AGM Reports for 2012

The Minister

It has been my pleasure and privilege since becoming your Minister just over a month ago to begin to get to know or be reacquainted with everyone in the congregation and beyond. It has also been a delight to discover some of the many activities which have taken place at Abbey Hill in 2012 to nurture faith, to build relationships within the fellowship, to ensure that all in the fellowship are cared for, to serve the community, and to further develop ecumenical links.

What is clearly evident and inspiring to me is a welcoming fellowship and the enthusiasm, energy and dedication of so many who willingly give of their time, talents, gifts, skills and money, to enhance worship and church life and to build up the kingdom of God in and through Abbey Hill; also those who support with prayers and regular attendance at worship.

I look forward to discovering even more, and to working with everyone as we seek to meet identified vision goals and to seek to give and bring glory to God. ”Thank you to all.”




1012 was both a sad and a very happy year. We had to say goodbye to our much loved Minister, Liz who guided us in our spiritual growth and leadership and also she supported those with many problems, health or otherwise.  We lost a much loved friend in Brian Woods-Scawen who had always been there for us, to help and guide us in lots of ways. George Jones came to us as our Interim Moderator through our vacancy. It was a pleasure to work with him. He gave us his help and assistance suggesting ways in doing our new profile. Also helping us to fill our vacancy and getting Mhari to come and preach with a view.

Our membership has more or less stayed the same with 69 members. Junior Church has 12 children at present.

We had several enjoyable events during the year including  A New Year Party, Messy Church, Flower Festival, Passover Meal on Maundy Thursday, Tea/Coffee events, Harvest Lunch and the Grand Coffee Morning.

We look forward to 2013 and our new Minister and maybe different events.

Thank you all for your hard work.

Rosemary Lawrence


The Tannery Court Service

This Service started when we stopped having an evening service every Sunday. At that time we still had a Communion Service on the first Sunday of the month so Tannery Court became the second Sunday at 7pm. This was in the time of Rev Jim Neary about 30 years ago.

A small group from Abbey Hill turn out, rain or snow, for a short half-hour service followed by a cup of tea and biscuits. People take it in turns to take the service.

Although the number of residents attending is quite small they really appreciate as some of them can no longer get out to Church services.

Our most loyal tea maker is Pam Muckersie who has been involved with the service most of the thirty years.

We are getting older so if anyone would like to help, to take a service or make tea we would love to hear from you.

Betty Connelly

Pulpit Supply

Summary of services

12 taken by Rev E Caswell, 1 being a Messy Church Service

15 taken by the Worship leaders group/other church members

23 by visitors. George Jones took 4.

1 was a compilation of items by various members of the congregation which was really enjoyed

Mhari McLintock preached with a view to becoming our new minister:

We welcomed several new people into our pulpit: David & Yvonne Wheeler from TWAM, Rev Paul Fiske a retired Methodist minister, who also led devotions at our Maundy Thursday meal and Rev Helga Cornell, from Workcare in Coventry.

Regular visitors included Linda Mead from Giving for Life, Clive Sutton from MAF, Rev Alwyn Knight who updated us on his work in the Middle East. We extended our service over lunch to accommodate more time and this was really appreciated. Rev Donald Horsfield, Rev Roger Hall, Rev Wayne and Lesley Hawkins, Rev Bill Young, Rev Louise Franklin, Val Whiteman, Rev Marion Hartwell and George Jones are all regular contributors to our morning worship and their friendship and ministry during the year was much appreciated.

Special Services The Craft Group put together our Carol Service very successfully and John Nicholls led a very enthusiastic Christmas Morning Praise – Caroline Flint led an inspiring Christian Aid service and Donna Curran led our Junior Church and Guides and Brownies in our Harvest Service. A healing service following the flower festival focused on -healing plants.

Kath Shortley


Worship Leaders Group

We continue to meet bi-monthly for feedback, planning and learning. Liz chaired and led our meetings until she retired in June. We are looking forward to Mhari’s input and direction going forward. Liz suggested some training with Tim Lowe (Coventry, Holyhead Road URC) but this was put on hold when we heard that Mhari was coming to be our new minister) We might take it up in the future.

