Download the 2016 Annual Report in PDF (printable) format  Here…

ST BOTOLPH’S SWYNCOMBE
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL
FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST DECEMBER 2016
Introduction
The functions of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) shall include co-operation with the minister in promoting
in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical. This mission
includes the maintenance of our 1,000 year-old church building.
In the second decade of the 21st century, a rural parish Anglican church like ours continues to face significant
challenges. Situated on the Ridgeway, St Botolph’s is a spiritual place, with a tranquillity that inspires its
visitors. The holiness of the setting, the simplicity of the historic architecture and the long tradition of Christian
worship in such a seemingly isolated place affords us the potential and the opportunity to draw worshippers
from far and wide, albeit to the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside.
Half of those on our Parish Roll live outside the parish. Our Parish is sparsely populated (about 250
households, with about 550 residents across 5 hamlets). There is no obvious vibrant village centre that might
act as our focal point. We have no premises beyond the church building itself. We are currently awaiting
Planning Permission for a disabled lavatory and small store-room to be sited within the Churchyard. We hope
this will be built during 2017. We use the Village Hall at Russells Water for meetings.
In a fast-changing secular society, we are the reverse of evangelistic fashion. It follows that there is a cardinal
regard for continuity, with the sung Eucharist celebrated every week and the Eucharist said from the 1662
prayer book on the second Sunday in every month.
Following the retirement of our Rector, the Rev’d Christopher Evans, (who had served in this area for 29 years
and had been Rector of our Benefice for 16 years), we officially commenced an Interregnum on 1st December,
2016.
Objectives
We recognise the following future challenges:
1. We need to develop a more balanced congregation across the age-range, particularly by embracing
families.
2. Establish an active outreach posture relevant to the needs of those living in the wider community of the
parish, not least the sick and needy.
3. Be more active across the Benefice, both with our sister parishes but also with the other Christian
churches.
4. Do only a few things, but do them well.
Our Vision is:
‘To grow a vibrant and inclusive church community sustained by the warmth of our welcome, the
spirituality of our worship and the tranquillity of our setting, so that St Botolph’s might continue its
discipleship to provide hope, comfort and peace for another thousand years.’
Despite reports of the Church of England having an ageing congregation and declining church attendances, we
in St Botolph’s, with our 26-strong regular congregation, are planning positively for the future, both through our
worship and by our actions. We consider ourselves to be traditional, private Christians who are drawn to attend
services at our ancient, hallowed church, seeking tranquillity in prayer, fulfilment and strength from traditional
worship and fellowship. A church is about the people who attend, just as much as its history and its
architecture.
As in most churches, we are a mixed group of people with a hope that, as we meet together and share both our
gifts and our vulnerabilities, ever so discreetly, we will find the fullness of life and love that belief in Christ
promises us.
We come, hopefully, with open minds and open hearts, doing our best to reflect honestly on the meaning of
Jesus Christ for each of us and to welcome all who may want to join us, with the assurance of a warm Christian
welcome. St Botolph’s is a small, intimate, supportive community. If you are interested, come and see!

