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St Stephen's Church.

THE ANNUAL MEETING OF PARISHIONERS. The annual meeting oi parishoners of • St Stephen's was held last evening in the schoolroom! There was a fair attendance considering the weather, and the Rev J], A. Sco,tfc presided. After prayer and the reading of last minutes, the Chairman apologised for the absence of Mi- John Curtis, who was suffering from illness, and for Major Steward, who was in Dunedin. Mr Paul apologised for the absence of Mr Felton, also from illness. ; cjujjrgyinun's AJtjWßj^a.' It is now more than' eight years since tjie 'serious responsibility of superintending this important Parish was placed upon me; and this is the ninth annual meeting which it lias been ray duty to address. I must begin by- expressing my thankfulness to Qoct'that the debt on our Church is at length paid. Eight years ago it was £1000; now it has disappeared. Much of this is due to the recent great liberality of the congregation, and of friends outside Ashburton ; much ajao co the Ladle's Working P^vfc^ who, year after year, ha,v.e wprkefcl without weariness to this end. "One thing espicially I should li^'e' to say —rightly •or wrongly I have felt myself compelled on moire than one occasion^ to., cjirtani methods jfuggested, for, the, raising of money, but I gratefully- acknowledge that those very ladies, wlioiu lfc]h bound to stop working 'in tho way that scorned best to them, instead of leaving me to my own resources, have always most loyally accepied my ruling and been content to work on the lines which 1 laid doAr.i. The year has iinaucially been a \ unsuccessful one. The offertories .show a slight increase, and tho offer mado a year »

