A Meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St Mary's Barnard Castle with Whorlton held on Monday 7th April 2014 in the Vestry at 7.30pm.
Rev Dr Andy Miller (Chairperson) welcomed the PCC and opened the meeting.
Rev Dr Andy Miller (Chair), Rev Alec Harding, Jane Goldberg (Secretary), David Blakely, Robert Stenlake (Treasurer), Doreen Moore, Joan Kemp-Ambler, John Emerson, Keith Miles, Margaret Miles, Polly Elder, Sue Peat.
From Astley Fenwick, David Bailey, Louise Hosey, Frances Stenlake, Linda Alderson, Ann Woodward.
Approved and signed.
(i) Lighting – Alec and Astley met Colin Glaser from Lytestream to discuss the problems with the lights. It may be necessary to move a track or to provide support for the lights from the track in order to solve the problem. Colin is to report back to Lytestream; it will probably require two days work and scaffolding will be required. The work should be carried out as soon as possible, after Easter. It is not yet clear who will bear the cost of the work.
(ii) Bell Chamber Repairs – nothing to report.
(iii) Inspecting Architect and Quinquennial Report – there has been no word from Christopher Downs. The PCC proposed that we end the contract with Christopher Downs and so Alec is to write to him giving 14 days notice. In the meantime Alec has been in contact with other architects; he has received one quote and another would be prepared to provide a quote, to become our inspecting architect, following a visit to the church. Alec is to consider whether George Stastny could be contacted with regards the position. Action: AH
(iv) Detached Churchyard – David Bailey has been working on the various pieces of information passed to him since the last PCC meeting and has made good progress in inputting data into a database. It is not clear whether the land is actually a churchyard. Robert is to look at the Land Registry to see if there is any useful information. Action: RS, DB
(i) Redecoration – nothing to report.
(ii) Electrics/Heating – nothing to report.
(iii) Bell Chamber – Kevin Raw has offered to lend suitable safety equipment in order that volunteers clean out the debris in the chamber. Once the chamber has been cleared we can assess what further works need to be carried out. There will be some cost involved as there will need to be some protection set up in the church before the clearing takes place.
c) Everybody Welcome – Alec has asked a number of people to form a working party to consider the next steps of Everybody Welcome, with the aim of reporting back before the summer.
d) Annual Report – the PCC approved the written report which will be made available, along with Group Reports, in the church.
Alec led us in prayers.
(a) Easter Invitations – Alec is giving out invitations for members of the congregation to invite friends and family to services during the Easter period.
(b) Commemoration of WWI – Andy reported back from a meeting he attended in which the commemoration of the start of the first World War was considered. The PCC discussed possible ways we could mark the anniversary.
(c) The Pilgrim Course – Alec made PCC aware that this will be taking place towards the end of May. This course could be considered to be a Church of England version of the Alpha Course and is for people to refresh or learn the basics of Christian faith.
(d) Whorlton – a group of people in Whorlton are organising a walk to be followed by lunch on 14th June. Evensong is to be held on Sunday 29th June. Discussions are being held with thepub regarding the possibility of them hosting a harvest supper.
(e) Green Lane School Music – choristers from Durham Cathedral may be visiting the school as part of their outreach programme. Green Lane has requested help in running their hymn practice sessions. The PCC considered suitable candidates and it was suggested that Mark Mawhinney at Barnard Castle School be contacted to see if he knew of anyone suitable.
Of the 350 letters sent out, approximately 64 responses have been received. Of these, 31 were pledges to increase monthly giving, there are 8 new regular givers and a number of cheques have been received. At present this would mean an increase of £4000-£5000 this year. Letters of thanks need to be sent out to those who have responded to the appeal. The PCC discussed what we may need to do if giving is not increased sufficiently and also discussed the envelope scheme.
(i) Parish Hall Lease – the rent is due to be reviewed this year, increases are tied to the RPI. Robert outlined a number of issues regarding the lease and it was decided that Robert, Alec and the Wardens consider the lease in more detail. Action: RS, AH
(ii) Living Wage – the PCC noted that the caretaker is currently paid £6.87 per hour which is above the minimum wage but below the living wage. His rate of pay is to be re-considered in the future.
(i) Wardens – the spring cleaning of the church is to be carried out on Saturday 12th April. PAT testing has not yet been carried out, but PAT testing of our equipment may be carried out at the same time as the PAT testing in the Parish Hall. We still need instruction regarding the fire extinguishers.
(ii) Funsoc – meeting has been held and a report issued.
(iii) Communications Group – discussed giving out information sheets with “what’s on” at the end of services.
(iv) SMDT – met and discussed the Pilgrim Course and Everybody Welcome.
Fundraising – John Emerson and Louise Hosey are organising a fundraising night to be held in September, involving music and an auction.
APCM Sunday April 27th in the Church following morning worship.
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St. Mary’s is open for private prayer each weekday from 10.00am – 4.00pm