St Philip and St James’s church, Grafton Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2DD

Report on the Church Council Meeting – 18th November 2014

The meeting was mainly concerned with approving the budget for 2015 and updates on the South Cheltenham Team, the Strategic Plan, the repairs and fundraising.

Budget 2015
The Treasurer presented the budget for 2015. Some minor adjustments will need to be made when the bank figures are received for October and November. The council was asked to agree that the Standing Committee should be permitted to sign off the final figures at its meeting on 11th December. Thanks were expressed to Stuart for all his work on the budget.

Charitable Giving Policy
The Mission Group has suggested three charities as recipients of P&J’s charitable giving. They are Bettridge School, A Rocha and Tent of Nations.

A “Waitrose-style” vote over four Sundays in January will decide how to apportion the amount of money to be donated. The council was happy to accept this proposal.

South Cheltenham Team
Nick told the council that the appointment to Emmanuel had not been successful and that the Archdeacon was reviewing the situation.                                                     

Nick will be taking over at St Stephen’s at Epiphany. He will be offering one Sunday a month and a weekday communion twice a month. He was grateful that a number of retired Anglo-Catholic clergy, who had helped to cover services since Brian Torode died, were happy to continue their ministry. There would be a South Cheltenham Team service at St Stephen’s on 8th February at 6.00 pm to welcome Nick. It will take the form of Evensong with Benediction and the Archdeacon will preach.There are plans for a Lay Pastors’ training course for people who undertake visiting, home communions etc.

Strategic Plan 2015-2019
Nick told the council that the meeting of the congregation planned for the 23rd November after the morning service had been moved to Monday 1st December at 7.30 pm in order to allow more time for discussion.

There was a discussion on Goal No. 1 – To deepen our spiritual life by offering to God worship and prayer which is rich, vivid & creative. Nick talked about the possibilities offered by reordering the space. Some members queried the use of the term “middle of the road” to describe our worship and suggested something that sounded less non-committal such as “a broad range”. It was also felt that it was too Sunday-based and that there was a need to add something about the development of prayer life, study and teaching beyond Sunday worship.                                                                              

Nick then asked members to opt for one of the goals. As trustees of a charity everyone should be helping to deliver the strategy. Each member was asked to declare their preferences.

Repairs report
David Mace explained that Phase 2 is almost complete. Scaffolding will be coming down in the next week or two. There are a few jobs to be finished, including the replacement of the boiler room gate. Some extra work needed to be done on the stonework, which will increase the costs a bit. Detailed costings and specifications for Phase 3 will be commenced very soon.

The staining on the chancel ceiling is being assessed by the loss adjustor. There will be some insurance money but the cost could be £10,000 – £15,000 because of the difficulty of access. Scaffolding would need to be erected in the chancel. A decision on whether to proceed or not will be taken later.

A refund of VAT on Phase 1 has been received under the Places of Worship Grant Scheme so it is expected that refunds will also be received on Phases 2 and 3.   It is hoped to apply for a faculty for Phase 3 in time for the January DAC meeting and for work to start in March.

The planning application for the window guards had been passed to English Heritage for comment and it opposed it. However the council is expected to give permission once more details of the composition of the guards, which it requested, are supplied.

Fundraising report
Nick reported that the dinner at The Spice Lodge yesterday went well. It was too soon to know how much money was raised.

He suggested that, as Phase 3 of the project was going ahead and was expected to be completed in late spring, Natalie should continue to be employed until the end of May. She was still making applications to grant-making bodies. He also recommended that Anthony Oliver be asked to provide additional research and consultancy services. The council agreed.

Nick had gone back to the Heritage Lottery Fund after confusion over which fund would be the appropriate body to fund repairs. The HLF had given erroneous advice on the matter but told Nick that, even if a renewed application was successful, it would be spring 2016 before any funding would be made available and in return a lot of educational and cultural activities would be required. After a short discussion, the council agreed not to proceed.

Eco Group
A formal application to become an Eco Congregation has been submitted.

New Secretary
Janet Thornton will be ending her term on the council and resigning as secretary after the APCM in April 2015. She has prepared a brief job description, which has been circulated to members.

Janet Thornton                                                                                                                                        PCC Secretary

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