THE PARISH OF KIDMORE END AND SONNING COMMON
The Council met on Tuesday, January12 2021 at 8.00pm via ZOOM
PRESENT: Revd S Walker, I Adams, K Broadbent, F Cooper, G Edwards, P Edwards, V Heywood, R House,
J Lamprell, J MacGregor, N Room and R Walker.
Mrs Broadbent chaired the meeting and asked Revd Walker to open it with prayer.
APOLOGIES: J Artivich and J Pound. Rev Stickings is on sick leave.
Mr Walker reported on a statement Revd David Tyler, the Assistant Archdeacon to say that James is still signed off from work by his GP, and that he (David) is in contact with the Diocese HR department to provide him with the support he needs to return to work when he is well enough to do so. It was noted that his absence had now lasted almost 6 months.
Mrs MacGregor said, prefacing her remarks with warm praise for all that Revd Walker was doing, that whilst we had every sympathy with the Rector’s situation, what support was being given to the parishioners. She had heard from a number of people who felt very let down and in some cases abandoned, mainly because they were not being told anything. In reply it was explained that GDPR prevented information being given out, but we should keep in contact with parishioners by telephone, especially those who did not use technology. Help from other members of the clergy was not possible during the current pandemic.
Commenting on the 6 months’ absence, Mr Adams said that if this was in Industry, it would be a very different matter, but Mr Walker said he was 'uncomfortable' comparing the Church with industry.
IGNING OF THE MINUTES OF 10.11.20
Proposed by Mr Edwards and seconded by Mrs Heywood, the Minutes were agreed and signed pp by the Secretary.
Food Bank at CTK
Previously being run from Springwater, the Food Bank had begun operating from CTK from 12.1.21. Helpers would access the building via the side door.
Lighting on the Path at SJB
The solar lights had disappeared and needed to be replaced. Mr Edwards and Mr Room would research some form of replacement.
MISSION AND OUTREACH
Benefice Map update
No further information.
Mrs MacGregor asked whether, in view of the successful streaming of the Carol Service, we should investigate the provision of streaming equipment in both churches. After a short discussion, it was agreed to defer this item till the next meeting. ** See below **
Closure of Churches
We have sent a copy of our resolution to close the churches temporarily, to the Archdeacon as requested in a recent letter from Bishop Steven to all churches.
This has been acknowledged.
Revd Walker was working on this. She felt a ‘home grown’ course might be better than one of the published courses that had been used in the past. Details should go in this week’s bulletin and following copies, to allow people to plan. There would be daytime and evening options to join by ZOOM, starting the week of 22.2.21
Circulated before the meeting.
Mr Room said that he was awaiting a statement of investments, but we had finished the year well, with several grants having been received. Recovery funding might also be available.
Following the appointment of new Churchwardens, the PCC made note of the change to signatories for the operation of the CBF Deposit and Investment Fund accounts, namely:
Arthur Samuel Robert Lynch to be removed (as no longer on the PCC or Churchwarden),
and Richard John Walker to come onto the list of authorised signatories.
This makes the complete list:
Nicholas Anthony Ernest Room
Jennifer Irene MacGregor
Karen Jane Broadbent
Richard John Walker Two signatories to sign.
This was agreed.
It was noted that paint was peeling off the asbestos panels at CTK and this needed to be dealt with. Mrs Broadbent and Mr Room would follow this up – referring to the Quinquennial Report.
These were circulated before the meeting.
Mr Walker was in the process of setting up a Fundraising Committee. This would consist of two members from CTK – Mrs Lamprell and Mrs Nickson - and two from SJB – Mrs Cooper and Mr Foster.
They would meet shortly to decide how to approach fundraising in the future. Mr Walker hoped that it would be possible to draw in outsiders, rather than constantly tapping the same people for donations each time. It was hoped to hold the Dorchester Pilgrimage, which had been cancelled last year, when Covid 19 and better weather allowed. Mr and Mrs Edwards were willing to organise a fundraising Quiz, perhaps as a paper version to be done at home in the current climate.
Mr Walker thanked the CTK team who had organised a very different Christingle event, which had raised £250.00 for the Children’s Society. He also told the Council that Farina’s garage was on the move at last. It was agreed that changes to the site might affect the church.
Mr Walker offered a warm vote of thanks to Mr Room for his work as Treasurer.
Mr Room said there was a lot of work to be done at SJB and that the Quinquennial Report would be used as a plan of work. Grants might be available for some of the projects. These included:
Drainage problems. The church architect would inspect and report back. The Archdeacon had made available a grant of £2K.
The church wall needs considerable repair.
Mr Room thanked the Churchyard work party for all their work over the past year. The Patronal Festival, planned for the weekend of June would celebrate the various aspects of work carried out.
The Council welcomed Mr Adams to the meeting as the new Deanery Synod representative. The date of the next meeting was thought to be in February, but Mr Room would check this and let Mr Adams know.