ago by two members of the congregation' has been taken up so freely that £184 of I special subscriptions to the debt have come in. If I might mention two names without which the present result could not have, been attained, I should like to mention those of my Churchwarden,: Mr John Curtis, whose efforts have been indefatigable, and that of Mr Littlecott, who has watched so carefully over the invaluable envelope system. The thanks of the Parish are also due to Mr Ferriman, who placed his grounds at the disposal of the Vestry for the annual Garden Party. One thing in connection with the finances strikes one as particularly gratifying. Of the £660 —which has been the total income of the yearall but £101 has been given, in actual'h'ard cash, which shows that it is not in all cases true that church- people will never give unless amusement is offered them in exchange for their money. I trust that we may never go into debt again. Debt hampers the free development of spiritual life, it clogs religious activity, and secularises both the clergyman and his coworkers. May we. in the future give ourselves with increasing • devoted-1 ness to the true work, of the Church, j I have spoken of the debt,on the church being paid. I think I am justified in in doing so, for, although there is still a liability of £60 or so on the Sunday schoflj). building fund, that fund will rapidly right itself, from, the accruing of rents, etc. The services at Seafield* continue to be very well attended. 'A slight decrease in the offertories is due to one or two families' leaving the district. Among these are Mr and Mrs Redmayne. Mrs RedmayiiG for a long time t acted as organist; her place has sincejbeen taken by the youngest daughter of Mrs Richardson. There has again been a singularly light death-roll, 18 as against 16 lastyear. Of these, 7 were children, and 6 had^come to the home and the hospital from places other than Ashburton. Of the remainder the names of Mary Ann Dolman, George Thomas Permain, and Edward Monaon' will long be remembered among us. There have been 61 baptisms as against 67, ; and 7 marriages as against 4 last year. ] The communicant roll has shown no marked increase in numbers, though there has been no^ falling off. The total; number,of administrations has been. 854 as against 849 last year, the average' attendance being 245, and the number of celebrations 35, as "against 23*5 and 36. The proportion of .men to women has, I think increased. On Eaates Sunday and the Sunday following, 99 different persons communicated, of whom 41 were "men. During the present' year I hope to keep a more dareful "register of persons attending the Holy Communion, for although 1 know that it is impossible to guage, ; with any approach-to accuracy, < the spiritual life of a community, yet the rise or fall of obedience to our Lord's dying conitnand \ must more or less, I think, mark the rise or fall of spiritual life. I may say that I would should like to see a more regular monthly attendance at the Holy Communion. - The devotional meetings of the Communicants'- Guild are still maintained, nM are. T think. l n'koly crfin in hum- '■; :■;■!! ■ >. ■ -fii!i!i ■-. I <.\Vi- nriJi w» Mr I I'.'.r ''"I "i.iris „ . ill ;'1..-v- 11.-fi tilij-:. Of .■ »■ ■!_■■.■.:.■: ■::: ! !■.-■■; ". : i> is.'ioh. I :■■:,. ''>■':.■ V-l« ■ii :ii;y in i*erial falling off in the evening congregations, though during the months of January and Febuary there were' many empty seats. The morning attendances during the .past six months have certainly been better and with a larger proportion of men. I long to see the morning congregations growing steadily larger and more regular, and now that the church is likely to be drier and warmer, I am hopeful that the winter months will not greatly interfere with this hope. The choir is working harmoniously and well,under Mr Horace Gates, and I return them by warmest thanks for their many services. If our singing is not so ornate or, elaborate as in many town churches, yet it is at least hearty and congregational, which miny. including myself, consider farbeuor. Mi.-kSooir's.Moihej'.s' Meeting has an increasing attendance. Our Sunday Schools have not; greatly altered in numbers during the year. The main school, which is superintended by myself and Mr R. S. Bean, has 163 scholars as against 171 last year. The Hampstead School under Mrs Scott has increased from 124 to 136, the grand total being 299, as against 295. Both departments in the Hampstead School and the girls, side in: the mahTfschool are I think in a thoroughly satisfactory state. The St Stephen's boys, school however gives cause for some anxiety. The number of elder boys attending is not, what it ought to be. A good many have left the town and their places are not being rapidly filled ( up. 1 There is no reason for despondency, but enough to call "for the thoughtful consideration of myself and the teachers, whom I hope to consult on the subject in a few days. I take the opportunity of gratefully acknowledging the faithful and self-denying services of 1, the teachersl In connection with the Sunday Schools, a Band of Hope was stairfced: I about six months ago. It is in a flourishing 'condition with 120}. memb r e.r,s < Jfc should prov.e i'useful adjunct to the.Church. 1 While speaking of Sunday Schools, one is reminded of the peculiar dangers which assail young men. One would fain see more young people whose religious life showed a continuous developement, .who, should pass from Sunday School to conformation and frotf\ conformatiou to an increasing interest in the things of God and the things of the Church. Too often an opposite cours,e is the aqtnaj one, an increasing apathy taking "the place of a deepening life until the once members of the Sunday School are found in the ranks Qf unbelief or irreligion. It is, I fear, one I of my failings that I have done so little to stop this falling away. My intention for the future is to found a young men's Bible class partly with a view to helping them on to a more personal knowledge and gra?p..oi the Gospel,-and partly too wsh, fcfie, hope that the members of^ th# class may foKn j themselves irvtso,, or at least become, a kind, q£ unorganised missionary band, whose efforts should be directed to influencing the young men of, their acquaintance. A.t the same time, whilst a continuous development of the fjpiritua life is the. i,deal which the, Ohureh evi-1 dently teaches us to aim at, we should bear in mind that it is an ideal to which we can only make a very partial approach. A vast number iof persons grow up, arid always will, without any real knowledge' of religion. They enter intQ manhood and womanhood knowing the names of God and the Lord Jesus Christ merely as names, If they are 'ever to discover Christ asa'MasW and a Saviour, it can only be through the process known as Conversion, the actual parsing from death to life, the undergoing oi a fundamental and radical change. If our cords are to be lengthened and our stakes strengthened, we must trust not only to education, but to Conversion —to that tremendous stioQjt by which the spirit of God break^ up, tjie foundations of the humcffi, §pul. May God grant that, ykwe. iixaV. "be' a. greater educat^Ovi,s PP^er, in *hr: Pv.n-i-.y Pehn.-^. and'H deeper convey, ii. ;« >■..«:• I:i .!■■ pulpit of.St Stephen^. 'iV'lli. 'j-.".i«!si-i.v and blessing I commend the conduct of this m^esftng and the future of our, CJrarch.,, churchwarden's, jve^&rf,.

