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PCC Report - January 2024

St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) met on 16th January 2024. There were two main items on the agenda for discussion.

1.    The Prayers of Love and Faith.

MAP Strand: To develop an inclusive culture in the Church

·         St Andrew’s Church formally became an Inclusive Church in January 2023

·         The Vicar pointed out that it’s possible already to bless, and/or say prayers for, same sex couples within the context of a church service but it’s not possible to hold a ‘standalone’ service.

·         Sheila Bissell, a member of the Church of England’s General Synod (the governing body of the C of E), had previously circulated a detailed report which gave us a background to the Prayers of Love and Faith, and its journey through the last three Synod meetings. Sheila has copies of the draft Prayers of Love and Faith and the Pastoral Guidance which accompanies them, and all PCC members had received a link to them prior to the meeting. At 108 pages long we didn’t claim to have read it all, but we were asked to focus on Prayers of Love and Faith and the ‘standalone’ service proposed. This is a new church service to bless same sex partnerships. It is not a marriage service, but has a resonance of one.

·         To start with we considered the Honest Church Toolkit. This presented 5 possible ‘types’ of church and the extent to which each ‘type’ welcomed, accepted, rejoiced, and ministered to LGBTQ+ people. A show of hands indicated a clear endorsement of an open and welcoming church, but recognises that there may be people within the church who personally have somewhat different views.

·         We then moved on to consider, using a SWOT analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, how we felt about introducing ‘standalone’ services if and when they are authorised.

·         There was much to agree on, and it is hoped that, when the time arises, the PCC will vote in favour of introducing the new service.

2.    Recruitment.

·         The new St Andrew’s Employee Handbook was circulated in advance of the meeting and sets out the contractual arrangements for those employed by our church. It includes the relevant Employment Policies and ensures that there is transparency and openness in all aspects of the job.

·         The recruitment timetable for the post of Administrative and Communications Assistant was outlined.

·         A brief discussion ensued to change the job title of the Centre Manager and this was agreed unanimously.

Other agenda items: 

  • Jo Newton, Safeguarding Officer, updated the PCC on the position regarding volunteers who work with children. Elisabeth Sutcliffe, Children and Families Minister, is contacting all those affected.

  • Lionel Mayoh, Treasurer, reported that he is currently closing the church accounts for 2023. He informed the meeting that our gas bill in December 2023 was 30% less than in 2022. Good news!

  • A report from the Mission and Outreach Team (MOT) was circulated in advance. The Christmas services donations for The Children’s Society, the Winter Night Shelter and World Vision’s work in the Palestinian Territories were topped up from MOT’s budget.

  • The Church Centre Management Committee minutes were circulated in advance and it was noted that, while some work has been completed, there is a lot of outstanding work for which quotes are awaited.

  • Creation Care reported that the A Rocha Silver Award will be displayed in the church centre foyer. A series of monthly themed items is being planned and the January theme is ‘sustainability’.

  • The Vicar shared a ‘thank you’ letter from the CEO of the Winter Night Shelter. Apart from financial support, volunteers from St Andrew’s are volunteering and contributing to the meals provided, as well as supporting the Warm Room at St Paul’s. Both initiatives will run to the end of March 2024.

  • Planning for the APCM is underway, informing PCC members whose term of office finishes this year.

The meeting closed with the Office of Night Prayer.

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