Achievements and Performance
Snowdrop Teas 2016: Despite three wet Saturdays, the better weather on the Sundays enabled us to raise a
total of £4,416.00 over the three week-ends (net: £3,978.00). We are indebted to our huge team of bakers,
stall-helpers on the day (sometimes braving appalling weather) and our stalwart car parking marshals out in the
freezing cold for the success of this, our major fund-raising event of the year.
In addition, we offered hospitality to a coach-load of Dutch visitors outside our usual week-ends. The second
Sunday continues to be our busiest, and subsequent attendance at our ‘Snowdrop Evensong’ on that late
afternoon continues to be well-attended.
A Talk by Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG (formerly: Michael Jay) was held on the evening of Friday, 22 April,
2016. His subject: ‘The Poetry of Diplomacy’ proved extremely popular. The fact that it was held on the eve of
St George’s Day was particularly significant to Lord Jay’s theme. The rousing singing of ‘I vow to thee my
Country’ at the end of the talk raised hairs on the back of our necks – a very moving moment in an evening of
amusing, informative anecdotes. Donations were generously offered and a total of nearly £2,000 was raised.
Its popularity was such that it is proposed that this should become an annual event, possibly to be entitled: ‘The
Annual Swyncombe Talk’.
Blessing of the Pets Family Service: This was held in a barn adjacent to the church on 10 July. It was a
popular service that attracted many non-church-goers. We had 30 adults, 8 children and 18 dogs.
Barbecue Party: This was held on Saturday, 27 July, 2016 by kind invitation of Jean and David Orpwood, ably
assisted by Helen and Stuart Walsh. This was to mark Tim Lewis’ retirement as Churchwarden after 15 years.
Tim has been a conscientious churchwarden of St Botolph’s and will be hugely missed. A gift of a framed
cartoon of Tim himself was presented in grateful thanks for his unfailing dedication and commitment over many
years. Our thanks go to all four organisers.
Rev’d Christopher Evans’ Last Service at St Botolph’s Church: This was held on Sunday, 16 October,
2016. We had a full church for this very moving occasion, many attendees having only known Christopher as
their Rector, given his 16-year period at our church. Wine and canapés were served; speeches were given. A
gift of a photo-album reflecting Christopher’s time at St Botolph’s, was presented to Christopher and his wife,
Jane.
Rev’d Christopher Evans’ Final Farewell Benefice Tea Party: Held at St Leonard’s Church, Watlington, this
was a joint Benefice effort, with all churches providing food and drink. A joint Benefice cheque for £6,000.00
was presented to Christopher and Jane (of which St Botolph’s had raised £2,500.00). Our warm thanks go to
all parishioners who generously responded to our request for a donation.
The Choirs: The Adult Choir meets most weeks to rehearse and prepare to sing for major festivals in church
and at special services. The Choir sings a Snowdrop Sunday Evensong once a year, and Maundy Thursday
and the Holy Week services at Easter. In 2016, they sang at the special service in celebration of the 90th
Birthday of the Queen and sang at Harvest Festival and a special farewell service for Christopher Evans. The
Adult and Junior Choir led the singing in a traditional candle-lit Carol Service in December with readings by
young people from the congregation. The enthusiastic Junior Choir meet once a week in church, and has sung
at services with the Adult Choir as well as on Mothering Sunday. The Junior Choir has brought new people
from within and outside the parish to church. Both choirs are trained and rehearsed by professional musician
and teacher Carole Shorter whose energy, experience and enthusiasm are generously shared to benefit the
musical life of the church and congregations. Swyncombe is indebted to Carole and to Alan Shorter the
organist for their commitment and hard work, and for creating such wonderful music in this small church. Both
Choirs welcome newcomers.
The Swyncombe Singers: During the pre-Christmas period, the Adult Choir transforms into The Swyncombe
Singers, who raise money for two chosen charities. On two of the three nights, the junior singers joined the
senior singers singing at various parties and in the local pub and they were a terrific success. It bodes well for
the future of the choir as some of the present Adult Choir started singing with the Adult Choir when they were
young. Over £1,400 was raised in 2016 shared between the Parkinson’s Association UK local branch and for
Helen and Douglas House.
Harvest Festival Lunch and Auction: Approximately 50 people attended the Lunch held at Russells Water
Village Hall on 25 September. An auction of donated produce was held at the Lunch, led by a new Auctioneer,
Sir Brian Burridge. The overall sum raised was: £1,000.00 and was divided equally between Wallingford Food
Bank and ‘The Porch Steppin’ Stone Centre’ in Oxford. Our thanks go to Brian Burridge for acting as our
Auctioneer so effectively and for making the event so enjoyable.

