Vestry minutes 2020 – 2021

Minutes of meetings since the December 2020 AGM.
Minutes are added only after they have been approved (and, if necessary, amended) at the following meeting.

16 November 2021 | 26 October 2021 | 21 September 2021 | 17 August 2021 | 20 July 2021 | 15 June 2021 | 18 May 2021 | 20 April 2021 | 16 March 2021 | 16 February 2021 | 19 January 2021 | 21 December 2020 | 10 December 2020

Previous year:
2019 – 2020 minutes

Vestry Zoom meeting, 16 November 2021, 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
Bob King

B. Apologies
Rev. Grace Redpath, Adam Bolam-Peel

C. Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair), Paul Beck (Secretary), Rev. Canon Bob King, Rev. Canon Susan Macdonald (for items 1, 2 and 3), John Ogilvie, Christine McLachlan, Patrick Copsey

D. Minutes of 26 October meeting
 Accepted as a true record (pr. John, sec. Christine)

1         Safeguarding

1.1      PVG
Susan reported that the first stage of the application process has been completed for Paul Beck, Isobel Portch and Liz Kiteley. Patrick Copsey already has the relevant scheme membership for St. John’s.

1.2      Health and Safety
We agreed to adapt the lone working policy example from Christ Church, Morningside and discuss it with sacristans and others affected.

1.3      Data Protection
Letters and consent forms have been sent out. We observed that some responses might need to be followed up where it looks as if Covid has prevented attendance within the past year by people who would otherwise be regarded as communicant members.

2         Worship and faith formation

2.1      Covid restrictions and adaptations
We agreed to leave the current arrangements in place.

2.2      Clergy cover rota
This is now out for comments, covering the period 5 December to 27 February.

2.3      Worship duty rota
This is now out for comments, covering the period 5 December to 27 February.

2.4      Advent study
Susan will offer a three-session course by Zoom, and the invitation will be extended to St. Andrew’s.

2.5      Christmas services
A decision partly depends on the availability of the Choir, to be finalised on Sunday 21 November. Susan is available to celebrate on 24th, 25th and 26th, but not at a Christmas Eve midnight service if we decide to have one – however, John Evans has said he could cover that. If Covid restrictions are reintroduced, we noted that we may need to ask congregation members to book.

2.6      Music
a.        The Choir is happy to lead hymn singing again on Sundays when all members are available.

b.        A Bluetooth adaptor has been purchased for playing recorded music from a smartphone through the sound system. It worked well on Remembrance Sunday.

3         Outreach and ministry

3.1      Pastoral care
Susan reported that a pastoral visit had highlighted a serious problem with the pews for anyone with back problems, and had requested that we purchase some comfortable stacking chairs for the area at the back of the Church. For now, some have been ‘borrowed’ from the Old School to assess how many will fit in the space.

3.2      Cuthbert’s Way Churches Together
The Group restarted on 19 October and decided to continue, though with a slightly less ambitious scheme. St. John’s remains on the mailing list but is not in a position to participate actively.

4         Leadership and governance

4.1      Meeting with +John 31 October
We agreed that the meeting was useful and encouraging. Although it was said that an interregnum might last a year, we can use that time to update the Parish Profile, start the process of recruitment and continue with plans for accessibility, etc. Notes of the meeting are annexed to these minutes.

4.2      Forward planning
Patrickreported on several conversations. Almost all of those who had listed their current tasks on the flipchart displayed at the back of the church for three weeks said they were happy to continue, but there are tasks not covered at all and some that need to be spread out better. We will ask for volunteers by displaying these on a new chart. Examples:
– Rota organisation (for clergy cover and for worship duties)
– Verger
– Aspects of property management (e.g. bills, utilities and insurance)
Action: Paul to purchase a flipchart easel.

Patrick also noted that there is no current rota for cleaning or for flower arranging, though both those things are evidently happening.

5         Stewardship

5.1      Financials
a.        Reports – the closing balance at the end of October was £51837 (£43337 unrestricted)

b.        Cheque signatories – Paul Beck is now a signatory, replacing Margaret Grover.

c.        RBS account – Bob offered the Kelso Treasurer’s help in assessing whether we should change to an RBS business account (which incurs fees, but would allow us to use BACS for payment instead of cheques).

d.       Independent examiner – we noted Lesley Thomson’s comments on the draft accounts, and expressed our thanks for the work she has done as independent examiner. Rental income will be shown under ‘investment’ rather than ‘trading’. She advises that we regard the £2000 Covid recovery grant received from the Diocese as restricted and account separately for expenditure against it.

e.       Graham reported receipt of £10000 left to us by the late Elizabeth Walshe.

f.        We agreed to approve the draft accounts, in preparation for the AGM.

5.2      Buildings

a.        Accessibility – on 26 November, John and Bob are to meet David Willis (architect) at the Church to discuss accessibility solutions.

b.        Rector’s Board – the existing board is believed to be made of light oak, but John needs to have this confirmed by Runciman’s, who manufactured it.

c. Heaters – the timer for the church wall heaters has been replaced.

d.       Storage – (i) we are short of storage for material removed from the Old School in order to let it, and we agreed to include storage in any furnishings considered for the west end of the church; (ii) the studio monitors left by JCAC work well, and will be sold.
Action: Paul to photograph monitors; Bob to advertise them.

e.        As we are discouraged from having a key safe for access by flower arrangers and cleaners, individuals will need to hold keys to the church door. We agreed to have more keys cut and maintain a key register.

f.         The flower arrangers’ materials are kept in a high cupboard in the Vestry. We need to find space at a lower level.

e.        Insurance – the Ecclesiastical policy for the Old School and Flat renewed w.e.f. 11 November at £1262. Edwin Thompson will deal with the 75% apportionment to Cheviot Youth.

f.         SBC has not yet offered any proposal to deal with the boundary issue at the back of the old school, with the result that the disputed area of the playground is unused and neglected, which is unsatisfactory both for St. John’s and Cheviot Youth. We agreed to pursue this.
Action: Paul to ask SBC for an update.

g.        Rectory
           Nothing to report.

6         AGM preparations
We discussed the timetable for giving notice, preparing reports, etc. As far as possible, material will be distributed by email, but a sizeable proportion of the congregation does not use email.  

7         Declarations of interest

8         Other business
a.      We agreed to raise funds for Aberlour during Lent.

b.        Bob asked whether the interim arrangements are working well. Vestry said they are – we benefit from the input of information and experience from Bob and Grace. Susan’s coordination of pastoral visiting is also very welcome.

c.        Bob speculated about the development of the Grammar School site surrounding St. John’s. If it were developed for housing, that would alter the dynamics of our relationship with the community.

9         Date of next meetings: AGM 12 December, Vestry 21 December

Annex: Notes on the after-service meeting-cum-lunch with Rt. Rev. John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh on 31 October 2021. A shorter version was given in the pew sheet for 14 November.

We summarised for +John the outcome of September’s congregational meeting to discuss the future of the Church, which leaves us reasonably optimistic that there is a will to continue, and offered him a broad outline of St. John’s financial outlook, which leaves us reasonably optimistic that there are the means to do so. We gave a slightly less optimistic assessment of the ‘human resources’ at St. John’s, where a great deal of responsibility rests on a small Vestry and a few other people. We explained the recent exercise to set this out graphically by asking people to make a list of their church ‘jobs’, which is now being followed up to see if it is possible to achieve a more even spread.

+John offered encouragement. He said the Diocese recognises the issues that small churches face and is doing its best to make support and expertise easier to find and good practice easier to share. He was pleased to hear that we are exploring ways to make the Church building more accessible, make its interior layout more flexible, and provide toilets on-site. He encourages us to move ahead with making those plans – a Church that is busy with its own future makes for a more attractive appointment than one waiting to be led by the hand.

He sees great potential at St. John’s, and suggests that Vestry narrows down the wide range of future options we have been discussing and consults the congregation on very specific proposals. This will be the first priority of the new Vestry after the AGM on 12 December.

He also said that, for example, if we were to decide we can afford to appoint someone at 50%, there may be central grant funding available to increase that for a fixed period.

Progress on the centralised administrative system is slow, but there is nothing to prevent us linking with another charge to buy in administrative support jointly. In doing so, we could provide a model for others in the same position.

As for works requiring a Canon 35 application, something like adding another board to extend the list of previous incumbents wouldn’t be a problem, but technically, we can’t proceed with major works while we have no incumbent or priest-in-charge in post. Nevertheless, +John advised us to proceed with the toilet and accessibility plans; if we reach a point where we have realistic designs ready and funding in prospect, the Diocese will look favourably on these even during an interregnum on the grounds of saving any new appointee time.

On local ecumenical partnership, he agreed that it seems very unlikely that the Church of Scotland, busy with its own restructuring, could make any formal arrangement. Informally, there are ways in which we can help each other locally, and were it not for Covid, our existing links would do doubt have strengthened anyway.

It is impossible to say how long an interregnum will last, but he thinks we should prepare ourselves for a year at least. Paul Beck
Vestry Secretary
St. John’s, Jedburgh


Vestry Zoom meeting, 26 October 2021, 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
Susan Macdonald

B. Apologies
Graham Watt (technical problems)

C. Zoom participants
Paul Beck (Secretary), Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie; with Patrick Copsey, Adam Bolam-Peel and Susan
Macdonald attending for various parts of the meeting.

