Most of money is intended to either pay for or make a large contribution towards a brand new north entrance door for Church and new stock for the retail stand. Besides being an impressive result for the Friends organisation that has taken over much of the fund-raising task for the Church it helps prove that what we are doing is effective.
Friends’ Chairman Peter Breed – yes, the same as our Church Warden – has taken up the role of liaising with the tour companies who bring so many Japanese visitors each year, this has yielded £5,300, while a happy band of members help man the retail stand on many days throughout the year.
During 2014 a number of people came forward to help run the retail stand which brings in much-needed cash (£5,400) and helps establish such good relationships with our many visitors, many of whom come from overseas.
We see many people from the various countries in Europe, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Korea and China. A friendly face and a cheery greeting mean so much to them and often brings if not a purchase at the stand, a donation in one of the safes. And we now know that if there are people at the stand or in Church from the Friends organisation that the visitor giving at the safes goes up.
It’s a plain fact that this giving either via the safe or buying something at the bookshop or Friends retail stand keeps our parish going.
Just think about it. If we can deliver the north-facing roof repairs with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we shall have raised more than half a million pounds since 2011. Not only will we have replaced the roof to make the building watertight but also we shall have a new toilet with disabled access for use during services, a kitchenette and a brand-new heating system. And there’s still a new engraved glass north door to factor into the reckoning.
Another plan that we are considering is establishing a tour-guide system so that at regular intervals we can give conducted tours of the Church. This is an important part of delivering what grant givers want from us – to make ourselves more accessible and visitor friendly! It will enhance the church’s mission of sharing the good news of God in Jesus.
All this has been achieved with comparatively few people and we need more to join us. We don’t people to make a massive commitment but we do need somebody to make a commitment. It could be a couple of hours a month just taking money behind the stand or it could be just chatting to people – don’t worry training is given. And when we run events like concerts we need folk to make the tea and coffees, serve wine or take ticket money. It’s fun to meet the people and satisfying to know that you’re helping the Church not only survive but thrive.
The Friends are friendly. You’ll be welcomed with open arms. And if you don’t fancy a ‘public facing’ job why not talk to us about else we need to do. If you want to join the Friends, make visitors welcome and spend time working in your spiritual home then contact Peter & Hilary Breed (Tel: 01535 646873, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or John Huxley (Tel: 01535 642265, e-mail: email@example.com) for details of how to join the Friends.
Picture courtesy of Mark Davis (Copyright holder)