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Report of the March Parochial Church Council (PCC)

The PCC met on 15 March and our meeting opened with prayers, led by Ann Mason, for Ukraine, our Vision and the business of the evening.

Lifting Covid restrictions. Lucy explained that one of the main objectives of the meeting was to discuss and find a consensus on lifting the Covid restrictions in our church and church centre. After setting the scene concerning:

· Ecclesiastical Law (it’s against the Law to withhold the chalice, for instance)

· People’s understandable questions about when restrictions might be lifted

· Acknowledging that as a result of the pandemic we are a traumatised people

· Needing to really listen to each other

we launched into a full scale exercise, firstly to state our own preferences (out of 5 options) and then to find a consensus. It was clear that there was a lot of common ground, but trying to explain and justify our positions was a little more challenging. Ventilation or no ventilation? Masks or no masks? Re-introducing the common cup? Taking the collection? Evidence?

The way forward became clearer as we listened to the reasoned debate from each group, and Lucy agreed to explain our carefully thought through decisions to everyone in church and the church centre by way of a leaflet.

Romanian Orthodox Service in our Church. Lucy has been approached by the Romanian Community to let them use our church for their Liturgy which was followed by a communal meal. It was clear that this community was in need of somewhere to meet as they had no place of their own. Overwhelming support was received from the Diocese and the service was to take place on 22 March 2022. The PCC was completely in favour and hoped that a relationship could be developed. Some of us would like to experience their Liturgy if they come again.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). There has been a convention at St Andrew's that people serve one term on the PCC (three years) and then take a break (of at least a year) before standing again. However, we can find no evidence of a resolution ever having been passed, and the convention has not applied to those who are members by dint of being Church Warden or on Deanery Synod. Because of the extraordinary nature of the last couple of years, the PCC agreed that it would be an advantage for current members of the PCC to be able stand for a second term should they so wish. A resolution will be tabled at the 2022 APCM to restrict PCC members to serving two term i.e. six years, and then having to take a break, in line with Deanery Synod rules. If passed it will come into effect at the APCM in 2023.

Mission Action Plan (MAP). Over one hundred responses to our Vision exercise were received and the twenty page collated answers to the three questions asked had been circulated to the Mission Action Plan Committee. Analysis will follow and thanks were expressed to everyone who had taken part.

Finance. Our treasurer, Lionel Mayoh, explained his forecast outturn for 2023 in the light of increasing fuel costs. He has thought through several options which will be looked at in greater detail by the Finance Committee.

GDPR. A Certificate of Registration has been received and Kelly is now creating our own Register to ensure we have the correct data for all members of those groups which hold data about individuals.

Safeguarding. The Diocesan requirements come into force in April 2022. ALL volunteers in our church need to undertake level CO – which includes anyone on a committee, a rota, or taking part in any church activities. Our Safeguarding Officer, Sheila Bissell, asks that everyone takes personal responsibility to complete the course when asked to do so. The Church Safeguarding Policy has been revised to reflect this. Support and training will be offered to anyone who would like it.

Church Terrier. At the end of a full meeting we were rather bemused to hear about the terrier – no, not a new visitor to rival Cuthbert, but an official list of all our possessions. There had been a moment of panic when it was thought that a shepherd from the Nativity figures had been lost and much relief when it was realised that it was a duplication.

By way of Any Other Business, it was agreed to turn down the thermostat from 15’ to 11’ to save fuel costs and carbon emissions; the organist and organ builder were in full agreement. The Policy for the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders was circulated and approved. The Diocesan response to the war in Ukraine regarding housing and financial support was noted and a Red Bucket appeal was planned for the next two Sundays.

The meeting closed and was followed by the office of Compline (Night Prayer).

Jenny Tomlinson

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