ST MODOC’S SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Sunday 12th December 2021
Revd. Canon Dr Alison Peden (AP) welcomed those present and opened the meeting with prayer
Present: Mr & Mrs R Mitchell, Mrs V Bellers, Lord & Lady Nickson, Mr M Seymour, Mrs R Boome, Mr & Mrs C Graham, Mr & Mrs W Scott, Ms H Lockhart, Mrs J McCracken, Mr I Morrison, Mr & Mrs D Stewart, Prof A Smith, Dr P & Dr K Gaskell, Mrs M Drury, Mr N Cooke
Apologies: Mr Reed, Mrs Watson, Mr & Mrs Chapman Campbell, Mr & Mrs Scott Elliot, Mr & Mrs Shaw Stewart, Miss Nardini, Mr Cordwell-Smith, Mrs Reynolds, Mr & Mrs Stroyan, Mrs Seymour, Mrs Gore
Minutes of 2019/20 AGM: were tabled, considered and passed
Matters Arising: None
Correspondence: A copy of AP’s letter of resignation had been received.
Advance Notice of AOCB: Dr K Gaskell re the environment
· Trustees Report: attached
· Rector’s Report: see attached. Congregation numbers are down. On line resources would continue for example in the Lent Course. Dr K Gaskell commented on the difficulties faced but stressed the importance of the Lent Group. Dr P Gaskell informed us that Church of Scotland was about to introduce lateral flow testing prior to services which may put people off attending services. However, it could be considered as an opportunity to be creative. Spacing etc. would be re-introduced. Mrs Bellers thanked AP for what she had done for St Modoc’s during her incumbency and stressed the congregation’s sadness at her retirement.
· Treasurer’s Report: see attached. the accounts (attached) had been verified and passed by the independent examiner. Total giving was down but other income had held up and investments had done well. This would enable more spending on outreach work. Th accounts were accepted – proposed by Lord Nickson, seconded by Mr Mitchell.
· Fabric Report: see attached. It was agreed that the installation of an outside speaker sound system could be considered as outreach spending. Mr Cordwell-Smith and Mrs Reynolds had done a great deal of work with regard to insurance. AP thanked Mr Cordwell-Smith for his continued hard work in keeping the church in such good condition. She also thanked all those involved with the flower arranging, gardening and cleaning etc.
· PVG Report: see attached. Mrs Bellers stressed the need to ensure that any garden development would have no hidden areas. CCTV had been considered.
Mrs Heather Reynolds had agreed to continue – Proposer: Dr K Gaskell, seconder: Mr N Cooke
Mr Nick Cooke agreed to continue - Proposer: Mr C Graham, seconder: Mrs J McCracken
Representative: Dr Philip Gaskell agreed
Proposer: Mrs V Bellers, seconder: Mr David Stewart
Mr Tom Burton had agreed to continue Proposer: Lord Nickson, seconder: Mr N Cooke
Vestry Members: Members serving at present would continue
Minute Secretary: On Mrs Drury’s resignation
Mrs Vee Bellers had agreed to stand
Proposer: Mrs J Drury, seconder: Mrs Helen Scott
Mrs Drury was presented with a bowl of hyacinths for which she expressed thanks.
The Constitution: AP apologised for having sent this round rather belatedly. She hoped the congregation could approve the document which has been revised and modernised. A show of hands was taken, unanimously carried, with one abstention (Dr K Gaskell). AP would seek the approval of Bishop Ian.
