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PCC Report March 2024




St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) met on 12th March 2024. For the Strategy and Vision part of our meeting we were joined by Rebecca, Matthew, Martin and Michelle. This allowed us to particularly consider our Mission Action Plan (MAP) strand of fellowship using some of the techniques used by Citizens of Bedford. The purpose of the technique was to help us get to know each other better and understand each other.

Rebecca introduced us to the idea of 'Weaving Trust.' The idea is to have time-limited conversations with each other one-to-one on a particular question. There is no other agenda apart from who you are talking to.  The conversations are meant to be personal but not private with the goal of keeping things balanced between you and your conversation partner. Andy and Jenny modelled the technique for us first and then we all had a go!

We had two conversations lasting three minutes each discussing the question: “When did you become a Christian?”. We then had two longer conversations of five minutes discussing the question: “Why do you come to St Andrews?”. Between each conversation one partner would move on to the next pair so it did feel a little like speed dating but it was a great way to get to know other people.

We were asked how we felt before and after the exercise and some had felt energised by it, some uplifted, others left more curious. Many people put their hand up for learning something significant about someone they did not know before. It really did illuminate both some similarities and diversities between PCC members and how we can always learn more about each other and from each other even though many of us have “known” each other for years through St Andrews.


Reports and updates shared at the meeting were about:


Safeguarding

o   Jo shared that response had been great from volunteers working with the children and young people of our church and now almost all are up to date with their DBS and safeguarding training.

o   INEQE Safeguarding Group has been appointed by the Archbishops’ Council to carry out the next round of independent external audits of Church of England dioceses and cathedrals, starting in January 2024 but St Albans will not be audited until August 2027. The audits will be informed by the Church’s new National Safeguarding Standards which are: Culture, Leadership and Capacity; Prevention; Recognising, Assessing and Managing Risk; Victims and Survivors; and Learning, Supervision and Support. The safeguarding team are going to design a process for how we consider St Andrews against these standards and will then return to the PCC for further discussion.


General Synod

o   Sheila shared that the atmosphere of Synod has improved, and it had been encouraging to be present in debates where there was less use of ‘weaponised’ language and greater consideration for diverse thoughts and opinions.  Sheila had attended debates on: Codes of Conduct for PCCs; Safeguarding Independence; Racial Justice; Love Matters and Living in Love and Faith.

o   It was reflected how all of these being important themes for St Andrews. Safeguarding nationally is a big issue and we are grateful for the great response from volunteers to getting both DBS and training up to date. We are seeing positive signs in our own church that we are working towards better reflecting the diversity of our community but still have more progress to make. Love Matters is a report on families and households and we are blessed at St Andrews to have so many families in our congregation. Living in Love and Faith feels important to us and our church’s commitment to inclusivity.


Finance

o   Lionel sadly could not join us for the meeting but sent an update in advance to share the 2023-2028 financial plan was already drafted.


Mission and Outreach                                                

o   Joseph was pleased with the work that has gone on with drafting themes for our next mission partners and they will be put to the wider congregation in June


CCMC

o   The Gable end repairs were discussed as two quotes have now been received. This is a repair that needs to be made as part of the quinquennial. Some questions were asked about the preferred quote. The PCC voted both to apply to the diocese for the faculty and to apply for funding to the Hall trust for this work.


Fairtrade

o   In the responses to the Fairtrade questionnaire not many had indicated they’d be likely to offer time for Fairtrade. On Sunday 14th April there will be a presentation after the 10am service of a possible new model of Fairtrade at St Andrews.


Winter Night Shelter and Warm Room

o   The winter night shelter will soon close and  and has provided over 100 individuals with beds and provided over 3000 meals. Conversations have started about next year with the council and there is a currently a homeless strategy out for consultation that includes Kings Arms Project.

o   Jo, Jenny and Carol talked of their experience at the warm room and how it had grown. Anthony has written a blog about it on the website.

 

Towards the end of the meeting a reminder was give of the APCM on Sunday 21st April. It was shared that both Sally and Valerie were not seeking to stand again for PCC and they were thanked for their service. It was also the last meeting with Carol as Church Warden and she was also warmly thanked for her service in this role.

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