Vestry minutes 2021 – 2022

Minutes of meetings since the December 2021 AGM.
Minutes are added only after they have been approved (and, if necessary, amended) at the following meeting.

Shortcuts:
21 December 2021 | 18 January 2022 | 15 February 2022 | 15 March 2022 | 3 May 2022 | 21 June 2022

Previous year:
2020 – 2021 minutes


Minutes of Vestry meeting on Tuesday 21 June 2022, 7.00 pm in Kenmore Hall

A. Opening Prayer
Paul Beck.

B. Apologies
Canon Susan Macdonald, Adam Bolam-Peel, Graham Watt.

C. Participants
Canon Bob King, Paul Beck (Secretary), John Ogilvie (Buildings Convenor), Christine McLachlan, Gerard Henry, Patrick Copsey, Ruth Johnson, Edward Martin.

D. Minutes of 15 April meeting
Accepted as a true record.

1 Safeguarding
1.1 PVG
Nothing to report to Vestry.

1.2 Health and Safety
Nothing to report to Vestry.

1.3 Data Protection
Nothing to report to Vestry.

2 Worship and faith formation
2.1 Covid precautions and adaptation
Concerns have been expressed since the last meeting about the rise in Covid cases, with no response from Government or from the Diocesan Advisory Group that could guide or support a Vestry if it wanted to strengthen its precautions. The take-up of the Chalice seemed to be reducing, and the invitation to remain seated for Communion has not been very widely observed. A discussion of these issues reached no firm conclusions except (1) to try giving a reminder of the advice already printed on the pew sheets and (2) for the Choir not to sing the first hymn in procession.
Action: Paul to enquire about the prospects of new SEC guidance.

2.2 Services
Midweek attendance being very low lately, we will occasionally remind everyone of the Wednesday service in the notices and on the sheet.

3 Outreach and ministry
3.1 Pastoral care
Susan held a short home communion service, followed by afternoon tea, in Liz Kiteley’s house for two members unable to attend services at church. It was a success and Vestry endorsed the proposal to continue these events on alternate months.

3.2 Jubilee Equestrian event – Friday 3 June, 2.00 – 4.00 pm
Up to 300 people attended, and the event was a great success. The Jubilee grant funding was received on 10 June and the invoiced expenses from Bordaloo and Les Amis have been reimbursed.

3.3 St. Cuthbert’s Way Group
William has sent a verbal report on an SCW group meeting, where they discussed plans to develop the walk with better information for walkers and links to the official tourist organisation. The group admired the short ‘Walk Round’ pamphlets prepared for visitors at St. John’s, and other churches will consider producing something similar.

3.4 Church opening
The Diocesan Season of Pilgrimage brought us no visitors, but it felt good to have the building open. On the question of a return to daily opening and closing as in pre-Covid times, the building’s current isolation makes it too insecure unless there are regular volunteer church sitters.

3.5 Boycott restrictions
Patrick referred to planned legislation to be known as the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Bill announced in the recent Queen’s Speech to “prevent public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion”. A number of civil society organisations including Quakers, Methodists and URC have joined in a statement opposing it on the grounds that it would appear to inhibit campaigns or purchasing policies that target oppressive regimes. Vestry agrees it is an unjustifiable restriction on conscientious action.
Action: Paul to find out whether there is to be an SEC response.

4 Leadership and governance
4.1 Revised Constitution
Following the EGM on 19 June, Bob signed the final version of the revised Constitution, witnessed by Christine and Paul. It will now go to the Diocesan Office to be signed by the Bishop. We will receive our own copy and submit a further copy to OSCR.

4.2 Jobs
There was further discussion about administrative support, which Paul felt should particularly address the absence of a Treasurer, giving several examples of recent finance-related enquiries and actions which instead have fallen to him as the only office holder in the Chair’s absence. Also, administrative support of that nature would help us setting up electronic banking with RBS’s Community Account or a similar account with another bank.
Action: Bob to consult Andrew Hunter, Treasurer at St. Andrew’s, Kelso.

4.3 Planning for the future
a. Recruitment
The Profile and Budgets have been sent to the Dean in the first instance for comment, with no response as yet. We talked generally about the options the Diocese might suggest to us.
b. Church accessibility work
Whilst we now have approval for the extra Rectors’ Board, the Diocese has made clear that this is exceptional during an interregnum, and that our accessibility plans won’t be approved under canon law before a new Rector or Priest-in-Charge is appointed. We intend, however, to advance them as far as possible through the design and local authority planning stages. Vestry discussed samples of the paving and other surface options and decided on a composite for the area outside the porch and York stone slabs inside it.
Action: John to find out how much we have so far incurred in fees.

5 Stewardship
5.1 Financials
a. Reports
The Diocesan Finance Committee monitors the health of each charge’s finances. Its Chair, Kenneth Ramage, asked for an update on the rather negative picture painted by our 2020-21 accounts. Paul responded by sending the budget forecast recently prepared to go with the Profile.

b. Unit Trust Pool
We discussed whether to invest any of our reserves in the UTP – which after a very strong performance has recently reduced in unit value – but agreed that we need guidance from a church with experience of this investment.
Action: Bob to consult Andrew Hunter, Treasurer at St. Andrew’s, Kelso.

c. Gift Aid envelopes
Paul has sent in the minimum order for 25 numbered sets after consulting Sue Bennett.