We were extremely sad to lose Brian Woods-Scawen in 2012. His unique style of contribution to our morning worship services is sorely missed. We are grateful to Jane for
her continuing contribution. It is very much appreciated. Martin Todd has been unable to lead services for a while because of Samantha’s illness. We have missed his contributions too. We continue to hold the family in our prayers

For 2013 we have a service plan, booked with firm favorites and some new faces

We would like to grow our worship leader’s numbers and would welcome new people to join us in leading either all or part of the service. We also welcome feedback and suggestions. Kath Shortley, on behalf of David, Anne, Ayse, Jane, Ivan, John, Ivan and Donna

Church Cleaning

We continue to have an excellent cleaner to keep our halls in good order but that does cost. So as long as we can find volunteers for the church we are saving the church some money- After my appeal last year we had 4 volunteers and now have 6 teams of two which means each team has only 2 months to do each year. However it is still something you could all consider. So please give it some thought if you could spare an hour or so occasionally

We changed the rota last year in that each pair is responsible for the church for a month at a time cleaning as and when necessary. More work needs done during the winter months but less in the summer so it balances out and each team has the same responsibility.

Winnie Tawil.

Junior Church

The numbers of children attending Junior Church have remained steady at 12 with the welcome addition of the Flint family. We currently have a range of ages from 15 years to 2 years and the teaching therefore is very broad based. The children have also written their own Junior Church prayer which we are including in our weekly lessons.

Once again Junior Church has been quite busy with lots of activities and fun, including helping with the harvest service and the flower festival. Unfortunately the wonderful British summer let us down again but we were able to hold an indoor picnic and games afternoon in the church hall which saved the day,

The Junior Church summer service this year was ‘Children caught in conflict’. The theme enabled our children to think about other children throughout the world caught up in war. The cake sale raised an amazing £115 which was donated to UNICEF alongside an additional £100 donated by Cadbury’s /Kraft.

At Christmas we called upon the talents of the Leadership to introduce a twist to the “Twelve days of Christmas” song which, with audience participation, proved to be a very active service enjoyed by all. The annual Christmas party was well attended and the children brought along a friend each to join in.

The older members of Junior Church have enjoyed being part of the Churches Together youth group which meets at St. John’s Church. This also includes an adventurous weekend activity during February half term which includes outdoor activity alongside bible study and worship. This has been very beneficial to the children; enabling them to meet other young people attending Kenilworth churches. The older children are encouraged to help with the younger members and have planned some activities with them. We are keen to involve the older children as much as possible

Di has decided to “retire” from Junior Church this year and we are very grateful for all her enthusiasm and support, in the meantime we have been fortunate to have had Judy take up the challenge of Junior Church leadership!  We also look forward to having additional support from Mhari to be able to continue to encourage the children to be a part of Abbey Hill.

We would also welcome anyone interested in getting involved as helpers especially during the summer holidays. Thanks for your continued support.

Jennie, Donna, Chris, Jo, Judy, Di and Alison.


Flowers in Church

2012 was a busy year for the flower arrangers of the church. As well as decorating the church each week we produced a Flower Festival in June celebrating ‘Healing Plants’. Many people gave of their talents to make it a successful day. The booklet produced later, is dedicated to Brian Woods-Scawen.

The church was also decorated at Easter and Christmas.

We welcome four more people who have offered to pay for church flowers. There are now 37 who give money for flowers and 14 flower arrangers. Many thanks to you all.

Olive Greenway


The Managers have spent another year improving the church buildings.

Work carried out over the past year:

  • Low energy lighting was provided for the outside of the buildings with photocells and time clocks. (An anonymous donation of £1000 was received to pay for this lighting.)
  •  Thermostats were fitted to the schoolroom boilers.
  • Lettering has been fixed on rile front of the church‑
  • The guttering has been cleared and cleaned.
    • Lead ,was stolen from the schoolrooms entrance roof and this roof has now been tiled,
    • There is now  a post-box for our mail at the side of the Church,
    • The schoolroom stairwell and the seminar room windows have been painted.
    • The Manse was let in July. New carpets were provided in the bedrooms. Tile driveway has been re-surfaced

An agreement was made with Abbey Hill Social Club to pay them £250 per year for the use of their car park on Sunday mornings.

