Parochial Church Council (PCC)
On 30th April the Parish held it’s AGM meetings. Printed booklets (still available in the foyer) gave the details of the Parish Vision, the reports on all aspects of the Parish’s activities and the annual accounts. The meeting relied on those published reports and did not seek to represent the detailed information therein.
The AGM started with the Meeting of Parishioners. The principal business was the election of Churchwardens. Lisa gave a huge thank you to our outgoing Churchwarden Anne Mohan for her outstanding work over the last five years and presented her with a gift. Lisa said we were grateful to Les Richardson for agreeing to stand as Churchwarden and he was then elected. Anna Pearce has agreed to continue as Churchwarden. David Rance has agreed to continue as Deputy Churchwarden.
The Annual Parochial Church Meeting followed. The Vicar gave an update on the Parish Vision (which was fully covered in her printed Parish Vision Priorities for 2016 (also available on the website). Lisa recapped on the four areas of our vision: Centred on Christ, As the Church the Body of Christ, At the heart of our local Community and Concerned for the whole of Creation. Lisa outlined the agreed priorities:
Priority 1: Living out our commitments as a Kairos Community. Ken Perrett gave a short talk on Kairos. The PCC had approved our Kairos Programme, which works for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine. We now have a Kairos Community in Woodley and hope to share events with them. Ken has been invited to join a Church of England Group looking at encouraging Churches to ensure that their investments are morally ethical and continue to assist with the Kairos Britain website.
Priority 2: “Thy Kingdom Come” a global ecumenical prayer initiative by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for Ascension Day – Pentecost. We will plan and implement a prayer day at St. John’s to be held on Pentecost Sunday 4th June including opening and closing worship, prayer stations, talks, activities for the NET, Messy Church and Pathfinders. We will pass the information to CTC to see if they would like to be involved in this.
Priority 3: Church Growth – in numbers and discipleship. Lisa and Hazel had attended a conference on Leading your Church into Growth supported by the Diocese. The PCC attended an evening meeting and later had a PCC Away Day on this theme. Actions include: Constant prayer for growth, more effective publicity, including use of social media, to attract those outside of church as well as insiders. Sarah Dawson will be Publicity Officer and set up St. John’s Facebook page. Younger people find out about us from Facebook. We will use the traditional methods as well as the new ones. There will be a notice board by the back gate as well.
We considered how to keep people when they come in and providing real coffee to give a warm welcome was discussed. We have some new coffee mugs. We want to engage more with newcomers. We have our Welcome Table and will send a welcome letter with details of what we do and personally invite them to social events. We have run a START enquirers course and will now run a “Moving On” course (in collaboration with Sandhurst).
Priority 4: Investment in Youth Work. The Pathfinders steering group to look the time and style of sessions and the Parish will investigate the possibility of employing a Youth Worker. The meeting considered our community involvement including continuing to support and monitor Hope Zone and Zone 6, and the missions we support.
Louise Truscott then spoke about Hope Zone which is a Drop in Centre which meets at the Baptist Church for young people in year 7 ages 11-12 and up to 18. Some children are from Crowthorne and some from the Bracknell Schools. She said they are getting to know the children and their families and teachers. HZ goes into schools on Fridays and on a Wednesday meets in Church. Jenny and Jill help, but they need more volunteers. It is important just to be with the young people and help give them a safe environment. They also serve the children with tuck from 3.20 to 6.00 p.m.
She said they are going into schools and speak to the head teachers and police. The year 6’s coming towards secondary school need to be led. Zone 6 now meets on a Monday night after school. The schools do courses with the children from year 6 to when they go to secondary school. It is important that the children have someone they know from the beginning to end of year 7. HZ need more people to help and more finances and don’t want this work to stop.
Lisa then said we will continue to support the work of Soulscape in its outreach to schools, including the work of Soulscape in intercessions. We will get involved with PAUSE (multi-sensory prayer space) and Mind the Gap (transition from primary to secondary school) projects.
