MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING ON 20TH JANUARY 2021
VIA ZOOM

AGM MINUTES, JANUARY 2021

Present: Baptist: Rev Ian Smith & Gary Bott. Christ Church: Rev Margaret Fowler. Billericay Team Ministry: Rev Paul Carr & Rev Rupert Hankey. Emmanuel: Christine & Jonathan Morley, Pauline Randall. Most Holy Redeemer: Fr Dan Mason & Ian Watts. Methodist: Rev David Bagwell, Lorraine Harris & John Greenway. St John the Divine: Robert & Janet Masters. Great Burstead: Margaret Flack. Revival Church: Andy Robb. Street Pastors: Phil Norton.

Apologies for absence: Gt Burstead: Rev Michael Hall. United Reformed: Rev Barnabas Shin.

1.

Rev David Bagwell opened the meeting with prayer and welcomed everyone. Margaet Flack took the minutes.

2.

Approval of minutes of AGM on 22nd January 2020

Approved and signed by Rev David Bagwell.

3.

Reports of events in 2020

Many planned events did not happen because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Foodbank. Jim Rose reported that it had been a busy and eventful year. He thanked the churches for their support and donations, helping to maintain our focus as a Christian ministry, to make God’s love known to all.

Because of Covid 19 there has been a huge growth in demand for help, not only for food but emotional support because of bereavement, loss and mental health issues. Over 70 families are being helped with weekly food parcels. Work is in hand to establish it as a charity.

The foodbank has outgrown the space available at St. John’s and has moved into 8-10 High Street in the former HomeCare shop. It shares the premises with the Street Pastors and another organisation involved in food. We are very grateful to St John’s for their initiative in setting it up and itwill remain a hub for receiving donations and outreach to Outwood Common. It is planned that Queen’s Park Community Church will become another hub.

He thanked the supermarkets for their regular donations including vegetables and fruit and confirmed that most of donations made at Waitrose go to this foodbank and another they support.

The team hope to help more in debt management, domestic violence issues and other difficulties experienced. Gary Bott is studying this aspect at college and hopes to assist.

Street Pastors: Phil Norton explained that they had to curtail Friday and Saturday night outreach because the High Street was empty, but are planning daytime work and patrols. Many street pastors have worked for the food bank, some as drivers, and two new potential pastors have been recruited.

It is good to have a base in the High Street to be available in the day to talk to people and be a Christian presence . And it is hoped the School Pastors can work from there until they can return to schools It is hoped to have more open days to show the public the new premises. Rail pastors are not permitted to operate at present.

CTB Website: John Greenway said that apart from the recent advice from the Council to close places of worship because of infections rates there had been very little to put on the website. These minutes would appear on the site in due time.

Schools Ministry Billericay: Gary Bott said a financial report from Mike Wood had been circulated. The Life Expo event could not take place because of the lockdown and the £500 allocated for coach hire had been returned to CTB. It was not necessary to furlough staff as they had enough financial resources. So virtual assemblies and lessons have continued. The churches were thanked for their financial support.

Shirley Gowland has stepped down as advisor and Karen Tullet, Secondary Schools lead, has moved on. Thanks were expressed to them, also to the trustees, especially Joan Godfrey (vice chair} for their support.

There was a great need for pastoral support for young people, especially of secondary age. Hannah O’Keith has been appointed as a mentoring co-ordinator to help the team support the most vulnerable. Ruth and the team have been working closely with the School Pastors. It was confirmed that the schools do not contribute to the budget at present. Members were asked to let Gary Bott or David Bagwell know if they had any spare computers or tabletsm which could be used by children working at home.

Forging Men. Stuart Gibbs will be asked to provide a report.

World Day of Prayer: Took place at the URC just before lockdown. The official day this year is Friday 5th March. A preparation day has been held on Zoom. Pauline Randall said it was planned to hold it in the Holy Redeemer church which has cameras in place. A decision will be taken shortly about whether to postpone it until later in the year.

Soap Box Derby: It is unlikely that this will take place this year.

4.

News from the churches

Baptists: Digital morning services and youth & children’s work has continued on Zoom. They are looking at 'Kick Start' , a newish course which could be an ecumenical project, offering practical help.

Christ Church: Has held services when possible but closed since January 2021. A smaller Christmas service was held and Pensioners’ Praise was much enjoyed. There have been 40 weekly newsletters. A small bereavement group on Zoom is due to start this Saturday.

Emmanuel: Rev. Rupert Hankey joined the team ministry in September, so it has been a difficult time for him to meet people. Services have been held when possible and streamed live. Home groups have continued on Zoom. An outdoor carol service was well attended. Emmanuel is the only Anglican church in Essex to become a vaccination centre and is used on average 2 days a week, but available for 6 and a half. The Lions, Rotary and Round Table help man the car park. St Mary is open for prayer 3 days a week.