5.2 Buildings
a. Church
Scottish Power is to provide a new meter after accepting that the existing one is not correctly reflecting our consumption under the respective tariffs – one for daytime and the other for evenings and weekends. It should be installed on 11 July. As things stand, we are in credit by more than £1000. We will consider switching to a new provider when our current fixed tariff ends on 31 October 2022.
A stone is missing from the front of the churchyard wall. John will contact Harkins to have it replaced.
In wet weather, a slow drip is sometimes observed from the roof above the rear pews on the north side of the aisle, but is inconsistent and hard to pin down.

b Rectory
Nothing to report to Vestry.

c. Old School
We have no news from Scottish Borders Council about its proposals to dispose of the adjoining land. Paul has asked Pam Brown, one of the newly elected councillors for the Jedburgh ward, to find out.

d. Flat
Nothing to report to Vestry.

5.3 Diocesan Carbon Neutral Group
There have been no volunteers for this opportunity.

6 Declarations of interest
None reported.

7 Other business
7.1 Vestry thanked Bob and Grace for all the work they are doing for us during the interregnum.
7.2 Patrick will move house on 19 August, and we will need a new volunteer to make the weekly cash payments into the Bank.
Action: Paul to publicise in the weekly sheet.

8 Date of next meeting
19 July 2022

^top

Minutes of Vestry meeting on Tuesday 3 May 2022, 7.00 pm in the Church

A.           Opening Prayer
Canon Bob King              

B.           Apologies
Canon Susan Macdonald, Rev. Grace Redpath, Adam Bolam-Peel, Christine McLachlan, Graham Watt

C.        Zoom participants
Bob King, Paul Beck (Secretary), Gerard Henry, Patrick Copsey, Ruth Johnson, Edward Martin and John Ogilvie. John agreed to chair the meeting.

D.       Minutes of 15 March meeting
Accepted as a true record with one amendment: in item 4.5.b, John had met Will Martin, not the architect.

1            Safeguarding

1.1      PVG
Nothing to report to Vestry

1.2      Health and Safety
Nothing to report to Vestry

1.3      Data Protection
Paul gave out the full membership list. This is for Vestry members, clergyand pastoral visitors. A simplified contact list (excluding those who did not opt in) will be available to the wider congregation.

2         Worship and faith formation

2.1      Covid precautions and adaptation
The changes that took effect from 4 April 2022 mean face-coverings and other precautions are no longer legally required, but in our notices we continue to encourage caution and respect for each other’s personal space. (Appendix)

The decision to reintroduce the chalice is endorsed, but the recommended posture needs to be reviewed as there is more handling when people receive the chalice standing up.
Action: Paul to discuss with Susan Macdonald and Margaret Taylor.

2.2      Services
Joint services with the Parish Church in Holy Week were well received, as was the joint online Lent course. The visit by Simon and Grace Stretton-Downes on 24 April went well.

3         Outreach and ministry

3.1      Pastoral care
Nothing to report to Vestry.

3.2      Jubilee Equestrian event – Friday 3 June, 2.00 – 4.00 pm
Patrick has received a Grant Offer Letter for £1,992, with strict terms and conditions.
Action: Paul to sign and return to SBC and inform Les Amis.

3.3      Jubilee service Sunday 5 June
This has been cancelled.

3.4     St. Cuthbert’s Way Group
William Horton is now representing St. John’s at group meetings. Our initial stack of leaflets has been distributed to places in Jedburgh where tourists go: the Abbey, Tourist Information and Mary Queen of Scots’ House.
Action: Paul to request some more.

4         Leadership and governance

4.1      Revised Constitution
Subject to a small amendment suggested by the Diocesan Registrar to allow for ‘hybrid’ Vestry meetings, the revised Constitution is approved. We will need another brief EGM to nod it through, then send it to Bishop John to endorse.

4.2      Jobs

a.        Graham has asked to take a break from Vestry chairmanship while he deals with health issues. Vestry agrees and wishes him well.

b.   Margaret Taylor has taken on Verger duties for weddings and funerals.

c.        At Bob’s suggestion, Paul will analyse his current duties to identify work that could be hived off to a paid administrator.

4.3      Planning for the future

a.        Recruitment
Paul reported slow progress on the profile and asks particularly for contributions towards section 8.c ‘Finding a new place in the Community’.

An initial meeting about financial viability suggested (not unexpectedly) that the interregnum will be profitable because of rental income, but that a 50% appointment is all we can contemplate without seriously eating into our reserves. Bob has asked Bishop John to meet Vestry again.   

