St. Mary’s, Woolpit PCC Minutes

We will post the minutes of the St. Mary’s PCC after they have been approved.

St Mary’s Woolpit Parochial Church Council

Minutes of the meeting held on 9th March 2021

at by ‘Zoom.’

     Present:- Rev. Ruth Farrell (chairman) Jennifer Baker, Trish Baker, Betty Curry, Judy Dean, Barbara Pashley, David Hughes, Jo Brown, Jean Kendall, Trish Baker(ex-officio), Rosey Skrimshire, Astrid Gale, Anne Clarke, Paul Clarke (ex-officio).

1.   Welcome:-  Ruth welcomed everyone and read from John 7 v 53. The woman caught in adultery. Jesus showed compassion to the woman and he said we too should show compassion and love in all we do and not be judgemental.  

2.   Apologies:- Sue Griffin

3.    Minutes of the last meeting. A small amendment was made to the minutes….

       9) ii ’contactless giving should appear on every agenda from now on’. Jo proposed the minutes be accepted and Jean seconded. AIF.

5.  Matters arising.  

       9) i. When Ruth attended the Bishop’s virtual tea party recently, there was no opportunity to raise the issues we were concerned about.  

    4Safeguarding report: Astrid reported:


Almost everyone in the parishes is due training updates this year. I have started sending out reminders, beginning with the Woolpit and Drinkstone PCCs, who should all have received theirs a couple of weeks ago. If for some reason you haven’t received your reminder and details about how to access training online, please let me know. Thank you very much to all those who have completed theirs.

The Parish Dashboard.

I mentioned this briefly before. The Parish Dashboard is the electronic safeguarding tool for parishes across the Deanery to help us comply with our safeguarding obligations. It has been rolled out across the parishes, and our benefice has recently received its copy.

The Dashboard has sections

  • On the roles and responsibilities of various church officers with reference to safeguarding,
  • To record completion of training by those with responsibilities within the church,
  • To confirm that we have the correct policies and procedures in place to ensure we operate safely with regard to children and vulnerable adults.

I have to complete each section electronically. Ruth has ‘viewing rights’ and the safeguarding team at the diocese can see our progress. I will be working my way through the various sections.

The action plan lists what needs doing to complete our Dashboard requirements – attached at the end of the Minutes

 **I would appreciate it if the PCC would formally adopt this plan, then I can go ahead and complete it with Ruth’s help over the next few weeks/ months**.

           Paul proposed the plan be adopted, seconded by Anne, AIF.

6 .   Correspondence

      i) Ruth had a ‘Thank you’  letter from the Womens Aid in Bury thanking us for the gifts we sent at Christmas.

      ii) Letter about photo copier renewal. We will continue for one more year under the current arrangements, which will keep costs down.

iii) Ruth had the usual monthly letter from the Bishops.

iv) Letter from Richard Stainer asking us to protest against the planned reduction in the Overseas Grant Aid by the government and a pro forma protest letter was provided for us all to use.

     7.  Finance

Treasurer’s report 9.3.21

Since the meeting on 26th January:-

  1. After the PCC authorised Sam Jackson of (Churchgates Ltd) to go ahead, a new investment account has been opened for our Bequest money. It is with Pershing Securities Ltd. Now that we have the details, shall we go ahead and transfer the cash?

Barclays is holding   £111,000.00

CAF Gold is holding £  62,016.72

                                 £173,016.72 into the investment account.

  • Bank balances after this is done will be:

Barclays Bank                        £35,893.21

CAF cash account                  £19,688.26

Non-restricted fund total        £55,581.47

CAF Gold restricted                £58,702.83

CAF Gold 2                             £23,820.00    to be invested in due course.

  • Four instalments of Parish Share have been paid which leaves £33,533.00 to be found by the end of the year.
  • As discussed at the last meeting, I have started a gradual change from CAF/Barclays accounts to Barclays only.  It is being done gradually so that we don’t miss any regular debits. After a suitable length of time, I propose that we close the CAF cash account by transferring the remaining fund to Barclays.  That way we can see at a glance what unrestricted funds we have available.
  • The Parish Giving Scheme is a suggestion from the Fund raising department of the Diocesan office.  It is run by a separate organisation called PGS and, as such, it has the capability of handling Direct Debits.                                                                                 I hope you may have had a chance to look at the link which has been circulated.
  • I have one or two reservations but, as far as the job of Treasurer is concerned it will take away some of the burden of counting/banking cash and doing time consuming Gift aid Claims.
  • As far as the Donor is concerned, there are one or two obstacles…the main one being that, with existing donors, it means they would have to contact their banks and cancel the Standing orders – which as David said, may make them remember they’ve got a Standing Order and cancel it!
  • For those people who use the Direct Debit, reusable plastic tokens will be provided to make people feel more comfortable when the collection plate comes round. A person would pick up a token on entering the church and use it in the collection plate instead of cash.
  • I rang the fund raising office with a couple of questions and am reassured about what information the Treasurer would be able to access.
  • A large part of the thinking behind the scheme is that the debits would be increased by the rate of inflation each year, though that is an optional feature. 

If the PCC would like to go ahead, the first task is to fill in the form which registers the         Church with PGS. Then it would be a case of enrolling people onto the scheme.

It would be a big job to write to all the congregation and the letter would have to be very carefully worded. For those who don’t wish to join the scheme, gifts and Gift Aid will remain unchanged.

After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that we would sign up to the PGS scheme, but at this stage we would not approach existing donors from the wider community for the reasons that Trish has given. We will, however, look to introduce any new donors to the PGS scheme and also over time raise the possibility of joining the scheme with our church members. It was agreed that we will adopt a “softly, softly” approach overall. Proposed by Judy and seconded by Rosey, AIF.

       6.   Financial Statements 2020. Tricia Preston at Churchgates produced our accounts in    time  for this meeting. As expected the figures show a loss of £ 19,645…. Illustrated by the figure on page 3 for Fund Raising – £8320 in 2019 and £967 in 2020; and Envelope giving is halved.  Fortunately some people gave Gift Day donations or made one-off donations throughout the year.                                                                                 However, also on page 3, you’ll note that the running costs are about half of those in 2019.                                                                                                                               On page 4, the sharp difference in the Heat and Light figure is partly explained by the theft of one whole delivery of oil in January 2020.                                                                    As David said in his report last time, we will feel under more pressure to meet our obligation in 2022, as we will have very few reserves left at our disposal.

