PCC Meeting September 2014

Parochial Church Meeting, September 2014

Most of this meeting involved a review of the PCC Away Day (see separate article). The PCC formally adopted the proposals recommended.

The PCC noted the appeal from St. Silas’ Church concerning the refurbishment of their organ (see poster in the porch).

Wendy Feast has asked the school to publicise the Tiddlers and Toddlers group. There will also be an advertisement in the Asian Image free newspaper. Our new PAIS worker, Sam, from South India, will be with us until September 2015. Subject to approval by our Treasurer, we will share some of the costs with St. Gabriel’s Church, including a contribution to the running of a car. There will be an advertisement for an Administrator in the October Magazine and an interview panel has been convened.

We are looking for two more helpers for the Sunday School.

Services have been conducted at Magdalene House and Higher Ravenswing by Sheila Lowrey and Sheila Sanderson.

The Harvest Service was well received by the school children, including a sketch performed by Derek Hartley and Wendy Feast.

The Council of Churches Together in North Blackburn has decided to make an approach to Blackburn Baptist Church (formerly Leamington Road, currently meeting at Pleckgate School). There was disappointment that The Church of the Good Shepherd did not join us in as many meetings, events and plans as previously, but they are to be given new encouragement.

There is much encouraging activity at St. Stephen’s Church. Their café is open three days per week and new people keep appearing. Their group on Thursdays is as big as the group on Sundays, but made up of different people. They may seek approval to remove all their pews to create a greater meeting space for community needs. They will be having their own Away Day next February.

It was reported that at the Diocesan Synod, the diocesan budget was approved and farewell expressed to bishop John.

The PCC agreed that the pagoda-style lantern, which originally hung above the font at the west end of the church and more recently in the porch, be disposed of, mainly for safety reasons

Next PCC meeting – Tuesday 25th November at 7.30 p.m. in the Lounge.


PCC Away Day – September 2014

PCC members and church group leaders enjoyed an excellent day at Whalley Abbey on September 20th, helped by a tasty lunch.

Initially we split into groups to look at how we viewed ourselves – things we liked and things we did not like, leading on to what made a good team. (1 Corinthians Ch. 12).

We received two presentations about our current state of affairs:

Finance, from Hazel Shaw, on behalf of Treasurer, Frank Robinson. Our finances are healthy, but projected to decline. We discussed a number of options:

Do nothing and see what happens

Increase stewardship giving and/or the number of givers

Make plans for a reduction in giving

Reduce overheads and/or cut parish share

Amalgamate with another C of E church

Amalgamate with a CTNB church

Mission and liturgy, from Jonathan Tranter, in which he presented graphs of church attendance and other statistics over the last few years, which showed a steady decline in numbers from 2005, especially in children’s attendance. No single reason for this could be identified. Questions then considered were:

What does the context of declining Christian population mean for our mission?

What is the future of our children and young people’s ministry?

Given that numbers have declined, but now seem steady, does this affect how we ought to be thinking about our mission to ourselves and our community?

After lunch, we received updates from various “co-ordinators”:

Jo Hartley – The monthly All-age service, based on Morning Prayer, in which children and adults were engaged throughout.

Sheila Lowry – now has a Bishop’s Licence as a preacher.

Jonathan Tranter – Explained about the third Sunday service, which looked at the wider church and was a simple Morning Prayer, more focussed on adults, to which guest preachers were sometimes invited.

Janet Chester and Wendy Feast – Sunday School members are a fairly loyal group aged 7/8 years, but volatility of numbers is a planning problem. More use is to be made of dvd’s, partly to maintain attention. Derek Hartley and Sheila Sanderson work with the older children. It will be good to have the input of the new PAIS worker, Sam. It is important to ensure that the children we do have in our congregation learn to grow and stay part of our church family.

Pat Cave – The Pastoral Care Group had a variety of helpers and it was a great pleasure to visit those in care homes and also to receive feedback from those in their own homes. The “church” (and Holy Communion, if wished) are taken to them and visitors sometimes help them with simple administrative matters.

Wendy Feast – was praised for her patience in setting up the successful Tiddlers and Toddlers group. She thanked David and Margaret Holden for their support. She said how lovely it was to see children of all backgrounds and faiths. Better advertising might lead to greater numbers.

