June 2021


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

with Whorlton held on Monday 7th June 2021 at 7.00p.m. in church 

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 (curate), Allan Jones, Roy Long, David Walker (secretary), Frances Stenlake, Robert Stenlake, Bob Ward, John White, Malcolm Makepeace, Geoff Knott, John Emerson, John Chadwick.
  1. Apologies: Abi Littlefair, Joan Kemp-Ambler, Astley Fenwick, John Trevett.
  2. Declarations of interest: none
  3. Dwelling in the Word: Acts 6.1-7
  1. Standing Committee membership: For the last twenty plus years the Standing Committee has consisted of the Vicar, the Churchwardens, the PCC Secretary and the Treasurer. Following the APCM in April the Standing Committee was constituted again in this way, incorporating the four churchwardens.  However, the revised Church Representation Rules (2020) require the number of other PCC members appointed to the Committee to be at least equal to the number of Wardens. These elected members need not be ‘officers’. The options open to the PCC are to increase other membership or decrease the warden’s membership. The PCC agreed to appoint two churchwardens to the Standing Committee, being Roy Long and Allan Jones. The Treasurer (Robert Stenlake) and the Secretary (David Walker) were appointed as the other members. 
  1. Music and finance discussion: It was noted that AH has called a meeting to discuss issues surrounding music making and finance. This meeting will take place in Church on Tuesday 8th June at 11.00 a.m. It was emphasised that this is not a formal Standing Committee meeting. No decisions will be made. The intention will be to report back to the PCC. It will be attended by the Director of Music, Alec Harding, Sarah Cliff, David Walker, Robert Stenlake, Joan Kemp-Ambler and Allan Jones.
  1. Creation of PCC committee structure: This was the main agenda item as the meeting was primarily  called to address the restructuring of the work of the PCC as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and to alert PCC members to immediate issues.
    1. At the last PCC it was suggested that sub committees or working groups/teams might be set up to address different areas of church life and free up the PCC agenda. These groups would have delegated responsibility for these areas subject to reporting to the PCC and referring to the PCC for decisions where appropriate. GK spoke very usefully of his experience of a similar arrangement at St Brandon’s Brancepeth where he had served on the PCC and as church treasurer for a number of years. The PCC agreed to proceed with this approach, first agreeing the committee areas before  identifying members of the PCC to serve on each committee and naming a convenor for each. The PCC also agreed the need to involve other members of the congregation beyond the membership of the PCC. 
    2. Agreed committees and provisional membership. Note that Alec Harding is ex-officio member of all committees. 
            • Building and Fabric – Roy Long, Robert Stenlake (convenor), Allan Jones, John Chadwick, Bob Ward, Roy Long
            • Finance and stewardship – David Walker (convenor), Robert Stenlake, John Chadwick, Bob Ward, John White
            • Social (including fundraising) – John Emerson (convenor), John Trevett, Sarah Cliff, Bob Ward
            • Music – Allan Jones (convenor). Annette Butters, Director of Music, will be invited.
            • Worship – Malcolm Makepeace, Sarah Cliff, Gillian Lunn. Alec Harding will convene this group. 
            • Eco Church – Abi Littlefair, John Trevett, David Walker, Allan Jones. Abi Littlefair will be asked to convene.
            • Pastoral – Gillian Lunn, Sarah Cliff (convenor)
            • Children and young people – Frances Stenlake (convenor), Gillian Lunn, Sarah Cliff. Kim Harding will be invited to join.
            • Communications – Geoff Knott (convenor), Frances Stenlake, Allan Jones, Gillian Lunn. Geoff Lowson as magazine editor will be invited to join.  
            • Heritage – John White. DigVentures and their volunteer network will need to be involved in this. 
            • Whorlton Church – Roy Long (convenor), John Emerson.

The PMC, as ‘mission committee’, is not included as the aim of our engagement with PMC is that all of our life be seen through the lens of mission. As we work through the process every group will be asked to align its work to our discerned mission. Some members of the PCC were not in attendance (largely due to Secretary error). They will be consulted and asked to indicate where they might want to be involved. It was agreed that it was too early to set a schedule for meetings but that convenors should try to arrange a meeting for their groups (either in church or via Zoom if more convenient) to identify others who might be willing and able to contribute and begin work on determining terms of reference for their committees. 

  1. Budget update 2021: Robert Stenlake reported on the budget position. He reminded the PCC that the budget had been set on the assumption that normal activity would be resuming from the beginning of July but that we had budgeted for a deficit of around £28,000. So far this year actual performance has been very close to budget with income being slightly ahead probably due to some generous funeral donations. Being on track will still lead to a deficit (which it should be possible to limit to £5,000). 
  2. Preliminary thoughts for a service pattern for the next stage of the Covid Roadmap. The situation is still uncertain and could remain so. For now the ‘Saints’ groups will continue to operate until the end of June. It may then be possible to resume ‘normal’ services from the beginning of July. This would certainly involve a 10.30 Sunday service at Barnard Castle and a BCP early morning service  which could recommence at 8.00 or could be started later at 8.30. Whorlton church will be content with two service per month and will be happy to have one at 9.00 a.m. and one at 4.00 p.m. There are still questions to be considered surrounding the Wednesday morning service and the 4.00 Sunday service which has traditionally involved children and young people. There is also the question of digital services which have proved very popular during the pandemic. For some people they have become a lifeline and may continue to be so. The Wednesday morning digital service has proven to more popular than the physical service. 
  3. Other Business:
    1. Safeguarding: There are no issues. The Secretary reminded PCC members of the revised arrangements whereby they now need to be trained to the C1 level (Foundation). This training is available online at https://safeguardingtraining.cofeportal.org 
    2. Health and Safety: The issue raised by the PAT testing of the two TV screens has been addressed by the contractor. 
    3. John Emerson volunteered to get a price for fifty Christmas Trees in the event that we might have a festival this year.
  4. Dates of future meetings: These will all be at 7.00 p.m. in Church. 7th July, 6th September, 12th October. Further dates will be determined once the effect of the new committee system has been discerned. 

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