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PCC met on Monday night. It was anything but boring. Challenging, yes. But not boring. Hopeful, certainly, but not boring.

Please pray for your PCC as they act as your representatives and as the trustees of our charity.

MASKS and other stuff – the current PCC guidance is that we maintain safe services by keeping distance, wearing masks (including when singing) and hand sanitisation while keeping services shorter. We agreed to maintain this existing guidance for church services. We discussed some of the possible alternatives. These included setting a maximum capacity, having an area for those who wanted wear a mask and requiring/requesting that all who come to a service have a negative Covid test before coming.

When it comes to smaller groups such as Morning Prayer it was noted that the group can decide what practice they adopt. Masks are encouraged in public areas but can be removed in rooms/church as agreed by the group while maintaining suitable distancing and ventilation.

The PCC was more split on this issue than at any time so far. With good intentions and reasoned arguments on both sides.

On balance we were in favour of keeping masks for worship, especially with singing. We noted the persistence of the risk of transmission and that was highlighted by news a couple of days later of the Government’s “Plan B” for managing the winter where it is possible (but not certain) that compulsory mask wearing will be reinstated.

These are difficult decisions and we are committed to being flexible.  We will review this again in November, armed with the latest guidance at that stage.

Please note that these decisions are taken with a view to protecting us all and for the well being of all. We hope that we can all respect and make relevant decisions about the risk of transmission out of love for one another.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Ps 34:4)

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm (Prov 13:20)

CHURCH REFURBISHMENT – the PCC heard about all the things that we know need to be done to the church space and the process that is proposed to consult widely to find the other things that we are called to do to the church building. Everyone will have their say! Gathering all the possibilities, the next stage is to draft this into a coherent plan. Not every suggestion will be feasible or desirable (apparently having the vicar slowly disappear into the floor like an old cinema organ is a little tricky) but will be considered. The final plan may be in stages both practically and in terms of how we resource the works. The whole process may take 2-3 years. The PCC enthusiastically endorsed beginning this process. Watch this space….

“‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent.  Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it…” (Acts 15:12)

CONTRIBUTION TO THE DIOCESE – each year we make a pledge to the Diocese into what is called the Parish Support Fund. In 2021 we maintained our pledge at 2020 levels despite reduced income from centre lets. This led to a deficit this year. The likely outcome this year is a lower deficit than we anticipated but still a significant reduction in reserves. We did this in faith to support other churches whose finances had been hit even harder in the Diocese. For 2022 we anticipate a growth , but overall shortfall,  in centre lets income and a reduction in regular giving. The combined effect together with gearing up activities (see below) and so spending more on our mission, means that a further deficit and reduction of reserves is likely. We therefore decided to reduce our contribution to the Diocese by £26,000. We remain a net contributor to the pot after the cost of one full time clergy and aim to increase this again in future years. The option is also always open for any parish to make a one-off contribution if they wish too (eg we find the results next year are better than anticipated).

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us (2 Cor 8:3-5)

MISSION AND MINISTRY – PCC is formed into two sub-groups that are tasked with overseeing ministry (care and worship/discipleship) and mission (evangelism and community engagement); liaising with teams and informing PCC of what the opportunities and challenges are. There was much to celebrate with many things starting up again. The main challenge was recruiting teams of volunteers.

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

DIVERSITY – feedback from the Diversity Group was shared with PCC; there is work for us to do as a whole church and while we prepare by getting help from people outside of Christ Church, we look forward to 2022 as a year where we commit to diversity where all may bless and be blessed. The question was asked whether this means all forms of diversity. The answer was yes. The first to be addressed will be the corrosive injustice that is racism. Please pray for us to do a sensitive and powerful work in support of those affected by racism and that Christ Church can become actively anti-racist in response.

34 Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

WHAT ABOUT ME? –PCC consider these things on your behalf, they affect all of us. Please pray for us. Please feed back to PCC members so they can be informed and represent you. Please consider your own response and commitment. It may be returning to a team. It may be stopping something. It may be a new direction, a new team.

Is God calling you to be an un-usual suspect?

In 2020 we launched Commitment 2025*. Please revisit this initiative and assess where you are and what your commitment might be.

If you sense a call to join a team please either speak to a staff team member or the team leader for that ministry.

Wishing you every blessing


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