February 2016 Casting all your cares upon Him for He cares for You. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. 1 Peter ch. 5 Session gives thanks to Almighty God, for his faithfulness to us all during the past year.
How the years have gone so quickly. We give thanks to Almighty God for Alan’s ministry, and ask you to continue to pray for him and his ministry, not only here in Abbey, but also in his hospital and prison chaplaincy. Again we acknowledge Ruth’s time and effort in running the OAK’s Sunday school. We thank Ruth, Olivia and William and their helpers, for all the hard work that they have done, in not only setting up the OAK’s programme, but also in teaching the young children about the love of God from week to week. Numbers of children have fallen who attended OAKs. With children growing in age, and their desire to participate in sports, they are playing sports games on a Sunday morning and not coming to church. Some parents have to work on a Sunday morning, so children are not able to attend Abbey. Hopefully, numbers will improve with more children attending OAKs.
Church Family Baptisms
Michelle Nsanjama, Annie Msiska, Daniella Smart, Steve-Alexander, Seanan – Harry Waindim, Andrew Sule and Rev Alan and Ruth Boals Grandson Nathan Johnston
We had 4 members who passed away in 2015. These folk were faithful and long standing members of Abbey. They were Violet Wall, Helen Cameron, Ena Robb and Derek Appleby. We ask God to comfort every member of the families in the months and years that lie ahead. Cell Groups Cell Groups meet on a Wednesday morning and evening Easter week We had meditation and prayer each evening during Holy Week. The Book of St. Luke’s Gospel was dwelt on, and we had a Service on Good Friday. Easter Sunday, Churches which are located in the centre of Dublin met at the Spire at 9 am, to praise and glorify the Risen Lord. We had a Service of Holy Communion at our morning worship in Abbey. New members We extend a very warm welcome to anybody who has joined our fellowship during the last year from different countries. We hope and pray that you will feel at home in Abbey, and enjoy fellowship with us.
One of the ways in which we decided to celebrate our Anniversary, was to have different Presbyterian ministers and others to lead us in our worship. Names of ministers and other folk who took part in our services are: Rev. Brian Colvin, Rev. Patricia McBride, Rev. Katherine Meyer, Rev. Gabrielle Farquhar, Rev. David Stanfield, Rev. Trevor Morrow, Mr David Boyd, Mr. Billy Swann, Mr. Joe Ebai, and Jessi Northcutt. We wanted to help some church that was really in need. We decided that any Sunday that we had a visiting minister or preacher, we would have special envelopes where anyone could help out with donations. The Church that we decided to help is; Nubian Presbyterian Church, Kissumu, Kenya. This church was destroyed completely during an election, when there was a great deal of civil unrest. We decided to try and collect and donate €9,000. Well our God is able to do all things, and with His help, we collected €9,000 to donate to the Nubian Church in Kenya to help them rebuild their church. In closing this report, I personally wish to thank all who gave so much of their time in so many different ways and ministries in Abbey during 2015.
Neil Fitzell (Session Clerk) February 2016
Abbey Presbyterian Church Congregational Committee
The committee attended to many matters over the course of the last year and we have set out below some of the particular issues. There were many more issues than we have set out below, many small and big tasks undertaken and lots of prayerful time given to considering how best to serve our congregation and the north inner city.
Abbey Day Nursery
With so much uncertainty in the economy and changing landscape for childcare it is a testament to the hard work and diligence of the staff at the Abbey Day Nursery and to the leadership team who manage the oversight of the Nursery that the Nursery is going very well. The number of children attending has increased and you can read more about the Abbey Day Nursery in another report.
2015 saw the continuation of our 150th year celebrations. We were very glad to be able to give a gift of €9,000 to our partner church in Kenya. This money was raised over the course of the year as a gesture to reflect the generosity of Alexander Findlater who gifted the money to build our church building 150 years ago.
It is often the little things that allow a community to grow together and more often than not rotas play a big role in this. In autumn the committee resolved to place a special emphasis on renewing the rotas and asking more people to play a role in the various activities that allow our community to love one another. In particular Alan focused on this in several sermons reminding us of the appropriate response to God’s call: “Here am I.” It is hoped that as 2016 continues we will all seek to serve one another by contributing in being part of the various rotas.
Hire a church administrator
Towards the end of 2015 the Committee made the decision to seek to hire a church administrator. Given the number and complexity of the tasks involved it was determined that we need to relieve some of our members who have so willingly volunteered their time and skills in a very able manner. With the introduction of the Charities Regulatory Authority and 4 the increasing level of regulations with which we must comply the proposal was well received. The hiring process is ongoing so please pray that God would guide us in the appointment and that the new administrator would enable us to love one another and share the good news of Jesus.
At the end of 2015 we held an election for a new committee. That process is now complete and a new committee has now been elected and by God’s grace they will continue to serve our congregation and those to whom we seek to minister to. We have set out below the members of the committee so that you can pray for them. Many thanks to all those who contributed over the last few years and we hope and pray that the new committee will continue to serve us and our neighbours in the north inner city.