Projects For this spring:

  • We have now received planning permission from the Council, so the front doors of church are to be replaced with new glazed doors.
  • Press taps (which automatically turn off) will be fitted in the toilets.
  • The vestry is to be decorated.

We would welcome anybody interested in joining us to help with this maintenance over the coming year.

Please contact one of the managers if you are aware of any work that needs doing.

Ivan Pointon


Church Magazine.

I hope everybody has found something of interest in the magazine over the past year.

Thank you to everyone who has provided articles etc., both regular and occasional contributors.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is anything you want to say or publicise in the magazine during 2013.

Mary Skidmore

Free Will Envelopes

As usual, we lost a few more subscribers to this scheme last year, but also gained a few. We now have 60 sets of envelopes being used.

If anybody else would like a set, please ask me, as I have still got some unallocated envelopes.

The envelopes should be used by anybody who pays Income Tax, so that the Church can reclaim the tax from HM Revenue & Customs. They can also be used if you don’t pay tax.

Mary Skidmore

The Craft Group

We have now 10 eager members.

This year we spent all our time knitting items for putting in the shoe boxes and making various small items to sell at the Annual Sale in November. Glenys made a beautiful knitted Nativity Set which Eileen bought & we all had the pleasure of seeing it in Church. Under Helen’s guidance we made a beautiful wall hanging for display at the Flower Festival


Christian Aid

Many thanks to everyone who helped to collect for Christian Aid.  Abbey Hill’s streets raised just over £1300 pounds. We are always a few collectors short, anyone who feels they could give up about one and a half hours in May would be greatly appreciated by the organisation.

John Nichols

 Coffee Pot

At Coffee Pot we have a loyal band of people attending some who have no connection with the Church so I feel that it is an outreach into the community. We started about fifteen years ago. People arrive from 9.30 onwards although the published time is 10 to 11 am. We would go on longer but most people feel all hour is about right. Our prices are very low but this year we raised enough to give the Church £500.

We had a trip to Bourton on the Water in the spring, Coffee Pot in the Garden in July, and our lovely Christmas Dinner in December. From Coffee Pot in the Garden we sent £68 to Leamington Mission for the Homeless. Our Christmas dinner was once again better than any hotel meal; it was cooked by Barbara Hines.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who help each week. If you feel able to go on the rota we would love to have you and it would only be about once in six weeks.

Thank you Alison Collett for looking after our money and booking our outings and Christmas meal.

Betty Connelly


Ladies Circle.

We continue to meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 2 pm. We now have enough members to have 4 groups of about 6 or 7 members to organise the meetings which eases the burden a little. Meetings continue to be well attended with between 16 and 20 members at each. Last year we had two visits, one to Clinton School to see the rehearsal of the Christmas show, andBlooms garden centre. We heard about carers at Waverley Day Centre, also member’s holiday trips to Iona, India, Sri Lanka, and Iceland, favorite books and a miscellany. The AGM in February had our usual Bring and Buy table and a literary quiz. We also had 2 meals out in July and January, We continue to support the church in various ways by donating money, baking, – and serving teas and coffees. We also support various charities with donations and collecting copper coins

We look forward to continuing as a source of fellowship and service in the coming year and extend a warm welcome to all ladies to come and join us

Winnie Tawil.


The Kitchen Committee

There are eight ladies on this committee and our aim is to raise money for items in the church and halls to enhance the fellowship or simply to add to church funds. We are planning a coffee morning to coincide with Fair Trade fortnight.

Winnie Tawil.


Eco Warriors

We continue to recycle as much as possible in the way of glass, cans, plastics and paper. We also continue to encourage the Managers to provide means to conserve as much heat as possible. The measures so far installed in the church have led to savings and other measures are in the pipe line.

