COMBINED REPORT FOR THE APCM – APRIL 2021
PCC SECRETARY'S REPORT
With last year’s APCM postponed to 26 November 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s annual meetings have come around again very quickly as we are back on track with the usual April timings. We began the new PCC with the following members:
Catherine Beaumont (Electoral Roll Officer, Safeguarding Officer), Ros Beeson, Steve Betts (Deanery Synod Representative), Helen Buswell (Churchwarden), Catherine Cheater, Catherine Gibson (Reader), Fr Philip Gray (Clergy, Chair – left December 2020), Bethany Harrison, Gwyneth Hartley (Deanery Synod Representative), John McGhee (Treasurer), Helen Pilling (Lay Vice-Chair), Carmel Ramage, David Shaw, Richard Smeaton, Judith Smith (Deanery Synod Representative), Val Smith (Diocesan Synod Representative), Michelle Still, Alison Stretton (Churchwarden), Tina Warnes, Catherine Webster (Secretary), Sarah Williams, Tom Williams, Adam Wilson.
The following PCC roles were elected unanimously:
Treasurer – John McGhee
Secretary – Catherine Webster
The following PCC chairs were elected unanimously:
PCC Lay Vice-Chair – Helen Pilling
Finance Committee – John McGhee
The following roles were elected unanimously:
Head Sidesman – Janet Kish
Independent Examiner - Joanne Lake
Vacancies were not filled for the following Chairs:
Parish Hall Committee
Church Facilities Committee
Steve Betts retired from his many volunteer duties for the church in December 2020. We are most grateful to him for his commitment to the PCC over many years.
Since saying our thanks and farewells to Father Philip in December, the PCC has had much to deal with, negotiating the Vacancy process at the same time as the Covid-19 pandemic and all that entails. Some difficult and very important matters have divided opinion amongst members. Considerable, and often heated, debate has taken place at the meetings, with differing views discussed at length. And with all PCC meetings having to be held over Zoom due to Covid, all in all it has made for quite a challenging time.
In the short time since the last APCM, the PCC have met seven times. Here is a brief overview of items covered:
Before he left, Fr Philip asked a former Churchwarden, Helen Pilling, if she would take on the important role of Lay Vice-Chair for the PCC – a position which had been vacant for a number of years, and which would be vital to the PCC on his departure. After much thought and careful consideration, Helen very kindly agreed to take on the role, for which we are most grateful.
David Chary – CFC Chairman
We started the new PCC year with great sadness that David Chary had died. David was a great servant to the PCC over many years, especially in his role as Chairman of the Church Facilities Committee. He had done a huge amount of development, improvement and maintenance work to our church, including to the church roof, lighting, heating, overhead cleaning, rood screen, the cleaning of the reredos, the memorial gardens, to name but a few, and his recent work included the beautiful restoration of the church floor. This was all quietly delivered by David, and always with the utmost courtesy, he was a true gentleman. Anne and David’s family are very much in our thoughts.
Suspension of Corporate Worship
In January 2021, as the nation went in to its third Lockdown, the PCC took the difficult decision to suspend corporate worship, in line with the government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. This, coupled with the need to ask visiting clergy to travel to us from outside the area, plus the safety of our volunteers in church was also taken into consideration. In the meantime, the PCC agreed to extend Private Prayer to every weekday from 9.30-11.30. The Suspension was reviewed in February, and it was decided to offer an online Midweek Morning Prayer, which would be delivered on ‘Zoom’ by the Readers, and to extend the opening hours on Good Friday for Private Prayer to 9.30am-3.30pm.
In March, the PCC reviewed the situation again, and this time voted to re-open church for Corporate Worship, commencing on Easter Day. The decision was based on numerous factors, including the declining Covid infection rate, increasing numbers of people who had been vaccinated, the Government’s easing of travel restrictions, our own Covid protocols, and an increased number of volunteers offering to help on the stewards’ rota.
The Vacancy Process
We began carefully and sensitively working through the many parts of the Vacancy process. All points of view were thoroughly discussed and considered, including the views of the congregation.
In January, the PCC voted to follow the usual recruitment process.
Val Smith kindly offered to prepare the Parish Profile, with IT support from Vickie Kemp. This provides a "statement describing the conditions, needs and traditions of the parish", required by the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986. Ros Beeson kindly set up and led the Brochure Group. The Brochure is a key document which has two aims: it is the first picture a possible new priest will get of the parish, and it is the PCC’s guidance note for the parish representatives considering a candidate.
