St Paul’s Stockingford PCC Meeting
10th March 2021
(Meeting held via Zoom)
Present: Revd Kate Massey, Andrew Godfrey, Mary Ball, Gary King, Susan West, Paul West, Christine Smith, David Spiers, Nigel Blease, Rob Jones, Andy Gazeley, Ann Pipe, Les Pipe, Jane Udall, Anne Murray, Mark Magee, Steve Marsden, Kim Fawcett.
Apologies: Ese Otobo, Emma Kennedy, Revd Jo Joyce
Revd Kate opened the meeting with prayer.
Minutes of previous meeting and matters arising:
The minutes of the previous meeting (13-01-21) were approved and all decisions made at that meeting have been ratified by a majority of members (12) via email.
The Safer Recruitment process for the following people has been carried out, and PCC agreed to approve the safer recruitment of:
Terry Ray; David Spiers; Gary King; Mark Magee; Andy Gazeley.
Following the decision taken at the last meeting, activities that are not currently being carried out have been removed from the dashboard (until such time as they can resume) and we now meet level 3.
Potential re-opening of the church building following the temporary closure due to COVID-19:
PCC agreed by majority (via email) to continue the closure of the church for the present time. A proposal to reopen the church building for worship from 28th March (Palm Sunday) was debated by PCC.
Strong arguments were put forward, both for and against the proposal. Discussion included:
The Govt guidance to ‘stay at home’ will end on 29th March.
Local and national infection rates are falling.
The local hospital has reported fewer new cases and lower admissions.
The vaccination programme means that many of the most vulnerable people who may wish to attend will have received at least their first vaccine (plus 3 weeks).
Changes have been made to the risk assessment to reduce the total number allowed in the building, increase the space between chairs, change the way people will leave the building (eg Vicar will leave by vestry and stand outside to discourage staying and talking indoors), and people attending will be asked to sign a covenant of care, committing to follow all the measures put in place to reduce risk.
Online and telephone services will continue, so people can make their own judgement on whether they want to attend.
People have expressed a desire to return to services within the building, especially those that have not been able to access online services.
It is important to be open over the Easter period if possible.
There was no evidence of cases being linked to the church during the time it was previously open. Household transmission has been shown to be the biggest factor in the spread of the virus.
The risk of Covid being transmitted is still there. We cannot eliminate the risk and we have a responsibility to keep people as safe as possible.
We should wait to see what effect the re-opening of schools has on local cases, this is still unknown and may increase transmission.
Non-essential shops, libraries, community centres, pubs/cafes etc are not re-opening until 12th April, we should wait until then.
The online and telephone services have been very well received and are sufficient for the time being, there is no need to reopen and expose people to additional risk.
Churches have been legally allowed to remain open for worship during this last lockdown period, it was a local decision to close.
If the church remains closed, alternative arrangements will have to be made for reading banns/marriage licences.
Whatever decision is made now can be reviewed if the local or national situation changes (either way).
Following discussion, a vote taken by a show of hands resulted in PCC agreeing to reopen the church from 28th March (15 voting for, 3 voting against).
Action – Given the need to continually review the risk assessment and the decision whether to keep the church building open for worship, PCC agreed to hold another meeting during April (14th suggested at the meeting, but later amended to 21st April)
This year’s APCM must be held on or before 31st May 2021. The Bishop has issued permission to hold the meeting in person or virtually (eg via Zoom).
The date for our APCM will be Sunday 23rd May 2021, following the 10am service.
Andy Gazeley will step down from PCC and will not seek re-election.
Action – Kate to request reports and accounts from the appropriate groups, to be sent to Anne Murray by the end of April.
Growing Faith Family Worker
Kate has agreed to provide a placement for a woman who is exploring a call to ordained ministry. She has experience in family work and may potentially wish to apply for the GFFW post – however she would be unable to do the full hours.
The post has been readvertised, and if there are no suitable candidates, Kate will discuss with the Diocese whether there is any opportunity to change the hours or scope of the role.
Worship and Spirituality:
Minutes of the meeting on 22nd February 2021 have been circulated.
For Maundy Thursday, the group have considered a set of prayer stations in church, with households able to book a time slot to manage and minimise the number of people in the building (similar to Christmas Eve). For the vigil, a rota of people keeping vigil for an hour until midnight. PCC agreed to this (with the risk assessment updated if necessary)
Buildings and Finance:
The accounts show that income is still down, but the pattern of income is similar to previous years. There is a gift aid claim to submit (£3700). There is a possibility of a refund on utilities, we have been charged VAT at 20% rather than 5%, awaiting a response to correspondence.
The clock repairs have been carried out, it is now keeping time and chiming. The final costs are still to be confirmed (no additional parts required, but more visits than expected).
Quinquennial inspection – Our usual architect has decided not to apply for approval from the Diocese, so we will have to choose one from the existing approved list. PCC agreed for the church wardens to contact one that was recommended by fellow clergy based on previous inspections. The cost is likely to be approximately £700 +VAT and the inspection will need to be carried out in the summer.
Tree plaque for Hannah’s Tree – the principle and location of a tree to remember Hannah was agreed at the last meeting, and Kate has contacted Noelle and the Guides. Two designs for a plaque were shown, with the majority preferring the design with the Guide logo and the words ‘Hannah’s Tree’ side by side. PCC agreed to the plaque and to an application being made for a faculty to attach it to the churchyard wall (to prevent it potentially being damaged if it was on the floor by the tree).
Parish Giving Scheme – this is a scheme being promoted by the Diocese which handles the regular offerings from the congregation by direct debit, reducing the work for the Treasurer and processing Gift Aid automatically each month. It also includes an inflation increase each year. However, many of our congregation still give cash, and give on a weekly basis (the Giving Scheme is monthly). The scheme would also reduce the flexibility people currently have to increase or reduce their giving if their circumstances change each week/month.
Action – Building & Finance Committee to consider the Parish Giving Scheme more fully at their next meeting.
Continuing with their regular activities. Easter cards were distributed and gratefully received (thanks to Julia and Jo). The phone call list has been reviewed.
Mission and Outreach:
As the online services have been so well received, a series of ‘Ten Minute Tuesdays’ videos is being considered – a short video released each Tuesday (but can be watched at any time) discussing a series of topics such as the evidence for God, faith journeys, historical Jesus etc.
Saints has received confirmation of funding to renovate the building through the town centre bid
Easter Hampers – The Council has funding for Easter hampers for families who are struggling, which will be organised and distributed by Saints. PCC agreed for St Paul’s to be used as a distribution point for the local area.
Any other business:
PCC agreed to meet 50% of the cost of children’s Bibles, as in previous years, which will cost approx. £200.
Following the incident where the church email account was hacked, this has now been secured.
PCC was notified of an incident where some maintenance had to be carried out at the same time as the building was being used for the Food Bank – this was not in line with the risk assessment that states there should not be more than one activity in the church at a time, however, mitigation was put in place (notified in advance, different entry/exit times, working in different areas of the building).
SPOGS update – SPOGS are now meeting regularly online and the meetings are well attended and very much appreciated by members. They are running a Lent course and organised wooden hearts for Valentines.
Plants have been ordered for Mother’s Day and will be delivered to female members of the congregation.
Date of next meeting:
Wednesday 21st April, 7:30pm via Zoom.
Date of APCM:
Sunday 23rd May 2021, following the 10am service