APCM 2021

Minutes of APCM held 26th April 2021 at 7.00 p.m. in Church and via Zoom

Parish of St Mary’s Barnard Castle with Whorlton

Minutes of Vestry Meeting held Monday 26th April 2021 at 7.00 p.m. in Church and via Zoom

  1. Present: Revd. Canon Alec Harding and 22 persons listed in the Register Book plus 13 others attending via Zoom whose names will be entered in the Book.
  1. Apologies: Sandra Sumner, Annette Butters, John Elliott, Fiona Douglas, Claire Trevett, Ann Blake, Matthew Littlefair.

The meeting opened with a reading from scripture, (Acts 6:1-7) which will be used during the next year for Dwelling in the Word, and a prayer.

  1. The Minutes of the Vestry Meeting held 14th October 2020 were accepted as a true record.
  1. Election of Churchwardens: 
    1. Joan Kemp-Ambler was nominated by Malcolm Makepeace and seconded by John White and was duly elected to serve.
    2. Roy Long was nominated by Malcolm Makepeace and seconded by John White and was duly elected to serve.
    3. Allan Jones was nominated by Malcolm Makepeace and seconded by John White and was duly elected to serve.

Thanks were offered to the two retiring Churchwardens Sandra Sumner and Bob Ward.

The meeting closed at 7.10 p.m.


Minutes of Annual Parish Church Meeting (APCM) held Monday 26th April 2021 in Church and via Zoom

(Attendance and Apologies as for the Vestry Meeting)

  1. Minutes of APCM held 14th October 2020 were accepted as a true record.
  1. There were no matters arising.
  1. Electoral Roll Report: John Trevett reported on the Electoral Roll. There are 134 people on the Roll which is the same as the previous year albeit there has been some change in the names on the Roll.
  1. Churchwardens’ Report on good and fabric of the churches: 
    1. Barnard Castle: As the country entered lockdown in March 2020 major work on the church sponsored by the NLHF was threatened. Thankfully, our contractors were able to work safely throughout the spring and summer. Scaffolding surrounded the church tower, the west end of the church and was required inside the church along the length of the nave. Works included: repointing the tower and the west end of the church where cracks in the stonework threatened the west window; a close up window inspection of the west window; work to improve access to the belfry and onto the church tower roof; work in the clock room; remedial stonework and work on one of the south aisle windows and on the clerestory windows on the south side of the church; stonework around the window to the main church door; a drain survey and work on the drainage channel and manholes from the east end of the church to the south west corner.

Work was monitored by the inspecting architect (Mr John Barnes) and proceeded without difficulty. Mr Robert Stenlake (church treasurer) acted as the main liaison between the contractors, the architect and the Heritage Lottery and deserves great thanks for his commitment to the project. The national lockdown of the churches actually enabled work to proceed without any inconvenience to the congregation – though the cleaning of the church after it had been filled with stone dust from the windows and the effects of the lockdown was a major enterprise.

WiFi was introduced to the church. The requirements of uploading ‘streamed services’ necessitated the installation of an aerial in the clock room to feed a hardwired signal to a router at west end of the church with care taken to ensure that wiring was ‘hidden’. Work then took place to improve the audio feed from the church PA through technical equipment based at the church west end.

    1. Barnard Castle Parish Hall 

The Parish Hall is in the care of the Parish Hall Association under a lease from the PCC. For much of the year the Hall had to be shut but work to improve the Hall continued. The PHA and FOSMS financed the introduction of a PA and Loop system to the main hall, which proved invaluable when the church congregation was using the hall for church services. Work to preserve the Pittuck continued. The PHA paid for work on the west end of the hall roof to seal areas where water ingress threatened the mural. Once this has been completed, The Pittuck Mural Group paid Luke Jordan to complete the restoration of the mural. As the Hall’s landlords the PCC commissioned an asbestos survey of the hall.

    1. Church Car Park: An application to the Land registry to register PCC ownership of the land that forms the church carpark was successful. The car park was locked for a full 24 hours from 4.00pm on Christmas Day.
    1. Amen Corner: The PCC also sought to register ownership of the triangular area (currently planted with roses) that leads to the junction of Newgate and The Bank in the light of historical evidence to suggest that this land also belongs to the church. This second application is still being processed by the Land Registry.
    1. Whorlton
      1. Whorlton church: There were no major works carried out on Whorlton church in 2020 however, as the year ended, damp problems at the east end were identified that will be addressed in 2021.
      1. Whorlton Village Hall: The Village Hall is in the care of the Village Hall Association under a lease from the PCC. The PCC received a contribution to the costs incurred renewing the lease of the hall from the Village Hall Association.

The Churchwardens had nothing to add to the written report. There no questions. The Report was received with thanks.

  1. Safeguarding Report: 

The PCC ensures that Safeguarding appears on all PCC agendas and PCC members are encouraged to bring any safeguarding concerns to meetings. The opportunity was taken to review the Parish’s record keeping for DBS certification and Training. Relevant compulsory training was offered to those requiring it with the majority of those to whom it applied taking the option to complete training online or on one of the Zoom courses offered by the Diocese. Physical training may be made available by the Diocese in 2021 for the remainder requiring it. 