We are most grateful to Val, Ros and Vickie, and to the other members of the Brochure Group for their contributions.
In February, the PCC met to discuss the candidates for the role of Parish Representatives. Catherine Cheater and Catherine Gibson were voted in for these important roles – we are most grateful to them.
The PCC met again in February for the ‘Section 11’ meeting at which we:
- unanimously approved the Parish Profile
- appointed the Parish Representatives
- agreed to request a ‘Section 12’ meeting
- requested that the Bishop and Patron consider advertising the vacancy
The ‘Section 12’ meeting took place in March. We were joined at the meeting by Bishop Toby, Archdeacon Andy Jolley, Father Oswin Gartside (our Patron), the new Area Dean, Revd. Mike Coe, and Marilyn Banister, Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod. Marilyn Banister kindly Chaired the meeting for us.
The purpose of the meeting was to have a conversation and ask questions about both the Bishop’s statement and the Parish Profile, and to feed back and agree on any suggestions and recommendations, together. This ensured that all parties were clear on our position, and also that the PCC were clear and satisfied with the Bishop’s statement. The draft Brochure was also reviewed and discussed, and recommendations were noted. Our guests commended the work that had been done in preparing these important documents.
Church Facilities and Hall Committee (CFHC)
The PCC unanimously decided to amalgamate the Church Facilities and Hall committees as there has been a great deal of overlap between the two. The PCC is now seeking volunteers to take on the role of Chair and to become members of the new CFHC.
It was agreed that a Communications Group would be beneficial as a PCC sub-committee, to look after such matters as our social media, website and newsletter, and when the time comes, to work closely with the new incumbent. Catherine Cheater kindly volunteered to set up the Communications Group, and look for volunteers for which we are most grateful.
The PCC were invited to review the upgraded church website, which had been facilitated by Steve Betts.
Having completed six years as PCC Secretary, it is now time for me to retire from the role. It has been a privilege to have served the PCC during this time. I wish the PCC and St Margaret’s the very best going forward, and hopefully, to happier Covid-free times ahead.
Catherine Webster, PCC Secretary, April 2021
This report covers the period since the last APCM on 26th November 2020.
There have been no safeguarding incidents reported.
All DBS checks apart from one are complete.
Face-to-Face safeguarding training is still suspended but the basic and foundation training (formerly C0 and C1) can be done online. About half of the people who are required to complete safeguarding training have done so.
The diocese have introduced a new safeguarding dashboard system to indicate how well parishes are doing. Inputting progress into the dashboard generates an action plan which must be adopted by the PCC.
The dashboard works on a Red, Amber, Green system and has 3 levels.
Level 1 - Safer Foundations;
Level 2 - Safer Activities;
Level 3 - Safer Practices.
We are currently on level 2. Evidence required includes DBS checks, Safeguarding training, risk assessments for all activities involving children or vulnerable adults, appropriate insurance, correct display of information, and policies and procedures.
The PCC will be discussing the Safeguarding Action Plan at the June meeting.
Catherine Beaumont, Parish Safeguarding Officer, March 2021
ELECTORAL ROLL REPORT
The Electoral Roll was revised between the 23rd March and the 5th April 2021. The number on the Electoral Roll is 204, of these, 54% live in the parish. 6 have been removed and 3 added since last year’s revised roll. Due to GDPR rules the roll has been published without addresses.
Catherine Beaumont, March 2021
DEANERY SYNOD REPORT
The inaugural meeting of the South Craven and Wharfedale Deanery Synod of 2021-2023 was held via Zoom on 10th February 2021.
There were 3 apologies and one observer, Mrs. Alison Stretton, Churchwarden from St. Margaret’s Church Ilkley.
There were several new members to the synod and a new Area Dean , Revd. Mike Coe, vicar of All Saints Church, Ilkley, replacing Canon Philip Gray who had been Area Dean since the Deanery was founded. He had worked very hard for the Deanery and members felt very much now part of the deanery and interested in all its churches.
The meeting divided into two meetings - the House of clergy and the House of laity. Both groups elected members from their groups for the standing committee.
The full synod then reconvened and elected Mr. Maurice Hatton as secretary to the synod. Gwyneth Hartley and Jacqui Hind both expressed their thanks to Maurice for his help and advice over the last 3 years.
The meeting split into 5 groups to discuss what subjects should be included in future synod agendas and what speakers should be arranged. The results of these discussions were reported back and will be considered carefully by the standing committee of the synod.
