilst happy to serve for another year, we can do so only with the considerable
support of the whole congregation. Our particular thanks to those who serve with us on the
PCC, and also to Alain and obviously Diane herself. We look forward to moving forward next
year with management, maintenance and, most importantly, mission.
Johnny Aisher and Kevin Scott, Churchwardens
Ann Ball, Deputy Churchwarden
There are 85 names on the roll for 2023. There were 86 at the APCM in April 2022.
The Church Electoral Roll Certificate will be signed by me and displayed for a period of not
less than 14 days on the door of the church.
Electoral Roll Officer
Stay and Play
On 1 May, it will be one year that Liz Clitheroe has provided all the organisational aspects of
our Stay and Play, and in June we will have been open for one year and we will be
celebrating our first birthday. In our first year we have welcomed almost a hundred families
to the Village Hall, counting in about 26 children every week and with our special events
(summer picnic and Easter egg hunt) attracting almost 40 children with their parents and
Each week, imaginative craft and hands-on exploratory activities run alongside a beautiful
selection of toys and games, many of which belonged to the pre-Covid playgroup that was
run successfully by a group of mums and many of which have subsequently been donated to
or bought by the church. With Liz as a qualified Early Years play-leader, the preparation for
each session is second to none. It is also pleasing to see the friendships developing between
carers, mums and dads. In the themes we follow, we mark the key points of the Christian
year and other civic and national moments. We couldn’t do it without all the church helpers
who come each week to welcome people and serve refreshments, so thanks to Bill, Linda,
Kevin, Johnny, Alain, Vannessa, Sylvie, Georgina, Adie, Sheila, Wendy and of course Diane.
The Christmas in church activity was quite stable-like in temperature and festive in terms of
babies in church. Danny played songs and we marched and sang our way through the
Christmas story, did a treasure hunt and wrapped food items for the food bank. Our Easter
egg hunt took place in the park behind the Village Hall. The group is always wanting more
helpers to join the team so don’t be shy to put yourself forward.
Shoreham Stay and Play
5 Deanery Synod
At the meeting on 19 October, there was a good deal of discussion about how churches
have emerged from Covid and the way that in many places growth plans have stalled. The
Area Dean had submitted a useful paper for the discussion.
At the meeting on 27 February, there were two interesting talks. One was on church
insurance by a representative from Trinitas Church Insurance Services, a company
competing with the insurance firm Ecclesiastical. The other speaker was from Friends of
Kent Churches, an organisation to which the Friends of Shoreham Church are affiliated.
They gave out total grants of £140,000 last year and their main source of income is from
“Ride and Stride” events.
Sarah has enjoyed being on the Deanery Synod but does not wish to be appointed for a new
Sarah Parkes and Jasper Dale
Deanery Synod Representatives
The Friends of Shoreham Church
We are beginning to function after the Covid crisis, having had a successful Advent Fair in
2022, and are in the process of agreeing a series of events – including something this
summer, plus Harvest Supper, Advent Fair and a Burns Night in January 2024.
It is always useful to have a single item on which to focus fund-raising. We are in early talks
to provide lighting on the whole of the footpath now that the new Jubilee Gate has been
installed. We are acutely conscious of some misgivings regarding light pollution and the
churchyard environment, and we hope to steer the fine line between environment and
serious injury. We continue to help with the costs of mowing the churchyard and welcome
approaches from the churchwardens to provide further help.
Our constitution is solely to help maintain the fabric of the building and the churchyard. We
are not part of the diocese or the PCC. This is often useful and helpful for generous non-
churchgoers who have a strong sense of community.
Chair of the Friends of Shoreham Church
This year has seen a stabilising of the musical endeavours of the church choir, after a period
of instability incurred during lockdown. Numbers have settled to between six and eight, and
have consisted of female voices. However, regular guest attendances from Johnny and
Danny (plus Rupert) have allowed us to vary the repertoire, so that sometimes we sing
soprano and alto parts, and sometimes SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). We have sung in
the services once a month, either on the third or fourth Sunday, plus one or two special
services during the year, e.g. Christmas and Easter. Henry boosted the choir for the
Christmas Carol Service, enhancing this important event in the life of the village.
With such a small choir, it is difficult to be available for services such as weddings and
funerals with confidence at the moment, but it is to be hoped that the choir’s presence on
Sundays is sustainable for the foreseeable future, thereby ensuring that music is a viable
and meaningful part of the spiritual life of the church. As an aside, it is interesting to note
how even a small choir has been effective in the Church Room where services have been
held after the heating breakdown.
Our thanks to Ann for being such a wonderful and efficient “choir prefect”, and also to
Diane for her thoughtful and helpful support.
Shoreham Church is a wonderful space for musical performances, and Henry has for a
number of years made excellent use of the space for the benefit of the village.
There were some very fine chamber music concerts and choral concerts over the past year. The Sonnet Wind Orchestra performed a light music programme in June. The church was pleased to
play host to the central band of the Royal British Legion for the 100th Anniversary of the
Kent County RBL, which brought together distinguished guests and members from across
the county, showing how versatile the space is. The Shoreham Music Festival raised over
£1,000 for the Friends, and St Michael’s School use the church for their Music Scholars’
Concert. The church is a unique performance space for music that could be developed and
utilised further should the church wish to hire it out.