Derek Hartley was thanked for his support of outreach ministry, both with the Abrahami Café (due to restart on 9th November) and with “Open Church” on Wednesdays. As well as attracting occasional visitors, it brings in church attendees as well as our local Police Community Support Officer. A leaflet is in draft form, intended to be delivered by hand to houses in the vicinity of the church stating that St. James’ is a centre for prayer. A prayer box (and possible candle stand) are also envisaged. Rev. Lena Talbot from Revidge Fold URC will give an address at the bonfire on 2nd November.

Shelia Sanderson – The Monday Challenge Group has completed over 20 courses since its inception. The regular number of weekly attendees is 14/15, although the total number who have been over the years is about 25. The “challenge” is always looking for new subjects. The group makes occasional outside visits.

Ian Stocks – The “St. James’s Day Tripper” locomotive headboard has made many people from near and far aware of St. James’ church. The luncheon club is noisy and all enjoy eating. There are more volunteers than “customers” and there are one or two vacancies. There are 22 members, eleven of whom are not attenders at our church. There are some transport difficulties. The Day Tripper is 27 years old now, so there has been plenty of outreach. On the recent trip to Italy, there were four from St. James’ and the remainder were from “all over the place”. There are about 250 on the list of members.

Brian Openshaw – The church is warm, decorated and (largely) in good repair. We have had a difficult contractual problem with the defective and poorly supervised tower work. The remedial work will be costly, but we have been able to recover a contribution towards it. The next task is to redecorate the porch. We might begin by removing the plaster to see what it looks like. Building maintenance is a huge drain on our resources.

Graham and Hazel Dean – Grateful thanks were expressed to them for taking over the editing of the Magazine. They both enjoyed doing this and felt welcome at St. James’.

The Vicar felt that overall we had a very strong team.

The final session was for concrete proposals to be made to recommend to the PCC for which purpose we split into three groups. The discussions resulted in the following recommendations:


Mission to our own members (Parochial Ministry)

Immediate priorities:

Not to change the present service pattern.

To publish a leaflet and make optimum use of our website to give information to our members about our activities.

To arrange regular social events to keep members together.

Medium term priorities:

To develop cell groups in the residential areas to provide fellowship and worship.

To make better use of the notice board.

To make provision for car parking.

Mission to our neighbours (outreach ministry)

Immediate priorities:

To organise an Open Day for the community (such as an exhibition).

To circulate a leaflet about our activities around our immediate neighbourhood, but also targeting Lammack, Pleckgate and Beardwood areas.

A strong commitment to Open Church on Wednesdays and to the bonfire on 2nd November together with a carol singing revival and also Easter celebration in the community.

Medium term priorities:

Collect information about the needs of people in the local area. [Bi-lingual or multi-lingual questionnaire.]

Visit other local places of worship, build contacts and arrange reciprocal visits.

Make more of Remembrance Day.

Create/encourage a music workshop.


St James PCC – July 14

Mention was made of Bishop John Goddard’s retirement as Bishop of Burnley and the farewell service in Blackburn Cathedral.

Attention was drawn to the fact that we now have a web site. www.stjamesblackburn.org

Remedial work to tower: Claim letters had been sent by Solicitors to both the contractor and the architect. There had been no response from the contractor. We have been advised against litigation because of possible evidential difficulties and also because of the contractor’s possible lack of means to satisfy a judgment. Reservations were expressed about using the same architect to supervise the remedial work. It was agreed that there should be no further delay in having the corrective work carried out.

Lantern: The pagoda-style lantern (which formerly hung above the font at the west end of the church and which was subsequently re-hung in the porch) has been taken down, both for safety reasons and to facilitate the installation of new girders to the belfry floor. It was agreed that it should not be brought back into church and that in the absence of further information it should be dismantled.

John Leigh agreed to accept the post of Health & Safety Officer on a temporary basis.

The Tiddlers and Toddlers group will resume in September.

A recruitment drive for Sunday School would be useful and we need one or two more teachers to help with the different age groups.

Hazel Shaw had drawn up a draft list of duties for an administrator. This led to a detailed discussion. The Vicar would be the administrator’s line manager. There would be a trial period of six months with a temporary contract. The post would have to be advertised. Hazel Shaw and Jonathan Tranter will draw up the advertisement and conduct the interview.

