PCC Minutes - February 2021

Minutes PCC meeting held on Wednesday 10th February at 7.00pm via Zoom


Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s Barnard Castle  with Whorlton

Wednesday 10th February 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, Jane Goldberg, John Trevett, Gillian Lunn (observing) 
  1. Apologies: John White, Louise Hosey, Malcolm Makepeace, John Emerson
  1. Declarations of interest: None
  1. Items for Any Other Business: None 
  2. Dwelling in the Word
  3. Reports from 
    1. Diocesan Synod: FS reported on the latest iteration of the Diocesan Strategy (“Plan on a Page”). This now sets out four main priority areas which are: Caring for God’s creation; Challenging poverty; Energising growth; and Engaging with children and young people. Each area then identifies three themes. AH has circulated a copy of the Strategy document which provides full details. 
    2. Deanery Synod: DW reported. The Synod used breakout groups to consider questions of current concern. It was useful to know that there was a fair degree of consensus across the deanery. Much of the meeting was taken up in consideration of the Diocesan Strategy (see above). AH fed back on the Area Deans/ Lay Chairs meeting at which criteria for filling stipendiary vacancies was outlined in the light of current budgetary constraints. Prioritisation will take account of four criteria: mission and outreach; governance; finance; and fabric. It might be prudent to carry out a parish ‘health check’ in respect of these criteria. Eco church was also briefly introduced (see below). At the next meeting of Synod there will be a presentation by Catherine Walton who is one of the Diocesan Environmental Champions. Living in Love and Faith (LLF) was also raised and DW briefly explained what it involved and undertook to talk about it at the next Synod meeting in May. In view of this it would be useful to include it on the PCC agenda for that month and for DW to present.  Finally, Parishes should be reminded of the upcoming Diocesan Synod elections and that election to the House of Laity is open to all members of our congregation. 
    3. Introduction to ‘Eco church’: Parishes will be asked to address this and are reminded that the C of E is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030. This will mean not just looking at buildings and the obvious things but involving the whole church and encouraging people to change their lifestyles. Information on this is provided in the A Rocha website at ecochurch.arocha.org.uk. AL volunteered to look at the website and report back to the next PCC meeting. We might then begin to consider actions that we could take. This would fit with the Diocesan priority “Caring for God’s creation’. We might invite Catherine Walton (see above) to talk to the PCC, perhaps after she has addressed deanery Synod in May. It was also suggested that an open invitation could be extended to Deanery Synod so that those interested might hear what Catherine has to say. 
  1. Minutes from January: These were approved as a true record. 
  2. Matters arising: 
    1. Title to Amen corner: No progress has been made. 
    2. Eastern window of north transept (by font): The work has been completed and a digital record (photographs and blog) has been created which will be available on our website. FOSMS provided a grant of £2000 and it is hoped to receive a further grant from the Diocese (10% of final cost of works, excl VAT).
    3. Christmas Tree Stands: The stands have now been moved to Peat’s Farm.
    4. Pittuck Mural: Luke Jordan is now aiming to complete the work by the end of February. 
    5. East End of Whorlton church: Two quotes for this work have now been received (from Charge Brothers and David Walton). The quotes are for different levels of work and not easily comparable. It was agreed that work should be concentrated on the immediate priority of dealing with the downspout and associated repointing rather than the more cosmetic repairs to the stonework. This fitted with the quote received from David Walton and he was also the cheapest. PCC members were familiar with his work and happy to recommend him. David Walton’s quote was accepted and he will be invited to do the work. 
    6. Whorlton church will require a quinquennial inspection this year. It was suggested that the existing architect, George Stastny, who is well acquainted with the church, be asked to quote for the work.
    7. Website: The new website has now gone online. A small group has now received some training (through DigVentures) in the use of the website software and has held a further meeting to determine editorial control of content and to map out a site map. Further training will take place later this month. 
  1. Safeguarding: There were no concerns and nothing to report. 
  2. Church diary: Outline plans for Lent and towards Holy week. 
    1. Ash Wednesday: SC will preside at the Ash Wednesday online service and will provide “ash crosses” via email (or will deliver to those without access or a printer).
    2. Lent study books are still available. Any surplus books will be donated to the Care Homes. 
    3. GL is providing a Lent course based upon the artistic work of Nicholas Mynheer. This will run for six weeks on Thursday evenings starting 18th February. 
    4. SC is providing RE material for the schools in the form of films and interviews.
    5. GL will provide the schools with cards for home study focused on symbols as we journey through Lent. She will also record an interview with Rob Goffee to support this..
    6. SC will be providing posters of Stations of the Cross and they will be backed up with reflections each week (on Tuesday and Thursday).
    7. Smaller Palm Crosses have been ordered for distribution via envelopes (or possibly with the Parish Magazine). 
    8. It is hoped to provide Easter Lilies as usual. 
  1. Finance:
    1. RS reported that the Annual Accounts had been circulated and that documentation was currently with the Independent Examiner. Comments were invited. JT queried the wording of Note 4 to the accounts in respect of the Pittuck Mural. RS explained that the PCC has no current or future financial obligation in respect of the Parish Hall. The Accounts can now be placed before the Annual Parish meeting (subject to examination). 
    2. RS reported that the bank account had been successfully switched from NatWest to the Co-Operative Bank and that everything seemed to have changed over well.
    3. The transfer of investments to CCLA has also been completed. All that is outstanding is the movement of monies from the Children’s Fund for which a mandate is still awaited.
  1. Health & Safety: The Wardens are undertaking the risk assessment. JKA will be attending an online Fire Safety course. An insurance review was completed for Whorlton church in 2020 and AH has just been interviewed in respect of Barnard Castle by a representative of Ecclesiastical Insurance. 
  2. 2020 Annual report: This has been circulated for comment and editorial inputs. JT has some suggested changes to make in respect of the Parish Hall and will send these to AH. Subject to these changes the Annual Report is ready to be sent to the APCM. 
  3. Date of next meetings: The next meeting will be held 22nd March. This is the final meeting of this PCC prior to the APCM on 25th April. AH reminded members that the new arrangements for elections come into effect at this meeting. Three members (MM, JT and JKA who is also a Warden) were elected under the old arrangements and their period on the PCC will automatically continue. Other current members of the PCC will need to seek re-election on the grounds that their old period will have elapsed but they will now be entitled to serve for one more year. 

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