You are here:  PCC > PCC Annual Report 2021

Wonston Parochial Church Council

Holy Trinity

Annual Report 2021



2021 was another challenging year but one in which we managed to begin the return to normal living and worship after the disruption caused by Covid-19. The PCC would like to thank you for being part of our parish life, for tolerating the changes to established routines, for joining in and for helping ensure that our church community survived and even thrived in this difficult year.

Different challenges lie ahead during 2022 both in our parish and, rather more significantly, in the wider world. The PCC will continue to do all it can both to provide opportunities for worship during this interregnum and to care for the fabric of our church.

With great financial support from our congregation and the efforts of our fundraisers in 2021 we achieved an excellent surplus and, consequently, we were able to honour our promise to the Diocese, in its particular period of turmoil, to pay the 2020 and 2021 Common Mission Fund requests in full.

Rev Dr John Rennie

On Jan 30th 2022 Rev Dr John Rennie led his final service at Holy Trinity Church. It was a well-attended and celebratory service during which gifts from congregations across the Benefice were presented to John and Sheelagh. Afterwards, refreshments in the churchyard, in the bright winter sunshine, gave us an opportunity to thank John in person for his service to us over the last 2 1/4 years.

John’s incumbency as Priest-in-Charge of the Upper Dever Benefice and latterly the Dever Benefice, was undoubtedly an unscripted 29 months.

After his licensing in September 2019, he and Sheelagh moved in to the Rectory in Pigeonhouse Field, Sutton Scotney, and he got off to a flying start. The first few months saw initiatives such as the Men’s Breakfast and Sunday@4 take shape. However, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in March 2020 everything changed. Churches were shut, but John quickly embraced the on-line option and services from rectories (and later churches) were filmed mid-week and aired on YouTube, enabling many people to worship from their homes, either on Sunday or during the week. Then followed Zoom services, and with every change of Government regulation and Church guidance, John navigated us back to church via no singing, then humming, small congregations socially distanced, with or without masks, and somehow remained cheerful and positive throughout.

For a self-supporting minister who, in return for the house was committed to working 3 days a week (which was invariably substantially exceeded) including Sundays, this has been a tiring and relentless period. Looking after 5 parishes, with 6 churches, was quite a proposition, and for the last 6 months of his incumbency, with the restructuring of the Benefice, there was the addition of the Parish of South Wonston too.

The Wonston Church community are enormously grateful to John, whom we wholeheartedly thank for his time and dedication as our Priest in Charge. Graciously he will be returning to the Parish to lead some services and officiate at Weddings in 2022 as we enter our 3rd period of interregnum since 2016.

PCC Membership and Officers

During 2021, the following served as members and/or officers

Priest in Charge and PCC Chairman

Rev. Dr John Rennie

Churchwarden and Vice-Chairman

Dr Sarah Hobhouse

Winchester Deanery Synod representative

Dr Angela Lewis

Elected Members

Mrs Frances Burland, Mrs Cath Landale (Secretary), Mrs Claire Preece (Treasurer), Mr Stephen Preece, Mrs Sarah Stanton (Electoral Roll Officer) and Mr Nicholas Wood.

Archivist and Accounts Examiner

Mrs Janet Ryan

Parish Coordinator

Mrs Clare Fancourt

Review of 2020


Wonston PCC met four times during 2021 (2020: three) with an average attendance of 88% (2020: 96%).

Church Services

The nature and number of services evolved over the year as relaxations in covid restrictions allowed. By the end of the year, we were holding Sunday services 3 times a month and this pattern will continue in 2022.

Occasional Services

In 2021 there were four baptisms (2020: two), four weddings (2019: two), and five funerals and thanksgiving services (2020: four).

Church membership and attendance

As at 31st December there were 53 persons on the roll (2020: 55), 16 of whom were not resident in the Parish (2020: 17). The church electoral roll is updated every spring.

The average attendances at services remained low overall in comparison to2019 (the last meaningful measurable year) with the re-emergence of another covid strain particularly affecting the latter part of 2021. The average attendance at standard services was 19; at Family services 17 (excluding baptisms); Easter approx. 100; Harvest Festival 45+5 children; Remembrance 56; Carol Service 44 and Christmas 48+2 children.

The worshipping community is assessed at 38.

Care of the Church

Thanks to a particular bequest, we were able to improve the main lighting inside the church using lower energy fittings which also should require less maintenance. There were a number of other small general repairs undertaken.

The churchyard is maintained by contracted grass cutting and the spring and autumn ‘clean-up days’ were reinstated.

