Worship -There were 31 services at St Olaf’s in 2022, average attendance 14, level pegging with 2021. The year’s services ended on a joyful note with a packed ‘standing room only’ Festival Communion on Christmas Day. 9 services were led by Philip and retired clergy, and 22 by lay ministry. Worship at St Olaf’s is ecumenical, and its liturgy reflects its faith in the fells mission.
There are now services in Wasdale every Sunday morning throughout the year, the first and third Sundays at Nether Wasdale at 9.30, and the second and 4th Sundays at Wasdale Head at 11am, and at both on Christmas Day and Easter.
Visitors & Pilgrims – we welcomed just over 28,000 visitors to St Olaf’s during 2022. The busiest month was August (4134), the quietest January (884). We didn’t have the digital people counter in place for all of 2021 but in the months when we can compare (August to December in both years), we welcomed 17% more visitors in 2022. A very approximate estimate is that 40% come from Cumbria, 45% from the rest of the UK and 15% from abroad. It is good that so many from other faiths visit St Olaf’s, and so many who claim no faith at all.
During the year our visitors filled 172 pages of our prayer folder with 749 prayers. Almost half of them concerned illness and bereavement, which helps us understand the value of the quiet and humble sacred space that St Olaf’s provides for those who seek it. Many of the prayers were for Ukraine, and in September and October for our late Queen and her family.
Financial – Income increased from £8300 in 2021 to £14000 in 2022, general expenditure remained at £6500 in both years. £6000 of the 2022 surplus was absorbed by professional fees relating to the restoration, most of which will become payable before the restoration starts in the Spring of 2024.
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ the Lord – the 1st line of the hymn is so true at St Olaf’s! Its walls are a metre thick at the base and just sit on the ground, there are no foundations. It has worked for 500 years and counting!