Treasurer's note

The lovely performance at Heath Street chapel on 19 December by the New London Children’s Choir, including Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, was very well-attended and all the proceeds from ticket sales, refreshments and donations, amounting to £655 will be given to Panzi Hospital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (through its charitable foundation). The hospital functions as a general hospital for the local population (the only one in a very large geographic area), but we at Heath Street have got to know it because of its specialised support for survivors of sexual violence and women suffering from complex gynaecological conditions such as obstetric fistula. 

At just about the same time as our concert was taking place, the hospital’s founder, Dr Denis Mukwege, was receiving his Nobel Peace Prize, well-deserved recognition for the extraordinary work achieved through Panzi. 

Our fundraising for Panzi in 2017 raised £500 so we are pleased to be able to send more this year and thank all those involved in the Children’s Choir for their beautiful and moving singing. 

Huge thanks too, to the half dozen people who have clubbed together to buy an electronic keyboard for a young member of the congregation who, since arriving in the UK, has been unable to keep up his piano practice.

I am putting together the annual accounts for 2018, in time, I hope for our AGM in March. Given that we are not very numerous in terms of people taking responsibility for running the building, it is astonishing how much we manage to achieve. This year saw the completion of our vestibule project which undoubtedly makes all visitors feel more welcome as they step in to the building, the new soft play area to keep babies and toddlers discreetly amused during services, the purchase of an excellent new grand piano for the church, and the start of a commitment to “eco-church”, i.e. finding ways to acting out our environmental responsibility in the way we run the building. Anyone particularly interested in the latter should ask Ewan or me for a copy of the first Eco-Audit we have commissioned and see how to help with this. Many other bits of work on the building have made improvements to safety, given us better space for storage and completed essential repairs – not very visible but all very useful.

With love and best wishes,

Gaynor


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