The Committees had not met but Mrs MacGregor reported on the Parish Room situation. As from 13.1.21, a local group organised by Mrs Jane Mather, would be using the Room to accept deliveries of fruit, vegetables and bakery items, which they would pack and deliver to local people who had put in orders for this produce. It had been operating for some time from Mrs Mather’s home. It is not a profit making group, but more of a pop-up shop. Because food is involved, the group has to be inspected by SODC – they are presently rated 5 stars - and to this end, the Parish Room Committee had offered to ensure that the Room is cleaned thoroughly each Tuesday. So far, three members had been rostered in to clean.
Once Covid restrictions allow, Mrs Mather hopes that they can establish a Conversation Café, where people can stop for a coffee, tea and a chat. Because the Group is not raising any money, they cannot pay regular rent, but will make donations from time to time.
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Nothing to report.
It was agreed to re-instate Standing Committee meetings, to be held in alternate months to PCC meetings. Standing Committee members are Revd Walker, Mr Room, Mr Walker, Mrs Lamprell and Mrs MacGregor. Therefore:-
9.2.21 Standing Committing meeting
17.2.21 Ash Wednesday
22/24-2-21 Lent Groups begin
9.3.21 PCC Meeting
27.6.21 St John’s Patronal Festival
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
It was agreed that the Minutes of PCC meetings would be posted on ACNY Parish website, noting that these were in draft form until acceptance at the following PCC meeting.
There being no other business, the meeting ended with prayers at 9.10 pm.
Churchwarden’s Report for SJB January 2021
It was truly distressing to agree with others that with great sadness, the Christmas Eucharist at St John’s was to be cancelled because of the onward march of coronavirus. Matters came to a head on 23<sup>rd</sup> December. In the context of significant national concern, and our geographical position right on the border of the Covid Tier, all our long, detailed and frequently changing planning which really was intended to result in a Midnight service moving ahead, became abandoned at a late stage. Timing was a direct reflection of the government’s own dilemma – but the Diocese was edging towards that conclusion and parishioners were declining to come out. It was such a shame but it became more unviable as the weather also got colder precisely at the time we might have wished it to stay mild for a further few hours – not that this was an overriding concern.
It was however heartening and uplifting to hear and see the result of the Carol service being recorded and broadcast on youtube, and for that, enormous thanks to all and of course, to the technical team who pulled off a real success.
The follow up into the New Year has presented further challenges and any attempt to open for private prayer has run into the long grass as we, and many other parishes, took the unenviable decision to close the church until the worst of the pandemic, fuelled by this new variant, is behind us.
This has not been an easy time for anyone – and is not the way I envisaged my first few weeks in this role.
St John’s Church Roof
This work was completed on 16<sup>th</sup> December at a cost of £9,816.00. Further work on the east roof and above the vestry would be prudent and should be quoted for – a job for later in the year.
We received a number of grants towards the cost of the roof and those, together with donations from parishioners, covered a significant proportion of the outlay.
During the roof works, we noted a drain on the south elevation of the church was not taking water away. Dyno Rod were called but could not shift the blockage. Their report concluded that the soakaway could be ‘expired’.
I have been in touch with the church architect and the DAC – Archdeacon Judy has been very encouraging, and promptly offered a £2,000 grant payable when any works have been carried out.
This is evident in the rear pews and possibly the floorboards and confirmed by a Rentokil report following their FOC visit to St John’s during December. The DAC have responded to my request for action and we will liaise early in the New Year over next steps. It is possible the drain issue could be related to the woodworm infestation. Woodworm needs dealing with as a priority if it is active – and quotes are being invited from companies put forward by the architect and the DAC.
Yew Trees at the Lychgate – and the Elms surrounding the churchyard
PCC gave me authority to proceed with temporary fencing of these trees and this work is scheduled for January.
Arboricultural inspection of the trees occurred with Heritage Tree Services on 23<sup>rd</sup> December. Hugo Loudon is compiling a report which will not only comment on the condition of these trees, but also make recommendations about a more permanent fence and how this might be erected around these specimens. His report, when it arrives, will be made available to PCC. Any application for durable fencing that will replace the temporary green wire fence will need a Faculty.
Whilst there, Hugo remarked upon the elms – and feels they may need attention. I have asked him to provide an estimate for reporting on these trees. This work will build upon John William’s removal of the epicormic growth that was carried out in April last year.
The wall is a continuing issue that could lead to continuing expense. As long as the churchyard is ‘open’ the cost of maintenance is the responsibility of the PCC.
There is evidence of two areas of damage in the wall which need attention. It may be this damage has arisen because of cars parked very close and turning in the narrow lane – or by door opening against the wall. However this damage has happened, an insurance claim is not likely to be the remedy as we do not have any certainty of cause, or a third party to claim against. It could be deterioration through age.
In my opinion, a contractor needs to be found to work on the wall (with original materials) on a semi-permanent basis to repair and maintain the structure – which falls to us so long as the churchyard still accepts ashes (it was closed to burials some time ago). James requested Robert to look into closing the churchyard during Robert’s tenure, but this was not taken any further at the time. There is an unconfirmed remark that such closure could lead to the PCC losing control over the upkeep of the churchyard as the maintenance of that space would defer to the Parish Council. If the Parish Council had no money, SODC would maintain the area.