Caring: We make small gifts/greetings/messages of support to the sick, new parents and bereaved, and
tokens of welcome to newcomers to the Parish.
Christian commitment: Within the congregation, we are well represented in the voluntary work of local
charities and charitable organisations.
Church Attendance and Worship
Throughout the year, 72 services were held (LY 73), of which two were Funeral/Memorial services (LY 5), and
two were weddings (LY 1). During the year, two children were baptised at normal Sunday services (LY 4).
Our largest congregations were at the Carol Service: 145 including 32 under 16 years of age (LY: 124 including
18 under 16 yrs); Christmas Day: 127 including 16 under 16 yrs (LY 106 inc 22 under 16 years), On Easter Day
– 2 services: 76 including 9 under 16 yrs (LY 76). Attendance on Remembrance Sunday numbered 52
including 3 under 16yrs (LY 57).
The Junior Choir sang at our Carol Service and, as in previous years, young children were invited to read five
of the six lessons.
We are required to report to the Diocese the number of people (including children) attending all services during
the month of October, at Easter and Christmas:table1

Charitable Donations
In 2016, the PCC gave £4,523 to local or linked charities. Of this, £1,925 was specifically collected or raised;
£1,088 (£590 as collections) for the Oxford Steppin’ Stone Centre for the homeless (The Porch), £500 for the
Wallingford Foodbank (half the proceeds from the Harvest festival event), £247 collected for the British Legion
on Remembrance Sunday that was topped up to £500 cash donation, and £90 collected for Mission to
Seafarers, topped up to £100.
The charities supported by the PCC in the year (the Alzheimer’s Society, Thames Valley Air Ambulance,
Wyfold Riding for the Disabled, Style Acre) were given £450 each. In addition, £500 was given to the Disasters
Emergency Crisis for Yemen. A subscription of £35 was also paid to the Oxfordshire Historic Churches
Association.
Church Fabric
We continue to undertake minor works as required by the Quinquennial Inspection of November, 2014. The
Porch has now been re-plastered by Len Ashby (of Ashby Builders); once fully dry, it will be re-painted in early
summer. The tiling to the Bellcote has been repaired and the perimeter eaves guttering to the Apse has been
cleared. We are also addressing the damp problem in the Chancel area and are seeking professional advice.
The PCC
The PCC met four times in 2016 (27 January, 25 May, 14 September, 30 November). As at 31 December,
2016, the number on the Electoral Roll was 79, of whom 35 reside outside the parish (44%). In 2015 the
Electoral Roll was 83.
Given the resignation (on 17 April, 2016) of Tim Lewis as Deputy Chair of the PCC, his successor as Deputy
Chair was selected: Sir Brian Burridge, who joined the PCC on 17 April, 2016. Since we no longer have a
Chairman of the PCC (this was the Rector), the Deputy Chair effectively becomes the Chairman of the PCC
until a new incumbent is appointed. We are delighted to welcome Brian Burridge to this important role.
Our aim on the PCC is to try harder, to be known for being a welcoming and generous Church in the eyes of
those who live nearby and those who visit us.
For the record we continue to:
· Serve Snowdrop Teas for three weekends in February.
Reported Church Attendance 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
October Total Attendees 187 107 153 135 123 211 199 144 154 139
(5 services) Communicants 152 96 129 115 110 152 156 121 129 119
Easter Total Attendees 86 88 90 86 95 98 72 95 104 81
(2 services) Communicants 64 60 73 72 73 85 61 72 80 67
Christmas Total Services 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 0 3 3
Attendees 183 166 224 122 139 139 70 0 152 195
Communicants 137 114 151 98 108 108 53 0 108 133