D. Minutes of 21 September meeting
These were accepted as a true record – proposed by John, seconded by Christine.

1. Worship and faith formation

1.1. Services and Covid restrictions
We agreed that the current seating arrangements, though they are stricter than legally necessary under
present restrictions, seem to make people feel comfortable; they will be left in place for now.

1.2. Clergy cover
Tim Morris is no longer available because of other commitments. Paul and Bob King have both written to him to thank him for his help. We agreed that at present cover can be maintained by Bob, Grace, Susan and John. David Dalglish has agreed to be in reserve.

1.3. Sound
Although we have two functioning lapel microphones and AKG transmitters, one of the microphones is a very old stand-in of a different make, brought out of retirement. We agreed to buy an AKG replacement, at a cost of approximately £75.

1.4 Midweek service
Ever since doubts were cast on the viability of the midweek service, attendance on Wednesday at 10.00 has been quite good. We agreed to stop worrying about it.

1.5 Christmas services
We agreed to offer services on Friday 24th, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th December, with Christmas Day 10.00 am as the main focus. It is hard to make too specific a plan when there is a risk that Covid restrictions could be re-imposed, but we note that Christmas Eve does not need to be at midnight, and that Sunday 26th should be taken as usual as our patronal festival (John, Apostle and Evangelist, transferred from 27th) – possibly with a said service.

Susan is available to celebrate the Eucharist on all three days. John Evans has offered to take a midnight service if we decide to have one.
Action: Discuss plans with our organists and choir members.

2. Outreach and ministry

2.1. Pastoral care
Susan Macdonald is now coordinating visits and home communion, but PVG applications and new licences from Bishop John will be needed before the system is fully working (next item refers).

2.2. Safeguarding*
a. We have been asked whether it is safe for a member of the congregation such as a Sacristan to be working alone in the building. Whilst it is better to attend with someone else, we cannot insist on this, but we will suggest having a pre-arrangement to phone someone when safely out of the building.

b. Several people now need new licences from Bishop John to bear the chalice, take home communion, etc, as these lapse whenever an incumbent or priest-in-change leaves. Susan has made the applications. Some have PVG membership by virtue of volunteer work with other organisations and need to make new applications relating to St. John’s. Cathy Lees is sending out the necessary forms.

c. We are not fully compliant with GDPR because when we last sent out consent forms we assumed the consent of those people who did not return their form and added their details to the Church list, whereas the system should work by opting in. Susan has offered, with Liz Kiteley’s help, to send out new forms and compile an up-to-date list from scratch. Vestry accepted this offer with gratitude.

2.3. Cuthbert’s Way Churches Together
Paul has sent some documents created by Andrew to help the group restart its work on the pilgrim route. We remain on the mailing list.

2.4 St. John’s Sewing Group will use the community room at Jedburgh Co-op instead of the Old School.

3. Leadership and governance

3.1. Meeting with Bishop John 31 October
Whilst accepting that the meeting will be led by Bishop John, we agreed we need to have some questions ready for him: What is the progress on the Diocesan template for administrative information? Can we undertake building work that requires a Canon 35 application while we have no incumbent or priest-incharge in post? What is his current view on links with other charges? On local ecumenical partnership? On the probable length of our period of interregnum? On the availability of priests for part-time appointments? Graham will present a financial projection to inform our thoughts on recruitment.

3.2. Forward planning
Subject to the outcome of the meeting with Bishop John, we may or may not need (i) to take up Paul and Janet Starkey’s offer of further help and (ii) to organise further formal consultation with members of the Congregation. Meanwhile, we will write to them saying how grateful we are for their report, which helped to set a positive tone for all the work to come. As to the wider planning group, Susan Macdonald is interested in joining Vestry meetings specifically for this aspect, and Margaret Grover has offered to be a ‘sounding board’ for proposals.

Patrick will speak individually to the people who have put their names on the ‘Jobs’ list to see how gaps can be filled and tasks redistributed where they are concentrated on too few people.

3.3. Vestry training day
Graham, John and Paul had signed up for this on 11 September, but it was postponed.

3.4. Online Vestry Support Forum
This is now set up by the Diocesan office for testing. Paul and John have registered to take part.

4. Stewardship

4.1. Financials
a. Figures
The bank balance at the end of September (excluding restricted funds) was £42,712.
(Other items under the Financial heading deferred in Graham’s absence.)

4.2. Church building
a. Roof
We agreed with Adam’s assessment that there is no urgent need for action at present.

b. Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
All necessary action has been taken or is under way. (Following item refers.)

c. Accessibility
John reported on a very productive site meeting with Diocesan Buildings Committee members Alex Stewart and Paul Goode, and with Bob King and Grace Redpath in attendance.

Externally – the suggestion is to use flag stones to level the path between the lych gate and the outer porch step, with the porch floor made to slope up to the top of the inner step. Internally – to clear pews from the area at the back and around the font, moving the pews to the perimeter.

The cost of adding a toilet accessible through a new door in the West gable wall would be astronomical, but a toilet in the same space accessible externally would be much less. The cost of a temporary ‘Portaloo’ and servicing is still being investigated. The next step is to follow up the Committee’s recommendations for architects with the necessary experience to make drawings and costings, and then to consider grants and Canon 35 applications.

d. Access to the church
Ecclesiastical Insurance does not approve of key safes, and would advise instead that we have extra keys cut and keep a register of key holders.

Access for cleaners will not be a problem when we can return to normal daily opening, but we need to consider the security implications: since Covid began, we have not usually put silverware in the safe or put moveable brassware away in between services, because the building has been locked.
Action: to discuss with Sacristans.

e. Rectors’ board
John has informal estimates in the region of £300 for a matching rectangular board to sit beneath the current board, but we need to know which wood the existing board is made of.

f. Mowbray Chest
John was unable to detect any damp but will discuss this with Ann Beck when we are all available after a Sunday service.

g. Heating timers
Paul reported that the Pew heating timer is fine after all (human error accounting for its apparent failure to switch off after a timed period of heating). John is in contact with Scott & Foggon to replace the Wall heater timer.

4.3. Old School
a. Cheviot Youth lease
The lease is now signed and runs from 1 October. We have asked Edwin Thompson for a full management service, and supplied them with safety certificates as requested. They have offered to find us alternative insurance for the whole building (School and Flat), which we agreed to consider when renewal is due.

b. Contents and storage
We believe we have removed everything from the Old School that we were responsible for. The location of our retained storage (stationery cupboard and filing cabinet) is to be confirmed when Cheviot Youth have organised their use of the rooms.

c. Playground
As yet, there has been no further approach from Scottish Borders Council with any proposal to deal with the boundary issue behind the Old School.

4.4. Old School House – ‘Master’s Flat’
Nothing to report, except that the tenant has indicated she may ask to extend the tenancy beyond the initial six months.

4.5. Rectory
Nothing to report.

5. AGM preparations
Deferred to the November meeting.

6. Other business
Christine has sorted the JCAC material from the cupboards in the Old School; discounting out-of-date financial records and personal information, all of which she will shred, there are four files of correspondence, reports, surveys and photographs that are of potential historical interest. They are not in any sense Vestry records. She now has them at home but would like them to live somewhere else. We agreed to consider this in the context of reorganising the space at the back of the Church. Paul holds a file of JCAC correspondence relating to the playground (previous minutes refer).

Paul rescued from the cupboards two monitor speakers and stands that St. John’s inherited from JCAC when it was dissolved in 2019. If they still work, they need to be stored somewhere drier than the Crypt.
Action: Paul to test.

7. Date of next meeting
16 November 2021
*In future meetings, “Safeguarding” will become a standing agenda item, to cover PVG, Health & Safety, and Data Protection; as will “Declarations of interest.” In view of this, the other headings will be reconsidered.


Vestry Zoom meeting, 21 September 2021, 7.00 pm

A.    Opening Prayer
Bob King

B.    Apologies
Adam Bolam-Peel

C.    Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair), Rev. Canon Bob King, Paul Beck (Secretary), Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie, Patrick Copsey

D.    Minutes of 17 August meeting
Accepted as a true record: proposed by Christine, seconded by John.

  1.           Worship and faith formation

1.1. Services and Covid restrictions
Distancing is no longer legally required, but the policy of leaving alternate pews empty seems to work and reassures the more cautious members of the congregation. It survived the larger-than-usual attendance (37) on Sunday 19 September.

1.2. Clergy cover
The new rota goes up to the beginning of Advent. For Bishop John’s visit on 31 October, we will probably not need a visiting priest as well.
Action: Paul to check  

1.3. Broadcasting
The 4G router is installed on a windowsill in the Sanctuary and provides good upload speed for livestreaming at a monthly data cost of about £10 . A quirk of the church’s electrics means that it is only powered when the pew heater circuit is on.

1.4. Sound
One of the lapel microphones – a cheap Chinese-made substitute for the original AKG CK99L – is proving problematic. Before buying a genuine replacement (£75), we agreed to try some DIY to bring an old microphone back into service.

