Review of PCC 2014-15
The wonderful growth at St Mary’s has continued. We’ve just reported to the Diocese that Sunday attendances during October (the month they ask about) are up 16% for adults and 14% for under 16s; attendance at the Wednesday morning Communion is up by a quarter. The PCC has focused on how to sustain this growth for the long term; in May exploring the reasons for growth at a time when the Church of England overall has seen a 9 per cent decline, and over the autumn considering the priorities for our major investment for the next five years.
The PCC considered in May the findings of the Church of England’s national ‘Church Growth Research Programme’. Stressing that there is no single formula that fits every church, the C of E report highlights ‘ingredients for growth’, which the PCC used to assess how well St Mary’s is doing. With our growth, it is not surprising that we score well in many areas (apologies for the jargon, but these are the report’s headings): Good Leadership, Clear Mission and Purpose, Willingness to Self-Reflect to Change and Adapt, Involvement of Lay Members, Being Intentional in Prioritising Growth. There were two areas in which St Mary’s has been outstanding: Being Intentional in Chosen Style of Worship, with the provision of both TGIS and the 9:30 to meet the needs of different congregations, and Being Intentional in Nurturing Disciples, where the discipleship programme of three courses a year has been outstanding. Under the heading, Engaging Children and Teenagers, the PCC was pleased at the progress being made, but recognised more needed to be done to make this sustainable for the longer term.
Through the summer each Sub-Group fed into the Treasurer its bids for investment priorities over the next five years, which led to options being considered by the PCC in October. After a thoughtful discussion, the PCC concluded that, after provision for essential maintenance work on the building and churchyard, we should establish a major new initiative to (1) employ an experienced children’s/youth worker, (2) release more of the Rector’s time by providing more secretarial support, and (3) invest in new AV facilities for the Hall to support children’s and youth work. This initiative should be seen as the natural successor to the Church Building Project: focussing on people, rather than buildings. Working out the details (of exactly what and how) and putting in place arrangements to raise the funding for this new initiative is the PCC’s current task. The organ will need major refurbishment at some stage, but consideration of this has been deferred as we want only one major fundraising initiative at any one time.
The new structure for the PCC, with Ministry, Discipleship, Prayer & Worship, and Communications sub-Groups, has been in place for 2 ½ years. The Council will have met on 7 occasions this year, reflecting the increased delegation to the Sub-Groups. The Standing Committee has met 6 times. Each meeting begins with prayer, led by a different person each time, and ends with a short prayer. Papers giving the background to the issues under discussion are circulated in advance, and time at each meeting is devoted to discussion leading to decisions. The PCC is kept up to date with the work of the Sub-Groups through ‘State of the Nation’ reports twice each year from each SG. In general this has worked well, although, with fewer of them, meetings have been longer. A casualty of the fewer meetings policy has been hearing directly from areas of church activity. Nevertheless, we did receive in November a very impressive presentation from the Head Teacher of Longwick School, our church school, in which she briefed the PCC on the excellent progress being made, which had resulted in Longwick being judged Outstanding in a recent Diocesan Inspection.
Last year the PCC proposed the creation of a post of Assistant Churchwarden for Fabric and Peter Knight was appointed at the 2014 Annual Meeting. His work, and that of the Treasurer, is overseen by the Standing Committee, rather than a Fabric and Finance Sub-Group, as originally envisaged. This seems to have worked well. Their reports are elsewhere in this Annual Report. In January the PCC considered David Lillycrop’s excellent ‘Review of Financial Procedures’, accepting all his recommendations and asking the Treasurer and Churchwardens to work out the detailed implementation.
St Mary’s maintains its impressive record of charitable giving (see Kaye Lillycrop’s report later). Each year the PCC votes for the charities to be the beneficiaries of our donating 20% of our income. In addition, St Mary’s supports Lighthouse (the local Christian holiday club), is a collecting point for the One Can Trust foodbank, and, this year, has decided to support Christians Against Poverty, which provides practical help (but not financial subsidy) to those afflicted by debt.
On top of the above, routine, but nonetheless vital, work on budget plans, accounts, health & safety, safeguarding children, clergy staffing, and reviewing the work of each group in the church meant that we had very full and interesting meetings. The Council has particularly appreciated the clarity and positive enthusiasm of the Treasurer’s reports, which have been a great inspiration.
The Rector, Vice-Chairman, Churchwardens and the PCC continue to work tirelessly towards God’s vision for St Mary’s and St Peter’s and we thank them for their dedication and service.
For the latest PCC news please see the minutes of the last meeting which we make available on this site. Contact the PCC secretary Jim Cadwallader by email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to raise any issues, as the agenda is finalised by the standing committee usually two weeks before the meeting.
Jim Cadwallader (PCC Secretary)