Posted on February 3, 2012
The congregation at St Mary's has the pleasure of worshipping in a beautiful, medieval, Grade 1 listed building, which will be 800 years old in seven years' time. This building however belongs not just to people who go to church but to all parishioners of the four villages of Eaton Bray, Edlesborough, Northall and Dagnall for whom it is their parish church. It is steeped in history and it is yours to marvel at and enjoy whenever you wish; it is amazing how many people do come into the church for various reasons during any ordinary day.
The down-side of owning such an ancient building however, is that it is very expensive to maintain. The stonework, a soft chalk-like stone originally mined in Totternhoe, requires tens of thousands of pounds to be spent on it every 20-30 years just to stop the building crumbling away. In addition, we have to fi nance an annual budget of around £80,000 which includes paying a diocesan quota to cover among other things, clergy salaries and pensions.
To meet these commitments, it does mean that we have to think about money rather more than we would wish and to run many fund-raising events throughout the year to pay our bills and save for future renovations; you will no doubt have attended some of them – Carnival, Open Gardens, concerts, Christmas Fayre, to name a few. But what you may not realise is that St Mary's also tries hard to be a generous church. In 2011, for example, St Mary's donated almost £15,000 to charity through events such as Carnival, collections at Christmas Services, Christian Aid concert, Harvest Auction, Poppy Prom, Gordon's Christmas Puzzle and response to natural disasters, plus also the PCC's annual budgeted charitable giving.
If you would like to help decide which charities St Mary's supports in 2012, there will be regular opportunities presented in Focus for you to make recommendations, so in addition to supporting our events, look out for these occasions during the coming year and make your suggestions to the Vicar, Churchwarden or Gordon Gray or via St Mary's website www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk.
-- Gordon Gray & Catherine Hayden
Source: Focus, February 2012
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