Both the profile and the financial viability projections will be ready soon.
Action: Paul to circulate the profile again for comment and engage Sue Bennett’s help with the projection.

b.        Church accessibility work
John reported on a recent visit by himself, Ann Beck and Gerard to St. John’s, Selkirk to look at the extensive work on its interior – including toilets, a servery, chairs instead of pews and LED lighting – and to hear about the costs, the timescales and Canon 35 issues. A subsequent buildings subcommittee meeting considered such ambitious changes would not be feasible (and probably not permitted) at St. John’s.

Vestry accepted the recommendation that our accessibility work should go in phases, the most urgent of which would be access from the street. For now, we can continue using the toilets in the Old School, and the tenant of the Flat has agreed in principle to the use of the toilet inside the back door at pre-arranged times.
Action: John to set up a Vestry meeting with the architect to discuss options and indicative costs.

5         Stewardship

5.1      Financials

a.        Reports
The end of March bank balance is £72361 (including £20000 in bequests and a one-off grant).

b.        RBS account
Nothing to report to Vestry.

5.2      Buildings

a.        Church
Ann Beck has taken over monitoring our electricity account with Scottish Power. The tariff is fixed until the end of October.

b         Rectory
Nothing to report to Vestry.

c.        Old School
Jane, the Cheviot Youth administrator, has reported a small ground level external water leak near the front door, apparently coming from inside. Inspection of the stairwell and the adjacent basement shows no obvious source.

d.        Flat                                                   
(See 4.b)

5.3      Diocesan Carbon Neutral Group
The Group is looking for a contact name in each Church. Publicity in the weekly mailout has not so far elicited a response at St. John’s.

6         Declarations of interest
None

7         Other business

a.        Aberlour has written to thank us for our £200 donation, which will help towards wheelchair-friendly landscaping at the St. Boswells respite care centre.

b.        The Diocesan Mission advisor has asked churches to open for prayer at times from 26 May to 5 June, and we will ask for volunteer church-sitters for one or two days in the next pew sheet.

c.        Lesley Thomson is willing to act again as Independent Examiner for our 2021-22 accounts but warns that she will be on holiday in November and the timing will be tight before our AGM in December. Vestry agreed to engage her services again.

d.        Vestry agreed it will be good to re-open St. John’s during daylight hours, and Jeremy Portch has offered to lock and unlock, but the sacristans need to be consulted about security, brassware, etc.   

8         Date of next meeting
21 June 2022

Appendix

^top


Minutes of Vestry meeting on Tuesday 15 March 2022, 7.00 pm in the Church

A.           Opening Prayer
             
Christine McLachlan      

B.           Apologies
              Rev. Canon Bob King, Rev. Grace Redpath, Rev. Canon Susan Macdonald, Graham Watt.

C.        Zoom participants
Christine McLachlan (in the chair), Ruth Johnson, Paul Beck (Secretary), Adam Bolam-Peel, Patrick Copsey, Gerard Henry, John Ogilvie and Edward Martin.

D.       Minutes of 15 February meeting
Accepted as a true record – proposed by Patrick, seconded by John.

1            Safeguarding

1.1      PVG
Cathy Lees, PVG coordinator, has enquired about Isobel Portch’s safeguarding statement. It is being re-issued.  

1.2      Health and Safety
Nothing to report.

1.3      Data Protection
One new member, William Horton, has been added to the membership list.  

2         Worship and faith formation

2.1      Covid precautions and adaptations
Guidance from the SEC has not changed since 28 January, but new guidance is expected soon in reaction to the easing of restrictions by the Scottish Government.

2.2      Services
(a) At a further meeting between Susan, Paul and Rev. Stewart McPherson (Parish Church), it was decided to cancel the planned joint “sunrise” service at the band stand on Easter Day. Holy Week and Easter services will now be advertised in the Jed Eye and in our respective service sheets.

(b) For the 1.30 pm Good Friday meditation, we will need to borrow or hire a projector. Or we may be able to use some of the Covid Recovery grant to buy one if its conditions allow that.

(c)  CCLI copyright licences are due to be renewed on 31 March at a cost of £191.02. Although we did not take all four licences out at the same time, they are now synchronised and will all expire at the end of March 2023. Vestry agreed to renew them.
Action: Paul to renew.

(d) The new service rota started 13 March.

3         Outreach and ministry

3.1      Pastoral care
Those involved – Susan, Paul, Patrick, Liz Kiteley and Isobel Portch – met on 9 March to review the role description for pastoral visitors and look at good practice advice. They went through the new list of church members to identify who might need a call soon.

3.2      Jubilee Equestrian eventFriday 3 June
The funding application to the Platinum Jubilee Fund has been made and is being processed by Scottish Borders Council. Edward reports that the event will be possible in reduced form even without funding support, as the performers are not charging anything. Ruth reports that Lanton Village Hall has also offered to help.

3.3      Jubilee service Sunday 5 June
Rev. Stewart McPherson has responded to the Community Council about the planned event. St. John’s will take part, but it is not yet clear in what capacity.

4         Leadership and governance

4.1      Revised Constitution
Paul and Graham have distributed copies of the revised Constitution. The first EGM to adopt the new draft will be after the service on 20 March. After vetting by the Diocesan Registrar it will come back to a confirmatory EGM and then go to Bishop John for signing.