1.5  Midweek service
The transition to Wednesdays seems to have worked, but attendance is often very low. Is a midweek service a luxury we can afford? Does anyone attend who doesn’t also attend on Sundays?
Action: Paul to discuss with Susan Macdonald.

2.           Outreach and ministry

2.1. Accessibility
John reports that local builders will want a design to work to, and are very busy. Bob has offered to help obtain guidance from the Diocesan Buildings Committee.  

2.2. WHS and PVG issues
No issues raised.

3.           Leadership and governance

3.1. Feedback from 19 September meeting
We were impressed with the facilitation, the turnout, and the response. Vestry feels it has permission to build on the general positivity of the day’s discussions. Whilst the meeting – wisely – did not dwell on too much detail, most who were there wished to proceed with looking for a replacement priest, seemed to accept the need for a better distribution of the jobs that have to be done, and wanted more flexibility in the use of the church building, including better access and a toilet.

One written response has so far been received, opposing closure.

Vestry feels it needs to recruit people to a wider planning group.

Action: Announce interim steps as follows – list the jobs everyone now does (on a flip chart at the back of the church), ask for a volunteer to research accessibility grants, ask for volunteers to join a planning group.

Action: Graham to write to Bishop John requesting a meeting while he is here on 31 October, and to have by then the necessary figures for a financial projection.

3.2. Business management
We agreed to pause the attempt to recruit a business manager until after the next AGM. The temporary banking and Gift Aid arrangements, along with Sue Bennett’s extra work for us, seem to work.

3.3  GDPR
A recently-arrived member of the congregation has asked for reassurance that we are compliant with data protection regulations as regards the holding of personal data in the church roll, as she was not asked to give consent when she became a member of the congregation.

We are compliant (and the necessary consent forms are held by Graham) but we forgot to ask her.
Action: Graham to send a consent form.  

4.           Stewardship

4.1. Financials

a. Figures
The bank balance at the end of August (excluding restricted funds) was £40203.

b. Mission giving
The three agreed payments have been, and one acknowledgement (Borders Street Pastors) received.

c. Cheque signatories
Paul has had no success in applying to replace Margaret Grover as signatory on the RBS chequebook. The paper application was rejected, and will now be made online.

d. Printed giving envelopes
The new envelopes are for use from 3 October, and are ready to collect from the back of the church. Patrick offered to deliver to people who cannot get to the service.

e. Independent examiner
Lesley Thomson has agreed to act. She will need the 2020-2021 accounts by 15 October.

4.2. Church building

a. Roof
(Carry forward to the next meeting’s agenda.)

b. Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
Scott & Foggon have suggested that we could replace the sodium lights with LEDs individually, as and when they fail.

d. Access to the church
We have been told that other churches use a key safe to give cleaners access, apparently without insurance implications. Mary Ferguson has volunteered to open and close the church when daily opening resumes.
Action: John to ask Ecclesiastical whether there are key safe models that they approve.

e. Rectors’ board
We will look for a rectangular board to fit beneath the existing board rather than a new arched design to fit beside it. John has obtained some quotations, and awaits more information from St. Andrew’s, Kelso.

f. Mowbray Chest
Ann Beck reports that she found some damp in the Mowbray Chest when storing material there from Andrew’s office in the flat.
Action: John to investigate  

g. Heating timers
The timers for the wall heaters and pew heaters need to be checked before winter sets in. Paul reported that the wall heater timer loses about 20 minutes a day, and the pew heater timer seemed not to switch off at the end of each programmed period.
Action: John to review and discuss with Scott & Foggon.

4.3. Old School

a. Cheviot Youth lease
The final version of the lease is out for signature, and will runs from 1 October. Keys have been accounted for and handed over in advance so that Cheviot Youth can arrange for painting and decorating and carpets. St. John’s retains one or two front door keys for access to the toilets on Sunday morning.

b. Contents and storage
Church stationery and records have been successfully organised into one cupboard and one filing cabinet, to which we will have reasonable access. However, other cupboards have now been found to contain old material from the out of school club and the Community and Arts Centre, which should be moved or disposed of.    

c. Playground
No proposals have yet been received from SBC, but correspondence recently found in the JCAC files explains the background to the occupation of the playground area.  
Action: Paul to circulate extracts and a summary to Vestry members. [Download]

d. Repairs
The new permanent concrete ramp to the front door is now in place.

4.4. Old School House – ‘Master’s Flat’
Our tenant is in residence. One or two repairs have already been notified to Galbraith’s and carried out under the management arrangements. They have requested a £500 float, which Vestry agreed to.   

4.5. Rectory
Nothing to report.

5.           Other business

6.    AGM date and timetable
The AGM will be on Sunday 12 December. Notice and nomination forms need to be available 2 or 3 weeks beforehand.

7.    Date of next meeting
26 October 2021: Vestry meeting, to include Bob King and Grace Redpath. (Meeting delayed from 19 October in order to accommodate absences on holiday.)


Vestry Zoom meeting, 17 August 2021, 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer

B. Apologies

C. Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair), Paul Beck (Secretary), Patrick Copsey, John Ogilvie, Christine McLachlan (only briefly, as her internet connection failed).

D. Minutes of 20 July meeting
Approved without amendment; proposed by Patrick, seconded by John.

1. Worship and faith formation

1.1. Services and Covid restrictions
We agreed that the cautious changes we made to physical distancing after the recent rule change should continue. Leaving alternate pews empty works well, both for space and for distribution of communion.

1.2. Clergy cover
There are no problems so far, either with the clergy rota or the rota for readers, welcomers and intercessions.

1.3. Broadcasting
Livestreaming works well enough, but we will need to consider who else could do it if Paul is away.

1.4 CCLI copyright streaming licence
This has been renewed.

1.5 Midweek service questionnaire
Discounting those who expressed a view but do not actually attend, there were 13 eligible replies to the paper and email questionnaire: 4 prefer Wednesday, 1 prefers Thursday, 6 are happy to come on either day, and 2 say they can come on either day but would prefer Thursday if possible. We decided to change to Wednesday mornings, from a date to be confirmed after discussion.
Action: Paul to tell those affected.

2. Outreach and ministry

2.1. Recovery and renewal fund
We decided that a small sum from the grant will be used to buy a 4G router and mobile data, so as to make the signal more secure for livestreaming and to remove reliance on any individual’s own equipment.
Action: Paul to research and purchase.

2.2. Accessibility
No further recommendations are yet forthcoming from ‘AccessAbility’, but we decided the needs are clear and the expertise must exist within the Diocese and with specialist contractors, so we cannot justify any further delay. Grants will be available, and, notably, two bequests have been made to St. John’s in anticipation of spending on better access.
Action: John to get estimates.

2.3. WHS and PVG issues
None were brought to the meeting.

3. Leadership and governance

3.1. Matters from 3 August meeting with Rev. Bob King and Rev. Grace Redpath
We agreed this was very positive.

Since that meeting, progress has been made on the plan to hold the proposed congregational after-church meeting on 19 September: the Thistle Pavilion is booked at a cost of only £20, Liz Kiteley has agreed to coordinate catering, and Isobel Portch has agreed to organise serving and table-setting. We endorsed Susan Macdonald’s outline timetable. A facilitator has yet to be found.

We discussed what we expect from the meeting. It will be a time for asking questions on the future of St. John’s rather than answering them. We need to give the congregation the opportunity to hear an unbiased presentation of all the possibilities and express their hopes and fears. We will also need to consult those who cannot attend on that day.
Action: Paul to announce the date in the pew-sheet.

We accept Bob’s point about the need to examine all our current spending very carefully, though a strict moratorium is not possible. The financial picture painted at the 3 August meeting needs to be placed in the context of expected rental income and the immediate saving of staff costs.

The next regular Vestry meeting being due on 21 September, we will invite Bob and Grace to attend that one if they can. Otherwise, we will aim for two-monthly joint meetings if possible.

3.2. Business management and Book-keeper update
Graham has agreed with Sue Bennett that she will take on extra work for us while we do not have a Treasurer, so her duties will cover book-keeping, Gift Aid, annual accounts and Budget preparation, and OSCR.
Action: Graham to ask Liz to arrange for Sue to be registered with HMRC for Gift Aid claims.
Patrick will continue to pay cash into the Bank. He said he is concerned about counting the collection and Gift Aid envelope contents by himself, but will try to find a witness to his counting even if Covid restrictions
prevent doing it in tandem.

3.3. Publicity
We will now give 07340 131418 as St. John’s contact number on external publicity, the website and the noticeboard. It is intended for voicemail and text messages. The handset uses an ASDA pay-as-you-go SIM and is held by Paul.

4. Stewardship

4.1. Financials

a. Figures
We welcomed the comprehensive set of reports from Sue Bennett for the end of July. The current balance is £51,139 (including £8,100 in restricted funds). Graham has been notified of a generous new bequest of £10,000, to be paid to St. John’s from the estate of Elizabeth Walsh.

b. Review of 2020-2021 Budget
We cannot do this properly until the October meeting after the end-of-year figures are available, but we note that an outline presentation of the finances will have to be given at the meeting on 19 September to inform the discussion.
Action: Graham to prepare a presentation.

