The Parish Church of St Margaret, Rainham Parochial Church Council
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
TW opened the meeting with prayer.
These were received from Revd Christine Allen (CA); Revd Jonathan Jennings (JPJ) and Owen Smith (OS).
Finance Committee Update:
2020 Accounts – TW referred to the finance documents previously circulated and confirmed that we are close to closing the 2020 accounts. DOB reported that the Gift Aid repayment has been received along with the insurance claim for the roof work. Expected income: £242,700; actual: £251,000. Expected expenditure: £295,000; actual: £338,000. The final bills for the lighting were incorrectly included in the expenditure for 2020 when they should have been posted as Assets. This has now been corrected in the 2020 accounts. Also, a payment of £6,900 is due to be reimbursed from the Vicar and Churchwardens Fund during 2021. This raised a question as to how we manage projects going forward and allocate costs – this is being worked on by the Finance Committee and Jane.
Jan 2021 Figures – actual income was £12,500 which, whilst less than the projected income of £15,100 is due to the way the year forecast is calculated and the Finance Committee are confident we are where we should be. Expected expenditure: £24,500; actual: £16,900.
123 Station Road – the sale is progressing well and surveys are being carried out w/b 15 March. There are no expected concerns and this should hopefully be complete by the end of April.
Bookshop Account Closure – this is ongoing with the Bank. NW is to meet with Hamish soon.
Ops Manager Job Description & Gift Aid – Jane is meeting with DOB and JGW in the next two weeks. There is an ongoing discussion regarding both the financial and Gift Aid aspects which form part of her role. It was noted that FP will continue to oversee and facilitate the pastoral element of the Gift Aid process.
Bankline – TW still to undergo some training. NB has agreed to be an authoriser.
Credit Card & Amazon Account – this has been set up and there is one card which sits with NW. The Church Amazon account has also been set up.
Payroll – Salary increases have been backdated into the system for Jane and Kate. JGW reported that both were very grateful and have sent their thanks to the PCC.
Giving – The Finance Committee, NW and the Staff team have had conversations about ways to increase the profile of giving, bringing it into the online services. One suggestion is to create videos by different people telling of God’s story in their lives and how the church’s investment has made a difference to them. Further thought will be given and brought to the next meeting.
Finance Gp / NW/ Staff
Treasurer Role – there are three people being approached about this and it is hoped that this role will soon be filled.
Depreciation of assets are to be looked at by the Finance Committee and brought to the next meeting.
Thanks were given to the Finance Committee for their hard work in getting the accounts to this point.
Operations Group Update:
Various maintenance work has been carried out including the church boilers, CCTV and alarms; the lightning conductor and lifts are ongoing as is the remedial electrical work needed in the tower.
South Wall – the old damage that had been looked at appears to have worsened since the snow. NB and John Gilkison have met with NB’s son who is a bricklayer; they have highlighted three areas of concern. Also, as it is a listed wall in the graveyard there will be certain rules and regulations to follow; it is also noted that lime mortar (more expensive) will likely need to be used. Once further investigations have been carried out, the Ops Group will prepare a report for PCC.
Service Review with Norse – DOB met with the Norse team to talk through various issues, including a full maintenance contract, extra cleaning at the Millennium Centre, the removal of the hopper and waste management, a quote for the boiler service and gutters at church. This went well and everything is in hand.
John Gilkison has decided to step back from the Ops Group although has indicated he would be happy to continue to offer help in an advisory capacity. The PCC were very grateful for John’s help to date and DOB reported that it has been good to work with him and his knowledge has been invaluable.
There are no new safeguarding issues to report. It was clarified that this refers to church or people in church and can relate to either: something historica person attending St Margaret’s that requires an interventionan issue that has come to the staff team’s attention orsomething you see or hear about that may require escalation PCC paperwork is now complete with just two references outstanding. LR is meeting with NW, TW and Jo Whittaker next week with reference to the Safeguarding Matrix. It is worth noting that Claire Langridge is leaving the Diocesan team; NW is involved in handing over historic cases. New advice has recently been received from the National Safeguarding team which will be reviewed, and any changes notified to PCC in due course.
Community Team & Eco Church Updates:
The Churchwardens try hard to buy Fairtrade goods where possible and would like to sign up to be a Fairtrade Church.FH and KW are starting to calculate the Church’s carbon footprint and work out how this could be reduced. In response to a community request, the Eco Hub Community team are engaging the community to join with then in pledging to plant 1,000 trees.