Winnie Tawil


Sunday after-service Coffee

This is a chance to meet up with friends when coffee tea is served in the schoolroom after the morning service every Sunday. . We do have 20 on the rota at present but there are only two males. So where are all the other gentlemen who could help occasionally?

Because we now serve every Sunday the teams have been reduced to two persons which is sufficient to set up and serve but we could do with a few more folks to help them tidy away at the end as it seems to be the same two or three who are doing this every week!

The money raised at these events goes towards funding not only the tea, coffee and sugar but also cleaning materials, toilet rolls etc. which are also required in the church.

Winnie Tawil


We welcome Linda Duffy and Donna Hall as new stewards.

Sadly David Steen, after many years of cheerful service, is no longer able to continue as a church steward. Bronwen, Becky and Olive are also no longer able to be stewards. We thank them all for their service.

Olive Greenway


Healing Group

This year the healing group helped the flower festival weekend to look at the healing properties of flowers and nature. We thank Olive for her dedication and the attention to detail she brought to the project, it was an inspired idea which we were delighted to be a part of.

We have started a new initiative for meditative prayer on the 4th Wednesday of the month in the vestry at 7.15 for around half an hour. All are welcome to join this group which sends prayers to anyone in need within our congregation and beyond. Requests for healing prayers can be given to any of the group.

Vivien Nichols

8th Kenilworth Brownies

At the time of writing, we have 22 Brownies registered in the Unit, three adult Leaders and two Young Leaders. Aimee has received her 5 year long-service award from the District Commissioner. As our Young Leaders approach 18, they are working on their Adult Leadership Qualification and one of them is hoping to take over the running of the 1st Kenilworth Rangers (Senior Section) in September.

Over the past 12 months, we have gained more interest badges, both as a Unit as well as several individual Brownies gaining badges of a specific interest to them.

In the Spring Term we participated in our District Thinking Day celebrations, our Young Leaders ran their first interest badge for the Brownies – `Toymaker’. We had a pottery painting session run by the local company Dragon Ceramics and finally finished for Easter with a chocolate tasting session!  In the Summer Term we completed the ‘Fire Safety’ badge, participated in Kenilworth Carnival for the third time, this time on a theme of ‘The Brownie Circus’ alongside the Ist Kenilworth Brownies. We also completed the ‘Seasons’ badge which we had worked on for the previous two terms, and celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Finally, in the Autumn Term we gained a badge called ‘On Your Marks’, which was designed around the London 2012 Olympics, the Brownies made a strip of bunting each with their name stencilled on it, raised over £100 for Children in Need through a bake sale and sponsored bounce, and Christmas biscuits following our Young Leaders traditional German recipes.

We are again collecting the Active Kids vouchers – we have not collected as many recently as in previous years, but we were able to redeem them for a Sainsbury’s gift card to keep us supplied with plenty of squash and biscuits for the meeting!  We also collected the Tesco’s vouchers, which we redeemed for lots of craft items.

As always, our thanks to you for your support and making us feel welcome and included in the Church.

Sarah Pointer


8th Kenilworth Guides

In the spring term we had a visit from the Engineering without Barriers group at Warwick

University and they provided an evening of activities based on building shelters in different parts of the world and thinking about engineering as a possible career. We took part in a District Thinking Day event in February, meeting up with other Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and taking part in games and crafts from other countries. One of the Guides organized a town trail for us in the dark with lots of clues to follow. We started a project for the Together We Can badge which involved collecting materials together to fill a backpack to enable a child in Africa to go to school – in the end we managed to fill 8 backpacks. We had an evening of Easter themed craft and finished off the term with swimming at Abbey Fields. Finally, we took 20 girls to the Big Gig at the NEC which was a concert just for Guides with various well known acts.

