You are on page 1of 28



Sonning Deanery: Diocese of Oxford

January 2004
This Profile was compiled by a Working Group comprising:

Sue Gardener
Carolyn Fox
Richard Owen
Richard Peat and
Maurice Driver.

Photographs provided by Matthew Sampson and Richard Peat.

Its issue is authorised by Finchampstead Parochial Church Council.

January 2004.

õ Address: St James’ Church Centre,
The Manor House,
Church Lane,
Berks. RG40 4LU.

» Telephone: 0118 973 0133

ô E-mail:

ù Website:

Sonning Deanery: Diocese of Oxford

1. THE PARISH.......................................................................................................4

2. THE CHURCH AND ITS ENVIRONMENT ..........................................................8

3. PARISH COMMITTEES AND ORGANISATION...............................................11

4. CHURCH TEAMS .............................................................................................14

5. FINANCES ........................................................................................................20

6. SERVICES ........................................................................................................21

7. VISION AND GOALS........................................................................................24


APPENDIX 1. POPULATION STATISTICS.........................................................27
A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead


a. Location

The parish of Finchampstead, three miles south of Wokingham, is situated on the
southernmost border of Berkshire and thus, the Oxford Diocese. Immediately to the south
runs the River Blackwater, which forms the county and diocesan boundary with Eversley
(Winchester Diocese) in Hampshire. Only a few miles to the south-east is the Surrey border
(Guildford Diocese).

The civil parish is divided into two wards, Finchampstead North and South, which virtually
coincide with the two ecclesiastical parishes of St Mary & St John, California and
Finchampstead respectively. The former was created partially from the northern portion of
the then larger Finchampstead ecclesiastical parish in 1981. The ecclesiastical parish of
Finchampstead is bounded by Eversley parish (Winchester Diocese), St John’s, Crowthorne
and St. Michael’s, Sandhurst as well as St Mary and St. John’s California (all Oxford

For clarity, all the following detail concerns the ecclesiastical parish of Finchampstead,
except where indicated.

b. Type of Area Occupied by the Parish

Owner Occupied
Council Rented

Privately Rented

Essentially residential rural, populated largely by middle/professional class families, with
some agriculture, over the last 30 years; the area has undergone a considerable increase in
population by people from outside the area. This trend continues as a direct consequence of
the central government edict concerning the required increase in housing stock in Berkshire

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

by the year 2006. There is very little ‘estate’ type housing
in this part of Finchampstead, the norm of sizes and values
being above the national average.

The major centre of population is within the village of
Finchampstead itself, with another sizeable block of
housing on the western outskirts of Crowthorne. The
remainder is scattered throughout the area of the parish,
with some very large individual properties in the central
area and at Finchampstead Ridges running towards the
east. There is also an area of National Trust land in the
eastern portion of the parish that affords open wooded space for public use. A generous
network of public footpaths is available. A map of the parish is included below.

Although there is a shop, post office and a garage in the parish, most serious shopping is done
in Wokingham, Reading, Bracknell or Camberley, and the facilities found there are being
supplemented by an increase in ‘out of town’ shopping precincts – and since there is little
public transport this makes car ownership an advantage if not essential. However, the parish
boasts two public houses and a restaurant cum pub. There is a village Church of England
Voluntary Aided Primary School. There are also a Memorial Park and Hall, which were

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

purchased for the village after WW 2 and are
administered by the Memorial Park
Committee on which the PCC is represented.
Part of the building is rented out as a
flourishing non-commercial sports club,
which, as part of its tenancy, maintains the
Park to a very high standard, with cricket
and football pitches and children's play area.
The building also houses the office of
Finchampstead Parish Council.

There is a wide range of schools and colleges, both state and independent, available within
the Wokingham area, and Ranelagh, a Church of England Voluntary Aided Beacon Status
Secondary school in Bracknell. A bus service is available for secondary-age state school
children. Some of the independent schools also run transport services.

