Marie Gray started the meeting by reminding the PCC of the ‘mindsets’ that had been agreed by the PCC that we should adopt in pursuing the Church’s values. These are Courageous, Whole-hearted and Expectant.
The PCC split into groups to look at these words in the context of money and think about how they would finish the following sentences:
Because we are courageous, we will …
Because we are whole-hearted, we will …
Because we are expectant, we will …
The groups fed back and then prayed for the meeting in the groups. Marie finished by reading Ephesians 3:14-21.
Marie, as Treasurer, then presented a draft budget for 2024 which shows income very slightly less than the expected out-turn for 2023 with expenditure very slightly higher, giving a budgeted deficit of £28k. Although this is not sustainable in the long term, we built up a surplus over the period 2018-21and it was felt appropriate to use some of this rather than have it sitting in the bank, whilst still maintaining a sensible level of reserves. After some discussion the draft was approved unanimously.
The PCC then considered the next steps for the plans for the buildings. Nick Smith reminded the meeting that the City Planning Department had raised various concerns about the proposal for a two storey new build for the Church Hall. The architect had come up with a couple of modifications to address these but they involved less floor area and it was not clear that they fully satisfied our requirements. The PCC agreed to commission the architect to produce costings for the latest proposal but also to produce a scope of work to cost a full refurbishment of the current building. It agreed that there should be a meeting in January with the Buildings Development Group, representatives from the PCC and from wider church to see if anything had been missed and to look for other possibilities.
Nick had circulated a paper prior to the meeting concerning the proceeds from the sale of St John’s. 21% of the site had been donated by the Atherley family with the stipulation that, if it ceased to be used a place of worship, it (or that proportion of the proceeds from any sale) should revert to the family. The PCC had obtained a legal opinion that the requirement was still satisfied but the Charity Commission has taken the opposite view. In the light of this, the diocese had advised the PCC to go back to the lawyer for a further opinion at a cost of up to £1,500 plus VAT. The PCC agreed to this. The cost coming out of the 21%.
The meeting ended with an extended time of prayer for the buildings next steps and for the General Synod which was due to debate the latest Living in Love and Faith proposals over the following two days.