Reports and updates from the PCC

Parish of the Claydons

Claydons and Swan Team






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


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 2016:


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

Nicolette Pike, John Riches, Geoff Strutt

Stewardship Secretary

Geoff Strutt

Electoral Roll Officer

Betty Picknell


Serena Aldous

Susan Lefebvre

Jane Meisl

Nicolette Pike (St Michael’s verger)

Heather Aris (St Michael’s verger)

Olivia Riches

Team Vicar

Revd Wendy Callan

Church Governance

During 2016, 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 2016, electoral roll figures for the three churches of the Benefice were as follows:

 St Mary’s, East and Botolph Claydon: 13

All Saints’, Middle Claydon with Verney Junction: 10

St Michael’s, Steeple Claydon with Calvert: 45

Total: 68

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 led every 1st and 3rd service for the past year, introducing 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 regular musicians have been Ken Piper, Jonathan Piper, Paul Firth, Andrew Shergold. We have also had occasional, but much anticipated, visits from Harriet Turck

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 of who can play each week.

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 I 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 just because someone is sick.  Sometimes I also 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.  

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

A visiting group has been sorted but because of time commitment each member has not said exactly what they’re willing to do and what part they’re going to play. Ongoing visiting is happening anyway. We have been working towards setting this up and expect it to be running in 2017.

Home Bible-Study and Pastoral Groups

Tuesday Group

We continued to meet on a weekly basis during 2016 and our fellowship is still a very important part of our meeting with tea, coffee and cake being compulsory whilst we catch up on the week just gone.

During the year we completed our study of 1 Corinthians. For the remainder of the year we used the Lectionary reading from the previous Sunday as the basis for evening study.

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

Thank you also to Betty Picknell who warmly welcomes us into her home each week to meet.

Tea and Chat

Tea and Chat is still a huge success. It runs every Wednesday and people come every week no matter how awful the weather!  There is a core team of Heather Aris, Carina Shergold, Jon Davies and Anita Wiggins.  Others help across the two hours and this varies from helping wash up or sweep floors, set up tables etc. Large numbers of cakes from Karl’s Bakery appear on the food table thanks to Jon’s generosity and Carina’s kitchen provides homemade and gluten free cakes. One of our regulars (Pat) brings fresh sandwiches which are enjoyed by all and occasionally she brings homemade sausage rolls which vanish in a jiffy!

The age range is from a few months old  to over 90 and a couple of people even travel from Aylesbury to meet up with friends here.  Tea and Chat runs each week from 2 – 4. Bob kindly sets the room up and is also happy to collect and drop off those who need a lift. 

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 three years on 4th June!  Where has the time gone?  Birthdays are celebrated with a birthday present, card and cake with joyful singing to ensure maximum embarrassment!  This year we did our Christmas Party in style with lots of food which was enjoyed while Andrew played Christmas carols in the background.  We all then sang carols and finally enjoyed a game of pass the parcel! Everyone had a present to go under their tree and this year we had to buy and wrap almost 50 gifts!!! Last Easter we did an Easter party and we are planning a pancake afternoon to wring the changes. We are delighted with how well Tea and Chat is running, and pray that 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 averages about 10 people. We have had a variety of speakers and activities over the last year. We had a talk on Prayer, something Biblical, Psalm 139, and sadly a couple of speakers cancelled so we filled in with a Bible study.  We enjoyed a talk and cream teas at Buckingham garden centre in September as well as an Easter and Christmas Communion.

The ladies are aged from 55 – 94, and we have some interesting discussions as we enjoy homemade cake at the end of the meetings. We do sing a couple of Hymns during the meetings and have a Bible reading and prayers as well as the speakers/ activities.  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. Several years ago it was decided that the women’s fellowship group would give a small donation every meeting for 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.  Bible study follows. Previously we worked our way through the Gospel of Luke which yielded much fruit.  We decided to study a chapter of Luke each week for homework and to then discuss what we struggled with, didn’t understand, were excited or challenged by etc. Once we had done this we looked at Acts to see how Christians lived and what challenges they faced which in turn teaches us how we should be living today. The Books of Luke and Acts were being studied concurrently. Having finished Luke’s Gospel we decided to work through John’s Gospel which is what we are doing now.

