Annual Parish Meeting

Since our last APM, the PCC has met on seven occasions.  At each meeting as routine items of business the Council has considered reports from the Church’s Committees and Groups, which have occurred since the last Council meeting.  In addition, reports were received from representatives of Diocesan and Deanery Synods of what has occurred at meetings of the respective synods.  In particular we have considered the Deanery Plan entitled “Shaping the Future” which envisages Parishes working together in order to keep the Diocese more sustainable details of which were shared with the congregation.  As part of this we intend to work as closely as possible with our neighbouring Parishes in order to share resources, an example of this has been the recent Lent Course run in association with St Peter’s, St Mary’s and St Paul’s.  In addition, our new Diocesan Bishop Helen-Ann attended her first Diocesan Synod last May, indicating her intention to maintain diversity within the Diocese and would seek to ensure clarity in all diocesan policy and decision making.

The Council’s Annual Meeting was held on the 15th May last, with the usual items of business, namely, the election of officers for the year, ie. Andrew Pinkett as Hon. Treasurer and myself as Hon. Secretary.  Mr Michael Nicholson was elected as Lay Vice Chairman. The meeting also considered the terms of office of the Lay Members of the Council and the appointment of Committees and Groups.

​​​​​​​As previously reported, the proposal of establishing a Charitable Trust to manage and erect a new hall is paused.  This is still the current situation.

​​​​​​​This has been a further busy period for the Council considering the present circumstances and ensuring the appropriate Risk Assessments have been carried out and measures taken to ensure the Church and any activities allowed have been secure as far Health and Safety and Safeguarding Regulations are concerned.  The meetings have been well attended.  As indicated above, reports have been received at each meeting from the various committees and Groups. The Fabric Committee have kept Council updated on the progress of work being undertaken and details of the repairs, which have been completed throughout the period.  The Council considered tenders that had been received from our Architect, John Barnes and agreed to accept a tender in the sum of £152,000 plus VAT, this included stone and glazing work for the West End project to which would be added Architect’s fees of 10%.  A Faculty for the work has been granted and the process of applying for grants towards the cost of the work  is proceeding, with the help of Mark Brunton, with approximately £20,000 granted from various sources so far.  We will be applying for further grants and other fund raising activities and it is hoped that work could commence later this year but it will depend on how our activities go.

​​​​​​​Also we have considered the Architect’s Quinquennial Report and drawn up a list of priority work arising from this.  The most urgent being repairs to the rainwater goods and roof and quotations are being sought for this work. In addition, minor repairs including ‘lighting’ and other electrical repairs have been undertaken in the Hall.  Also repairs have been made to the TC Lewis Organ by Harrison and Harrison at a total cost of £5580. (Details of this work are referred to in the Church Wardens Report.)

During this period, some social events have been organised, Harvest Supper, Christmas and Easter Fairs and have been well supported and enjoyed by all.  We look forward to this year when we can again have such events as concerts, choral evensong etc.  The Friends of St George’s have also managed to hold their some events ie, Heritage Weeks in September last and secure some funding from donations and subscriptions and sale of refreshments etc, at concerts. They also have a new website.

There have been some items of correspondence received, which have been considered and decisions made on how to take them forward.

With regard to Finance, the Council has recognised we continue to have difficulties due to the current economic situation. Thus, we have kept a close eye with the help of the Hon Treasurer between the levels of the working balances this year and last. The Council has reviewed all our charges and fees and made some increases in local charges. As far as the Parish Share is concerned we met our pledge to the Diocese of £48000 in 2023 and hope to keep it at this level for the next two/three years, depending on the level of our overall finances. (See the Treasurers Report)

As previously reported the Council has adopted the latest Diocesan Model Safeguarding Policy and this has been updated and the Council has approved statements on various aspects of the new Diocesan Safeguarding Dashboard for incorporation into our Safeguarding Action Plan, and work on this is ongoing.  Arrangements have been made for  appropriate members of the church who work with children and vulnerable people to be checked and registered accordingly.  The Council has received regular reports the Parish Safeguarding Officer, including the completion of Declaration forms by Members of the PCC including participation in appropriate “online” and other safeguarding training and others including those working with children, vulnerable people and others.  As a result, I would state that the Council has complied with its duty under Section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Measure 2016 (duty to have regard to House of Bishops guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults).  (Further information is in the Parish safeguarding Officer’s Report).

Also discussions regarding the renewal of our Mission Action Plan with the help of the ‘Think Tank’ and at our meeting last July the revised Mission Action Plan was approved.

The Director of Music, Andrew Reid, with his family left last summer for a new position in Cambridge and arrangements made for the vacant post to be advertised, interviews arranged and the appropriate safeguarding protocols carried out and Tim Hone our new Director of Music took up his post on the 24th September last.  Tim has been settling in with us and thus the “Choir Club” has continued to meet  and the  choir has sung at the 9.30 service on Sundays or other special midweek services.  We look forward to other expanded activities as the year progresses.

Three members of the Council are to stand down this year, namely, Mrs Jennifer McNally, Mrs Shaun Mitchell and Mrs Caroline Douglas.  I would like to thank them on behalf of the PCC for their services to the Council and the Church.

As everyone is aware this will be the last APM that Fr Adrian will be with us, as he is retiring and his last service with us will be on Sunday 30th June.  On behalf of the PCC, myself and all of us may I wish him and Helen our best wishes for their future.

I would also like to express my thanks to everyone for their support.

B McNally
Honorary Secretary, April 2024

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