The PCC was apprised of changes to St James’s staffing structure, and welcomed Guinevere Short, newly appointed Director of Business and Operations. The PCC commended Guinevere’s appointment, with a focus on income generation as well as management of day-to-day activity, freeing up clergy time, particularly that of the Rector, to deal with church matters. Importantly, Guinevere’s reporting line would be to the Rector, which was regarded as important in maintaining a unified structure and preserving the culture and ethos of the organisation.
Head Verger’s report
Chris Davies, our Head Verger, presented his report. He updated the PCC regarding developments relating to the verger team following the recent appointments of Tracy McKeever and Nicholas Benn. He also advised the PCC of the introduction of a new verger handbook, aimed at providing guidance on best practice, and expected to be particularly useful in supporting new verger induction and also other members of the congregation stepping in from time to time to undertake occasional verger duties. The PCC also discussed the increased use of contract security personnel in order to ensure the safety of members of the verger team and other staff, in line with St James’s Lone Working Policy. A reduction in the number of incidents involving homeless guests was welcomed, although measures to tackle ongoing problems of theft from collection boxes were being pursued.
Caravan and Counselling Drop-in report
The PCC welcomed Ian Burton, Co-ordinator of the Caravan Counselling and Drop-in service that operates from the Shepherd’s Hut on the St James’s site. Ian provided statistical information on usage of the service, which is staffed by volunteers from the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education [ website: http://ccpe.org.uk ] typically their third year of training. He explained the nature of the support that the service provides to individuals who feel vulnerable or who have suffered trauma, and the first point of call that the Caravan provides as a drop-in service, offering follow-up appointments, sometimes as a step towards referral to other services. The PCC noted the support provided to homeless guests, and the potential to provide further support for asylum seekers. The PCC endorsed St James’s ongoing support for this important work in support of the local community.
Licence under Faculty
The PCC resolved to extend the lease on the flat at 35A Jermyn Street to the existing tenant for a further twelve months, on terms advised by St James’s professional advisors.
Eco Church and Harvest planning
Deborah Colvin, our Sustainability Champion, brought the PCC up to date regarding the work of the Eco Steering Group and particularly in relation to the submission for an Eco Church Gold Award. Assessors would be visiting the site during the next week and would meet with members of the Group and members of staff, and it was hoped that, if successful, the award would be presented and celebrated at the forthcoming Harvest lunch on 14th October. Deborah also explained arrangements for the Harvest lunch, which would be ‘gleaned and foraged’ food sourced from local food shops. An invitation to the lunch had been sent to the St James’s community using the new iKnow Church system, and Deborah called for support in ensuring the success of the day.
Community Sponsorship Scheme
The PCC welcomed Simon Perfect, a member of the St James’s congregation and co-Chair of Westminster Refugee Welcome, and discussed the potential opportunity for St James’s to participate in the national Community Sponsorship Scheme financially aided by central Government to provide support to a Syrian refugee family to settle in the UK. The PCC noted that participation would fit well with St James’s ethos and could also provide an opportunity to partner with another local organisation. Participation would, however, require a strong commitment from a small group - to provide the necessary project leadership, drive and befriending and practical support needed. It was agreed that the opportunity would presented to the wider St James’s congregation for discussion after the service one Sunday during the next couple of months, and that representatives from St Peter de Beauvoir Town, which has already embarked upon participation in the scheme, would be invited to provide feedback on their experience so far. The meeting would also provide an opportunity for the Revd Lucy Winkett to provide feedback on her visit to Syria earlier in the year.
Soho Parish School Governors update
The PCC received a report from the Revd Lindsay Meader and Deborah Colvin, Churchwarden, on their role as St James’s Governors of Soho Parish School, which is shared by St James’s and St Anne’s Soho. The support that St James’s provides to the Children, including workshops linked to projects at St James’s, participation in services at Easter, Harvest and Christmas, and regular assemblies at the school led by Lindsay, were noted. Deborah and Lindsay would keep the PCC informed of opportunities to visit and to participate in events at the School.
The PCC received for information and discussed/noted:
- A report from Evelyn Namutebi on her liaison role with the International Group Breakfast
- A report from Heather Williams on her liaison role with the Zen Group
- The minutes of the Health & Safety Committee meeting 30th July 2018
- The minutes of staff meetings of 1st August 2018 and 5th September 2018