PCC Minutes May 2023



Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday 16th May 2023 at 7.30pm in the Porch Room


Present: The Revd Canon Howard Gilbert (Rector and Chair), Revd Coral Francis (Curate),  Angie Ayling (Churchwarden), Margaret Sheather (PCC Secretary and Deanery Synod), Jackie Natt (Electoral Roll), Jennie South (Deanery Synod), Julian Elloway (Deanery Synod), David Goldsmith, Alison Wood (Deanery Synod), Judith Cleever, William Reddaway


The Rector opened the meeting with prayer





Apologies: John Jutsum; Simon Ritter; Tracey Clements; Linda Jarvis; Caroline Thackray



Minutes of the previous meeting held on 21st March 2023

These were agreed un-amended.



Matters Arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda

    1. Coach for TC ordination – It was noted that the sign up list has been put out and a number of names have been added, but to hit the suggested cost then 29 would be needed.  Need to review for take-up in a couple of weeks.
    2. A new date for the retreat has been set – 20th and 21st October.
    3. Rota for people to be the 2nd adult in the room with Junior Church and Youth Choir on Sunday mornings has been prepared by CF and she asked PCC members to get volunteering underway by offering to take a slot.  It will then be more widely advertised to the congregation








Rector’s Report

    1. Update re Avening and Cherington – these remain vacant and HG is discussing options for how to take the cover there forward.  The Archdeacon agrees that a joint meeting of PCCs across all the parishes would be a good idea.
    2. Amberley –  the Archdeacon is keen to come and meet HG and wardens to discuss next steps following John Spiers’ retirement.
    3. Coronation screening went very well and +Rachel enjoyed joining those present.  Thanks to the hospitality team for the refreshments.
    4. Church camp also went well with 18 people attending on the Sunday, and 12 staying on site.  It was much appreciated by those who attended who would like it to be repeated next year. It had been good to have some inter-generational conversations.
    5. Welcome – The new board for Celebrations/ Prayer/ Information is now in place and members thought it looked very attractive.  Members asked for thanks to be sent to Vicki for the work she has put in on this.  The spiritual history pilgrimage tour material is well underway as is the welcome leaflet.
    6. The Youth Choir now has five enthusiastic members, working with the adult choir on Friday evenings and singing in church on 3rd Sunday in the month.  This creates gaps in the Junior Choir but there are new volunteers coming forward to fill these.  CF noted interest from mothers at Minchkins, which led to further comments about the value of Minchkins both for the children and the parents and all it had to offer them.
    7. HG is looking to get some house groups going to include some of the new congregation members.  There are enough for two groups and dates are being worked out.
    8. Newcomers’ tea date needs to be fixed and Sunday 17th September was proposed.
    9. After Trinity Sunday Evensong arrangements will return to Evensong in church on 3rd Sunday and zoom only once a month.
    10. Post APCM appointments –  HG proposed and CF seconded Margaret Sheather as Honorary Secretary and John Jutsum as Honorary Treasurer.  HG proposed and CF seconded Jackie Natt and Linda Jarvis as Standing Committee members.  All Agreed
















No business to report.



Fabric and Churchyard

    1. Porch Room lighting – the cost is high but the work has to be done and the price is likely to be similar from any other supplier.  AA proposed and WR seconded to accept the quote of £1200 - £1400 plus VAT from AJ Smith and ask for the work to be done as soon as possible.   Agreed.
    2. Access hatches – another bit of essential work at quite a high cost.  A compromise solution has been offered by Centreline at £3,481 plus VATAA proposed and JS seconded to proceed on this basis.  Agreed.
    3. DGs note about flags and the cost of obtaining flags for Scotland, Wales and Ireland (c£116 each). He is seeking diocesan advice on some additional matters.  HG proposed going ahead with the purchase of national saints’ flags and put an appeal in the notice sheet for contribution to cost.  Agreed.
    4. Bike rack has been installed at church and at the Hub and it was suggested a letter of thanks should be sent to Chloe Turner for all her help in achieving this.  Gerald South will provide a draft for MS to send formally.
    5. Disposal of kneeling rail – HG raised this as potential change for PCC members to consider and discuss at next PCC
    6. Churchyard matters – the PCC considered a range of points raised by Gerald South and the outcomes are shown on the attached sheet.




















TC and HG have delivered basic training to the Pastoral Care Team, and HG and CF are delivering the foundation course to the same group.  This will help to bring our training requirements up to date and the offer can then be extended to other groups in the congregation.  The desirability of face to face rather that online training for this important topic was noted as an additional advantage of local leaders being trained to deliver it.

John Walden is taking over as Parish Safeguarding Officer and starting to get the necessary approvals for him to check DBS documentation.  A new poster will be needed with his picture on it.



Deanery Synod report

JE reported on the recent meeting.  The main presentation and discussion had been about what you can do with your church building to increase its range of use.  John Spiers had also spoken about the Amberley shop which is nearly ready to open.  It had been a relatively short meeting.



St Barnabas, Box

CF reported that the Committee has discussed how to make the church more welcoming by doing something more imaginative with the back area of the church.  CF outlined the issues involved in achieving this and proposed requesting the necessary permissions to do this. JE seconded the proposal and it was agreed.



Electoral Roll update

220  JN reported that a number of new people have been added, which would have taken the total to 224, but sadly there have been several deaths recently.  The figure is still an increase from the 215 which was the number for many months.



Any Other Business

JC – reminded everyone that new people are coming to church so to be alert and talk to them.

