Parish Profile of St John the Baptist Church, Hammerwich

 

Front cover of the history of the church booklet.

Showing an artists impression of the church yard, looking west

 

 

St John the Baptist Church Hammerwich worships the Trinity of, God the Creator, our Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit 

It is the intention of the congregation of this church to:-

Proclaim the Gospel of the risen Christ, our saviour and our salvation, to people of all ages inside and outside the church

Provide opportunities for people to share, renew and develop the faith in the risen Lord in an open and welcoming atmosphere

Promote the values detailed in the teaching of Jesus, and the repentance of sin.

Care for disadvantaged people at home and abroad

 

The tasks which face the new minister are:-

To lead Hammerwich, and the churches grouped with us, in a challenging and meaningful relationship with God, through the medium of the Holy Bible.

To facilitate the friendly affinity with the churches, and congregations in our parish grouping.

To provide support, guidance, inspiration, and training to the ordained and lay leaders, both licensed and others, in the parishes of the group.

To provide frank, meaningful contact, as relevant, with individuals and groups within, and outside, the congregations.

To identify the areas where we have a satisfactory approach and help us to maintain these, and to move us out of our comfort zone where necessary.

To provide the motivation and focus for a unified Anglican Communion within Hammerwich and across linked parishes.

To assist in the expansion of our congregation.

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

We hope to grow in faith and hope and love together with you.

Styles and traditions of worship

There are two Sunday services: at 10.00am and 5.30pm, which vary in format; and include Morning and Evening prayer, Family services, Songs of Praise, and weekly Sacrament of Holy Communion as celebrants are available. When possible, a monthly service of Holy Communion is held on Wednesday morning.

A strong list of sides people welcome and care for the incoming congregation.  Members of the congregation act as readers and lead the intercessory prayers, a number are licensed to administer the Sacrament.

 

Worship is usually accompanied by a pipe, or digital organ

 

The NRSV Bible is used in our worship

 

 

The Mission Plan

Our church aims to:-

Be a worshipping, caring, forward-looking and compassionate church, which seeks to engage with the local community, whilst at the same time showing our fellowship with each other.

Be a church firmly based upon Jesus’ mission of love.

Be a reflective and tolerant congregation, which is open and friendly, willing to learn, engage and change; sensitive to the issues involved in other congregations.

Consult and inform the congregation, keeping all our members abreast of events in the church.

Acknowledge the occasional need for change, but to bear in mind the importance of maintaining fundamental values.

Develop the individual faith of all ages, by providing opportunities for personal involvement. Lent Bible study is popular.

Continue to develop different models of worship (use of audio-visual technology, involvement of members of the congregation etc.)

Develop links with other churches and denominations in the area, to meet the needs of the local community.

Get more young people involved in the life of the church.

Church Leadership

We have one licensed reader and one member with some training who can lead worship attached to our church, but there are three other licensed readers and an Ordained Local Minister whom we share with the parishes of Gentleshaw and Farewell. At the moment there are no changes planned and we hope that we can continue as we are at present, with the links to the other two parishes.

 

The Parish

St John the Baptist Church, Hammerwich is set on a hill overlooking the village of Hammerwich . The village is at the heart of a rural community and surrounded by picturesque countryside. There is a thriving village bowling club and a cricket club, which is a member of several local leagues; and the local WI has its own hall which is used by many other groups.

The neighbouring village of Wall lies on the site of the Roman settlement of Letocetum which was an important staging post on Watling Street, (this was the Roman military road to North Wales). Remains of the bath house and Inn can be seen there and other excavated artefacts are on display in the museum. 

Hammerwich is also now famous all over the world because of the discovery of the ‘Staffordshire Hoard’ in 2009.

The nearest hospitals are at Lichfield and Cannock which are both three miles away, and Tamworth which is six miles away. Many consultants from larger hospitals visit these hospitals on a regular basis and they serve the local area very well.

There are plenty of health centres around the area and a local bus service operates through the village during the day enabling villagers to visit the doctor’s surgery, local shops and supermarkets, as well as linking it with Lichfield from where there are buses and trains to anywhere in the country.

Although the village school is now closed, there are several local primary and secondary schools within easy reach of the village.

 

There is new housing planned around the village but it is not sure when (or if) this will go ahead. There is a large home for the elderly, (Hammerwich Hall, which used to be the Manor House) and whenever possible the residents are brought to the community centre to join in with the activities.

 

The old school now serves as the community centre and church hall, where the local scout groups, slimming clubs, choirs meet on a weekly basis. There is also a thriving church group called ‘Here and Now’ which meets every other Thursday. It provides fellowship and tea and cakes for local people and is organised very successfully by members of the PCC.                                                                                                       

 

There is a social club and a post office in the village which manages to supply all the day to day requirements of the village, (including a dry cleaning service).

 

To the west of Hammerwich is Chasewater which is a reservoir, park and nature reserve where many species of flora and fauna can be found. Red Deer can also often be found roaming around the park. The local sailing club is based at Chasewater and the pool is very active with many forms of water sports. Chase Railway is also based here and every Sunday the enthusiasts are to be found driving passengers between Chasewater and Brownhills on the steam railway track. There is also a railway museum which houses an assortment of rolling stock, some of which is in use and some on display. Concerts are held in the museum every summer and are very well supported.

 

The Fellowship

Currently Hammerwich Church has an electoral role of 59 and weekly attendance varies between 30 and 50 people. The bulk of the congregation is aged over 60 and the age profile is rising. The membership has always been in good heart – the members are open and welcoming, and still look forward to a positive future. 

 

The Church Building

The present church, which is a grade two listed building, was completed around 1873 and the vestry added in 1883. This building was built on the site of a church believed to be of Saxon origin. This was demolished and the present one built during the time when the Reverend Robert Gordon (brother of ‘Gordon of Khartoum’) was the vicar of the parish.