We agreed not to publish the annual Budget with the Vestry minutes that appear online. However, it is available on paper at the AGM, and is provided for participants at Vestry meetings, so it should be included in the Minutes folder available for reference in the church.

c. Mission giving
The 2020-2021 Budget allocates £250 for overseas donation, £200 for local donation, and £50 retained for emergency. From the suggestions received, we decided to make overseas donations to (1) MAF and (2) Serving in Mission – specifically, Simon and Grace Stretton-Downes in Liberia – and a local donation to Borders Street Pastors.
Action: Paul to find out recipients’ details and request the cheques from Christine.

d. Cheque signatories
The forms to replace Margaret Grover with Paul Beck as signatory have been handed in at the Kelso branch of RBS.

e. Printed giving envelopes
The numbered sets are with Sue Bennett for preparation. Spare sets, together with Gift Aid forms, will be available for any members of the congregation who decide to join the scheme.

f. Independent examiner
We decided to ask Lesley Thomson if she would act again as our independent examiner.
Action: Graham to contact her.

4.2. Church building

a. Roof
We agreed to leave the slates for the next Quinquennial Review, as they seem to be stable and are not leaking. However, we need to consider a physical inspection of the two finial crosses that were not renovated in 2006, which Adam’s drone footage suggested might be cracking, and find out the cost of rebuilding them.
Action: Ask Adam to get quotations for scaffolding and repair.

b. Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
Scott & Foggon’s estimate for replacing the floodlights inside the Church with 50-watt LEDs amounts to £1,063.20. Clearly, LEDs would be cooler and cheaper to run, but we decided initially to ask Scott & Foggon to inspect what the QR described as the “soot-staining” behind the floodlights: if it is actually the result of convection rather than scorching, we will leave the lights as they are.

c. Address and post-box
General mail addressed to St. John’s Church is starting to appear in the new post box at the lych gate.

d. Access to the church
We decided to install a key safe in the porch for the use of people on the cleaning rota.
Action: John to order.

Fairly soon, it is likely that Episcopal churches will be expected to be open again during daylight hours. This will be a challenge now that no-one from St. John’s lives in the adjacent flat.

e. Rectors’ board
Ian Lees reports that there is no room to add Andrew’s name. We decided to have an additional board made.
Action: John to get a quotation from Runciman’s.

4.3. Old School
a. Cheviot Youth lease
We have agreement on the final outstanding issue of insurance: Cheviot Youth will contribute 75% of the Ecclesiastical Insurance premium for the whole building. A final draft of the lease is awaited from Edwin Thompson.

Members of the congregation who hold a key to the front door of the Old School have been asked to surrender it so that we can account for them all and hand over the necessary number to our new tenants by 1 September.

We need to remind members of the congregation that any personal or group possessions that are left in the Old School might be lost in its reorganisation. (The sewing group has already removed its materials, but hopes to be able to book rooms from Cheviot Youth, and renegotiate storage, once a booking system is set up.)
Action: Paul to announce a reminder about keys and possessions.

b. Playground
We have not yet heard from Scottish Borders Council how it proposes to resolve the boundary discrepancy involving the playground fencing.

c. Repairs
We are still waiting for Harkins to replace the wooden ramp at the front door. All other work is believed to be complete.

4.4. Old School House – ‘Master’s Flat’

a. Lease
The lease will run from 1 September. Graham has received a copy from Galbraith’s.

b. Repairs and preparations
Repairs and inspections are complete. Andrew’s office is cleared and its contents are being stored elsewhere. Paul will take the printer and laminator and associated stationery to use during the interregnum. There are miscellaneous unwanted items such as books and greeting cards that we will offer to the congregation with the option of donating to church funds.

4.5. Rectory
Nothing to report.

5. Other business

6. Date of next meeting
21 September 2021: Vestry meeting, to include Bob King and Grace Redpath.


Vestry Zoom meeting, 20 July 2021, 7.00 pm

A.           Opening Prayer
Paul Beck

B.    Apologies

C.    Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair and Zoom host), Paul Beck (Secretary), Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie, Adam Bolam-Peel, Patrick Copsey.

D.    Minutes of 15 June meeting
Approved without amendment. (Proposed by John, seconded by Christine.)

1.           Worship and faith formation

1.1. Services and Covid restrictions
The “Level 0” restrictions w.e.f. 19 July reduce distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre, but there are no other changes. We discussed how best to ensure the necessary distancing by placing signs in the pews.

1.2. Rotas

a. Clergy cover
A rota for the Sunday and Thursday services has been prepared, with volunteers found for us by Bob King. They are:- Bob King, Grace Redpath, Susan Macdonald, John Evans, Tim Morris and Ursula Shone. Supernumerary expenses claim forms have been prepared to be left in the Vestry. The fee is now £40 per service and mileage is paid at 45p a mile. On past experience, not all clergy will claim.

b. Readers, Welcomers, Intercessors
Andrew has prepared a rota for the period July – October.  

1.3. Calendar and Lectionary choices
We expressed the following preferences, subject to the agreement of the clergy:

a. 15 August – Dedication Sunday readings and collect, to observe the anniversary of St. John’s consecration.

b. During September – SEC ‘Season of Creation’ material (new collects and prayer of consecration).

c. 3 October – Harvest.

Action: Paul to circulate these to clergy on the rota.

1.4. Broadcasting
In principle, we decided to try unedited livestreaming to Facebook, provided the 4G coverage is adequate. We will need to inform the congregation that filming is taking place from behind them. Review after a month.
Action: Paul to confirm with Susan Macdonald that she agrees to try this out on 25 July.   

1.5 Copyright streaming licence CCLI
Renewal is due on 31 July (£34), and we agreed to renew. Other licences expire in March 2022.

1.6. Bishop John’s visit on 31 October
We had requested copies of pew sheets from visits elsewhere. The order is simply a 1982 Eucharist in which with the Bishop presides and preaches.

1.7. Future study sessions
In view of the success of the Zoom study series organised by Andrew, Paul and Patrick (who had both attended them) felt we should offer this again for Advent.
Action: Paul to discuss with Susan Macdonald.

2.           Events

2.1. Men’s and Women’s events
The men’s get-together, which took place in Gerard and Sally Henry’s conservatory due to poor weather, was a great success. The women’s event was unfortunately rained off.

2.2. 18 July final service and farewell event
These went very well despite the Covid constraints, with the traditional final blessing, speeches of thanks and a parting gift. Thanks to Isobel Portch for organising things at the Golf Club.

We welcomed heartily the good news that Andrew has finally been able to book a repatriation flight on 1 August. Prior to this meeting, we had agreed by exchange of emails to his remaining in the Old School House flat until then, and this was formally confirmed. 

3.           Outreach and ministry

3.1. Recovery and renewal fund
We welcomed the grant of £2000 from the fund, and agreed to come up with spending suggestions for the next Vestry meeting, taking into account any conditions attached to it.
Action: Paul to search out and circulate the grant conditions.

3.2. Accessibility audit update
Part 2 of the report from AccessAbility is still awaited, but we should proceed with known issues such as access to the porch and main door of the Church. Work to provide ramps, handrails, etc, would be a very suitable use of the Grover bequest.
Action: John to look for estimates and advice, and find out whether information is available from the Diocese.

3.3. WHS and PVG issues – none to report.

4.           Leadership and governance

4.1. Objectives and agenda items for 3 August meeting with Rev. Bob King and Rev. Grace Redpath
We decided it is too early to set an agenda, and that the 5-point list of options circulated for the Bishop’s meeting already sets out the range of long-term objectives. We will wait to see how Bob and Grace believe those discussions can be facilitated. The meeting will also review the arrangements for cover.

4.2. Business management and Book-keeper update
There is no news yet on centralised services. Sue Bennet is back in her previous role and reviewing the financial records for anything we need to catch up with. March 2021 bank statements are missing, and the Gift Aid payments need the right information in order for us to claim.
Action: Christine to pursue the missing statements; Patrick to contact Sue for Gift Aid instruction.

4.3. Enquiries answerphone
Paul is trying to set up an ASDA mobile sim in a spare phone to provide voicemail and text for non-urgent enquiries. This number would be on the noticeboard and website. So far, despite three replacement sim cards and three helpdesk conversations, this has not proved possible.

4.4. Noticeboard and other publicity
Andrew’s contact details need to be removed, and refence to Wednesday services changed to Thursday. We agreed that we cannot maintain the weekly mail-out of pew sheets and a Jottings newsletter at its current level during the interregnum. A monthly publication might be possible.
Action: Paul to set up a Vistaprint account and order a new sign when enough information is available.

5.           Stewardship

5.1. Financials

a. Figures: end of June closing balance:
Savings a/c £51938.59, Current a/c £113.30; Total £52051.89.
Note, the income includes £671.50 rent for 46 Castlegate and £2000 Renewal and Recovery grant from Edinburgh Diocese (item 3.1).

b. Cheque signatories
Margaret Grover no longer wishes to be a signatory. We agreed to replace her with Paul Beck.

c. Printed giving envelopes
These have been ordered, to be delivered to Paul, who will pass them on to Sue Bennet.