Looking ahead: further discussion was required over the next few months – not only about the survival of the church. We need to utilise our resources; we have a huge amount to offer. Concerns were expressed as to how St Modoc’s would continue on AP’s retirement; would a rector be appointed? The Vestry would meet Bishop Ian during the next month or so to discuss arrangements. An interim Pastor would be appointed by the Bishop who will ensure them continuation services and pastoral care. A member of the Vestry would possibly be appointed to chair meetings. AP had drawn up a draft spread sheet for the division of jobs for the Vestry. AP was sure this was an attractive and well-placed vacancy and would present a good opportunity. Nick Cooke had been a member on the board of the diocese for some years and felt that Bishop Ian had excellent strategic vision and underlined the feeling of optimism. Concern was expressed that it might take a very long time to see an appointment but AP had given her notice in in good time to the Bishop which she hoped would shorten the process. Mr Seymour suggested, as Bishop Ian had his own way of doing things, it would be advisable to develop a strategy and vision before meeting him. Lord Nickson felt a chair, possibly the Lay Representative, should be appointed from the vestry. The vestry would keep the congregation informed.
AOCB: Dr Karen Gaskell felt the church should discuss the challenges of climate change by setting up a group involving the vestry and a green group to lead and inform.
Charity: AP informed those present that the charity benefiting from Christmas collections this year would be Forthgiving (Sons of the Rock previously) run by local volunteers. The charity is in touch with local NGO’s and carers in order to pinpoint those in dire need of help. This help is given in small grants to local people for items such as a new fridge, pram etc. This was approved by the congregation.
Social Distancing: Mr Seymour underlined the need to socially distance particularly when going to the altar for communion. It was agreed that there would be a one-way system – up on the left, down on the right with an additional hand sanitiser positioned on the way down. It might be difficult for some to come down through the choir stalls.
The meeting closed with prayer.
The trustees have pleasure in presenting their report, together with the financial statements and the independent examiner’s report for the year ended 30th September 2021
REFERENCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION
Charity Name: St Modoc’s Episcopal Church, Doune.
Charity Number: SC011617
Address: Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden, Ardvurich, Leny Feus, Callander, FK17 8AS
Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden - Chair
Mrs Heather Reynolds - Treasurer
Mr Malcolm Cordwell-Smith – Fabric Convener
Mrs Gillian Drury – Minutes Secretary
Mr Iain Morrison (appointed October 2020)
The position of Chair was taken by Rev. Canon Dr Alison Peden in December 2015. As the position of Secretary has not been filled, Mrs Drury has undertaken the necessary secretarial duties.
PVG Co-Ordinator: Mrs Veronica Bellers (appointed 2019)
STRUCTURE AND GOVERNANCE
The Charity is an unincorporated association. It is governed by its constitution which was adopted on 6th March 1994 and signed by the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane on 19th July 2007. The church was given charitable status by OSCR on 22nd October 2007. It is a member of the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane of the Scottish Episcopal Church and is in full communion with the Anglican Church.
The Vestry normally meets every two months. Its members are the trustees. Trustees are elected at the Annual General Meeting which is normally held in December. Under the constitution there must be not more than ten or fewer than six constituent members. The superior authority is the Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.
The Trustees are responsible for the strategic direction and fabric of the church. The trustees are particularly aware of their responsibilities for Health and Safety, and for the care of children and vulnerable adults. In addition to comprehensive insurance, those involved in Regulated Work have disclosures under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
The principal activities of the church are public worship in sacrament and prayer. Alongside this the church is involved in pastoral, educational and fund-raising work in response to local, national and international needs as they arise.
Achievements and Performance The congregation continues to engage with others in the community, and is developing our plans to offer the grounds as a community amenity. Work has continued to bring the fabric up to standard and to repair where necessary.
The Vestry is grateful for the time freely given by a large number of volunteers, without whom many of the activities would be unable to operate.
Restrictions on numbers attending have continued and there has been a slight reduction in giving. As per the previous year, less gift aid was claimed. Investment income again increased. The overall decrease in total receipts was 3%. Donations include £1,000 from the Dinning Trust. Total running costs were down slightly. Overall surplus was £6,460 compared to £4,828 deficit (£5,172 surplus less £10,000 added to investments) in the financial year ending 30th Sept 20. Covid restrictions meant that no money was raised for other charities.
