Many churches have Friends organisations and they each have their own uniquely expressed purpose.
The Friends of St Peter’s has been formed:
(a) to provide an annual calendar of social and cultural events for the people of St Peter’s parish and beyond, and
(b) to raise funds for the benefit of St Peter’s.
The work of the Friends will normally be associated with one or a small number of projects at any one time, starting with the ‘God’s Acre’ project which is a churchyard improvement initiative.
The appeal of the Friends is that it is both for those who attend church as well as those who do not but who believe that the presence of St Peter’s is of importance and value to the local community. This appeal already finds response from far and wide.
We organise a variety of social and cultural fund-raising events for our members. The profit from these, together with the subscription and donations, will be used to support a variety of projects that benefit St Peter’s and its beneficiaries.
The programme of events organised for the Friends runs from September to July each year and is publicised in various ways including through a Friends Newsletter. The events include social and cultural (e.g. dramatic, artistic, musical) ones, as well as ones with worship content or moments.
The Friends is managed by a small committee under the leadership of the present Chairman, Dr Den Parker. Membership is open to all. The annual Friends membership subscription is modest: currently just £10 for an individual and £20 for a family. We have held the subscription at this level for three years now but may need to increase it a little for 2013/14. Application forms for Friends membership are available in St Peter’s Church or from one of the committee members.
Why join us?
You will be joining a wide group of people who support St Peter’s and the local community, through making and building friendship networks, helping to make events arranged for the local community successful, voluntary and community work, prayer and fund raising.
The Friends of St Peter’s will:
- arrange an annual programme of social and cultural events principally for the Friends;
- inform you of events arranged for the Friends and other events at St Peter’s to which Friends are invited;
- arrange some events exclusively for Friends and where some events are also open to others and ticketed, Friends and family members will be able to purchase tickets at a reduced price;
- arrange at least one welcome event per year, normally through invitation to such an event at the Vicarage;
- provide you with a twice yearly Newsletter to keep you in touch and updated;
- provide refreshments for events held at St Peter’s;
- contribute funds for projects chosen by the Friends and St Peter’s; and
- inform you at least once per year about the use of funds raised by the Friends and progress with projects supported by the Friends
Events in the 2012-2013 year
The following events currently comprise the remaining programme so far for 2012.
Wednesday 7th November: Talk by local broadcaster, artist and author, Elspeth Jackman based on her recently published book entitled 'Enjoying Later Life'.
Thursday 13th December: Mulled Wine and Mince Pies gathering at the Vicarage for Friends of St Peter's to offer thanks for their support in the past year. This event will be hosted by the Vicar, Revd Anne Hollinghurst and the Chair of the Friends and is by invitation. Invitations will be sent to all members of the Friends in advance requesting RSVP.
In 2013 the St Peter's Spring Fair wil be held on Saturday 18th May.
Wednesday 12th June: Evening Lecture on 'St Albans in Medieval Times' by Sue Flood from the Hertfordshire Library Service. The evening starts at 7.30 pm with a wine and nibbles reception in the Chancel. The lecture is at 8 pm. Tickets are not required, but donations are requested (indicative amount £8) to raise funds for St Peter's.
Other events will be publicised in due course and final details of events will be circulated and publicised in church.
Achievements so far
The Friends is now in its third year since being launched in September 2010. We now have approximately 150 members and the numbers are increasing steadily year on year. By the end of the second year (i.e. July 2012) the Friends had raised nearly £12,000 for St Peter's after costs were deducted. Every penny of this money goes to St Peter's: all of the work associated with the Friends is undertaken voluntarily. So far the Friends has:
- organised and successfully run about six events per year including the annual St Peter's Fair at the request of the Vicar
- contributed to the cost of the redesign of the Hope Garden (which St Peter's decided to commemorate by installing a bench dedicated to the Friends)
- contributed to the cost of brand new churchyard interpretation and church signage which will be installed in the Autumn of 2012
- undertaken to contribute to the cost of a public memorial sculpture for the Hope Garden. This sculpture has recently been commissioned and will carry leaves with the names of those whose ashes are buried in the garden inscribed upon them.