October 2017 Meeting Summary

A PRECIS OF OUR MEETING ON TUESDAY 10TH OCTOBER 2017

Adrian began the meeting with prayer and bible study on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5.1-12).

We learnt that Nathan Jarvis is leaving to become a Chaplain at Bangor and a Cathedral canon, leaving a vacancy at the same time that the new benefices are formed (one called Yarnton with Begbroke and Shipton on Cherwell, the other called Woodstock and Bladon). As Area Dean, Adrian will be closely involved in the appointment of Nathan’s successor. Nathan’s last Sunday is November 26th; the new benefices are due to come into legal existence on December 1st. Adrian will no longer be ‘Team Rector’ but ‘Rector of the Benefice of Woodstock and Bladon’.

Mike Holmes updated us on the redevelopment/re-ordering project. Everything continues according to plan (cf the précis of 12th September). PCC members who are free will gather on October 31st to help prepare the layout of the new furniture and make other plans re liturgy and worship. Adrian spoke in detail about the re-opening service on November 9th, the Open Days on November 10th and 11th when refreshments will be served all day, Remembrance Sunday on November 12th, the Gala Concert on November 18th, and the Christmas Market on November 25th.

Ruth Sutherland presented the Building in Mission Group report, and the PCC approved a scheme of fees for hire of the building. Chris Wallworth presented the People in Mission Group report, which discussed many aspects of church life and outreach. A form has been developed which will be sent to all church members two weeks before the reopening of the church to encourage every member ministry, and concentrated prayer for our future. An important decision was made about coffee! From November 19th onwards, coffee and tea will be served BEFORE the 11am service, not afterwards. Our pastoral care was discussed, and developing our pastoral team. We talked about reinstating various activities after the re-opening, and Shaun guided us through research he is doing into reaching those who declare they have no religion –important as we plan for growth.

Adrian presented a substantial paper on worship, which the PCC is to discuss further at the next meeting on November 29th at 7pm in our re-ordered church.

September 2017 Meeting Summary

A précis of our meeting on Tuesday 12th September 2017

Adrian began the meeting with prayer and bible study on Mark 8.22-26.

We reviewed our strategy day in July, from which came the two working groups referred to later in this précis.

Under redevelopment/re-ordering we learned that the project is proceeding extremely well and is, wonderfully, on track, with costs being tightly and well controlled. The building will be handed over at the end of October, giving time for detailed preparations to be made for the re-opening service on November 9th.  We also confirmed the terms of our loan and loan repayment plan with the Blenheim estate.

Adrian spoke in some detail about the re-opening service and the days following, including Remembrance Sunday on November 12th, a grand Gala Concert on November 18th, and the Christmas Market on November 25th. He alluded to Advent and Christmas services, and to new plans for worship in 2018 (see below).

Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, informed the PCC that our giving has dropped significantly while the building has been closed. While partly anticipated, the drop is c. £20,000 short of our forecast – immensely disappointing.  The Finance Committee will bring proposals to the October PCC aiming to remedy this, including a major presentation to the congregation in late November. A new freewill offering officer is sought to replace Carol Holmes who has served us so well.

The Building in Mission Group is chaired by Ruth Sutherland. We heard of plans for cleaning the building, opening and locking, future usage and many other practical arrangements. The People in Mission Group is chaired by Chris Wallworth. We heard of a review of our ministry of welcome, an overhaul of rotas and teams, mission and ministries. Adrian is making plans for two new regular services in 2018, part of our outreach to children and young families, and teenagers and young adults.

We approved a new body for providing Safeguarding services, as requested by the diocese.

In other business, we noted with regret that Alison Mares, our Methodist Minister, had moved on from Woodstock, and held her in our prayers and best wishes. Adrian is working with the local Superintendent Minister and others on supporting our Methodist friends at this time.  Adrian reported on news from our schools, including good results from the Marlborough, and gave notice that he is seeking a new Foundation Governor for Woodstock primary school.

March 2017 Meeting Summary

A précis of our meeting on Wednesday 15th March 2017

Following prayers, and the usual formalities, we made plans to take a tour around the churchyard with jenny Atkinson to see some of the wonderful work she has been doing and Jenny is always looking for new help, do get in touch with her!). We also thanked Alicia and Alice for working on the cards for distribution around the parish for Holy Week and Easter.

Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we reviewed our current position; we are still short of the funding we need to do everything, but are praying and hoping that the grants and generous giving we seek will come to fruition. We are still working to the plan to begin work in mid-May, when we shall move out of the building for some months. Our own services will be held at the Methodist Church and The Marlborough School, with pastoral offices at Bladon. On the third Sunday of every month we shall not be holding an 11am service, and encourage everyone to worship at another denomination in Woodstock, or further afield. The chairs are selling well. We meet again on April 19th to review the tenders form contractors which are due in on April 7th.

Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, presented the 2016 accounts to the PCC, which were formally approved. They are on public display prior to the APCM.

In Clergy Business Adrian spoke again about Lent, Holy Week and Easter; he also reviewed the splendidly successful visit from our friends in Gränna. Alice presented a draft of our new welcome card, which was admired by all. They will soon be available. 

In Churchwarden’s Business Gill reported on the broken bolt on the door, which is a health and safety issue which would be sorted. We agreed a date of 5th/6th May to invite people to come and help us de-clutter the church prior to our moving out. 

The Benefice Draft Schedule was presented – this is the legal mechanism which dissolves the Blenheim Benefice and returns it to its original two benefices. This was approved unanimously (as it had been at Bladon and Shipton already). It is likely to come into force in the late summer.

Our schools are a standing item on the agenda, and Adrian reported on, and praised, the work of Foundation Governors, asking for prayers for them and the work of our Diocesan Education departments. 

Having agreed to hold a PCC Strategy Day on July 8th, we repaired to the Chancel where 20 of us celebrated Compline together: a wonderful way to end our meeting, ‘leaning on God at the end of the day’.

January 2017 Meeting Summary

A précis of our meeting on Wednesday 18th January 2017

As it was the beginning of the week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Adrian began the meeting with worship based on John 17.21-23.  

Peter Clarke was welcomed as our new Treasurer, and was duly co-opted to the PCC.

We reflected on our time of receiving Holy Communion standing; and we resolved to continue receiving communion at the Sanctuary until after the re-ordering, when we would take another look in our revised layout.

In Clergy Business Adrian spoke about Lent, Holy Week and Easter; he outlined plans for the visit from our friends in Gränna in March; we discussed our Covenant with the Methodist church and our forthcoming shared services; and we made plans for Thy Kingdom Come, a week of prayer for growth in the church running from Ascension to Pentecost. Adrian said more about his role as Assistant Archdeacon. Alice introduced some impressive statistics about the way our new website and Facebook page are used. 

Churchwarden’s business concentrated on a recent roof inspection (largely pleasing) and the installation of a roof alarm, following a recent spate of lead thefts in the Thames Valley. 

Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we considered in detail our revised plans, which involve keeping the nave floor at its present level, and installing radiators. Examples of the new chairs were expected shortly, and grant applications and donations reviewed. Everyone would be encouraged to buy chairs, and encourage others to buy them too! The PCC agreed unanimously that we should go to tender, and Adrian would brief the congregation about the plans on February 5th. The Bishop would be asked to provide a licence to enable us to hold Sunday services at the Marlborough School while the church was closed between (provisionally) mid-May and late October. Gill had been researching the sale value of the pews, and they would now be offered for sale. Chris Baylis of the Real Wood Company is offering to help with the disposal of any remaining unsold pews.

Aidan, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, gave an update to the PCC after its recent meeting, including reviewing procedures for counting collections and other operational matters. The fees for weddings, funerals etc. for 2017 were approved by the PCC.

Our schools are a standing item on the agenda, and Adrian smiled broadly having heard the result of a recent church inspection at the Marlborough School, even though he couldn’t reveal the result (he can now: Good with Outstanding features ☺); he spoke too about recent work he had been doing on Spirituality with teachers at Woodstock Primary. 

November 2016 Meeting Summary

A precis of our meeting on Wednesday 2nd November 2016

Following opening worship on John 6.37-40 led by Adrian, the PCC heard, with regret but understanding, of the resignation of Jon as our Treasurer; and we thanked him and wished him well. The council was full of appreciation for the generosity of Mike and Carol Holmes in, temporarily, resuming that task.