The churchwarden from St. Margaret’s Ilkley gave an up to date report on St. Margaret’s situation. Fr. Philip is still vicar until 31st March but he is away on sabbatical. Meetings section 11 and section 12 have been arranged and the profile and brochure are prepared. The Area Dean assured St. Margaret’s of the deanery’s prayers during their vacancy.
Clergy from the deanery prepared a video of Morning Prayer for Ash Wednesday.
All the meetings for this year have been arranged. This first meeting was closed by Revd. Helen Collings, the new Assistant Area Dean.
Gwyneth Hartley, Deanery Synod Rep, February 2021
PCC’S CHURCH FACILITIES COMMITTEE (CFC) REPORT
Following the illness and ultimately untimely and sad death of David Chary, John McGhee stepped in as temporary PCC member overseeing the church fabric. Since then, no meetings of the committee have taken place due to Covid restrictions.
Quinquennial Survey. The latest Quinquennial Survey was undertaken by our church architect, Mike Overton, in Summer 2020. There were a few minor masonry and glass repairs to be carried out but no major requirements.
Church Security. No issues to report
Heating Facilities. The three boilers continue to be serviced on an annual basis with no serious issues reported.
Arboreal and Garden Matters. Throughout the season our gardener, Mr Jez Parker from Addingham, has continued to maintain our grassed areas on a regular basis. Some of the cherry trees are now either dead or dying and will need to be removed soon.
Lightning Conductor. The lightning conductor was replaced having been reported as faulty.
Finally, I express my very grateful thanks to all members of the CFC, our caretaker, Alan Raw who has been outstanding throughout the Covid lockdown and to Vickie Kemp for her unstinting service. In addition, Alison Stretton and Helen Buswell as Wardens who have given their time freely and joyfully for the benefit of our church buildings.
John McGhee, February 2021
HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
Following many years as Chair, Steve Betts stepped down as Chair of the Committee. Whilst a replacement is sought, John McGhee stepped in as temporary PCC member overseeing the Hall Management. Since then, no meetings of the committee have taken place due to Covid restrictions. With the Covid lockdown in March and restrictions since, the Hall has largely been closed. This was such a shame in that the lettings were at an all time high and the income for the year was looking very healthy.
During the year, however, a deep-clean of the kitchen was undertaken and the Hall has been maintained in readiness for re-opening as soon as we can. Covid safe working practices were developed for the hire of hall and individual risk assessments worked up with each hirer able to return for the Autumn term 2020. New special covid hire agreements were introduced. These new policies and practices mean we are in a well prepared position to welcome the return of hirers when guidance allows. We shall see the return of a handful of hirers before the end of the academic year. Vickie Kemp will be writing to our usual hirers at the end of June to assess what 2021/22 will look like and if a need exists to recruit new hirers if some do not return.
In November the boiler broke down and after much consultation, it was decided to replace it. It lasted 15 years which is acceptable. The new boiler was installed and is now up and running and is much more efficient than the old one.
Income from hall lettings was £11,711 compared with £26,538 in 2019.
My thanks go to Alan Raw for his efforts in maintaining the Hall including undertaking considerable redecoration during the lockdown periods and to Vickie Kemp for management of the booking and managing the hirers through a very difficult time. Finally, thanks go to Steve Betts for his wonderful service over many years without which the Church would not have benefitted from the Hall to the extent it has.
John McGhee, March 2021
Due to the uncertainties of the Coronavirus pandemic, it was felt that a Stewardship appeal would not be appropriate in 2020. We are extremely grateful to those members of the congregation who continue to give generously and sacrificially to St Margaret’s.
Regular giving in 2020
Unfortunately, although we have received a few spontaneous increases in giving including moves from weekly envelopes to standing order over the course of the year, we have seen reductions in giving from 20 regular givers through moves, deaths and changes in personal circumstances. The net decrease in giving before Gift Aid since the spring is just over £1,180 per month, which will impact us by £20,200 over the course of 2021.
Update for 2021
Although it is not usual to report on the current year, it should be noted that we have had a further loss of 5 regular givers since the start of the year with a net decrease in giving before Gift Aid of £205 per month, or £2,460 per year.
We are grateful to have received a number of ad hoc donations. However, the reduction in envelope and occasional giving as a result of church closures over the last 12 months has been considerable.
