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ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH.

The annual meeting of the parishioners a V of St Stephen’s Church was held in the T Church school, Burnett street, last even- w ing. There were about forty parishioners 8 j present, and the Rev B. A. Scott, incumbent, presided. ci The Chairman commenc’d the proceed- f, inga by reading the 6th chapter of the n \cts of the Apostles and the appointed b prayer, - The minutes of the last, annual jj meeting having been read and con- a firmed, the Chairman said it devolved upon him to make his usual j statement. They would recollect it had a been determined at their last annual meetin", by 19 to 12, to abolish pew rents. He’was led to believe from his observation { of other districts that free and unappro- t priated seating was the more desirable r system, anc he was pleased to be able to add that the parishioners oppose! to the £ change had given the new method their \ cordial support. It was not well perhaps , to estimate their moral and spiritual j|progress by figures, but a few suggestive ( statistics might be interesting to his hearers. The attendancs at the morning services of the Church had been rather smaller than those of last year, but the attendance at the evening services had been la'ger. He must say he would have been pleased to see heads of families attending the various services more regularly. The presence of a number of young people in the congrega--1 tion was very gratifying, but it parr ticularly devolved upon the older members of the congregation to set a good ’ example in this respect. The attendance t at the Communion services had some-

what declined ; this in a great measure might be accounted for by the fact that I there had been no confirmation during I the past year, and consequently no additions to the communicants, but the result I was not satisfactory and he trusted there 1 would during the forthcoming year be large accessions to the list of communicants The Sunday schools remained in I much the same position as last year, and 1 under the zealous direction of an excel- I lent staff of teachers continued to do good I work. There were 220 children on the roll of the Burnett street school, and the I average attendance was about 150 ; there were nine teachers devoting themselves to the work of the school. The Trevorton school, under the superintendence of Mr Oharlei Ward, assisted by three teachers, had an attendance of about 50 children, and at Elgin, Mr T. A. Gates, with moat commendable z?al and judicious manage m ent had maintained the attendance at about 30. Mr H Gatos was entitled to the beat thanks of the congregation for +he ready and able manner in which he had undertaken the duties of organist. Mr Gates had studied, as he (the Chairman) had always done, to make the Church music congregational, and not confine its execution to the choir... , The services at Seafiald had been continued by Mr Jameson and himself and he was pleased to say the attendance at these services had increased f/'eath had not, happily, been so busy among them as it was during the preceding year. He had been called upon to perform the last rights of the Church 22 times as against 41 during the previous year. He could not pass this section of his remarks without acknowledging the deep, irreparable loss sustained by. the Church in the dncease of one of its members, a lady who had wo ked long and faithfully as a bright example of true Christian life. The lady to whom he referred was so well known and so generally lamented, there was no need to mention her name Their late organist, now Mrs Claridge, was also a great loss. He had found that lady a cordial helper and a sincere worker. His sincere thanks were also due to the Ladies’ Sewing Sioiety. The amount, L 73 14s 10J, shown on the balance-sheet, was almost entirely due to the exertions of the members of that Society. If he attempted to express the gratitude he felt for the assistance received during the year from Church officers and members of the congregation, he would detain them beyond all reasonable time. He would content himself by hurriedly acknowledging the g eit help he had received from the vestry, the churchwardens, the choir, lhe Sunday School teachers and the visiters to the hospital. Mr Venables asked if the Chairman could inform the meeting how much money had been lost by the system of free seats. Mr Mayo, churchwarden, said the matter referred to by Mr Venables would come up for discussion at a later stage. BALANCE SHEET. The balance-sheet was read as f Hows : RECEIPTS. £ S. d. Scat rents, due prior to Ap. I, 1884 12 8 6 Subscriptions ... ... ... 5° 12 6 Offertories ... 223 13 II Offertories, Missions ... ... 17 3 Balance due to Union Bank ~, 112 9 n £416 2 1 EXPENDITURE. £ s. d. £ s. d. Balance Bank overdraft April 1, 1884 ... 144 15 9 Stipend 191 13 4 Cl aning Church ... 20 o O Bonus to Organist ... 6 6 o Gas 17 2 S Interest to Bank ... 11 8 c Insurance ... ... Sl4 9 Printing and advertising 500 Sundries 5 13 2 Missions— Melanesian ... ... 417 2 Clergy stipend aid’,.. 311 6 *8 8 8 £416 2 1 STATEMENT OE LIABILITIES. £ s. d. £ s. d. Loan from Church Property Trustees at 6 per cert. ... 5 00 0 0 Loan from Miss Winter at 8 per cent ... 400 o o 900 o o Less present valug of Sinking Fund ... 518 ■■ o Bank overdraft ... 112 9 II Stipend ... ... 38 6 8 Bales 445 Missions ... ... 887 Diocesan assessment ... 2 o t) Sundry accounts ... 316 3 — 169 5 10 Total indebtedness ... ... j£Ss° 14 10 St Stephen’s Sewing' Society account, Balance-sheet— Easter, 1884-85. £ s. d. ■ Entertainments ... 73 14 10 ■subscriptions ... ... 5 o o ; aewmg Society ... ... ... 41$ ' 6 balance due Treasurer 4 4 3 j £B7 14 7 | Subscriptions—Build- ‘ ing Society ... ... 54 o o i rines ... ... ... 046 c -Vorking expenses ... 018 o t merest on overdraft ... ... 012 I c merest to Miss Winter ... ... 32 o o , £S? 14 7 8 Mr Bullock proposed the adoption of he balance-sheet. a

