Geoff Payne writes:
The meeting was held in the back room of the Parish Hall. It started with a reflective time led by Nichola.
The first formal item on the Agenda was a discussion regarding how to invest the proceeds from the sale of St Johns. This money is currently being held for us by the Diocese. 79% is free for us to use as we wish, probably a little for some work in St James’, and the bulk towards the work on the Parish Hall. In the meanwhile the options are either to place this money into a deposit account, or into an Investment Fund (with potentially higher return but also with greater risk). Partly because we hope to progress spending plans relatively soon, it was agreed that for the time being this will be held in a deposit account. The remaining 21% of the sale proceeds correspond to a gift made to the church in 1912, and to which the family of the original donors may have a claim. We cannot touch this part while the matter is being resolved.
The second major item was an introductory discussion regarding Living in Faith and Love, prompted by the recent vote of the Church of England to permit the blessing of same-sex couples. As St James’ Church is part of the Church of England it is inevitable that this decision will ultimately affect us. While both PCC and staff have a range of views and life experiences (family members and friends), there was a strong united view that we need to be able to listen to each other with courtesy and respect, and to look to God for wisdom in how to proceed in this sensitive area, and to ensure that people of all views continue to be welcome as part of our church community. We also don’t want this issue to become a distraction from our main priorities in church, worshiping God, supporting and encouraging each other, and reaching out with the good news of Jesus. Time was limited, but there will surely be opportunities for further discussion, within PCC and more widely, in the coming months.
Other shorter items included a Safeguarding scenario (to keep us thinking about potential Safeguarding issues involved in day-to-day church life), and a brief summary of the plans for this years Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which will be held after a shortened morning service on Sunday 23rd April, followed by lunch. As 4 members of the PCC will be standing down this will also be the opportunity for the election of 4 new members. Sadly there has been little progress on obtaining Southampton City Council permission for our latest plans for the Parish Hall, and work continues to try to find an acceptable compromise. More positively, a Faculty (i.e. formal permission from the Diocese) has now been granted for repairs to the clock in the church tower, and so at least it will now be possible to start applying for grants to help fund the work required.
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