4.3      Annual reports
The annual OSCR return is complete, with a lot of help this year from Liz Kiteley.

4.4      Jobs (see appendix) Patrick reports that Margaret Taylor has agreed to be the Verger for weddings and funerals. She may also have suggestions about how to organise opening and closing the church every day, which we aim to re-start if possible.
Action: Patrick to enquire.

4.5      Planning for the future

a.        Recruitment
Paul’s draft of the 2022 Profile is out for comment, and the first half of the financial viability assessment is complete. Bob King will host a meeting at Kelso Rectory on 24 March at 4.00 pm to tackle the second half – that is, the forward projection.

b.        Church accessibility work
John reports that he is to meet Will Martin on Friday 18 March to investigate the options for routing a water supply. SBC Planning Department remains closed to informal enquiries until the end of March. John and Gerard have arranged to visit St. John’s, Selkirk on 23 March at 10.30 to look at the recent work on their church interior.

5            Stewardship

5.1      Financials

a.        Reports
The end of February balance is £70692 (£50692 excluding bequests and one-off Covid recovery grant). The monthly rent for the Old School back to the start of the lease in October 2021 all arrived at once in February. We will need to have correct net figures for all three rental income sources for the financial viability assessment.

b.        RBS account
No further progress to report on the Community Account enquiries.

5.2      Buildings

a.        Church
One further key to the front door has been handed in.

c.        Rectory
We need a new Gas safety certificate. John will ask the agents to arrange this.

d.       Old School
John and Paul met the administrator from Cheviot Youth to discuss items that they need to clear from the Old School, and are due to meet again on 21 March to help relocate the St. John’s records we have agreed to keep there. There is a spare Yamaha Clavinova piano (quite elderly, but in working order) that needs a home.

e.        Flat
Our tenant’s plans beyond May are unknown.  

6         Declarations of interest
None

7         Other business

7.1      Simon and Grace Stretton-Downes
Simon and Grace have accepted our invitation to speak about their work at the service on 24 April. We can possibly offer slightly enhanced after-service refreshments, but we no longer have anywhere to offer them a lunch as a group. Individual Vestry members might consider doing so personally.
Action: Paul to circulate the correspondence with them.

7.2      St. Cuthbert’s Way
In between the February and March meetings, Vestry members agreed by email to pay a proportion of the cost of printing the pilgrimage leaflets. They are now available and Paul will collect our share of them – some to go to the Tourist Information Centre, and (depending on what St. John’s can arrange for opening the church) some to keep for our casual visitors.

7.3      Website
The Diocese has brought in the Edinburgh-based digital consultancy cooperative ‘Form and Function’ to sort out the group web hosting arrangement of which St. John’s is a member, and our site is now secure (https).

7.4      Fundraising
We discussed a number of possibilities for fundraising instead of the annual sale at the Legion, which Covid has prevented.
Action: Vestry members to keep alert for news of local car boot sales.  

8         Date of next meeting
19 April 2022

APPENDIX: Duties undertaken by Church members 2022

Liz Kiteley
Church Cleaning
Home Communion
Milk Bottle Top Collection

Judith Coulson 
Church Cleaning

Paul Beck               
Vestry Secretary
Intercessions
Facebook
YouTube
Website Maintenance
Music Copyright licensing and reporting
Choir

Ann Beck                         
Church Cleaning                                  
Welcome desk

Joan Bennett         
Sacristan Duties
Verger (Wednesdays)

Cathy Lees                      
Choir
PVG co-ordinator
Welcome Desk

Kathleen Turnbull 
Welcome Desk
Church Cleaning

Christine McLachlan
Vestry member
Lesson Readings
Choir
Flower Arranging
Write Church Cheques

John Ogilvie                    
Buildings and Maintenance
Insurances and Utilities
Property Management
Lesson readings
Vestry member

Gerard Henry        
Vestry member
Lesson readings

Sally Henry                      
Flower Arranging
Church Cleaning

Graham Watt        
Vestry Chair
Storage of Minutes
Financial Reports
AGM arrangements and Reports Choir
Welcome Desk

Carol Watt                      
Church Cleaning
Sacristan Duties
Flower Arranging
Provide Coffee after Church

Margaret Taylor    
Programming Church heating
Chalice Bearer
Sacristan Duties
Verger (Wednesdays)
Verger (Weddings and Funerals)
Updating In Memoriam Book

Isobel Portch         
Organist
Selecting Hymns
Pastoral Care
Intercessions

Jeremy Portch       
Reading Lessons
Providing Coffee after Church

Susan MacDonald 
Taking Church Services
Rotas
Intercessions
Home visiting co-ordinator

(vacant)                            Daily opening and closing of the Church

Adam Bolam-Peel 
Vestry member
Intercessions
Health & Safety                                     
Assists with Property

Patrick Copsey      
Vestry member
Home Communion
Cash deposits to Bank

Ruth Johnson        
Vestry member

Edward Martin      
Vestry member

^top


Zoom Vestry meeting Tuesday 15 February 2022, 7.00 pm

A.           Opening Prayer
             
Rev. Canon Bob King

B.           Apologies
              Rev. Grace Redpath, Rev. Canon Susan Macdonald

C.        Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair), Paul Beck (Secretary), John Ogilvie (Buildings Convenor), Christine McLachlan, Patrick Copsey, Adam Bolam-Peel, Ruth Johnson, Gerard Henry, Edward Martin, Bob King.