David proposed that the accounts be accepted and seconded by Barbara, AIF.

    8.    Archdeacons visitation.

             The Archdeacon (orTiffer, our rural dean) will visit on 26th March at 11 o’clock to  inspect our registers, inventory etc.

    9.    Fabric

i)  Betty contacted Rod Squirrel re damp in the vestry. On inspection, he concluded that the damp is coming in from the side walls, probably due to an exterior  pipe overflowing. He will attend to this shortly. There appears to be another leak in the roof just over the ‘Mouseman’ table.

ii) We have been ‘PAT’ tested and a new certificate issued. There was no charge for the afternoons work, but Stuart Harvey has some more chargeable work to do for us after which we can decide on a suitable donation of thanks for him. 

   10.   Fund raising.

  i) Wine tasting: This is planned for March 20th as a virtual event. 10 people have already    signed up for this, and there is a possibility of 9 more screens. This is at a cost of £50 per screen and includes 4 bottles of wine, with £15 per screen going to church funds.

  ii)  Other events: We have several potential events planned:-

  a) David Corden will hold a “Words in the Garden” during the summer along the lines of something similar he provided a while ago called “Homes and Gardens – A Miscellany”.

   b) Crafts weekend on September 11th and 12th. This will be held in church as usual; Betty reported that the usual craftspeople are very keen to come.  In addition, there will

  be a produce marquee in the churchyard including a cake stall, and it will also

contain Jo’s ideas for fundraising activities. There will be the usual refreshment marquee. The raffle table will be set up by the North door, as we may have to operate a one way system inside the church.

  c) The Autumn Bazaar should be able to go ahead in November. 

  d) Margaret Cook will be pleased to be our speaker at a Lecture Supper in the village hall towards the end of the year.

11.     Services for Holy Week and Easter.

  Palm Sunday service will be held in church.

  A quiet day or a half day could be held during Holy week for  guided reflections.  Ruth    has found the Stations of the Cross pictures and these could be displayed and left up all week. There will be one guided meditation during the week, and music will be used for this too.

  As  usual the mid -week Communion will be held on the Wednesday as will the Maundy Thursday evening service but without the light supper in the Rectory beforehand.

    There will be no Walk of Witness on Good Friday and after a discussion, it was decided             that  we shall have an hours  ‘Reflections at the Cross’ at  2pm as usual.

             On Easter Day there will be no Sunrise service but the usual 10.45 service in church. It           is hoped that a hymn may be able to be sung outside following the service.

  All services will be on Zoom.

   12.     APCM will be on 28th April at  6 pm.

   13.     AOB  None at this meeting.

                 Ruth reminded the PCC that Anne was stepping down as secretary at theAPCM.

  14.      Close with prayer.

                    Paul closed the meeting with prayer at 8.20.

St Mary’s Woolpit Parochial Church Council

Minutes of the meeting held on 2nd December 2019

at 7pm at Green Hill.

     Present:- Rev. Mike Birt [Chairman], Trish Baker, Jennifer Baker, Judy Dean, Barbara Pashley, David Hughes, Margaret Walker, Sue Griffin, Jon Branham, Jean Kendall, Anne Clarke, Paul Clarke (ex-officio).

1.   Welcome:-  Mike welcomed everyone and read from Isaiah 11, the encouraging Advent message.

    2.   Apologies:-, Betty Curry, Rev’d Ruth Farrell, Rosey Skrimshire.

3.   Minutes:- with the omission of Judy, not recorded as present at the last meeting, the Minutes were proposed and accepted by all.

    4.   Matters Arising:-

           4 (13ii)  Jon B joined Sue for the Safeguarding course and is now trained.

12 i)    There was some talk of the possibility of moving the Autumn Bazaar towards the middle of November, since this year it followed on quite closely

 from a busy autumn and the Harvest Festival Lunch.

12 ii) It is recorded that the Remembrance Sunday service and the service for Loved Ones were well attended, both services were much appreciated.

 5.  Correspondence:-

  There was no correspondence.

     6.  Finance:-

                i)  Treasurer’s report

   Since the last report dated 15.10.19:-

  1. Second instalment of Bob Cook’s bequest paid to the bank paid to the bank. Total is £160,000
  2. The contents of the Safe yielded £1678.00
  3. The income from the Bazaar was £1219.82
  4. A collection was made  for the Yemen totalling £155.15 and for the British Legion £191.19
  5. A donation of £135 to the Bell Fund was received from  Pam Ebsworth
  6. Woolpit Festival Society has given £100
  7.  Bank balances:  Barclays         £120,207.47 (includes the donation mentioned at 1. above)

                                 CAF current a/c    £ 41,190.27

                                 CAF Gold a/c       £149,126.93

                                 CAF Gold a/c 2     £ 23,838.40

ii)  £100 cheque received for Woolpit Festival Society.

iii) Consideration was given to the Rectors expenses which are currently £225  a month. It was decided to raise these expenses to £250 a month, AIF.

iv) There was a discussion about Contactless giving. It was decided that not enough is known about this at present, so it should be put on the agenda for the next meeting.

v)  Bob Cook’s Legacy:- Judy had been to a CCLA meeting with Ruth, this is

      a charity used by the diocese. They  were both impressed by the clarity of this     meeting, and thought that CCLA might be considered to help invest Bob Cook’s legacy. Trish, David and Paul will consider this together.

Jo Brown arrived at 7.26.

    7.   Safeguarding (Growing in Influence):-

Not much to report on safeguarding.

I had a meeting with Ruth on 29th October 2019 to discuss safeguarding issues in the benefice. 

Some of the areas covered include the database, the need to get clarity from the Diocese regarding training for specific roles.

In the new year I will have to check for those needing an update of DBS (including myself).

I will also need to look at where we are with our training

    8.   Health and Safety:-

      i) Mike has completed the Assessment for the Walk about Nativity.

