Notes from recent Church Council and Circuit Meetings, by Henry Waters

The Church Council, planned for 17th March, had to be cancelled due to the need for everyone to stay at home and to self-isolate, wherever and whenever possible.
Urgent matters, however, still needed to be dealt with and so a ‘virtual’ Church Council was arranged.
Two ‘Bulletins’ were sent to all members of Church Council by email. They covered matters such as arrangements for following the Government’s direction to not hold any meetings in the Church or our community Rooms, and permitting staff, where appropriate, to work from home, or, if necessary, to be put on furlough.
It was also necessary for Council members, as Managing Trustees of the Church, to formally approve the Annual Report & Accounts. The Bulletins were supported by the appropriate background notes, and a Voting Template was also issued, to allow members to send their votes to the
Secretary. All propositions were carried.
The Circuit Meeting, planned for 1st April, also had to be cancelled. The Circuit Leadership Team (CLT), however, recognised that several matters had to be dealt with, and, following advice from the Charity Commission, found it necessary to change the Constitution of Circuit Meeting to permit meeting and voting electronically. A proposition to make this change
was therefore sent to each Member of Circuit meeting, either by email or post, and the votes were similarly returned. The proposition was carried unanimously, so a ‘virtual’ Circuit Meeting was arranged for
22nd April using the Zoom video conferencing software. Similar arrangements were made as for KMC’s Church Council.
A detailed Agenda was prepared with supporting papers for Members to be fully briefed, and a series of propositions was tabled. The Zoom Meeting worked remarkably well, thanks in no small measure to the tactful chairing of Rev Rob Cotton. 30 Members of Circuit Meeting were able to join the Zoom meeting, and the ability for us all to see each other and to have
the opportunity to raise any questions, meant that the business of the Meeting could be conducted in much the same way as in a ‘traditional’ meeting.

We were able to appoint or re-appoint the Circuit Stewards, Officers and Representatives, and to receive information from the CLT, Rob Cotton and the Circuit Treasurer. Terms of reference for the CLT were proposed, including a suggestion that the CLT should act on behalf of Circuit Meeting between their normal meetings. The Circuit’s working party was delegated to negotiate with the Welcome Charity on the future of the lease on the premises in Longridge and on the Circuit’s continuing relationship with the Charity.
Rob Cotton was able to up-date us on the discussions he has been holding with Cliff College on the possibility of two of their students, who would be taking a ‘year out’ for the 3rd year of their 4 year courses, to become
trainee evangelists with us; one might be based at Zac’s House and the other at Knutsford. Our Treasurer was also able to present the Trustees’ Annual Report, our Reserves Policy and the Annual Accounts. Voting templates had been circulated. These were returned after the Meeting. All propositions were carried unanimously.
A further Church Council is scheduled for 18th May, and this, too, will use the Zoom software. In line with the decision of Circuit Meeting our council has also agreed to modify its Constitution to allow us to meet and vote electronically.

So you can see that we have all had to adapt to the current crisis, but it is good to know that we are able to fulfil our duties as Members and Trustees of the Church Council and Circuit Meeting.
Henry Waters
Congregational Representative to Church Council
and Secretary to Circuit Meeting.
May 17th, 2020.

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