(Time for you to think about Standing for Election?)
Our Church Council makes many of the vital decisions about the life and work of St Mary’s and it is the body to which our Vicar turns for advice on how to grow and lead the church in its faith and mission. It had its first meeting of the year about ten days ago and here are some of the highlights:
- The Church Council does vision and strategy: In particular, we took a look at what the church had planned to do in the past eighteen months and how much of those plans had come to fruition; it also looked at a plan that the clergy, wardens and others had prepared for the next eighteen months or so and approved an exciting programme of faith development, built around the emerging idea of an optional Parish Rule of Life (see the separate article this month) and various ways we can improve our communications so that we can still feel part of the life and work of the Church even if we cannot be there every Sunday. In March the PCC will receive a report and recommendations from Revd. Aaron Kennedy on the work we can do to promote the common good and new expressions of church in the coming five years. Exciting stuff!
- The Church Council does housekeeping and finance: Any programme of work needs to be properly-funded and the PCC approved a budget for the coming year, a budget for a growing amount of new work alongside keeping the church running. Among the things that are on the cost side are the funding of the relighting and redecoration project and, subject to the proper consents, the PCC will be keeping an eye on the developing tender process and the costs involved in this important work of maintenance and development. The budget – which the Archbishop of Canterbury describes as ‘the church’s mission in figures’ – also takes account of the funding of our Associate Vicar’s role. The Council also received a report on the 2018 Everyone Campaign as we seek to fund our work through generous giving from our members. Finally, the Council receives a regular report from our Church Manager, which this month included news of a new Parish Secretary – Sue Bourke – and requests from Thomas’s Kindergarten to improve the security of our building for their children.
- The Church Council promotes A Safe Church: Every PCC now has to take proper account of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Our receives a report every meeting and this month it also received an action plan for work to do on this following our annual internal audit of safeguarding. The Council agreed to provide a morning’s training for all with safeguarding responsibilities at St Mary’s later in the year.
- The Church Council advises the Vicar about worship: Although it is the Vicar’s sole responsibility to make decisions on worship in a Church of England Church, Simon always likes to consult the PCC on matters of importance. At the moment, he is seeking their advice about changing the culture of our First Sunday Services so that they encourage a culture of invitation to which we can feel comfortable about inviting our friends and families. This is a priority for the coming year for Simon.
In a few weeks’ time, we will begin to look for new members to replace the two whose terms of office are coming to an end. We are also beginning to look for a new PCC Treasurer and at least one new Church Warden, to serve as Vicar’s Warden as Debbie Apostolides term of office comes to an end. We warmly encourage you to enquire about what is involved from the clergy, wardens or any PCC member.