PCC Minutes 14TH october

PCC Minutes 14TH october


Wednesday 14th October 2020 AT 7.30PM

To be present: Revd. Nathan Ward, Revd. Jonathan Jennings, Revd Christine Allen, Ann Critchley,  Jodie Ward, Mr Terry Whittaker, Mrs Janet Garnons-Williams, Miss Lorna Dyer, Mrs. Davina O’Brien, Mr. Frank Pantony, Mrs Heather Baker, Mrs. Felicity Holton, Mr. Jamie Jackson, Mr. David Ormiston, Mrs Linda Randall, Mrs. Kayleigh Ward, Mr Nick Grief, Miss Charlie Whittaker, Mr Alex Brewer, Mr Owen Smith, Mr Nigel Barfoot, Mr Ian Bryant.

This meeting was online with all participants connecting through the Zoom cloud platform to meet the Covid-19 Social Distancing rules.

  1. The meeting opened at 7.32pm with prayers led by Revd Christine Allen.

  1. Apologies – Ian Bryant.

  1. Welcome and introduction to PCC – Revd. Nathan Ward

Nathan welcomed all new members of PCC and thanked all continuing members for the ongoing support. He went on to give a brief summary of St Margaret’s Strategic Plan which was the outcome of a parish audit when he joined the parish. He remarked that everything managed so far has been working towards the implementation of this plan and supported the principles of the 3 core aims. These aims are:

Numerical Growth – number of people attending services

Spiritual Growth – developing spiritual depth not just becoming a big and/or shallow church

Transformational Growth – transforming the communities in which we live or work

Nathan presented an expanded version of the structure that will work to implement all aspects of the Strategic Plan. All post holders will have to be safer recruited and Linda Randall will audit the process once it is written.

Managing recruitment with these principles in place sets out Nathan’s expectations, and outlines the mechanisms and structures and shows where PCC fits in the new structure.

David Ormiston commented that whilst he appreciated Nathan’s views on this, he is concerned about the impact on volunteers and that such formality may frighten people from volunteering.

Nathan responded that he understood David’s comments but currently the PCC is exposed as there is no policy in place, we need to bring our recruitment in line with the policy. The list of roles etc., helps to communicate what is needed. It will be for PCC to agree.                                  

Nathan finished by saying that this is an exciting time to serve on the PCC where key projects are being started and those projects must deliver on time and within budget. He asked all members of the PCC to come prepared for the meeting and read all the materials provided so we can get on with business.

  1. Election of posts and committees

             Vice chair: Janet Garnons-Williams

                  Proposed – Nathan Ward Seconded – Linda Randall Carried unanimously

Treasurer: Alex Brewer (with assistance from Nigel Barfoot)

      Proposed – Nathan Ward Seconded Janet Garnons-Williams Carried unanimously

Appointment of minute taker effective from November 2020 to circulate monthly: Jodie Ward                                 (November)      

      Proposed – Nathan Ward Seconded Ann Critchley Carried Unanimously

Appointment of Safeguarding officer: Linda Randall

      Proposed – Nathan Ward Seconded – Alex Brewer Carried Unanimously

Standing committee election – election of at least two members in addition to the vicar and two churchwardens: Nick Grief and Linda Randall

      Proposed Nathan Ward Seconded Janet Garnons-Williams Carried unanimously

Electoral Roll officer appointment – Kate Canton has agreed to do this and the Church Representation Rules have changed to make this appointment the business of the PCC.

      Proposed Nathan Ward Seconded Janet Garnons-Williams Carried unanimously

All forms required for the Charity Commission have been sent out and members were urged to return                   them quickly.

Owen Smith, Nigel Barfoot, and Ian Bryant stood for election to PCC but were unable to take part in an election as they had not been on the Electoral Roll for 6 months

                    Proposal by Nathan Ward seconded by Kayleigh Ward to second Owen Smith and Nigel Barfoot onto                    PCC carried with 1 abstention. This co-option lasts for 1 year and carries full voting rights.

                   Ian Bryant will be invited as a guest for the present time, but without voting rights.

  1. Need for safer recruitment of all personnel – Linda Randall

All new PCC members need safer recruitment and enhanced DBS checks. Safer recruitment expects 2 references for each post. Co-opted members must complete the same forms and recruitment requirements as all other PCC members.

Previously PCC has agreed that all PCC members will complete the Diocesan Safeguarding training C0 and C1 which are online. C2 was previously available as an attended training session, but this is also online now and required to be completed by all.

Linda can be contacted for all forms required,

Traditionally hard copies of references have been used, but Linda will find out if digital ones are acceptable to speed up the process.

At this point in the meeting, Nathan stated that the Church Representation Rules say that the incumbent can direct another person to chair PCC meetings and that Janet Garnons-Williams would take over as chair of the meeting.