There are now 9 members in the group, with people who range from new to mature Christians.  This tends to lead to many questions, which challenges us all, and which we enjoy. We also love watching our new Christians grow.

As well as meeting on Monday nights we also get together to celebrate birthdays, sometimes we have gone out locally and we celebrated three birthdays in May by going bowling and then on  to dinner.  This year we enjoyed our Christmas dinner at the Robin Hood where the food, service and company was great.

I can hardly believe that I started this group in 2010! The time has flown but more importantly our faith levels and Biblical understanding has grown.  My prayer is that the group will continue to feel supported, loved and will advance in 2017. I pray that as a group we will share our love of The Lord with those we meet in Steeple Claydon and surrounding villages.

Carina Shergold.

Children and Young People

St Michael’s ‘Church Mice’

Church Mice meets Wednesday mornings and continues to be an essential part of the life of St Michaels. We meet at 10.30am with singing and Bible story prayer is sometimes said by one of the children. At Christmas we decorate a tree in church and make biscuits to distribute around the bungalows in Steeple Claydon. The families enjoy icing the biscuits and making tree decorations. One of the older members built the Easter Garden this year.

Young Church

“Sunday School” still meets on the 2nd and 4th Sunday within the Church service. Numbers can vary from week to week and we have two leaders and a couple of helpers we call on on the day.

Youth Group

“Youth Group” were meeting every other Sunday at the home of Lyn Preston, Botolph House, Botolph Claydon. About 10 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. We always finish with a home cooked meal after each session. We lead the Christmas Tree festival service when the young people take part in a drama and take part in all the other aspects of the service.

Messy Church

“Messy Church” is still going strong but our numbers have dropped, 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 the 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. 2016 holiday club attracted 19 children a day with about 25 registered. We had children wanting to be prayed for and heard that one child told their family the hand prayer which they do every day.

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

Community Links


Steeple Claydon School - Revd Wendy attends the school on a regular basis and holds assemblies. The school attends St Michael’s Church and hold Christmas and Easter celebrations there.

East Claydon School – Revd Wendy attends the school on a regular basis and holds assemblies. This has recently become a Church of England School and the PCC plan to visit the school and help wherever they can.   One of the PCC members will become a governor of the school in 2017 which will be invaluable support. 

Claydon Churches Together

The Anglican, Methodist and Highway churches continue to work together in outreach to the parish. This past year we have organised the ever popular Quiz Evening in the Village Hall. There have been other events organised such as the Women’s World Day of Prayer led by Revd Carina Shergold. A lent course was organised and well supported. A big picnic was held but unfortunately not so well supported. We plan next year to join with a Village Fayre and hold the picnic there. Several litter picking events were organised. Prayer walks were organised throughout the year in Steeple Claydon. A community car scheme is being supported. The year was completed with an annual ‘Walking Nativity’ along West Street with a new born village baby representing Jesus. A scene was created with Mary and Joseph knocking at various doors before being given shelter at the local Inn. The Neighbourhood Scheme continues and Welcome Booklets have been given out to those moving into the villages.

Bell Ringing

What’s gone well during this past year?
Practices: Thursday evening bell practices during 2016 were well attended by our own members plus visiting ringers from Lillingstone Lovell, Great Horwood and Winslow. A number of our ringers attended other tower practices which attributed to general improvements in method ringing and bell handling skills. The four new young ringers who joined during the year have also made good progress.

Special Service and Christmas Service Ringing: Bells were rung at all the Christmas services using local ringers – a first for some time. The same mostly applies to the weddings throughout the year.

What hasn’t gone so well?
Regular Service Ringing: Family service ringing at St Michael’s was not always possible due to other commitments mid-morning, however, we hope to improve on this during the coming year.

