An update from our Parochial Church Council Meeting held in February 2019
A precis of our meeting on Wednesday 12th September 2018
Alice began the meeting with prayer.
Aidan presented the half yearly Finance report indicating that things are stable, but a cautious approach is required to remain so. The loan from Blenheim is still to be paid back. Low summer attendance at weekly services had a negative effect on finances. There was some discussion on ways to encourage donations which produced some good ideas. Other purchases discussed included a prayer candle stand to be available to all visitors. The parish share was discussed as was the ongoing issues with getting details updated on the Barclays bank account.
Chris Wallworth reported that the refurbishment work at the Rectory is finished and the property can now be let. A pattern of weekly worship services was discussed to enable support for Alice during the Vacancy of Rector – beginning in November until the vacancy is filled, two out of four Sundays will be a Eucharist service, alternating with choral Matins and our regular family service. The 8am communion will remain unchanged. Work will now begin, together with Bladon PCC, to produce a Parish Profile to advertise for the post of Rector. During the vacancy the churchwardens are responsible for arranging the clergy rotas. In light of this, Ruth Sutherland asked for volunteers to take on rotas for the monthly café teams and the Sunday morning teams.
Under Churchwardens Business Chris Wallworth asked for a volunteer to become Events Coordinator to lessen the workload on the churchwardens and Marion in the office. The bolt on the wooden entrance door is now fixed. The process to have a post box fitted for church is ongoing with the DAC. The recent quinquennial inspection showed no major problems barring some damp issues – some proposals have been made but nothing is urgent. A trial run of the kneelers at the communion rail has proved unpopular so the original kneeler will be replaced.
Standing Items included feedback on the recent safeguarding training held at Bladon. All PCC members are undergoing DBS checks. Alice reported that all is going well in the schools. She leads worship in the primary schools on alternate weeks, however this could be increased to weekly worship (as previously) by being led by a lay person or group. In the absence of a Rector our good relationship with the Marlborough school needs maintaining.
There will be a PCC meeting on October 18th to approve the draft Parish Profile. The next full PCC meeting will be on November 28th.
A précis of the PCC meeting on Wednesday 17th January 2018
Adrian began the meeting with prayer.
A review of our finances revealed an end of year deficit of around £15k. We need every church member to heed the message of the presentation given by Aidan in November – an average increase of £3 per head per week is essential if we are to fulfill our ministry and mission in response to God’s call. Thanks were given for Carol Holmes’ ministry as our Planned Giving coordinator, as they were for Glynda Salter, who is taking on this work.
We reviewed our Christmas services, and Adrian expressed his admiration and gratitude to the whole team who made it such a success.
The work on the church building remains under constant review, and Mike Holmes reported on ‘snagging’. It was good to hear that heating costs are lower than were expected.
Adrian outlined plans for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, details of which can be found in the specially published leaflet in church, and online.
The PCC approved Gail Ward’s relicensing as a Licensed Lay Minister; approval was also given to the appointment of Mark Smith as a Lay Pastoral Assistant. Gail will share with Adrian and Alice in pastoralia, especially home visiting and Spencer Court; Mark will work alongside Adrian in developing experience of parish life and helping in the building in practical ways. Both Mark and Gail will be supporting Alice with our new afternoon services for children and young families.
Adrian reported on the visit to our link parish of Gränna in May, when our twinning agreement will be signed.
The wardens and associate wardens took a lead on decisions to be made concerning our day-to-day life as a church family, both in terms of the building, and also our community and fellowship. They included the location of the Book of Remembrance, the lighting of votive candles, using our kneelers in the chancel and at the High Altar, the purchase of new tables, coffee after the service on Sundays, the sales area (for books, cards, etc), the Foodbank, and, crucially, a working party to clear the Upper Room so that our children’s church can start properly again.
Jenny Atkinson and Joan Perry were gladly nominated as lay administrants of Holy Communion.
Please ask any PCC members for more information about our meeting – and keep us all in your prayers.
A PRECIS OF OUR MEETING ON TUESDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2017
Adrian began the meeting with prayer and bible study on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5.1-12).