Priority 5: TRL site development – Support CTC involvement
Janet Rogers updated us on the TRL Development of 4,000 new houses which will be built over the next 10 years. She is a member of Churches Together in Crowthorne and St. Sebastian’s Church. The building of new homes, a school, and Christian community centre will mean a dramatic change in Crowthorne with scaffolding, traffic lights etc. With the Christian community centre we should be thinking how we can bless our community, the challenge of welcoming new residents, visiting them all, giving them all a homemade cake. A recent survey was carried out for ideas of worship and how we can use this development to contribute to the new Crowthorne.
We need to pray for the TRL land itself, the builders and new people moving in, the volunteers for the cake bombing squadron. A visit will be made to every new home. When we visit we want to know how they are settling in, to help build friendship, to make a list of people with skills to offer and time. We will leave them with a welcome card. The Open Park development at Hatch Ride will be ready in early autumn.
A prayer station about the TRL site is being designed for the “thy Kingdom Come” initiative and St John’s may be able to use this on 4th June. A prayer walk is planned for this Tuesday. Crowthorne will look different in the future. God is present in all this. It is a challenge we can join in.
Renovation Projects Updates
Organ As Colin Nicholls is unwell Anna gave a resumé of the organ from the report which was recently published in St. John’s News. There was a lot more work needed on the organ than James the organ builder had envisaged and he was having to re-build rather than refurbish. He had confirmed there would be no additional cost. The work done previously on the organ was not fit for purpose. The organ will be ready this side of Christmas, but James does not want to be hurried and he does not want to cut corners. He will not compromise and takes pride in his work – he will build the organ to serve the church into the future. David Ramsbottom said he had confidence in him and his integrity and felt we were getting good value for money.
Lisa then introduced the new organist Richard Seaton. Richard stood up and described himself as an organist in waiting and was looking forward to the privilege of joining us at St. John’s and playing our organ. He had heard of the organ builder and was pleased that we had chosen him for the organ work. There was a vote of thanks to all the piano players who had been helping us during the time the organ was dismantled.
Audio Visual System Ken Perrett gave a short report on the AVS system. The installation of the AVS started in June last year (2016). Since then we have been working with Sound Advice to refine the system and to iron out issues. Some 83 issues have been identified. Sound Advice have been very good at addressing these and have now cleared them all. We were just waiting for the organ console to be installed, when Sound Advice will return to install a screen for use by the organist. Once this is done, we will formally convene the AVS Group to sign off the system and he was pleased to say that costs for the Sound Advice system were as expected. Ken said very special thanks go to James Laverick for his contribution in knowledge, skill and dedication in working on getting the AVS operational
Approval of Annual Report and Accounts
Richard Ireson, on behalf of Beccy Al-Jadir, presented a commentary on the Church Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2016. For Unrestricted Funds, which were can be used to fund the Church’s day to day operations, he noted that incoming resources for the year were £120.5k and resources expended were £121.8k meaning that income and expenditure were roughly in balance. Reserves were £59.4k at the end of the year. However Voluntary Income on Unrestricted Funds had been £93k of which Planned Giving amounted to £68k. This was relatively flat compared with the previous year. The biggest single income generating activity was the May Fair which generated a gross income of £12.1k before expenses of £3.5k. He also noted that income from lettings was up £1.7k compared with the previous year but there had been an equivalent fall in the income from weddings/funerals.
Richard noted that expenditure on Charitable Activities (including the day to day work of the Church) was £117.3k. The Church had been able to maintain its level of Mission Giving at £11.4k/year. The balance of £105.9k was spent on Ministry, the biggest single element of which was the Parish Share of £81.6k which was up from £78.2k in the previous year. This includes the cost of the clergy at St Johns as well supporting the Deanery and the Diocese. The Parish Share is expected to slightly fall in 2017 and the delay in the refurbishment of the organ had resulted in a slight in the budgeted cost of an organist.
Attention then turned to Restricted Funds, these are funds given by donors for specific purposes. The largest single item was the Crowthorne Parish Trust (which holds funds from the previous sale of a curates house, these funds cannot be used for general expenses). The restricted funds also included significant donations received for specific charities (such as the Children’s Society) and for Repairs and Restoration. There was also a capital gain on investments of £16k for the year. He made a special mention of a single donation of £3k in memory of the late Rosemary Jones which was greatly valued and appreciated by the Church some of which will be spent on cushions for the pews.
