One of the jobs in recent days has been to
prepare a Briefing Paper for new members of the PCC. The aim of the paper
is to get them quickly up to speed so that they don't spend their first
year desperately trying to work out what is going on. I thought, however,
that it might usefully be given a wider circulation. This is partly so
that everyone has a clearer idea of what the PCC is and does. It is also
because it seemed not unfitting, as we celebrate the birthday of the
Church (Whitsunday), to remind ourselves of what we as a church actually
do. The Briefing takes the form of a commentary on a normal PCC. Agenda.
The prayer normally used at the start of PCC goes as follows:
"Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
who by your wise and loving Spirit, guides your church into the way of
truth and holiness: we beseech you to direct the counsels of us your
servants at this time that we may be enabled to do those things that are
pleasing in your sight, and may wisely plan for the furtherance of your
church in this place. Remove from us all that hinders your purposes:
establish among us peace and love, unity and concord, and grant that
your blessing may continually rest on our worship, our work, and our
witness; for the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Please give these as rarely as possible. Unless a high percentage of its
members are present the PCC is legally unable to take decisions. The PCC
meets on the third Thursday of alternate months beginning in January.
Please mark these dates as soon as you get your new diary.
MINUTES /MATERS ARISING
You will receive your minutes some days ahead of the meeting. Before you
come to the meeting, please check that they correspond with your memory of
The Reports cover all aspects of the church's work. They inform the PCC of
what is being done and, where necessary, seek the PCC's decision on future
policy or action.
The Vicar reports on matters relating to the worship of the church and
there is opportunity for questions or comments. There are no major
issues currently before the PCC in this area. An example of such an
issue would be the debate the PCC held on its policy for the remarrying
of divorced people in church. The current policy is that it will be
considered only when the previously unmarried partner lives in this
parish or is already on the electoral roll of our church.
This area covers the work of the Pastoral Committee - the Area Wardens
and the Way Wardens, and the Bereavement Follow-up visitor. Comments,
questions, and suggestions are welcome.
The CARE Committee manages our charitable giving both at home and
abroad. They draw up the Annual List of Charities to which we make
donations (usually at the January meeting). They propose the causes
which should be adopted for the Lent and Advent Appeals. They enable us
to implement the PCC's policy that 10% of our income should go to
The Fund Raising Committee are responsible for organising our Fund
Raising events - the Summer Fete; the Christmas Fayre; the Barn Dance
etc. They are not to be confused with the Friends of Streatley Church
which is an independent historic buildings charity. The money the
Friends raise can only be spent, in consultation with the PCC, on
maintaining the historic fabric of the church.
In addition to producing the Annual Accounts, the Treasurer, aided by
the Accounts Manager, produces a bi-monthly set of accounts so the PCC
can keep track of the financial position The first responsibility of the
PCC is to meet the Annual Quota. Paid to the diocese, this covers the
vicar's stipend, expenses, and pension, plus a contribution to the cost
of running the diocese and running the Church of England as a whole. The
current annual quota is approximately £40,000. (Please note, the vicar
gets nothing like this.) The principal sources of revenue are the giving
of the congregation; fund-raising events; the renting out of the former
curate's house in Marsom Grove; and the hiring of the Parish Centre.
Currently we are (just about) holding our own.
Charged with looking at new ways of reaching out to the parish. Among
its achievements so far: introducing the Seasonal Holy Communion and
Family Service with Communion; the Website; the Baptism Training DVD. It
is currently looking at ways in which we might reach out more
effectively to those in the 20 - 30 age group.
Youth and Children's work
Under this heading the PCC receives reports on the state of play in the
Buggy Group, the Story Club, the Sunday School, and the Sunday Club.
(New members of the PCC are warned that it is dangerous to show too much
interest in this area or you may be marked down as a future leader.)
A management committee looks after the Centre and reports regularly on
Maintenance and Property
This concerns the Church, the Churchyard, and the Curate's House.
(Responsibility for the Vicarage rests with the diocese.) The major
issues currently exercising the PCC. In this area are:
- The Loo. For 13 years now we
have been struggling to get a loo and a small kitchen for the
church. The first plan - for an extension outside the north door was
rejected when, thanks to the demands of various planning
authorities, the cost rose to £87K. The present plan involves
modifications to the base of the tower. This has received planning
consent from English Heritage and the Diocese. The initial tenders,
however proved forbiddingly high. Revised tenders based on a revised
specification should reach the council in May of this year.
- Floodlighting the Church. PCC
approval in principle has already been given for a scheme to
floodlight the church, which is being done by a contractor as a
memorial to his son who is buried in the churchyard. The scheme is
currently going through the processes necessary to obtain planning
The church and its contents are inspected
annually by the Archdeacon or his representative. The church is
inspected by the architect every five years. He grades the work that
needs to be done from 1 to 5. Grade 1 work must be done immediately.
Grade 2 works must be done within a year. Grade 3 works must be done
within 5 years. No one ever heeds work graded 4 or 5.
Is charged with the responsibility for running low-cost social events
that will bind together the church as a whole e.g. the New Year's Party,
the Car Treasure Trail, and the Parish Picnic.
This concerns any matters to do with the Magazine, The Messenger and
The next tier of Church government above the PCC is the Deanery Synod.
We belong to the Deanery of Luton, and two members of the PCC act as our
representatives on this body. It is currently conducting a review of
church provision in Luton. An initial report suggesting a number of
closures and mergers was rejected by the Synod. A new review is
currently under way. The conclusion of the original review, endorsed by
the PCC, was that Streatley should be left alone. The new review is
still at the consultative stage so no conclusions have yet been
Council of Churches
This concerns our ecumenical links. We are members, together with St.
Augustine's, St. John's Methodist, Limbury Baptist, and St. Joseph's RC
of the Limbury Churches Together. Two members of the PCC represent us in
the Council of this group.
This summary of the work of the PCC will
hopefully prompt three reflections. The first is of gratitude for the
service offered to the church by PCC members. The second is mild
wonderment at just how much even a modest little church like Streatley
actually does. The third is the realisation that, beneath all the
structures of councils and committees, a church is actually a very simple
organisation. It is a group of people doing together what Christ asks of
each one of us - using our time, talents, energies, and resources to carry
on his work of worship, caring, and teaching in order to bring forward the
kingdom of God. It is, in short, precisely what Christ commissioned his
disciples to be on that first Whitsunday when the Church was born.
All best wishes,
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