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Church Wardens’ report

The past year has seen our church reach a significant milestone as it achieved the grand old age of 150. We have also seen some important changes in the life of the church as Peter moved on to a new parish and we began the interregnum in November. At the same time many people have been working very hard to prepare for the search for a new Vicar, recruit a new Director of Music, plan and deliver services, maintain the day to day activities of the church, and also to work on the church modernisation project both in planning and obtaining faculties and fundraising, and to develop our links with the Methodist church.

The 150thAnniversary celebrations were a great success thanks to the hard work of the many people involved. It was great to see the poppy displays in the summer and for Remembrance Sunday in November attract so much attention and excitement. The concert series throughout the year was also a great success and gave an idea of how the church might be used following modernisation. Both the poppy-making and the calendar competition proved to be great ways of connecting with the village.

A faculty has now been obtained subject, to a 30-day consultation period at the time of writing, for the improvements to the inside of the church and a further faculty application is being prepared for the new audio-visual system that will be required. Designs are currently being considered for the new liturgical furniture. Fundraising will be launched on 3rdJune with a garden party at Sandymere, the home of Sir John Timpson, however, thanks to very generous legacies and donations we have made considerable progress towards our £200,000 target.

The reredos which was removed from in front of the east window in 2015-16 is planned to be incorporated into the new kitchen/store area at the rear of the nave.

In May the Quinquennial inspection of the church took place. The major work required, particularly to the chancel floor, will be undertaken during the modernisation programme. Some other work such as overhauling the roof slates and pointing will be required and we are consulting the architect on the work needed.

Work to improve the Church Lounge was completed in 2017-18 and this year we have been able to begin hiring the room to a small number of groups which adds to our income and helps to keep us at the heart of our community.

The A Team led by Ted continue to maintain the churchyard and church to an excellent standard.

Visiting new houses and also new occupants of existing homes has continued this year to let them know about the church and we plan to continue this in the coming year. A number of new people have attended church as a direct result of this approach. We often hear that we are a friendly church and it has been great to see some new members of our congregation and thank you to everyone for making new people feel welcome.

Thank you to everyone for the work you do for St. Philips, particularly during the vacancy – sides people, church cleaners, brass cleaners, the A Team, flower arrangers, the choir and musicians, members of committees, the Readers and anyone who I may have forgotten to mention – it is much appreciated, we couldn’t continue to function without everything you do. I would especially like to highlight the work of John Diggle in planning and leading services during the vacancy and Brian Rischmiller for his work on the Modernisation project. Thank you all.

Finally, we would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who has helped us during this past year, your advice, guidance and support have been invaluable and is very much appreciated.


In the past six months a great deal of work has been done by a number of people to prepare for the task of finding a new Vicar. The first stage is to prepare the Parish Fact Sheet and the Parish Profile. The Parish Fact Sheet, as its name suggests, gives potential candidates factual information about Kelsall and St. Philip’s, for example, the size and demographics of the village, the size of the congregation, type of services etc. The Parish Profile is the document which really explains to candidates what our church is like, what activities happen here, and what we are seeking in our new Vicar and our hopes and plans for the future. Both of these documents are now ready.

We have appointed our two Parish Representatives who will, along with others from the Diocese, interview the applicants and select the new Vicar. Sue Clifton and Mary Gaskarth have kindly agreed to take on these roles. Before advertising the post, we need to decide whether or not the Vicar will be appointed to both St. Philip’s and KMC. Last year when Peter moved to his new parish in Wales both St. Philip’s and KMC were without a minister so the possibility of sharing a vicar with KMC became an option for our future.

At the time of writing the decision to go ahead has not been made but our meetings with KMC and our Diocesan Ecumenical Officer to explore how this might work have continued apace. We are now addressing the specific content of the Covenant between the two churches and we hope that by the time you read this a decision will have been taken on our future together.

Our vision is one vicar and two separate churches. Both churches would maintain their individual identities, both church buildings would remain open and in use as now, and both churches would have a PCC or Church Council just as we do now. We would have a full- time vicar and we would pay for 75% of their time and KMC for 25% and we would generally share their work on that basis. The arrangement would initially be for 5 years and we can see how this evolves in the future as we develop together under the guidance of our new vicar.

Through this close link we will present a united Christian presence in the village which we hope will help to fulfil our aim of connecting our community with God. We can do things together that, like our children’s work, are currently difficult to do apart. It would help to remove confusion that non-Christians express over why there are two different churches when we all worship one God and our mission to spread the gospel and show the love of Christ to our neighbours will be strengthened. 

Finally, we would like to say a personal thank you to everyone who has helped us during this past year, your advice, guidance and support have been invaluable and is very much appreciated.

Geoff Roberts & Margaret Durbin