News and views from the PCC (July meeting)
On the hottest day of the year, when rail tracks buckled, fires raged through London and people stayed home and sweltered, the PCC met on Zoom.
The meeting was opened by Lucy, who welcomed everyone, and explained that due to the extreme weather, it would be a shorter meeting than usual.
Elisabeth Thorne offered the opening prayers, asking for God’s guidance on our deliberations and remembering those whose homes had today been destroyed by the fires.
Parish Share Ian Smith explained that with a parish share of 2.10, we are better off than most parishes, so there is no proposal to change it.
Personnel There were two co-opted places available on PCC. Roseanne Kinvig-Love was co-opted at the May meeting. Ian Riches has not yet been on the electoral roll for a whole year, and it was proposed by Lucy that we co-opt him. This was voted on and carried. Ian was welcomed to the PCC. It was also announced that Roseanne has been appointed as our Children’s Worker to cover maternity leave.
Standing Committee GDPR – A contact database will be created as we are no longer allowed to use the electoral role for this purpose. No concerns were raised.
Mission Action Plan (MAP) How do we measure progress? Alistair Sutcliffe explained how this is a living document. When one action is completed, it is replaced by another, as issues emerge. Andrew Thomas felt that the aims were sufficiently ambitious, and that the committee were happy with what has been achieved so far. Discussion will continue as work progresses.
Safeguarding Sheila Bissell showed us the Safeguarding Action Plan (SAP) and asked for it to be reviewed. The plan is based on the guidance from the diocesan dashboard. There are new levels of training required for anybody who has a voluntary role in the church family. The SAP was approved.
Quinquennial (An inspection that takes place every 5 years.) The church was found to have improved from “Reasonable,” to a “Good” state of repair. The roof over the church centre, near the library area, needs attention, along with the coping on the east end of the church. Lucy Davis thanked Ian Smith and CCMC for their on going work and commitment.
Finance Lionel Mayoh explained that this year we will break even, but due to the increased cost of energy, we may have a deficit next year. There have been some alterations to the Financial Policy Booklet. The Legacy and Reserves Policy has been amended to meet the Charity Commission guidelines. Planned giving is insufficient and interest from investments is being used to compensate.
Mission/Outreach Angela Huddart talked about the vegetarian lunch in the Vicarage garden, which had been a success, with sixty people attending, of all ages. Planning is now underway for Advent, and it was suggested that instead of receiving something for each day of Advent, we give something instead eg. an item for the food bank.
Creation Care HEATWAVE – 2050 Will be Too Late, say Leading Climate Scientists “ … net zero targets no longer adequate to avoid large-scale global disaster …” Climate Crisis Advisory Group The recent heatwave has been a stark warning to all of us, of the consequences of lack of care for the planet. Scientist are predicting that heatwaves and unusual weather patterns will become more frequent as the earth continues to rapidly heat up. There were 900 deaths in the 2019 heatwave. This year there were over 2000 deaths in Spain and Portugal alone.
There are calls for the government to take action, to reduce carbon emissions, to plant more trees and to stop the building of further airports and roads.
But what are we doing as a church? How are we playing our part at St Andrew’s in reducing global warming and helping to heal the planet?
Our vicar, Lucy, said:
“Creation Care is a social justice issue, both globally and generationally. It is a theological issue driven by the science of climate change and it is a theological priority. “
You can read more about this in Lucy’s article in News from St Andrew’s, and take a look at our Mission Action Plan (MAP) where our targets are highlighted under “Stewardship.”
We have joined Eco Church, organised by A Rocha UK, a Christian organisation which helps churches to improve their impact on the environment. There are 92 churches registered in the St Albans Diocese. Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates are awarded for each level of achievement. Currently, St Andrews has a bronze award, and we aim to achieve the prestigious gold award by 2025.
So, our 2 main aims are:
1) To achieve net zero emissions by 2030
2) To work towards achieving the Gold Award
Tim Retout gave his thoughts on how we might achieve these two, ambitious targets. He explained, that whilst recognising the costs in terms of time and finance, how he felt convinced that it was possible.
The gas boiler, as the most obvious culprit, will have to go. This, and installing its replacement is no easy task, so a time frame of 8 years has been set.
Ian Smith emphasised that there must be a financial outlay to move us forward towards the Gold Award. A planned giving campaign is just one possible stepping-stones towards this.
There will be much hard work, planning and finance involved in reducing carbon emissions and gaining the Gold award. It is an ambitious project, but we believe it is an achievable project, one that will need each and every one of us to play our part.
Are you ready to work with your church, to offer your gifts and talents, whatever they may be, to enable us to achieve our goals? Are you ready to care for the world, God’s world, and play your part in giving it the chance of survival that it needs and demands of you?
Sally Coleman PCC Member