By Martin Gibson; contact: mrtngibs@aol.com

Services: Sunday 1st August 9:30am Holy Communion led by Rev David Bone and with choir. 6pm BCP with Janet McBride

Everyone was so pleased to see the choir back last Sunday, and in very good form, that there was a spontaneous round of applause.

Hopefully everyone has now had the opportunity to view the stone pinnacle in the church. As previously reported Year 5 from Olveston Primary School recently came and watched and listened to, the stonemason, Mark Hancock, Here is a picture of that event

The PCC met a week ago last Wednesday – in person for the first time in 16 months. Officers were elected, namely the Secretary (Bernard Amos) and the Treasurer (David Prothero).

Rev David Moss had been pinged a few hours before the meeting started so could not attend, however, he did send C of E advice regarding face masks in church. That advice was that we should continue to wear masks, but it is a recommendation and not mandatory.

The PPC unanimously agreed to continue paying Rev Steve Oram’s expenses, but out of General income and no longer from the Vision Fund. This is purely a technicality. All financial matters will be reviewed in September.

In 2020 St Mary’s paid its Parish Share of £58,000 in full by drawing on reserves. On the advice of our Treasurer, in 2021 we will only be able to pay £52,000. Our income is still being hard hit by the inability to stage social events. Hopefully, this will all change in September with various events getting back underway – the Monday Movie Club, Bristol Sinfonietta on 18th September, the Church Fete 4th September and a Quiz in October to name but a few.

The time is fast approaching when our congregation must make a decision about the future of St Mary’s. There are two basic options: should the church become a “heritage” building or should it re-position itself as a young families’ building?

If it is to become a heritage church, an ancient architectural gem, there is a risk of its current supporters dying out until only a handful of the faithful are left. This end game could see the church closed through lack of support.

If it moves towards a very different kind of worship, less formal, as favoured by young families, it would involve taking out all the pews to create a large open space for half religious, half secular uses. But would that actually achieve its intended purpose?

Who is going to open this debate?

And finally:

Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old car parked in front of the town’s only pub one afternoon.

She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his car in front of Mildred’s house… and left it there all night.