Janet began by asking all PCC members to confirm that they could use the Zoom platform for PCC meetings and all members confirmed that they could.

Sidespeople appointment – Lorna Dyer

The Church Representation Rules have changed to make this appointment the business of the PCC.

Although it is not possible for almost all of the sidespeople on the list from last year to volunteer at the moment because of the Covid restrictions, PCC decided to appoint the previous year’s list unaltered for the present time, proposed Lorna Dyer, seconded by Davina O’Brien. Carried unanimously.

  1. Minutes of last meeting

An amendment was agreed to page 2, and the meeting agreed that with that single amendment, the minutes could be signed by Janet.

  1. Matters arising

Safer recruitment was discussed at the last meeting when discussing the new organisational structure. There was an action for a meeting to take place attended by Linda Randall, Nathan Ward, Janet Garnons-Williams and Terry Whittaker to discuss the process for safer recruitment but although this had not happened, Nathan had been working on it.

Nathan added that in addition to the work he had already presented to the meeting he was looking at other issues related to this such as using Confidentiality Agreements. He went on to say that some roles may need this, and self-disclosure may be introduced, potentially using the Methodist Church guidance on this.

  1. Standing committee decisions

Janet ran through the following decisions taken by the Standing Committee on behalf of the PCC:

As an initial response to the conclusions in the IICA report, the church had bought 200 copies of the book “letters to a broken Church” which would be available free to anyone who wants one. PCC members were encouraged to read the book.

Expenditure to deal with squirrels in the church was approved to a limit of £400

A reinspection of the items identified in last years Asbestos Report was required. The cost for this activity was approved.

  1. Safeguarding – Linda Randall

Linda had nothing further to add since the safer recruitment and PCC requirements had been discussed earlier in the meeting.

Nathan confirmed that there were no safeguarding issues concerning Schedule 1 offenders’ current in St Margaret’s.

  1. Finance – Frank Pantony

 This report is based on the revised 2020 projections agreed at the PCC on 1 June.  Planned giving has stood up well and sundry donations have been exceeded by £10k.  Grants also increased by £13k and of course the generosity of legacies which exceeded our June figure by £20k.  This was counteracted by a reduction of £8k on the Millennium Centre and £10k on the bookshop.  These were the major changes. So, from the income figure of £219,353 projected in June, we are now facing a projection of £241,868, an increase of £22,515


Expenditure was more difficult to account for because of the work on the lights and sound etc and the break-in repairs, some of which was recovered through insurance and some through VAT reclaim.  The overall effect was that the June predicted expenditure of £435,055 was increased to a projected sum of £461,042.  An increase of £25,987.

If all these projections are correct, we are still looking at holding reserves at £86,000 which is well within our reserves policy of 3 months of planned regular expenditure.

  1. Operations

Covid-19 update – Terry Whittaker

Terry said that ST Margaret’s had opened earlier than many other churches in the deanery and this was down to a great deal of work by the team. It has been pretty successful, and the churchwardens had worked hard to keep everything safe and clean.

The risk assessment had been reviewed and in order to build in some resilience to the staff team it was decided to move into two groups.

Group 1 is Nathan, Terry, Janet, Jane and Kate, group 2 is Christine, Jonathan, Jodie, Lorna, Davina, Ann, and Ava.

Every effort will be made to keep the two groups separate, both in leading worship and socially, although this may not always be possible. St Margaret’s would continue to follow the guidance of the Church of England and government and take decisions as things changed.

There is a need for more people to act as stewards at services, but a shortage of people eligible and anyone volunteering needs to follow safer recruitment process.

Nathan took an action to circulate the information concerning who was in each group to PCC members, publish it on the website and that all clergy should announce it at the services at the coming weekend.

Sunburst Bookshop update – Rev Nathan Ward

Historically the Sunburst Bookshop was opened during the fund-raising efforts for the heritage roof project some years ago, which was led and managed by Tony Andrews. It raises income for the church, but Hamish Mackay Miller wishes to retire and give up the lease. Sometime ago, the PCC took a decision that the church would not take on the lease. At that point, it was hoped that the bookshop would continue under the auspices of a CIC.

Covid-19 has affected the staffing which is made up entirely of volunteers. The building is in need of substantial repair which is the responsibility of the lease and the previous decision needs to be actioned. There is no paperwork relating the agreement between the lease and the church, so it is not clear what period of notice needs to be given.

Nathan put the recommendation to the PCC to instruct Thackray Williams LLP to provide legal advice in relation to the Sunburst Bookshop tenancy and recommended actions. The cost of this activity s £300+vat.

Proposed Nathan Ward

Seconded Nigel Barfoot

Unanimously carried

Janet proposed that the advice received would be provided to the PCC for consideration by email rather than wait for the next PCC meeting.

Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

Seconded Alex Brewer

Unanimously carried

It was recognised that when we serve the Notice to Quit, the stock will need to be cleared and various ideas as to how this might be done were discussed.

