My Favourite Window

August 29, 2012

Annual Report 2012

The Church of St Simon and St Jude
(AGM held at Ashley School on Tuesday 28 August)

Jeneane and the Ashley Community Church.  Northern Outlook photo by Geoff Mein.

If  2011 was a challenge to the Committee, 2012 has felt like treading water as long term post-earthquake effects come into play. The uncertainty over our insurance status has felt particularly debilitating and I must acknowledge Richard Heal’s tenacity, as he made sure that the Church Property Trustees kept The Ashley Community Church in their sights.

No 39 Canterbury St, Ashley.

Looking back however, I can see the joyful occasions that reaffirm the value of the Church in this community.  There was a supportive, well written article by Geoff Mein in the Northern Outlook, we hosted a Village Garage Sale in the Church grounds, 

Committee member David Ayers serves tea and cake.

and although I was overseas at Christmas time, I received many complimentary remarks from members of the public, about the annual Carol service, and particularly David and Marilyn Ayers’ role in it.  Two days later their granddaughter Imogen, was baptised in the Church by Reverend Crauford Murray. I have to say too, that although our working bee morning teas don’t attract the broader community, Joan Shivas’ baking and a sense of achievement always feel joyful to me.

A working bee morning tea.

General maintenance has included Graeme Harris’ work on the overflowing rainwater tank, and the generous donation including delivery, of a trailer load of soil by an Ashley resident. We are grateful to our neighbour for continuing to cut our common hawthorn hedge. Thanks to our small pool of mowers: which includes Richard Heal, the Witbrocks and Jeneane Hobby.

Installation of the returned windows is still a work in progress as Graham Stewart continues to recover and restore earthquake damaged glass around Canterbury.  The gaping walls in the back of the Church are a dilemma tangled around the September 2010 and continuing earthquakes: is it or isn’t it earthquake damage? Is it too late to claim on insurance if it is?

Insurance - the long unknown. In May of this year, The Church Property Trustees had finally been able to secure cover with Lloyds of London after Ansvar withdrew its cover following the February 2011 earthquake.  However, the premiums have increased to a point where many active churches with parish incomes are questioning how they can maintain their property. With our very limited income this is a question we must be prepared to address.

Father Jack and Julia Witbrock continue to use the Church for Eastern Orthodox worship and their annual contribution is our chief source of income.

Although David Ayers is still committed to Captaining the Waimakariri District Council through difficult times, he has recently been able to return to our committee table – making up for his earlier absence with large helpings of cake and biscuits – and at our last meeting had made important progress over the long-standing issue of dissolving the Trust. This, with the intention of transferring its duties to the Incorporated Society.

A typical committee meeting around Jeneane's kitchen table.

We are sorry that Richard Heal is standing down as our Secretary Treasurer. He came to the position without any background experience of the Church last year, and has worked hard to understand the Committee’s history as well as the Church’s. He has also willingly put in time on maintenance.

This also means that we need to find a new Secretary/treasurer.
Many things, particularly the insurance issue, are working against effective management. At this stage I personally feel that it may be time to question the function and viability of the Ashley Community Church. 



rusty duck said...

Jeneane, I read your post straight after John's this morning.

And I'm led to think about just how much our collective attitude to risk (insurance companies included) is taking away from our lives these days. And in so many different ways.

In this rapidly changing world, where is it all going to end up, I wonder?

North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

I do LOVE those working distractions, do you ever "share" the recipes for such? Yummy.

Owen said...

With such delicious looking scones and muffins and brownies and biscuits on hand, I can't imagine why all of New Zealand isn't showing up every morning ! If the word gets out you may need to build a bigger church...

Hoping all is well with you, it's been a little while.

Jeneane said...

rusty duck: Reading 'Going Gently' I can just see all the risk assessment that must be involved with that type of event these days. We certainly are losing something when we have to worry about insurance cover at every turn. The Church committee is responsible for the care and maintenance of a listed heritage building so we do have a broader burden of care. Fire is the most obvious risk to the Ashley Church, but what if someone got hurt in it? In this day and age the repercussions don't bear thinking about. It's interesting though that organisations are actively choosing to reduce their cover to just the most likely risk.
It's also interesting to see that supportive communities simply get on with helping out the uninsured. A new house delivered gratis for instance after a house fire.

NWSC: Joan is the baker of the treats on display here. I should ask her for a recipe or two to publish. I am pretty sure that her technique is a crucial part of the mix.

Owen: Dearest Owen, it has been awhile hasn't it. Do you think the baking might be our drawcard?

libby said...

Lovely pic of you there LM....and a strong sense of communities in action with the others.

Jeneane said...

Libby: Thankyou, that's my serious "there's work to be done" look. The strong sense of communities in action is pretty much an illusion.

the cuby poet said...

The viability of small churches always creates anxiety and with all congregations there is one common denominator, cash flow. Sad but unfortunately so true. So nice to see your photo.

Jeneane said...

the cuby poet: you understand the situation very well. One thing that sets us apart from other small churches is that there is no longer a local 'Community' congregation except at Christmas time. The tenant Eastern Orthodox Church has its own sparse congregation, which comes from all over the country. Our challenge is to maintain a listed heritage building and find ways to keep it viable.