Mr St. Hill seconded the proposition. Ho suggested that in future a statement of accounts should be distribu ed to the parishioners at least a week before the annual meeting ; seeing the accounts for the first time at the meeting they Ipad no time to study them. The Chairman expressed his approval of Mr St Hill’s suggestion, and promised

it should be reported to the vestry. Mr D. Thomas, referring to the value of the sinking fund as represented in tlie balance sheet (L5lB lls) asked how ap<J wben the amount was paid.

JSr Majo, churchwarden, said the sinViug fund waa invested in seventh issue shares of the Ashburton Building Society. The amount of annual subscription, L 54, waa shown in the balance sheet. The shares were issued in October, 1879. Mr Thopias thousht there was a discrepancy in the valuation of the sinking fund. The amounts subscribed would not make up the total represented in the balance-shee v . Mr Bullock pointed out that the profits made up the difference between the two amounts. -Mr Mayo stated he had watted upon the Manager of the Building Society that day and obtained the valuation shown in the balamo-sheet. Mr St Hill asked if the amount shown in the balance-sheet, L3B 6s Bd, as due to the Incumbent included a payment made by him to the late organist. The Chairman said Mr St Hill must excuse him remarking that a clergyman had a perfect right to expend his money as he pleased. Mr St Hill : “Then, sir, you did pay the organist from your own salary.” The Chairman : “ I did not say that, Mr St Hill” The proposition for the adoption of the balance-sheet was then put to the meeting and carried unanimously. Mr Mayo briefly referred to the work done during the past year. The Chairman said a member of the vestry had announced his intention to bring before the meeting a motion bearing upon the appropriation of seats. He (the Chairman) would like that motion disposed of before they proceeded to the election of officers. Mr Mayo also thought the motion should be first disposed of. He had taken office when the Church was declared free, and would be glad to do so again under the same system. °Mr Caygill moved—" That the present system of dealing with the pews in the Church is not satisfactory ; and that it be a recommendation to the incoming vestry tojreturn to the old system of pew rents ” He admitted the old system had not been an unqualified success, but it had occasioned less dissatisfaction than the present one. The Church had suffered financially by the change, either through the fault of the system or the persons themselves ; he was inclined to think the latter. Some persons, he regretted to | add, had been foolish enough to withdraw their support from the Church, as they could not have the particular system they I favored. _ Mr Thomas seconded the motion. He agreed with the principle of free seats, and when they were out of deb* they might adopt the system. In the meantime they should be honest and pay their way. Mr Venables said he had opposed the system of free seats “ tooth and brush,” and would continue to do so. Mr Mayo replying to an allegation by Mr Thomas that the balance-sheet compared unfavorably with that of the proceeding year, called attention to the fact that starting clear in J 883, they had a bank overdraft of L 144 in 1884, while during the year just past they had only gone behind about L 64, a much smaller sum than the loss of the preceeding year. Mr Thomas said Mr Mayo was taking credit for the proceeds of entertainments, L 73 14t 101, which must be regarded as an exceptional source of revenue. Mr St Hill supported the motion. A number of persons had subscribed liberally during the past year, as they felt certain the free system would bo a failure. If they persisted in that system they c iuld not rely upon that support. The Chairman thought the supporters of the two systems might agree to a compromise. Their friend, Di Trevor, during a recent conversation, had advocated that course. Whatever system was adopted should place ths poor and rich upon an equal footing. Let a subscriber of even 10s be* entitled to a seat. Ha suggested that Mr Caygill should amend his resolution in that direction. Mr Caygill amended his resolution, expunging the latter portion and intimating his intention to move further on the question. Mr Thomas wished every facility given to the poor to attend Church. To meet those who could not afford to pay ho would make every other seat free. Mr Bullock would have every seat free if the finances of ths Church permitted it, but failing that he would have every other seat free. Mr Jameson said he had acfed as vestryman under the old system, and ho and his colleagues had experienced no difficulty in collecting the rents, and with one exception, no complaint had been made against the system. The Chairman reminded the meeting that the Synod reco amended free seats if possible. The Rev Mr Holland, a visitor to Ashburton, strongly deprecated seat rents, and suggested a system of parish assessment.