We were delighted to receive a report on the Churchyard from Jenny Atkinson. The PCC accepted Jenny’s offer of a detailed briefing/tour of the churchyard in the New Year, and to make connections with new people and existing groups to expand jenny’s excellent work. 

A great deal of time was spent on Finance, and re-casting the role of PCC Treasurer. A Finance Committee consisting of the Rector and wardens, Aidan Salter, and Ruth Sutherland, was established (they have since met and begun work with speed). It is hoped to find a new Treasurer before the end of the calendar year, but with much of the administrative work being done by the Church administrator. 

Under the redevelopment/re-ordering item, we noted with pleasure the fitting of the new doors, and anticipate the electrical work to be completed by the end of November. The design of display facilities for many of our kneelers was approved, and comments received on the recent period of receiving Holy Communion standing at the Nave Altar. The PCC committed itself to moving the reordering project forward, aiming to go to tender in early 2017. A version of the scheme which did away with the need for raising the floor level was given serious weight in the event of grant-funding being unpropitious; and the Rector and Wardens would be meeting with the Architectural team to explore that outcome.

Under Churchwarden’s business we approved expenditure to smarten up, and improve facilities in, the existing toilet, with a proper baby-changing unit, new hand-towel dispenser, and redecoration.

In Clergy Business Alice presented her revised work on the website (which should be ‘live’ when this precis is published) and our new welcome card/packs. for newcomers to the community and congregation. The PCC approved Adrian’s proposal to not hold our 11am service on January 22nd 2017 and attend the Covenant Service at Woodstock Methodist Church. The Methodists will join us for worship on January 29th. Adrian also reported that the dissolution of the Benefice had received approval at the Archdeaconry Pastoral Committee; after receiving final approval at Bishop’s Council in December, new schemes will be drawn up by the Church Commissioners for promulgation in the spring of 2017.

Dates of Services and events for Advent and Christmas were shared – the Council and Clergy keenly anticipate celebrating the season of the Incarnation with all our regular worshippers and friends during the festive season: we want to do all we can to make visitors welcome, and encourage them to return!

September 2016 Meeting Summary

A precis of our meeting on Wednesday 7th September 2016

Following opening worship led by Adrian, the PCC received an extensive financial report from Jon Bradbury, our Treasurer, and we made some decisions about making our financial operations run smoothly.

The redevelopment/re-ordering was, of course, a major item.  We noted with pleasure the work that is soon to be completed on the porch, and made some decisions about the appearance of the entrance.   We reviewed the special meeting that we had held in August to talk about church furnishings, and spent time talking about the design of our new chairs, and whether or not we should incorporate hanging our splendid kneelers on the chairs, or displaying them – and, importantly, preserving their quality – in a better way.  We think the latter, and, at our next meeting, we shall be looking at plans of how they might be beautifully displayed around the building, while still available for those who wish to use them for prayer. We also discussed grant applications and fundraising in the local community. Members of the PCC made some helpful suggestions to improve Adrian’s letter about standing for Holy Communion, and looked forward to his sermon on the subject (copies are available at the back of church). 

Under Churchwarden’s business we approved expenditure to replace emergency lighting in the tower and ringing chamber; we also discussed practical arrangements for the Harvest Supper, Ride and Stride.

We then approved our Charitable Giving for the past financial year: £250 Medic Assist International (Bishop Poggo’s appeal); £500 The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed Appeal (debt aid); £250 Samaritans; and a number of local charities: £500 to Gabriel Masih’s fund, and £250 each to Woodstock Stroke Club,  Asylum Oxford, North Oxford Community Food Bank, DayBreak Oxford (dementia day clubs), Rosie (respite care for sick youngsters in their own homes), and Bridewell Organic Gardens (Witney, therapeutic activities for those suffering mental illness).

In Clergy Business Alice made presentations about redesigning our website and the use of social media, and a new welcome card/pack for newcomers to the community and congregation. 

We then continued our regular discussions about Mission, Worship, and Pastoral Care, which are ongoing items which we revisit at every meeting. 

In Any Other Business we were glad to hear about the formal establishment of the Woodstock Youth Trust, and committed ourselves to praying for Matt Bodinham and his ministry. 

We next meet on November 2nd – please pray for us.