At one time, the adjacent Parish of St Mary & St John was part of this Parish, but was created
to minister to the growing population in the north of the area. There are, now, close links
between the two, which we constantly strive to nurture following many years of unhappiness
about the split.

c. Overall Population

The 2001 census recorded a total population for the civil ward of Finchampstead South as
5,730 in 2,088 households, (the make up being 49% male and 51% female). The area was
recorded as covering 3,884 acres (1,572 hectares). However, the ward includes a small area
of high-density dwellings that falls outside Finchampstead ecclesiastical parish and the total
population of Finchampstead South and North Wards is in the region of 12,490 people living
in 5,636 dwellings.

The census of 1991 indicated for the whole of Finchampstead civil parish area that some 46%
of adult workers were engaged in Banking, Finance and ‘Other Services’. The latter includes
education, central and local government, police, fire & medical and those engaged in the
‘sunrise’ industries associated with computers and software which are an important feature of
this area of the Thames Valley. Many need to commute to London daily.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Ethnic mix: 97.4% of the population of Finchampstead South is white together with 1.1% of
mixed race, 0.7% Asian or Asian British, 0.3% Black or Black British and 0.6% Chinese or
Other Ethnic Group.

Religions: The 2001 Census shows the area to be predominately Christian (75.2%), the next
largest group being of no religion (15.8%). There is no evidence of public worship by non-
Christian groups. There is a Baptist congregation with a chapel in the village, led by an
ordained minister. They usually now meet in a school hall in St Mary & St John's parish,
having outgrown the small chapel.

Detailed statistics of the range of economic activity, age distribution and marital status are
given at Appendix 1. From these it can be seen that Finchampstead South has a low rate of
unemployment and a comparatively large retired population, that nearly a quarter of the
population is under 16 and nearly half occupy the middle age range of 30 to 60.

d. St. James' "Population"

In the survey* conducted in 2002, the following age profile was shown:

Over 85
15 to 24
75 to 84 0%
14% 25 to 34
65 to 74 11%
35 to 44
55 to 64
45 to 54

These figures show that our congregation has a fairly even spread of age groups, but omits
the very large and growing number of children with which we are blessed. The split between
men and women was 39% to 61% respectively. The usual Sunday adult attendance was given
as 113 people. Currently, the Electoral Roll stood at 214 for the most recent Annual Church
Meeting in April 2003. The Families Roll links the church with 446 individuals and family

Churches Information for Mission "Connections for Life" Code:UKA0090928

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

e. Occasional Offices

In 2003 the church was used for 25 baptisms, 19 of these were from St James, with the
remaining six being baptisms from St Mary and St John California.

There were eight weddings and four blessings from St James held in the church during 2003.
In addition, St Mary and St John California used the church for six weddings during the same
period. Current bookings for 2004 are for nine weddings, one blessing and one rededication.
St Mary and St John are booked to use the church for six weddings.

The church carried out eight funerals during 2003, five of which were cremations.


a. Location and Setting

The church is found a little to the north of Finchampstead village proper (OS map ref. SU
794638) in what has been designated a "Conservation Area" by the local planning authority.
It is accessed by a country lane, which is bordered by farmland and dwellings. In the
immediate vicinity is the "Queen's Oak" pub, parts of which could be contemporary with the
church. The pub takes its name from the
tree, commemorating the Jubilee of Queen
Victoria, which was planted in the
triangular green adjacent to the church but
which has sadly now died and has been
recently removed. However, a new tree is
to be planted to commemorate the jubilees
of both Queen Victoria and Queen
Elizabeth II. The area is essentially rural
in character. The church is surrounded on all four sides by the churchyard which is situated

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

on two levels; the upper (adjacent to the church)
is now closed to further interments, the lower, to
the east and south, is currently used for this
purpose. Interments are currently restricted to
those for parishioners, members of the Electoral
Roll or where there is a family grave already in
existence. The former Area Dean requested that
this be reviewed once a new incumbent is in

b. The Church

The existing church building was started in the 12th century and has been the subject of
continual development and modification over the centuries. The main structure of the church,
which is rubble built and lime plaster rendered, was started circa 1134 and comprised a nave
and chancel with rounded apse, pitched roof and slit windows. It is believed that the hill had
an earlier, Saxon, church, and, before that, Roman and pre-Roman activity. The 14th century
saw the addition of a North Chapel
built parallel to the existing nave.
The brick-built bell tower was added
in 1720 and the Victorians provided
a pitched roof North porch.