· Send out Emails and Christmas Cards to residents informing them of notable festivals such as Easter,
Patronal, Harvest and Christmas.
· Post information, events and news on the website.
· Hold a retiring collection for The Porch, every month.
The Facilities Sub-Committee:
This sub-committee met ten times during 2016 to discuss the building of a Disabled Lavatory and a small
Storage Room within the curtilage of the churchyard. The members were: Helen Walsh (Chair), David
Orpwood, Tim Lewis and Len Ashby (co-opted). They had two site meetings with Sam Shelton (Design
Consultant). Sam Fielden (of Swyncombe Farm) also attended one of the site meetings. Detailed drawings
have been submitted, an advisory Planning Notice has been affixed to the church gate (during December 2016
and January 2017) and full Planning Approval is awaited. Once Planning Approval has been given and the final
Construction Drawings have been received from Sam Shelton, a Faculty will be applied for from the Diocesan
Advisory Committee. Once this has been granted, then construction work can start. It is hoped this will be built
during 2017.
The Services Sub-Committee:
A meeting was held on Thursday, 7 January, 2016. There were four members (Ronnie Riley (Chair), Hilary
Cox, Rev’d Christopher Evans and Jonathan Longley). Following the introduction of the new family services
(well received by the members of the congregation that have attended them), the new A board, and the lay
person-led intercessions, the majority of the areas on which the Services Sub-Committee has been engaged
have been delivered. With the departure from the PCC of the Chair of the Services Sub-Committee (Ronne
Riley) and the retirement of the Rector, the remaining business of the Services Sub-Committee (families and
young people; exploring opportunities and ways of re-connecting) have been handed back to the PCC,
although will not be progressed until the new Rector is appointed.
The Communications Sub-Committee
The main business of this Committee was to ensure the website is regularly updated and the magazine is
produced. The St Botolph’s Church website is now very efficiently and regularly updated by Shelagh Stevens.
Elly Crossman continues to edit the Parish journal: ‘The News’, a bi-monthly magazine which is hand-delivered
free to each house in the parish and outlying districts. Our grateful thanks go to Shelagh and to Elly. We
especially congratulate Elly – this is her 20th year of editing the magazine! This sub-committee has not met
officially during this year as any queries have been dealt with outside of a meeting.
Thank You
We wish to record our warmest thanks to the Ministry Team of Rev. Lucy Austin, Rev. Angie Paterson and
Canon Tony Williamson, for the warmth and care they bring to the celebration of our services and the
preparation they give to their sermons. We particularly thank Angie and Lucy for their extra workload during this
Interregnum period. We warmly congratulate Canon Tony Williamson on his recent marriage to Jill and wish
them every happiness for the future.
Our thanks go to Alan Shorter, our principal organist, who, to our great good fortune, continues to play at all our
services. We also thank Carole Shorter for her unending patience with the Junior Choir and her enthusiasm
when leading the Adult Choir.
The PCC would also like to express grateful thanks to the various teams of people who bake cakes/make
canapés for special events, organise coffees, who make sure the church is clean, well-maintained and
decorated with beautiful flowers – an essential task for a well-visited building. As mentioned above, our thanks
also go to Elly Crossman, who continues to create and edit ‘The News’, a magazine which makes a great
contribution to the life of the Church within the parish community; our thanks also to those who ensure it is
hand-delivered to all homes and posted to those further afield. The PCC would like to record their thanks to
both Shelagh Stevens and Mark Alliston for their hard work in not only keeping the web-site up-to-date – an
unending, thankless task, but in constantly developing and improving it, to make it an attractive and useful
means of attracting visitors to St Botolph’s Church .
The PCC also wishes to record our gratitude to Sam Fielden of Swyncombe Farm for the use of his field on
Church Hill for car parking during the Snowdrop afternoons (always depending on weather conditions) and to
Graham Ryves-Webb, for regularly facilitating the use of the field by removing the sheep to a neighbouring
field.
The PCC and the Treasurer in particular would also like to thank the Treasury Team, John Bayford and Peter
Willis Fleming for doing all the hard work in running the cash book and gift aid records so diligently. Although no
longer on the PCC, John Bayford is still kindly undertaking the role of Hon Assistant Treasurer, while we
actively seek a replacement for him, as he has requested. Our warm thanks go to John for continuing with this