We learnt that Nathan Jarvis is leaving to become a Chaplain at Bangor and a Cathedral canon, leaving a vacancy at the same time that the new benefices are formed (one called Yarnton with Begbroke and Shipton on Cherwell, the other called Woodstock and Bladon). As Area Dean, Adrian will be closely involved in the appointment of Nathan’s successor. Nathan’s last Sunday is November 26th; the new benefices are due to come into legal existence on December 1st. Adrian will no longer be ‘Team Rector’ but ‘Rector of the Benefice of Woodstock and Bladon’.
Mike Holmes updated us on the redevelopment/re-ordering project. Everything continues according to plan (cf the précis of 12th September). PCC members who are free will gather on October 31st to help prepare the layout of the new furniture and make other plans re liturgy and worship. Adrian spoke in detail about the re-opening service on November 9th, the Open Days on November 10th and 11th when refreshments will be served all day, Remembrance Sunday on November 12th, the Gala Concert on November 18th, and the Christmas Market on November 25th.
Ruth Sutherland presented the Building in Mission Group report, and the PCC approved a scheme of fees for hire of the building. Chris Wallworth presented the People in Mission Group report, which discussed many aspects of church life and outreach. A form has been developed which will be sent to all church members two weeks before the reopening of the church to encourage every member ministry, and concentrated prayer for our future. An important decision was made about coffee! From November 19th onwards, coffee and tea will be served BEFORE the 11am service, not afterwards. Our pastoral care was discussed, and developing our pastoral team. We talked about reinstating various activities after the re-opening, and Shaun guided us through research he is doing into reaching those who declare they have no religion –important as we plan for growth.
Adrian presented a substantial paper on worship, which the PCC is to discuss further at the next meeting on November 29th at 7pm in our re-ordered church.
A précis of our meeting on Tuesday 12th September 2017
Adrian began the meeting with prayer and bible study on Mark 8.22-26.
We reviewed our strategy day in July, from which came the two working groups referred to later in this précis.
Under redevelopment/re-ordering we learned that the project is proceeding extremely well and is, wonderfully, on track, with costs being tightly and well controlled. The building will be handed over at the end of October, giving time for detailed preparations to be made for the re-opening service on November 9th. We also confirmed the terms of our loan and loan repayment plan with the Blenheim estate.
Adrian spoke in some detail about the re-opening service and the days following, including Remembrance Sunday on November 12th, a grand Gala Concert on November 18th, and the Christmas Market on November 25th. He alluded to Advent and Christmas services, and to new plans for worship in 2018 (see below).
Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, informed the PCC that our giving has dropped significantly while the building has been closed. While partly anticipated, the drop is c. £20,000 short of our forecast – immensely disappointing. The Finance Committee will bring proposals to the October PCC aiming to remedy this, including a major presentation to the congregation in late November. A new freewill offering officer is sought to replace Carol Holmes who has served us so well.
The Building in Mission Group is chaired by Ruth Sutherland. We heard of plans for cleaning the building, opening and locking, future usage and many other practical arrangements. The People in Mission Group is chaired by Chris Wallworth. We heard of a review of our ministry of welcome, an overhaul of rotas and teams, mission and ministries. Adrian is making plans for two new regular services in 2018, part of our outreach to children and young families, and teenagers and young adults.
We approved a new body for providing Safeguarding services, as requested by the diocese.
In other business, we noted with regret that Alison Mares, our Methodist Minister, had moved on from Woodstock, and held her in our prayers and best wishes. Adrian is working with the local Superintendent Minister and others on supporting our Methodist friends at this time. Adrian reported on news from our schools, including good results from the Marlborough, and gave notice that he is seeking a new Foundation Governor for Woodstock primary school.
A précis of our meeting on Wednesday 15th March 2017
Following prayers, and the usual formalities, we made plans to take a tour around the churchyard with jenny Atkinson to see some of the wonderful work she has been doing and Jenny is always looking for new help, do get in touch with her!). We also thanked Alicia and Alice for working on the cards for distribution around the parish for Holy Week and Easter.
Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we reviewed our current position; we are still short of the funding we need to do everything, but are praying and hoping that the grants and generous giving we seek will come to fruition. We are still working to the plan to begin work in mid-May, when we shall move out of the building for some months. Our own services will be held at the Methodist Church and The Marlborough School, with pastoral offices at Bladon. On the third Sunday of every month we shall not be holding an 11am service, and encourage everyone to worship at another denomination in Woodstock, or further afield. The chairs are selling well. We meet again on April 19th to review the tenders form contractors which are due in on April 7th.
Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, presented the 2016 accounts to the PCC, which were formally approved. They are on public display prior to the APCM.
In Clergy Business Adrian spoke again about Lent, Holy Week and Easter; he also reviewed the splendidly successful visit from our friends in Gränna. Alice presented a draft of our new welcome card, which was admired by all. They will soon be available.
In Churchwarden’s Business Gill reported on the broken bolt on the door, which is a health and safety issue which would be sorted. We agreed a date of 5th/6th May to invite people to come and help us de-clutter the church prior to our moving out.
The Benefice Draft Schedule was presented – this is the legal mechanism which dissolves the Blenheim Benefice and returns it to its original two benefices. This was approved unanimously (as it had been at Bladon and Shipton already). It is likely to come into force in the late summer.
Our schools are a standing item on the agenda, and Adrian reported on, and praised, the work of Foundation Governors, asking for prayers for them and the work of our Diocesan Education departments.
Having agreed to hold a PCC Strategy Day on July 8th, we repaired to the Chancel where 20 of us celebrated Compline together: a wonderful way to end our meeting, ‘leaning on God at the end of the day’.
A précis of our meeting on Wednesday 18th January 2017
As it was the beginning of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Adrian began the meeting with worship based on John 17.21-23.
Peter Clarke was welcomed as our new Treasurer, and was duly co-opted to the PCC.
We reflected on our time of receiving Holy Communion standing; and we resolved to continue receiving communion at the Sanctuary until after the re-ordering, when we would take another look in our revised layout.
In Clergy Business Adrian spoke about Lent, Holy Week and Easter; he outlined plans for the visit from our friends in Gränna in March; we discussed our Covenant with the Methodist church and our forthcoming shared services; and we made plans for Thy Kingdom Come, a week of prayer for growth in the church running from Ascension to Pentecost. Adrian said more about his role as Assistant Archdeacon. Alice introduced some impressive statistics about the way our new website and Facebook page are used.
Churchwarden’s business concentrated on a recent roof inspection (largely pleasing) and the installation of a roof alarm, following a recent spate of lead thefts in the Thames Valley.
Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we considered in detail our revised plans, which involve keeping the nave floor at its present level, and installing radiators. Examples of the new chairs were expected shortly, and grant applications and donations reviewed. Everyone would be encouraged to buy chairs, and encourage others to buy them too! The PCC agreed unanimously that we should go to tender, and Adrian would brief the congregation about the plans on February 5th. The Bishop would be asked to provide a licence to enable us to hold Sunday services at the Marlborough School while the church was closed between (provisionally) mid-May and late October. Gill had been researching the sale value of the pews, and they would now be offered for sale. Chris Baylis of the Real Wood Company is offering to help with the disposal of any remaining unsold pews.
Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, gave an update to the PCC after its recent meeting, including reviewing procedures for counting collections and other operational matters. The fees for weddings, funerals etc. for 2017 were approved by the PCC.
Our schools are a standing item on the agenda, and Adrian smiled broadly having heard the result of a recent church inspection at the Marlborough School, even though he couldn’t reveal the result (he can now: Good with Outstanding features ☺); he spoke too about recent work he had been doing on Spirituality with teachers at Woodstock Primary.
A precis of our meeting on Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Following opening worship on John 6.37-40 led by Adrian, the PCC heard, with regret but understanding, of the resignation of Jon as our Treasurer; and we thanked him and wished him well. The council was full of appreciation for the generosity of Mike and Carol Holmes in, temporarily, resuming that task.