Jonathan Tranter reported that Café Church would be resuming with new material in on the fourth Sunday of each month. The Vicar pointed out that there was an attempt to make it more ecumenical as well as open to the united benefice.

Ian Stocks said that there was room for another three or four at the Luncheon Club, but some attendees had transport difficulties.

The Monday Challenge Group will resume in September.

In September and October as a united benefice there will be four special sessions on “Christian Spirituality”, which will be followed by four further sessions emphasising our mission role in the community through our “Presence and Engagement” in this area (not exclusively inter-faith). Sessions will last 45-60 minutes on Tuesdays at 7p.m. in the Lounge.

Open Church has not been open each week since May as there are no male volunteers if Derek Hartley is not there. It is good to have the church doors open even if there are not many visitors. A dual language notice will be produced.

The PCC Away Day is planned for Saturday 20th September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Whalley Abbey. The co-ordinators of various groups and activities will be invited in addition to PCC members.

Discussion had taken place about a strategy for bringing people in to church. Overall the church is quite busy and well-used, but only by reaching out will we draw people in. Some activities are already doing this.

It was agreed that the names of Sheila Lowry, Brian Meehan, Sheila Sanderson and John Williams be submitted to the Bishop for them to be licensed to act as assistants at the administration of Holy Communion.

More people are encouraged to join the Pastoral Care Group if only to stop and talk to care home residents and lonely people.

From the Deanery Synod Brian Openshaw reported on a talk by Chris. Halliwell, Diocesan Rural and Environment Officer, on the pros and cons of fracking, from which it was clear that Christians have a part to play in the use of this technology. There was also mention of the drawing up of a Volunteer Policy.


St James PCC – May 2014

The meeting heard with pleasure that Graham and Hazel Dean were to edit the Magazine and noted that it would have a new format.

Hazel Shaw was elected Vice-chairman of the PCC; John Leigh was elected Secretary and Frank Robinson Treasurer. We are still looking for someone to be our Health & Safety Officer. Committees and focus groups were also elected.

The Treasurer drew attention to the fact that, although we had substantial cash reserves, our regular income was falling; this is a matter of concern. It could form the subject matter for the next PCC Away Day.

Anyone willing to be an assistant at weddings or funerals should please contact the Vicar or John Leigh.

The difficulties with the uncompleted and defective work on the tower are continuing; this is causing delay to our plans to redecorate the porch.

Wendy Feast reported on the ongoing success of the Tiddlers and Toddlers group.

There is to be a clarification about who should pay charges for the use of the Lounge and which users were exempt. There is to be another clear out of the upstairs and downstairs cupboards in the Lounge complex. If you do not want an item to be removed, please ensure that you put a label on it.

Rev. Lena Talbot (Revidge Fold) is to speak at the bonfire in November.

Reporting from a Diocesan Synod meeting, Brian Meehan said that, following a debate about women bishops, the voting was 83 to 34 in favour.

St James PCC – April 2014

This meeting was attended by the Vicar and 35 parishioners. The Annual Report was presented and Frank Robinson summarized the financial aspect. The Vicar expressed his appreciation of all those who were deeply committed to the ongoing activities of St. James’ Church in many ways. He acknowledged the support from lay readers, Canon Roy Braithwaite and Rev’d. David Dickinson and PCC members. He stressed that we are living in changing times and that it was imperative that we accommodate fresh expressions and adapt to new patterns, and perhaps mid-week times, of worship service. The Vicar referred to various events during the year and thanked all those who had assisted him. The meeting also received short reports from Ken Robinson (Warden), Pat Cave (Pastoral Care Group), Wendy Feast (Tiddlers and Toddlers), Jonathan Tranter (Young People) and from the Vicar on the subject of Prayer Breakfasts.

John Leigh (Secretary) summarized the PCC meetings which had taken place during the year, drawing attention to the combining of the Mission and Liturgy Committees.

Brian Openshaw, Brian Meehan and Jonathan Tranter will continue as our Deanery Synod Reps.

Ken Robinson was re-elected as Churchwarden and Shirley Squires was newly elected.

Mavis Jones, Sheila Sanderson and Hazel James resigned from the PCC. John Leigh and Hazel Shaw retired by rotation and were re-elected. David Holden and Alison Dullenty were newly-elected to the PCC. Crystal Feast was elected to join the sidesmen. Richard Moss was re-appointed Independent Examiner (previously Auditor).