Ben Mariam, our PCC Honorary Treasurer, presented the management accounts for the twelve months to 31st December 2019. The PCC noted that the final full year accounts were likely to show a significant unbudgeted surplus, which had arisen mostly as a result of large exceptional items, in particular fees relating to scaffolding licences granted to enable work to be undertaken on neighbouring premises. Church Income was also ahead of budget due to increased collections, donations and fees for memorial services. The year-end audit would commence shortly and the final accounts would be submitted to the next PCC meeting on 30th March for approval and then reported to the congregation at the APCM.
The PCC also considered the allocation of the surplus to reserves and agreed a proposal from the Standing Committee, slightly amended, which included transfers to the Restoration Fund and the Building Repair Fund, as well as smaller transfers to general reserves, funds for special projects, marketing and future staffing, and replenishment of the provision for bad debts.
Replacement of solar panels on the church roof
The PCC considered and approved a proposal, presented by Deborah Colvin (Churchwarden and St James’s Sustainability Champion) for renewal and replacement of the solar panels on the church roof. The new installation would also include batteries in order to store electricity generated during the daytime for use overnight, thereby delivering additional benefits. The PCC formally approved a resolution to apply for faculty permission from the Chancellor of the Diocese.
Wren Project update
The PCC received an update from the Revd Lucy Winkett on planning for the Wren (site redevelopment) project. She highlighted that 35/40 members of the congregation, PCC, staff and external consultants were now involved in supporting the process through membership of discussion groups aligned to the various workstreams. These included design work, environmental aspects, a fundraising feasibility study, and aligning the project planning with St James’s ethos and mission. St James’s architects and specialist consultants had been engaged to support this work, and the planned visioning lunches over the next few months would provide the congregation with an opportunity to provide further valuable input.
The PCC was apprised of plans for the Camino Companions programme, to be run initially for an experimental period of seven weeks during Lent and Easter, exploring different ways of providing companionship and accompaniment for each other through daily life. The intention was to hold a weekly evening Eucharist and then to meet in small groups. Subject to sufficient interest, this initial programme might then be followed by a dedicated monthly meeting, perhaps at the weekends, for those who wish to join the Camino for a longer period from Pentecost 2020 to Easter 2021.
Consultation on St James’s values
Plans to hold a number of visioning consultation lunches with the congregation over the next few months were noted. The output from these would be used to inform the new Strategic Plan 2020-2023 and planning for the Wren project. These lunches are to be held following the 11am Sunday Eucharist on the following dates: 1st March, 5th April, 24th May and 21st June.
The PCC discussed St James’s approach to procurement, focusing on the underlying principles, including ethical considerations, for making procurement decisions. The output from the discussion would be used to assist in further updating of the procurement policy and procedures, which would be brought back to the PCC for approval.
Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir – Courtyard services
The PCC received a paper on ‘Liberal forms of Mission’ and noted plans for a monthly Gospel Courtyard Service in partnership with Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, to be held at 3.30pm on Sunday afternoons, with a dress rehearsal run through starting on Palm Sunday and the first service proper on the First Sunday in May. The services would be not Eucharistic, but a curated hour of music, Scripture, a short (TED talk style) talk and a spoken word artist, providing an alternative form of worship from the 11.00am Sunday Eucharist. The first four themes for this new venture were to be Love, Refuge, Solace and Peace. LW, Elijah Kinne (pastoral assistant), Sarah Howards Jones (placement student) and the Circus Spirit group were involved in the planning group. Members of the congregation would be asked if they would be welcomers at the events in due course.
PCC membership and APCM planning
The PCC discussed planning for the APCM, to be held on Sunday 19th April. There may be a number of PCC vacancies arising this year, as a result of current members reaching the end of their terms of office. PCC members agreed to encourage members of the electoral roll to stand for election, with a particular eye on broadening the ethnic and age diversity of the PCC as well as the skills and experience mix of members.
Paperless PCC meetings
The PCC agreed a proposal to move to paperless meetings, to take effect form the next meeting in March.
PCC and Standing Committee meeting dates 2020/21
The PCC approved the schedule of dates for PCC and Standing Committee meetings for 2020/21. These included a PCC away-day on Saturday 11th July with a focus on the new Strategic Plan 2020-23 using the output from various streams of activity including the visioning consultation lunches with the congregation.
Recent Pastoral Statement by the House of Bishops on Civil Partnerships
The PCC discussed the recent pastoral statement by the House of Bishop on the matter of civil partnerships, which had caused considerable distress, bewilderment (and in some cases fury) on the part of practically the whole congregation at St James’s. Amongst the actions agreed, it was the unanimous view of the PCC that a letter should be sent to the Bishop of London and that a statement should be drafted to be displayed prominently on St James’s noticeboards.
The PCC received for information and noted:
- A report from Evelyn Namutebi on her liaison role with Churches Together in Westminster
- The minutes of the staff meeting of 4th December 2019