We were delighted to receive a report on the Churchyard from Jenny Atkinson. The PCC accepted Jenny’s offer of a detailed briefing/tour of the churchyard in the New Year, and to make connections with new people and existing groups to expand jenny’s excellent work.
A great deal of time was spent on Finance, and re-casting the role of PCC Treasurer. A Finance Committee consisting of the Rector and wardens, Aidan Salter, and Ruth Sutherland, was established (they have since met and begun work with speed). It is hoped to find a new Treasurer before the end of the calendar year, but with much of the administrative work being done by the Church administrator.
Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we noted with pleasure the fitting of the new doors, and anticipate the electrical work to be completed by the end of November. The design of display facilities for many of our kneelers was approved, and comments received on the recent period of receiving Holy Communion standing at the Nave Altar. The PCC committed itself to moving the reordering project forward, aiming to go to tender in early 2017. A version of the scheme which did away with the need for raising the floor level was given serious weight in the event of grant-funding being unpropitious; and the Rector and Wardens would be meeting with the Architectural team to explore that outcome.
Under Churchwarden’s business we approved expenditure to smarten up, and improve facilities in, the existing toilet, with a proper baby-changing unit, new hand-towel dispenser, and redecoration.
In Clergy Business Alice presented her revised work on the website (which should be ‘live’ when this precis is published) and our new welcome card/packs. for newcomers to the community and congregation. The PCC approved Adrian’s proposal to not hold our 11am service on January 22nd 2017 and attend the Covenant Service at Woodstock Methodist Church. The Methodists will join us for worship on January 29th. Adrian also reported that the dissolution of the Benefice had received approval at the Archdeaconry Pastoral Committee; after receiving final approval at Bishop’s Council in December, new schemes will be drawn up by the Church Commissioners for promulgation in the spring of 2017.
Dates of Services and events for Advent and Christmas were shared – the Council and Clergy keenly anticipate celebrating the season of the Incarnation with all our regular worshippers and friends during the festive season: we want to do all we can to make visitors welcome, and encourage them to return!
A precis of our meeting on Wednesday 7th September 2016
Following opening worship led by Adrian, the PCC received an extensive financial report from Jon Bradbury, our Treasurer, and we made some decisions about making our financial operations run smoothly.
The redevelopment/re-ordering was, of course, a major item. We noted with pleasure the work that is soon to be completed on the porch, and made some decisions about the appearance of the entrance. We reviewed the special meeting that we had held in August to talk about church furnishings, and spent time talking about the design of our new chairs, and whether or not we should incorporate hanging our splendid kneelers on the chairs, or displaying them – and, importantly, preserving their quality – in a better way. We think the latter, and, at our next meeting, we shall be looking at plans of how they might be beautifully displayed around the building, while still available for those who wish to use them for prayer. We also discussed grant applications and fundraising in the local community. Members of the PCC made some helpful suggestions to improve Adrian’s letter about standing for Holy Communion, and looked forward to his sermon on the subject (copies are available at the back of church).
Under Churchwarden’s business we approved expenditure to replace emergency lighting in the tower and ringing chamber; we also discussed practical arrangements for the Harvest Supper, Ride and Stride.
We then approved our Charitable Giving for the past financial year: £250 Medic Assist International (Bishop Poggo’s appeal); £500 The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal (debt aid); £250 Samaritans; and a number of local charities: £500 to Gabriel Masih’s fund, and £250 each to Woodstock Stroke Club, Asylum Oxford, North Oxford Community Food Bank, DayBreak Oxford (dementia day clubs), Rosie (respite care for sick youngsters in their own homes), and Bridewell Organic Gardens (Witney, therapeutic activities for those suffering mental illness).
In Clergy Business Alice made presentations about redesigning our website and the use of social media, and a new welcome card/pack for newcomers to the community and congregation.
We then continued our regular discussions about Mission, Worship, and Pastoral Care, which are ongoing items which we revisit at every meeting.
In Any Other Business we were glad to hear about the formal establishment of the Woodstock Youth Trust, and committed ourselves to praying for Matt Bodinham and his ministry.
We next meet on November 2nd – please pray for us.