Bishop Auckland Methodist Church

General Church Meeting Report

Report of the General Church Meeting of Bishop Auckland Methodist Church (BAMCh) held on Sunday 11th April 2021

Those Present: Chairman: Rev. John Purdy and 35 members and friends.

Introduction: As restrictions continued due to the pandemic, the General Church Meeting was held this year as part of our Morning Service, so that time in the building could be controlled. To save time, reports had been distributed to as many members and friends as could be contacted, ahead of the Meeting.

  1. The Chairman began with the Pastoral Secretary’s Report. He updated members and friends that since our last General Church Meeting in April 2019, our congregation had suffered the sad losses of Members and friends. But also new friends had been received into Membership, taking our current Membership to 125. The Chairman thanked the Pastoral Secretary for her report, which was unanimously accepted by the congregation.

In addition, the Chairman referred to the recent sad death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99. He had spent most of his adult life in Serving the Country and supporting the Queen and Royal Family, to immense effect.

Members and friends stood in respect to those who had passed away and this was followed by the Chairman saying a prayer.

  • The Opening Devotions were led by the Minister, when the first part of Hymn No. 964 ‘O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing’, was shown as a video, as singing by the congregation was not allowed.
  • The Chairman welcomed the assembled Members and friends to the meeting. Pre-registration of attendees had been recorded and a note made by the Porch Stewards of those attending without pre-registration. Apologies for Absence were received from those continuing their self-isolation.
  • The Minister continued devotions with an opening prayer.
  • The 1st Reading, of Psalm 133, read by our Senior Steward was shown on video.
  • The Chairman introduced the Senior Stewards Report, and thanked the senior steward for his report, in which he paid tribute to all those who had worked hard throughout the year to keep the Church functioning in very difficult circumstances. He also thanked him for his great help to him during his time in office. The report was unanimously accepted by the congregation.
  • The Chairman introduced his own Minister’s Report. He advised that his Report was also available as a hard copy on request. The congregation unanimously accepted the Minister’s Report.
  • The 2nd Reading, from 1st Letter of John, Chapter 1, beginning at Verse 1 and read by the Church Council Secretary, and shown on video.
  • The Minutes of the last General Church Meeting, held on Sunday 7th April 2019, having been made available earlier, were taken as read. After a minor correction, they were signed as a true record.  
  • Matters Arising from the last General Church Meeting Minutes – The Chairman gave an update on: –

10.1 The One Opportunity North East Scheme and saidhe would be seeking forfurther funding as necessary for the continuation of this excellent Young Persons initiative.

10.2 The Lighting Scheme was complete, and the new Video system was now operational and available for use throughout the Circuit.

  1. held on Thursday, 25th March 2021, having been distributed, were taken as read, accepted, and signed as a correct record.
  2. Matters Arising from the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the ‘Way Forward Group’ – None.
  3. The Chairman introduced the new Safeguarding Policy, having been distributed, was taken as read, accepted, and signed, The Church Council Secretary’s signature is required on the document. The Chairman thanked the safeguarding officer for her hard work in preparing the Policy and for her Safeguarding work in general. A copy of the Safeguarding Policy is to be sent to the Room Booking Secretary, for onward use by room users.

A virtual Safeguarding Training Course will be taking place in the coming days on Zoom and encouraged all Members and friends to take advantage of the opportunity to train.

  1. The Next General Church Meeting was decided as Sunday, 24th April 2022.
  2. The 3rd Reading, from The Acts of The Apostles, Chapter 4, read by the Church Treasurer, was shown on video.
  1. The Chairman introduced the Treasurer’s Report, submitted by the treasurer, and was taken as read. It showed that in the financial year to date, we had spent £9,000 more than the amount of money we had taken in. We currently had £25,761 in reserve, which is sufficient funds for four Months of normal operation. The Circuit Assessment must continue to be paid, as this is essential for the support of our two Circuit Ministers.

The Chairman thanked the treasurer for her Report and hard work in looking after the Church’s financial affairs. He acknowledged that finances had been greatly affected this year by the Covid restrictions on our Church Services and Room Hire and hoped that this would improve in the coming months. He was pleased with the recent Easter Gifts effort, which had raised £3,100 and appealed to Members and friends to continue to give as generously as possible. If our current 125 Membership were each to give £500 annually, our financial problems would be solved.

  1. The Minister introduced a hymn sung by one of the youth team:
As men of old their firstfruits brought sung by Niamh Prior, organ by Richard Irwin, hymns without words
  1. The 4th Reading, from 1st Letter of John, Chapter 1, beginning at Verse 5 and read by the incoming secretary, was shown on video.
  1. Appointments: –

19.1 Church Stewards and Assistant Church Stewards: –

As happy to continue in post the 6 standing Church Stewards and 4 Assistant Church Stewards, were re-elected to serve from 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022. A new senior steward would also be in place from September.

19.2 Representatives to the Church Council: –

Two representatives had sadly passed away since our last General Church Meeting, and one representative has agreed to be Church Council Secretary and is therefore an ex-officio Member of the Church Council, were taken from the list of Representative.

As standing Representatives, the others were re-elected, to serve for the year 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022.

Three new names, having accepted nominations, were elected for a 1st year, subject to safeguarding procedures.

The newly elected Representatives will serve for the year 1st September 2021 to 31st August 2022.

19.3 The Chairman thanked all those who had operated in an official capacity during the past two years and for their invaluable contribution to the life of the Church.

He also welcomed those who had been elected and re-elected to office for their new year of running the Church.          

  1. The Minister based his Sermon on the words of the four Readings that were read earlier in the Service.
  1. The Minister gave the final prayers of the Service.
  1. The Final Hymn was the remaining verses of Hymn 964, ‘O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing’.
  1. The Minister pronounced The Blessing.
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