Rector's Report 1998

From the booklet of Annual Reports
presented to the Annual Parish Meeting on 28th April 1998

Canon Leslie Morley, Rector 1985-1999The reports in this booklet reflect the breadth of the ministry of St Peter’s, and the active involvement and commitment of very many people within its life. They give a picture of the overall mission and ministry of St Peter’s which is difficult to appreciate from the perspective of Sunday worship alone. I also hope that the vision which informs and unifies our life and work as a community will become apparent from reading about the work and prayer which goes on day by day at St Peter’s. If I were asked to spell this out I would say that we are committed to letting the reality of God be known in our worship and in our lives, and through our engagement with and commitment to the world around us.


Worship is at the heart of it and is the reason for our existence. We are fortunate to have such good resources for worship in the choir, in our Readers and the many people who read and pray with such sensitivity and with evident care and thought. A lot of planning goes into the preparation of worship and I am grateful to Andrew Teague, Nigel Day, Mike Leuty and all the members of the choir for their commitment to rehearsals and to the selection of the right music. Careful thought is given to choice of hymns and the working out of the correct readings - the new Lectionary introduced at Advent has been a challenge - and Eileen spends much time on this. Helen Walker has been invaluable in mastering the new lectionary and calendar. Meg Skellern has the unenviable task of trying to fill Sunday slots with readers and prayers and those administering the chalice. Special services, seasonal services and mid-week worship all require careful attention and this must be our first priority. It has been encouraging to see new people coming to St Peter’s over this past year and to receive recently a comment like this one from an occasional young attender, not a committed Christian but who writes:

I do appreciate St Peter’s… it manages a wonderful and healthy mix of ancient and modern, and feels deeply spiritual in a deeply English way. It’s very refreshing.

The new Lectionary has provided the opportunity to move away from set weekly themes and attend to particular books of the bible more carefully. You will have noticed that in the Gospel readings this year we are hearing Luke’s account of Jesus. The new experimental Eucharistic prayers, which we have been asked to use and comment on, have made us think a little more about what is helpful in worship, not only for ourselves, but in uniting people of differing backgrounds, ages and tastes as the Body of Christ. It is a reminder that it Christ who unites us, not our like-mindedness. To this end we have also been thinking about the place of the children of our community in relation to the Eucharist.

The care and involvement of the children of St Peter’s is something which continues to concern us. The work of Helen Walker and Gus and Vidge Rochester with the SPOGs (St Peter’s Older Group!) has been marvellous but they are not able to continue and we are looking for help here as with the Sunday School. This is not just the responsibility of the clergy but of the whole church. We feel we are not doing enough and yet it is difficult to provide a programme when we never know who if any will be coming!


The task of the church is, as one person put it, to help people to do business with God. That begins with worship but does not end there for worship must flow into life. The work of Wally Huckle as Commercial Chaplain is a major expression of this ministry of service and outreach into our community. The work of The Park Committee has helped us reach into our residential community. It is a great relief this year not to be giving you assurances about the Marks and Spencer’s development but to see it actually taking shape alongside us and sense the growing anticipation as the date for hand-over (November 2nd) draws closer. I am grateful to Richard Davis for acting as our liaison officer with Tarmac and M&S during the build period. There is much work to be done by us, and them, but the potential for new and improved facilities for the life of St Peter’s and in particular the Coffee Room is exciting. Mention of the Coffee Room cannot be made without a thank you to all the helpers, cake makers and co-ordinators. Thanks are due to Brenda Wallis who has had to give up being a Thursday co-ordinator due to ill health and I am grateful to Jane Moore for taking her place.

The lunchtime forums of earlier years have been radically revamped this year and emerged as The City Debate. These early evening meetings have proved popular and effective and now have the active support and involvement of the Nottingham Evening Post. It has been possible to attract national figures to speak. Civic and community leaders have attended and valued the meetings as well as many members of the public. It was interesting to see the red banner of the Socialist Worker’s Party propped up at the back of St Peter’s during the lively discussion with Bill Morris of the TGWU in the autumn. A working group from the congregation has been involved in planning and arranging these meetings.

Another new initiative coming from St Peter’s has been the establishment of Reflection - The Centre for Counselling and Spirituality. This has grown out of our experience of the needs of people coming into the city centre for pastoral support and help. The centre will provide affordable short term counselling without having to go on a long waiting list. The counsellors will give their time voluntarily and recognise in their work the spiritual and religious belief of those they are helping. The Centre will also provide information about spiritual direction and opportunities to explore the interface between counselling and spirituality. Premises have been acquired above St Mary’s Parish Office on Standard Hill. As well as myself, the PCC appoints one of the Centre trustees.