Currently the church has a seating
capacity of approximately 150, but a
consultant's study is in progress to
examine the possibilities/costs of re-
ordering to accommodate more as
congregation sizes have increased over the past few years.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Although the church structure is in essentially good order, there remain outstanding three
major tasks which, independent of any re-ordering envisaged, need early attention: -

• Refurbishment of the internal plasterwork in the wake of a drying-out process started in
2001 after re-rendering the exterior.

• Overhaul of the bells and mechanisms and
strengthening of the bell frame. This is the
subject of an energetic and successfully
continuing fund-raising effort by the bell
ringers. (Circa £40,000 needed) It is hoped that
the work can be effected in 2004.

• Treatment of all internal woodwork, including floors and pews, against woodworm and
beetle infestation.

A plan of the church is included below.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

c. The St. James' Church Centre

Also within the conservation area, and immediately to the
west of the church, is the Parish Centre, housed in the
19thc Manor House which was bequeathed to the church
and to which has been added a modern hall and kitchen.
This provides a major resource as a place providing meeting rooms, an office, toilets, kitchen
and coffee bar as well as four flats rented out as a source
of revenue. It is also made available to other churches and
organisations in the Diocese, for Away Days, quiet days,
and to members of our own congregation for family
functions, parties, etc.

The church and Parish Centre "domain" also comprises
lawns, car parks and a road system that occupy a major
portion of the conservation area within which it sits.

d. The Rectory

This is an unusually large and well-appointed modern, four-bed
roomed house situated in Finchampstead village centre, with
open views north towards the church.

The parish is managed from the PCC, which has
regular bi-monthly meetings supplemented, by
occasional additional meetings when required. A
Standing Committee, consisting of the clergy,
churchwardens, PCC treasurer, PCC secretary, and
two further PCC members, has regular meetings in
the months in which the PCC does not usually meet. (One lay member currently chairs both
the PCC and the Standing Committee).

Additionally there are a number of sub-committees with specific responsibilities. Each PCC
member is requested to sit on just one of these sub-committees, with additional members

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

being drawn from the wider congregation. The committees and their areas of responsibility
are as follows:

Communications Responsible for all aspects of parish communication including the
quarterly newsletters, web site and press relations/publicity.

Education Responsible for the teaching, such as lent and advent courses, which
occurs within the church.

Fabric and Responsible for all physical aspects of the running of the church building
Property including maintenance, and management of the Manor House flats.

Finance Responsible for financial matters including gift aid. Committee members
include the treasurers and gift aid administrator.

Mission Responsible for giving/support for external charities including both
regular giving and dealing with specific appeals, and also encouragement
to the congregation in this by providing information. There has been an
aim to give away 10% of church income; however, this needs to be re-
visited as some of the appeals do not go through the church accounts

Pastoral Responsible for the pastoral care of the parish, and the pastoral visiting
team, including Baptism visitors.

Social Responsible for a multitude of social events within the church including
events such as the Harvest Supper and supporting other groups, such as
the choir, by helping with their events.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Additional committees/groups include:

Staff/Worship Services are planned by a group consisting of the churchwardens, the
Group clergy and the licensed lay minister. During the interregnum the group is
also handling obtaining clergy for Eucharist services and the reclaim of
their expenses.

