Fr Pat, Fr Bob, Stephen Warde (Chair), Sarah Sykes (Minutes) and about 20 other parishioners.
Jim O’Sullivan, Mary Watkins, Fr Jay.
Amendment received from Fr Bob to the previous meetings minutes for Matters Arising:
Deacon Revd. John Steel presented the year end accounts (attached) to the Forum. He explained that there had been a moratorium on expenditure for the last year and as a consequence total expenditure was down by £52,000 over the year. Both our Parish account and our account held at Diocesan level both have healthy balances of £49,970 and £175, 581 respectively.
Deacon John suggested that the Parish account needs to run at about £20,000 per year, and Fr Pat suggested that any excess funds should be transferred in a timely manner to our Diocesan account where we are able to get a small amount of interest on the balance.
A couple of Forum members queried the small level of interest (0.5%) and, on behalf of the Finance Committee, Deacon John agreed that they would ask the Diocesan Trustees about how they invest the money and why the interest level seems quite low.
Fr Pat thanked the Parish for its generosity in donations. This combined with a thrifty year means that we will be able to invest in some projects in connection with the fabric of the building over the coming year and still maintain our commitments across normal Parish expenditure.
Thanks were also expressed to Deacon John and the Finance Committee for their time and work on looking after the Parish accounts.
ACTION: Finance Committee to investigate how Diocese invests our money.
Joanne Kerrigun updated the Forum on progress made to source a suitable company to produce the plaque. The plaque will record the 10 Parish Priests that have served in St Laurence’s so far, and include some space for future additions. She showed some photographic examples and explained that we had received one quote of £800 for an oak plaque, cost including postage and mounting for the plaque. She was still waiting for a further quote from local company Creative Signs. It is planned that the new plaque will replace the current one commemorating Fr Patrick Oates.
Forum members, Helena Judd and Karen Rodgers also recommended getting a quote from Rowan Humberstone, Chesterton − a Cambridge based charity and arts centre for people with learning disabilities.
Permission to go ahead with the best quote was agreed.
ACTION: Joanne Kerrigun to order plaque
Sarah Sykes gave a brief overview on progress made on preparing for the Songs of Praise celebration on 13 May and the Concelebration Mass on 10 August.
She encouraged people to contribute photos to the planned photo display of the life of the Church over the last 60 years, especially of events at the Church.
It is hoped to have a display ready for people to view while taking refreshment after Songs of Praise. Invites have been sent out to parishes in the boundaries of our Parish to this event. Hymns have been chosen and a music practice planned to which all singers/players are invited. We will be looking for welcomers and readers and help with refreshments afterwards.
Stephen Warde thanked those who had come forward as volunteers to help across planned events. A small Steering Group has been formed from these volunteers which will co-ordinate preparations and contact other volunteers for specific help.
Further to discussion at the last Forum about the possibility of replacing the carpet in the Parish Room, Narthex and Sanctuary, Joe Tucker had been in contact with Denton’s of Cottenham who recommended a hard-wearing vinyl to be laid in the Parish Room and Narthex, and carpet tiles in the Sanctuary. He passed out samples of both and reported that to re-carpet the Sanctuary the cost would be around £1,800 assuming we keep the edging, but the cost would double if edging needs to be replaced. To replace the carpet with vinyl in the Parish Room would cost approximately £2,800 and in the Narthex approximately £1,700, costing roughly £7,000 in total. Fr Pat indicated that this work would be approached as two separate projects, perhaps starting with the Parish Rooms and Narthex.
Christine Knight recommended getting a second quote from Chesterton Carpets. It was agreed that a smaller group should be organised to look into the options in more detail and get more quotes. Karen Rodgers and James MacQuillan volunteered to become members of such a group.
Fr Pat briefly mentioned that it is time to start thinking about repainting the Church, and put a general request out for input on colour, decoration and layout.
Michael McK reminded us that the builders of the new flats on Asham Road had offered to put a skylight in the church roof to mitigate against the loss of light from the new building and wondered if the redecoration should wait. Fr Pat explained that Irial McGinley had strongly advised not to touch the roof which has been in place since 1958 as it would very likely destabilise it. As an alternative, Fr Pat had, with Virginia Bird, been investigating investing in some clear glass windows. However, now that Virginia had moved out of the Parish he would be pleased to receive offers of help to progress this plan.