5.2. Church building

a. Slates
Drone film supplied by Adam shows that one of the finial crosses may need repair, but the roof slates seem to be generally in good condition. We agreed that we need an inspection, which should also check the flashing.
Action: Adam to find out who will inspect and give a quotation.

b. Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
Scott & Foggon have been asked to survey the church’s interior floodlighting and check the School House flat electrics.

c. Address and post-box
We will promote the use of thechurch address for general items, but Sue Bennet has indicated that she wants the bank statements addressed to her, as before.

d. Access to Church
Access for services is not a problem, but to give access to members of the cleaning rota, a key-safe in the porch was suggested.

5.3. Old School

a. Cheviot Youth lease
Negotiations continue, with the exchange of drafts, dealt with by Paul and John on the part of St. John’s. Both sides have agreed that the commercial lease drafted by Edwin Thompson did not suit the relationship between two charities in its original form. The start date is likely to be 1 September.

b. Playground
Scottish Borders Council, preparing to dispose of the former Grammar School site adjoining the Old School to the north and east, has been in contact to tell us that a substantial area of the playground belongs to them by virtue of a 1974 sale to Roxburgh County Council. However, the fencing round the playground has been in place since at least 2002, when we obtained planning permission to erect it. The Diocesan Registrar confirms the Council’s documentary title but considers our occupation (if it has been continuous for at least 20 years) creates for St. John’s a “servitude right” to use it.
Action: Paul to write to SBC asking for their proposals to resolve the matter, before Vestry considers paying for legal assistance and a detailed survey; meanwhile he and John to agree with Cheviot Youth to exclude the disputed land from their lease at present.

c. Repairs
All repairs are complete except for the ramp and the external lighting test.

5.4. Old School House

a. Furniture purchase
The purchase money has been paid to Andrew.

b. Repairs and preparations
John has received a list of small repairs from Andrew. The electrics still have to be checked.

c. Letting
John has been approached to rent the flat for 6 months, subject to viewing, by someone planning to buy a house in the Borders. We discussed the appropriate monthly rent (£375-£400) and agreed to have it managed by Galbraith’s.
Action: John to proceed with repairs and electrical work and reply to the prospective tenant.

5.5. Rectory
Nothing to report.

6.1 The next Agenda should include Mission Giving. In October 2020, having omitted to make any donation in 2020-21, Vestry agreed to allocate £500 for this financial year.

6.2 Andrew’s name needs to be added to the board inside the Church.

6.    Other business

7.           Date of next meeting

3 August 2021: Vestry meeting with Bob and Grace.

17 August 2021: Vestry meeting


Vestry Zoom meeting, 15 June 2021, 7.00 pm

A.          Opening Prayer
Rev. Andrew Cooper

B.           Apologies

C.           Zoom participants
Rev. Andrew Cooper (Zoom host), Graham Watt, Christine McLachlan, Paul Beck, John Ogilvie, Patrick Copsey.

D.          Minutes of 18 May meeting
Approved without amendment. (Proposed by John, seconded by Christine.)

1.           Vestry and Ministry roles
Andrew introduced a discussion of the roles and tasks that need to continue while we do not have a priest in charge. The following were confirmed, to take effect immediately until the next AGM:
•            Graham to become Lay Chair
•            Paul to become Secretary and manage publications
•            John to remain as co-ordinator of Buildings work
•            Adam to remain as co-ordinator of Health and Safety
•            Christine and Patrick to remain as co-ordinators of financial transactions until a more permanent solution is found (Liz Kiteley maintaining financial records).
Action: Andrew will ensure with Cathy Lees that PVG records are up to date, and check that Isobel Portch is willing to continue as local Pastoral Care contact, in liaison with our Interim Pastors.

2.           Worship and faith formation

2.1. Services/Covid update
a. Music ministry
Under level 1 restrictions, singing is now allowed, behind masks and subject to distancing. We decided to offer the option of congregational singing, with a few well-known hymns at each service. But – except for Andrew’s final service on 18 July – the Choir prefers not to re-form until everyone, including the congregation, can sing without masks.

b. Hospitality
Several people have chosen to stay behind after recent services to socialise. This is welcome, but we need to emphasise that refreshments should be brought and not served.
Action: reminders from Andrew.

2.2. Monday night discussion group
The Post-Pentecost Monday Musings are going well, with a maximum attendance of 10 – 12.

2.3. Tuesday coffee morning
The coffee morning ran out of steam as other social opportunities began to reappear, and has stopped.

2.4. Rotas
At minimum, we need to provide Welcomers and a Reader for each Sunday morning service. When the restrictions allow, the Welcomer(s) will also take up the Offertory. When the Eucharist is again offered in both kinds, we will reintroduce the Server and Chalice-bearer if volunteers can be found.
Action: Andrew will ask for interest in welcoming, reading and Intercessing. 

2.5. Events
a. Men’s and Women’s events
These are publicised and well in hand: Patrick is organising a mystery tour on Saturday 19 June, and Isobel Portch is organising a picnic at Denholm on Saturday 26 June.

b. Farewell
Provisionally, we will give a lunch after the service on 18 July, subject to the capacity of local venues under current restrictions. It is not practical to self-cater this event at the Old School.
Action: Graham to investigate.

2.6. Future of Sunday 9.00 am service
The 9.00 am service is not sustainable, but we should consider offering the 1970 Liturgy occasionally at another time of day.

2.7. Midweek service
Clergy who have assisted us in the past are used to a midweek service at St. John’s on Thursday, and we will return to Thursday instead of Wednesday after Andrew leaves.

2.8. Broadcasting
It is not certain that all clergy who take a Sunday service will want it to be broadcast, but we should check. Presently, broadcasts end at the Peace, and are recorded from the front of the nave, showing mainly the leader. Anything else would raise consent issues if congregation members might be visible. The complexity of the exercise could be reduced if the service were livestreamed (Facebook only) rather than recorded, but the mobile signal is poor without a 4G router. The genuine ‘reach’ of our broadcasts so far is difficult to work out from Facebook and YouTube, but is certainly declining after initial interest.
Action: Paul and Adam will continue to discuss this. NB, the additional CCLI streaming licence falls to be renewed by 31 July.

3.           Outreach and ministry
3.1. Recovery and renewal fund
Andrew responded to the questionnaire on St. John’s behalf. We have received a grant of £2000 from the fund.

3.2. Accessibility audit
The second part of the report, dealing with internal accessibility issues, is still awaited.
Action: Andrew will ask Dean Fisher to send this to Adam and John when it is ready.

3.3. WHS and PVG issues
(None other than those covered in item 5.2.b below.)

4.           Leadership and governance
4.1. Report on meeting with Rev. Bob King and Rev. Grace Redpath
Impressions of the initial Zoom meeting on 9 June were very favourable. The intention – in which we succeeded – was to get to know each other and start discussing the arrangements for clergy cover, pastoral visiting, etc after Andrew leaves. The next meeting (Zoom – hosted by Bob) will be on Tuesday 3 August at 7.00 pm. The next issue is how to manage and facilitate the discussions about our future structure at St. John’s.
Actions: Next Vestry meeting on 20 July will talk further about our own objectives and suggest agenda items for 3 August. Paul to inform B and G he is now Vestry Secretary and principal contact for service cover.

4.2. Business management
We will reopen the question of contracting business management functions (now that we know a centralised Diocesan ‘plug-in’ system will not come for a few months) with particular emphasis on end-of-year and OSCR reporting and Gift Aid claims.

5.           Stewardship
5.1. Financials
a. Figures to end May
Closing balance £53422

b. Cheque signatories
Changing the signatures requires a written mandate.
Action: Christine to investigate with the Bank.

c. Printed giving envelopes
A new batch of printed envelopes (numbered, dated, and including a Gift Aid declaration) is needed from 3 October. We are offered a discount if we order by 28 June from Church Finance Supplies Limited. Vestry decided to reduce the order to 25 sets and have them delivered to the Church address.
Action: Paul to write to CFSL.

5.2. Church building
a. Slates
A drone survey would be useful to assess the extent of any cracks, damaged flashing, etc. But unless that shows up any problem, the slates will be left. There is no known leak.
Action: Adam to pursue the loan of a drone.

b. Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
John reported that, of the issues remaining, a number are covered by the accessibility audit, especially level access at the lychgate and ramps and railings at the church porch. These should be addressed next, along with an electrical survey to ensure high level lights and equipment are safe.
Action: John to get quotes for the access work.

c. Address
John has had installed a lockable post-box in the lychgate for mail addressed to St. John’s Church. Vestry has agreed to change the registered and correspondence address of the two bank accounts held with RBS to: St. John the Evangelist Scottish Episcopal Church, Pleasance, Jedburgh TD8 6DJ.
Action: Christine to register the Church address with Royal Mail.

5.3. Old School
a. Cheviot Youth lease
Edwin Thompson provided a draft commercial lease, tailored somewhat to our circumstances. This is now with Cheviot Youth for their comments. They intimate that a 1 July occupation date may be too soon.

b. Repairs
Both the interior painting and the improvement of the outside space are due to start soon. Harkins (builders) propose a concrete ramp to the front door, with drainage access redesigned. 