Mid-week we continue to provide an excellent service to the public through the Coffee Room which draws people into the church sometimes for prayer as well as cake! The Pastoral Team of Hugh Johnson, Leri Burden, Jan Huckle and Jim McLean provide a listening and praying presence during the lunchtime period. Liz Alexander and Richard Evans lead the Monday lunchtime meditation group and Jan along with Andrew Wallis and the clergy plan and lead the Wednesday Prayer in the Day. On Wednesdays in Advent Desert Island Spirituality proved popular as did In the Company of the Saints in Lent. Desiree Warner and Brenda Powdrill have provided support and care to those who come to the Thursday morning Communion service. The Coffee Break Concert series on Saturday mornings have been very successful, attracting audiences of well over a hundred on most occasions. These are now organised by a small working group supporting Andrew Teague who arranges the performers.

Our ancient links with the Bluecoat School in Aspley continue to be strong. Each form in Year 7 (first years to you and me!) visit the church for a morning during the year and are met by members of the congregation to be shown the bell tower, the organ, told about the history, and supplied with an orange drink and biscuits. Again I am grateful to those who come in to help and make sure the pupils meet a living church of people not just an interesting ecclesiastical museum. Keith Charter plays a very active and significant role on behalf of St Peter’s, as a Governor and Trustee. I am also involved as a Governor and Trustee.

For a number of years Betty Clarke has organised a rota of people from St Peter’s to assist the City Hospital Chaplaincy in taking patients from the wards to the Chapel service. I want to thank her for helping St Peter’s to be involved in this. It has been a vital but hidden task which Betty has performed faithfully and effectively. She has now handed this over to Lynne Irwin and I am delighted that we are able to continue our involvement there.

Behind the scenes

Many people help in hidden ways - Myra Chilvers in looking after the altar linen week by week, Elizabeth Thums who washes and irons the altar cloths, Sheila Belchamber who polishes the pews, Michael Blagg who comes in to help Trevor with cleaning jobs, and the volunteer vergers John King, John Burr, John Lord and David Marshall, who come in to cover extra duties or when Trevor is off. We are indebted to the wonderful way in which Trevor Simm and David Stainsby maintain the building, manage needy and some times troublesome visitors, and respond cheerfully to the many demands that clergy, Coffee Room and musicians make of them. We are fortunate indeed in the excellence of our vergers who set the tone in the church day by day.

Armorel Young has continued to keep an efficient overview of day-to-day matters as Site Manager dealing with bookings, posters, minor repairs and rotas. Joyce Savage has so many hats that she needs a new wardrobe. Above all her watchfulness, her helpful reminders and her willingness to do whatever is needed, is brilliant. She calls it interfering. I call it disaster prevention. If Joyce had been on the bridge of the Titanic Britain would have won more Oscars this year! Angela Newton continues to provide excellent and cheerful support despite increasing pressure on the office and supports St Peter’s in many other ways not least through her contribution to the magazine committee.

The Churchwardens have been busy. Hubert Gale has been revising our Terrier! Not the Church mascot but the inventory of the church’s goods. A complex task which he has finished in time for this year’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting. Lina has continued to support the stewards and take initiatives about the neighbourhood meetings. After the success of this year’s Carol Service she is involved in developing a safety procedure for evacuating the church. Both have been a welcoming presence on Sunday mornings and I grateful to them for their work.

Assistant Rector

Eileen’s energy and ability, in the area of education, Monday Group, children’s work, planning services, The Park, T Group, Pastoral Visitors and in preaching and teaching is outstanding. It is not surprising that the clergy and lay people of the Deanery unequivocally commended her to the Bishop as our next Area Dean. I am delighted that this means she will be with us for a bit longer, but we will have to release her from some of her workload in order to enable her take on these extra responsibilities.

The future

The future is exciting for St Peter’s though we face some challenges ahead. The fabric of the church will demand our attention in the next couple of years and involve some significant raising of funds to tackle major repair work on the tower. We need to develop a greater sense that we are all the church - developing a sense of shared responsibility and become more aware of God’s call to each of us to serve him. We need to invest more time and energy in our own growth in faith so that it remains fresh and alive, and deepens as the years pass. I hope we will go forward in a spirit of thanksgiving for the fact that God has called each of us to be part of a city centre community, receiving his grace and by our life together revealing and recognising his glory in the world.
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 30th May 1998