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PCC Round Up - September 2022

Lucy welcomed everyone to the meeting and expressed her thanks to all who had played their part in St Andrew’s response to the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen and the

Royal family were also remembered in opening prayers offered by Angela, asking for God’s guidance during our discussions.

There was good news following approval of the last meeting’s minutes – Lucy was happy to announce that the Bedford Romanian Orthodox Congregation would be meeting to worship on a regular basis at St Andrews once a month. We are pleased to offer them a home here and hope they will feel welcome.

Moving onto the main agenda items.

Funding for Citizens UK

Rebecca Stockman joined the meeting to propose that St Andrews provides £2000 funding to join a community organising project, working with parishes, ecumenical and interfaith contacts, and other local partners. The plan is to work with Citizens UK to set up a broad-based community organising alliance to train and empower leaders in the community and work together for justice and common good. A key area discussed in the early stages of this work is a ‘research action’ addressing housing injustice and homelessness, and considering the cost of living crisis as part of that.

The PCC discussed their thoughts and concerns regarding this proposal – there was no allowance in the budget for this funding, but it could provide a valuable opportunity for us to develop our aims of Kinship & Fellowship - working with other organisations on issues important to our local community. There is no clear objective to the work at present, but by joining the project at this early stage we will be better placed to influence the direction taken as well as benefit from the training provided by Citizens UK.

After a show of fingers (!) to indicate our level of support, it was then taken to a vote with approval to “take a punt” as Lucy put it, that a seed investment at this stage will bear fruit in the future.

Revised committee structure

Since Lucy joined us, a frequent comment she has heard is that “St Andrews has too many committees”! And indeed there are 10 committees reporting directly to the PCC – this is a large amount of time taken up in writing minutes, reporting at PCC meetings, not to mention the time taken by the meetings themselves. There is also some overlap between the activities undertaken by the committees and by other groups in the church.

After careful consideration and discussion with the various committees, Lucy proposed a streamlined structure of just 4 committees reporting directly to the PCC, which would cover the key areas of PCC responsibility – Fabric (buildings), Finance, Mission, and Standing Committee. Other activities/issues would be addressed by working groups formed for that particular purpose – some of these would be short term for a particular event, some would be longer term – e.g. the Eco church project.

This proposal was discussed through use of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, so we could consider both pros and potential cons of the change. One of the key positives identified was that it would provide more opportunities for members of St Andrews to get involved according to their interests, skills and availability.

A resolution was proposed and unanimously accepted to change to this new structure.

Information on the various working groups is included in the new “welcome pack” available at the back of the church, and when new initiatives start they will be publicised in the weekly newsletter.

Please consider how you might be able to use your gifts and experience to support St Andrews and its mission – it could be as simple as attending a meeting to share your thoughts.

Creation of a “Warm Room”

With the recent and ongoing increases in energy costs, many people will be facing the cold this coming winter. It has been proposed that St Andrews offers a “warm room” as part of provision across Bedford. A meeting is planned to discuss ideas and to form a working group to organise, please look out for details of this in the newsletter.

MAP update

The updated MAP (Mission Action Plan) is in the church centre foyer – please take a look.

Safeguarding

An “off-line” training session for those who find it difficult to complete the basic safeguarding awareness course on-line is being held on 8th October. This training should be completed by everyone with a volunteer role at St Andrews (individually on-line if possible).

Sheila, our hardworking safeguarding officer, needs some help! Over recent years as training requirements have increased, so has the amount of admin work required to keep track of it. Sheila would therefore like to find someone who could help with this task – please speak to Sheila or Lucy if you think this could be you.

Finance

Even Lionel’s expert financial planning cannot predict with much certainty what the implications of rising energy costs will be for St Andrews – our current energy contract does not expire until January. But we know we will have to be prepared for significant increases and a potential shortfall.

There has been an increase in planned giving this year, which is encouraging, but to pay the bills whilst still moving forward on all our mission plans will be challenging.

Reports from Deanery and General Synod

Jenny thanked Sheila for her report on General synod, which provided a great insight into the discussions and progress being made by the Church of England on different issues.

AOB

Lucy confirmed the arrangements for the weekend and the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, then the meeting closed with Night prayer.

Viki Evans

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