5.4. Old School House
a. Furniture
Some of Andrew’s furniture and personal items are due to be removed on 17 June for shipping to Australia. Vestry decided to purchase the remaining furniture from him for £490 to maintain the house as occupiable accommodation. No decision can yet be made on its future use.

b. Repairs
The kitchen tap needs attention, but no other repairs are outstanding.

5.5. Rectory
Nothing to report

6.           Vote of thanks
On behalf of Vestry, Graham expressed our sincere thanks to Andrew for all the work he has done with St. John’s over the four years since his appointment. Vestry approved wholeheartedly.

7.           Date of next meeting
20 July 2021: Vestry
3 August 2021: Vestry meeting with Bob King and Grace Redpath.


Vestry Zoom meeting, 18 May 2021 at 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
Rev. Andrew Cooper

B. Apologies
Graham Watt, Adam Bolam-Peel

C. Zoom Participants
Rev. Andrew Cooper (Zoom host), Christine McLachlan, Paul Beck, John Ogilvie, Patrick Copsey.
Paul agreed to take minutes in the Secretary’s absence.

D. Minutes of meetings on 20th April, 3rd May and 7th May 2021
The minutes were approved without amendment.

1. Worship and Faith Formation
1.1 Services/update on Covid
a Music ministry and singing
The organists and members of the choir are in the process of discussing whether and how to resume as regulations are relaxed. Vestry hopes some singing can be offered at Andrew’s last service on 18 July.

b Capacity notification
We now need to display a notice of our maximum capacity. No more than two people (from the same household) can sit at each place marked in the pews. Action: Andrew will print and display the notice.

c Hospitality
At present, after-service hospitality indoors would require refreshments to be served at tables, so we will wait for further relaxation before considering this. But if weather permits, after-service hospitality could be offered outdoors if we brought our own drinks and folding chairs. Action: Andrew will test the waters with a paragraph in Jedburgh Jottings.

1.2 Monday Night Discussion Group
The group has enough subscribers to go ahead online. It will be based on The Space Between: The disruptive seasons we want to hide from and why we need them by Rev Mark Bradford.

1.3 Tuesday Zoom Morning Coffee
Attendance has been declining as the weather improves and other social contact becomes possible. The most recent event was missed by accident. Action: Andrew will assess the need to continue.

1.4 Rotas and Andrew final service 18 July
Someone will need to maintain the service rota after 18 July. Vestry feels that the Sunday 9.00 am Communion service is unlikely to get going again, though an occasional service using the 1970 liturgy could be offered if there is enough demand for it. Action: Andrew will advertise for a rota volunteer and discuss future plans with the former 9.00 am attenders.

2 Outreach and Ministry
2.1 Recovery and Renewal Fund
The Diocesan Quota having been reduced by 10%, we agreed last year to contribute some of the resultant “saving” to mission and ministry. The Provincial Recovery and Renewal Fund questionnaire asks for suggestions based on our experience of mission and ministry during Covid lockdown. Action: Vestry members will send their own responses to Andrew, and he will ask housebound congregation members about our online offering.

2.2 Accessibility Audit
The first, and very detailed, part of the report has come from AccessAbility, dealing with external access issues. The second part, dealing with internal access issues, is promised soon. We do not pay for this service, and Andrew suggests we consider donating to support them when we have the whole report.

2.3 WHS and PVG Issues – Ramps/Handrails into St John’s
An obvious safety concern for elderly or less able members of the congregation is the need to negotiate steps into and out of the building, and we should investigate ramps and/or handrails to improve this as soon as possible.

2.4 Pastoral care
(a) Ladies’ and Men’s events and (b) a Farewell event
The suggestion to hold events before Andrew leaves, and a final event in his honour, is accepted with enthusiasm, although the best way of catering for these under present restrictions remains to be decided. Action: Patrick and Andrew will discuss with Isobel Portch what is possible.

3. Leadership and governance
3.1 Transition planning
a Bishop’s meeting outcome
The welcome result of the meeting of 3 May (the offer of immediate help with services and pastoral care and long-term facilitation of Vestry’s discussions about future planning) was summarised in an announcement to the congregation by Graham the following Sunday and in a short item in Jedburgh Jottings. Bishop John has appointed Rev. Bob King and Rev. Grace Redpath as our Interim Pastors. Work continues on the best way to help us move forward into the next phase. Action: Paul to make a brief factual announcement on the website; Andrew to include the same in Jedburgh Jottings.

b Contracted Business Administrator/Interim quarterly reports/VAT
In view of the news that the Diocese is working on a version of business/accounting software that charges can use remotely, we will pause the effort to recruit our own administrator. But there is outstanding work to do on VAT and on information for OSCR.

c Meeting with Rev Bob King and Rev Grace Redpath
Vestry will meet Bob and Grace as soon as possible.

d Vestry Meetings: Chair and venue
First, the allocation of roles on Vestry needs to be considered ready for the transition, and, secondly, when in-person meetings become possible again, we will need to consider whether to retain a Zoom licence.

4. Stewardship
4.1 Financials
a Figures to the end of April
Opening Balance 31 March £49,337.24
Deposits to 30 April*                    £8,100.44
Withdrawals to 30 April               £3,100.00
Closing Balance 30 April          £54,337.68
(*includes transfer of £6,600 from closed account)

b Change of Address and Cheque signatory panel
Statements are still going to Sue Bennett, our former book-keeper, and the process to change the default addressee for financial and other official correspondence is far from simple. Action: Christine will discuss this with Liz Kiteley, and come back to Vestry with a proposal.

4.2 Church Buildings
a Roof repair/slates
Nothing to report.

b Remaining Quinquennial Review issues
The most urgent items have been dealt with, but another review is due in 12 months’ time. Action: John will review the outstanding items and recommend to the next Vestry what to do about them.

4.3 Old School tenancy
a A meeting on-site between Paul, John and Ian Rendell Reed, Cheviot Youth manager, has led to agreement in principle on the outline of their tenancy and their plans for occupation. Edwin Thompson will now draw up an IRI (‘internal repair and insurance’) lease to run from 1 July 2021 for a term of 5 years. Cheviot Youth will be open for business when the Autumn term begins on 18 August.

Generally speaking, their activities are limited to daytimes during the week. St. John’s will be able to use the downstairs room and kitchen without charge for after-service refreshments, and can retain cupboard space for cutlery, crockery, etc. Other uses, and other space for church storage, are to be negotiated.

The informal inspection found a great deal of material left from the After-School Club (which needs to be disposed of) as well as material belonging to St. John’s. Before 1 July, St. John’s needs to identify what we need to keep, and this will depend on the social activities we foresee.

Rather than throwing away what remains, Cheviot Youth has agreed to find buyers for second-hand items and split the proceeds with St. John’s.

b Rental
The rent will be £550 a month, to be reviewed at the end of year 4, and with no service charge. The rent is subject to Edwin Thompson’s management charge of 10% plus VAT.

c Painting, ramp and boiler repair
An estimate from Ian Lees for decorating the stairwell ceiling (before 1 July) and the four toilets (before 18 August) is accepted. A price for a replacement entrance ramp and handrail is awaited from Olivers. Action: Paul to give Ian Lees the go-ahead.

4.4 Old School Flat
a Andrew’s furniture removal
The furniture to be shipped back to Australia will leave on 17 June. Andrew will need to sell what remains.

b Future use and office space
Vestry will consider how St. John’s will use the flat once it is vacant. It could function as a church office, a meeting space, or a liveable flat for clergy who come to help us. This may involve buying some of Andrew’s furniture.

4.5 Rectory
a Repairs outstanding
Nothing to report – there have been no requests from the tenants or the managing agent.

5 Any other business

6 Date of next Meeting
15 June 2021


Vestry Zoom meeting, 20 April 2021 at 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
John Ogilvie

B. Apologies

C. Zoom Participants
Fr. Andrew in the chair and Paul Beck, Patrick Copsey, Christine McLachlan, Adam Bolam-Peel, John Ogilvie, and Graham Watt

D. Minutes of Meeting on 16th March 2021
These were approved without alteration and their adoption was proposed by Christine McLachlan and seconded by Paul Beck.

1. Worship and Faith Formation
1.1. Services
Services are now back to being conducted in the church with social distancing and a capacity of 22 ‘Spots’ for individuals or households. The Easter attendance of 40 or so people stretched the limits of capacity. The video relay continues as before.

1.2. The Reverend Susan MacDonald
Revd Susan has many associations with St. John’s and we welcome her return. She will take an active part in the Ministry of the church when required.

1.3 Early Service
We could not go back to two services on a Sunday meantime because of the cleaning requirement

1.4 Music
There will  come a day when music will once again be allowed and the choristers were asked to think of the pieces that they could sing for a few  weeks so that they were prepared.

1.5 Rotas
Reading and welcoming rotas up to Fr Andrew’s last Sunday had been prepared and sent out to determine availability.

1.6 Leave
Fr. Andrew tabled the dates of his intended leave periods. Revd Susan would take the Sunday morning service with Paul Beck preaching and Revd. Margaret would take the Wednesday service, with Rev Susan and Paul Beck as back up if needed.

2. Outreach and Ministry
2.1. Accessibility Audit
Dean Fisher apologies for the delay in preparing his report of recommendations. He will forward these as soon as practicable.