      He now has to do assessments for the bell ringers and for use of the kitchen. Ruth and Jean have done the assessment for the Christingle service. Mike will draw up an assessment for the cleaners, and this should be circulated with the cleaning rotas.

      ii) Paul has purchased step ladders for use in church. He suggested that they should not be used if one is alone in the church, so perhaps the flower ladies could be told of this.

      iii) The light at the back gate of the church lights spasmodically, and must be adjusted.

9.   Growing in God (Growing Deeper, Growing in Influence, and maybe Younger):-

i) It is proposed that we give thought to a Newcomers Tea based on the model used by Drinkstone.

ii) The new village playground is scheduled to open on 6th December at 10.30

iii) Mike will display copies of the minutes on the notice board once they have been approved by the PCC.

iv) Mission Group (written report by Sue Birt): We have held 2 Mission meetings on 23rd October and 29th November since the last PCC. We have had good attendance at both.

We had a good discussion on 23rd October which covered Christmas information sheets and where they will be used, Newcomers tea and database, Jars of Light, the opening of the Woolpit playground and the Nativity etc.

Minutes of this meeting are attached.

The meeting on the 29th November was a meeting to see how our Actions were progressing.

The minutes of this meeting are not available yet.

   10.   Fabric Report:-

 i)Approvals are in place for the installation of the guttering etc. along the south aisle but it may not happen this year. It is hoped that the scaffolding will soon be removed but a question was asked about the cost of the scaffolding – are we having to pay extra because it has been up so long? Ruth will be asked to check the position with Philip.

ii) David has asked Rory to deal with the flaking on the loo wall.

   11.  Future Events                                                                                                                           i)  Christingle is on December 8th, there may be new people who need a welcome.

           ii) The Walk-about Nativity is on December 14th, and a meeting for participants is to be on December  3rd at Green Hill at 3 pm.                                                                            iii)  a Festival of Jars of Light are to be displayed in the church from 14th to 22nd December from 3.30 until 6 each day. There will be a rota for helpers and refreshments will be available.                                                                                                                      Iv) The Salvation Army will be playing carols around the Pump on 13th December at 7pm v) Nine Lessons and Carols is at 7.30 on 20th December at 7.30.andthe Family Carol service is at 3pm on 22nd December. Mulled wine and punch will be provided.                             vi) Christmas services follow the usual pattern.                                                                    vii) Woolpit Open Gardens will be over the weekend of 13th June next year and Bridges garden will be open under the NGA – possibly twice.                                                            viii) Mike said the Hospice has an excellent programme called ‘Grave Talk’. He is thinking of arranging an afternoon session using the Institute, possibly in February. The format involves a round table discussion which would be light hearted though serious. Mike said the event is very worthwhile.                                                                                  

13.  Drinkstone report.                                                                                                                      The building work continues at Drinkstone church. There are 3 places left at the wreath making workshop on 11th December.

 14.   AOB  Nothing at this meeting.

Next meeting: will be 4th Feb and APCM 31st March.

Paul closed the meeting with prayer at 8.35, and the PCC said the Grace together.

St Mary’s Woolpit Parochial Church Council

Minutes of the meeting held on 2nd July 2019

at 7pm in the Church

     Present:- Rev. Mike Birt [Chairman],Rev Ruth Farrell, Trish Baker, Jennifer Baker,

Jean Kendall, Betty Curry, Jo Brown, Sue Griffin, Rosey Skrimshire, David Hughes, Jon Branham,  Anne Clarke, Paul Clarke ( ex-officio).

1.   Welcome:-  Mike welcomed everyone and read from Isaiah 61 and gave a short reflection.

    2.   Apologies:- Margaret Walker, Judy Dean, Barbara Pashley.

3.   Minutes:-These were approved unanimously

    4.   Matters Arising:-

          4:9:v) Jennifer will investigate cutting down a key blank to fit the Priest’s door.

  9:iii)  Weltons have completed all the electrical repair work and it has all now passed the  test.

         10:i)Grill a Vicar’ went very well, although Jean wondered if some of the questions were  a  bit tame.

         12. Betty and Jean will hold the first session of fire extinguisher use etc. for the     sidespeople after the service on 7th July.

         14:i) Minutes 19/01/19 Philip Orchard thinks that glass doors  to keep out winter draughts  would  not be possible .

 5.     Correspondence:-

i) Ruth had received a letter from the British Legion thanking us for our donation of £1014.04 from last year.

ii) A letter from Sue Birt was read to the PCC.

26th June 2019

Dear Ruth and PCC

I was not sure how ‘Grill the Vicar’ would work out. I think it went very well.

There were some very interesting and searching questions that were asked and I think Ruth, Tiffer and Mike gave some very good answers. However, I feel we need to offer a platform like Alpha for people to explore and deepen their faith.

Someone also mentioned welcome packs and teas, as well as my own ideas around how we would welcome the people moving into any new housing.

We need a group formed of folk who are happy to ‘do Mission’. We have an excellent example of how well a group can function in the fund -raising group. Such energy and enthusiasm! The group would help to bring strands of ideas and thinking together. We could look at where we are and where we are going. What is possible and what is not. I feel it would give cohesion to mission within the Parish and relieve some of the burden from Ruth.

I do think we have put a lot of effort as a Parish into Mission already. We provide a lot for the village with Toddlers, church mice, Jam, Messy Church, Ruth’s pop up events for Easter and Christmas, lunches through the summer, Pastoral care, Men’s group, house groups etc. We do all this, plus the involvement of church members supporting groups throughout the village.

If we formed a mission- group they could look at Alpha, welcome packs, welcome parties for new people and youth engagement initiatives. We could also engage more fully with other mission based activities, courses and ideas throughout the Diocese. The group could report back at each PCC. I am a great believer in reports for PCC meetings. I think it helps to focus where we should be concentrating our efforts.

I do hope this idea can be looked at and considered by the PCC.

