St John’s PCC – Minutes from 17th November 2014

St John's Church LogoMinutes of PCC St John’s Church Harborne

17 November 2014  7.30pm  at  St Johns Church 

Geoff Heyes (GH), Diarmid Campbell (DC), Howard Brydon (HB), Carol Dealey (CDe), Helen Nixon (HN), Antony Spencer (AS), Issy Bartram (IB), Martin Graham (MG),Stella Jennings (SJ), Libby Hubbard (EH), Becky Pearson (BP), Dave Atkins (DA), Vinod Diwakar (VD), Janet Ryland (JR), Vinod Bhatia (VB), James Reed (JRd), Kenneth Reid (KR), Sue Clegg (SCl), Alison Earey (AE), Brennan Horne (BH) Lesley Osborn (LO), Patty McCulloch (PM), Debby Bridge (DB), David Harvey (DH),Welcome and Prayers


  1. Welcome and Prayers

1.1.  AS opened with a brief address about the PCC’s recent history highlighting issues and relationship breakdowns.  He then led the PCC in a time of prayer and communion.

2. Apologies and Attendance

2.1.  No apologies.

2.2.  In attendance, Steve Foster (SF)

2.3.  Nonattendance Ray Buick. 

  1. Declarations of Interest

3.1.  No declarations of interest.

  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

4.1.  Material amendment inserted at point 6.4.

4.2.  Vote on 6.4, AE proposed and CD seconded agreeing amended minute.  All in favour bar one abstention.

4.3.  JR proposed acceptance of minutes and LO seconded.  

  1. Matters Arising

5.1.  Update on report of Andrew Halstead on Governance

5.2.  GH outlined that the review will be completed slightly later than envisaged so report not ready as yet.  The report will be sent to the church wardens and AS by the end of the month.  This will then be distributed to PCC prior to the next PCC meeting.

5.3.  Youth Pastor

5.4.  Mark Watson has been appointed.  Unanimous appointment at interview process.

5.5.  Clerical support for AS

5.6.  Agreed with Bishops that Fiona Gregson be invited informally to assist him.  AS said no change practically compared to what she is doing at present but AS felt it important to confirm her position within the Church community.  An announcement will be made shortly.

5.7.  Payments to Speakers

5.8.  Policy attached in tabular version.

5.9.  Debt

5.10.      DC asked regards Michael Waters and what he wants to do regards the debt strand.  SF looking into it.

5.11.      AE asked whether should discuss the fact that the church doesn’t feel it is being communicated to on various issues.  AS confirmed that going to do a round up of various issues; count, issues relating to NdC moving on etc.  

  1. Finance – Update and 2015 Budget Approval

6.1.        DH overview

6.2.        Income/Giving

6.3.        Encouraging position with regards to increased giving following the appeal; an extra £22k this year and £67k for the following year.  2015 bucks downward trend in giving as income has held up in real terms against consumer price index.  For 2014, the deficit is less than £10k as compared with the projected £116k at the start of this year and £130k during year.  Some of that due to one off legacies/gifts but assisted by costs coming under budget.  DH confirmed that will do an appeal in April/May time for new comers.

6.4.        Costs

6.5.        Costs are down at £775k and that is lower than 2013 position.  Three main costs; salaries, money to diocese and Living Stones.  Ministry costs are down because not paying for healing and reconciliation and fabric down as hoping to keep costs to small amount of work on flat roof and general maintenance.   Additional reduction in office rent – £6k reduction for 2015.

6.6.        Summary

6.7.        £23k cost reduction, income changes (no rental income from Milford Copse, no large one off gifts as yet), so projected deficit of £74,522.

6.8.        Questions

6.9.        KR queried whether sale of Milford Copse in budget.  DH explained that original offer for property fell through.  Currently considering new offer but nothing to report as yet.

6.10.      VB asked people who had withheld giving had reversed their decision.  DH confirmed that this was the case.

6.11.      CDe queried whether already paid for Russ Parker’s service later once NdC resigned.  DH confirmed that this was an additional cost.

6.12.      DC queried debt support and budget figures.  DH explained CAB worked had been employed and the cost had been shored up by previous gift.  CAB has now been withdrawn so future of this in dispute. Regards the debt strand DC asked what measures being put in place regards the leadership.  SF reported that Michael Waters still to be involved but SF to approach other individuals regards leading the strand.   VD asked whether any flexibility in the budget once agreed.  DH confirmed that it could be changed later in the year if necessary.  He explained that the purpose of the budget at this stage was to assess the costs of the general ministry of the church and whether that can be sustained.

6.13.      KR asked whether allowances still being paid to NdC.  DH confirmed that still continuing to pay the allowances, as directed by the Diocese, as NdC has the living.

6.14.      VB asked whether all the money allocated to Living Stones distributed.    DH confirmed that underspend this year but have left the budget as before.

6.15.      GH proposed accept the budget, VD seconded.  Budget accepted and approved.

  1. Preparing for the Next Stage

7.1.        AS introduced his paper and invited discussion.  Short discussion about the process of interviewing and appointing a new incumbent.  AS stated that the purpose of drafting the paper was not to look into the appointment procedure itself as this will come later.  His purpose was to encourage the PCC to own the process of moving forward and thinking about the parish profile and what St John’s wanted to look like in its parish profile.