2.2. Pastoral Visits
Fr Andrew has re-commenced garden meetings and hopes to visit most members of the congregation over the next few months.

2.3. Coffee Morning
The zoom version was going well but we will consider how long it will continue.

3. Leadership and Governance
3.1. Bishop
Fr. Andrew spoke to the discussion paper that had been circulated. He said that its contents would come as no surprise to the Bishop. Our circumstances had been the subject of discussion between them. .It was important to stress that worship was unaffected by our current challenges. The paper should be open ended and should not propose a solution, leaving it to the Bishop to suggest a way forward. We should treat this meeting as a start in the process and we should not expect decisions.

The paper was broadly approved and the Secretary was asked to make the suggested amendments and to ensure it adopted the correct tenor. Thereafter a redraft would be sent to vestry members for any further comment. It was intended to have it in the Bishop’s hands by 28th April.

In view of the preparation of this paper it was agreed to prepare a summary to communicate with the congregation. Paul Beck agreed to prepare this.

3.2. Contracted Business Manager
It was agreed to hold this appointment to be reconsidered as part of the future ministry discussions.

3.3 Vestry Candidates
There was nobody else in mind for the moment.

4. Stewardship
4.1. Financials
The figures as at end March were :-
Opening Balance at 26th February £52,936
Paid in                                               £1,300
Total withdrawn                                £4,900
Balance at 31st March                      £49,337

Lesley Thomson could be asked at the appropriate time whether she could take over Sue’s bookkeeping function. This would not be desirable however if she were to continue as Independent Examiner.

4.2. RBS Change of address
Documentation required was impeding the process.  Four signatories were called for.

4.3. Scottish Building Society
The account had been closed with £6,541 being transferred into our RBS account

4.4. Slates
Our roofer was elusive and still had failed to not come up with dimensions and quantities. Further investigation and a full proposal with costings is needed.

4.5. Old School
4.5.1. Rent
Edwin Thomson proposed £700 a month but Cheviot Youth had proposed £412 a month. There was clearly much to be negotiated. Paul Beck and John Ogilvie will continue working with Cheviot Youth to develop a firm proposal.

4.5.2. Remedial Works
Interim repairs, including replacing the ramp, painting and the toilets had to be priced.

4.5.3. Access
This had still to be negotiated for St. John’s.

4.5.4. Estimate
A detailed proposal with costings should be prepared for the next meeting.

4.6. Rectory
No problems indicated by the letting agent. Floorcoverings are on hold but in view of the fact that the tenants had a dog we may be able to postpone this further but bear in mind that extensive refurbishment would be required for a future Rector.

5. Any Other Business
There was none.

6. Date of next meeting
18th May


Vestry Zoom meeting, 16th March 2021 at 7.00 pm

Opening Prayer
Paul Beck


Zoom participants
Fr. Andrew in the chair and Paul Beck, Christine McLachlan, Adam Bolam-Peel, John Ogilvie and Graham Watt.

Minutes of meetings on 16th February and 1st March 2021
These were approved without alteration.

Item 3.3 taken out of order by agreement of all the members:
3.3. Transition Preparation
Fr. Andrew reported on his recent zoom meeting with the Bishop who had agreed to his leaving Scotland on 24th July and to discuss the future of St. John’s in the interim. He understood that its future was both an immediate concern and part of a bigger picture concern. Perhaps we could work towards an interim arrangement whilst longer arrangements could be worked through. The Bishop  did not want to see a long interregnum but rather a seamless transition to a new arrangement. He appreciated that circumstances had changed since the last ministry change and that models valid at that time would not be apposite now.

Fr. Andrew would adjust his focus for the next 4 months or so giving preference to a strong in person worship cycle and a pastoral care programme. To do this needed for vestry members to take over the various administrative functions he had recently assumed. The vestry then went to a separate room to discuss the allocation of tasks and when reconvened agreed to shoulder the specified responsibilities :-

Contracted Business Administrator: Adam, Christine and Graham
Cheviot Youth and Old School: Paul and John
Interim Management  of Finances: Christine, Liz, Patrick and Graham
Buildings: John

1.   Worship and Faith Formation
1.1. Easter services
The Easter service could now be held in church subject to the usual restrictions. It will also be videoed for those at home.

1.2. Lent Group
The Group was going well with satisfactory take up.

2.   Outreach and ministry
2.1. Accessibility audit
The recommendations extended to 40 pages. Dean Fisher would assess suitability.

2 2. WHS and PVG
Nothing to report.

2.3. Pastoral duties (covered under see item 3.3, above)

3.   Leadership and Governance
3.1. Contracted Business Administrator
To be taken forward by the work group.

3.2. Vacancy
Patrick Copsey was co-opted to fill one of the vestry vacancies.

3.3. See first item above

3.4. Synod
We still lacked a representative.

4.   Stewardship
4.1. Financials
The figures at 26 February were as follows:-

Opening Bank Balance               £55,936
Closing Balance                           £53,931
(these figures include bequests)

4.2. Slates
The secretary had received a sample simulated Westmorland slate. He will also seek sizings which Douglas Scott did not have to hand.

4.3. Old School
Simon Sanderson, a surveyor from Edwin Thomson, had surveyed the building and his proposed rental figure was awaited. Ian Rendall had also been asked to propose his rental figure based on their current rental outlay.

4.4. Flat
The boiler required repair and we would enter into a maintenance contract.

4.5. 46 Castlegate (Rectory)
The property had been let from 10th March. Inly one item remained outstanding from the Landlord/tenant agreement. Treatment to the kitchen floor still had to be actioned.

5.   Any other business
Fr. Andrew thanked the vestry for their forbearance during this time of upset and transition.

6.   Next Meeting:
20 April 2021


Vestry Zoom meeting, 16th February 2021 at 7.00 pm.

A. Opening Prayer
Adam Bolam–Peel

B. Apologies

C. Zoom Participants
Fr. Andrew in the chair and Paul Beck, Christine McLachlan, Adam Bolam- Peel , John Ogilvie and Graham Watt.

D. Minutes of Meeting on 19th January 2021
These were approved without dissent.

Rev Andrew Announcement
Fr. Andrew announced that he had been approached by the Archbishop of Brisbane to become the next Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican parish of St. John the Baptist, Bulimba in Brisbane, Queensland. He had accepted the invitation but, due to the restrictions on travel because of the pandemic, he did not expect to return to Australia until August at the earliest.

The vestry wished him well on his appointment.

1. Worship and Faith Formation
1.1 Covid Developments.
The First Minister has given an indication that we might be able to hold church services beginning with Good Friday. We will await the advice of the Provincial Advisory Committee.

1.2 Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter. 
Always bearing in mind the Covid regulations, the Ash Wednesday and Combined Churches Lent Group had been arranged with Zoom. Holy Week and Easter to be advised.

2 Outreach and Ministry

2.1 WHS – no issues to report.

2.2 Coffee Morning The zoom meetings were proving popular.

2.3 Accessibility Audit.
The initial Survey Form has been completed by Dean Fisher from AccessAbility and a paper has been received which contained 20 pages which required further study. The recommendation arising from the report will be forwarded in due course.

3. Leadership and Governance
3.1 Contracted Business Manager Interviews, Sat 13th February.
These interviews were conducted by Christine McLachlan, Graham Watt and Fr. Andrew. Three candidates were interviewed, and a decision made.

A motion to endorse the interviewers’ choice – proposed by Christine McLachlan and seconded by Graham Watt – was passed.

4. Stewardship

4.1 Finances
a. Financial Report: No reports were available due to the imminent changes of duties.  Patrick Copsey continued to take care of the Banking.

b. Quota:  There had been no reply to the Diocese question of the quota from Vestry. The Secretary and Fr. Andrew would decide how the reply should be handled.

c. Cheque signatories: Further investigation needed when Business Administrator is engaged.

4.2   Church Building
a. Slates – Adam B-P had found a source of synthetic Westmorland slates size being 20 x 18 and £2 each and £50 delivery charge. A full report of the exact work required, its costs and a firm proposal needs to be presented to Vestry so informed discussion can occur. Adam and John Ogilvie would pursue the matter.

4.3   St John’s Old School
a. Cheviot Youth letting progress. The search for a rental figure estimate continues. Galbraiths via their Edinburgh office feels they are unable to help us. Contact has been made with Edwin Thompson who are yet to reply. Cathy Lees will be contacted to see if Hastings might be able to help.  A ballpark figure is necessary for the next stage of negotiations to continue with Cheviot Youth.               

4.4 Rectory
a. Redirection of mail. An examination would  be made of the possibility of a box within the Post Office.

b. Repairs Outstanding. This was largely complete with only deep cleaning and some laying of floorcoverings to come. Susan Guthrie would advise on tradesmen.

c. Other requirements for letting. John Ogilvie and the secretary had the actions for setting up the Landlord/ Tenant Agreements this well in hand. Susan Guthrie from Galbraiths reports that two parties had already expressed an interest. 

d. Winter Preparations confirmed. Paul Beck will look into appropriate heating settings to avoid frozen pipes.

5. Any other business

5.1 Music Licences:
It was agreed to renew the existing music copywrite licences.

6.   Date of next meeting
16th March 2021     

^ top

Vestry Zoom Meeting, 19th January 2021 at 7.00 pm.