The church is of the early English style of architecture, built of stone and consists of a Nave of three bays, a chancel, north aisle and a tower which is surmounted by a spire. On the north side is the vestry and the porch. The large entrance to the porch is in the style of a Gothic archway. The organ chamber is at the east end of the north aisle with a central heating boiler below.

There is both a sound amplification and a sound induction loop system installed in the church.

The latest quinquenial inspection was carried out on 28th October 2009 (copy report available) by an architect selected from the approved list provided by the diocese.

The report is very comprehensive and recommendations are provided in three sections:

Section One - Urgent Work  All works in this section were carried out.

 

Section two – Works to be carried out during the following twelve months. All works were carried out during this period .

 

Section three – Works recommended to be carried out during the quinquenial period All works were carried out as recommended in this section during the period October 2011 and January 2012 by the contractor under the supervision of the architect.

A grant for 75% of the cost of the contract was obtained from Staffordshire Environmental Fund and the remaining 25% was raised by the PCC and other members of the parish with several events, the most rewarding of which was a day of prayer and giving which raised over £7000.00.

The next quinquenial inspection is due during October 2014 when works needing consideration beyond the present quinquenial period will need to be actioned.

The items listed in the report of October 2009 are likely to be very expensive as stone work to the tower and the spire will require remedial works. The wall in Church Lane may require some attention, the ladder to the belfry requires replacement and the saddle bars to the stained Glass windows will need attention.

The attention to the timber floor of the south side of the nave was carried out by members of the PCC during 2010 when some of the timbers were found to be decayed.

We are aware that the next quinquenial may find other items that will need attention, and the plan of the PCC is to continue to raise funds for the maintenance of the church. Following the next inspection we will engage the architect to obtain quotations for the necessary works and then seek further grants early in 2015 by which time we hope to have raised sufficient funds to cover the church’s contribution .

Picture of a stained glass window on the south side of the church.

There are many other stained glass windows in the church which all add to the beauty of the building.

The Churchyard

The church has a churchyard with memorials dating back to the 18th Century. It is fairly extensive and is in three sections. The older burial grounds are to the south and north of the church with the later section on the lower, sloping site to the south east. The churchyard is maintained by volunteers mainly from the congregation with help from a local contractor who cuts the grass periodically.

The churchyard is open to the public with a public right of way from Church Lane down to the old Hammerwich railway station, which has sadly been closed for many years. It is anticipated that the cemetery will be full within the next few years.

Church Finances

At the moment the PCC manage to pay the Parish Share every month. We hold regular fund raising activities to raise money; for example, the Summer fete which has raised the sum of £1000.00 in 2011 and also 2012. We have quizzes, High Tea, skittle evenings, a dinner/cabaret evening every November, and other events, all of which are very well attended by the community. Most of the congregation are tax payers and gift aid their giving which usually means that we get between £2000 and £3000 per annum back from the Inland Revenue each year. We receive help from the parish council for the churchyard, usually around £400 per annum and the Church Lands Trust give us a donation to help with the upkeep of the church building.

We are paying £100 per month to enable a nurse to be employed in Africa through Christian Hope International and we receive regular updates on her progress from the nurse herself and also from the charity. Initially, we were only going to do this for a year but we shall continue with this aid as long as we are able.

Parish Activities and Programmes

Hammerwich Church has always tried to look outwards. Each harvest time we support a local charity and are currently 50% supporting a nurse in Africa.

The last two years we have run a Bible study group linked with a partner group in Gentleshaw from lent for ten fortnightly sessions. It is the firmly stated wish of the members of the group that this shall continue.

At the beginning of 2011 an Alpha Course was held at Gentleshaw Church and many members of Hammerwich attended. Here we began a fellowship with members of the other churches and friendships were forged which have continued ever since. Our Vicar also organised a ‘quiet Day’ where we went to a lovely church at Etching Hill and did various exercises which helped us spiritually and also enabled us to continue with our fellowship. At Pentecost 2011 members of all churches joined together to perform the musical ‘Saints Alive’ at Gentleshaw church where all congregations joined in the celebrations together. In February this year a Parish Weekend was organised and very well attended. Once again, all the churches were involved and it was a very successful weekend which we hope to repeat next year. This year saw the 175th Anniversary of Gentleshaw church, and at Pentecost, we all joined together for the morning service and the Bishop of Wolverhampton attended. After the service we all enjoyed a shared buffet lunch in the grounds of the church.

Baptisms are usually held during the monthly family services, which everyone enjoys as the usual congregation are able to meet the new smaller members of the church family. The Baptisms are preceded by a Thanksgiving Service for the close family and for baptism preparation. Families from outside the parish who are not regular worshippers are normally directed to their local church. We also have a memorial service once a year which is usually well attended. A Remembrance service is also held in November, this service always attracts the local scout groups and community leaders and is very well attended.

The PCC meets 11 times per year and Hammerwich News, our newsletter, is published six times per year by members of the PCC and is delivered free to every household in the parish.

Marriage is offered to couples where there is a legal ‘qualifying connection’. Cases where one or both partners have been married before are considered on an individual basis.

Styles and Traditions of Worship

There are two Sunday services: at 10.00am and 5.30pm, which vary in format; and include Morning and Evening prayer, Family services, Songs of Praise, and weekly Sacrament of Holy Communion as celebrants are available. When possible, a monthly service of Holy Communion is held on Wednesday morning. A strong list of sides people welcome and care for the incoming congregation.  Members of the congregation act as readers and lead the intercessory prayers, a number are licensed to administer the Sacrament. Worship is usually accompanied by a pipe, or digital organ. The NRSV Bible is used in our worship.