Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St. Margaret’s, Ilkley, held at 7.30pm on Thursday 22th July 2021 in the Parish Hall  


Helen Pilling in the Chair. The Meeting began in prayer.

  1. Present: R Beeson,  H Buswell, C Cheater, C Gibson, G Hartley, J McGhee, H Pilling, V Smith, A Stretton, T Williams


Apologies: C Beaumont, B Harrison, D Shaw, R Smeaton, J Smith, M Still, P Tooke, T Warnes, B Whittaker, S Williams, A Wilson

Helen Pilling explained that the high number of apologies was partially explained by the decision not to provide a Zoom facility, which had proved unsatisfactory at the previous meeting.

2.    Minutes of the last meeting

David Shaw had emailed a request made to him by a parishioner for clarification of paragraph 10.ii on the Ministry of Women. Helen Pilling had replied to him that the minutes reflected what was said at the meeting; and in further discussion several people emphasised that St Margaret’s had already taken the decision to accept women priests by the appointment process chosen, but that it was for Fr Alex to decide how and when to implement it. PCC members were strongly encouraged to field any similar enquiries with this answer.

Gwyneth Hartley proposed the approval of the minutes; seconded by Val Smith, and agreed nem. con.

3.    Consideration of Covid-19 restrictions

While some concerns were expressed about members of the congregation remembering to take responsibility for social distancing and singing behind masks if our present restrictions during services were to be relaxed, the Wardens and Stewards will ask people on entry to continue to leave a two seat space.  With specific reference to the gradual reintroduction of seating previously removed, Alison Stretton explained that it was desirable to introduce these changes in time to test them and make decisions about numbers etc. at Fr Alex’s Licensing Service on 5th September and it was agreed to wait until later in August to do so.  The proposals on the attached document, “Recommendations for Step 4 COVID Guidelines” were agreed, nem. con. Proposed: Catherine Cheater. Seconded: John McGhee.

4.    Ratification of the endorsement of the Lay Readers

Catherine Gibson explained that Readers are now being known as “Licensed Lay Ministers” (LLMs). All parochial and deanery Licences and Permissions to Officiate are due to expire this autumn, and their endorsement by PCCs is required before 31st August. The LLMs (Readers) sought the PCC's support of the renewal of their Licence (Catherine Beaumont) and Permission to Officiate (Catherine Gibson and Nadine Wharton). If given, this endorsement would be indicated by a tick following the statement, "The PCC has been consulted and continues their support" on a nomination form submitted by the Area Dean (in lieu of an incumbent). Proposed: Catherine Cheater. Seconded: Helen Buswell. Agreed nem. con.

The meeting closed with the Grace at 8.25pm   

Following the nationwide relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions an Extraordinary PCC Meeting was held on 27th July to discuss the impact on our procedures in church.

Recommendations for Step 4 COVID Guidelines

These are the recommendations for consideration and discussion by the PCC: Attending 10.45am Parish Mass:

There will no longer be the requirement to book in advance and there will no seating plan. We will continue to display the QR check in code for people to use. (We are no longer required to keep records for Track and Trace).

Worshippers are asked not to attend church if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms or feel unwell in any way.

As members of the congregation enter church the helpers will ask if assistance is required to find a seat.

Helpers will be available around the church and will help with social distancing as appropriate.

People will be requested to respect others, maintain distance, and use the whole church, including the pews.

Whilst masks are no longer a legal requirement, we will strongly encourage that they are worn, particularly when moving around the Church and receiving communion.

All helpers will wear masks.

We will continue to encourage the congregation to pass the Peace as we have been doing so to date.

Encourage wearing of masks in all vestry areas and communal areas of the hall such as the toilets, corridors and stairs.

Seating will initially remain as it is but after a few weeks we will gradually reintroduce more chairs into the nave. Communion:

Priest will be asked to wear a mask and sanitise hands before preparing communion table and administering communion.

This will continue as currently: host only, at the chancel step to be consumed back at your seat. It will be strongly encouraged that masks are to be worn. Choir:

The choir numbers increase to up to 12 singers who should remain masked unless singing.

Pre-service choir rehearsals to continue to take place in the choir stalls.

Friday evening senior choir rehearsals to resume in the nave at the end of August. Communal Singing:

Reintroduction of sung responses and two hymns (offertory and communion hymns; organ only for processional or recessional). The wearing of masks to be encouraged for the singing.

Hymn books will be reintroduced in the backs of chairs – like the orders of service, they are only used by one person and then left until the following week.

Choral Evensong: This will resume on 12th September.

The Standing Committee’s view is that no further major changes should be made before Father Alex arrives, although tweaks may be necessary.