A. Opening Prayer
Christine McLachlan 

B. Apologies

C. Zoom Participants
Fr. Andrew in the chair and Paul Beck, Adam Bolam-Peel, Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie and Graham Watt.

D. Minutes of meeting on 10th December and of meeting on 21st December 2020
a) The minute of 10th December should have the reference to Isobel Portch removed. b) The Minute of 21st December should stand without alteration. The adoption of both minutes was proposed by John Ogilvie and seconded by Christine McLachlan. The motion was approved.

1.  Worship and Faith Formation
a)  Covid-19
As a result of the recent regulations issued by the Scottish Government the Church was now closed. The SEC had disassociated itself from the move by other denominations asking the First Minister to reconsider. Our services relayed by video would continue as before.

2.  Outreach and Ministry
2.1. PVG coordinator

Cathy Lees’ appointment had been confirmed by the Diocese.

2.2. WHS issues
No issues reported.

2.3.  Aberlour
There was no way of knowing how much direct donations had been.

3. Leadership and Governance
3.1. Contracted Business Administrator
Fr. Andrew said that he had circulated the local clergy and he had followed up a number of leads. Through Simon Cake he had followed up Alison Franks of Cornerstone Accountants who specialise in church finance. Sue Bennett had expressed an interest in the position and the Secretary was instructed to be in touch asking for a CV and two referees.

It was agreed that the search should be broadened by contact with SEC churches further field, Jethart Youth Hub and possibly Georgiana Craster, both of whom would have local contacts. From the “possibles”, a short list would be drawn up who would be interviewed by Vestry members. John Ogilvie and Christine McLachlan agreed to form a panel with AC to shortlist and report to Vestry.

4. Stewardship
4.1. Monthly Financials
These were formerly prepared by Liz Kiteley so there were no figures for  December. Gift Aid was finalised by Sue Bennet for the December quarter, but no further work will be done until an administrator is appointed. Patrick Copsey was handling the counting and bank banking of the collection.

4.2. Quota
It was agreed that a letter indicating our contribution of an extra 5% above the reduced quota as approved by vestry at the December meeting should be despatched.

4.3. Cheque Book
Liz Kiteley has agreed to manage paying bills by cheque during the lockdown period when directed by vestry. Cheque signatories needed to be regularised when possible.

4.4  Utilities
It was agreed that the Secretary should be the point of contact for correspondence and details are to be updated.

4.5. Mail Redirection.
Redirection to the Old School House was agreed.

4.6. Slates
A check of the roof needed; John Ogilvie to organise and include an estimate of the number of replacement slates required. Adam Bolam-Peel would follow up on the synthetic substitutes.

4.7. St John’s Old School
a. A meeting had taken place with Ian Rendall Reid from Cheviot Youth/Jethart Youth Hub confirming interest in leasing the Old School. The Master’s flat occupancy had taken place since they first met. They would occupy most of the area (possibly subdividing) although we would need to negotiate access to toilet and storage facilities. All arrangements would need to be included in the tenancy agreement. They also rent pub premises in Kelso so are used to commercial arrangements. It is up to us to propose a figure for consideration.

b. We now needed to seek advice from the diocese and a valuer. Taits had not responded to our requests re the rectory and it was therefore proposed that we contact Galbraiths, commercial and residential, to advise on the rental potential of the Old School and the Rectory and, if contracted, to prepare the lease/s. The Vestry agreed.

4.8. Master’s flat
Occupation had disclosed few items requiring attention. After a small fault in the boiler, a maintenance contract has been arranged with Hewit’s Heating and Gas, Kelso who have maintained the boiler for a number of years. The boxing in completed under the boiler turns out to have blocked previous access but other access points are in place.  The gutter and downpipes have been cleaned and checked. A small section of guttering needed replacing. Quotes for long term secondary glazing are still pending.

4.9. Sharplaw Road Fence
The work had been done by the Community Council at no cost to St John’s.

4.10. The Rectory
Ian lees was busy painting. The floor covering was worn and required replacement in one room. The kitchen vinyl also required replacement. Adam Bolam-Peel agreed to check the kitchen floor. For winter maintenance the temperature had been set at 5 degrees. The Vestry agreed to any increase in costs that these items might incur, and AC will follow up quotes prepared 12 months ago.

5. Any other busines
It was noted that a Zoom Coffee Morning had been held that morning with 7 participants. The event would be held on successive Tuesdays hereafter.

6. Date of next meeting
16th February 2021


Extraordinary Vestry Zoom meeting, 21 December at 7.30 pm

A Apologies.
Paul Beck

B Zoom Participants
Fr. Andrew in the chair and Adam Bolam-Peel, Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie, and Graham Watt.

1 Worship and Faith Formation
New Tier Four CoVid-19 Restrictions
Fr. Andrew said that he had just received a communication from the Diocese indicating the arrangements to be observed from Boxing Day for a period of three weeks. Social distancing and all the procedural arrangements would continue as before but we would be under Tier 4 arrangements.

Congregations would be limited to 20 and would not be allowed to change local authority boundaries to attend services. Participants need to ‘book’ every week.      

A number of churches had closed completely because of their difficulty in complying with the strictures but Fr. Andrew proposed that we should observe all the regulations and continue with our services as planned . The vestry members concurred unanimously, and word had been obtained from Paul Beck that he also agreed with this decision.


Vestry Zoom Meeting, 10 December 2020 at 7.00 pm

A Opening Prayer
John Ogilvie

B Apologies

C Zoom Participants
Fr. Andrew in the Chair and  Paul Beck, Adam Bolam-Peel, Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie and Graham Watt.

D Minutes of meeting on 17th November 2020
There was one spelling mistake proposed –“Foggan” should read “Foggon.” With that alteration, the adoption of the Minutes was proposed by Christine McLachlan and seconded by John Ogilvie. The motion was passed.

1 Worship and Faith Formation
The Advent Zoom Group with both Stewart MacPherson and Fr. Andrew was going well. As for the Christmas services there were bookings coming in for Christmas Eve but so far none for the day itself. Elizabeth Kiteley will sanitise after the Christmas eve service. There will be a service on the Wednesday before Christmas and one to celebrate the feast of John the Evangelist on the 27th. We will celebrate Epiphany on Sunday 2nd January as well as Wednesday 6th.

2 Outreach and Ministry

2.1 PVG and WHS
The application proposing the candidacy of Cathy Lees as PVG Co-ordinator had been forwarded to the Bishop.

There had been no WHS (workplace health and safety ) arising, but the First Aid Kit had been updated by Adam Bolam-Peel and returned to the Vestry.

2.2 Mission Giving
(a) Aberlour Advent Appeal. We did not know the amount of the direct payments to Aberlour because of the current system so all donations will need to be forwarded directly by cheque.

(b) Churchyard grass-cutting. Ralph Nagel did not want a hamper this year, he would rather that the equivalent money were given to charity. After discussion it was agreed that £100 be given to Aberlour with a card indicating it was a donation from him. A card would also be sent to Ralph. (N.B The donation is not part of the budgeted Planned Mission Giving)

3 Leadership and Governance
3.1 Business Administrator
It was agreed that we should ascertain who was used, if any, by the diocese to recruit staff. Simon Cake and other Borders clergy will be asked to circulate the job description in the first instance. Sue Bennet could be asked if she was interested.

4 Stewardship
4.1 Finances
(a) The end November figures show incomings of £2287 and expenditure of £6481 therefore resulting in a deficit of £4285, The main reason for the large deficit was property costs Incurred on the Rectory, the Old School and the Master’s flat. The end of month balance was £59419. The income will be materially altered when we have successfully rented out the Rectory. Cheque signatories should be revisited and correspondence will have to be redirected. “Keep Safe” could be used but it is expensive on the long term.

(b) Quota.  The letter from Simon Filsell was tabled and after discussion it was agreed to  propose a 5% reduction.

4.2 Slates
Adam Bolam-Peel had come across a synthetic compound which could be suitable for slates. It was a question of whether colours and sizes would suit us and if it was compliant with Heritage restrictions. Adam was asked to pursue.

4.3 St. John’s Old School
(a) Cheviot Youth. Fr. Andrew had been approached by Ian Rendell of Cheviot Youth. The Jethart Youth Hub’s premises in the High Street had become too small for their needs. He was therefore proposing that they would be interested in taking on the whole of the Old School property. Provision had been made in the new school for such activities but they did not want to go to such an off centre site preferring ours which was nearer the town centre. The Vestry agreed that this was an interesting development which merited further examination. It was therefore agreed to meet up with him in January to discuss the proposal more fully. Paul Beck agreed to assist with the discussion and possible negotiations.

(b) Winter preparations. Hopefully the heating would help to dry out the mottled patch in the ceiling above the stairs. The gutters and downpipes still had to be examined.

4.4 Master’s Flat
Almost ready for occupation.  Removal scheduled for 17/12.

4.5 Sharplaw Road
There is difficulty in deciding liability for the fence repair. We await an email to enlighten us.

4.6 Rectory
We await Tait’s recommendations on what would be legal requirements for renting.

5. Any other business

6. Date of next meeting.
19th January 2021