Reports and updates from the PCC

Parish of the Claydons

Claydons and Swan Team



We welcome you to the

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

on Thursday 26th April 2018

at 7.30pm

in the East and Botolph Claydon Village Hall 


Page No



Organisation and Trustees


Church Governance and Parish Statistics


Worship and Music


Prayer and Pastoral Care


Home Bible-Study and Pastoral Groups


Children and Young People


Community Links


Mark Bulman Parish Room


Stewardship Secretary’s Report


Team Council


Church Wardens’ Reports


Claydons’ Deanery Report


Team Rector’s Report


PCC Miscellaneous


Publicity and Monthly Newsletter



Organisation and Trustees


The Parish of the Claydons is a distinct and significant rural parish which lies to the north of the Vale of Aylesbury and is part of the Archdeaconry of Buckingham, within the Diocese of Oxford.

Within the united Claydons benefice there are three traditional and fine church buildings (either Grade 1 listed or Grade 2). All Saints’ in Middle Claydon with Verney Junction; St Mary’s in East and Botolph Claydon; and St Michael’s in Steeple Claydon with Calvert. The demography of the Claydons is a very healthy and inspiring mix, covering most socio-economic groupings. In 2006 an agreement was reached to unify the Parish of the Claydons and the Swan group to create the Claydons and Swan Team Ministry. The Team came into force legally in February 2009 and 2012 saw the formation of a Team Council. At present the Claydons covers a population of 4000 and with the new structure alongside the Swan team, over 7,500 people will be served in this area of North Bucks.

The Trustees of the Claydons United Benefice are the Patron, the Church Wardens of our three churches and the Parochial Church Council which has the responsibility of co-operating with the appointed Team Vicar in furthering the spiritual and ecclesiastical development of the Benefice and the new Claydons and Swan Team. Such trustees are elected and/or endorsed by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting in accordance with the Church Representation Rules and the Constitution.

The following have served on the PCC during 2017:


Sir Edmund Verney

Church Wardens

Vacancies (All Saints’)

Robert O’Connell and Elspeth O’Halloran (St. Mary’s)

David Smith (St. Michael’s)

Nick Henstock (St Michael’s)

Dave Martin (ex-officio serving as Church Warden’s Assistant)

Kate Smith (ex-officio serving as Church Warden’s Assistant)


Linda O’Dell

Minute Secretary

Betty Picknell


Claire Moll

Deanery Synod Reps

John Riches, Linda O’Dell

Stewardship Secretary

Geoff Strutt

Electoral Roll Officer

Betty Picknell


Serena Aldous

Heather Aris (St Michael’s Verger)

Philip Gardner

Susan Lefebvre

Nicolette Pike

Olivia Riches

Team Vicar

Revd Wendy Callan

Church Governance

During 2017, regular bi-monthly meetings were held at both local church level DCC and at PCC level. These meetings alternated each month – with the Annual Meeting in April (there being no meetings scheduled for August and December).

Parish Statistics

Electoral Roll

At the end of 2017, electoral roll figures for the three churches of the Benefice were as follows:

St Mary’s, East and Botolph Claydon:

All Saints’, Middle Claydon with Verney Junction:

St Michael’s, Steeple Claydon with Calvert:

Total: 65

Occasional Offices


All   Saints

St   Mary’s

St   Michael’s



















Worship and Music

What’s gone well during this past year?

I am very happy to be able to say that every service this year has had live music. We continue to be sustained by a group of musicians in both supporting and leading roles within our services who inspire and enthuse our worship at St Michael’s. Jon Hobbs has continued to lead every 1st and 3rd service for the past year, teaching new music and allowing a more ‘hands free’ approach to congregational singing with regular use of the projector. Steve Dobbs, as well as regularly supporting and occasionally stepping up to lead roles, has kept close record of the music we have played which has proved invaluable for our annual copyright CCLI return. Other musicians have been Ken Piper, Jonathan Piper, Paul Firth, Andrew Shergold and Harriet Turck. The music team would like to extend especial thanks to Nick Henstock and Dave Martin for so expertly running (and setting up and putting away) the PA system each week.