D.       Minutes of 18 January meeting
Accepted as an accurate account – proposed by John, seconded by Christine.

1            Safeguarding

1.1      PVG
Cathy Lees (PVG Co-ordinator) has been on a safeguarding training course (on Zoom). Isobel’s statement from Disclosure Scotland is still awaited, and will need to be followed up.
Action: Paul to ask Cathy to investigate progress.

1.2      Health and Safety
Nothing to report at this stage.

1.3      Data Protection
The new list drawn from the recent GDPR exercise by Susan and Liz has one or two unexpected absentees still to follow up. Then we will create (1) a full list for administrative and pastoral use and (2) an edited contact list that anyone can ask for, which excludes those who said they didn’t want their details made public.

2         Worship and faith formation

2.1      Covid precautions and adaptations
No change since 28 January, though restrictions are expected to gradually wind down. For the present, we will keep giving cautionary reminders and noting who attends each service.

2.2      Services
Susan and Paul are planning ahead for Lent, Holy Week and Easter in cooperation with Rev. Stewart McPherson at the Parish Church:

– Joint Lent Course via Zoom on five Tuesday evenings at 7.00 pm from 8 March;
– Maundy Thursday 7.00 pm liturgy with Communion at St. John’s;
– Walk of Witness 10.30 am on Good Friday, ending at the Parish Church (or Abbey Bridge café);
– ‘Shadow of the Cross’ meditation 1.30 on Good Friday in St. John’s, followed by GF liturgy;
– Reflections service 7.00 pm on Good Friday in the Parish Church;
– Sunrise Service at the Bandstand on Easter Sunday (time tbc);

NB: Each church will run its own usual services on Palm Sunday and Easter Day.

2.3      Streaming/Recording
The audio quality of livestreamed services has been improved by taking the sound output from the church PA system to a smartphone via a 20-meter cable and an attenuating adaptor, bypassing the phone’s own microphones. The cost of this was about £25.

3         Outreach and ministry

3.1      Pastoral care
Susan has organised a meeting of everyone involved in pastoral care on Wednesday 9 March at 11.30 am in Ancrum.

4         Leadership and governance

4.1      Vestry training
Graham, Paul and John attended a Zoom training course for Vestry members, including a detailed presentation on the role of the Vestry under charity law. Vestries are encouraged to think about succession planning and mission planning, and to develop a policy on how much money to have in reserve.

4.2      Revised Constitution
Paul has drafted an updated version of St. John’s Constitution, incorporating elements of the SEC Model Constitution that were absent from our 2010 version, reflecting legislative changes and making explicit reference to charitable aims and the trustee status of Vestry members. In discussion, it was pointed out that we now also need to include a provision to allow virtual meetings. Subject to that addition, Vestry unanimously approved the new version. It must now be approved by a brief special meeting of the Congregation, with copies circulated in advance, then sent to the Bishop for approval. Finally, copies must be lodged with OSCR and with the Diocesan Registrar.
Action: Paul to finish drafting; Graham to plan distribution; Bob to chair a special meeting after his next Sunday morning service with us.

4.3      Annual reports
The Annual forms and Financial schedule are now complete and submitted to the Diocesan Office. The annual OSCR return needs to be made before June. Liz Kiteley has offered to advise us on the latter.

4.4      Jobs
Vestry thanked Patrick for his work on the list of tasks. Two remain unfilled, but a name has been suggested for Verger duties at weddings and funerals. The final list will be publicised to the congregation.
Action: Patrick to pursue the suggested candidate.

4.5      Planning for the future

(a) Paul: The Recruitment subcommittee has begun to consider two of Vestry’s publications from the last interregnum to see whether the format can be re-used, namely, the 2016 Profile and the 2016 financial viability assessment.

(b) John: The Buildings subcommittee has received the architect’s thoughts on the interior changes and the provision of a toilet, and has been advised by Historic Scotland to approach Planning at SBC before getting detailed costs.

5            Stewardship

5.1      Financials

a.        Reports
The balance at the end of January was £66722 (£46722 when ‘ringfenced’ money from bequests is excluded). Bob suggested we need to be aware of the danger of self-imposed restriction on spending money left to us.

b.        RBS account
Christine has found there is a lack of personal advice available about the Community Account. It is free of banking charges for organisations with less that £100,000 turnover. One of the named office-bearers would have to be an existing RBS customer.
Action: Graham and John to investigate online application and access to more information.