JS asked to have an update on the Action Plan and suggested it would be useful to have some PCC time together outside the regular meetings.  HG agreed to provide at update at the next meetin,





The meeting closed with the Grace at 9.15pm




To HT PCC for meeting on 16 May 2023

The items below were included in the churchyard management plan passed by the PCC in January – some further comments in blue to which responses are needed.  PCC responses in bold italics

Some matters for consideration by the PCC

  1. Endorsement of this plan (HTCMP), either as it stands or with modifications. Thank you for this
  2. The PCC could create a Churchyard Management Group to oversee the implementation of the HTCMP and act as liaison between the PCC and churchyard users. This group could, for example, have four to six members with at least one Warden and at least one other PCC member. Is it the wish of the PCC that the same group that produced the plan is now the Churchyard Management Group? Is it a ‘Group’ or a ‘Committee’ (latter with delegated powers and budget.  The PCC confirmed that it would like the same group to be the Churchyard Management Group.  GS should discuss with John Jutsum whether it should be a Committee, but it was noted that existing Committees and Groups haven’t got delegated budgetary powers.
  3. The importance of future transparent publicity about this plan and its background rationale: as well as articles in the magazine, website, MinchLife etc. this might include a new noticeboard in the churchyard which would require finance, possible £100-300 depending on its design and size. Should such a notice board be provided?  This is a longer term item as finance is so tight.
  4. The desirability of encouraging wide community involvement with the churchyard, including Churches Count on Nature and other events. Assumed that PCC support this.Confirmed
  5. There are many aspects of ecology and natural life for any churchyard including: walls and lichen; memorials and lichen; flowers, shrubs and other plants; mosses and fungi; birds and bats; bees, wasps and ants; butterflies, moths, other insects; hedgehogs and other mammals. What might this church be doing encouraging the nurturing and the well-being of these. Any comments welcome  It would be good to make a general appeal for observations via the notice sheet at some suitable point.
  6. The PCC insurance policy needs to include cover for those (especially Steve Bennett) using powerful machinery. It is understood that the maintenance of equipment is the responsibility of the owner/user but there are other situations in which the user or others nearby may suffer injury. Is this in place?  John Jutsum will be asked to check this and confirm either way.
  7. As far as we are aware there is no specific H&S policy for the churchyard. The provision of one may help the church should there be future complications. There is also a safeguarding implication for the churchyard (e.g. children doing bug searches etc.): the church website shows a safeguarding policy dated 2017 rather than one which suggests annual review by the PCC: it is understood that the PCC is attending to this. Has there been any progress with this? Where does the responsibility lie?  The wardens and IJ as Health and Safety Officer are doing an audit of a range of H & S issues and will be developing a policy.  Ecclesiastical Insurance offer a template for this.  Responsibility for the churchyard rests with the PCC.
  8. To aid future identification of trees (see image and table below) each tree could be marked with a small numbered metal disc, as seen in many other public woodlands. Purchase of such discs would be about £60. Would this expense be acceptable?  Again this needs to be a later project.
  9. In area G there are graves which prevent the proper access of the mower, significantly increasing the time and energy required for maintenance. In some instances this is caused or exacerbated by grave spaces having been extended beyond their proper limits. In such cases it is suggested that attempts are made to speak with relatives with the intention of agreeing appropriate action: failing this the church should take such action.
  10. Area F is the largest area of open land. Although it may eventually be used for grave spaces it will be many years before there is great encroachment. The HTMCP group have discussed the possibility of cutting the grass in such a way as to provide a prayer labyrinth for much of the year. There has been much publicity in recent years of the use of labyrinths as a spiritual resource. An outline has now been cut and comments sought – it would take time to look neater.  This was very much welcomed and PCC would be glad if it could be a long-term feature.
  11. There has been a request for a cycle stand near the church door and this is also an item in the EcoChurch Awards. Cycle stands that can be bolted to a wall or to a solid base are readily available, some costing less than £50. This is covered in B6(6) of Archdeacon’s List B. This proposal has very recently been agreed in principle by the Standing Committee. These will be installed shortly at no expense to PCC.
  12. The two skips at the top of the churchyard are a significant eyesore and seem to attract outsider dumping. The churchyard has been managed for several hundred years without the need for skips - still the case in most other churchyards. It seems reasonable to ask whether these skips are essential or whether there are alternative ways of dealing less obtrusively with gravedigger’s spoil and general refuse. The ‘rubbish’ skip now seems to be filling with items that are unrelated to the churchyard suggesting that this is being predominantly used by outsiders. Gravediggers surplus could be placed in an agreed place, allowed to have earth washed off by rain and remaining stone used to create (for example) more bug hotels or some for future wall repairs.  What to do about skips/no skips has been a longstanding problem and further discussion at PCC did not reach a resolution.
  13. It is recommended that ivy is removed from yew trees (in particular) and this work continues but ivy on walls is more of a problem: if left to grow it can damage the stone, as can its attempted removal. There is significant ivy growth towards the southern end of the west boundary wall and further research might lead to the most satisfactory course of action. Some of the wall ivy has been carefully removed and will continue to be monitored.  Noted
  14. A section of the northern wall is in poor repair with loose coping and some bulging. Growth between the wall and the neighbouring wooden fence may be a factor. It may be that professional advice would be helpful, meanwhile some H&S precaution to deter anyone getting too close. PCC may like to examine thisThis will be done via the H & S audit.