essential role. The PCC would like to thank Jonathan Longley for being such an efficient Hon Treasurer; we are
lucky to have him.
Financial Review
General Fund
The Accounts for 2016 and the Report of our Independent Examiner are attached. They are prepared in
accordance with the Church Accounting Regulations 2006 on a Receipts and Payments basis.
The annulus charts below give a pictorial analysis of our General Fund receipts against payments, and are
useful for obtaining a high-level view of how the various income streams cover different types of expenses.
Starting at “noon”, the most dependable income is shown against the highest priority expenditure, decreasing
clockwise; the most consistent source of income is regular pledged giving and collections at services for
retention of £15,532 (down £0.2k) which were slightly less than clergy costs of £16,477 (up £0.1k). Property
costs were £4,250 (down from £4.5k in 2015) and therefore £10,089 (down from £10,267 in 2015) was required
to meet the remaining operating costs of St Botolph’s from fund raising and other income sources. Net fund
raising, fees and donations amounted generated 10,378 (up £2.5k), and investment income generated £4,348
(down £0.5k) resulting in a surplus before charitable giving of £4,638, up £2.2k from 2015. The PCC
considered its surplus of income over expenditure and balance sheet strong enough to continue with Charitable
Giving (net of receipts) of £2,598 (£0.1k up from 2015), leaving General Fund income £2,039 more (£32 less in
2015) than expenses.

table2

Money Raising Activities from Snowdrop Teas, Lord Jay’s talk and the News (net of costs) at £4,183 was in line
with 2015, despite income of £1,932 from Lord Jay’s talk, which was offset by poor weather at Snowdrop teas,
no repeat of 2015 Cream Teas, and with the News making a bigger deficit than 2015 due to a further deferral of
income to 2017. Other income, including Donations, and Fees was £6,195, up £2.5k from last year, entirely
from an increase in donations, with a very generous £2k donation from a single donor. Investment income was
down £0.6k as a result of a re-phasing of the dividends from the Investment Fund.
Other Funds and Reserves
The General Fund is used for normal income and running costs, and the Reserve Fund (designated) is for the
preservation of worship at St Botolph’s, intended as a growing fund for the long term, funded out of wall box
receipts and earning investment income; net income of the Reserve Fund in 2016 was £3,239.
At the end of 2016 the General Fund balance was £109,981, and the Reserve Fund balance was £47,860. The
PCC has debated its policy on reserves in 2016. The PCC currently faces two generalised threats that are
unquantifiable, with overlapping priorities and potential purposes with the Fabric Fund (balance of £47,617 at
31 December 2016):
· Fabric. St Botolph’s is a very old church with a fair degree of likelihood of an unforeseen problem with
a high cost impact. A scenario of substantial costs is not that remote, and the PCC wish to continue
accumulating the fabric fund to meet the costs when they occur.
· Facilities. There are currently no facilities nearby that St Botolph’s can draw upon for toilets, kitchen,
meetings, or a Sunday school. This has been identified by the PCC as a threat to the continued
worship at St Botolph’s in the medium term. Potential opportunities to create such a facility are being
investigated again currently, and the PCC aim to keep sufficient reserves to capitalise on any
opportunity that might arise to obtain these facilities.
It is the policy of the PCC to maintain overall reserves at current levels for the purpose of covering these threats
without formally designating them.
The PCC aim to maintain sufficient free cash reserves equivalent to 5 months’ routine expenditure (£13k) to
cover unforeseen failure of money raising activities exacerbated by unforeseen running costs, and general cash
flow requirements. As at the year-end, the PCC had cash balances on funds not formally restricted of c£36k;
the excess cash balances will not be invested until the position on facilities becomes more certain.
There are four restricted funds; The Fabric Fund, The Wine Fund, the Kath Christie-Miller Music Fund and the
Project Fund, the balances on which are stated in the attached Receipts and Payments accounts under Other
Funds. In 2016, the Fabric Fund paid £2,022 to renew the guttering around the apse, £300 to polish the
chandelier and £231 to repair the organ. During the year, there were no funds expended from the Kath Christie
Miller Music Fund, the Wine Fund or the Project Fund, although the Wine Fund received a £25 donation.
Surplus funds across the Fabric Fund, KCM Music Fund, Reserve Fund and General Fund are aggregated
together and invested, receiving an allocation of interest earned based on average fund balances in the
previous year. The effective split of cash accounts and investments at the year-end is shown below;