We started the summer term with planning and enjoying a Diamond Jubilee party and undertook various challenges towards a Diamond Jubilee Challenge badge including making a posy and learning how to curtsey to and greet the Queen. We also worked on the On Your Marks badge for the Olympics which involved looking at Sport, Values and Cultural aspects of the Olympic dames. We practiced tent pitching on Abbey Fields to prepare for camp and also prepared our 101 Dalmatian costumes ready for the Carnival in July. We went pond dipping in Leek Wootton and found lots of tiny creatures in the water. Sadly both our evening walk and our fire lighting evening had to be cancelled due to torrential rain although for our summer Camp at Hardman Fields we had unexpectedly glorious weather. During the camp 2 Guides ran their own camps including planning their own menus and programmes to complete their Patrol Camp Permits.

In the autumn we did the Healthy lifestyles badge including making our own fitness circuit and then planned a Go Pink evening to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. We invited parents to the evening which included a quiz and lots of cakes for sale- Some of the older Dudes arranged or international evening for us and we also had a trip to the RSC at Stratford to see The Mouse and His Child. We finished the term with a Christmas craft evening making baubles and tea light holders.

Tracey McNamara



CWM is a partnership of 31 churches worldwide which historically were linked to mainly Nonconformist missionary societies and today share resources. The URC is one of there, together with the Churches of North India and of South India and of Bangladesh, and others as far apart as South Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and East Asia, as well as 4 others in Europe. We at Abbey Hill still have a personal link with CWM in that both Rev Wayne Hawkins (Mission Enabler for the European Region of CWM) and his wife Lesley have led services here during 20 l2. Although the CWM Secretariat has now moved to Singapore, there is still a CWM office at Ipalo House in London to which we can send donations and we sent £50 in 2012. Thank you to those who contributed – please ask me if you would like to have a collecting box or to give a donation.

Some of the articles in Abbey Hill’s magazine this past year have come from CWM’s magazine ‘Inside Out’ — food relief to Tuvalu because of water shortage, one week in Dhaka (Bangladesh), help far women in Sri Lanka, as well as information from CWM website and about the move to Singapore. Because of the latter, ‘Inside Out’ took a break while the relocating was taking place. But hopefully we will soon be receiving news and photos again. Meanwhile we have plenty of other ‘World Church’ news available via the URC’s Commitment for Life bulletins on Bangladesh, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jamaica and Zimbabwe (to tell us how the money we give on Harvest Sunday is put to good use). as well as from Christian Aid News, the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s ‘Peace by Peace’ (about the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment programme  in Palestine), and the Mission Aviation Fellowship literature we receive. And Winnie gave us news of Bible Lands change of name to EMBRACE the Middle East and its humanitarian work in Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank, and Syria (via Lebanon).

Each of the last mentioned organizations was the focus on 3 occasions when we had visiting preachers during the year: ‑

  1. a second visit from Rev Alwyn Knight in February to tell us of his experiences as an Ecumenical Accompanier, with the theme ‘Living Stones’, and photos of demolished Palestinian homes, and the effect on young Israeli soldiers some of whom have later become peacemakers and campaigners for better treatment of Palestinians and an end to occupation.
  2. Commitment for Life’s coordinator Linda Mead in March, and her daughter Caroline Flint (on Christian Aid’s work in Bangladesh) in May.

3, MAF’s Clive Sutton in September.

One World Week (with the theme Sharing Destiny — an equitable future for all) was remembered in October when Rosemary spoke about and showed photos of her visit to North India with the  West Midlands Synod of the U RC. And Kath again provided us with Tearfund’s Created catalogues (from which to choose our Christmas presents) and invited us to a preview of some of the craft items made in Asia and South America.

Janet Turner


REFORM –The Magazine of the URC

What a wealth of interesting and informative reading material we find in Reform, Flicking through one of last year’s 10 issues to remind myself, I found The following topics – Climate Change, Church Unity (remembering 40 years of the URC and 350 years since the Great Ejectment), Fairtrade Foundation-, Turn the Other Cheek?, Hanna’s House (orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Vision for Life. Westminster College Appeal– as well as news of URC and other churches, letters, book reviews, lots of photos, and a crossword and kakuro. Good value for £2.50and plenty to choose from to suit all tastes. Later in the year there were five Bible quizzes too.

