Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 10 April 2008

Jim O’Sullivan – Chair – circulated the Agenda.

Fr David opened the meeting with a prayer.

24 people were present.

Apologies were received from E.Barrand, V.Bird, R.Birkett, A&S.Hemsley, M.MacGinley.

Matters arising from Minutes

It was pointed out that these would be covered under separate headings (See Agenda).

In reply to a question arising from the meeting on 4 December 2007, Fr David said he intended that a group of parishioners with a specific role would meet between Forum meetings.

Parish Update

The 40th Anniversary of the Opening of St Laurence’s School will be celebrated on Friday 25th April. The Bishop will say mass at 11am at the school and there will be an evening celebration for everyone organized by the Parents, Teachers and Friends of St Laurence’s School.

Coordination and Cooperation with other Cambridge parishes

Parish Welcome

Report from working group – Paul Simmons and Rosina Abudulai:

‘Nuts and Bolts’

At 11am mass we currently have a rota of volunteers who (a) greet people (b) give out mass sheets, bulletins and books and (c) are asked also to collect up and tidy these away at the end of mass.

They often see many people, who arrive just on time or a little late, standing at the back of the church. It is not possible to see spaces near the front and often people are unwilling to disturb others. We need ushers – who can see spaces – encourage those seated to make room, so that those who want to sit can do so.

‘Nuts and Bolts’ need lots of volunteers to hold the framework together.

Welcoming – the bigger picture

Perhaps we need to be encouraged to think of the person next to us in mass as a friend: it’s not meant to be like being next to a stranger in a cinema.

cf. Acts 2:42: ‘They remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers’.
and Acts 4:32: ‘The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul’.

Let us talk to someone unfamiliar at coffee time, not just to our buddies.

Rosina summed up

Yes, welcoming, ushering, not leaving people alone in a group, perhaps a Welcome Pack. Specifically:

  1. Ask Fr David to preach about the Theology of Welcoming and then let us all take responsibility. Let us repeat this regularly so that we don’t slip back.
  2. Volunteering – let us have a slip: one signs to actually volunteer.
  3. Training of Volunteers – let us share our ideas and agree a date for a start and a later date for appraisal – is it working?
  4. We need a variety of people including those from other masses than 11am.

A discussion followed:

  1. It seemed a shame that church-tidying be left to the very people who would like to meet others over coffee. Could we have a system to encourage the return of books and unwanted sheets of paper to labelled recycling boxes near the exit?
  2. Some young people already helped to make coffee and gave out sheets at the door. Would this be a good task for post-Confirmation people?
  3. Let young people join the committee /group too. We hear that lack of any useful involvement can cause young people to drift away.
  4. Can we try to make sure that all meetings in the parish are welcoming? We often don’t know the names of those we see every week. It has been said ‘You can’t value your clients if you don’t value your colleagues’.
  5. Regular coffee after 9.30 mass would be a great advantage in what was experienced as a welcoming group.

Fr David would officially launch A Welcoming Community. This was exactly what he hoped for – inviting people to join groups and making them friendly. After training we would start, appraise after a few months and refresh regularly.

At 9.30am and 11am space is difficult: the other masses have space but other challenges.

But nevertheless we are one community and all should feel this.

We are a parish with a large turn-over: 60plus people may move in and out each year.

This led to the next item.

Registration/Census/Skills Audit

Jim O’Sullivan introduced a form which could be updated each year. One should be reminded to pass on any change in personal details.

Some blank forms would be left at the back of the church.

Is there a way to keep in contact with someone if they are away for a while?

The reverse side lists some parish activities: it does not purport to be exhaustive or definitive.

It was suggested that an extra column would show current involvement, and a box could be added for:

  1. Skills available
  2. Are there any groups that you would join if they were offered?

Social activities and gardening were mentioned.

Care would be taken to ensure data protection.

Parish Jubilee Update

Sunday 15th June Jubilee Mass at 11am at school (Said masses at 6pm Saturday 14th and 8am on Sunday 15th. No 9.30 mass on 15th).

Fr David outlined plans to enable us to give thanks to God for our Golden Jubilee and to offer mass for the whole parish with our bishop, which should be as inclusive of every part of our parish as possible.

A procession to the altar to be led by the Traveller Community carrying the statue of Our Lady, followed by First Communion children and the Altar party.

Elements of the International Mass are planned with prayers and readings in various languages, an African offertory and a Polish choir, a contribution from the school and children making their First Holy Communion – other groups may be invited.

A great deal of organization will be required. Fr David asked particularly if anyone present could organize publicity. Stephen Warde volunteered and said it should be made clear that parishioners should not assume that ‘the same people as usual will be in charge’. There are gaps for many volunteers.

Any Other Business

A price list for the Repository was requested – M.Plumb.

In reply to a query about the source of the names of Prisoners of Conscience prayed for at mass and for whom petitions are signed, Fr David said they were obtained from agencies other than Amnesty International – P.Edwards.

Next Thursday at 7.15 pm 17th April a film will be shown in the parish room on: Modern Slavery – A Global Investigation, covering the Cocoa Industry, Rugmaking and Domestic Slavery in UK – Sr.Pat Robb.

The Meeting closed at 9.40pm.

Date of Next meeting