Re-ordering Following the recent restoration of the external walls of the church, a re-
Working Group ordering group is looking at options for optimising the use of the space
within the church before restoration work commences on the interior.
Currently the church has obtained the services of a specialist consultancy
that has reported on options for increasing the seating within the church
from the current 150 to over 200, to allow us to better accommodate our
growing congregation. In parallel with this, church members have been
looking at options to refurbish or replace the organ, and fund raising is
currently taking place to refurbish the bells and bell frame.

Churchyard This is a sub-committee of the PCC, responsible for the maintenance of
Trust the churchyard. It is inter-denominational and financially independent of
the PCC, being funded largely by interest from past investments plus
regular fund-raising events.

Churches St. James' is active within Churches Together in Crowthorne, as 287
Together in houses and flats on the outskirts of Crowthorne sit within the parish of
Crowthorne St. James (the largest concentration of housing within the parish).
Churches Together in Crowthorne is an ecumenical organisation
covering all the local denominations. A regular magazine is published,
and the churches come together during the year. At previous events the
choir has sung at the Crowthorne Catholic church, and at joint services
at Crowthorne Primary School. Members of St. James’ have hosted and
participated in ecumenical lent groups.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

In addition to the formal committees there are a number of clearly defined groups or teams
that contribute to the life of the church. These are detailed in the following sections.

Ministry Team St James' benefits currently from having a NSM Curate and a Licensed Lay

Parish Office The church is run on a day-to-day basis from the parish office located in the
and Parish Centre. The office is staffed daily either by our paid parish
Administration administrator, or one of a number of other volunteers. The office handles
bookings and queries about services, produces the weekly pew sheet, and
also produces and keeps an archive of service sheets for many of the special
services during the year. The office also handles bookings for the deanery
digital projector that is stored in the parish.
The office is equipped with two computers, and a laptop is also available
for "outside" activities. Most internal correspondence is effected using e-
mail. The church also has its own website. Additionally the parish owns a
portable CD ghetto-blaster, a DVD player, TV and video.

Choir The choir plays a prominent role in the church. Some or all of the choir sing
at the 11am service every week, and additionally two matins and one
evensong every month. In addition to this, there are a number of special
services, concerts and events that
occur during the year including the
All Souls Requiem, Advent Carol
Service, Christmas Carol Service,
and Passion Music. Additionally the
choir sing for many of the weddings
during the year, both our own, and
weddings from St. Mary & St. John's California who use the church. In
size, the choir is large by modern standards consisting of a core of 25
youngsters between the ages of 7 and 16, and 15 adults. Additional singers
sometimes join the choir for special occasions. To lead and train the choir
and to act as the organist, the church employs an experienced Director of
Music, who is also responsible for selecting the hymns at regular services.
14 (The current Director of Music has had to resign from 31 December 2003,
owing to pressure of work, and at the time of writing the process of finding
a replacement is ongoing). There is also a music committee that includes
A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Music, who is also responsible for selecting the hymns at regular services.
(The current Director of Music has had to resign from 31 December 2003,
owing to pressure of work, and at the time of writing the process of finding
a replacement is ongoing). There is also a music committee that includes
the Director of Music and members of the choir. Additionally members of
the choir perform solo, or as groups such as the barbershop group at many
of the church social events. All the youngsters in the choir participate in the
Royal School of Church Music's "Voice for Life" scheme. The choir was
recently successful in having four youngsters and two adults achieve the
Bishop's Chorister Award.

Altar Servers One or more servers are provided for all
11am (Eucharist) services and a number of
other special services during the year.
Generally, a server and two acolytes are
provided on a rota basis. On the few
occasions that incense is used, additional
servers will attend. The servers are primarily young people, but are led by
an experienced head server.

Sidesmen The sidesmen and women are responsible for many of the general
organisational aspects of services. They take primary responsibility for
greeting people at services, distribution and collection of service books and
papers. Additionally they provide readers for the lessons at services, and
people to collect the collection. Sidesmen are allocated on a rota basis with
some sidesmen only performing the role at specific services, or only certain
aspects of the role such as reading lessons.

