Vestry Meeting and Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Held on Sunday May 28th 2023 at 11 am in Church

Vestry Meeting

1. The meeting was opened by Rev. Norma Rao with prayers
She welcomed 19 church members to the meeting and advised that only members on the
Electoral Roll were eligible to vote at either meeting

2. Apologies were accepted from, Sarah Shaughnessy, Colin Shaughnessy, Pauline Simpson
and Christine Marchant.

3. The minutes of the meeting held on 15th May 2022 had been circulated prior to the meeting
and had been available on the church website. Margaret Morrell proposed to accept the
minutes as a true record, seconded by Margaret Dabbs agreed unanimously.

4. There were no matters arising.

5. Nomination forms for the post of Churchwardens had been on the church notice board
and also available on line via the Secretary.  No nominations had been received, therefore the Vicar advised there will be two vacancies
for the posts of Churchwardens but thanked Robert Willis for all his work to ensure the church building is maintained and necessary repairs effected .

6. The meeting closed at 11.22 am.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting

1 Rev. Norma Rao advised that the minutes of the APCM on May 15th 2022 had been
circulated prior to the meeting. Julie Foley proposed to accept the minutes as a
true record, seconded by Wyn Hirst. The minutes were accepted unanimously

2 There were no matters arising.

3 In lieu of a Churchwarden's Report Robert Willis had provided a report on the church
building and its grounds. Cleaning has been maintained on a monthly basis and
the Terrier and Logbook have been kept up to date and are available for inspection.

4 The Treasurer's Report together with the PCC accounts were accepted as a true record,
proposed by Brian Livingstone and seconded by Jenny Lomas, agreed unanimously.

5 The Secretary's Report on The Parochial Church Council, the Safeguarding Report,
the Gift Aid Report, the Electoral Roll Officer's Report, The Deanery Synod Report and
various reports by the church organisations were accepted as a true record, proposed by
Margaret Morrell, and seconded by Julie Foley, agreed unanimously.

6 The Vicar reminded the meeting that we urgently need a lay person to take over from her
as the Safeguarding Officer for which regular training is provided by the Diocese.

Margaret Dabbs was thanked for organising the weekly prayer chain and it was noted it is
important to get updates for those whom we pray for.
The Parish Magazine which is issued “on line” monthly was discussed, with some asking
if copies could be printed if they could not copy themselves.

All efforts to find a permanent organist had failed and if necessary it was agreed we would
have to purchase CD's of hymns and the choir sit with the congregation.

7 Two nominations had been received for the five lay representatives to the PCC
from Brian Livingstone and Colin James Stockwell, they were both duly elected.
This left three vacancies.

8 Two nominations had been received for the two Deanery Synod representatives from
Margaret Morrell and Jill Carr they were both duly elected

9 The position of Independent Examiner had received one nomination, Colin Shaughnessy.
He was proposed to be accepted by Brian Livingstone seconded by Jenny Lomas,
approved unanimously.

10 Vicar's remarks:
The Vicar expressed concern at the poor attendances at our services on Sundays and
Tuesdays. She asked the meeting to consider different styles of worship to attract young
people stating that we have a number of Baptisms, some having over 200 people attending.
As the congregation is getting older there is an increase in home visits for sick people, for which she
has been helped by Margaret Morrell. The Vicar continues to hold communion services
for older people . She also advised that Susan Cross the Verger has now passed her
Safeguarding training.
The Vicar gave thanks to Julie Foley for her work on the envelope giving scheme and
providing evidence to obtain Gift Aid.
The Vicar gave her thoughts on the reducing numbers of Christians in the UK and hoped
we would live our lives with a belief in God, and pray for God to be alive in our Church .
In conclusion she advised we had celebrated King Charles III Coronation with a Faith lunch
on May 6th prior to which we had sent our Book of Remembrance through York Diocese
to the Royal Family after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

11 Announcements: none

12 Any other business
It was noted that contracts should be exchanged to complete the sale of the church hall
on June 4th and the buyer has asked for a maximum of 12 weeks to complete the sale.

The Vicar closed the meeting at 12.05 hours.


In Lieu of Church Warden’s Report - including Fabric, Goods and Ornaments 

for Annual General Meeting 2024



The church has been regularly monitored and repairs carried out to ensure it is maintained to the best possible standards.  


The grounds continue to be maintained by volunteers on a monthly Saturday basis and the grass cut regularly over the summer months by a volunteer for which I am very grateful.  The gravestones are checked annually in the Autumn for safety and stability. 


The church is cleaned every fortnight by two volunteers, also monthly as part of the Saturday gardening, The brass is cleaned by a volunteer, and I am grateful for this. The silverware is cleaned regularly after use and remains in good condition. All altar frontals, vestments and linen wear are in good condition.


A new architect was appointed early in January 2023 and she carried out a Quinquennial Inspection in February from which suitable firms are being asked for quotes for the repairs to be done.


