BURTON LAZARS CHURCHWARDENS REPORT  2010

As we are both retiring as Churchwardens, this report will be our last and can perhaps be best described as reporting on a very challenging year.

Attendances at the Sunday services were less than in previous years despite the provision of new style services (All Age Family Communion and Meeting Point). The "Supper With God" and "Closer To God" groups continue to meet regularly and the Sunday Club (under its new leaders) meets in church on the first Sunday in each month, with new innovative and imaginative ideas. We thank the leaders of all these groups for their continued support and work.

We have tried to keep villagers fully informed about our services and fund raising events by the regular issue of Blazars (our church newsletter). Whilst the Festival Services continue to be very well supported there has been only moderate support for the fund raising events. The Folk Concert had to be cancelled and the Parables presentation received only token support. The mid summer Patronal Festival (including the new Pets Service) involved a lot of hard work and was well received by those few villagers who attended.

The highly successful 2008 Funding Programme which ensured the churches Gnancial viability for last year has unfortunately not seen the same result for 2009. The careful and prudent housekeeping by Avis (our retiring treasurer) has helped us through these difficult weeks, but we have only been able to meet the current demands by drawing on our reserves. These are now at a worryingly low level. We thank Avis most sincerely for her hours of hard work in stewarding our financial matters and we welcome Julia Hinde to the roll of Treasurer.

We were successful in gaining planning approval for the use of the paddock as an extension to the graveyard, despite the condition of organizing an archaeological excavation (at the cost of over {2000), to check for any buried items of archaeological interest. None were found. We are now awaiting the Diocesan Solicitors investigation to determine if in fact we own the land. This was questioned by him when we sought his help in gaining approval for it to be consecrated.

The maintenance work required by the 2007 Quinquennial Report still continues with 13 of the 31 listed items (that were highlighted as needing attention) being completed. We are endeavouring to gain DAC approval for the provision of guttering to the north aisle roof which we hope will alleviate the dampness that is apparent on the north wall. We are in negotiation with the DAC about materials to be used. The roof over the south aisle continues to leak (following the replacement of the lead after the 2007 theft). The location of the leak is proving difficult to locate. The roof over the north aisle has now also started to leak.

The extreme and prolonged cold weather conditions this winter seem to have gone to the core of the building which has meant that the church seems very cold, despite extensive use of the heaters.

However support from villagers in the maintenance work on our beautiful church and churchyard has continued and we are very grateful for that.

Over the last twelve months we saw the departure of Team Vicar Revd Susan Paterson and Curate Revd Peter Hooper to new posts and the arrival of our new Rector Revd Kevin Ashby. The arrival of the new Team Vicar, Revd Sharon Constable in March and new Curate Revd Sally Rowland in July will, we hope, give a much needed boost to the churches presence in the village.

We would like to conclude our report with a thank-you to the members of the church congregation and villagers for their support throughout this year and to our wives, Shirley and Avis, we say an even bigger thank you, for without your continual and loyal help we would not have been able to carry out our challenging duties.

John Millward, Chris Clayton, Churchwardens, 11m April 2010
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