Co-op funding had been applied for and some of this money was donated to the Friends of Rainham Rec for the willow den (which is the first one in Medway).Fairy doors are being hidden the weekend of 13/03 by Rainham Rocks and the fairy trail will be launched on 25/03. A local author has been engaged to create different fairy profiles.Rainham Litter Heroes Group are keeping busy. NG has been awarded top litter picker!
Regathering after COVID – in line with Government guidance, Monday 17 May is the planned unlocking of Stage Three. NW suggests that St Margaret’s aim to open for physical in-worship from then with the following proposal: Thursday 20 May – a memorial service Friday 21 / Saturday 22 May – a social gathering and activities (guideline dependant) Sunday 23 May – Church reopens for Sunday services. This is subject to the country going into Stage Three on the suggested date; if that is delayed then the church opening will be delayed in line with government guidelines and proposals. Live streaming will continue for all services (including the memorial service). After some discussion it was agreed that whilst church could be opened now with limited capacity and dependant on appropriate Risk Assessment etc., it was agreed that May was the right time given that pubs and restaurants would also be opening, and a lot of vaccinations would also be done by then. JGW proposed and LR seconded the resolution that: “the PCC follow NW’s timeline for the re-opening of Church and seek permission from the Diocese, using the appropriate wording, to extend the closure of Church until 19 May or the start of Phase Three of the Government Road Map whichever comes first”. FOR: 17 I AGAINST: 0 I ABSTENTION: 0 Unanimously agreed JGW to write to the Diocese accordingly and the congregation be advised that we resolve to reopen in line with Government Road Map at Stage Three.
Services – NW advised that now would be a good time to review what we do in Sunday services and he shared his thinking about what these could look like when Church starts to regather, with the aim of being accessible to more diverse groups of people. It was suggested: Saturday 18:00 – an Anglo Catholic style Communion service be introduced.Sunday 08:00 – a Holy Communion spoken word service.Sunday 10:30 – be reorganized with Holy Communion on two out of four services along with choir and organ but also introduce a community choir once a month and an orchestra. For example, this could look like:Week one – Community choir (no robes), with Choral Evensong later in the dayWeek two – Holy Communion with robed choir, organ and acolytesWeek three – Orchestra and choirWeek four – Holy Communion with robed choir, organ and acolytesSunday 18:30 – to retain its current format but incorporate Holy Communion when it is not in the morning (e.g. weeks one and three in above example)Wednesday 09:30 – mid-week Holy Communion General thoughts included:
Now is a good time to change and explore new things and become more creative.Whilst the 10:30 style of music will change, given this is the landing point for most non-church people, it will allow for high quality and better accessibility.Monthly choral evensong will enable the choir to grow in technical ability.Whilst it will be a big change to not have weekly Sunday morning Communion, there are other opportunities on a Sunday and during the week. This will also allow more time for teaching.Fifth Sundays would be good to develop a ‘Together’ service with elements of all the different services followed by a lunch in the Millennium Centre. Main festivals, e.g. Easter, Christmas, will continue to be central and there will be flexibility to incorporate these.Suggestion of running a whole church Alpha on Sunday morning, 09:00 in the Millennium Centre starting with breakfast. NW’s document to be circulated straight after the meeting to allow thought and prayer to be given to these suggestions before the next PCC meeting when it is hoped we could finalise these actions. In response to a question about flowers, it was noted that funding would continue as before lockdown.
Hope Into Action Update – TW and NW have attended various meetings with different people to gain better insight into how this could work for St Margaret’s. Bishop’s Council have approved support from the Diocese who are now in search of a church to sign the franchise to enable houses to be bought centrally by Hope into Action and for churches to then come on board to manage them. NW advised that a good way to facilitate this would be for the PCC to set up a CIC/CIO (a separate legal entity), wholly owned by PCC but with all risk being held within this separate entity which would be managed by those with experience in social housing, finance, safeguarding, building maintenance etc. In this way the responsibility of the PCC would only be to ensure the CIC/CIO is fulfilling its aims and objectives with the only risk being if we fail in that duty. Things to consider: It is missionally good and St Margaret’s becomes attractive to the community in demonstrating its interest in social issues.If this is done within the next 12 months, when we go to larger funders for the Heritage Project it provides a good track record for governance etc.HIA have a national team with policies, procedures etc. that we would have access toShort-term, NW would need to be part of its formation.St Margaret’s could work with the Gillingham Deanery and the Medway Winter Night Shelter teamThere is a possibility of a reputational risk depending on the tenants.The key is in getting the right people as trustees. JGW recommended that the PCC provide an informal indication that this is the right way to go and that they are willing to support the concept of partnering with Hope into Action and setting up a CIC/CIO subject to appropriate infrastructure and trustees. FOR: 17 I AGAINST: 0 I ABSTENTION: 0 Agreed unanimously
COVID memorial – a community survey was sent out right at the beginning of lockdown and one of the requests was for a Covid memorial for Rainham. In response to this, NW proposed that we make one of the clear windows in church into a stained-glass Covid memorial window, possibly the window in the tower. A
ballpark cost of £40,000 has been suggested by the stained-glass repair company who repaired the window after the break-in. Some discussion ensued including the following points: This would bring diversity into our stained-glass.We could run a community engagement exercise for children, youth, the church and wider community.A funding model could be to sponsor various parts of the window depending on its size and shape e.g. a diamond for £50, triangle £25, rectangle £15, irregular shape £10 – this would raise the best part of the suggested total cost.After installation people would want to come and see the window which provides an opportunity for community engagement for the bigger projectIs the tower window the right one?Should we think about another way to provide a Covid memorial?This will likely take more than a year and will need to be taken to the Diocese to start a faculty process; therefore, PCC approval is needed. NW proposed and JGW seconded the proposal that: “we reflect our community through a Covid memorial window”. FOR: 16 I AGAINST: 0 I ABSTENTION: 1 Proposal carried.
