Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 8 February 2018


Fr Pat Cleary, Stephen Warde (chair), Serga Collett (secretary) + approx. 20 parishioners.


Rosalie Malone, Mary-Jane O Sullivan, Helena Judd, Helen Allen, Ron Watkins.

Minutes of last meeting

These have been displayed on the parish website and on notice board, and were approved.

Matters arising

50th anniversary Fr Bob ordination: Feast of St Peter and Paul, Friday 29th June. Father Bob to say Mass. Bring and share lunch in the Parish Rooms on Saturday (30th), everyone is invited. Need to check details with Fr Bob.

Live streaming update. Christine Knight reported that a group had looked for other streaming services but not found one as good as Churchservices.TV, and that the latter firm was recommended. £3,500 up front cost and £150 a month thereafter. Fr Pat thought that this would be OK financially, pending finalized accounts. Comments that Walsingham and Northampton Cathedral both have systems – perhaps worth checking which services they use? In general there was agreement to trial it. Action: check who Walsingham and Northampton use; if this does not give us another option, go ahead – first year on trial basis.

60th anniversary of the church celebrations – 4 key elements: (1) kick off with a ‘songs of praise’ on the Sunday after Ascension, 13th May, at 4.30pm (after it was noted that the initially proposed Pentecost date clashed with an Ablaze mass). All aspects of St Laurence’s music to be represented. The youth group should be given an opportunity to be involved. (2) Mass with past priests of the parish to be celebrated on the feast of St Laurence, the 10th of August. (3) A display of photos of the church and church activities over last 60 years. (4) A particularly popular idea was a board in the Church with a list of priests throughout the years. Plaque to be put in church - suggestion is to put this beside (or replace) the current memorial to Fr Patrick Oates with this board. Action: need a group to organise these activities; ads to go in newsletter + appeal.

Parish leaflets: ‘Welcome to church’ leaflets and ‘parish life’ leaflets, which list groups etc are now at back of church. It was agreed that we should now use parish life leaflet to update website which is somewhat out of date.

Fr Bob also would like to further encourage the church’s Facebook page awareness.

Repairs and Renovations

Flooring: It was felt that the flooring in the Narthex and parish rooms is now dirty and difficult to be keep clean; also in sanctuary. Fr Pat felt that hard flooring would be preferable as easier to keep clean. Ideas in regard to what type of flooring were discussed. Jo Tucker offered to investigate what is underneath the carpet. Pricing to be sought – laminate, carpet, bamboo, tiles? Should be of commercial standard. Costings for next meeting.

Virginia Bird said that she was going to be moving away and that some of the jobs which she has been doing will need to be taken over by someone else:

  1. Pews – orange oil not working – sand them and revarnish. To be looked into.
  2. Screws on bottom of black chairs need to tightened regularly as get wobbly, Jim O’Sullivan volunteered.
  3. Soap dishes replenish and buy new soap? Karen Rodgers volunteered.
  4. Garden. James McQuillan suggested a management cooperative to be formed and read out a short report he had put together outlining some ideas. He would be happy to be part of a garden party. Nora Darby wondered whether some young people would like to be involved? Disabled access and decking were discussed and it was suggested to ask Sue Price (who originally proposed this idea) for advice on the access from the garden. On the garden generally – need to ask for volunteers.
  5. Someone (tall!) to dust cobwebs in church.
  6. Help to look after the library.
We need to finalise this list, publicise it, and get volunteers.


Holy Week and Easter, 8 pm Maundy Thursday, 3 pm Good Friday, 8pm Holy Saturday. Easter Sunday: 9.30am to be at school. 8 am and 11 am as normal at church.

Stations of the cross – Good Friday: both adult stations and children’s stations in morning - Jim O’Sullivan to coordinate.

Stations during Lent: different groups needed to lead it; to be publicised in newsletter.

House Masses will be on a Thursday during Lent. Fr Pat said that it was a good opportunity to take the Mass out to villages and that he would be happy to do it at other times of the year too. He added that one restriction at house Masses is the provision of just ‘simple’ refreshments.

James McQuillan asked about Benediction: Fr Bob explained that this takes place on Fridays at Blackfriars.

Fr Jay is covering due to absence at OLEM until March.

It was suggested that we invite Archbishop Rowan Williams to join us for Mass as part of our ecumenical provision.

At the 9:30 Mass, the change of direction of the altar has been received favourably. Tom Lachlan-Cope has taken on organising altar servers at 9.30.

Request for children liturgy volunteers has been successful.


Fr Pat gave a synopsis of the provisional Year End accounts being finalized by Reverend John Steel.

Items of note were: an increase in 2017 collections by around £1000; Gift Aid also saw around a £1000 increase; diocesan investments reduced; expenditure on house reduced from £48,165 to £8,970 (note: it was pointed out that there will need to be some expenditure on the house in the near future). Additional clergy has of course meant additional expenditure.

“In general it was a good year,” Fr Pat said. Now accounts are to be agreed by the Finance Committee and then figures to be discussed at the next Forum.

Jim Scally noted that last year we distributed envelopes so that we could claim tax back on Christmas and Easter offerings to the priests. Can we do this again? No objections to go ahead for Easter.

Should we be considering alternatives to donating to appeals etc. via cash (as people often don’t carry cash). Serga to find out about ‘texting’ donations.

Catechesis and school

Catechesis – bumper numbers, about over 70 first communicants this years. Fr Pat reported that this was going extremely well and that there has been some shift in emphasis and more responsibility for the preparation has been handed over to the parents. The group meets once a month and the other three sessions are the responsibility of the parents.

The Confirmation program too is running very well and Helena’s enthusiasm and boundless energy noted.

Baptisms - preparation evenings to which parents are invited; also there are 4 sessions available for wedding preparation and a Saturday session considering various aspects of marriage from a religious perspective and this was reported to be going well.

School has recently had an Ofsted report – results not yet known. Blinds instead of the brightly coloured curtains are being installed. No mass at school Ash Wednesday as half term.

Parish Groups

CAFOD report– Mary Watkins had submitted a report to publicise that Connect2Peru collections are continuing to be successful, with on average donations between £2-300. This means on average £2000-£3000 and she stressed that this was very much appreciated by our partners in Peru.

St Laurence’s school Mini Vinnies have recorded their school CAFOD song which was taken to Peru along with a photo of the group. This was received with great excitement by children in Warmi Huasi.

Pope Francis has launched Share the Journey, a new global campaign for the rights of people on the move: ‘Walk for refugees’ week, 18-24 June. The CAFOD group suggested a parish walk on Sunday 17th or Sunday 24th. The Forum supported this suggestions – there are no date clashes, so the CAFOD group can choose the best date.

SVP has received significant donations from parish with thanks, these are well used and group has new members. Will work out how to report back to parish as of course member confidentiality needs to observed.

Any other business

There was a comment that the DVD series on Catholicism was excellent, and showing it an alternative time might be good as it would allow other people to attend. Some discussion as to whether we could provide transport support for a particular attendee who lived a long distance away and walked. It was felt a financial contribution was a difficult precedent to set and didn’t fall into the remit of SVP.

Fr Bob remarked on the tremendous contribution of diverse groups in our parish, e.g., our African parishioners. But this diversity is not represented at the Forum. Should special invitation be extended?

Karen Rodgers publicised the following:

Dates of future meetings

All at 8 pm in the parish rooms

All action points marked in yellow.