July 2021


Meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s Barnard Castle with Whorlton held on Wednesday 7th July 2021 6.00pm 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), Joan Kemp-Ambler, Astley Fenwick, David Walker (secretary), Frances Stenlake, Bob Ward, John White, Malcolm Makepeace, Geoff Knott, John Emerson, John Trevett, John Chadwick, Gillian Lunn (observing).
  1. Apologies: Sarah Cliff, Allan Jones, Roy Long, Abi Littlefair.
  2. Declarations of interest: None.
  3. Items for Any Other Business: Election of replacement on Standing Committee; presentation of budgetary control statement. Both items will be considered within existing agenda.                                      
  4. Dwelling in the Word: Acts 6.1-7
  1. Partnership for Missional Church
  1. Developments concerning Parish Nursing: AH explained what this might involve with further information being provided by JW. A Parish Nurse (PN) would be a qualified SRN appointed to a parish or group of parishes. The role of the PN would be to act on the border between the Health Service and church and the service would not be confined to churchgoers. This initiative springs from the Diocesan priority to deal with poverty. Funding of (substantial amount) will be available through the Lord Crewe Trust. JW has attended Zoom meetings and has another planned shortly. The key sticking points would appear to be the practical issue of administration of any scheme. AH reported that UTASS might be willing and able to help out with that. At the moment the potential would be for a PN to cover the areas of Teesdale and Weardale and the question would then be what we would want from such an appointment. 
  2. AH reiterated to the PCC the  invitation to attend PMC Cluster event (Saturday 10th July 2021: 10.00- 12.30pm on zoom). Anyone planning to attend will need to receive a Zoom code from either AH or by contacting Beverley Pilcher direct. 
  1. Minutes: The minutes of the PCC meetings 17.5.21, 7.6.21 and Standing Committee 15.6.21 were received and accepted as being a true record. 
  2. Matters arising: 
      1. The PCC was asked to note the resignation of Robert Stenlake as Church Treasurer and from the PCC. As RS is also a member of the Standing Committee a replacement would need to be appointed. FS was suggested and, being agreeable, she was unanimously appointed. RS kindly offered to continue with the basic duties of the treasurer, being responsible for receipts and payments and the accounting system, until a replacement can be found. As RS has served the church with distinction for thirteen years it was agreed that some suitable way should be found of thanking him and marking his resignation. It was decided that this should be done in church, at a Sunday service, and that AH would liaise with FS on the best form this should take. 
      2. Remedial work at the east end of Whorlton church: Mr Walton had planned to start work but he has suffered from staff absences due to the need to self-isolate. He intends to begin as soon as possible. In the meantime there may be need for additional work to repair flashing. RL will seek advice on this.
      3. Living in Love and Faith (LLF): AH outlined the intention of the parish and the deanery to provide courses in relation to LLF. The parish will need to help to provide the deanery course as two deanery clergy will be leaving at the end of September. Detailed plans will be notified in due course. For now the planned dates for Parish and Deanery studies are