7.2.        Discussion about the potential HTB plant as part of the Growing Younger initiative and the impact on St John’s and where the church is at this time.

7.3.        AS highlighted main issue as he saw it in 3A – what sort of church are we being called to be?  He noted that whilst this might be a painful process in some ways it was important to own what we are and use this window of time to focus on this issue.  GH noted that there would be some away days to discuss it further and in more detail – the first had been tentatively set for 7 February.

7.4.        Further discussion about the church plant and what kind of church would be planted. 

  1. Growing Younger

8.1.  CDe introduced this Diocese initiative noting that St John’s can still participate even though in interregnum.  Discussion as to how to answer questions in Growing Younger booklet.

8.2.  GH asked whether would be best idea to appoint a small group to write the response rather than discuss it as a PCC.  Agreement that a small group of CDe, AE and VD put together some draft answers.  Discussion as to how these are then put to PCC for agreement.  KR suggested extraordinary meeting, GH noted that this could be agreed later once the group had made some progress.

Action       Group of CDe, AE and VD discuss how best to respond to questions Decision will then be made as to how to communicate that with the PCC and allow for input.

Feedback to congregation through round up.           

  1. Deanery and Diocesan Report

9.1.  Diocesan Synod

9.2.  CDe reported that discussed payday loans and credit unions. Enthusiasm to widen the appeal of credit unions to middle income individuals.

9.3.  Deanery Synod

9.4.  Focus on 1) St Boniface in Quinton with many young people within the church – seeking to reflect God’s heart for the vulnerable.  2)St Peter’s Church – new vicar, recognises that people drift in and out of the church but he wants to concentrate on communicating the love of Jesus to them.  

  1. AOB

10.1.      Standing Committee

10.2.     GH reported that two meetings since last PCC due to the need to approve budget.  Other issues discussed; AS paper on preparing the journey, leadership conference at HTB, PCC away day, Milford Copse offer, staffing issues – Fiona Gregson, Mark Watson, Beccy Allen finishing at Christmas and the withdrawal of CAB.

10.3.     Staffing

10.4.     Beccy Allen resigned and leaving at Christmas.  With her leaving we have two interim terms before appoint a families/children worker when Ben Baker’s contract runs out.  SF, AS and BA will meet with volunteers to discuss having a leader for each session and a deputy.  If no volunteers then may need to advertise a paid short term role

10.5.  DB proposed that PCC accept that interim short term position be advertised in the absence of volunteers.  VD seconded.

10.6.  Safeguarding

10.7.  SCl outlined problem with five DBS checks which remain outstanding.  These are checks at highest level as involve volunteers working with children in their own home for a youth cell. She explained that under Diocesan guidelines she needed PCC approval to escalate the DBS searches.

10.8.  Permission to escalate – PCC voted in favour

10.9.  Discussion as to importance of DBS checks for all volunteers tempered with need to keep children and youth activities going when individuals are stuck in DBS system.  Unanimous approval from PCC that all volunteers should be DBS checked prior to carrying out volunteer work with children and /or vulnerable adults.

10.10.                DC congratulated Rev’d Dave Richards (ex St John’s Staff Member), on being made a Honorary Canon of Edinburgh Diocese on 16 November 2014.

10.11.                LO asked what was being put in place regards Bishop Andrew’s leaving.  AS said would raise that with Bishop David at SC meeting with him in December.

10.12.                Meeting ended in prayer.


Agreed Amendment to 15th September 2014 Minutes

6.4 – Governance Review

Antony Spencer and Steve Foster met with Andrew Halstead in early August to progress the governance review at St John’s.  Andrew Halstead subsequently made the following proposal:

Aim:  To review all staff, clergy, Standing Committee and PCC roles and responsibilities in order that a coherent structure is established to ensure that ministry and mission of the church can be delivered effectively and efficiently;

To propose a suitable governance structure with the necessary checks and balances clearly identified.

Method:   During October 2014 conduct one to one interviews with all current paid staff, all members of the Standing Committee, at least two nominated members of the PCC and any others the PCC think appropriate;

Meet with Antony Spencer, Steve Foster and the churchwardens to discuss initial findings and explore options;

Prepare a written report during November for presentation and discussion at a PCC meeting. 

It was explained that SC had accepted the suggested method and decided that Janet Ryland (HR Co-Coordinator) should also be interviewed.  Additionally Graham and Margaret Hopkinson (pastoral workers for the staff) and Revd Bob Dunnett (senior spiritual advisor to the Church leadership) should also be interviewed.

There was discussion about the inclusion of Graham, Margaret and Bob.  An objection was raised by (VB) about the appropriateness of their involvement in this process.  There was also discussion about the process to be adopted for nominating two further PCC members to be interviewed and it was settled that these representatives should be selected randomly.

It was decided to adopt the Standing Committee’s suggestion:

To invite Andrew Halstead to undertake these interviews and to prepare a report for the PCC for further discussion.

That Janet Ryland, Graham and Margaret Hopkinson and Bob Dunnett should be invited to be interviewed.

The PCC selected Vinod Diwakar and Alison Earey to attend the interviews. Additionally the PCC felt it would be helpful for Sue Clegg (Parish Safeguarding Children Coordinator) and Jonny Pearson (Chair of Living Stones Management Committee) to be included in the review.


5th Feb 2015 Posted in: Hidden Posts by Stella Jennings 0

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