Rev Alan Bradley chaired our Zoom Church Council Meeting, held on Monday 12th October, with 22 members able to join in on-line.
The following are some notes of some of the items that were included in our
Meeting and which, it is hoped, will be of interest to readers of Open Doors.
Alan read verse 24 from John’s Gospel, Chapter 12, as he led our Opening Devotions: ‘I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’
Words, and an image of a seed, were taken from Jan Richardson’s Painted
Prayer Book – ‘Into the Seed’ and Alan reminded us that Christ has called us to a different way of life. As we met together as Trustees of our Church, we were encouraged to remember that it is not what we can do, but what God can do through us, that is important.
Rev Scott Manning is to share the pastoral oversight of KMC with Alan and so Scott was welcomed to Church Council.
We were given an update on the re-opening of the Church, now that communion Services were taking place on Thursday mornings and an All-In Service had started on the previous Sunday morning. To comply with the restrictions on meeting together, everyone wishing to attend any of these Services had to book in advance, and so far provision had been made for 30 to attend each Service, but that number had not, so far, been exceeded.
The services were described as ‘Pathfinders’ and arrangements would be kept under review.
A Preaching Plan had been prepared up to the end of November as Services are being held at each of the Circuit Churches. The plan also gives details of all the on-line Services that are continuing to run.
Our Treasurer, Bryan Peak, guided us through the Budget that was proposed for the year, comparing it with the Budget and the Actual figures for the past two years.
We finished the last year (end of August 2020) with only a small deficit, despite the drop in rental incomes while the Church and Community Rooms have been closed, but this was offset by not having a Youth Worker.
Looking ahead we are pleased to have Brad and Rosie as Youth and Community workers, sharing their time between Knutsford and Zac’s House
in Northwich, and it was hoped to employ a Pastoral Assistant from January.
Overall this produced a Budget that would end the year with a deficit of about £57,000! The Finance Team pointed out that this would still
leave us with some money in reserve, but at the very bottom end of what is recommended.
It is clear that this situation is not sustainable and so difficult decisions will
have to be made, both this year and in the future. Much of the Church’s expenditure is on the Assessments we pay to the Circuit and District, covering staff costs, so we were reminded that we need to give sacrificially.
Scott pointed out that if we ‘grow our mission’ our finances will grow!
Church Council was presented with a paper from Zac’s Oversight Group, which is Chaired by Rev Rod Hill. It was clear that a lot of hard work had gone into the preparation of the document. It outlined the background
to the ‘Northwich Project’ and the vision to plant a new church community; the support it has received from the Alderley Edge and Knutsford Circuit, the Mid Cheshire Circuit, the Manchester and Stockport District and the
Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District; the grants that were obtained for three years from the Connexional Mission and Ministry Fund and how they were
encouraged to reapply for further funding for years 4 and 5 as per the business plan; and the similar commitment for 3 years from the Manchester & Stockport District.
The project is currently in its third year and one major impact on Zac’s is that the money is now not available through Connexional Grants from
the Methodist Church for years 4 and 5.
The paper gave a clear summary of all that has been achieved over the last three years and presented a carefully-structured Business Plan for the project and a budget for the next three years.
It gives the team the evidence they need to seek support for the future, in
line with their Mission Statement: ‘Pray, Partner and Participate in God’s Mission to Northwich and beyond.’
Zac’s House is ‘KMC on a second campus,’ and so it is the responsibility of our Church Council to guide and support the project into the future. Several members of our Church Council spoke enthusiastically about the project and commended the paper – ‘the clearest presentation of what Zac’s House is all about’ was a comment made by one Member.
It was exciting to hear Rev Alan Bradley speak so enthusiastically about the
project, and how excited he was to come to a Church that had such an ambitious outreach plan.
Church Council acknowledged that it was a challenging decision, but backed the proposed Business Plan, Budget and funding proposals unanimously. “What we are doing in Northwich we should also be doing in
Knutsford” was a comment, and a challenge, that was made.
Perhaps some of that ‘investment’ that we can make in Knutsford will be through The Welcome. While this is no longer a Church Alan pointed out that those in the worshipping community there will be invited to transfer
their memberships to KMC, and Church Council agreed that The Welcome and its Members will become a Class of KMC.
The next full meeting of Church Council is planned for 3rd February 2021.
Written by Henry Waters, who is one of our Congregational Representatives to Knutsford’s Church Council.