Marie writes ...
As the nights are getting chillier and drawing in, the PCC spent a fruitful evening together to consider various aspects of church life.
In line with the current sermon series on discipleship, we began by thinking about some of the things that form our spiritual beliefs and behaviours, both unintentionally and intentionally. We focused in on ways to intentionally grow to be more like Christ, such as building a habit of reading the Bible and praying, being part of a Christian community and hearing Christian teaching. We were reminded that the desire and power to make these changes come from the Holy Spirit living within us, whoever we are. The resources we used to help our discussion were from talks by John Mark Comer – if you are interested you can watch his short talks on Unintentional Spiritual Formation and Intentional Spiritual Formation.
Like all older buildings, the church at St James' by the Park needs maintenance and upkeep. Every 5 years all churches undergo an inspection by an architect to work out what needs to be done and whether it needs to be done urgently or whether it can wait. Our new buildings maintenance manager Steve Condell has revisited the last inspection, which was done in 2016, and highlighted for us the things that need to be done within 5 years of the report that we haven’t done yet! The first of these was lightning protection, which will cost around £5,200. The second is the church clock, which requires cleaning and repairing of the mechanism (£3600) and restoration of the dials (£14,600). The third main issue was areas of the brickwork that need repointing to keep them waterproof; quotes so far come to around £4,000, but there are some other quotes still to come. The PCC had previously agreed to use up to £31,000 from our 2019 and 2020 surpluses on our buildings, so we decided to use some of this money to install lightning protection, repair the clock mechanism and to do the repointing. We will investigate grants towards the cost of restoring the clock dials before making a decision about it. We are grateful to Steve for his hard work on all this.
As we wait for the building plans for the Parish Hall to move forward, we received a proposal to reorganise and redecorate the back room of the hall to make it more warm and welcoming. This room is used by a number of groups but is uninviting and could be used much more than it is. As it will be at least 18 months before any building work is likely to begin, the PCC agreed to spend around £1,000 to pay for a revamp of the back room. Thank you to Zoe Craggs for all her great ideas!
Each year our church is invited by the Diocese of Winchester to give towards the Common Mission Fund – a pot of money used to help churches across the Diocese. The suggested amount to give is based on the wealth of the area in which the church is, with the aim of enabling churches who have more money to help those who have less. You can find out more about the Common Mission Fund here. In past years we have felt it appropriate to contribute more than the suggested amount (because the relative wealth of our congregation is greater than the relative wealth of our geographical area), and we hope to do the same again if possible and so will draw up the church budget for next year on this basis.
There are a couple of new groups that we have set up: a Buildings Finance Group to oversee the financial aspects of our exciting building plans, and a group to look at our ministry to the 18-30 age group.
As you can see, a lot of this month’s meeting concerned how to best spend the money we have been entrusted with. We are so grateful to God and those who sacrificially give to the church for making these things possible as we seek to be Jesus’ disciples within the church community and beyond.
Thank you for reading.
Marie, on behalf of the PCC