What hasn’t gone so well?

While we have always managed to cover the services eventually, it has not always been easy to find people to play each week. 
Services which demand a more traditional style of worship are especially difficult.

Which things would you like to do differently or see happening differently this coming year?

More advance notice/input from service organisers so that we can theme music accordingly would be helpful. Also knowing that dates are covered by musicians in advance, rather than last minute, would be less stressful!

Jo Abu-Rish

Prayer and Pastoral Care

Prayer chain

I took over running the prayer chain at the beginning of 2016 which involves sending emails or telephoning people with new prayer requests.  I receive the requests from anyone who requires prayer for themselves or others and then pass this information to about 15 different people who then pray for the person. Prayer can be for anything and doesn't just need to be because someone is sick.  Occasionally I get updates on the person’s situation and how they are doing which I also share on the prayer chain. 

Sometimes I hear of situations which need prayer yet I am not approached to add them to the prayer chain. I believe that we need to raise awareness of the prayer chain so more can be given to our Lord in prayer.  I would like to point out that what is on the prayer chain is confidential and isn't spoken about elsewhere. Those on the chain simply pray about the situation as guided by the Holy Spirit.

If more people asking for prayer could update me on how they are progressing that would be very much appreciated.    

Heather Aris

Intercession during the Church service

There is a small and select team of people who do the intercessions in church and we would love more to join us. Currently Dave, Phil, Heather, Nicolette, Carina and Amanda pray. During the intercessions, the names on the pew sheets are read out and included in the prayers. This covers both the people who are sick and families in mourning. (It is hoped that the congregation pray for them over the week too!) Should you like to either join the prayer chain or lead intercessions in Church please contact Heather Aris. 

Pastoral Care and Bereavement

There are several people in the church who provide pastoral care. Pastoral care is provided in many different ways ie for each other and for people in the community who do not regularly attend church. If anybody knows of a person or persons who they think would appreciate pastoral care please contact Heather Aris.

Home Bible-Study and Pastoral Groups

Tuesday Group

We are a small group, who continue to meet together on a weekly basis.

Our meetings always start with tea, coffee and cake whilst we catch up on the week. Fellowship is a very important part of our coming together.

We began 2017 looking at the life of David by studying various passages from Samuel. We followed this with a study of Ruth. During the summer we used the Lectionary reading from the previous Sunday as the basis for our evening study and discussion.  In the Autumn we began a study of the Psalms which took us to the end of the year and beyond.

Everyone continues to be very supportive and encouraging of each other as we discuss, discover and grow in our faith together.

A big thank you must go to Betty Picknell who welcomes us into her home every week to meet.

Tea and Chat

Tea and chat is still a huge success. We now have a good group of helpers which is such a joy. Without the help of these lovely volunteers we simply couldn’t run! Until recently Bob was not only setting up the tables but fetching some of our guests who are unable to come without a lift. Sadly, he is no longer able to do the transportation but we have found other ways to ensure our guests are still able to come.   Currently our usual numbers are between 26 and thirty every week. The most we have had was 38! People come every week no matter how awful the weather and there is a happy buzz of people enjoying chatting to each other. Large numbers of cakes from Karl’s Bakery and Carina’s kitchen are consumed and one of our regulars (Pat) brings fresh sandwiches and occasionally sausage rolls which are enjoyed by all. The age range is from a toddler to over 92 and a couple of people travel from Aylesbury to meet up with friends at tea and Chat.

Tea and Chat runs every Wednesday from 2 – 4. Birthdays are celebrated with a birthday cake, present and card which ensures people feel loved on their special day. Easter was celebrated with Simnel cake and Easter eggs, and at Christmas everyone gets given a Christmas card and present: Andrew plays the keyboard and we all sing Christmas carols which is greatly appreciated and gets us in the Christmas spirit.   Several of the regulars help us tidy away at four each week which greatly helps the team who are usually tired by that time!

