Minutes of a Meeting of the Parochial Church Council of St. Margaret’s, Ilkley, held at 7.45pm on Tuesday 28th September 2021 in the Church  

Helen Pilling in the Chair. Fr Alex opened the Meeting with prayer.


  1. Present: R Beeson, H Buswell, C Cheater, Fr A Crawford, C Gibson, G Hartley, J McGhee, H Pilling, C Ramage, D Shaw, R Smeaton, V Smith, M Still, A Stretton, P Tooke, T Warnes, S Williams, T Williams, A Wilson


Apologies: C Beaumont, B Harrison, J Smith, B Whittaker


2.    Minutes of the last meeting

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


3.    Matters arising

       There were none that did not appear on the Agenda.


4.    Welcome and introductions to Fr Alex

       Fr Alex invited the members each to introduce themselves briefly and mention one thing that they valued about St Margaret’s.


5.    Safeguarding

 i) Safeguarding Action Plan - Gwyneth Hartley asked why the report referred to “Action Required” for the insurance for a number of activities.  Helen Pilling said she would ask Catherine Beaumont for clarification.

 ii) Safer Recruitment – Catherine Beaumont intends to agree a job description with the leader of each activity: she is currently talking to Janet Kish about Sunday School and Catherine Cheater about Social Time. The job description need be only a couple of paragraphs, and the “interview” could be no more than an informal chat.

 iii) Outstanding Safeguarding Action - Those PCC members still needing to complete the Basic Safeguarding Awareness training were asked to do so before the next PCC meeting (16th November).

 iv) DBS Checks and Confidential Declaration Forms

 It was agreed that these should be renewed annually.


6.    Wardens’ items

 i) Sunday School and Coffee after services - The teachers and helpers are keen to re-start Sunday School from 10th October, if there is a demand for it. Although the Main Hall is better ventilated, they would prefer to use the Meeting Room, as being more manageable. Helen Pilling proposed that we should thank them for their offer and it was agreed that they should go ahead.

The Harvest Lunch had been very successful. Helen Buswell appealed for volunteers for the Coffee Rota: some were immediately forthcoming from PCC members.


ii) Nadine Wharton – Reader - Nadine was not seeking renewal of her Permission to Officiate. She will continue to be a Eucharistic Minister, and will be known as a “Reader Emeritus”.


7.    Fr Alex’s items

 i) Midweek Masses and Coffee & Cake – Fr Alex invited people to let him know what masses during the week they would like. He would begin by resuming the Thursday 11am mass, followed by a social time with refreshments. (It is not known yet when the Luncheon Club may re-start.)


 ii) Ilkley Grammar School – He had been talking to the Head of Music at IGS about holding the school carol service at St Margaret’s. He had also taken the opportunity to discuss providing something for students to drop into on their way to or from school.


8.    Finance

 i) Treasurer’s Report - John McGhee introduced his report, previously circulated. The shortfall on our Parish Share payments is highly embarrassing. We are likely to pay only about £40,000 out of the requested £105,000 by the end of the year. We shall also have difficulty even in meeting our day – to – day expenses. St Margaret’s costs £608 per day to run. The drastic reduction in the Hall income during COVID restrictions had a big impact; but the greatest cause was the reduction in regular giving through various losses and the financial uncertainty produced by the pandemic. Although many churches were in a similar position, it was noteworthy that another Ilkley Church and one only ten miles away had both managed to fully pay their Share. The result of our shortfall was likely to mean that another, much poorer parish would be left without a vicar.


 Several people suggested ways this situation might be addressed, including the introduction of a card-reader at the back of church, to facilitate giving. Fr Alex has been looking into card-readers. The subject of our financial situation should figure at the forthcoming meeting of the Communications Group. Fr Alex requested that the Stewardship Committee should convene within the next week or two to discuss how the shortfall can be met quickly, and he would form a small group to focus on this subject. Volunteers were invited. He pointed out that there was an opportunity to address the subject from the pulpit on the following Sunday, when the Gospel includes the saying “How hard it is for a rich person to enter heaven!”


ii) Treasurer role – John McGhee is not continuing as Treasurer after the next APCM. Philip Tooke had offered to be involved, and possibly stand for election as Treasurer at the APCM. John McGhee asked for the PCC’s approval for Philip to start taking over some elements of the job now, under John’s supervision. This was agreed.


iii) Stewardship Review – This was imminent.


 iv) Heating – John McGhee had got our fuel costs fixed at last year’s prices, so the general rise in energy prices should have no impact on St Margaret’s bills for the next two years. However, the problem about keeping the church windows open during winter was that the heating would remain on all the time. He proposed asking Alan Raw to keep a few windows open, but not all, and to close them on cold days. The PCC agreed.  It was also agreed that doors could be closed and window ventilation reduced in both church and hall during services and coffee on Sundays.


9.    Church Fabric and Hall

John McGhee reported some high-level work necessary: there are problems with one of the bells, a gutter and a chimney. These jobs will probably require the hire of a cherry-picker.

In the Memorial Garden, two of the cherry trees have died and the Leylandiae are now enormous: one touches the church, and sheds needles and twigs over the porch in windy weather, and another touches the War Memorial. Tina Warnes was strongly opposed to their removal. John McGhee will take advice from a tree surgeon.


John has been Acting Chair of the Hall and Fabric Committees (besides Treasurer) until someone can be found to fill this/these role(s). They were advertised earlier without result. John will word an advert for the Newsletter. There is a job description.


10.  Church Communications

 i) Committee – A meeting will be held between Catherine Cheater, Vickie Kemp and Fr Alex. Catherine Cheater and Fr Alex will be attending the next Deanery Synod meeting, at which there will be a speaker on this subject.  Vickie has suggested including younger church members in developing communications.

ii) E-News Sheet – Fr Alex and Vickie have agreed on a weekly news sheet incorporating the former High Mass pew leaflet. Michelle requested that thanks to Vickie for all her hard work on the News Sheet should be recorded in the Minutes.


11.  Outward Giving Group

As reported earlier, Christian Aid Week had raised £685; and the recent Harvest Appeal had produced £1,117 for Mary’s Meals (enabling 70 children to be fed at school for a year). The charity recommended by the Group for the Christmas Appeal is Leeds Autism Services (the organisation which supports Christopher Baggaley). Alison Stretton drew attention to a very good, recent article in the Yorkshire Post. This was agreed.


12.  AOB

 i) Deanery Synod Report – Gwyneth Hartley said that no meeting had been held since the last PCC meeting, but that the next meeting would be on Tuesday 12th October at 7.30pm, and all were welcome to attend.


 ii) PCC Email Addresses – Adam Wilson asked if these could be available to all members of the PCC. Some people were unhappy with this, so it was decided against.


 iii) PCC Venue – Judith Smith asked whether, with the approach of winter and threat of increasing numbers of COVID cases, we could return to Zoom meetings. Fr Alex suggested that smaller meetings, with only a few items on the agenda, might be held on Zoom, but discussion was so much better face to face; and this was agreed.


 Alison Stretton pointed out that we were obliged to meet in the Church because Cantores Olicanae had a regular Tuesday Hall-booking. She asked whether people would prefer to move the PCC meetings to Thursdays in order to have them in the Hall, but the PCC preferred to stay with Tuesdays in Church.


The meeting closed with prayer at 9.40pm