PARISHIONERS' ANNUAL MEETING. The annual meeting of parishioners of St. Stephen's Anglican Church was held last evening. The Rev. H. N. Wright presided. VICAR'S REPORT. The. annual .report of the vicar (Rev^ H. JS. Wright) was as follows:—• '' This is the fourth occasion that I have addressed you at your annual meeting, but as it is the first over which the blati: cloud of war does not hang I must ask .you to join with me in heartfelt ' gratitude to Almighty God that He has in His goodness led our armies to victory and permitted us to enjoy the blessings of peace. Thanks be to God. I understand that my report should be a survey of the work of the parish during the year ; also, I think it is an opportunity to inform parishioners of what the Church is attempting to do in our midst, for I feel sure many of our people have very little idea, of the working*of the parish,- and perhaps don't care so long as things go ■along smoothly and without troubling them. Surely if our' religion, means anything to us we' ought,., as-., churchpeople, to be keenly interested in the doings of our Church and be willing to heli> her all we can along the road. The apathy of the great bulk of our people is the stumbling-block to any progress. In some respects the year has been 1 a sad one for the parish. Many parishioners who have been attached to St. Stephen's for a considerable time have entered into rest. The loss of Mr C. W Nicoll, people's warden,' was a very wvere blow, and we shall long miss jiis charming; personality and his willing heln to his church. Many others who .worshipped in St. Stephen's have passed away this year. There is no need to mention their .names! We thank God for their lives and pray that we may follow their pood example and with them win eternal life. Our congregations are about the same as previous years, although since the armistice has been siened I have noticed a slight falling off, especially in the week-night service. Has the fact that our prayers ha!ve been answered and God has nranted victory to our arms taken away the need for further prayer or of thanksgiving to God for"'mercies re:eived ? I notice, too, a growing tenlency to Sunday desecration, particuarlv on the part of those we used to 1 •eeard as good church people. Those j vho see no harm in such practices for •hcmselves might have some regard for ho welfare of the souls of their ihildren. Example is better than pre■ept. I have been unable to secure jlerical help during the yenr, though lot for want of trying. The Bishop can rive little hope of any help being availible as vet. I want you to realise that t is impossible for one man to cope nth the visitation of this wide parish ri any adequate way;. I try to visit; egularly the 'hospitals, the Tuarangi lome. and the sick and aged in the >arish, while beyond that, with the >ther calls on my time, very little can i >c attempted systematically. I hope Jarishioners will understand this. Durns the year there have been 50 bap,ismp, 12 marriages, 64 funerals, while Jo rjersons were admitted to full memwrshin in their confirmation last October. Our organist, Mr H. Wells, vho for some time had not been in good lealth, passed away last August. We nissed him very much, for we were i-pprep.is! tins' his wonderful musical r,alont. Mr Dixon has been appointed to the vacancy. The choir has many Faithful members, and to thorn we. as a church, owe much for the devotional ronderiiur of the HCTviees. I urge tin? choir to trive. of their best to the service of God nnd to be faithful in what they have undertaken. At our three Sunclav schools I am able to report faithful work done. Our numbers at St. Stenhen's" are well maintained, and we have a very loyal band of teachers who are regular in their self-sacrificing work, .to the joy of the superintendent. Hamnstead, under Mr Ferriman, and Pnirfield: under Mr Peters, with their willing helpers, are doing good work. The Bible classes still keep up th^ir hiarh standard of efficiency. The youns men's class has an able leader in Mr Grant. Mrs Claridgo's health did not allow her to continue in charge of tho young women's class, so Mrs Wright has stepped into the breach in fclie meanwhile. I rpcrret to say tha*"Mrs Burr's state of health has caused her to hand me her resignation, pnd po we are deprived of the services of one who has rendered lent' and faithful "p--vice to the school. The weekly Bib!" classes at Hnmnstead and >St. Stephen's are in a healthy condition, particularly" the latter, 'which is rapidly increasing. Tlie fhildi-en at this class gave a Lenten self-denial offering of £2 10s to missionary work. I am grateful to Miss Galbraith for help at these classes. In spite of. not having a Curate the Country services have been vyell maintained, for which we have to thank our willing lay-readers, :Mr Allard and Mr Peters, who have given unfailing service. During Lent the Rev. C. Mutter and the Dean came and gave Sunday help ? enabling me to visit the country congregations. Services are held regularly wt Wiiichrnore, Wakanui, Seafield, Fairfield, and Tuarangi Home. Our Ladies' Guild have been very active during the year, doing Red Cross work so long as that was needed, and assisting the parish finance with a sale of .work; which raised £110. We owe a great deal to our ladies, and I feel the time has come when they should have a voice and a vote in parish affairs. The C.E.M.S. is still going strong, and wo are preparing to welcome returned men back again to our meetings. We are fortunate in having a very active secretary. The branch raised £9 towards the Organising Secretary Fund. We hope when the Secretary arrives he will invigorate us with new life and activity. The Mothers' Union maintains its usefulness, and good and instructive meetings have been'held during the year. The Boy Scouts, under Assistant-Scoutmaster Arnst, are very keen if not grea.t in numbers. I trust this very useful organisation will be maintained and pr6sper. I wish to offer my. gratitude •'to all ■ those who have been associated with me in the work of the parish—the churchwardens and vestry, lay-readers, sidesmen, Sunday School teachers, the choir and organist; those who kindly distribute the parish magazine, parish visitors, and box collectors, and many. others who rendered willing help during the year. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking parishioners for their generous Easter Offering. In conclusion, let me say that now the war is over and brighter days are before us, there are great possibilities before the Church, and growing opportunities i'or development and progress. I do ask the hearty co-operation of our church in "buying up the opportunity," "iarid doing all we can in extending the Kingdom of God in our midst:
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ST. STEPHEN'S, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9603, 7 May 1919
ST. STEPHEN'S Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9603, 7 May 1919
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