Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Meeting : 15th March 2007

On Thursday March 15th 2007, 23 of us met in the Parish Room after Stations of the Cross. Fr David was in the chair because his colleague Fr Stuart Wilson (who it had been hoped would address the meeting) had to go to hospital.

  1. The bishop wants us to set up a Parish Structure in order to promote the Kingdom and to work for what would be best for St Laurence’s.

    Suggestions were invited about the possible functions of such a structure. Fr David agreed with them all. Now that there are fewer clergy, more lay involvement will be necessary. This is good news.

    We already have statutory and other groups including:

    The new Parish Structure will also need to have its own life, not just being the sum of the above.

  2. Communication between members of different groups was seen to be important if St Laurence’s is to have a ‘meaningful connection’ between parishioners. Apparently 90% of us are ‘loyal’ to our particular mass time and Fr David can be inundated with messages that we wish to send to people who attend a different mass.

    In addition large housing developments are planned in our parish, from Northstowe to the estates around North Cambridge. We will need to work with the local Council of Churches programme for Evangelisation in the new Arbury Park.

    What about the villages? We are not a homogeneous parish: each village and each estate is different. The priest’s work is increasing: he cannot keep any more plates spinning. He might miss out people who are able and willing to help the parish.

  3. A Parish Structure would aim to ensure continuity in groups. Currently there may be situations where one person feels unable to leave a voluntary post until a successor is found. This situation ‘puts off’ would-be future volunteers. At the other end of the spectrum a group may feel frustrated, finding itself unable to develop because someone has been ‘frozen’ in a post at the top.

    At the end of this section of the meeting it seemed that there was agreement on a need for a structure which would

    Fr David showed us several alternatives

    1. Starting with the preferred Pastoral Model used by the Diocese of Westminster. Briefly, this would
      1. assist the priest
      2. mediate between the priest and groups
      3. co-ordinate the lay ministries
      4. report back on the spiritual and pastoral progress of the parish.
    2. He also briefly described a Management Model used in many parishes in the USA where the schools are owned by the parishes and the income and expenditure are such that business methods are required. Meetings are open to parishioners but they may not speak or vote.

    We discussed a version of (a) in which we hoped that there would be a place for

  4. Fr David listed the possibilities of

    1. a ‘whole parish’ Forum which met occasionally (as we have had in the recent past).
    2. a Forum with a more formal structure which could meet more regularly. Members would include include the Parish Treasurer, the Deacon, the Parish Priest (who should not be the chairperson), a secretary and a number of other people to form a steering group to make sure that things happen between meetings.

    Two people from the floor spoke in favour of Option B (the more formal Forum) and a vote was taken. Only one person voted against this. There were no abstentions.

  5. There followed several suggestions such as:

  6. Jim O’Sullivan agreed to be the Chairman of the Parish Forum. Margaret Simmons agreed to be Secretary.

    A report of this meeting to be sent to the Pilgrim.

    It was suggested that a month before a meeting a notice should be placed in the Parish Newsletter asking for topics to be sent in to the office for the Steering Committee to prioritise.

    To save re-inventing the wheel, copies of Mark Davis‘s Report on the Cambridge Conversation will be circulated to all at this meeting who request it.

    There will be a meeting to follow-up points decided on at this meeting. (This will be held at 8 PM ON WEDNESDAY MAY 16TH in the Parish Room.)

    The meeting closed at 9.30 pm.