The restricted Share Fund was launched at the APCM in 2017. Currently 82 active regular donors have pledged half of their monthly donations to it. This is 71% of our donors. In 2019, just over £34,700 went to the restricted Share Fund. Due to a relative increase in donors signing up to the Fund, in 2020 the Share Fund received £36,700. If you are a regular giver, we actively encourage you to sign up to this scheme which will help us to achieve paying our requested share. Please contact the Treasurer or Stewardship Secretary for details.
Alison Stretton, March 2021
ST MARGARET’S OUTWARD GIVING GROUP & MISSION FUND
Report to the APCM, April 2021
In 2020, the Mission Fund raised/disbursed approximately £2,436 (against a budget of £8,000), as follows:
|DEC Covid-19 Appeal||£53|
|JJ Community Transformation||£170|
|Staying Put (Christmas Appeal) (actually paid in Jan 2021)||£1605|
|Other small donations||£250|
Payments in 2019 - £10,485
NB This figure differs slightly from the accounts as we report on the funds raised during the course of the year, some of which are dispersed in the following January.
There was a surplus of £928 which has been retained for distribution in 2021.
It should be noted that our charitable activities, especially appeals, were hard hit by Covid. There was no Harvest Appeal; no Advent Procession or Christingle which would usually raise funds for The Children’s Society; and our Christmas Appeal was much reduced. However, we would like to say thank you for the generosity of the members of the congregation who were able to support our Outward Giving in such a difficult year. We trust and pray that 2021 will bring better and brighter things.
Charities we recommend for support in 2021 include:
JJ Community Transformation/Hand-in-Hand
Otley Christian Resources Hub (supporting Open The Book)
The Children’s Society
The Mission Fund is overseen by the Outward Giving Group whose current members are Catherine Beaumont, Jane Clarke, Michelle Still, Alison Stretton and Linda Whittaker. We normally meet three times a year, provide recommendations to the PCC and organise displays and speakers for the chosen charities. We are very grateful for the support given by the congregation to the appeals and fundraising initiatives over the course of each year and are happy to discuss the organisations we recommend or to receive suggestions of organisations for future support.
Alison Stretton, March 2021
OPEN THE BOOK REPORT
St. Margaret’s Open the Book Team have not, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, visited Ashlands School during the past year. However, the team are looking forward to the future and planning is already underway to recommence our Key Stage 1 Assembly in the near future.
We hold all the pupils and staff at Ashlands School in our prayers and appreciate all the work and efforts the staff have made for the pupils and the community during this difficult time.
As ever we thank Mandy at The Chestnuts for her support, and her entertaining and informative zoom meetings to keep the teams in touch.
Jane Sheldon, March 2021
ST MARGARET’S MOTHERS’ UNION REPORT
The Mothers’ Union, like all other organisations, was seriously affected by the period of isolation that became known as “lockdown” in March 2020. The closure of all face-to-face meetings and even our church services in order to protect the more senior members of society from infection, had a drastic effect on our group, as the age range of our membership overlapped with that of those most at risk, so that all our activities had to be put on hold and our contacts limited to emails and telephone calls. Fortunately only a fraction of our membership have no internet access so communication has not been as difficult as we initially feared and we have been able to keep in touch with one another on a regular basis throughout the year. It was also encouraging to see that, despite age and fragile health, many members made the effort to get to church when ‘live’ services were permitted and others faithfully supported the recorded services from home.
The year began as usual with our AGM, chaired by Fr. Philip – for the last time, as it turned out, before he left the parish in December 2020. At the AGM the matter of attendance at meetings was discussed at some length, raising the prospect of making some changes to the content of meetings to attract more members. Consequently, the February meeting was dedicated to hearing members’ suggestions for topics for the year ahead, but sadly we were unable to put any of these into practice and at the moment there is still no indication when we shall be able to resume our meetings.
As we were unable to hold any fund-raising activities in 2020 it was a poor year for donations to our usual charities, although we did make 2 sizeable gifts with money raised towards the end of 2019. The Overseas and Relief Funds received £158.50 from our Christmas Stall and raffle and the Make a Mother’s Day appeal for Mothering Sunday was the recipient of the £112 raised in November 2019 from the sale of refreshments at the Ilkley Christmas Tree Festival. This went towards 2 special projects: one dedicated to helping older women to set themselves up in small businesses and the other to helping young girls from losing out on education through early marriage.
We were much saddened by the death of former branch leader, Angela Halton, in December but we thank God that all members have renewed their membership for 2021. With the future still uncertain we continue to support one another and those less fortunate than ourselves by our prayers and to pray for the future of our branch and our church, as we wait in anticipation for the appointment of a new parish priest.
Janet Kish, Secretary, March 2021