table3

Assets and Investments
The PCC aims to conservatively manage its capital and to provide an income, using the Church Of England
Central Board of Finance range of funds managed by CCLA as the primary investment vehicle. The PCC has
held its investments in the Investment Fund and the Property Fund throughout the year. During the year, the
Investment Fund value has risen by £16.2k, although the value of the Property Fund declined by £1.9k; both
funds exceed the cost of original investment. The yield projected from the Investment Fund at the end of the
year is 3.5 % (3.8% at the end of 2015), whilst that on the Property Fund is 5.6% (5.4% at the end of last year).
Administrative Information
St. Botolph’s Church is situated in Rectory Hill, Swyncombe, Henley on Thames, Oxon, RG9 6EA. It is part of
the Benefice of Icknield in Diocese of Oxford within the Church of England. The correspondence address is
The Honorary Secretary, Sarah Jane Rees, The Old Farm House, Russells Water, Henley on Thames, Oxon,
RG9 6ER.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a charity excepted from registration with the Charity Commission
PCC members who have served from 1st January 2016 until the date this report was approved are:
Incumbent: The Revd Christopher Evans Chairman (retired 30 November 2016)
Wardens: Miss Hilary Cox
Mr Tim Lewis Vice Chairman (resigned 17 April 2016)
Representatives on the Deanery Synod (ex officio member of the PCC):
Mr John Sennett
Elected members: Mrs Felicity Bazell
Sir Brian Burridge Vice Chairman (elected 17 April 2016)
Mrs Lizzie Christie-Miller
Mrs Elly Crossman
Mr Jonathan Longley Treasurer
Mr David Orpwood
Mrs Sarah Jane Rees Secretary
Mrs Ronnie Riley (resigned 17 April 2016)
Mrs Shelagh Stevens
Mrs Helen Walsh
Unrestircted Designated Restricted Total Total

Structure, governance and management
The method of election of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation Rules. All Church attendees
are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.
Approved by the PCC on 17 March 2017 and signed on their behalf by Hilary Cox (Church Warden)

INDEPENDENT EXAMINER’S REPORT
TO THE TRUSTEES OF ST BOTOLPH’S CHURCH, SWYNCOMBE
I report on the accounts of the church for the year ended 31 December 2016, which are set out on pages 9-10.
Respective responsibilities of the trustees and the examiner
The church’s trustees are responsible for the preparation of the accounts. The church’s trustees consider that
an audit is not required for this year under section 144(2) of the Charities Act 2011 (the 2011 Act) and that an
independent examination is needed
It is my responsibility to:
· Examine the accounts under section 145 of the 2011 Act;
· To follow the procedures laid down in the General Directions given by the Charities Commissioners
under section 145(5)(b) of the 2011 Act; and
· To state whether particular matters have come to my attention.
Basis of independent examiner’s report
My examination was carried out in accordance with the general Directions given by the Charity Commission.
An examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the charity and a comparison of the
accounts presented with those records. It also includes consideration of any unusual items or disclosures in
the accounts, and seeking explanations from you as trustees concerning any such matters. The procedures
undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit and consequently no opinion is
given as to whether the accounts present a ‘true and fair view’ and the report is limited to those matters set out
in the statement below.
Independent examiner’s statement
In connection with my examination, no matter has come to my attention:
(1) which gives me reasonable cause to believe that in any material respect the requirements
· to keep accounting records in accordance with section 130 of the 2011 Act; and
· to prepare accounts which accord with the accounting records and comply with the requirements of the
2011 Act
have not been met; or
(2) to which, in my opinion, attention should be drawn in order to enable a proper understanding of the
accounts to be reached.
Mrs Karen Regent
10 Coates Lane, Swyncombe, Henley on Thames, Oxon RG9 6EE
18 March 2016

table4

Get in touch
email: info@st-botolphs-swyncombe.info
tel: 01491 614218

Churchwardens:
Hilary Cox

Our Rector is The Rev'd Daniel Thompson.

Please contact him for general enquiries and arranging baptisms, weddings and funerals.

His email is:
info@st-botolphs-swyncombe.info
or ring 01491 614218


 Feast Day: 17th June