Yours Sincerely

Sue Birt

A long discussion followed the reading of this letter, and it was agreed that a welcome pack should not just be a “Come to church” package, but more of a communications event about what happens in our village. Mike will report this back to Sue. All members of the PCC were happy with this. This must be added to the agenda for the next meeting.

iii) Ruth said we had been asked to be part of a trial to count, digitally, the number of visitors who come into the church, all agreed to offer to do this.

iv) Letter from Richard Hubbard offering another session of ‘Transforming your Carol Service.” Diocesan Choir Festival will be on October 6th

v) Message from our Rural Dean, Tiffer :- if we are approached by any kind of media about anything – negative, or bad news, Ruth will hand it over to a specialist company who deal with such things.

6.   Finance.

            Treasurer’s report 2.7.19

           Only 5 weeks since the last meeting on 21st May so not much activity to report.

  1. Two large Fabric repair payments have been made and funds transferred from Gold account to cover them.
  2. On reading the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, it seems fairly straightforward to reclaim the VAT portion and any number of claims can be put in for the one job so I will try and process the first instalment ASAP.  Claims cannot be made after 12 months, and only claims of £1000, plus accepted.  (One smaller claim can be accepted per year)
  3. Two Discretionary Fund payments have been made this year, [£200 and £1500] bringing the Fund down to £560. The latter loan should be repaid at £60 per month.
  4. The banks have started charging for the use of the accounts – £5 per month in CAF bank and £30-40 per month in Barclays. (They give us a “Loyalty Bonus” of £6-9 per month!) Despite this, I would hesitate to change Barclays Bank account as we would be sure to lose a number of Standing Orders.
  5. The Fabric Fund has grown by £1,023 this year and is reduced by payments of £21,455.

The Fund stands at £10,5670 at this time.  

  • The Bell Fund has increased by £246 since the start of the year and stands now at £9,712

Bank balances:        Barclays                   £86,616 (includes £60,000 of legacy so £26,616 in reality)

                                CAF current a/c        £30,277.09

                                CAF Gold a/c.          £104,046.55

                                CAF Gold 2 a/c               £23,829.39

      i) In response to Ruth’s request, Paul proposed that the discretionary fund be topped up by £2000, seconded by Betty, AIF. The money will come from the General Fund.

      Churchgates will advise re Bobs legacy. AIF

       ii) The sale of Bob’s house should be completed during the week beginning 17th July, so we should have some more money then.

       This Finance report took place at the beginning of the meeting so that Trish could leave as soon as she could.

 7.   Safeguarding.

i) Written report from Sue:                                                                                

To be frank not much to report.

We are waiting to be informed of the new Safeguarding trainer following the resignations of Craig Hutton and Dave Butcher.

We do still have some of the Pastoral Care Team that need C2 training.

I am hoping to do another CO face to face training session with the Drinkstone Hall Trustees which will be open for everyone.

I am just waiting for a date from them.

No news of the changes that we were advised of in December!

ii) Rosey had some books given to her at the recent Diocesan Synod meeting called ‘A Time to Tell,’ aimed at 12 to 16 year olds, which she has passed to Sue.

    8.   Health and Safety.

          Ruth has approached Ian Rice and Cath Eaden, and they are happy to review the Health   and Safety policy.

9.   Growing in God: Growing deeper, Growing in Influence, and maybe Younger

i) We will wait to see what happens with the Deanery Plan before proceeding any further.

A speaker from A’ Rocha will conduct a 20 minute presentation on 28th July re Eco Church. On 31st July there will be an afternoon to make bug hotels etc for use in the church yard, this will be from 2pm until 4 pm.

We will comply with The Wildlife Trust when they suggest where we should not mow in the churchyard!!!

  10.   Diocesan Synod Report.

          Synod 08.06.19 at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral

Helen Matter & Helen Woodroffe both retiring

Diocesan Annual Review 2018: Bishop Martin reflects on ‘rising sense of hopefulness throughout the Diocese’- reflected at Synod

Synod focus: Growing Younger

Honington Primary led worship. Bishop Martin discussed faith and worship in church with pupils- key issues with use of language, friendship, trust & able to ask q’s

‘Growing Faith’- vision (set by House of Bishops- General Synod) where children, young people & households are coming to faith, growing in discipleship & confidently contributing to the Kingdom of God through the community of faith

-joining dots between churches- schools- families- households

– intergenerational approach

– more National resources- Digital Church

– Youth Workers key role – build bridges

-each diocese to appoint a ‘Growing Faith Champion’s and every parish to weave every strand of strategy for mission and ministry

Growing faith in schools

-church/ school links: prayer spaces, Godly Play, Open the Book,  Bible Clubs etc

-Primary faith experience influencing teenage Christian faith

– confidence to share faith with friends

Growing faith in households

– growing faith through family prayer

-stories of faith: Audio Bible stories, Open the Book, Messy Church

-use of music, song & worship to link churches, schools & households

-ideas for parents, grandparents  & godparents to pass on faith

Growing faith in churches

-ongoing engagement with families bringing babies & toddlers for baptism

-encouraging children to help lead worship- enable contribution within church- as commonplace in C of E schools

-encouraging links with schools within aspects of ‘RE

– ministry training reflects vital inclusion of current, young people and households

-encouraging effective chaplaincy/ missional leadership in schools, colleges and universities etc

Emmanuel Project: RE Toolkit

-Religious literacy

-fosters balanced view of Christian faith & different faiths

Emmanuel = God is with us, triggers enquiry pathways to explore central Christian beliefs in visual and engaging ways

-based on 3 sections: biblical narrative, church community and Christian living

Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) Annual Report- May 19

-87 church schools: 85 primary & 2 secondary ( 86% good/ outstanding Ofsted & 93% excellent SIAMS)

-approx. 15,000 pupils out of pupil population of 103,000

-DBE responsible Statutory Inspections of Anglican and Methodist Schools(SIAMS)- rigour has increased

-DfE  designated Ipswich one of 12 social mobility ‘cold spots’ so is funding support for improvement in teaching, learning and aspirations

– Diocesan Multi Academy Trust (MAT) now has 18 schools, all church primary schools in Suffolk, and 2,944 pupils

-in 2018 MAT provided mental health training for school staff through YMCA , reflecting the growing level of mental health issues affecting pupils.