Most Holy Redeemer: Masses have been live streamed with the new camera system and with a telephone link to those without Internet access. The successful Civic Service was held there last year and it is sad most Mayflower celebrations events could not take place. They are working with an evangelisation coordinator. On –line courses are being held and email news letters sent. The stewards welcoming the congregation to church and sanitising it between services worked very closely together.

St. John’s: A weekly Prayer & Praise Service has been held. It has been a huge privilege to offer the church for the food bank and it was wonderful to see the 300 Christmas hampers which were donated and delivered. Work on landscaping and resurfacing the carpark is pending.

Great Burstead: Has held Sunday services and times for prayer in church when possible but also recorded services on YouTube and held a Zoom service on Wednesdays and Coffee & Chat on Zoom on Sundays. There has been a weekly newsletter and activities for children on Facebook.

Methodists: A new magazine, 'Connecting with each other' has been put on the website and 40 families get a hard copy each week. A service has been broadcast each Sunday, now seen by over 100. So people are joining from around the world including the sister church in Kenya. 120 people enjoyed an on-line carol service. There is a new servery being installed at Western Road and a new projector system at both churches, ready for the return. St. Andrews at Herongate is now operating under Billericay Methodist Church as a third site. Work in the community garden there continues. Contact is maintained with the older young people on Zoom and 2 meetings were held in the car park for the younger ones.

United Reformed Church: There have been no services since Christmas but virtual ones continue.

Revival Church: The opportunity has been taken to explore where the Holy Spirit is leading the church. On-line services have been held on Sundays with new people joining. It is planned to launch “Basics” in Spring to help new mothers who lack basic supplies for babies.

5.

Finance

Lorraine Harris reported that the CTB balance was down by £890.22. The Christmas Lunch fund had not been used. Anna Laughland had provided 30 lunch parcels but had not needed CTB funds. The general fund was down as churches had not been asked to contribute this year, although two had still done so.

She has not set an annual budget as it is uncertain what events can happen. Only insurance needs to be paid. It was agreed to let the churches decide whether they were able to contribute for 2021, depending on their financial position.

Lorraine thanked Ian Rudkins for his work as examiner, and he will be sent a letter of thanks and appointment for this year. Lorraine also agreed to continue as treasurer and was appointed by show of hands.

6.

Organisation of Meetings

It was agreed that CTB business would continue to be delegated to the Church Leaders’ Meetings on the first Wednesday of each month. Thanks were given to Rev David Bagwell for chairing this meeting and for continuing to facilitate the CLMs.

7.

Any other business

⚫ A question was asked whether there would still be a service to celebrate the Mayflower at the URC. This would be checked. A programme of certain events had been published.

⚫ A decision would be taken about a civic service later in the year, maybe in conjunction with dedication of the renovated Town Hall. Gary Bott, as a new Billericay councillor would explore this.

8.

Date of the 2022 meeting

19th January at 8.00pm. The venue and style of meeting is to be decided. The meeting closed with prayer, thinking of the USA on Joe Biden’s Inauguration as president.


Forging Men Report

The Forging Men Ministry has just had its seventh successful year organising outreach events for both Christian men, from different denominations, and non-Christian men to come together. This year we again had visiting Christian speakers (5), including one "ticket only event" at Billericay Town Football Club, with Alan Comfort, an ex-professional footballer, titled 'Faith, Football and Fish & Chips with Alan sharing his testimony.

We have held other outreach events and met socially for a BBQ at BTFC for club volunteers, two Karting events and a Film night and twice for a Curry & Quiz night which are always very popular.

This was also our second Carol Singing event, meeting at Billericay Railway Station and then onto all the pubs in the High St, which was a great success raising a large sum of money for St Luke’s Hospice. The annual Christian Aid breakfast event on St Marys triangle was also well received again with a sizeable amount being raised.

We also continued to carry out community projects, such as large working parties at Anvil House, a residential home for adults with complex needs enlisting the help of the Ground control workforce in the process. This provided an excellent opportunity for the men who are believers to stand shoulder to shoulder with other men in our community to share some time together.

In June 19, we also arranged for 30 guys to attend ‘The Gathering’, an annual men’s Christian Festival providing a weekend of fellowship, worship and biblical teaching.

Since lockdown Forging Men have moved on line using the Zoom platform to meet weekly with a series of studies and with the aim of helping guys stay connected to church. God has naturally led us from a larger group to a smaller discipleship group which continues to meet on a weekly basis.

We would like to give thanks to CTB for their continuing financial support in supporting the work of Forging Men.

Forging Men meets currently meets weekly each Monday at 8pm, except Bank Holidays; for further info re meetings and events please go to bit.ly/forgingmen. Forging Men is a CVM men's group.