The author of the Church Unity topic mentioned above is Elizabeth Welch, known to most of us as she was the previous Moderator of the URC West Midlands Synod. The next issue had an interview with Archbishop (John Sentamu -York), and part of a sermon preached by another (Rowan Williams – Canterbury) at a joint C of E/URC service at Westminster Abbey which Elizabeth helped plan, And the interview in a later issue was with author, lecturer and theologian Jane Williams (wife of Rowan). Other interviews were with Harriet Lamb (Fairtrade Foundation). Oxford professor John Lennox, authors Alain de Botton and Peter Rollins, community theologian Ann  Morisy, philosopher and theologian Keith Ward and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell. Contributors included Shelia Maxev, Lucy Berry, Rowena Francis and Roberta Rominger – both known, to many of us, as is Helen .loves who shared what she has learned as the spouse of URC army chaplain Kevin and Mhari’s photo was in a recent issue, along with 5 other new ministers. There were also reports on the Occupy camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral, the World Council of Churches Lobby for a Fair Arms Treaty’. The Campaign for Tax justice. Asylum Justice, the URC General Assembly, and the recent death of Britain’s oldest man — retired URC minister Rev Reg Dean – who celebrated his 110 birthday  in, November.

Much of the credit for the success of ‘Reform’ is no doubt due to the enthusiasm and hard work of the editor for the past 5 years, Kay Parris, who has also raised some interesting topics in her editorials and interviews.  She has now decided toreturn to the world of freelancing and editing and try for a family friendlier lifestyle than the ‘both-parents-long-commutes’ model. She has found the time at Reform both fascinating and a privilege and is delighted to hand over to Stephen Tomkins, previously deputy editor of Third Way magazine and a church historian and author.

Thanks to subscribers and new ones welcome’ – please ask me if interested

Janet Turner


Positions as in Dec 2012


Serving Elders:

Rosemary LawrenceBronwen O’BrienColin Ritchie

John McKenzie

Betty ConnellyJennifer JacksonWinnie Tawil

Pat Cowan

Vivien Nichols



Gaynor WatkinsIvan Pointon)Anne Gilmore John McKenzie (Appeal Treasurer)Bronwen O’BrienWinnie Tawil


Secretary                                           Rosemary Lawrence

Treasurer                                           David Connelly

Treasurer (Appeal)                          John McKenzie

Fellowship Secretary                      Pat Cowan

Pulpit supply Secretary                   Kath Shortley

Flowers                                              Heather Barton, Olive Greenway

Ladies Circle                                     Winnie Tawil,  Rosemary Lawrence

Coffee Pot                                         Alison Collett,  Betty Connelly

Arlidge Trust                                     Peter Muckersie, Alison Collett, Colin Ritchie

World Day of Prayer                        Rosemary Lawrence, Pat Cowan

Christian Aid Rep.                           John and Vivien Nichols

Cradle Roll                                        Pat Cowan

CTK Representative                        Rosemary Lawrence, Anne Gilmore

Child Protection                               Rosemary Lawrence


Synod Rep                   Rosemary LawrenceJunior Church                Staff GroupLettings Officer               Bronwen O’Brien

Covenant Secretary                  John McKenzie

Weekly News sheet       Mary Skidmore

Free Will Envelopes                  Mary Skidmore

Magazine                        Mary Skidmore

Magazine Adverts          Gaynor Watkins

Organist                           Bob Watson

Prayer List                       Mary Skidmore

Coffee                                          Winnie Tawil

Crèche                             Ayse McKenzie

Kitchen                           Winnie Tawil

Dance Group                 Di Wilson

Rainbow leader                  Alice MaceluchGuide Leader                      Tracey McNamaraBrownie Leaders                Natalie Ralphs

Sarah Pointer

Cleaning Rota                      Winnie Tawil

Communion/Vestry Rotas  Winnie Tawil

Stewards Rota                      Olive Greenway

CWM Representative          Janet Turner

Healing                                  Vivien Nichols

Transport                               John Spenser

Communion Cloths             Winnie Tawil

Reform                                   Janet Turner

Craft Ministry                                    Peggy Everall


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