March 2021

Minutes of PCC meeting held Monday 22nd March at 7.00 pm via Zoom


A meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s Barnard Castle 

with Whorlton was held on Monday 22nd March 2021 7.00pm by Zoom

The purpose of the PCC is to promote the whole mission of the church, 

pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.


  1. Present: Alec Harding (chair), Sarah Cliff, Joan Kemp-Ambler, Bob Ward, Sandra Sumner, Roy Long, David Walker (secretary), Frances Stenlake, Robert Stenlake, Abi Littlefair, John White, Jane Goldberg, John Trevett, Gillian Lunn (observing), Trish Child and Beverley Pilcher (both representing PMC).
  2. Apologies: Malcolm Makepeace.
  3. Declarations of interest. None
  4. Items for Any Other Business: None                                                           
  5. Minutes: The minutes of PCC meeting held 10.2.21 were approved as a true record. 
    1. Matters arising: 
    2. Title to Amen corner: The solicitors inform us this was sent to the Land Registry in October but there is so far no response. The  Registry is experiencing a backlog of work. 
    3. ‘Eco church’ : AL has looked at the A Rocha website and she outlined the approach that they take. The start point, after registering, is to conduct a survey which covers a wide range of eco issues. The results of the survey can be converted into points which can be added to as the church adopts more eco-friendly measures. In turn the points are converted into awards at different levels with the Gold Award being the ultimate level. AL will take this further and JT offered to help in this task.
    4. Church website: This is still a work in progress but progress is being made. The small team engaged with this has received further training from DigVentures (Johanna and Maiya) and has been broken into ‘triplets’. The aim of the triplets is to agree content and then to meet again with Maiya in order to style it and ultimately uplift it onto the site.  Work on this is at different stages. AH mentioned the amount of work that Kim Harding had carried out in researching the history of St Mary’s and suggested that this was too important a resource to be lost. It was agreed that Kim’s work be circulated as an addendum to these minutes.
    5. North Transept window: A grant of £745 has been received from the Diocese in respect of this work
    6. Pittuck Mural: JW reported that the restoration work has now been completed. He also mentioned that it is hoped to stage an exhibition of 24 Pittuck paintings in June of this year. That will, of course, be subject to coronavirus restrictions at the time. 
    7. Whorlton Quinquennial inspection: A quote for this work (£450) was received from the current QI architect (Mr George Stastny) and agreed by the Standing Committee who re- appointed him to this role and have asked him to begin his work.
    8. Remedial work at the east end of Whorlton church: Mr Walton’s quote for addressing the problems behind the downspout has been accepted. Work will take place once weather permits the use of mortar for repointing.
    9. Parish Health check: This tool is being created for parishes heading towards/ vacancy or in vacancy. It is not envisaged that it will be needed at the moment.
  6. Partnership for Missional Church update: This was presented by Beverley Pilcher (BP) and Trish Child (TC). BP reported that the steering team was still meeting regularly despite the restrictions of the pandemic. They were growing together, benefiting from dwelling in the word and being conscious of the presence of God in what they were doing.  The last two Cluster Meetings, where those from all parishes taking part in the PMC process meet together, have been held via Zoom and seem to have worked very well. It has been beneficial to meet with others who are involved and to talk with and learn from them. The most recent Cluster Meeting introduced ‘Announcing the Kingdom’ – another one of the Holy Habits which need to be adopted. This involves looking around about us at what is going on and noticing where God is at work, naming it and then telling others. This is not necessarily to be done in an individualistic ‘evangelical’ way, but in how and who we are as the Parish Church in Barnard Castle in this place. The team has come a long way in the past year and is looking forward to considering how what they are doing can be shared more widely with the congregation to enable those, who wish, to be part of the mission. TC referred back to the missional challenge identified in January 2020 which is to concentrate upon single person families. The PMC team has come a long way since then, particularly in establishing links with the Day Clubs through Andrea Hobbs, a contact identified through an article in the Teesdale Mercury. This has led to meetings with their team who currently supply around 70 meals throughout the Dale. The current challenge is to find a way to support their work. The PMC team has also established links with Rachel at the Hub. AH commented that Covid restrictions had made progress difficult and, picking up BP’s point made earlier, suggested that the next step was to widen this out to involve more people and achieve ‘diffusion of innovation’. He posed the question ‘How do we help make known the work of the few to wider congregation?’ and went on to suggest that the APCM could be used to get the message out. 
  7. Dwelling in the Word
  8. Safeguarding:
    1. Concerns: There were no specific concerns but a couple of general points were raised. RL asked that the telephone contact number for the Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) be displayed prominently in the Parish magazine. It will be included with the list of contacts at the beginning and at the end of the magazine. BP (SCO) expressed concern that people may be being videoed at streamed services without giving their permission or being aware. There is a sign at the church door and announcements are made at the beginning of services. 
    2. To note: An updated Diocesan policy has been issued. Changes include a focus on safety in using digital platforms, safer recruitment, photography. The PCC are encouraged to access this and note changes via the Diocesan website. We have ensured that the church website (front page) and Facebook (About us page) both have details of safeguarding on them. DW pointed out that the new PCC appointed after the APCM will be required to review and affirm the Parish Safeguarding policy and that relevant changes may need to be made in line with the new Diocesan Policy.
    3. Training needs: RL has now completed his training (C2 level). JKA and SC are booked on a course starting at the end of April. New PCC members and new churchwardens elected at the APCM will need to be made of aware of their safeguarding training requirements. 
  9. Barnard Castle building update: RS had circulated a document to the PCC reviewing the work completed recently and outlining urgent work that will be required in the future. This was for information only at this stage. The new PCC will need to make some decisions on this and take on responsibility. 
  1. Church diary: 
    1. Plans for Holy week and Easter: AH had circulated a plan to the PCC prior to the meeting. He suggested that the congregation could join with the Cathedral service for Maundy Thursday which will be live streamed at 11.00. He also pointed out that the Good Friday services in church at Whorlton and Barnard Castle would be restricted to half an hour.
    2. A route out of lockdown: AH talked through what was likely to happen after Easter as we reached various points in the government’s so-called ‘road map’. Key points were: a change in the pattern of Sunday services so that service in church would be at 9.00 and 10.00 and the Zoom service would then follow at 11.00; RS asked about Bank Holiday teas for May and whilst it is unlikely that they would be practical it should be possible to hold a Book Sale; AH informed the PCC that there would be an Exhibition of Stained Glass in church in July presented by Jonathan and Ruth Cooke and that their son who is a talented musician will arrange three live concerts to accompany this. 
  2. Finance report: The accounts are still with the Independent Examiner. The Childrens’ Fund investment monies transfer has now been completed. 
  1. Health & Safety: There were no concerns. It was noted that JKA had attended a Fire Risk Assessment training event. Risk assessments are being carried out at both churches. As a result, a fire procedure training day will be held. It was also noted that named persons should be identified to assist in helping people to evacuate the building and that for large services all doors must be unlocked and opened. 
  2. Annual meeting: 2021:  The APCM has been moved to Monday 26th April 2021 at 7.00pm and will be held in church and on Zoom. 


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