5.2      Buildings

a.        Charitable exemption
John has applied for exemption from water and drainage charges for the Church. Cheviot Youth has been advised it must make its own application in respect of the Old School.

b.        Church
Gerard now has a list of key-holder names that looks suspiciously short. He will look at the new contact list (see item 1.3) and approach others who he thinks may have retained a key with no current need for one. We agreed that the key register should be kept as short as is practicable.

c.        Rectory
The gas boiler needs its annual service.

d.        Old School
Edwin Thompson only recently set up the payment mechanism for rent and pro-rata insurance. Consequently, there is a backlog of about £3,800 – this should appear in the February balance. Cheviot Youth is anxious to dispose of contents not relevant to their operation, notably crockery sets and other catering equipment. John will consult St. John’s members who were involved in the Old School lunches, etc, before agreeing. We could possibly store a certain amount of this in the Crypt in readiness for the redevelopment of the open area at the back of the Church.

6         Declarations of interest
None

7         Other business

7.1      Jubilee Equestrian eventFriday 3 June
      Sophie from Les Amis will apply to the Platinum Jubilee Fund to cover the expenses that she will incur in running the event. The Fund application asks for a nominated person from the partner organisation (Patrick volunteered to be that person) and for documents in respect of St. John’s constitution.
Action: Paul to supply the necessary information.

7.2      Jubilee service – Sunday 5 June
The Community Council has booked Jedburgh Abbey for an outdoor civic service at 11.30 on 5 June and invites participation by all local churches. We agree it would be good to supply a dog-collar, but that day will already be busy for all the clergy we know.
Action: Paul and Susan to discuss with Stewart McPherson (on the assumption that the Parish Church is likely to take the lead).

7.3      Simon and Grace Stretton-Downes – Sunday 24 April
The Stretton-Downes will be back in the UK after Easter and have asked if they could visit St. John’s to update us on their work with SIM in Liberia on Sunday 24 April. We agreed, and Bob said he is happy to give them time during the service, which he will be leading. Other arrangements, e.g. for lunch, to be made later.
Action: Paul to convey our invitation.

8         Date of next meeting
15 March 2022

top^

Zoom Vestry meeting Tuesday 18 January 2022, 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
Rev. Grace Redpath

B.   Apologies
None

C.   Zoom participants
Graham Watt (Chair), Paul Beck (Secretary), John Ogilvie (Buildings Convenor), Christine McLachlan, Patrick Copsey, Adam Bolam-Peel, Ruth Johnson, Gerard Henry, Edward Martin, Rev. Canon Susan Macdonald, Rev. Grace Redpath, Rev. Canon Bob King.

D.   Minutes of 21 December meeting
Subject to correcting the balance figure in item 5.1.a to read £53,564, the minutes were accepted as an accurate account of the meeting – proposed by John, seconded by Christine.

1 Safeguarding

1.1  PVG
Only one of the new Disclosure Scotland statements is still outstanding.

1.2  Health and Safety
Nothing to report at this stage.

1.3  Data Protection
48 households
(68 individual names) are now listed in response to the 63 GDPR consent forms that were sent out. Two forms were submitted by people not on the mailing list. Vestry expressed its thanks to Liz Kiteley for sending the forms and collating the responses.

2 Worship and faith formation

2.1 Covid precautions and adaptations
In view of changes to guidance expected from Monday 24 January, we passed over this question.

2.2  Services

a.  The Christmas services went well in the constrained circumstances of Covid precautions and bookings, with 12 attending on Christmas Eve, 36 on Christmas Day and 11 on Boxing Day (John, Apostle and Evangelist).

b.  Services for Holy Week and Easter will be on the next Agenda.

c.  A Lent Course over 3 or 4 weeks is in the early planning stages by Susan and Paul.

2.3 Streaming/Recording
We agreed that it is good to offer services online as part of our commitment to accessibility. In practice, streaming sometimes works well and sometimes doesn’t. We could justify spending some of the £2000 Recovery Fund grant on improved equipment if that would help. Paul will research the possibilities.

3  Outreach and ministry

3.1  Pastoral care
We agreed to restart home visiting and communion, with appropriate precautions, as soon as possible. When the final Disclosure statement is received, the group will meet to discuss how to use the St. John’s role description and the SEC Good practice card.
Action: Susan to convene a meeting.

4  Leadership and governance

4.1  Annual reports
Two of the reports have now been submitted. The Diocesan Schedule is still in progress.
Action: Graham and John to pursue building valuations and a nominated architect. Graham to submit the Diocesan Schedule.

4.2  Jobs
Patrick reported that the jobs displayed and advertised seem to have been successfully allocated.
Action: Patrick to circulate a list to Vestry members.

4.3  Planning for the future
We agreed to form subcommittees for detailed discussion of the two main aspects of our future planning:

a.  Paul, Christine and Ruth (with input from Susan) will discuss the information that needs to be included in the Profiles before we can start considering recruitment.

b.  John, Adam, Patrick and Gerard (with input from Bob) will discuss the work planned for the interior of the Church.
Action: Paul and John to organise the respective subcommittees.