Rev. Alan Boal * Robert Poynton Jennifer Fulton * William Smith * Olivia Smith * Jo van der Flier * David Colvin * Neil Fitzell * Lucy Bell * Patricia Abaya Ruth Boal Sam Boal Robin Brown Frank Burke Felix Ekie Emily McDermott Alex Ovie-Eghrudje Sandra Poynton Donna Romero Diuedonne Sidi * Elders are automatically members of the committee and are not elected to the committee
The Congregational Committee Report above was prepared by Mark Gorman
2015 Report of the Building committee
The Buildings committee is responsible primarily for the maintenance of three buildings – The Church building, the Manse, and No. 5 Gardiner Row. Our focus is on ensuring that they are maintained in a timely manner within the financial budget constraints.
RESTORATION of the SPIRE We sought grant aid again – but the Government’s budgets had been severely reduced and we did not receive any funding from this source in 2015. We have applied for a grant for 2016 with a plan to undertake a small project on a part of the spire. This would address identified stonework issues on a part of the spire – fixing the ironwork and stonework problems and providing us with real cost data which will allow us to forecast the funds required to finish the work on the spire. We are pleased that we have been awarded €7,250 towards this project and we must match this funding. Overall, allowing for maintenance costs on the scaffolding and some repairs to slates we anticipate that we will spend €30,000 for this work in 2016.
RESTORATION of 4 DIAMOND LEADED WINDOWS at front of Church. We knew that the four diamond leaded windows at ground level in the front of the Church were in very poor condition and had included their restoration in our overall budget calculations. Regrettably a break-in in December resulted in one window being smashed. Respecting the security issues which arose it was necessary to remove all four windows and to board them up while the restoration work is completed. An insurance claim is being made but Abbey’s cost are likely to be €8,500.
RESTORATION – STRATEGY
It has been recognised that we must plan an appropriate fund raising strategy to address the remaining elements of the works in hand. This will be a key task for our new Committee in 2016. FUNDS – Grants & BETEL – THANKS We did seek to obtain grants and other sources of funding. We did obtain a grant of €600 towards computer upgrades in the Abbey Day Nursery and Betel Church very significantly increased their cash contribution to Abbey. in addition Betel have installed a major upgrade to the amplification which is available for our use. The timing of this installation could not have been better since our own system was failing. Betel also enhanced our lighting in the sanctuary and assisted with the recovery activity following the break-in in December. We also received a contribution of €5,000 from the Leeson family in memory of their parents. We are blessed by all of these contributions and are grateful to all involved.
New Copier in No. 5 – we installed a new copier with colour; scanning and internet capabilities.
Roof— we had several maintenance jobs done to our roof arising from the inclement weather. Archives – we commenced some work to enhance the indexing and space in the archive room and have identified skilled support to ensure we do this properly. We regularly receive requests for family connections in our baptismal and marriage records. Plaques —we are obliged to erect two plaques in honour of the generosity of Margaret Hamilton Reid and Rev. Dr. Denham Osborne. We obtained approval from our Congregation and from Presbytery. In 2016 we will seek advice and approval from the Presbyterian Church’s Architectural body to allow us to complete this task.
Sundry tasks – A tree surgeon was contracted to attend to an overgrown tree in the Manse. The Christmas tree erected by Dublin City Council was decorated more comprehensively than before. Heritage week became a month at Abbey as we celebrated our Anniversary thanks to a great volunteer team.
THE FUTURE We welcomed a new group to share our premises in No. 5— ‘RELEASE’. They work with prisoners in Mountjoy and Portlaoise prisons – offering courses, including Bible Study, and counselling. We look forward to having them in our outreach team. We have several important challenges ahead – retiling the Vestibule, Porch and passageway – repairing the chimney stacks in No. 5— repainting the exterior of No. 5 and several rooms in our buildings – carpeting the first floor in No. 5 etc.
TRIBUTE Jo van der Flier and his son Dirk and David Shaw have looked after Abbey’s accounts faithfully and accurately for many years now. Jo has handed back the Trustee and No. 5 accounts to Committee and David Shaw will shortly hand back the Congregational Accounts. We must thank them all for their dedication to this vital work. The planned appointment of an Administrator should help the transition to new requirements arising from new Charity legislation and increasing governance guidelines. Finally, we wish to thank all who supported us during the year. We welcome your support and encourage you to help us look after our heritage so that we maybe a blessing to the city. To God be the glory.
Robert Poynton (Convenor – Buildings committee)
Abbey Day Nursery September2014- July 2015
We welcomed Deirdre back from her career break at the beginning of September and Pirjo is our other staff member. We were fortunate to have Georgina in a voluntary capacity while studying for her FETEC 5. She successfully completed the course and her graduation ceremony was in May. All of the staff attended a Manual Handling Course. We had students from the B.A. Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education again this year and Deirdre was very involved in mentoring them. It is always good to have an insight into what is new in the pre-school area and this contact with the colleges keeps us in touch. The numbers attending remained fairly steady during the year and we were delighted to have Dessi helping out for a couple of hours on Wednesdays. This was especially welcome as Georgina was in college every Wednesday.