With respect to restricted expenditures a total of £51k was spent on the new AVS system during the year which is now fully installed and working. A further £26.7k was spent in the year on the organ rebuild, with a further equivalent sum expected to be incurred in 2017. It was pleasing to report that both major projects are now fully funded thanks to the generosity of the congregation.
In summary Richard concluded that in 2016 we broke even on our day to day activities despite funding two major projects which was a great achievement. However, he also sounded a note of caution in pointing out that income receipts were flat year on year and that the Church had sadly lost some major donors during the year. The Church’s reserves of £60k represented only 6 months expenditure at current levels which was why the Stewardship Committee had set an aspirational target of a 10% increase in Planned Giving for the year.
The meeting thanked Beccy Al Jadir for her very hard work as Treasurer, Julie Sharpe for her support and to Laura Myers as the Independent Examiner. The Accounts were approved.
Report on Electoral roll
At last year’s APCM it was reported that the Church Electoral Roll stood at 233. In the twelve months since then, 7 new names have been added and 7 names removed. Accordingly, the Electoral Roll figure now stands at 233.
Presentation of Parish Reports
Lisa said a huge thank you to everyone for all their support on various committees for the hard work from everyone. She would not comment on each report this time as we had a big agenda. A lot of effort had gone into them. A collective thank you to everyone who submitted a report and to all the groups represented. However, she wished to highlight the following:
- Thank you to June Todd who has taken over Baptism Befriender from Christine Rees, Christine had given long service in this role.
- Choir Report – good news Richard Seaton is our new organist. We need new choir members.
- Church Office - thank you and goodbye to Sue Robertson. Sue Mackintosh has taken her place, some of you will know her from the British Legion.
- Fabric Committee – needs new blood.
- Missions Committee – needs a rep for Hope Zone
- Servers – Chris Williams retired from being Head Server. Grateful thanks to Chris and to Les Richardson for stepping into his shoes.
There are 7 vacancies on the PCC for terms of 3 years. There were 6 names on the list for these vacancies and the following were appointed for three years: James Laverick, Richard Ireson, Anne Ireland, Catherine Cleverley, Lia Davies and Lenka Butterworth.
Deanery Synod Elections were required this year to elect 4 lay representatives to serve until May 2020. Gillian Gyenes and Carol Frost were re-elected. Afterwards, at a short PCC meeting, Jenny McKeever and Leigh Welham were elected to serve on Synod:
Appointments were made as follows: Honorary Secretary, Mary Harwood; Hon. Treasurer, Beccy Al-Jadir and Julie Sharpe agreed to continue the role of Assistant Treasurer; Hon Independent Examiner Mrs Laura Myers;, was proposed by Tracy Perrett and seconded by James Laverick. Agreed by all and was so appointed. The existing members of the Welcome Teams approved en bloc (plus Tony McDowell who joins 10am Welcome Team).
Lisa brought the meeting to a close with the Leading Your Church into Growth prayer:
God of mission, we are your Church,
Christ’s body on earth,
Your holy people for your needy world,
In our thinking, give us wisdom,
In our planning, give us faith to move mountains,
In our action, give us the power of your Spirit,
That all we do and think and say may be for your glory
And for the growth of the kingdom of your son,
Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It will be noted that the PCC now consists of: Rev’d Lisa Cornwell (Chairman), Rev’d David Ramsbottom (Associate Minister), Anna Pearce (Churchwarden), Anne Mohan (Churchwarden), Beccy Al-Jadir (Hon Treasurer), Mary Harwood (Hon Secretary) and
Mrs Hazel Berry, Mrs Lenka Butterworth, Mrs Catherine Cleverley, Mrs Lia Davies, Mrs Sarah Dewson, Mrs Carol Frost, Mrs Gillian Gyenes, Mrs Anne Ireland, Mr Richard Ireson, Mr James Laverick, Mr John Lindsay, Mrs Jenny McKeever, Mrs Anna Pearce, Mr David Rance, Mrs Julie Richardson, Mr Leslie Richardson, Dr Lewis Simmons, Mrs Leigh Welham and Mrs Maggie Woodage