  • Bishop’s Lent Appeal:£28,000 collected + gift aid to follow
  • Bishop Martin ‘incredible progress in healthy budget. Deficit much reduced. Looking at ways to reduce gap between core costs & parish share by looking at other income streams

–  Dean Joe explained various celebrations for 2020 for foundation of Abbey by King Canute in 1020

      -Suffolk Show: 2,500 teas/ coffees. Huge numbers of folk returning to Diocesan tent

11.   Fabric Report.

Much of the scaffolding round the church has been removed,. Phillip will  shortly inspect the work done by the steeple jack and then sign it off. He is also putting in a faculty for the guttering work. The material for the priests door has been sourced, so we are progressing towards completion. Trish is working on getting back the VAT.

  12.   Future Events                                                                                                                                      i) Summer Brunch at Broadacres on 11th August from 11am until 2pm, tickets will be £12.50. Shelland will join us.                                                                                                                     ii) The Wednesday Lunches in August are organised, but 21st August will have to take place elsewhere because of a wedding.                                                                                   iii) ‘Bridges’ cakes are all organised for September 1st.                                                            iv) Arts and Crafts is going according to plan for 13/14/15 September, preview on 12th.     v) Harvest Festival will be on October 13th, to be followed by lunch in the institute.           vi) Prayer Breakfast on 20th July at the Rectory.                                                                         vii) Jo wondered if it might be an idea to ask Roy Tricker to do a lecture supper next year?

13.     Drinkstone report.                                                                                                                  The Murder Mystery play had been wonderful and well attended. Sue and David Medcalf had presented a fascinating evening about the history of Drinkstone church. Open Gardens had been the best ever, with approx. £1550  being raised.   The roof repairs begin this month and the windows in September.                                                                                                                

14.     AOB

i) Ruth said her expenses need not be changed at the present time, but we will keep them under review. Ruth suggested that Mike, as Curate should have some expenses and Mike felt  £25 a month was adequate. This was agreed but will also be kept under review.

ii) Rosey had noticed that the yellow envelopes for gift aid which are normally in the pews were becoming damaged and spoilt, Ruth said that this generally down to children!!

iii) Jean will attend to the monthly retiring offering notice as we seem to have lost sight of this recently.

iv) Jennifer had met someone in the church who wanted to light a candle. She had explained why this couldn’t happen and we could see no satisfactory way of bringing this about.  There is a book at the back of the church where requests for prayer can be written.  

v) Mike has heard in the village that people are upset at the loss of the butcher. He has heard of small markets being set up in churches occasionally, and will investigate if this could be arranged in Woolpit.

  Ruth closed the meeting with prayer at 8.50.

St Mary’s Woolpit Parochial Church Council

Minutes of the meeting held on 21st May 2019

at 7pm in the Church

    Present:- Rev Ruth Farrell, Trish Baker, Judy Dean, Jean Kendall, Betty Curry, Jo Brown, Sue Griffin, Rosey Skrimshire, Jon Branham,  Barbara Pashley, Anne Clarke, Paul Clarke ( ex-officio).

     1.   Welcome and Evening Prayer. Ruth welcomed everyone to the first PCC meeting of      the new year and read from Luke 5.

         2.   Apologies: – David Hughes, Margaret Walker, Mike Birt, Jennifer Baker.

  • Minutes:-These were approved unanimously except for two amendments ….9v) Priest’s     door, and 14v) Jo did not agree to meet with a representative from the Catholic church.                                                                                                                                   
  •   Matters Arising:-

4:14:vii)Top Grass are cutting the churchyard grass every 4 weeks.

9:iii)      Weltons have carried out initial testing and will return to inspect what else needs to be done.

9:v)      Richard has a new key source, and so we will have a new key for the Priest’s door and also the main church door.

12:iii) The Archdeacons visit was successful.

iv) Stanley thanked everyone for the help in Bridges garden on 19th May, and the tea raised approx. £500 before expenses. The book stall raised £40, so we may get £400. The garden will be open again on 1st September.

 5.     Correspondence:-

i) Ruth has a letter from the Church Urban Fund, and an invitation for someone to go for tea at Lambeth Palace.

ii) Our Archdeacon Ian Morgan is unwell, and so Jeanette Gosney will be acting Archdeacon for Suffolk

6.   Finance.


  1. Donations for Kagera reached £677.62. With Gift Aid this will total £749.94
  2. Cyclone Relief donations were £228.50.  With Gift Aid the total is £268.50
  3. An interim Bequest of £60,000 from Bob Cook has been banked. At present in Barclays current account as I can move it around from there. I have some figures from CAF bank of alternative deposit rates, which vary according to your intentions for the money i.e. Fixed Term / Fixed rate / 60 day deposit / 90 days deposit.
  4. The Bell fund has increased by £40 to £9506.


  1. The Insurance premium has been paid. At £4840.57 it is £58 higher than last year.

                              Fabric – the Scaffold Alarm is set up and paid for.

  • Scaffolding – I have a copy quote for £18250 which is what the scaffolding should have cost Lodge and Co ( our builders) but Dave Sheldrake ( the owner of landmark Scaffolding) charged only £8000 as a contribution to support the Church.
  • For information: E Bound Alarm people have been called out twice in 4 days. First visit because not all the scaffolding was erected and second time because ‘intruders damaged the sensor’.  Please note that the call out fee is £192 each time and hourly rate is £46.73 per person. The two bills add up to £682.41.  

Banks:    Barclays current account:             £ 77,438.33

                         CAF current account:                    £ 32,309.60

                         CAF Gold account:                       £121,390.81 

                         CAF Gold account number two:    £ 23,820.38

     a)  Trish will liaise with David Hughes re investing the money we have received from Bob    Cooks legacy.

     b)  We will ask Philip Orchard about having glass doors at the entrance to the church to avoid draughts which we currently experience.

    7.    Safeguarding:-  Written report from Sue:

Craig Hutton has left the Diocese as safeguarding trainer for a national safeguarding post.

The Diocese will appoint a new person to this position in due course.

At present we do not have any C2 or C3 courses available in the Diocese.

Everyone in the Benefice who needed C3 training has done so.

We do have several people who need to do C2 training (mainly Woolpit Pastoral Care team)

We also have quite a few who need to do CO. This is the most basic level we all have to do.

Nobody has done C1.

