PCC Minutes - March 2015

A meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s Barnard Castle with Whorlton took place on Monday 2nd March 2015 at 7.30pm in the vestry.

1. Present

Alec Harding, Andy Miller, Robert & Frances Stenlake, Lynda Alderson, Ann Woodward, John Emerson, Jean Tallentire, David Blakely, Astley Fenwick, Dave Bailey, Jane Goldberg (from item 6).

2. Apologies

Keith & Margaret Miles, Sue Peat, Louise Hosey.

3. Declarations of interest


4. Items for Any Other Business (urgent items only will be considered)


5. Safeguarding Training Opportunities and implications

Alec informed the PCC of the Safeguarding Training being offered in Durham (SG1) and the requirement that all those who worked with children or vulnerable adults should eventually attend. Frances Stenlake and Kim Harding had attended the training in 2014, Dave Bailey and Helen Scott had attended a session in the past week and booked to attend SG2 in April. Licensed ministers have attended training. The PCC expressed a fear that the requirement both to be DBS checked and to attend 6 hrs training made the recruitment of ‘helpers’ and volunteers from the fringes of church life (eg parents of choir members) well nigh impossible. Questions were also asked about the definition of ‘vulnerable adults’ in a context where so many of the congregation are elderly.

The PCC agreed to reimburse the travel costs of those who attended training, requesting that cars be shared where possible.

6. Minutes of the PCC meeting held 19th January 2015 (previously circulated)

With one small change these were approved and signed.

The PCC also received the minutes of the standing committee meetings held to progress the application for the Listed Places of Worship ‘Roof Repair’ grant. The PCC noted that Robert Stenlake had been authorised to submit a grant application for works totalling over £40,000 and that the standing committee had agreed to find a way to contribute £10,000 towards this work. Additional work that didn’t fall under the grant scheme but would be best carried out at the same time was also to be funded.

7. Matters arising

a) Barnard Castle Church:

i) Pew cushions and pew lengths – the PCC noted that the DAC have given their approval, the Public Citation had been displayed and the faculty application has been submitted.

ii) Defibrillator – No news had been received from the Town Council other than that the Cricket Club (with help from the Marwood Trust) had installed a defibrillator at its premises).

iii) Church Floodlighting – The PCC noted that a meeting has been held with the contractors who are contacting the suppliers of the fittings re their replacement.

b) Whorlton

i) Electrics/heating certificates: Mark Winter had supplied electrical certificates for most of the work he had completed but certificates for the organ had not been sent. Ann Woodward was in contact with him and was asked to emphasise the need for the certificates for insurance purposes. The treasurer was anxious to pay for the work but reluctant to do so till the building was insurable.

ii) Churchyard wall: a length of 8 metres had been identified as needing to be rebuilt: the size of the stones meant that the work would require two people. John Emerson would seek formal quotes for the work. The vicar noted that the area of wall beside the lych-gate needed re-pointing.

c) Barnard Castle QI report

The PCC noted that a detailed application for grant aid for works estimated to cost over £40,000 was submitted to the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Grant Scheme at the end of January. Robert and Frances Stenlake were thanked for all their work in putting together the application, which, even if unsuccessful, progressed preparatory work required by the QI. A letter from the Diocesan Office remarked that the scheme was heavily oversubscribed but that the volume of applications would, it was hoped, raise an awareness in government of the scale of works required to the nation’s churches.

d) Approval of the 2014 Annual Report (previously circulated)

The Warden’s reports had been added to the text, some minor typos were noted.

Copies of the financial report had been circulated (and made available as hard copies at the meeting). Robert Stenlake informed the PCC that the report followed the latest advice in the manner of its presentation. The PCC agreed that the report be submitted to the APCM subject to the Independent Examiner being satisfied with the accounts.

8. Prayer

Alec gave a reading and led us in a prayer for St Chad’s day.

9. Mission

a) SMAD: 21 children enjoyed the activity day held on 31/1/15.

b) Songs of Praise at Whorlton: residents of Whorlton have been asked to name their favourite hymns. Once the top 10 have been identified, Roger will rehearse with the choir and a Songs of Praise service will be held on 22/3/15.

c) Deanery Plan: Deaneries had been asked to put forward plans for 3 main areas; Growing the Church, Children and Young People and Poverty. Using a graph that charted church growth and financial strength the PCC tried to assess where the Parish fell on the graph and the types of actions that might be required to grow in these areas.

10. Finance

a) Finance Report: Approval of 2014 Accounts – see Item 7d). Following continuing problems with the boilers, engineers are to come back. With regards Gift Aid, we have moved to new software and it is hoped to claim the gift aid monthly. Someone has expressed an interest in assisting the Treasurer and Robert is following this up.
The PCC are happy to meet the shortfall from Dinner/Discussion group.
The PCC are prepared to commit to giving at least £1200 to a possible Churches Together joint venture to raise money for Christian Aid. If £5000 new money is raised over 18 months the scheme will receive matching funds from the EU that will at least quadruple donations. It is hoped that the PCCs commitment will encourage other churches to be involved.

b) Stewardship Report: Nothing to report.

11. Building Matters

a) Heating Problems at Whorlton: while the new heaters are using less electricity, they do not give off as much heat. The congregation hasn’t complained, so although DB investigated space heaters, nothing is to be done at present.

b) Pittuck Mural in the Parish Hall: the PHA has noticed that the mural is peeling. The costs for any repairs, to both the mural and the wall, will probably need to be shared between the PHA and PCC. We, perhaps, need to consider whether we keep on touching up the mural. Frances suggested that the hall be opened on the Heritage Open Day and the mural made available to view.

12. Committee and Group Reports

a) Warden’s Report: The Whorlton spring clean is to take place on March 21st and the Barnard Castle spring clean on March 28th.

b) FUNSOC: will meet soon. The PCC would like to record our thanks for the visit made by choristers from Durham Cathedral. 8-10 local youngsters joined the singing.

c) Communications Group: to meet next week.

13. AOB


14. Date of Next Meeting

April 13th. There is a meeting at Green Lane School on March 25th at 4pm.

The meeting closed at 9pm.

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