People tell us that they really look forward to their Wednesdays at Tea and Chat and one of the off shoots of this is that some people are now visiting their new friends in their homes. We are not sure how it is possible but Tea and Chat will have been running for four years on 4th June! We are delighted with how well Tea and Chat is running, and pray this will continue for many years to come.

Carina Shergold and Heather Aris.

Thursday Afternoon Women’s Fellowship

The women’s fellowship meets on the third Thursday of every month (Except January and August) at 9a Buckingham Road and there are currently 8 people attending. We have had a variety of speakers and activities over the last year but as the women have got older and are less physically fit we have stopped going out on excursions.

The ladies are aged from 56 – 95, and we have some interesting discussions as we enjoy homemade cake at the end of the meetings. We sing a couple of Hymns during the meetings and have a Bible reading and prayers as well as enjoying the speakers or exploring Bible passages. We have two communions a year - Easter and Christmas, which is one of the highlights. It is difficult to find people who will speak for free to our group, if anyone reading this report would like to speak to us on a topic of interest for a few minutes I’d love to hear from you.

There is lots of love, gentle teasing and laughter in the group and we all look forward to catching up on what everyone has been up to during the last month. Long before I took over this group it was decided that the women’s fellowship group would give a small donation every meeting towards charity work. The money given goes to work in Africa and the Philippines.   

Carina Shergold

Monday Evening Claydons’ Women’s Group/The Christian Growth Group

The Monday night group meet weekly from 7.30 – 9.30.  After a time of refreshment and catch up we spend a period of time worshipping our Lord.  Prayer and Bible study follows. Recently we have been looking at The Holy Spirit, The gifts and Fruit of the Spirit and this has been a huge success. We are about to look in depth at prayer which I help with to enrich our individual and corporate prayer life.

Just before Christmas Nicolette decided that coming out in the evenings was just too tiring so no longer comes. She now comes to the women’s fellowship group which is lovely.

Christmas dinner in 2017 was at the Robin Hood which was great fun. This group is a caring group where people feel safe to share some pretty deep issues in their lives and it is a joy to watch the Spiritual growth that happens over the months. I can hardly believe that I started this group in 2010! My prayer is that the group will continue to feel supported, loved and will advance in their faith this coming year so we can share our knowledge and understanding with the people we meet here in Steeple Claydon.

Carina Shergold.

Children and Young People

St Michael’s ‘Church Mice’

Church mice continues to be an essential part of the life of St. Michaels Church. We meet at 10.30am on Wednesday mornings with singing, bible story, prayer, and finish with marching and a singing band around the  church with refreshments and play before we go home. At Christmas we decorate a tree for the tree festival and take part in a nativity enacted in the Christingle service.

Young Church

“Sunday School” is for school aged children and  meets on the 2nd and 4th Sunday within the Church service.  We use the Parish Room and usually all the activities we do are based on the same reading that the adults are listening to.   The children rejoin the service in time for communion and at the end share what they have been doing.  Whilst our numbers tend to be on the low side, and do fluctuate it remains an important part of church for the children and their parents. Thanks to those who help and support us.

Youth Group

“Youth Group” continues to meet but only once a month now at the home of Lyn Preston, Botolph House, Botolph Claydon.  About 12-18 young people attend and we cater for young people from year 7 upwards. We have games nights, quizzes, swimming, BBQs and what the young people call “The God slot”. Each time we meet we do something different and we always ask at the beginning of a term what the young people would like to do. Our discussions are what the young people would like to talk about and we then reflect this back to God. The “God slot” is what is says on the tin!! We always finish with a home cooked meal after each session. We lead the Christmas Tree festival service where the young people take part in all aspects of the service.

Messy Church

“Messy Church” is still going strong, We have between 20 to 30 children with parents/carers come along. We still meet on the first Thursday of every month starting at 3.30pm with refreshments, following with crafts from about 3:45pm. This is open to all children of all ages and parents tend to stop with their children. It’s an opportunity for everyone to take part in craft activities based on a bible story, sing and finish with a meal all together.