Mr Bean supported the resolution, which on being put to the meeting was carried by 13 to 4. Mr Caygill then moved—“ That it be an injunction to the vestry to rent the pews on application to regular subscribers, whatever may be the amount of their subscriptions.” Mr Bullock, in seconding the motion, asked Mr Caygill how he proposed to deal with the allotment of seats. Mr Oaygill said there were many ways of disposing of the matter. The vestry might, for instai.ce, receive applications for seats for a fortnight, and then all seats for which there were more than one application, cm!d be balloted for.—Mr Thomas moved as an|amendment —“That the rent for the Church pews be the same as formerly. ” —Mr St Hill seconded the amendment.—Tfie Chairman; “I may say I shall never receive a penny in tha f way. It’s against my conscience. ” —The amendment was carried by 13 to 7.—The Chairman said he could never work with

this system, which he thought would prove a financial failure.

Mr Bullock moved’a cordial vote o

thanks to the outgoing vestry and Churchwardens for their labors during the past year.—The motion waa seconded by Mr Thomas, and carried unanimously.— Mr Thomas moved a vote of thanks to the choir, as at present constituted, connected with the name of their late organist, Mrs Claridge.—Seconded p by Mr St Hill, and carried by acclamation. —On the motion of Mr Gates, a vote of thanks was passed to the ladies who had worked in the interests oi the Church during the year.—A vote of thanks was also passed to the lay readers, on the motion of Mr Mayo.—On the motion of Mr Dempsey, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the teachers and superintendents of the Sund y school. —Mr 0, Ward, superintendent of the Trevorton school, in acknowledging the compliment, pointed out the want of more accommodation for thp school than provided by the parsonage, and said it would soon be necessary to take into consideration the question of erecting a school in that locality, lie thought the Ashburton School Committee might possibly grant the use of the Side School for an hour and a half each Sunday, if interviewed by a deputation of parishioners. The election of officers for the ensuing year was then proceeded with, and resulted as follows, the Chairman having intimated that he was not prepared just then his churchwarden : People’s churchwarden, Mr Prichard; auditor, Mr .W. H. Zouch ; vestrymen, Messrs Thomas, Oaygill, Mayo, Jameson, Winter, T. H. Zouch, 0. Ward and Dr Trevor.

The Chairman said he had spoken hurriedly with regard to the appropriation of seats. .He did not wish to create a divi

sion in the Church, but would like to have time to consider the matter. Mr Thomas said he was much pleased with the remarks that had just fallen from the Chairman. He (Mr Thomas) had been impelled by a desire to improve the financial position of the Church, as he felt that a gentleman of Mr Scott’s zeal and attainments should not be continually worried by monetary matters, (Applause.) A suggestion by Mr Thomas for the adoption of a more satisfactory system for the canvassing of the parish for subscriptions was referred to the vestry for consideration.

A vote of thanks to the chair closed the proceedings.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18850421.2.8

Bibliographic details

ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1519, 21 April 1885

Word Count
2,489

ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1519, 21 April 1885

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