Intercessors Intercessions at the 11am services are provided by one of the group of
intercessors who are organised on a rota basis. Intercessions at family
services are arranged separately.

Chalice Two members of the laity assist the president at the Eucharist. These are
Administrators from a group of administrators who are authorised by the Bishop.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Bell Ringers The church has a peal of six bells, rung by a band of 15 bell ringers. The
bells are rung for Sunday services, and additionally for weddings and on
other special occasions. The bell
ringers also have a set of hand
bells that are used throughout the
year for concerts and other events.
As part of the fundraising for
restoration of the bells, the bell
ringers have organised several
evening social occasions, and the Tower Captain has completed a walk
across England. They have strong links with other bell ringing groups and
enthusiasts in the Diocese and elsewhere.

House Groups There are a number of different house groups, many having grown out of a
desire by Alpha course attendees to carry on meeting. Currently we have
three house groups, with a total attendance across the three groups of 25
people. The groups have followed a variety of different courses based on
their particular interests. These have
included the Emmaus courses and many
of the follow-up courses to Alpha from
HTB. Adult confirmation groups are run
regularly, with a number of members
coming into the confirmation group
following participation in an Alpha course. We currently have four adults
preparing for Confirmation. In recent years, the confirmation class has been
based on the popular 'This is Our Faith' book. We have also tried to provide
groups to attract specific church members who do not have a group
elsewhere. One of these was 'The Sol Cafe' which was aimed at twenty and
thirty-something 'DINKY's (Double Income No Kids Yet). In addition,
special groups are often organised for periods such as Lent either within the
church or through our association with Churches Together in Crowthorne.

Alpha Course We have run a number of successful Alpha courses. The initial course was
primarily attended by established members of the church and used the
videos and materials provided by HTB. Latterly course members have
16 included a higher proportion of 'newcomers', as well as those wishing to re-
visit the basics of their faith. Attendees from the Alpha courses commonly
continue to meet as a house group, or go on to prepare for confirmation.
A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

videos and materials provided by HTB. Latterly course members have
included a higher proportion of 'newcomers', as well as those wishing to re-
visit the basics of their faith. Attendees from the Alpha courses commonly
continue to meet as a house group, or go on to prepare for confirmation.
Many have found great fellowship through our Alpha courses.

Youth Group The youth group meets regularly on Sunday evenings during term time.
Attendance is usually around ten to twenty young people, aged between 11
and 18, and at least three of the five youth leaders. The total membership is
thirty young people. The group are primarily practising Christians, with
most members being involved in at least one other church group such as the
choir, bell ringers, altar servers or helping with Sunday Club. Each session
includes games and discussions on a variety of topics. Key events during
the year include Moving On, the Sonning Deanery Youth Weekend in
February which the youth group has
regularly attended in force, and
which the church has had overall
responsibility for organising in 2003
and 2004. In addition, older youth
group members join the annual
Diocesan Taizé Pilgrimage, and
church youth leaders are actively involved in the organisation of the 2004
event. In 2002 the youth group requested from the PCC a slot for its own
service, which became part of the regular pattern of evening services.
Currently we are looking to re-launch these on a less frequent basis as part
of the regular Rockmass services held by a number of churches in the
Reading area. In addition the Youth Group traditionally maintains a vigil in
the church from Saturday to Easter Morning, culminating in leading the
traditional ‘Service of the Light’ where the new Paschal Candle is lit for the
first time at dawn.

Fledgelings This is a group of babies and young children with their mothers and carers.
They meet every Tuesday afternoon during term time. Sessions consist of
play and a period of worship including a story; this is followed by crafts
related to the story. (Although not a church organisation, the Breast Feeding
Network uses the parish centre on Tuesday prior to Fledgelings. It involves
several members of the church, and new members are often recruited
through this.)
A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

related to the story. (Although not a church organisation, the Breast Feeding
Network uses the parish centre on Tuesday prior to Fledgelings. It involves
several members of the church, and new members are often recruited
through this.)