Holiday Club

We have a yearly children’s holiday club for all school ages children up to year 6 which happens the first week of the Easter holidays. It’s a fun filled 2 hours of fun. It’s a time for children to explore what and who God is through singing, dancing, bible stories and craft activities. 2017 holiday club was attended by between 6 -8 children a day.

All our groups cater for children, young people and their families whatever their background.

Community Links


The clergy team is enjoying good links with the five schools situated in villages that we serve in the Team. This includes Steeple Claydon School and East Claydon School, the latter becoming a Church of England School during 2017.

Revd Angela Mann and Revd David Hiscock regularly visit all five schools for Collective Worship and encourage all the schools to share in other activities as well. Most recently, Revd David Hiscock, assisted by Linda O'Dell, led an Easter Workshop for children of East Claydon School just before Easter. The Workshop lasts about 90minutes and allows the children to experience all the events of Holy Week and Easter Day through a mixture of drama, singing, talking together, silence and prayer.

All the children of Steeple Claydon School attended a special Easter Service at St Michael's Church on 27th March and children of East Claydon School attended St Mary's Church for their Easter Service on 29th March. Visits to church by both schools involve the schools in a great deal of extra planning and concern for the children's safety. Particularly because of the distance involved. We greatly value these links with our schools and will be looking to build on them in different ways for the future.

Claydon Churches Together

The Anglican, Methodist and Highway churches continue to work together in outreach to the parish. Over the past year, we provided children's entertainment and a shady place to sit at the Village Fayre. In December, we put on the very popular Live Nativity, singing carols as we walked along West Street, with a pony, live sheep and new born baby Jesus;concluding travels at the local Inn (The Fountain Pub).

Other CCT organised events include: The Women's Word Day of prayer in January, Prayer, walks around Steeple Claydon and our United Services.

We support the Community Car Scheme as it progresses in its infancy.

The Neighbourhood Scheme continues, with booklets being given to any new people moving into the village.

We help with the regular Litter Picks organised around the village.

We are in the process of organising gifting Christian booklets to the Year 6 children at Steeple Claydon School, as they prepare to go to secondary school.

We are also creating a Virtual Prayer Walk for all our members. Our aim is to ensure that the whole village is regularly covered with prayer.

Church Fete Report

The 2017 Summer Fayre was held at the East & Botolph Claydon village hall on 24th June and was a combined event with East Claydon School. The event provided many attractions and stalls to entertain the large number of visitors. The highlight was the entertainment throughout the afternoon made up of very talented local singers. The refreshments included an excellent BBQ and afternoon tea. The Mushroom Club was also open for visitors wishing to have something a little stronger. The revenue after costs were taken out was £2758 which was divided equally between the PCC and the School.

Bell Ringing

Practices: Thursday evening bell practices during 2017 were well attended by our own members plus visiting ringers from Lillingstone Lovell, Great Horwood and Winslow. All the ringers made good progress during the year including the four junior ringers who joined the band the previous year. A special practice was arranged for the younger ringers during the spring which was beneficial.

Regular and Special Service Ringing: Due to a greater commitment we were able to provide ringers for all the special services including weddings and the Easter and Christmas Services during the year. We were also able to muster ringers for most of the family services at All Saints’ St Michael’s and St Mary’s.

Membership: Currently we have 9 members (8 paid up members and 1 honorary member).

Striking Competition: We entered a band for the striking competition in May, largely made up of improving ringers and while we were not placed, the experience was beneficial and will bode well for the future.

Bell Maintenance: Repairs to the wheels at St Michael’s still needs to be completed and this is planned for 2018.

Kate Edgar

Mark Bulman Parish Room

This facility continues to be an asset to both church and community.  Weekly church groups – Church Mice, Tea & Chat, Prayer Group and P.C.C. use it, with worshippers from Sunday morning services collecting together afterwards for coffee and fellowship. Messy Church and Easter Holiday Club and Lent Course use the room monthly and annually respectively. Most weeks it is in use nearly every day. A recent analysis shows that church and hirers are roughly 50/50 of the use.

Church fundraising events held there throughout the year have been - Coffee Mornings, Dance Evenings, Cream Teas and refreshments during the annual 50/50 Auction etc.