; The annual report, gil the churchwardens ; was rea,d hy ftjjr Charlos Littlecott, who previously to doing so, paid a, high cbru- 1 plimcnt to the ladies whoso labors Had been so great a Tiolp to the church, and to Mr John Curtis for the work he had done in connection with ths extinction of the debt on the church. He spoke highly in favor of the envelope system V.-llioll nOW pi'od'l""'] £130 p.;-.- .vy;;,! the livsiyeiir it li"i-inl;. |>*-->i|ti.-. i !;•_'.'■, so that it was rajtitUy ii*in<r in j".i\. ; i-., »The report ran us follows :-r»" J

' " Tho Churchwardens and Vestry are this year enabled to place before, the 'parishioners a statement of accounts showing that the liability of £232 17s, which existed last year, is now liquidated, and that a small credit balance at the Bank has taken its place. For this result; they desire to convey their sincere and grateful appreciation of the Ladies' Working Party, and of the great liberality of the parishioners generally. They are glad to note a small increase in the Church offertories, both as regards the payments through envelopes and the ordinary co£ lections. During the past year*- apsupply of a patent paint, called " Durescq,'' has been obtained from England^ arid applied. to the church walls. It is hoped that this paint will have'the desired .'result of rendering the wall impermeable to damp. The'organ has been thoroughly repaired, and a tender has been accepted for-renew-ing the spouting and guttering of the church; • The Seafield 1 services are still well attended. The offertories are slighty lower than for'the previous year, "chiefly on account of one or two families leaving the district. The Vestry, desire |to place on record'their appreciation of the faith* ful services, of the, Choir .and, Sunday School teachers during the,past year, services which they trust will'belong continued.—John Curtis, and Chas. Littlecott, Churchwardens.?^.:; ikW >k; j

The balance-sheets followed;'*}' and ■showed the gratifying state of v affairs mentioned in the reportsV,j j|~ ;)js''f' '' Dr Trevor was very "pleased * indeed to know that the church was now out of debt, and moved the,adoption of the report.' . ,'. ' . 'lV "'*■'- ' Mr G Jameson seconded. THANKS.

Votes of thanks were proposed to the Churchwardens and Vestry^ for the manner in which they had'carried on the •work that had resulted, in> the extinction, of the' debt—by Mr 1)1 Thomas ; to the ladies for their valuable services in connection with .the Church work generally, but jmore especially. such work as the garden parties—by Mr Paul ; to the lay readers, and Sunday^ School Superintendents and teachers—by Dr Trevor ;to MfFerriman, for the use of ;his grounda ; for thegardenparty—by-Mi'iatifecott; to the Hampstead. Schooll Gotnmittee for the, use .of their school free of pharge—by Rev Mr Scott; the organist 'andv^oir-r by \Mr : Gr. Jameson; mkL to* M^jTwentyman for the services/he had rendered at the organ for six months. All these votes were heartily passed. „ t " "% ' '•'■''• -, ELECTIOHSi^-K #' . ■ '"

Mr John Curtis was appointed cleigyman's Churchwarden, and Mr Charles Littlecotfc, people's ;-, Churchwarden. Vestyy men—Major Steward..and* Messrs J; H. Twentyman, E. J., Rwi/KW. GL Rees, J. R. Bland, G. Jameson, and Arthur, Field. ; ;•;. /?■;.- , - /' t ' BUILDINGS,FUNK £ ' . Mr Thomas proposed it be a recommendation to the incoming Vestry to take up ten contributing shares in the BuUcling Society, with >theJrieSir to creating 1 a fund for future "Church^Vorks." , Mr Bean seconded, and the motion was carried. ' , . . ; ( 1' ' ' ; APPEOVAIi. Mr Twentyman moved "That the best and heartiest thanks of/the meeting be given to':the Incumbent 'arid £ Mrs Scotfc, for. their work in the parish," and in doing so paid a warm tribute to Mr Scotb and his wife. Some discussion on minor matters fof- ' lowed, and the proceedings, closed with : the benediction. ' ,

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Bibliographic details

St Stephen's Church., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2405, 19 April 1890

Word Count

St Stephen's Church. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2405, 19 April 1890

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