Clergy, Readers and Lay Worship Leaders

In addition to Rev Dr John Rennie, our thanks go to Rev. Rob Rees, Rev. Neil Britton, Campbell Dye, Ruth Guy, Roland Guy, Peter Russell, and Rev. Dave Mapes who continues to take Holy Communion services at Sutton Manor.

Background support

There was a welcome return for bell-ringing, having been silenced in March 2020 by covid restrictions. We continue to be fortunate with the great help received from them; our organists; sidesmen; lesson readers; flower arrangers; church cleaners; the Fete Committee; our Archivist; our Auditor and the contributors to the community magazines.

Financial Review

Despite the cautious financial forecast set at the beginning of 2021, we have been able to generate significantly more income than expected. We finished the year with a very healthy surplus of £11,050 (£8,492 in 2020). Whilst overall donations from services, standing orders and one-off donations were down on 2020 we had unexpected boosts to overall donations from bequests totalling £4,000 in the year. An increase in the number of weddings and funerals during 2021 contributed some £3,650 to our income this year vs £2,800 in 2020.

Routine monthly expenses were much in line with budget and 2020, however total expenditure was higher this year due to work on the church lighting which amounted to around £2,400. Additionally, the 2021 amount paid to the diocese for the CMF totalled £19,821 some £8,842 higher than 2020 but this increase reflects the back payment made for underpayment in 2020 (£3,573) and the full payment of our share for 2021, (£16,248).

As we move to a more cashless society, in December 2021 we began the trial of a contactless payment device. We will review its suitability during the next 12 months.


Total fundraising including sales of books, apple juice, cards etc totalled £12,130 in 2021 vs £3,394 in 2020. The total was boosted hugely due to our ability to go ahead with the Fete which alone raised over £9,000 profit. Other events such as the Lent Lunches and Cream Teas also added significant funds to the income total. The pop-up café was restarted in August 2021, and raised £920 over 5 mornings, which benefitted the various charities it supported.

Deanery Synod

There have been 3 meetings of the Winchester Deanery Synod, at present still held remotely. Attention was again focused, often in small breakout groups, on how individual parishes have been coping with, and learning from the changing constraints as we began to emerge from the pandemic. Suggestions that have worked well have been shared – in particular online midweek, easily accessible bible study and prayer meetings have sparked much interest and have continued in addition to the return to in person worship. These have been especially successful in the Upper Dever.

There have been discussions around how we can be imaginative with increasingly stretched lay resources, particularly in those parishes, like ours, in an interregnum. The Deanery explained their focus according to the current Mission Action Plan on supporting local churches, especially in view of the local pastoral reorganisation and on extending mission to young people.

The Deanery has a 10 year history of an overseas partnership with Muhabara, Uganda and in June was asked to respond to a request for help with training of its Lay Readers over the next 2 years. PCCs were asked if they would consider supporting the training and Holy Trinity agreed to give £150.


The PCC has complied with the duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 (duty to have regard to House of Bishops’ guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults). The subject appears on the agenda at every meeting.

Other Matters

Our website,, maintained by Lt Col Peter Barrett, provides general information and details of regular services.

Our services are open to all. If you would like to be involved in any way with the church, please contact me.

2022 and beyond

As ever, we, and indeed I recognise and give thanks for the tremendous support received in every way, whether practical or financial. People’s generosity has continued to be extraordinary in these strange times.

One individual has become, quietly, a cornerstone in the parish and across the whole benefice. I know that John Rennie, myself, our PCC members and our congregation are extremely grateful to Clare Fancourt, our Parish Coordinator. Her support, enthusiasm and great efficiency have been invaluable in the last two unique years. Thank you.

The optimism I expressed in last year’s report has been met partially in the gradual return to normal worship. However, in the thanks to John Rennie at the beginning of this report, I noted the benefice reorganisation which has arisen because of the precarious state of the diocesan finances. With the addition of South Wonston, the benefice now consists of 6 Parishes. At the time of writing, we remain in interregnum as a self-supporting priest is sought to fill the vacancy. Churchwardens and parish representatives across the Benefice have voiced concerns to senior Diocesan clergy about the suitability of this benefice for a ‘part-time’ clergy role. We will continue to strive for increased clergy support to ensure the future Christian welfare of this benefice. .

Please be assured that during this interregnum, we will keep you informed about new arrangements and the process for the appointment of a new priest.

Thank you all for your contributions and continuing support.

Dr Sarah Hobhouse, Churchwarden

25th March, 2022