I was advised by Craig before he left not to bother because there will be changes to the training nationally.

I will be asking Ruth for a catch up meeting in the near future to check where we are at.

Lynne continues to maintain the database and we spent some time last month refining the codes for roles.

    8.   Health and Safety.

 i) The policy needs to be reviewed to make sure it is up to date.

 ii) Betty wishes to resign from this post, although she will continue to liaise with the PCC. She said that for every function we hold we  should have a risk assessment. Rosey would like to be part of a group to set this up, but cannot run it herself. Ruth will approach both Ian Price and Kath Eaden to see if they are  interested in this.

9.   Growing in God: Growing deeper, Growing in Influence, and maybe Younger

i) Eco Friendly Church – adopted at the APCM – Denise Mawhood, Angus Wainwright and Ken March may be interested in church-yard aspect of this initiative.

There may be a childrens activity day set up in the summer holidays for making bug boxes etc. this is an important issue for the church at this time.

ii) Jon gave a progress report as follows:
The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers.’ Psalm 24 1-2

  We have been busy in laying the groundwork to achieve Eco-Church status with A Rocha UK. The tasks ahead have been broken down into a three phase approach, phase one is already well underway. The phases are as follows.                                                                                                               ‘The heavens are the heavens of the LORD, But the earth He has given to the sons of men.’ Psalm 115:16

Phase 1 (Underway)                                                                                                         

  • Creation of Master document to explore all possible improvements to the church and grounds to achieve Eco Church Status and possibly more…
    Update – Currently a six page document with suggestions for in building and on grounds improvements as well as other suggestions that go beyond the building and into the minds and homes of the congregation.
    To do – We require more input for ideas to add to the document to ensure no quality ideas are missed. Ideas can be emailed to
  • Contact A Rocha UK to organise a speaker for a upcoming family service.
    Update – A Rocha has been contacted and a speaker request form has been sent. We are looking at either July, August or September.
    To Do – Once we receive a date we will need to collectively confirm costs and time. (Phase two will begin after the speaker has visited, this will help us in completing the ‘Short List’
  • Contact Suffolk Wild Life Trust to organise a visit to give us some tips of what we can do to become environmentally friendly.
    Update – Made contact, awaiting reply with relevant information.
    To Do – Taking into consideration costs and time, look out for their reply and get them over to give advice. Perhaps they can also look through our master plan and help suggest things that are worth focusing on.
  • From the Master Document create ‘The Short List’ a selection of manageable tasks will be selected which will pave the way to achieve the bronze A Rocha award. The Short List.
    Update – Process is underway to fully outline the criteria for the A Rocha Eco Church award structure.
    To do – Create a list of criteria for Eco Church, Reduce Master Document into manageable chunks in order to achieve objective (completion of this will begin Phase 2).
  • Form an organised group of volunteers who will help see the project through each phase. We will be battling economic constraints, listed building constraints, geographic constraints and manpower constraints.
    Update – Appealing for you now…
    To Do – Email me please.

A date will follow for volunteers to meet and go through the master list and make suggestions to the process, nothing is set in stone here and all voices will be appreciated!

‘You shall not see your countryman’s donkey or his ox fallen down on the way, and pay no attention to them; you shall certainly help him to raise them up’ Deuteronomy 22:4                                                                                     Phase 2                                                                                                                                          This Phase will be set aside to go deeper into the short list. To begin implementation of ideas and to set realistic targets on the various projects that will be necessary to accomplish our goal. There may be a cycle of removing ideas that made the short-list and replacing them due to the reality of the situation.
In addition the practical work will commence during this phase.

‘A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.’ Proverbs 12:10                                                                                                                                                                       Phase 3                                                                                                                                                                        This will oversee the end of the Phase 2, as the shortlist begins to dwindle. On completion of the tasks we have set ourselves we will delve back into the master list, compiling new ideas that may have arisen and creating a new manageable ‘Short List’. The granting of the A Rocha Award could be met with a special service appreciating the beautiful work accomplished through God.

 10.   Thy Kingdom Come.

i) This takes place between Ascension and Pentecost when churches across the world are encouraged to pray. There will be prayer stations in both churches in our benefice, and a prayer walk on June 5th at 5pm starting at the Pump.

ii) On Friday 7th June there will be Grill A Vicar in the Institute, when Ruth, Mike and Tiffer Robinson, Rural Dean, will answer any questions fired at them!!

ii) On Pentecost Sunday, 9th June, there will be a Messy Church service at 10.45am. preceded by breakfast from 10am.

11.  Fabric.

i) Lots of work has been completed in the church, and some of the work is not as bad as forecast. Although progressing well, we are now waiting for specialist materials.

ii) Thanks were recorded to Ed Walker for making a pigeon hole system for holding the Service booklets and we are grateful to him for taking away away the old bookcase. Sue G will wax the new pigeon holes.  

12.       Fire Plan.

            Jean presented a plan incorporating Fire Safety Management, Emergency Evacuation

Plan and ‘How to use a fire extinguisher’  – see attached.  

13.      Future Events                                                                                                                                      i) Grill a Vicar….as described above.                                                                                                     ii) 11th August  Summer lunch or brunch at Broadacres.                                                                         iii)1st September Bridges garden open.                                                                                                  Iv)13/14/15 September Arts and Crafts

14.     Drinkstone report.                                                                                                                     The recent MUB2 had 11 children present and was a delightful occasion.                                 1st June  Murder Mystery Play                                                                                                       15th June Open Gardens, 16 gardens open, 4 are new and 2 are in the NGS scheme.    26th May Holm House Garden open for church funds.                                                             Drinkstone church has a hole in its roof, and the bell frame is being inspected for wear and tear. Work begins in September on church windows, costing £120,000.

15.     Appointment of Officers.                                                                                                       i) Trish as Treasurer and Anne as Secretary were elected unanimously.                                ii) Betty was elected Liaison officer for Health and Safety,

          iii) Sue Birt was elected as Safeguarding Officer.

           iv) Paul was elected as Churchyard Officer and will inspect grave stones.

16.     Future Meetings.

  It was decided to continue to hold PCC meetings at 7.00.

  Future meetings will be on 2nd July, 3rd September, 15th October and 3rd December.