The wider community have also hired it including–Parish Council; United Response, Musical Minis, Exercise Classes and a Craft Class, not to mention birthday and baptism parties, although there were not so many of these as usual.

Due to the Calvert Green Community Hall renovations we had two groups booked for regular use unfortunately one of these folded after two months and the other did not start up again in the autumn, so they were a loss to our revenue but one new weekly evening class did start up.

To help with the Outreach part of our Church’s ministry a monthly lunch is held with soup and dessert and a Games afternoon takes place monthly for those who like to play board games or do jigsaws.

It was decided to hang curtains over the two large windows to enable the showing of presentations and lectures during the summer months when the amount of light makes this difficult. The curtains with blackout linings were purchased together with the hanging rails and wooden batons. It has proved difficult to decide on the type of scaffolding needed to allow those working at that height and also for them to find the time to do the work so this is at present ‘work in progress’.

The Management Committee wish to thank those who use the room for clearing up after their meetings, and a very special thanks to Steve Dobbs who tirelessly brushes, dusts and hoovers. We receive comments from our regular users about the spotless state of the room when they arrive.

Stewardship Secretary’s Report

1)      What’s gone well during this past year? Generous giving continues to increase; but a letter to donors has shown further progress.

2)      What hasn’t gone so well? Little follow up by Stewardship Secretary to individual donors.

3)      Which things would you like to do differently or see happening differently this coming year? The Stewardship Sec to follow up his contacts with another letter of thanks and encouragement.

Approximate figures for, the last three years





Non Gift Aid




Gift Aid








 Geoff Strutt

Stewardship Secretary

Team Council

Joint services have been held in the team on the fifth Sunday of the month, each of the ten churches in the team taking it in turns to hold the Team Service at their church.

Lent discussion groups looking at the Beatitudes and lunches were shared together across the team.

A lent evening soup meal was held with a speaker from Christian Aid for Bucks speaking on the subject of refugees.  

Each year the ten churches in the team take it in turns to host an Ascension Day hot meal. This is combined with a short act of worship whilst we sit at table. This year this was provided by the churches in the Claydons.  

There was a team outing in October to several very different churches in Oxfordshire. Burford Church was one of the churches and considered the best.   Here an extremely interesting and enthusiastic tour was provided with the opportunity to visit the church’s newly developed Hall which cost over £3 million to support a growing church and the needs of the local community. Unfortunately the outing was not so well supported this year but we hope everyone who came enjoyed the day.

Church Wardens’ Reports

All Saints’ Middle Claydon

The attendance at our monthly BCP services throughout the year has been maintained and various special services have been organised for the National Trust and local organisations.

The Annual Carol Service was very well attended, followed by ‘Mince Pies and Mulled Wine’ in Claydon House, by permission of the National Trust.

The congregation team would also like to thank the Church Flower and Cleaning Rota members for their work during the year and also include thanks to the National Trust managers for their commitment to our Parish Church by opening and securing the Church, when Claydon House is open. Thanks are also due to Claydon Estate for help to maintain the churchyard.

Health and Safety Report

The congregation team are continuing to observe the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety regulations within and outside the Church.

St Mary’s East Claydon

Little changes at St Mary’s with a small but regular attendance at our three services each month. East Claydon school attends various special celebrations throughout the year and fill the church with family and friends. We also enjoy strong support from our teams of cleaners, bell ringers, flower arrangers and many others in the community to whom we are as always hugely indebted.

St Michael’s Steeple Claydon

St Michaels continues to be a lively Christian Community with a small group of very active members.

The small fundraising team continue to do a remarkable job generating funds for the Church building fund by organising a wide range of activities that appeal to a wide cross section of the community. Whilst we continue to fundraise the issues with the church building continue to deteriorate. This year we have continued to carry out urgent maintenance to the electrical distribution system in the church to ensure it is safe.

Numbers at services have not increased and the bulk of the hard work keeping the church open falls to the same people. Thanks must go to all those who contribute to the life and upkeep of the Church including those who arrange flowers, maintain the churchyard, deliver magazines, provide refreshments, act as sides persons, take part in services and all those who work behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the church, this is even more the case now that we have entered a period of vacancy.