All this requires more investigation, and, in the absence of the Rector, his views cannot be sought. However, it is on my radar, and proposals for the long-term viability of the churchyard and the wall, which is an integral and cherished part of the fabric of the church as a whole, remains something that requires detailed research. The wall will cost us many thousands over a number of years, and in my opinion, regular reparations need to start early in 2021 and continue to make an appreciable difference. The wall has specific requirements for flints and mortar and whoever is appointed needs to be aware and abide by these requirements to preserve the identity and building style of the structure and conform to the DAC’s stipulation.
Security checks at SJB during closure
I’ve agreed with Graham that he will go in on Mondays, and I will go in on Fridays to check everything is OK regarding the building, including running water and ventilation of St John’s.
Frances asked to continue to be allowed to practice, and after consultation, this agreed. Everyone that goes in should still sign the Track and Trace forms in the porch.
Commonwealth Graves Sign
This was something started under Robert’s leadership, but parked because of cost. With several Commonwealth graves in our churchyard, Callum McLean, a village resident, is still keen to have a sign erected, which I understand had been approved by PCC, but this project was then shelved.
I would like to suggest this plan is resurrected. We may even be able to oblige James with a countervailing sign (at the entrance) that would be the St John’s nameplate, with PCC endorsement. If we are working towards a Patronal festival in June which has a focus on the churchyard, this might be seen as progress.
NAER Churchwarden 5 Jan 20
Churchwarden report December 2020 (CTK)
The light on the South West outside wall had ceased to function. The electrician Ed Smidt was contacted and he came (thanks to help from Joan Lamprell) to replace this and it is now working. This lights up the side entrance and was important for the exit from Christingle event.
Work has been done to the corner of the car park section nearest to church removing some of the moss that is growing. This needs to be further addressed later in the year. Fallen branches have also been removed to clear the area.
The Christmas tree.
A special thanks go to Karen and Paul Broadbent for buying and setting up our festive Christmas tree with special lights at the front of the church. This gives a lovely view as one approaches the church and can also be seen from the road.
This year the service took a different format. Joan with support from Karen, Rosemary, Val and Richard produced a display that enabled visitors to walk round discovering the reasons for the elements that make up the Christingle gift and making reference to Nativity scenes. Carols from Kings were playing in the background. Concern about the virus led to having the reception group outside to reduce chance of virus transmission as concerns had arisen as to a new mutation of the virus. A number of people and families including some from just down the road did visit and were really impressed, so the feedback was very positive. Each family visitor was given a Christingle gift so that the Light of the World went back to each household. There were a number left over which were delivered to members of CTK, families from the Benefice, and to families at the open air Springwater and the Peppard carols The presentation in church has been left up for the time being for when we are able to revisit. The lanterns with candles did look really good in the carpark as people approached the church. However, it was very cold outside so a special thank you to Joan, Karen, and Rosemary for their hard work and willingness to work outside!
It was decided that the Christmas day service should be stopped as rising numbers of virus cases had been noted in the village. Most people contacted were disappointed but saw this as the safest decision.
This has proved fraught! In the end, we decided, as four wardens and Sheila, as a united front to close the churches until further notice. The new strain of the virus is very virulent and no-one is really sure how far apart we really need to be for safety and whether the masks now work to stop its spread. The Diocese stated that we should be very cautious. Rev Sheila has set up zoom services with 30 attending the first meeting. In many ways it is better than private prayer in involving more of the congregation and there is no chance of spreading the virus. There is still concern for those who do not have the internet but we (Sheila, Tim, Ursula, Richard etc) do have regular phone conversations with most.
Springwater had their leadership team isolating before Christmas so the move to Yorke Barber room was postponed to early January. We are in consultation as to when this will start. This looks likely to be the second week in January.
R.J. W. Christ the King.
Treasurer’s Report January 2021
Bank balances at Year End 31 Dec 2020
General Fund £8,866.68 – including the grant for the roof from Kidmore End Parish Council
Parish Room £636.87
Grants yet to be banked
A confirmed £1,580 – National Churches Trust (roof)
An application for VAT rebate from Dept of Culture, Media and Sport - £1,636 (roof)
These credits will appear in the 2021 summary.
It is worth noting that with the NCT grant (which theoretically belongs in 2020 as the payment was made to the roofing contractor in 2020) we would have finished the year with £10,446.68 – and with the VAT rebate, £12,082, well in excess of the £10,000 target set in November for Year End cash in bank.
The final payment was made and so we finish the year having paid £38,014 against our target of £46,028.
A cheque for £460 was received and banked being an exceptional rebate from the Deanery as previously noted.
Annual Report and Financial Statements
I have prepared the Accounts and I am currently working on the Annual report which needs to accompany the Accounts when they are sent to the Independent Examiner.
Clearly there are important fabric matters which need to be addressed this year, especially at St John’s. These will occupy us quite significantly; a synopsis of these projects is part of my churchwarden’s report submitted separately.
NAER Treasurer 31 Dec 20