Vestry minutes 2023-2024

Minutes of meetings since the December 2023 AGM.
Minutes are added only after they have been approved (and, if necessary, amended) at the following meeting.

20 December 2023 | 24 January 2024

Previous year:
2022 – 2023 minutes

MINUTES – Wednesday 20th Dec. 2023 in the Old School

A.       Opening Prayer

B.       Apologies
Ruth Johnson

C.        Participants
Revd. Andi Hofbauer (Chair), Adam Bolam-Peel, Gerard Henry, Steve McLachlan, Edward Martin, John Ogilvie (Buildings Convenor), Paul Beck

D.       Minutes of meeting Tuesday 21st November 2023.
The minutes of the meeting of 21st November were accepted as a true record (proposed by John, seconded by Gerard).

Members agreed to concentrate mainly on essential post-AGM business and reports back, with weightier matters to be held over for the January meeting.

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     Business arising from minutes, correspondence, etc
We noted that the Zoom Advent Study Group took place very successfully on Tuesday 19th December, though with small numbers.

2.2     Services
We agreed to move St. John’s midweek services back to Thursday from the beginning of 2024.

We celebrated the success of the Collation service at Hawick and the joint Eucharist at Jedburgh the following Sunday, and agreed to discuss holding further joint services – perhaps on 5th Sundays.

3         Outreach and ministry

3.1     Business arising from minutes, correspondence, etc

3.2     Pastoral care
We noted with great sadness the recent death of Revd. Richard Pedersen.

4         Leadership and governance

4.1     Business arising from minutes, correspondence, etc

4.2     Annual returns
Annual reporting to the Diocese is complete (Diocesan Finance Schedule, Congregational statistics – thanks to Susan Macdonald for help in gathering the latter) and following the adoption of the Accounts at the AGM, these will be uploaded to OSCR. The Diocesan Schedules (to record personnel changes) have not yet been sent out.

4.2     Vestry membership and functions
We accepted with great regret Ruth Johnson’s resignation from Vestry on health grounds and thanked her for her participation.

Christine McLachlan decided not to stand again for Vestry at the AGM in view of family responsibilities. We thanked her for many years of service in various capacities. 

There being no candidate for the post of Secretary, we agreed to co-opt Paul Beck as Administrator (proposed Edward, seconded Steve). The task of taking minutes would be rotated amongst any willing members (Adam for the January meeting). Edward proposed a vote of thanks to Paul for his work during the vacancy.

Having attended the Diocesan Vestry training day in Edinburgh in September 2023, Paul recommended that members attend the local session being offered in March 2024. He said that the September meeting had raised interesting issues about trustee liability, indemnity insurance and SCIO status, all of which deserved further consideration.

Gerard questioned whether Vestry needs to meet every month.

5            Stewardship

5.1     Business arising from minutes, correspondence, etc

5.2     Financials

a.        Reports
The bank balance at the end of November was £89328 (down from £98241 at the end of October). Paul noted that two known receipts were yet to appear – the monthly support payments from the Diocese and the 50% grant from the Provincial Buildings Committee towards the Rectory refurbishment.

b.       Stipend and Pension contributions
Each charge has now paid separately into the SEC Pension Scheme for the part-month of December and set up monthly S/O payments from January onwards. The Diocesan Treasurer has agreed to bill us for the actual Payroll cost for December and to advise the S/O amounts for January onwards when the accountants’ new charges are known.

c.        Shared expenses
Sue Bennett – who is now keeping the books for both Jedburgh and Hawick – will write to each Vestry to outline the practical issues to be decided about claims and reimbursement. Andi, Paul and Sue Crozier will discuss the options.

d.       Advent appeal
As in previous years, we agreed to divide the Carol Service retiring collection between Church and Rotary charities, and to add our 50% to the Advent Appeal.

Ralph Nagle has asked us to donate £100 on his behalf to our chosen charities instead of paying or gifting for his churchyard maintenance – we agreed to add this amount to the Advent Appeal. Andi will write to thank him for the work he does.

5.2     Buildings

a.        Church
Johnhas accepted estimates from GutterPro (recommended to us by Bob King) for gutter inspection and clearing, and for cleaning the parts of the church interior we cannot safely reach.

b.        Rectory
There is decorating work still to be completed. Minor electrical repairs are needed.

c.        Old School
GutterPro will inspect and clear the gutters. John has reminded Cheviot Youth about the need for low level background heating to avoid another water pipe burst.  

d.        Flat
Information about temporary secondary glazing has been passed to our tenant.  

6         Declarations of interest

7         Other business

7.1     Signing
Andi signed a copy of St. John’s current Constitution. In the absence of a Vestry Chair, we nominated Gerard (proposed Paul, seconded, John) to countersign the copy and also to sign the Hawick-Jedburgh MOU. Both documents will be returned to Bishop John.

7.2     Accessibility
We agreed to follow up the planned accessibility works with urgency in 2024.

7.3     Thanks
Andi will make contact with all the Borders clergy who have taken services during the vacancy.

8         Date of next meetings
Wednesday 24th January.