The manager of the bookshop has asked to re-open on a limited basis. PCC agreed that until the electrical safety certificate has been issued, the shop must remain closed.

Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

Seconded Ann Critchley

Carried unanimously

Cheque signatories need to be changed. There is a PCC resolution which states that signatories on all bank accounts must be the same. 

A proposal was made to align the bookshop signatories with the other bank accounts. Agreed unanimously.

Alex Brewer commented that the bank accounts, signatories, and Bankline need to be reviewed.

Nathan proposed that PCC authorise Jamie Jackson to take on the Admin role for  and Terry Whittaker to have rights of review, to give independence and segregation of duties for Alex as the Treasurer, who will become a signatory for the bank accounts.

The following resolutions were put forward:

Jamie Jackson to take over the Admin role on Bankline

Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

Seconded Terry Whittaker

Carried unanimously

Terry Whittaker to take on the Reviewer role on Bankline.

Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

Seconded Jonathan Jennings

Carried unanimously

Confirm signatories for all bank accounts as Lorna Dyer, Davina O’Brien, Janet Garnons-Williams, Alex Brewer and Jane Forsyth.

Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

Seconded Davina O’Brien

Carried unanimously

A proposal was put forward to close the previous online banking facility (used prior to Bankline).

Proposed Nathan Ward

Second Frank Pantony

Carried unanimously

Millennium Centre Refurbishment Update – Davina O’Brien

At the last PCC meeting it was agreed that the Ops Committee would review the proposed project fees and once content, would take the project forward.

After some communication and checking with the architect, we reached a point where we were prepared to sign the letter of intent – starting the design and technical design phase of the project for phase 1 of the refurbishment. We had included the additional tenders required by PCC.

Approval from the PCC was received to go ahead with the letter for the architects and they have started work. We have the first review meeting with their team on Thursday 15th October.

A further update will be given on this next time.

Alongside this, we have agreed that Jane will progress getting some work done on the toilets. We removed this from the whole refurb project as we felt that it was self-contained piece of work which could be scheduled and carried out in advance of the work programme next year. We have a budget of £5k for this, which is included in a separate budget line to the major refurb project.

A detailed update was given by Davina concerning the sale of 123 Station Road, which is significantly more complex than a standard property sale.

            A proposal was made that the PCC agree, in principle, to the sale of the property at 123 Station Road.

            Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

            Seconded Frank Pantony

            There were 20 votes for, 0 against and 1 abstention.

            A recommendation was made that Davina O’Brien meet with Nigel Barfoot to review and organise the work             in the diocese process in relation to the qualified surveyor.

            Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

            Seconded Nathan Ward

            Carried unanimously

            A proposal was made that any proceeds from the sale of 123 Station Road be put towards the Millennium             Centre refurbishment work (and costs incurred by the sale) subject to the review of our financial reserves             policy.

            Proposed Nathan Ward

            Seconded Owen Smith

            Carried unanimously

            A proposal was made that a health and safety risk assessment be carried out on the churchyard gang             activities. A quote for £350+vat has been received for this.

            Proposed Janet Garnons-Williams

            Seconded Alex Brewer

            Carried unanimously

  1. Schedule of services till Christmas – Nathan Ward

13 December Christingle

17/18/19 December Christmas by Candlelight event (tbd) 

24 December Crib Services – 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, 19:00 and a Midnight Communion at 23:30

25 December 08:00 and 10:30 services

A covid-safe Christmas Tree festival proposal is being developed by Jodie.

  1. Churches Together in Rainham – Lorna Dyer

The organisation had not met since the last PCC meeting.

  1. Deanery Synod – Kayleigh Ward

Deanery Synod had not met since the last PCC meeting.

  1. Strategic plan update – Nathan Ward

Nathan commented that there is a new PCC in place and a new structure and a great deal of work to do. This meeting had served to introduce new members and they would be encouraged to contribute to any of the work in progress or planned.

He continued that a further update on the overall plan would be given at each PCC meeting to ensure the delivery of the new organisation.

  1. Heritage Project – Nathan Ward

Nathan proposed that PCC create a sub-committee of PCC to take on the day-to-day management of the Heritage project. He proposed that a project management board would consist of:

Rainham Mark Schools Trust (education representative)

Cranfield University (archaeological representative)

Rainham Historical Society

John Weir Funeral Directors

Medway Council representative

Diocese of Rochester representative

For St Margaret’s:

Nathan Ward

Lorna Dyer

Nick Grief


Proposed Nathan Ward

Seconded Janet Garnons-Williams

Carried unanimously

  1. Any other business

An update on Barry Kemp was provided to the PCC by Janet Garnons-Williams.

  1. The meeting closed at 22:18 with the Grace led by Jonathan Jennings.

Signed……………………………………………                   Dated ………………………………………….


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