From Mr Peter Mayes
Sir, - Modern-day church administration is time-consuming,
particularly that resulting in recent years from health and safety,
child- safeguarding, and food safety. One accepts the necessity of
much that contributes to the workload, but there are some archaic
procedures that should be questioned.
Around Eastertide each year, in preparation for our Rural Dean's
inspection, we work through the terrier. This document, doubtless
drawn up in the era of the quill and adapted for the Remington, is
not suited for the computer age in its present form. While much of
its contents remains the same year by year, it none the less
requires amendment almost every time, since it carries details of
documents routinely forwarded to our local Record Office for
safekeeping. This includes marriage, baptism, and burial registers
as they become full, and the bound parish magazines.
My plea, mentioned in the articles of enquiry successively for
some years, is that the terrier should be adapted for completion
online, or, if the Church of England insists on copies printed on
fireproof paper, that a computer format be available for ease of
printing. That would still leave us with paper copies vulnerable to
accidental loss or damage from intruders, but would offer the
security of an electronic backup.
Any stockpile the authorities may hold of new terrier packs
should not put them off moving into the 21st century or considering
the adoption of a system that would save time. As I complete my
six-year term as churchwarden, I would like to think that I have
contributed in a small way to reducing my replacement's workload.
Is that possible?
Ex-churchwarden of St Mary's,
St Mary's Parish Office
Mill Green, Station Road
Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 8EU