The Vestry has adopted a policy of trying to maintain a level of unrestricted reserves such that, in the event of a significant drop in income, the Church would be able to maintain its current level of activities for a reasonable period until replacement funding is obtained.
Rector of St Modoc’s
The Rector continues to offer two days of ministry a week. In her authorized absence for retreat and holidays, Revd. Canon Richard Grosse has offered ministry as locum tenens.
PLANS FOR FUTURE PERIODS
The Vestry will continue its range of present activities in the foreseeable future.
(Chair) Revd Canon Dr Alison Peden
Worship and discipleship
It has been a joy to worship more freely at St Modoc’s after the second closure due to Covid regulations from after Epiphany to Palm Sunday. As numbers were then restricted, we held two services on Easter Sunday, with a total of 55 communicants. Since then, numbers have remained lower than usual at about 20, although some services such as Creation Sunday and Remembrance Sunday have seen larger congregations. We remain vigilant and face masks and sanitiser are used. We can now process and sing hymns (behind masks) which is much appreciated, but we are not able to share the chalice yet.
There have been several weddings which were now able to take place after prolonged postponement. A Lent Course was held online, about the relevance of the Rule of St Benedict for our modern world, and this was attended by a good number of people, including those who might not otherwise have been able to participate in such a course. We are looking forward to resuming our Carols round the Christmas Tree on 19th December, in the absence of our Advent Carol Service (which is still too much of a Covid risk to be held).
This year we have mourned the death of two very beloved members of St Modoc’s: Jack McGregor and Charlie Gore.
It has been a great joy to serve St Modoc’s since March 2015, and to have come to know the congregation and share some of their lives over these years. St Modoc’s is a remarkable community, with diverse gifts and great warmth. We have shared some memorable services, some great celebrations, some very worthwhile charitable endeavours and some deeply moving moments. I shall always remember my time here with gratitude and fulfilment.
As St Modoc’s begins a new chapter, I pray that the life of the congregation will flourish, and that you will continue to witness to God’s love and welcome in the community.
We are very grateful also to:
The members of the Vestry for their hard work.
Revd. Richard Grosse for taking services when I have been away
Heather Reynolds as Hon. Treasurer
Jilly Drury for being Minutes secretary over the years.
Vee Bellers as PVG Coordinator
Malcolm Cordwell-Smith for looking after the fabric of the church
Archie Shaw-Stewart for playing the organ
Nick Cooke for serving as Lay Rep and Philip Gaskell as Alt. Lay Rep.
Margaret and Bob Mitchell for refreshments
Those who decorate the church with flowers so beautifully
Mary Nardini as a very faithful and willing Sacristan
The Readers, Welcomers and Intercessors
Angela Smith for drawing up the readers’ rota
Our gardener – Brian Carter and his wife, and Ella McEwan who cleans so carefully
Our Independent Examiner
All the congregation who uphold the life of St Modoc’s faithfully in their prayers, worship, encourage, give generously, care for others and follow Christ as disciples each day in their lives.
The accounts for the financial year ending 30th September 2021, are being circulated and paper copies are available in Church. The accounts will also be displayed on St Modoc‘s website.
Overall income has held up very well despite a year in which numbers attending Church have been significantly reduced. Total pledged giving (weekly envelopes plus standing orders) of £18,979 is over £1,500 higher than last year. A big thank you to members of the congregation who have given regularly both weekly or by standing order, and to those who have saved up their weekly contributions or have given one-off donations online. ‘Other Gift Aid’ income is from orange (gift aided) envelopes. This continues to be low because of a lack of visitors to the Church. Open Plate weekly giving has reduced to £1,653 this year. Tax reclaimed is down again because there is less giving on which gift aid can be claimed. Finally, in the first section, donations are also down. They include an annual donation of £1,000 from the Dinning Trust. Total giving of £25,192 (£29,942 excluding tax reclaimed of £4,750) is slightly less than last year’s figure of £26,072.
The next section of income is that from Investments, which has increased slightly to £7,247 this year.
