Costas Benopoulos-Jones, our Market Manager, reported on the market’s progress. Recent highlights included the success of the new market layout introduced at the beginning of the year, and the popularity of buskers now engaged to perform in the market on a regular basis. The PCC also discussed promotion of the market, including a recent very positive article in the national trade publication Market Trader, and the ongoing challenges of attracting new traders whilst maintaining the uniqueness of the market. Although income was under budget this was largely due to having to close the market earlier in the year because of bad weather. A whole week’s trading was lost. In the light of these and other challenges, the PCC commended the Market Manager on his ongoing successful management and promotion of the market.
Away Giving 2018
The PCC reviewed recommendations from the Away Giving Group, based upon proposals put forward by members of the congregation, in line with criteria previously agreed by the PCC. The PCC noted the rigour of the due diligence that had been applied in reviewing each of the applications submitted and the rationale for excluding a number of applications that did not fit the agreed criteria. The process for giving feedback on unsuccessful nominations was also discussed. The PCC agreed the Away Giving grants for 2018 and members of the congregation will be advised shortly whether their nominations have been successful. The PCC also agreed a number of proposed refinements to the Away Giving process for next year.
Pastoral Assistant’s Report
Ruth Edmonds, our Pastoral Assistant, provided a report on her time at St James’s, highlighting the very positive nature of this experience and the development of her areas of responsibility, most significant of which were the International Group and the Circus Spirit Group. The PCC noted positively that the Circus Spirit Group had overwhelmingly expressed wish for an increasingly spiritual content to their gatherings.
Hospitality was also an important element of the activities of both groups, with meetings often involving some type of refreshments or meal. The PCC noted, in particular, the enthusiasm with which members of the Circus Spirit group contributed so as to make their meetings self-supporting, but agreed that there should also be some modest provision made to help a small number of individuals wishing to attend who might otherwise be excluded due to limited financial means. Ruth is due to leave St James’s to take up her training as an Ordinand, and the PCC expressed its appreciation for the very considerable contribution that she has made during her time at St James’s and wished her well for the future.
The PCC resolved to apply to the Chancellor of the Diocese for a Licence under Faculty for the erection of scaffolding to enable Maison Assouline to undertake remedial repairs to their building adjacent to the St James’s site. This was in addition to two similar applications already in process in relation to works planned by the Crown Estate and BAFTA on their neighbouring buildings. Compensation for the disruption caused by these works would be the subject of negotiation.
Management Accounts to 30th June 2018
David McKinley, our Honorary Treasurer, provided a report on the management accounts for the six months to the 30th June. Performance was broadly in line with budget, albeit affected by a number of timing differences, but David also explained that it was as yet too early to make any reasonable forecast of the likely outturn for the full year. The PCC discussed, in particular, the level of Planned Giving income, which was below budget. This was recognised as being an area that needed to be handled with sensitivity, but it was agreed that there should be a campaign to increase this income, and also to encourage individuals to give consideration to including a legacy to St James’s in their wills. The way forward would be discussed further by the Standing Committee
St James’s contribution to the Diocesan Common Fund 2019
The PCC considered and approved the level of Common Fund contribution to the Diocese for 2019. A £3k increase above that for 2018 was suggested and approved, making St James’s contribution £104k for 2019.
Developing St James’s Welcoming Strategy
Trevor Lines, Churchwarden, reported on the PCC Away-day held on 30th June, and the discussion that had taken place informed by prior consultations with the congregation. Further work would now be undertaken on developing St James’s approach to welcoming, and this would be brought to a forthcoming meeting of the PCC, most likely the October meeting, for further discussion.
Lucy Winkett, Rector, provided an update on the consultation process with the Amenity Societies in relation to the proposed scheme for the site redevelopment. There had been some encouraging developments, but still a number of issues to address, and a meeting of the Wren Steering Group would be convened in the autumn to review all amenity society responses to the consultation.
Lucy Winkett, Rector, reported on developments involving a restructuring of the local West London Citizens structure, with a new focus on boroughs that included plans for the development of Westminster Citizens as part of the new structure. At the same time, a new professional organiser had been appointed. St James’s has been a longstanding member of West London Citizens which, through broad based community organising, has had some very significant achievements, including in relation to the Living Wage. The PCC endorsed St James’s ongoing involvement – as a founding member of Westminster Citizens, though noted that playing an active role would depend upon sufficient commitment from a group of members of the congregation to take this forward.
The PCC received for information and discussed/noted:
- A report from Adolfo Sansolini on his liaison role with the Julian Group
- The minutes of the Health & Safety Committee meeting of 14th June 2018
- The minutes of staff meetings of 5th July 2018