Sunday Club The children's Sunday Club meets every Sunday during term time except
when there is a family service or all-age Eucharist. It meets in the Parish
Centre during the first part of the service, rejoining the rest of the
congregation in time to go up for communion with their families. The
Sunday Club is run at present by a group of (mainly) parents, with advice
and support from the clergy. The Sunday Club themes follow those in the
lectionary used in the main services, with the children split into age based
groups. The leaders meet together regularly for Bible study sessions.

Mothers' The Mothers' Union, which has approximately thirty members, has monthly
Union meetings covering a variety of topics, often with
invited speakers and marvellous teas. In addition the
Mothers' Union provides weekly support to the
Fledgelings by providing the refreshments at the
Fledgelings sessions. They support MU Deanery
projects and good causes, as well as giving practical
support to elderly members. Activities include a
strong prayer and Bible study group.

Coffee Rota Coffee is provided by volunteers on a rota basis in the Parish Centre
following all 9:30am and 11am services.

Tuesday The Tuesday Working Party is a group of
Working Party older men of the church and of the parish
which carries out the majority of maintenance
and odd jobs, and also assists with many of
the bigger jobs, in and around the church and
its associated buildings. At lunchtime, it
normally adjourns to the Queen's Oak pub.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Baptism The baptism visitors are a group of laity who are involved with the families
Visitors bringing children for baptism. A member of the team makes an initial visit
to a family who is interested in having their child baptised. They then
attend baptism preparation sessions, and support the families through the
process culminating in attending the baptism service itself. Additionally the
church maintains a baptismal roll and invites newly baptised children and
adults and their families to attend the family service following their baptism
and then on each subsequent anniversary for five years. At each family
service the children and adults celebrating their baptism are invited to come
up to the front and re-light their baptism candles.

Church The church school is located in the main part of the village. The school and
Primary church maintain close links including educationally, through regular
School services, and involvement in activities such as
the annual church Christmas concert. The school
has recently appointed of a new head who is a
committed Christian. Many members of the
church have associations with the school either
as parents or through serving on the governing
body. One Churchwarden and her husband have
been going into the school weekly for many years to lead assemblies. The
buildings are much expanded, most recently with the addition of School
House that was previously rented to tenants by the church. A further large
project to add a new hall is underway. The church has built links with other
local primary schools through talks and presentations on the church and
local history given by a number of church members including the head
server and the parish archivist. In addition, many young people from the
church have attended Ranelagh School, a Church Aided school that has
achieved Beacon status, located in Bracknell. In addition the licensed lay
minister at St. James’ is headmaster of Piggott School in Wargrave, the
other Church of England secondary school in the area.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Other Groups In addition to these church-based
And Events committees and groups, many of our
congregation are involved with the
village's secular organisations, such as
the Parish Council, Wokingham Area
Housing Society, The Finchampstead
Society, The Women's Institute and the National Trust. There are also two
major occasions in the year when ad-hoc teams are created to organise
them. These are the annual Village Fete, which is organised alternately by
the church and the Memorial Park Committee, and the Patronal Festival
held on the weekend nearest to 25 July.

A copy of the 2002 account is attached. However it is worth making a few illustrative points:

• St. James’ has always met its Parish Share responsibilities. The share for 2004 is £54,500.

• A large portion of our income derives from investment of capital assets, some of which
were bequeathed to the church.

• Other income is obtained from the rental of four flats situated in the Manor House. The
Fabric and Property Committee manage these on a day-to-day basis.

