PCC Minutes July 2023



Minutes of meeting held on Monday 17th July 2023 at 7.30pm in the Porch Room


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


The Rector opened the meeting with prayer





Apologies: Julian Elloway; Linda Jarvis



Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th  May

These were approved un-amended.



Matters Arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda

There were none



Rector’s Report

    1. Update on Vision implementation 

The Rector introduced the item, referring to the updated Action Plan and noted that some members had not been on the PCC when it was developed, and invited discussion. 

There were no proposals to change the Core Values statement.

HG noted it is a challenging vision – we won’t manage it on our own, we have to do it with God and also with other people.  The Vision will be part of the joint PCCs session on 25th July, particularly with a view to ensuring no duplication of effort and also to sharing initiatives  across the parishes.

DG raised the need to ensure that current congregation members are aware of our goals, for example, about the churchyard and the welcoming of children.  Suggestions were made about how to ensure that children can be engaged in the service more fully, including possibly moving the children’s area nearer the front.

Many more actions are now “green” i.e. in place than at the previous review.  Ecochurch activities now need to be added.  JS suggested being clearer about key things being acted on currently and who is leading on them.  Two key points are finance and communication because the first is the underpinning for all activities and the second ensures everyone is informed about what’s happening.  A number of points about how to both prioritise key points and also keep the ongoing activities clear.  JS also suggested taking time out of the regular meeting to really work on the next phases of action.

MS noted that the new things that have been achieved have successfully changed the external perception of the church.

HG agreed finance and communication are priorities, also the lecture series and the house groups, the latter particularly to nurture new people.

CF asked about the Friends of the Parish proposal.  Following discussion it was agreed to postpone this further, given the continuation of 6Ps fundraising.  PCC will return to this discussion in January and possibly re-shape the approach.

WR suggested that when priority activities are agreed then we also need to consider how to relieve those leading them of other activities.

JS agreed to take part in a small group to consider communications with HG, VH and JE.  This needs to be linked with the welcome group’s work for visitors.

    1. New date for March 2024 PCC meeting – 12th March





































    1. Income and Expenditure to June 2023

JJ spoke to his report. 

Income Overall it looks like good news but there is a sting in the tail. Planned giving has been better sustained than expected but this is dependent on one giver having continued unexpectedly.  The main increase in collections and donations is the concerts – from refreshments income – rather than people generally increasing their donations.

Church and Porch Room rent is also doing well and in future reports JJ will link this income with Concerts.  There is no income yet from the Hub and Youth Club.  There are fewer weddings this year but more burials.

Overall income is about £9K more than budget.

Expenditure Any saving from lowering the church temperature has been negated by increase of electricity costs.  Repairs and maintenance are  over budget because of expenditure held over from last year.

There are other small variations, and hospitality expenditure is over budget but this is more than balanced by the donations it generates.

There is therefore a small surplus at the end of the first six months so we are doing well on the face of it.

Fabric Fund is well supplied.  Organ Fund is doing well and gaining interest, and there is a further £1K+ from Music in the Garden to add.

All the summer concerts have re-booked for Christmas and people really like our acoustic and hospitality.

    1. Potential increase in fuel costs

The main problem area is fuel costs.  Our contract ends shortly and if we renew there is a huge potential increase of £24K so some means of meeting this additional cost needs to be found.  JJ suggested this might come from Hub rent.  Currently all our electricity is green but our gas isn’t.  Going to 50% green gas would cost an additional £3k a year.

HG noted that there are proposals for community funding for solar panels and an air source heat pump at the Hub.

    1. Possible re-introduction of floodlighting

A donor has offered to meet the cost of floodlighting the tower and meeting the electricity costs and JJ sought views on this.  Issues about dark skies, costs, likely hours of illumination and future relations with the donor were discussed.  The benefit is that it is a message to the community that the church is thriving and a beacon of hope but there were questions about how to justify it in an area where green issues are a concern.

5.4 Insurance – Aviva have now paid all costs following threat of legal action.

5.5 Diocesan payroll withdrawal – this was noted and the need to identify an alternative supplier.  A number of parishes across the deanery are affected so some joint action may be possible.



Fabric and Churchyard

    1. Fabric report - CT spoke to the report and also the architect’s proposal for the sequence of window repair as set out in his letter.  DG suggested it might be possible to spend the £1200 necessary to re-open the gutter drains.  This was proposed by DG and seconded by CT.  Agreed.
    2. Organ project update – noted and see finance item.
    3. Health and Safety Audit – appreciation was expressed for this detailed report.  HG would like to see some differentiation about fire exits in terms of how many people are in the building.  DG reminded the meeting that at the end of the re-ordering the fire prevention officer had recommended that the flower vestry should not be used as a fire exit as it’s too awkward.  This point will go back to the Fabric Committee discussion.  
    4. Churchyard – concern was expressed about ragwort and how to get rid of it safely.  This needs to be done by a working party soon, bagging it up, and TC has bags available  Note – this work was done on 18th July.










Fabric Cttee



Need to remove JC’s details from all the places it appears.

A volunteer has come forward to offer to be safeguarding officer – Jackie Ellis – who is an experienced safeguarding lead.

HG proposed and CF seconded her appointment.  This was agreed.  MS will brief her.







St Barnabas, Box

Coral is now going to be leading at Amberley so will not be working with Box over the coming year.  HG will then support GS who is adding another Sunday and try to keep up the special events that have been established.



Electoral Roll update




Any Other Business



The meeting closed with the Grace at 9.35pm