5  Stewardship

5.1  Financials

a.  Reports
The gross balance stood at £63,241 at the end of December. Graham will discuss with Sue Bennet how the ringfenced funding (now totalling £19,000 in bequests) will be shown in each monthly column to produce a clear net figure.

We noted that the amount shown for property income is misleading, as it only shows the rent for 46 Castlegate – see 5.2.c below.

b.  RBS account
Christine reports that local RBS branches are not apparently able to give advice over the counter on alternatives to our current account. Following discussion with the treasurer at St. Andrews, she believes our best option may be a “Community Account”, which is designed for non-profit organisations.
Action: Christine to get more information online and talk to Sue Bennet about the best option.

c.  Aberlour
£100 was raised from the Advent appeal. At his suggestion, we agreed to add a further £100 on Ralph Nagel’s behalf as an alternative to the hamper we have traditionally given him as a “thank you” for his churchyard maintenance.
Action: Cheque for £200 to be sent to Aberlour Options (Borders).

d.  Subscription
Paul has renewed the Office 365 subscription (‘Individual’ rather than ‘Family’) for another year.

5.2 Buildings

a. Church
John has submitted a Canon 35 application in respect of the additional Rector’s Board. As regards the provision of toilet facilities, we agreed that a Portaloo is the best option as a temporary measure.

Meanwhile, the kitchen and toilet extension works carried out some years ago at St. Andrew’s, Kelso have been inspected and admired – and probably ruled out for St. John’s on the grounds of cost. However, John will invite the architect, David Willis, back to extend his remit to look at more ambitious options.

b.  Rectory
Nothing to report at present.

c.  Old School
John reported that Simon Sanderson from Edwin Thompson has not yet set up the monthly rent payments from Cheviot Youth, but will do so as soon as possible. John estimates that as much as £3000 – made up of deposit, rent, and insurance contribution – is not yet reflected in our income figures.

d.  Flat
Sally Eathorne has indicated that she would like to extend her tenancy, initially for three months, and offers to pay the rent in advance. We agreed to accept this proposal.

6  Declarations of interest
None

7  Other business
To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Edward proposed an afternoon of equine entertainment by Les Amis D’Onnos at the Lanton Hill arena on Friday 3rd June, under the umbrella of St. John’s Church. Vestry enthusiastically agreed.
Action: Edward to estimate catering and other expenses and apply to the Platinum Jubilee Fund.

8 Date of next meeting: 15 February 2022

^top

Zoom Vestry meeting Tuesday 21 December 2021, 7.00 pm

A. Opening Prayer
Bob King

B. Apologies
Patrick Copsey, Adam Bolam-Peel, Grace Redpath, Susan Macdonald.

C. Zoom participants
Bob King (Host), Graham Watt (Chair), Paul Beck (Secretary), Christine McLachlan, John Ogilvie, Ruth Johnson, Gerard Henry, Edward Martin.

D. Minutes of 16 November meeting
Accepted as  true record: proposed by Christine, seconded by John.

1 Safeguarding

1.1  PVG
Paul’s new statement has arrived from Disclosure Scotland; Liz Kiteley’s and Isobel Portch’s are awaited.

1.2  Health and Safety
[Carried forward to the next agenda in view of Adam’s absence].

1.3  Data Protection
The deadline for inclusion in the new database has been extended as a number of the forms have not been correctly completed.

2  Worship and faith formation

2.1  Covid restrictions and adaptations
We were notified recently that, because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the recommended precautions for public worship are to become stricter. However, apart from the increase to 2-metre distancing for leaders and singers while they are unmasked, we already comply. We agreed that we do not have the space or facilities to offer after-service refreshments safely under the current recommendations, and will suspend them until further notice.

2.2  Services
In expectation of some extra attendance at Christmas, clearer signs and reminders are in preparation. We had hoped not to introduce booking, but Paul and Susan have concluded that for the 24th and 25th it will be safer to put a booking system in place and then find it was actually unnecessary than the other way round. Invitations have gone out by letter and email, and names and numbers can be given by email or by leaving a voicemail message. 

2.3  Advent course
Susan led two of the Advent sessions “Who is Jesus?” and they were much appreciated. The third was cancelled when we heard of the death of Fiona Bolam-Peel, who had been participating.

3  Outreach and ministry

3.1  Pastoral care
We agreed, in Susan’s absence, with her proposal to suspend routine home communion for the time being because of the increase in Covid-19 cases. Acknowledging that this might leave some housebound members of the congregation more isolated, Bob reminded us that the SEC provides online worship that we should direct people to given that we are not always able to livestream our own services.
Action: Paul to include links in emails and on the website.

4  Leadership and governance

4.1 Vestry – offices, roles, new members

a.  On behalf of Vestry, Graham welcomed our three new members. Charity trustee declaration forms will be sent to them.

b.  John offered to become the Property Convenor (the role he has, in effect, been fulfilling) – to include oversight of utilities and other bills that are currently Graham’s responsibility.

c.  With Graham as Chair, Paul as Secretary, John as Property Convenor and Cathy Lees (not on Vestry) as PVG officer, we remain without a Treasurer and without representation at Area Council and Synod.