We publish ten issues a year. Our printer, James Skinner of Silver Pines, retired in
December: he has been unfailingly helpful to me over the years, and we owe him great
thanks as he had held his prices since 2014, so this has meant a significant increase in cost
for 2023. The advertisements accounts are managed by Julie Carder with assistance from
Johnny Aisher and these are fully subscribed.
Ken Fowler, assisted by Liz Nash, continue to circulate over 510 free copies to the 25 parish
delivery volunteers for the residents of Shoreham Parish. Paul Jeffrey delivers 85 free
copies to the residents in East Hill which are paid for by Shoreham Parish Council. Pauline
Clark posts 25 copies and the stamp charges are paid by the recipients. We post the Gazette
on the website “A Church Near You” and the Shoreham Church’s own website. It is also
posted on Shoreham Village Facebook.
I am very grateful to all the village organisations and the Village School who send copy every
month, and to Revd Diane who creates the most amazing two pages every month of her
Christian message, with details of the numerous services which are the most important part
of the Gazette.
Editor of the Shoreham Gazette
Not much to report except that the team consisting of Alain, Duncan and Carol Wood, Jill
Webster, Christine Weaser and myself continue to clean the church every five weeks. Due
to the freezingly cold church not being used so much during the heating breakdown, our
labours have not been too onerous! It goes without saying that I am extremely grateful to
all members of the team for their efforts and hope they will continue for as long as they are
able, bearing in mind that the majority are not getting any younger! June Bryant has helped
us when the team are thin on the ground and we still hope for Dave Ablett’s return to take
up his routine of washing the porch and church floors.
Shoreham Church Archives
I was appointed Church Archivist in 1993 and, together with my late husband Geoffrey, Joy
Saynor, Ken Wilson and Sally Hoffman, we spent over a year sorting out the archives into
numbered boxes. The archives are properly housed in the church and, apart from being
most useful for church information, they are a valuable resource for helping people search
for their families, and many generous donations have been raised through this for the
This year I invited James Saynor to assist with the archives and co-opted Alain Cozens and
Jacqueline Corbett, and we have had regular archive meetings. I am delighted that James
will be appointed Church Archivist and I will continue to assist with queries we may have.
Shoreham Bell Ringers
We continue to hold practice sessions most Tuesday evenings and are very fortunate to have
the services of Lesley Barclay to lead them. Lesley is the former District Training Officer,
Tower Captain of Horton Kirby, retired PE teacher, and former team member of the GB
Olympic basketball team! It is pleasing to report that Rachel, our new recruit last year, is
now a proficient ringer. John is making very good progress but is often away sailing together
with Melanie. Following the appeal in the Gazette we have welcomed one more fresh
recruit – Sarah.
We still need more ringers to make regular Sunday ringing viable, and getting a band
together for weddings always requires supplementation from other towers. We remain
hopeful that we will have ringers for the Sunday service of Coronation weekend!
To attract some young recruits, I have spoken to Gillian, the head teacher at Shoreham
School, with the idea of arranging some afternoon lessons for the older children with Lesley.
(Lesley has experience of this with Horton Kirby Primary School and comes fully DBS
checked.) I was told that children could not be released during school time. This might be
something we can revisit by involving parents? We currently have £434.69 in the cash Bell
Fund, held in contingency for any minor repairs.
For Shoreham Ringers
Shoreham Church Online
The church website is a very useful resource. Everything can be found there, from historical
movie clips to this month’s services, messages from the Vicar and wedding enquiries for
Polly. Go to the site and see this month’s Shoreham Gazette and every one for the last five
years (as well as the last three months of Zoom recordings during Covid, soon to be
We have been through a busy time over the last year. I try to, and generally do, keep the
website in “real time”. Visit www.shorehamchurchkent.org
Jill Aisher remains in charge of this. Two members of the PCC have recently been rechecked
under the Church of England requirement to renew checks every three years. There is now
a function within the check provider dashboard to automate and track renewal invitations.
It is possible also to remove the ID verification workload by subscribing to an online version
(£4.50 per person). All further renewals have been diarised so that deadlines won’t be
Parish Safeguarding Officer
The PCC has complied with the duty under Section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy
Discipline Measure 2016 (duty to have regard to House of Bishops’ guidance on
safeguarding children and vulnerable adults).
All bar two members of the PCC have completed their safeguarding training. Elaine has
entered the training data onto the safeguarding dashboard which the diocese has direct
access to. Basic Safeguarding Awareness is a course that can be completed by any member
of the congregation to improve their understanding of abuse and enable them to help build
a culture of informed vigilance within the church. It can be undertaken online at
https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org/login/index.php and if anyone needs help with
this please let us know. No safeguarding concerns have been raised with the PSO.
Jill Aisher and Elaine Clifton
Lead Recruiter and Parish Safeguarding Officer