There continues to be problems with loose slates on the old part of the church roof.  These are attended to as soon as possible.


The ‘Terrier’ and ‘Church Logbook’ have been updated as necessary throughout the year. 


R. Willis      


    Treasurer’s Report for AGM 2024


The Church accounts for 2023 have been prepared and examined, copies of which are available.


The financial position of the Church on 31st December 2023 indicates a stable financial position. However, this has been achieved because the Church is no longer subsidising the Church Hall which of course has been sold.


There has also been a number of generous donations. Further substantial legal costs have been incurred as part of the Hall sale process which we will claim back from the proceeds of the sale once the funds are available to the Church. These are currently being held by the Diocese until matters involving the Charity Commission are resolved.


In terms of income, compared to 2022, planned giving has remained stable. However, the PCC has committed to increasing the Freewill Offering to the Diocese by 10% in 2024 which will prove challenging if income does not increase.


I would like to record my gratitude for the tireless efforts from many in undertaking fundraising during the year and thanks should also be expressed to those who volunteer to both count and bank weekly collections.


David Dorman-Smith


PCC Treasurer


March 2024     


PCC   Secretary’s  Report for AGM 2024 


            The year started with eleven members on the Parochial Church Council consisting

            of the Vicar Rev Norma Rao, with no Churchwardens, 2 elected Deanery Synod

            representatives, 6 elected members and 2 Co-opted members.   


            The council met 11 times during 2023. Rev. Marie Edwards resigned in May.

            At the Annual General Meeting on May 28th 2023 one new PCC member, Colin

            Stockwell was elected.  The meeting was held in church with 20 church members



            At the first meeting of the new PCC Robert Willis was elected as a Co-opted

            member.  This left the Council to continue with a shortfall of 2 Churchwardens and

            1 PCC member.


            At the first meeting of the new Council the following people were appointed:


            Chairperson:                        Rev Norma Rao

            Vice Chair:                           Margaret Morrell

            Secretary:                            Brian Livingstone

            Treasurer:                            David Dorman-Smith

            Safeguarding Officer:         Rev. Norma Rao

            Health & Safety Officer:     Robert Willis

            Electoral Roll:                      Margaret Dabbs

            Standing Committee:         Julie Foley

            Envelopes Secretary:         Julie Foley

            Gift Aid Secretary:  Julie Foley

            Independent Assessor:      Colin Shaughnessy


            A lot of PCC time has been taken up over the second buying of the Church Hall

            after the first buyer pulled out. It was a relief to get advice that the sale had been

            completed on August 25th only to be advised by York that until the law is changed

            in spring 2024 we would not be able to put our plans forward to The Charity

            Commission to spend the money on improving our Church building. Thanks go to

            David Dorman-Smith for his time and efforts in dealing with solicitors and York

            Diocese to complete the sale.


            It was good to report the appointment of a new young Architect, but her report from

            The Q. I. will involve a large sum of money to effect repairs both internal and

            external to the church.


            On the positive side, a successful lunch was held in church to celebrate the King's



            Our monthly Coffee mornings have been a great success throughout the year

            with thanks going to Jill and Tony Carr in particular for organising them.           


             Thanks also to our two Synod representatives, Margaret Morrell and Jill Carr for

             attending meetings and keeping us informed of Deanery issues, especially with

             the concerns over the Diocese dire financial position.                     


             I hope that we will see more volunteers coming forward this year to fill the

             positions of 2 Church wardens and the 3 vacancies on the PCC.     


             I would like to express my thanks to those people who raised reports to me in

             advance of PCC meetings and in particular to Pauline Simpson for her help with

             the AGM reports.



             Brian Livingstone   PCC Secretary   


Deanery Synod Report for APCM 2024

Each meeting followed the same format as in previous years, starting with a time for refreshments and socialising, a short meditation and prayers. Synod members then coming together for the circulated agenda under the chairmanship of the Area Dean Fr. Glyn Holland.

The first meeting of Synod 2023 met at St Marks Church South Thornaby on Tuesday 28th February.

There were two Parish Presentations by Fr. Glyn Holland of All Saints, Middlesbrough and Rev Robert Desics from St. Marks, South Thornaby on how their Churches were managing the challenges of today. Martin Bailey (DFA) informed synod of the Diocesan Funding the Mission Scheme which covered Free Will Offerings in 2022. He was pleased to report that the Deanery had paid in full. Sadly, he didn’t expect this to be repeated in 2023.                                                                        

The Lay Dean, Alistair Bolton, reported on the success of the Deanery Day which had involved workshops and worship.

Following the PCC elections in May when Jill Carr and Margaret Morrell had been re-elected as lay representatives to Synod for St Mary’s. The newly elected Synod met at St John’s Church, Middlesbrough on Wednesday 14th June.