Like last year, overall income is once again down by 3% to £37,599.
The next section is payments which shows running costs down slightly to £31,007. Total costs come to £31,139.
There has been an overall surplus of £6,460 this year.
The balance sheet at the top of the second page, after adjustments, shows an unrestricted bank balance of £39,346.
Looking at the Investments held by CCLA , their value has increased by 15% to £260,086.
At the bottom of this page are restricted funds. The Rectors Development Fund is mainly made up of Easter Collections, which would normally be used for the Rector to attend conferences etc. Also, unfortunately, it has not been possible to raise funds for other charities during the financial year but the Vestry are planning to collect for a charity at the Christmas services soon.
Spending on outreach (£279) and the garden development (£132) has been greatly curtailed by the pandemic. As treasurer I would like to see more of St Modoc’s resources (including funds held) being used for the community, in future years.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped to keep St Modoc’s on a sound financial footing in these difficult times.
Heather Reynolds December 2021
During the last year, we have continued to carry out improvements and repairs to St Modoc’s Church.
The water leak from the roof above the Choir pews on the south side has been repaired. The problem was the zinc covering the original roof vent box, ventilating the roof void between the slated roof and the stone roof of the Chancel, had become defective allowing rainwater to penetrate this area of the roof. The box has been recovered with a lead equivalent covering and painted with a thick mastic coating, which has solved the problem.
The normal routine maintenance checks to the fire extinguishers, the gas boiler and the gas heater have been carried. We are in the process of appointing another local electrician following the retirement of Bob Mitchell. The problems with external lights have been resolved with replacement bulbs and by securing the fittings. The recent breakdown with the central heating boiler has been repaired with a replacement gas control valve. The boiler is a year beyond the 5 year warranty, therefore this is an unexpected expense.
The Sound Company, Fenner & Co, who installed the sound system are extending the system in time for the outside Carol Service, to provide an external portable speaker to play Christmas Carols Music beside the outside Christmas tree, from the Hymnal using playlists. The cost of this installation, speaker and stand amounts to £559.20 inclusive of VAT.
The long term commitment with the Ansvar Insurance Company through the Insurance Brokers, Arthur J Gallagher of Glasgow, came to an end on the 10th of November , which provided an opportunity to invite quotations from other Insurance Companies on alternative terms and premium cost . Insuring Church Buildings is a specialised area of the Insurance market and some companies approached declined to provide a quotation. The leading U.K. specialist in providing specific Policies for Church Buildings, is the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company. To provide a comprehensive insurance Policy to cover all the requirements for St MODOC’S with better terms, such as Consequential Loss being extended from 2 years to 4 years, is now costing an annual premium of £1,970.73, compared with the Ansvar premium of £3,279.58, making a saving of £1,308.85. This premium cost includes a 25% discount for entering into a 5 year commitment to stay with this Insurance Company. Also, we have had a complete assessment by their own surveyor, which includes providing a reinstatement Valuation on the building, in the event of a major loss. We are awaiting that figure, along with any recommendations for ensuring that we are covering all potential risk situations.
The maintenance of the garden grounds and the cleaning of the Church have been kept to a high standard throughout the year particularly with the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions in place. Our thanks to Brian Carter and his wife for looking after the garden and to Ella McEwen for cleaning the Church and raking the gravel drive.
Also, our thanks to Margaret Mitchell and Eira Nickson and their team for providing and decorating the Church with beautiful flowers and decorations .
We will continue to maintain the fabric of the building and the surrounding grounds over the next 12 months.
Malcolm Cordwell-Smith Fabric Convener December 2021
The church continues to maintain strict COVID rules with regard to hygiene and mask wearing. We do not know when the mask-wearing rule will be lifted.
There have been no incidents requiring Safeguarding procedures to be invoked.
Discussions have taken place with regard to security and safety in the proposed Oasis garden.
Vee Bellers PVG Co-ordinator December 2021