Claydons Deanery Report

A Deanery Confirmation Service was held on Sunday 4th June at St Mary’s Church, Twyford. In September a bring and share supper was hosted by Miles and Alison Buckinghamshire. At the Deanery Synod meeting in November a presentation was given by Jonathan Farnhill the Generous Giving Advisor for the Oxford Diocese. At this meeting also Steve Rule was appointed new Lay Chair. The Revd Jacqueline Dove took over as Synod Secretary.   The treasurer informed the Synod that the parish share for the deanery in 2018 is £304,592. A group is to be established to consider parish share allocation at the deanery level.   Discussions took place to decide a deanery mission project (ideas included a bus which would act as the venue for a roving youth club, the creation of a ‘where to turn to flyer,’ and whether all of the churches might support a single charity.)

Team Rector’s Report

May I begin by recording my thanks for the pastoral ministry of the parish of The Claydons over these last years by Revd Wendy Callan. Sadly, Wendy had to take early retirement in December 2017 due to serious ill health which had greatly affected her capacity to work during the last year or two. Wendy showed tremendous courage and determination to continue serving and loving the people of this parish for as long as she could. I am delighted to report that Wendy appears to be coping well in her retirement but I do not doubt she still misses everyone and her parish ministry here.

This leads me on to pay tribute to the wonderful fellowship enjoyed in the parish of The Claydons and the vast extent of lay ministry shared by all three churches. The way in which this lay ministry is being continued through the Vacancy period is really a subject for next year's report but it reflects the regular service, contribution and commitment that has been offered by so many through the last year as we serve God together.

The parish of The Claydons is one of eight parishes in the Claydons & Swan Team Ministry and I have observed that being part of a wider Team is becoming increasingly recognised as we discover new ways of working together, learning from each other and supporting one another. I hope this sense of being part of a Team will grow and bring many more benefits for the future. I look forward to our new Team Vicar being appointed to join the clergy team of our part-time Team Vicar, Revd Angela Mann and myself.

All three churches are faced with many challenges including our shared outreach into the community and beyond, obtaining sufficient income to meet financial commitments and resource further ways of ministry, as well as repairing and maintaining three ancient church buildings, to name just three. I am encouraged and reassured by all that is being achieved at present that we can look forward to the future with confidence and determination.

May I thank everyone who contributes to our Christian ministry in so many different ways and assure you of my continuing prayers for you and for everyone whom we serve.

Revd David Hiscock (Rector)

PCC Miscellaneous

Parish Health and Safety

All three of our churches continue to follow good practices that make our three churches safe and sensible places to worship and work in. We have seen the shared common sense approach to identifying problems or risks, and the safe and practical resolution of them continue to grow in daily church life. Alongside this common sense approach to identifying and managing risk, people are becoming more confident in following the modern rules and regulations that appear in all areas of modern life.

Publicity and Monthly Newsletter

We would like to express our sincerest thanks to our enthusiastic and committed editor Steve Hurst.   We also thank those who willingly place advertisements in the Newsletter, and to our dedicated team of collators and street deliverers who work tirelessly throughout the year. The Claydons Newsletter for the communities and the Churches of the Claydons website with weekly news/pewsheet for the fellowships remain an essential link between our churches within the parish and with the local and wider communities. The contributions and subscriptions along with advertising revenue are gratefully received and enable the Newsletter to remain cost effective in its production and distribution. More frequent and regular use of our local newspapers in publicising and sharing our news would also be an important step forward.


Many thanks go out to everyone who very kindly forwarded contributions for collation and inclusion. This report is compiled in line with the terms of the Charities Act 1993. In order to assist the PCC in the months and years ahead, we need your participation and feedback. Please don’t hesitate to speak or write to church wardens or members of the PCC if there are aspects of our pilgrimage together which need to be addressed, developed and improved. The responsibility of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in our communities belongs to us all.

Revd David Hiscock (Team Rector)

April 2018