Archdeacon, John Day (Growing healthy churches Adviser) talked about the new revitalised growth strategy, a 2-year journey into becoming a healthy church. St Martins Church (Whinney Banks) have already embarked on this journey. Our Archdeacon Amanda Bloor then spoke about her forthcoming Visitations to Parishes in the Deanery. It is a legal responsibility that every 5 years she meets with the Church Wardens to walk around the church to talk about the hopes and dreams of the Parish. She emphasised that she was not there to undermine the vicar.

The Diocesan Representative Informed Synod that the final deficit of the York Diocese in 2022 was £1.7million This would mean that the reserve funds would be used to make up the shortfall.

The final meeting of the year took place at Holy Trinity Church, North Ormesby on 9th October.

The Archdeacon, Amanda, talked about Formal Synodical Matters and the Ministry and Mission of the Middlesbrough Deanery. She said that many people still do not know God, so we need to share the Good News in each Parish.

Rev. Bridget Woodall reported to Synod on the plans for “Festival Teesside” a joint venture involving all denominations which will be held on the weekend of June 8/9/2024 in Stewart Park. This event is about reaching people in a contemporary festival style.


More detailed information about Deanery Synod is available in the Parish Minutes Book and questions can be answered by the Deanery Representatives, Jill Carr or Margaret Morrell.   


Gift Aid Report for AGM 2024

All claims for gift aid for 2023 have been completed and submitted to HMRC, including Gift Aid for Small Donations (money from the collection plate). These refunds have been received and the amounts from HMRC in respect of these claims are stated in the treasurer’s report.

The numbers of people giving under the envelope scheme has now dropped to 8 and under the standing order schemes has dropped to 13.

Gift Aid under the Parish Giving Scheme is refunded monthly and is sent directly to the treasurer.

In view of the decreasing numbers giving by envelope it has been decided for 2023/24 to continue using the generic type available in church, from April these will be blue though white ones can continue to be used.  


Julie Foley


Electoral Roll Report for AGM 2024


 There are now 81 names on the electoral roll, of which 67 live within the parish and 14 live outside the parish boundary. 


Margaret Dabbs…..

Electoral Roll Officer 21/02/2024 



Prayer Chain Report for AGM 2024


The St Mary's Prayer Chain has continued to run smoothly throughout 2023. We have received prayer requests from many and varied quarters, both home and abroad.

I would like to thank the team for their support and our Lord for his guidance.

Our numbers will shortly be reduced as Hilary is moving to be near her daughter and I would like to thank her for her invaluable input to our prayers. 


Margaret Dabbs


Parish Magazine, Website and Facebook Report for Annual General Meeting 2024



The magazine continues to be available on the St Mary’s website.   


As editors we continue to look after the St Mary’s website also the entry in the ‘Church Near You’ website and a Facebook page for St Mary’s. These enable us to reach out to those who may not live in the area but want to know about us. 


The Facebook page is kept up to date with information about services, events and prayers etc. and links to Church of England and York Diocese information.  It is also quite often used as a first port of call for people wanting information about Baptisms, Weddings etc. as well as various random queries and requests about copies of Marriage or Baptism certificates, information about long lost relatives and gravestones etc.    


An up-to-date diary is available on the ‘A Church Near You’ website and this needs dates checking and updating or amending as required on a weekly basis.


Your editors wish you all good reading in the coming months.


Pauline Simpson – Bob Willis   Co-editors


Music Report for Annual General Meeting 2024



A choir is still present at the 10am service, but numbers are now down to five which threatens the viability of this continuing.  Evensong still manages to maintain a choir of eleven voices in four parts.  This is due to several members coming from other churches which don’t have an evening service.


Of course, it would not be a report without saying as in previous years that new people are desperately needed to keep the singing going.  St Mary’s has always had a good musical reputation, but this is in danger of disappearing in the near future.


The faithful members of the choir are to be thanked for their continuing support at all the services during 2023.


Jack Thompson continues to play the organ most Sundays but there are no choir practices. Despite advertising for a replacement organist, there are none in the area.  We are lucky to have Julia Armstrong who comes to play the organ whenever Jack wants a Sunday off.    We thank them both for their continuing service to St Mary’s. 


R Willis  

Choir Member


Annual Report of the Wednesday Work Force for APCM 2024


Following the sale of the Church Hall in 2023 all social and fundraising events were inevitably centred in the church. Hopefully the church will eventually be reordered, and more space will become available for social and fundraising events.

With the limited space available the Wednesday Work Force successfully held monthly coffee mornings on the second Wednesday of each month except August. Cakes and preserves, books and bespoke cards were sold, together with an ever-popular raffle.

As a result of the tireless efforts of the volunteers and the generous support of members of the congregation and others, £2387.55 was raised during the year. It was agreed the proceeds of the June coffee morning should be given to Christian Aid, this amounted to £209.00.

It should be noted that in 2023 the Coffee Mornings were the main fundraising events held by the Church Family here at St Mary’s. The continued success was only made possible because of the dedication of the volunteers and the support of all the people who came or donated in any way.

Thank you