• A large proportion of personal giving is able to be "gift aided". The general level of
giving is a constant cause for concern, however, and efforts are regularly made to
improve it.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead


a. Service Pattern

The present schedule of services as agreed by the PCC is as follows:

1st Sunday 8am Said Eucharist BCP
11am Sung Eucharist Common Worship
6.30pm Informal service

2nd Sunday 8am Said Eucharist Common Worship
9.30am Sung Matins
11am Family Eucharist
6.30pm Said Eucharist

3rd Sunday 8am Said Eucharist BCP
11am Sung Eucharist Common Worship
6.30pm Choral Evensong

4th Sunday 8am Said Eucharist Common Worship
9.30am Sung Matins
11am Sung Eucharist Common Worship
6.30pm Taizé service

5th Sunday 8am Said Eucharist BCP
11am Sung Eucharist Common Worship
6.30pm Said Evensong

During the last incumbent’s final illness the evening services, except Choral Evensong, were
cancelled. The pattern has not yet been fully re-established.

There is also a weekly Eucharist at 10am on Wednesdays and other occasional special
weekday and Sunday services at major festivals. The Church School tries to hold a service in
the church at least once a term. This is Eucharistic with a specially devised service sheet.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

There was previously a long tradition at St. James’
of Prayer Book services with Matins as the main
11am service except for one 11am Eucharist a
month (previously Rite B), an adapted Rite B
Family service at 9.30am once a month and a sung
Evensong each week.

In the last five years under the past incumbent and
through discussion in the PCC, the pattern has evolved, firstly for the main (11am) service
each week to be Eucharistic (incumbent’s suggestion), then for the Family Service to move
into an 11am slot (young people’s request at an Away Day) and later for a wider range of
services to be introduced into the 6.30pm slot. The pattern attempts
to provide the significant numbers who wish it at least one
opportunity each Sunday to attend a Prayer Book service.

In addition to the above, with the aim of developing liturgy over the
last few years, there has been a widening of the range of services
held. Some examples are: From Darkness to Light. An Advent
service, Christingle, Candlemas, Maundy Thursday Passover Meal
and Vigil, Dawn Service of the Light at Easter, and Corpus Christi.

b. Service Books / Sheets & Music

The Church has moved without undue difficulty into Common Worship Contemporary
Language version and has printed its own service sheets for the different seasons. A service
book is used for the Prayer Book services.

In addition, many specially devised service sheets have been produced in-house for annual
services e.g. Harvest, Mothering Sunday etc. Some of these have been one-off sheets and
others undated for possible repeat use.

In the last few years the Church has also moved from Hymns Ancient & Modern (Revised) to
Hymns Old & New, New Anglican Edition, to give a wider choice of musical styles.

Psalms are regularly sung, from the service book for Matins and Evensong, and from a
printed sheet for Common Worship.

The choir of boys, girls, men and women leads at 9.30am, 11am, Choral Evensong and
special services, using music versions of the above books and also the New Church Anthem

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Book, as well as sheet music. The choir has a wide repertoire of anthems and sings them

Whereas previously only Merbecke plainsong was used
for Communion services, now Mass of St. Thomas and
other settings are used.

The Director of Music generally plays the 2-
manual/pedal Compton organ but where appropriate
also uses piano or a keyboard.

A large Common Worship Lectionary has now replaced a King James’ Bible on the lectern
and a separate Gospel book is carried into the nave for reading.

c. Vestments and Altar Decoration

For many years, there have been altar frontals in
liturgically appropriate colours, although more have been
purchased in the last five years. There are also now clergy
vestments (chasubles) to match as well as the previous
cassock, surplice and
stole. The choir now all wear black cassocks and white
surplices, although the women until this year were set apart in
purple robes. There are also now robed servers and acolytes.
The altar is usually furnished with cross and candlesticks.
There are floor mounted candlesticks for the acolytes to carry
and a Pascal Candlestick, all of which has been introduced in
the last few years, together with a wall recessed Aumbry,
although there is no structured use for reserved sacrament as

d. Lay Participation

There is a full rota of lesson readers and sidespersons, servers and acolytes, intercessors and
chalice administrators. In addition, fellowship over coffee is encouraged after the 9.30 and
11am services and the rotas include people to set up and serve this. Different people are
asked each week to take up the bread and wine. The Licensed Lay Minister leads services