16.     AOB

  i) Jo appealed for more help on the coffee rota.

  The meeting closed with prayer at 8.40.

Training Needs for Fire Safety Management

1. EXITS, Door management – Train all available sides people to open both doors of the South entrance and North entrance. Ensure they practice this operation at monthly intervals. Choir member or appropriate person to unlock Priest’s door. This is particularly important for major services and events when the church may be occupied by more than the usual congregation.

2. Identify and train appropriate people to assist those with mobility problems to evacuate the church in the event of a fire.

3. Educate those who are willing and able in the use of the appropriate fire extinguishers.  Class of Fire and suitable extinguishers  Use of Water extinguishers  Use of CO2 extinguisher

Emergency Evacuation Plan

For St Mary’s Church, Woolpit

In the event of a fire:

  • Raise the alarm by shouting “Fire! Fire”
  • Designated person to phone the Fire Brigade by dialling 999.
  • Sides people and or Church Warden prepare to evacuate the church, initially by opening both South doors and checking external door is also open; opening North doors including the curtain. The Priest’s door may also be used if necessary after unlocking with key.
  • If the fire occurs in the hours of darkness, torches to be used by sides people to assist the evacuation.
  • Evacuate the building by quickest route; designated people to assist any person with mobility problems including assisting with mobility aids.
  • Assemble in the car park opposite the church.
  • Trained people can tackle the fire using the fire appliances if it is safe to do so, without taking any risks.



Use of Fire Extinguishers

1. Select correct extinguisher for the observed fire.

            – Water extinguisher for ordinary combustibles e.g. wood, paper, plastic and fabric, NEVER on electrical fires or burning fat.

            – CO2 extinguishers for Electrical fires and flammable liquids


2. Check gauge on water extinguisher is fully charged (CO2 extinguishers do not have gauges).

3. Before approaching fire pull off the safety tag and remove safety pin.

4.  Check the range of the extinguisher by discharging the spray.

5. Approach the fire while spraying from extinguisher, initially applying to the base of the fire.

6. As the fire diminishes change water jet to a spray by placing your finger over the nozzle. This is more effective at reducing the temperature of embers.

7. When the fire is controlled, separate the pieces and continue to spray until the fire is completely out.


2. Position the discharge horn first. (It will be too cold to do so when the extinguisher is being used)

3. Pull off the safety tag and remove safety pin.

4. Hold the handle and body of the extinguisher.

5. Check the extinguisher to ensure it works.

6. Point the horn at the base of the flames and whilst walking towards the flames discharge the extinguisher.

7. Once the flames are out, walk backwards away from the fire, continuing to discharge the extinguisher. This will help to keep you safe if the fire is not completely out.

Minutes of the meeting held on 19th March 2019

St Mary’s Woolpit Parochial Church Council

at 7pm at Green Hill

    Present:- Rev Ruth Farrell, Rev Mike Birt (Chairman), Jennifer Baker, Trish Baker, Judy Dean, Jean Kendall, Betty Curry, David Hughes, Jo Brown, Sue Griffin, Rosey Skrimshire, Margaret Walker, Anne Clarke, Paul Clarke ( ex-officio).

     1.  Welcome and Evening Prayer. Mike welcomed everyone to the meeting and read from    Matthew 1, todays reading about Joseph.

         2.  Apologies: – Barbara Pashley

  • Minutes:-These were approved unanimously except for one amendment ….remove the word lunch from 4:11.                                                                                                                                          
  •  Matters Arising:-

 4:4  The Church mowers have been serviced, one has a new gear box.

         4:14: vii) Weltons have installed a new PIR light at the rectory road gate

           Top Garden services are happy to cut the grass for us when we ask.                            Will Parker has been asked to quote for grass cutting, but needs to know exactly what is          required before he can provide a quote.

  No graves have had turves replaced yet.

 11:   Michael Lambert has offered his garden in Drinkstone for a picnic style occasion

 14:i) Church radiators have been cleaned and are working more efficiently.

   ii) We will continue to look at the church web site, the damaged chalice is still with   the   silversmiths. there is no update on the glebe land,

  5. Correspondence:-

i)  Letter of thanks sent to Betty from the Women’s Refuge in Bury thanking us for all we send to them.

ii)  The Cathedral Friends have returned the standing order for £5 as they now have no account with Lloyds bank. The minimum subscription is now £25.

iii) Pilgrims Court Residential Court has a new manager and she will showcase the home on 14th May for us to look around if we would like to do so.

iv) There is a legacy from Rev’d. Canon Bob Cook of about £150,000 for St Marys. We need to decide where this money might best be used and how it will be invested. These matters will be discussed at the next PCC meeting.

v) There will be a service called Palms and Thorns at the Cathedral on Palm Sunday evening.

vi) John Bell will give a training music day on 26th October.


i) Treasurer’s report:

Year to date since meeting on 15.1.19:

  1.  Plate collections for MSF £15 in January / £30 for Bury Drop In, in February.
  2. The insurance claim of £209 on the Challis repair has been paid.
  3. A Lecture Supper with Margaret Cook brought £767.53 to Church funds.
  4. The payment for MICC 2018 was received in January 2019, therefore will be included in the 2019 accounts. After expenses, £3000 was available to share 50% with Drinkstone. Cheque for £1500 paid.
  5. Standing orders for Jan/Feb amounted to £4,455. This includes £390 for the Fabric Fund.
  6. The accounts were completed in double quick time thanks to Michelle at Churchgate Accountants.  Allaying my fears of imposing on them, Churchgate have said that they are only too pleased to help:

       2018 Accounts:

  1. No losses to show this year, unlike the slight loss shown in the General fund last year.
  2. Once again, the emphasis of the Fund Raising was directed towards the Restricted Fund for our on-going repairs, but the net, General Fund shows a positive figure of £5,562, after paying our Parish Share in full; and the net  Restricted Funds were £59,507.
  3. Donation to the Fabric fund were £38,763 up on last year, thanks in large part to legacies and Trust donations.
  4. The Bell Fund has increased slightly to £9,466.
  5. The balances at the banks on this date are:                  Barclays            £   8,332.76

                                                                                      CAF current ac. £  53,260.02

                                                                                      CAF deposit ac. £121,345.96

                                                                                      CAF no 2 ac.      £  23,811.57

ii) If Ruth requires extra money for the discretionary fund, she can go directly to Trish, AIF

iii) The Annual Accounts were inspected by all members of the PCC, Judy proposed they be accepted, AIF. Huge thanks were recorded to Trish for steering us through another year.

vi) As far as the Parish Giving scheme is concerned, we are currently ok.