Unfortunately we had a break-in on 8th February but thanks to the prompt actions of Robert and Noel the disruption to the staff and children was slight! Deirdre visited St. Mary’s School in March and had a useful meeting with the home-school liaison teacher. We are confident that we will be able to build a relationship with them to our mutual benefit. The Christmas Party was a great success and our thanks to David Burke for his help. We also had a visit from George, the rabbit, and we are very grateful to Ruth for sharing him with us and telling the children about him. We took part in the National Pyjama Day Party. This is a sponsorship event organised by Early Childhood Ireland. This year the proceeds were in aid of Autism Ireland. Many thanks to Ruth Boal for designing our bright new information leaflet, to the committee and to all of you for your support and your prayers.
Oaks 2015 Report. ‘Our Abbey Kids’
As another year passes by, in many ways the children and young peoples work in Abbey remains the same. We still leave part way through the service and make our way for the OAKs programme.
However children never remain static, they grow up! In this respect OAKs is ever changing and we split into three groups:
our little preschoolers coming with parents, play with toys or make their way to join in and listen to a story. Their steps in growth are quick to see from baby in arms to tottering steps and knowledge of the world around them.
Then our up to 10 year olds, established in school, eager to learn, quick to point out, creative and ready to play and make friends.
Thirdly our older group of young people aged 11+, some of these children were babies in Abbey, they know us well and are very much part of the Abbey family Coming to OAKs is as much an equipping for their lives beyond church and conversations revolve around school, friends, social media and ideas they may form from many different life experiences.
Our team of teachers and helpers make all this possible. It is no mean task to prepare and present the Bible stories, the consequenting messages and to nurture a real relationship with the living God. Hours of preparation and thought go on beyond what actually happens on a Sunday. There are many things we would like to do in OAKs, there is no doubt we are confined by lack of people who can commit in a dependable and regular basis to working with the children and young people. Working around other users of the hail means that we often have a bigger task to set up the space for our Sunday morning programme The nature of being a city congregation where attendance is intermittent and we do not know the numbers we will have on any given morning makes preparation difficult and is often disheartening. Even attendance on the day can be unpredictable and children arriving at different times late into the session is both unsettling for the group but also not so beneficial to the late corners in knowing what is going on!
Children are a blessing to the congregation of Abbey. They bring happiness, joy and life that we can celebrate and give thanks for. As adults look back on their own Christianjourney these young people have started theirs with us. They will look back and remember OAKs, they will remember us both as adults who teach and help but also the whole congregation playing their role with promises made at the baptism of children to nurture and encourage them in the faith. It is our prayer they are always pointed on to Christ through our love, example and devotion to them, to one another and most of all to God. Thank you to Olivia, William, Patricia, Ofome, Olive, Alex, Olivia G who have taught in OAKs during 2015 and helpers Pat, Sam, Naomi, David and Pierre.
HATS for ARC
A few years ago Lindsay Nimmon contacted the cancer support organisation, ARC, with a view to making hats for their clients. She got a small group of people together who enjoyed sewing and knitting and so the hats project was started.
Since then 5 or 6 people have been meeting in Number 5. It is very informal and anyone is welcome to come along. We knit, sew, chat and write labels .You don’t have to know how to knit or sew – there is always someone willing to teach you! Each hat has a label attached telling the recipients that Abbey Congregation prays for them. We aim to handover approximately 50 hats at a time. Sometimes we are more productive than others but we usually manage 3 or 4 deliveries in the year. If you have any leftover wool or fabric we would be happy to have it and we will put it to good use, and we look forward to you joining us in the near future.
Olivia Smith, Pat Colvin and Jennifer Fulton
ABBEY CHURCH FLOWER GUILD REPORT 2015
The Flower Guild would like to thank all who have helped in any way throughout the year. Our Sunday morning service gives us the opportunity to offer our thanks through the gift of flowers and also helps to enhance our morning worship. These gifts of flowers are appreciated by the congregation and encourage those receiving them at a later visit. Many of oru senior members look forward to these visits and the opportunity to keep up their interest in Abbey Church and its activities. In October we celebrated our Harvest Thanksgiving Service when the church was decorated with gifts of plants brought by the congregation that morning and later distributed to our older members unable to worship with us. Yet again the visits and plants received are greatly appreciated by our senior members.
There were also gifts of non-perishable foods given on Harvest Sunday which continue to bring practical help to some in our inner-city area. There are regular requests for help in this way and it is good to have something to offer at these times. Very many thanks to Sandra Leeson for her work as Treasurer and also to our former treasurer, Gladys Jones, for her keen interest and encouragement. We are grateful to you all for your help throughout the year and welcome anyone who would like to assist in any way. If you would like to join the flower rota or help with delivering flowers
Sandra Poynton/ Sandra Leeson