September 2021


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

with Whorlton took place on Monday 6th September 2021 7.00pm in church 

The purpose of the PCC is to promote the whole mission of the church, 

pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.


  1. Present: Roy Long, Alec Harding, Astley Fenwick, Allan Jones, Joan Kemp-Ambler, John Emerson, Frances Stenlake, Malcolm Makepeace, Geoff Knott, Gillian Lunn (ordinand)
  2. Apologies: Bob Ward, David Walker, John White, John Trevett, John Chadwick, Sarah Cliff
  3. Declarations of interest: None
  4. Items for Any Other Business (urgent items only will be considered) : None  
  5. Standing Committee action: The Standing Committee had agreed the following minute to enable urgent remedial work to go forward within the timescale of NLHF grant.

   ‘This PCC will seek Faculty permission for remedial work at St. Mary’s Barnard Castle to address localised problems with the lime mortar pointing at the west end of the church detailed in the report of the church architect, John Barnes, dated August 2021. Costs will be met from the NHLF grant contingency.’    

The PCC unanimously concurred with the Standing Committee’s action and the minute.                            

  1. Dwelling in the Word: Acts 6.1-7
  1. Partnership for Missional Church: Update on process,  noticing what has been happening around us and ‘balloon ride plans’ 

The Vicar explained that over the next few months the PMC Steering Team would be helping the congregation to reflect on the PCCs discerned ‘adaptive challenge’ (engagement with lone person households) and generally noticing what was happening around us both within and beyond the church. This work was preparatory to ’balloon ride’ exercises which would involve as many members of the congregation as possible to help us create a missional plan for action.

The PCC then pooled its thoughts about what we were noticing within the church and the wider community and will pass its thoughts to the Steering Team

  1. Minutes:  the minutes of the PCC meeting 7.7.21 were agreed and signed
  2. Matters arising: the PCC noted
      1. a.Title to Amen corner: There is no news from the Land registry.
      2. b.Covid Memorial Tree: Permission for the tree has been received and a planting ceremony will take place on the morning of 21st October 2021
      3. c.Remedial work at the east end of Whorlton church: RL reported that work on the east wall had been completed. A plastic, detachable downcomer had been fixed (enabling it to be cleared more easily). Mr Walton had also addressed some problems with lead work on the porch roof and steeple.
      4. d.PCC Treasurer/Finance issues (see below)
  1. Health & Safety: responses to the easing of Covid regulations. The PCC commented on the changes to Covid hygiene measures agreed by the churchwardens. It was noted that:
  • most people appreciated no longer wearing masks in church; 
  • the designating of the side aisles for those feeling vulnerable was appreciated  but the pews should be moved further apart.
  • JE suggested that the annual Remembrance service might be broadcast outside the church for any who might not wish to sit amongst a large crowd.
  1. Safeguarding:
  1. An opportunity to raise any concerns. No concerns were raised
  2. Filming (FaceBook Live): 
      1. The Vicar outlined the issues involved in maintaining ‘livestreamed’ worship. These included the need for GDPR permission from anyone identifiably appearing onscreen and concerns about how filming changes an act of worship. The PCC will discuss the issue more fully at its next meeting. In the meantime Facebook live services have been reduced, the camera lifted higher and care is being taken not to show congregational members’ faces onscreen.
      2. Connected (though separate) to the above, the Vicar mentioned that decisions would soon need to be made about Zoom services. Currently the Wednesday 10.00am service is held on zoom and serves a small but appreciative community. There are some, however, who are looking forward to returning this ‘slot’ for in person worship in church. Should (and if so ‘how should) a Zoom service continue?
  1. Team reports: 
    1. Finance and Stewardship 
      1. Appointment of PCC Treasurer: the PCC unanimously agreed to the co-option of Alistair Stewart as the PCC treasurer. There was considerable work to be done in handing over the role to Alistair and sharing out some of the role to others but it was good to be in the position of making an appointment.
      2. Draft budget. The Finance Team had circulated a draft budget (and notes). The budget will be finalised for agreement at the next PCC meeting. He Guided Pledge figure had increased: the finance tam are uncertain as to whether the increase can be met but it reflects the fact that our Parish Finances through the worst of the pandemic were less badly hit than others in the diocese who saw their income plummet.
    2. Children, schools and Young people: FS reported that this Team was now up and running
    3. Fundraising & social: JE gave an update on work that is progressing toward the Christmas Tree Festival. The Vicar highlighted the desire of the Mayor to invite other local Mayors to the final event of the Festival. A small team is seeking sponsors for the 50 trees.

JE reminded the PCC that planning for the Queen’s platinum jubilee should begin soon. 

    1. Eco church: AL reported on the group’s activities. The parish was now classified as a ‘Gold award’ parish under the Arocha ‘worship and teaching heading’. The group was turning its attention to products used for hygiene: to ensure that they were Fair Trade and environmentally friendly. FS suggested purchasing from Traidcraft.
    2. Whorlton: the Whorlton Team are to meet in the next few days
    3. Communication: GK is seeking digital masters of guidebooks and leaflets we use. FS highlighted the importance of posters having our charity number on them.
    4. Buildings – yet to meet
    5. Heritage – the parish is taking part in the Heritage Open Day (11.9.21) using material prepared by DigVentures
    6. Music: AJ reported that 2 concerts are planned and Christmas events are in the pipeline. FS asked about ‘Evensongs’: the Director of Music and former organist had been in discussion about the choir singing at St. Helen Auckland….was this still happening? No one knew. 
    7. Worship: yet to meet
    8. Pastoral: yet to meet.

To gather suggestions for a reporting schedule for Teams: 

The PCC felt that brief verbal reports sufficed (though valued detailed written reports if needed). 

The Vicar reminded Team leaders of the importance of spending time working out their ‘terms of reference’: these would help others understand their team’s work and help the Team know whether it was fulfilling their brief.

  1. AOB: None
  2. Date of next meeting: 7.00pm in church on Tuesday 12th October & (proposed) Monday 29th November 2021

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