God’s mission, and ours: Sermon for Trinity Sunday 2016

Scripture Readings: Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

God’s mission, and ours

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

When I was at school, I quite liked science- though I would never pursue it very far, because to do so you need to be good at maths, which I never mastered. But I did like the experiments. Earlier we were talking with the children about the different states of water- that ice and steam are, in fact, water in different states. At school, we once took a balloon full of hydrogen to the bottom of a playing field, put a naked flame to it, and it filled an empty cup with water- almost a magic trick. But the hydrogen had reacted with the oxygen in the atmosphere to make H2O- water. Liquid water, ice and steam are all made of hydrogen and water- different aspects of the same stuff. Light that you can see, infrared light that makes automatic doors work, X-rays, radar, electricity and magnetism, TV and radio waves are also different aspects of the same thing- different wavebands of electromagnetic radiation.

Nowadays, the scientists are trying to bring together all the different strands of knowledge about the universe, searching for the maths that will explain the forces which hold atoms together through to the gravitational forces which hold galaxies together. They all it ‘the theory of everything’- and they are tantalising close to working it all out. Continue reading

Church Accounts for 2015

Copies of the OHSS Annual Trustees Report and Annual Accounts for 2015 are now available from Sandy Cumming, Church Treasurer. Please click the links to download them:

Annual Trustees Report

Annual Accounts

At the Annual Business Meeting held on 17 April at the Old High Church, the main income and expenditure items were presented and explained by Sandy Cumming, our Treasurer. The following Financial Review forms part of the Trustees Annual Report. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Sandy Cumming on 01463 795533 or by emailing sandy.cumming<a>btopenworld.com.

Financial Review for 2015

Offerings fell from £93,246 in 2014 to £89,255 in 2015, a fall of some 4.3 per cent. Tax recovered under Gift Aid decreased from £20,426 in 2014 to £18,808. The reduction in offerings is a serious concern.

The number of members using Freewill Offering Envelopes was 66, and the number of members using bank standing orders was 90. Several successful fund raising events took place throughout the year, contributing a total of £4,932 to Fabric Funds. Two legacies, totalling £3,000 were received.

Income from halls’ letting was £10,048, very similar to the sum raised in 2014.There were several items of property expenditure during the year. The Old High Church roof repairs cost £28,600. Electrical works at the Old High Church amounted to £5,149, and £934 was spent on repairs to the Old High Church Halls roof. An insurance claim for the Old High Church roof repairs generated £5,649. VAT on eligible repairs was reclaimed under the Listed Places of Worship Scheme. The Manse had a room decorated at a cost of £600.

During 2015, efforts were made to redevelop the Old High Halls following an approach from a local charity for office space. Gross expenditure of £6,248 was incurred on the Old High Halls project in 2015, albeit this was offset by a contribution of £4,386 received from the potential tenant.

In preparation for the staging date of 1 April 2016, registration has taken place with a workplace pension scheme called NEST (National Employment Savings Trust).

A major review of the congregation’s financial situation was undertaken in 2014 in two phases – firstly, a comprehensive Financial Appraisal was carried out followed by a Next Steps Action Plan. It is very evident that status quo is unsustainable since income is barely covering annual running costs. As a result, no funds are being added to reserves which have been depleted by some £40,000 in past two years. The Trustees are reviewing whether the current size of congregation can sustain the overheads of two places of worship and halls.

Property Programme Approved by Leadership Team
At its meeting held on 15 May 2016, the Leadership Team approved a programme of necessary property expenditure costing some £9250. At the Manse, the bathroom will be replaced and a new garden shed will be erected. The external doors of St Stephen’s church will be painted. New lighting will be installed in the central area of the Old High church. New radio microphone equipment will be purchased for both places of worship. Various minor maintenance works, such as cleaning gutters and down pipes, will also be undertaken. For further information, please contact Joan Darcy about Manse and St Stephen’s works, and Richard McIntosh or Chrissie Lacey regarding Old High works.