Membership: Membership remained the same as the previous year. At the AGM held in February, 8 ringers were registered (7 members and 1 life member). However, this will improve as the junior ringers become eligible for membership.
Striking Competition: We did not furnish a band for the striking competition in May due to members having other commitments.

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

Saturday Ringing: Practice sessions are planned for Saturdays in February and possibly April for the junior ringers to develop their skills more quickly to enable them to participate in Service Ringing.
Bell Maintenance: Repairs to the wheels are planned for the summer at St Michaels.

Mark Bulman Parish Room

This facility continues to be an asset to both church and community.  Weekly church groups – Church Mice, Tea & Chat, and P.C.C. use it and refreshments after Sunday morning services are held there. Messy Church and Easter Holiday Club use the room monthly and annually respectively. Most weeks it is in use nearly every day..

It has been used for church fundraising events throughout the year - Coffee Mornings, Dance Evenings, Cream Teas etc.

The wider community have also hired it –Neighbourhood Plan/Parish Council; United Response and others, not to mention birthday and baptism parties.

The Pantomime Group did not perform this year so did not hire the room, that was a loss to the revenue.

Due to the Calvert Green Community Hall renovations we already have two groups booked for regular use during the coming year.

The Management Committee thank those who help to maintain the room to a high standard especially Steve Dobbs

Stewardship Secretary’s Report

1)       What’s gone well during this past year? Generous giving continues; but at a similar rate.

2)       What hasn’t gone so well? No proper 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. really needs to follow up his contacts. Another prospect will be a parish meal to give thanks for generous giving and to encourage all to rethink how much more they might be able to afford.

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. The Burkina Faso fundraising reached its £5,000 target. As the target was reached it was tripled by the European Union.   There was a celebration of this at the Team Service. There was a team outing in October to Leicester Cathedral with a guided tour and a visit to the St Philip’s Centre.  

Church Wardens’ Reports

All Saints’ Middle Claydon 2016

The attendance at 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 Quinquennial Report 2014 continues to provide various projects for the congregation team to complete.

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 closing the Church, when Claydon House is open. Thanks are also due to Claydon Estate for help to maintain the churchyard.

During the summer season the Charity Collection Box was broken into and the collection stolen on two occasions. With the help of our County Councillor, we have redesigned and replaced the box.

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

A renewal of the old outdated and unsafe electrical system has been carried out and some new pew heaters installed. Repairs to the outside of the roof have been made and inside old crumbling plaster has been removed.

Our core group of worshippers remain constant and the link with East Claydon School continues to be rewarding. The excellent support from our teams of flower arrangers, cleaners, bell ringers and other individuals across the community is as always hugely appreciated.

St Michael’s Steeple Claydon

St Michaels is 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 carried 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.

Claydons Deanery Report

We had 3 meetings in the year - 23rd February, 23rd June and 30th November.

On 23rd February, it was announced that Revd Andrew Lightbown is to be the new vicar of Winslow. Our Archdeacon Karen is to be consecrated Bishop of Sherborne. The deanery service in 2016 will be at Winslow on May 22nd, Trinity Sunday. Our confirmation service will be on October 16th, venue yet unknown; (but subsequently cancelled). Our General Synod rep is Revd Rosie Harper. (This meeting’s report appeared last year; but we are now aligned with the financial year for our Parish reports)

On 23rd June the meeting was held at Grendon Underwood. Claydon representation was noticeable for its absence. Phil Evans, the Buckinghamshire Christian Aid Co-ordinator, gave a well-received presentation on the refugee crisis. Two other speakers had had to cancel at the last minute.

On the 30th of November, at Whitchurch church hall, agenda items included: Diocesan Synod update and Parish Share. Diocesan Synod was a welcome to our new bishop of Oxford, Bishop Stephen. There was a rebate of £3,447.66 for the Deanery from the Diocese; but there was some mystery about how it will be distributed.   An ‘Aspirational’ Fund has been set up for parishes to contribute into and 5 parishes have done so, accumulating £1, 626. Inspiration is hoped for to determine a likely project to benefit from this fund.

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 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 Wendy Callan, Team Vicar

April 2017