ACTION: Working group to be set up – notice in bulletin.
Grounds: During her time in the Parish, as a keen gardener, Virginia spent many hours looking after the grounds and Parish garden. It was suggested that we would benefit from having someone take over this role and that this could be a paid role. Frances Stafford has some contacts whom we could approach.
ACTION: Enquire into employing part-time gardener.
James McQuillan asked about the possibility of disabled access into the garden. Nora Darby reported that Sue Price and Walter (builder) had done a survey of the area a few weeks ago and suggested that a sill is built out from the door in the top left corner of the Parish Room, to travel along the width of the building to the left corner of the garden and then a slope up towards the Statue of our Lady. Walter has offered to put in a costing to Fr Pat and the Finance Committee will be asked to see if we can afford the expenditure.
ACTION: Ask Walter for a quote for ramp installation.
Nora Darby asked if there was something which could be done to dissuade people from parking their cars along the carpark borders especially along the section to the left as we approach the exit. No one had any immediate suggestions, and Fr Pat took the opportunity to explain about the general use of the car park – he has given permission for parents to park for school pick up/drop off, and brief visits to the Library, and for parishioners to park there for short local errands when the carpark is otherwise not in use. He does not tolerate all-day parking for non-parishioners and has a series of notices for placing on car windshields who overstay their welcome. The builders of the neighbouring flats have permission to use 4 spaces along the right of the carpark boundary and as a thank you the builders have offered a donation of £250 which Fr Pat proposed to pass on to the SVP.
Site management: It was suggested that we should look for someone who might volunteer to look after the fabric and grounds of the Church in general. It would need to be someone with a professional background in buildings or architecture. That person would keep an eye on and be a contact point for maintenance and site safety and security. It was agreed that we should advertise in the Parish for a volunteer.
ACTION: Find volunteer site manager.
Members of the Tech Group are currently: Christine Knight, Ronald Haynes, Sean Martin and Martin Avery. Christine reported that the group have been looking into streaming our Masses on the internet for those who can’t physically be present. In looking into the options, Sean suggested that he may be able to provide a system himself. To that end it was planned that a small test system would be installed using and enhancing the existing audio-visual equipment. The system would then be managed by internal expertise rather than an external company such as Church Services TV. If the test set-up proves not to be viable then feedback received from other churches currently using Church Services TV has been good and we would think about using them.
ACTION: Contact Sean Martin and monitor testing of parish-provided Internet broadcasting.
Helena Judd reminded the Forum that permission now needs to be sought from parents/guardians of altar servers for potential broadcasting of the children online. Fr Pat said as a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Group, he would speak to the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.
ACTION: Send permission letter to guardians of altar servers.
The Tech group is also willing to look at other tech equipment in the Church and welcomes other like-skilled volunteers.
The Chair offered thanks to all who participate in the preparation and participation − all involved in ministries including readers, flower arrangers, musicians and clergy. It was agreed that the Masses were marvellous. Fr Pat also made special mention of Margaret Plumb for her faithful daily service in the Sacristy.
Fr Bob requested that the Bidding Prayer Group be asked to include prayers for those who are preparing to receive sacraments to be mentioned on a regular basis in the bidding prayers: ordination, confirmation, communion, baptisms etc.
ACTION: Contact Bidding Prayer Group.
Walsingham Pilgrimages: a coach will be going from St Laurence’s to the Diocesan Pilgrimage at the end of May. For a change, the pilgrims will be walking from the Shrine to the village pub.
Fr Pat also plans to offer a coach to the Children’s Diocesan Pilgrimage, 29 May. It will be affordably priced and therefore subsidised by the Parish. A great experience of faith, fun and food for all the children, and if the weather is good a visit to the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. Ice-creams on Fr Pat! Rosina Abdulai asked if the children get an opportunity for Eucharistic adoration. She thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce them to the concept. Fr Pat said that the theme for this year is The Eucharist and thought it could be an idea worth pursuing with the organisers.
SVP will also be running a pilgrimage on Sunday 1 July. They will be hiring a coach with a life so that people with mobility issues can easily get on and off.
ACTION: Fr Pat to put note in bulletin about May Crowning.
All action points marked in yellow.