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Modernising the terrier and inventory

by
31 May 2013

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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?

PETER MAYES
Ex-churchwarden of St Mary's,
Wargrave
St Mary's Parish Office
Mill Green, Station Road
Wargrave, Berkshire RG10 8EU

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