House for Duty – NW advised that with JW moving onto ordination training there is a decision to make as to what happens next. One suggestion is a ‘house for duty’ which, in summary, would provide: Clergy cover for weddings, funerals, baptisms and SundaysCapacity to continue the work JW has been doing.A viable way forward without major financial impactNominal costs for house maintenance and expensesThe ability for the church to continue to grow. Other alternatives for the house could be for a group of 20/30 year olds although this would need management or, with some work to set it up, for retiring professionals. It was agreed that, in the short term, the clergy load will be significant and a house for duty ensures support for them. It is envisaged that in 3-5 years’ time, the house could then be used for another curate. A proper recruitment process of advertisement and interview etc. would be employed. NW proposed and NG seconded the proposal that: “the PCC agree for Nathan Ward to explore, with the Diocese, a house for duty post”. FOR: 17 I AGAINST: 0 I ABSTENTION: 0 Agreed unanimously
Minutes of the Meetings on 10 February 2021 and Matters Arising (not already recorded on the Agenda):
The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting.
3. Eco plaque – KW is investigating what sort and size the plaque is and where it could be fixed in church.
10.ii Living in Love and Faith Rep – NG has looked at the material and is happy to be involved in this. A group is to be convened to consider how this could be implemented at St Margaret’s with a view to starting a course in September. TW volunteered to be part of the team.
10.ii Harare – CA has arranged a video call with the St Phillips’ rector at midday on 21 March. She will report back at the next meeting. NG confirmed that the Diocesan contact is Nicholas Cope, who is the treasurer of the companion steering group.
10.iii Gift to Gavin – JGW has sent an Amazon voucher to the address she had for Gavin but has not received an acknowledgment yet.
PCC Elections – as we are not gathering in church in the usual way before the APCM, it is proposed that to stand for election to PCC or as a Churchwarden people should either contact the church office for a form or the nominee can contact someone to propose and second them with a clear email chain. All agreed this is an acceptable way forward.
Volunteer statement – with the reopening of church it is important that we review and rewrite the volunteer document that was agreed in August 2020 concerning the vulnerable group of volunteers who are shielding and over 70. In line with current Government guidelines, it was proposed that, when the church is open as normal all volunteers can return unless they are clinically and/or extremely vulnerable and subject to the safer recruitment process. All Agreed.
BK update – an article had been published in the Kent Organists Association newsletter, see the previously circulated document. NW has written to the association secretary and legal advice has been sought. Standing Committee have decided not to take this further at the moment until a response is received.
Orchard Pre-School – it has been brought to the attention of the PCC that there has been some strongly worded correspondence from the owner/supervisor to both Jane and parents which do not put the church in a good light. The Pre-School lease has another two years to run and we understand that the owner would like to sell during this period. This raises a question as to whether the church should consider running its own preschool from 2023. TW has arranged to meet with the owner on 11 March to talk through both issues.
Microsoft Teams – there have been some teething problems. All PCC members are requested to download the Teams App before the next meeting and some guidelines will be sent round about how to use this; investigations are ongoing about older operating systems.
Feedback to Congregation – JGW will provide a PCC summary to feedback to the congregation during Sunday services.
Dates of Next Meeting:
Wednesday 14 April at 19:30 (apologies from JGW) Wednesday 12 May at 19:30 APCM Wednesday 19 May (apologies from JGW)
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