The Safeguarding Officer had nothing to add. There were no questions. The Report was received with thanks.

  1. Annual Report: The Report has been made available online and a hard copy displayed in Barnard Castle Church. It will continue to be available on the church website https://www.stmarysbarnardcastle.org.uk. 
    1. Vicar’s comments

The Vicar talked through the Report, picking out highlights of 2020 which was such an extraordinary year. He praised the contribution made by all concerned in keeping church going through the year and especially the work of our Curate Sarah Cliff and Gillian Lunn who is with us as an Ordinand in Training. Details are to be found in the Report but it is worth mentioning that this is the first time in its long history that St Mary’s Barnard Castle has had to be closed. He also noted that there were a number of members of our congregations who are no longer with us and that they would be truly missed.

Revd. Judith Walker-Hutchinson expressed thanks via Zoom to the Clergy and Alec, in particular,  for carrying us all through this most difficult period and hoped that the costly nature of this ministry was fully appreciated. Similar feelings from the floor were reiterated by the Revd. John Moore.

    1. Partnership for Missional Church (PMC)

The Vicar talked about our progress with PMC supported with a series of slides. He made the point that progress has not been easy because of the pandemic but that the Steering Group had been pressing on with the help of Zoom. 

He began by outlining the six elements of PMC and emphasising that PMC was not about problem solving. He went on to identify the five questions that PMC that PMC poses, being: where are we? whose are we? What’s God up to? How is God sending us? And, How might we enter God’s preferred and promised future?

He then talked about the six missional practices and how the changes identified by the Steering Group might be absorbed by the congregation (assuming the propensity to change can be represented by a normal distribution).

Beverley Pilcher, representing the Steering Group, was then invited to address the meeting. She talked about the practical outcomes of the process to date, principally in identifying the need to minster to single person households and the possibility of doing this through partnering with lunch clubs and the provision of meals. 

There were no questions. 

  1. Financial Report
    1. Annual Accounts 2021

Robert Stenlake, The Treasurer, presented the Accounts as certified by the Independent examiner. The Accounts have been available online and a hard copy has been displayed in Church. The financial situation presented in the accounts has obviously been shaped by the effects of the pandemic but also by the major building project which was completed during the year. The Gift Day held towards the end of the year was a huge success and raised around £23,000.

The question was asked: ‘how are we doing?’ Robert assured us that we were OK at the moment and that a budget has been set for 2021 taking into account similar financial conditions as applied in 2020 during the first half of the year with an upturn due to a return to more normal conditions subsequently. 

The Revd. John Moore expressed thanks on behalf of the whole congregation for the work of the Treasurer in  helping to keep things together at such a difficult time whilst also project managing the complex building works project carried out during the year. 

    1. Appointment of Independent Examiner: James Ferdinand of Allen. Sykes will be invited to be examiner for 2021.
    2. Appointment of Church Bankers: The Church Bankers have now changed due to NatWest no  longer being physically present in the town. The new bankers are the Co-Op Bank who were appointed taking into account the Challenge Scheme which credited us with a bonus of £4,000.
  1. Deanery Synod Report 2020

The parish appoints three lay members to Deanery Synod. Elections to synod took place in the course of the year. Synod managed to overcome technical difficulties in the second half of the year to meet for mutual support and encouragement in addressing the strains of the pandemic. Agendas also included a visit by Revd Dr Alistair Prince (the DDO, Vocations Strategy Development Officer and Warden of Lay Ministries) and an introduction to the Diocesan Growth Team. Many members of the PCC joined deanery reps on a zoom session to learn about the ‘Guided Pledge Scheme’ which is being introduced across the diocese.

  1. Election of Deanery Synod members (1 vacancy): Abi Littlefair was prosed by Iris Hillery and seconded by Kim Harding. She was duly elected to serve.
  1. Election of PCC members (6 vacancies)

Under the arrangements agreed at the last APCM there are now places on the PCC for 8 elected Lay Members. John Trevett and Malcolm Makepeace still have one year left to serve under the terms of their original election, which leaves six vacancies.

John White and John Emerson indicated that they were willing to seek re-election to the PCC. They were proposed by Joan Kemp-Ambler and seconded by Allan Jones and duly elected. 

Bob Ward, having stood down from being churchwarden was proposed  by Joan Kemp-Ambler and seconded by Allan Jones. He was duly elected.

Geoff Knott indicated he was willing to serve. He was proposed by Joan Kemp-Ambler and seconded by Allan Jones, and duly elected.

There remain two vacancies.

The new PCC now comprises

Alec Harding, Sarah Cliff (Clergy)

Joan Kemp-Ambler, Roy Long, Allan Jones (Churchwardens)

Frances Stenlake, David Walker, Abi Littlefair (Deanery reps)

John White, Bob Ward, John Trevett, Malcolm Makepeace, John Emerson, Geoff Knott (Lay reps)

  1. PCC posts on committees
    1. Parish Hall Association management group : Clare Trevett to continue.
    2. Friends of St Mary’s committee: Trish Childs and Colin Dunnighan to continue. 

The Vicar concluded the meeting by thanking everyone for their support, prayers and commitment and, in particular the endeavours of Sarah Cliff, Gillian Lunn and Kim Harding. 

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