7.  Safeguarding:-  Written report from Sue:

On the 15th February we had another CO training session for 8 people.

One person was from a neighbouring benefice.

On the 5th February 5 people attended C2 training at the cathedral.

The changes which I heard about in December are not yet in place.

I have checked with Craig Hutton and he has advised that we should hear more in May.

Any training done prior to the changes will not need to be repeated until the usual time.

Training normally lasts 3 years. DBS is 5 years for laity.

Lynne and I will meet on return from annual leave to discuss how the database is shaping  up and where we are now.

I must admit I have been focussing on training rather than the database.

8.   Growing in God:-

 Nothing to report this time.

  • Fabric:-

   i) Currently, there is nothing happening on the church tower, but Betty reported that Philip  Orchard has asked Lodges when they will start work.

  ii) Ruth will ask Paul Ebsworth if he will look at the tower floodlights.

  iii) Weltons have carried out the electrical condition testing. Defects requiring immediate to maintain electrical safety amount to a provisional cost of £600 plus vat. Other defects, while not urgent at present but for which attention is strongly recommended, amount to £537 plus vat. Overall cost £1137.00 plus vat. In view of the comparatively modest nature of the cost Paul proposed that we instructed Weltons to carry out all the work while on  site. AIF

iv) Our Fire Safety inspection passed with recommendations that we keep a Fire Safely Log Book in the vestry safe. Sidespersons must be trained in evacuation techniques. Videos are available for teaching us how to use fire extinguishers .

           v) The key which has been found is not for the vestry door.

10.   Parish Plan

The new audit is based on Growing in God – Depth, Influence etc, and is quite straightforward. It will be useful in such instances as appointing a new Rector. Ruth will meet with Mike, and the respective Church Secretaries to help fill it in. It needs to be with the Rural Dean by the end of April.

 11.   Diocesan Synod Report:-

         DIOCESAN SYNOD 16.03.19 at Salvation Army Hall, Stowmarket

 Upbeat and positive!

▪ marks end of Bishops’ Pilgrimage of East Suffolk: Southwold- Stowmarket

▪ saw enablers of God at work in businesses, community projects, church schools, patterns of worship etc

▪ all will influence Bishop’s work / vision

Synod Priorities

Outcomes from October Synod discussed. Voted for priority focuses. Working groups to be clergy led.


successful SDF bid (Strategic Development Fund) by Diocese (4.94 million over 6 yrs)

-more key appointments:

Inspiring Ipswich – Archdeacon Rhiannon King

Rural Mission- Archdeacon Sally Gaze

Diocesan Youth Officer – Matt Levett

-increasing Mission focus

-Deanery / Parish plans more essential

-Lightwave- new name for new mission groups

General Synod Feb 19

Focus area synchronicity with Diocese, Deaneries and parishes. Some examples:

Homeless: Ipswich Night Shelter- Oct to Jan- helped  723

Environment- Diocesan Bronze Award within Eco Churches: 57 churches registered, 24 awards

Evangelism- patterns of worship, Thy Kingdom Come 10 – 19 May

Youth Evangelism- Matt Levett (see above

Estates Evangelism- linked to Inspiring Ipswich

State of the Nation

Diocesan Updates

Safeguarding: In 2018

Training on track- 5,969 units of training completed CO – C3

113 referrals and 425 DBS checks processed

PGS- 105 parishes-24% Diocese

Parish Share- Thank You! 6.3 million collected- 90% of budgeted

Cathedral 2020 Millennium Celebrations

May 23rd: Benedictine style worship in Abbey Ruins with Rowan Williams to speak

Edmund Ale from Greene King

Lent Appeal– Kagera

12.   Future Events:- 

       i) APCM on 9th April, 6 o clock for fish and chip supper followed by the meeting. Ruth needs reports from groups for the booklet. The  new electoral roll will be in place.                        ii) Easter:  Maundy Thursday: Agape Supper at the Rectory followed by Communion and Stripping of the Altars.                                                                                                                 Good Friday: Walk of Witness starting at the Room at 10.30, followed by Hot Cross Buns at St Marys. Reflective Service at 2.00.                                                                          Childrens activity afternoon on Saturday 20th.                                                                            Easter Day: Sunrise service on at 6.30, and Parish Communion at 10.45.                           iii) 1st May: Archdeacons Visitation. Jo and Bridgid will provide refreshments after the service.                                                                                                                                      iv) Under the National Gardens Scheme, ‘Bridges’ garden is being opened on18th May, and any donations will be given to St Marys. We are asked to provide cakes for this occasion.                                                                                                                                   v) Autumn Bazaar 2nd November.                                                                                      vi)There will be a Pentecost service at the Cathedral on 9th June.                                                       

13.  Drinkstone Report:-.                                                                                                                  The Rector from South Hartismere Benefice came to the recent MYB2 service and was most impressed by the welcome she received and by the entire set up. There are currently 11 gardens opening on June 15th. £100,000 has been raised from grants for the restoration of some of the church windows.

14.   AOB:-                                                                                                                                          i) There will be an afternoon of prayer in the church on 28th March from 2 until 6.                     ii). Ruth told the PCC that, sadly, her father is poorly and in respite care, and that she may well have to go to Australia at short notice.                                                                             iii) Do we want to keep meetings at 7 pm or change to 5pm? Will be discussed next time. iv) Jean asked if an announcement could be made about Gift Aid to provide encouragement so more people to use it.                                                                              v) Jo asked if the choir vestry could be tidied and sorted. Alan cannot access his choir robes because of things in the way. She will meet with a Catholic rep to try to sort this out. Jo will also investigate the cost of new robes for the choir.                                                                                                                                  

The meeting closed with prayer at 8.40.