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

regularly. There is a verger for wedding and baptism services and she also sends out baptism
anniversary cards and invites and welcomes families to the Family service nearest their
anniversaries for the first five years. Another lay person regularly acts as verger for funeral
services. The Mothers’ Union have provided ‘Happy Bags’ to entertain small children during
services and the sidespersons are watchful to give these out when needed. There is a sound
system of fixed, lapel and hand-held microphones and includes a loop for those using hearing


a. Our Vision

"Given that God comes first in everything, to make ourselves and others Better
Disciples of Christ"

As a mission statement, we have borrowed from the text of 2 Peter. Ch 1 v 3-11, and
particularly focussed on the words "you will receive a rich welcome". We are currently
working on a mnemonic of the word "welcome", to incorporate aspects of our vision and

b. Our Goals

• To be known better for what God is doing among us.

Which means growing in size and spirit, becoming better disciples and for the
church to become a place that people recognise as not just a place for
baptisms, weddings and funerals.

• To improve the spiritual growth of the congregation.

Which means that the congregation should grow more prayerful, have a better
knowledge of the Bible and improve its "inclusiveness".

• To relate and communicate better.

Which means we must improve the appropriateness of our communications
and teaching, reduce or explain Christian "jargon". We must nurture our
ecumenical relationships and be prepared to learn from others. We should
constantly upgrade our methods of communication, for example "e-church".

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

• To improve our caring.

Which means to support people in their daily lives and ministries; to work at
being a healing community and that those who come into contact with the
people of St. James' Church experience the Love of God.

• To improve the administration of our resources.

Bearing in mind the generous resources at our disposal, this means that we

• Strive to increase Christian giving in time, talents and money.

• Preserve, improve and develop the fabric and facilities of the church

• Overflow our resources into the community.

Over the past seven years the church "team" has developed into an organised and reasonably
well managed means of running the "business" end of the church. Spiritually and liturgically,
we have moved from some thirty years of BCP based thinking (although this is robustly
preserved in some services) to the use of Common Worship and towards a more "colourful"
form of liturgy. The size of the congregation has, on average, increased and reflects a shift to
a younger age group and has prompted the consideration of re-ordering.

Essentially, what is required is spiritual leadership to help us achieve the goals that we have
set ourselves. He or she should take the roles of "coordinator" and "enabler" of this already
growing lay and clergy team. Because much of our current congregation, and its best
potential area for growth, is the "young family", any new incumbent would be expected to
have a particular calling and aptitude towards ministering to families and young people,
whilst maintaining a strong ministry to the rest of the congregation.

We seek an incumbent who would preserve our strong musical tradition, the breadth of our
patterns of worship, the spiritual aspects of the church school and our growing working
relationship with St. Mary & St. John's parish.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

However, most essentially, because of the broad spectrum of needs and taste within the
congregation and its catchment population, he or she must be willing to be flexible in
approach and able to witness effectively in an area well known for its affluence.

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead


Economic Activity of the Resident Population Aged
Between 16 and 74
Economically Looking After Permanently
Retired Inactive Home or Family Sick Or Disabled
11.06% Students 8.52% 2.11%
Economically Economically
Active Full- Inactive
Time Students 2.11%

Over 50
Never Worked
Long Term
Employed Unemployed
69.29% 0.39%

Age Distribution of the Population of Finchampstead
South Civil Parish

50% 100
45% 90
40% 80
35% 70

30% 60 Age Profile

25% 50
20% 40 Average Age
15% 30
10% 20
5% 10
0% 0
Under 16 16 to 19 20 to 29 30 to 59 60 to 74 75 and

A Profile of The Parish of St. James, Finchampstead

Marital Status of Resident Population of
Finchampstead South Aged 16 and Over
Divorced 5%
6% Single
Separated 21%


Data taken from 2001 Census for Finchampstead South.