Course 1: in church 6 Wednesdays from September 15th at 7.00pm

Proposed Deanery course: 6 Thursdays on Zoom from 21st October at 7.00pm

      1. Title to Amen corner: There is no news from the Land Registry.
      2. Covid Memorial Tree: The PCC unanimously agreed to approach the Archdeacon for permission to plant a 6ft Rowan Tree on the south side of the churchyard (near the cholera memorial) in memory of those who have died in the Covid 19 pandemic. All costs will be met by the local Rotary Club and archaeological supervision will be offered by DigVentures Ltd.
  1. Safeguarding:
  1. There were no concerns.
  2. Training now appears to be up to date.
  3. Filming (FaceBook Live), photography, voice and GDPR: a Church of England website post has raised questions about permissions required from those who might appear and/or be heard in material filmed for the internet/photographs/recordings. Our Safeguarding Officer has negotiated a way forward with those immediately concerned. Smuffies parents have been asked to sign permissions for photos at the group and the camera on Sunday mornings is being directed in a way the faces of the congregation are not seen. Advice is being sought from the Archdeacons as to the way forward. There was some discussion on this. FS made the point that everyone who has received  Safeguarding training, and especially members of the PCC, should remind themselves periodically of the guidance on safeguarding which is contained in our safeguarding policy (available on the website and as a hard copy in the church entrance) and the document ‘Promoting a safer church’ ( available online via Diocesan website safeguarding tab). JT reinforced the point that we should never be taking photographs or any images of children without consent. It was emphasised that the sharing of images without written consent contravenes the provisions of GDPR. AH also made the point that it was not just images of children that was problematical and cited the case of an asylum seeker whose life could have been endangered if his image had been available online. We will wait for definitive advice from the Archdeacons. 
  4. DBS checks: There was some confusion over who might have still require checks or whose DBS had expired. This was largely a communication problem between the person checking DBS (AH) and the record keeper (DW). This has now been resolved and the records are up to date.
  1. Teams:
  1. It was formally proposed that we should use speak of ‘Teams’ rather than committees. This was agreed
  1. Team reports: Since being set up at the last PCC meeting some Teams have met and some have not had the opportunity.  Written reports of the initial meetings that had taken place were circulated. These reports were noted by the PCC (being Fundraising and Social, Communication, Heritage). In addition the report of the Whorlton Team was received too late to be circulated. It is attached for information.  No meetings have yet been held of the following teams: Buildings, Music, Worship, Eco church, Pastoral, Children, Schools and Young People. It was noted that RS is happy to continue as part of the Buildings Team but no longer wishes to be convenor. It was agreed to approach Allan Jones (AJ), currently on holiday, to ask him if he would take this over. Astley Fenwick (AF) expressed a wish to be part of the Eco Church Team and Helen Goodman has also asked to be on that team. She also asked to be part of the Fundraising and Social team. Membership of all the teams is still available to the wider congregation and they are encouraged to volunteer their names. 
  2. Finance and Stewardship: DW presented the report of this team as there were a number of items that required discussion and the agreement of the PCC. 
    1. Recruitment of new treasurer: This is a priority. A number of people have been approached but so far without success. A job specification will be created which distinguishes between core requirements of the role and the wider non-core responsibilities which were carried out by RS. It is hoped that these responsibilities can be assumed by others, including the churchwardens. 
    2. The need to reiterate and establish the process for authorising payments was brought into focus with a suggestion to purchase a card reader which could be left unattended in church. Even at full cost this would be an effective purchase but subsequently Fosms has agreed to fund it. The Team decided to go ahead with the purchase and seek the endorsement of the PCC. The PCC agreed unanimously.
    3. The team had made two suggestions in relation to restricted funds. The first specifically related to the Smuffies fund. It was suggested that as the fund had not originally been set up as a trust that it should be re-assigned as a designated fund in order to allow for more flexible use. The second suggestion was that the Finance team should carry out a review of all of the PCC’s restricted funds with a view to rationalising them prior to the preparation of the 2022 budget. This is broadly in line with advice on the Parish Resources section of the C of E website. The PCC demurred on the first suggestion but endorsed the second. The team will carry out a review of restricted funds and report back to the PCC.
    4. Whilst the mainstream activities of the Director of Music are planned and accounted for in the unrestricted funds budget additional work (in relation to the Community Orchestra) is not budgeted for. The financing of this has become an issue and there is a strong view within the PCC that members of the band and choir should pay a subscription for membership based upon their attendance at rehearsals. There is an equally strong view within the PCC that this would impact on the nature of the music provision. It was agreed that the Finance team should try to find a compromise that would reconcile these views and that this could be done as an essential part of agreeing the budget for 2022.
    5. DW spoke to a statement showing the present financial position and projecting this forward to the end of the year. Whilst the situation is difficult it could have been a lot worse. Much will rest upon having a successful Christmas Tree Festival. AH reported that the likelihood of this has been considerably increased through the offer of an anonymous donation to cover the cost of the Christmas trees. There is pressure to establish the budget position for 2022 not only to consider the issues raised above but also to try to plan to raise sufficient income in a year which will not benefit from a Christmas Tree festival. The Fundraising and Social team are aware of this pressure and would welcome a target being set. The Finance team will begin budget planning in August and would hope to report on progress to the September PCC meeting although it is unlikely that a budget will have been set by then. The aim would be to propose a budget to the October PCC meeting and this would tie in with the requirements of the Diocese.
  1. Health & Safety: There were no concerns.
  2. AOB: This was dealt with elsewhere in the agenda
  3. Date of next meeting:  Monday 6th September 2021 7.00pm

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