4.2 Annual reports
Paul has submitted the Congregational statistics to the Diocesan Office, and expressed his thanks to Susan for gathering them. We still need to submit PVG information and Vestry offices, with an official deadline of the end of the year.

4.3  Carried over from 2020-21

a.  Rota organisation for clergy cover and for worship duties
Susan has offered to take over this task from Paul when the current rotas expire.

b.  Verger for weddings and funerals
Heather McLeish is interested in helping, subject to an explanation of what is needed. Bob asks that he or Susan be involved in any discussions.

c.  Charitable exemption from water and drainage charges
We need to re-apply annually in March, and Liz Kiteley has carried this out for us in the past. This would seem naturally fall to the Property Convenor in the absence of a Treasurer. Graham has the information relating to the application we will need to make for 2022-23.
Action: John to seek guidance from Liz.

d.  Planning for the future
The AGM gave us permission to proceed with the future plans that arose in outline from the congregational meeting in September. The immediate need is to construct a detailed financial case for recruitment. Once we are confident of that, we need to consider how to present St. John’s in an updated profile and how to describe what we want from any appointee. Bob suggested we look at current examples of profiles and advertisements on the SEC website, some of which include a video as well as a written profile.

5  Stewardship

5.1 Financials

a.  Reports
We received the end of November month-on-month report from Sue Bennett. The net balance was £53564. Bob noted that St. John’s now holds £19000 in bequests, which Vestry rightly does not regard as suitable for routine running costs: he advised that we should be careful to describe this as “ringfenced” rather than as “restricted” – as the latter has a specific legal significance.

b.  RBS account
Christine will contact the Kelso treasurer, Andrew Hunter, to assess the advantages and the costs of a Business Account with RBS.

c.  Aberlour fundraising during Advent
Action: Paul to confirm correct local recipient; Patrick to pay in to St. John’s account.

5.2 Buildings

a.  Accessibility
John and Bob reported back on a site meeting with David Willis, one of two architects who have been recommended to us. He has prepared for Vestry discussion illustrative drawings of (i) a stepless slope formed of stone paving or resin-bonded gravel from the public footpath to the inner step of the porch, and (ii) an extended open area with kitchen facilities at the back of the church. The question of toilets with disabled access is being considered separately, but the routing of water and electricity to them may be a factor to consider in the planning of the area at the back of the church.

Vestry agreed unanimously to proceed with the accessibility work and the reorganisation of the back of the church, subject to satisfactory designs and funding, on a motion proposed by John and seconded by Graham.
Action: David Willis’s drawings to be circulated to Vestry.
     

b.  Rector’s Board
John has received a quotation for a new rectangular board below the existing board and matching its style and finish. It is from Peter Tucker, a woodworker recommended by the Diocesan Office. John will discuss with the Diocesan Administrator, Simon Filsell, what the Canon 35 approval process for this work would entail. Bob reminded us that approval will be conditional on the congregation having been informed and consulted. 
Action: Paul to ensure that suitable mention is given in notices and/or on the pew sheet.

c.  Storage
Now we do not have unrestrained access to the Old School (except for a stationery cupboard and filing cabinet), storage of records, equipment, occasional furniture, etc is an issue. The Crypt is not suitable for things likely to be damaged by excess humidity, and is not safely accessible for putting things in and out of storage. We agreed to plan for storage within the reorganisation of the west end of the Church.

d.  Church door key register
Gerard offered to start work on the key register.

e.  Vestry cupboards
Material used by the flower arrangers, which was in a very high cupboard in the Vestry and not safely accessible, has now been moved.

f.  Scottish Borders Council
Paul has not yet received a reply to his request to the Council for its proposal to deal with the disputed boundary between the Old School playground and the former Grammar School site that is earmarked for disposal.
Action: Paul to circulate background information to our new members.  

g.  Rectory, Old School, Flat
There was nothing specific to report, except that Sally Eathorne might seek to extend her tenancy beyond six months. Cheviot Youth continues to reorganise the interior of the Old School. Ruth asked if there are tables in the Old School that we could “reclaim” for use at the back of the Church when the West end is opened up, but we concluded that the Old School contents are at Cheviot Youth’s disposal during its tenancy and we cannot reasonably reserve items unless we have somewhere else to store them. (item 5.2.c above refers).

6  Declarations of interest
None

7  Other business

7.1  Christmas tree and Grass cutting
Gerard will write to the Hon. Moira Campbell to thank her for the gift of the tree, and to Ralph Nagel to thank him for maintaining the churchyard grass. We agreed again to offer him a hamper in appreciation, with the option of making a charitable donation on his behalf instead.

7.2 Microsoft subscription
St. John’s annual subscription for Office 365 and remote OneDrive storage expires in January. Vestry agreed that Paul should renew it and reclaim the cost. The ‘Family’ subscription is unnecessary in our present circumstances and it will be downgraded to ‘Personal’ to save money.

8 Date of next meeting:
18 January 2022

^top