Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 13 January 2009

Chair: Jim O’Sullivan circulated the Agenda.

Fr David opened the meeting with a prayer.

15 people were present.

Apologies were received from Rosina Abudulai, Lynda McIntyre, Margaret Plumb, Mary Watkins.

Minutes of last meeting

Minutes of the last meeting on October 15th had been posted in the Narthex and on the website and were taken as read.

Matters arising from the minutes

Financial Position.

Fr David reported that our Current Account contained £11,000 − this is used to cover running costs. A recently broken window will cost £300 to replace.

We have £70,000 with the Diocese from which levies are deducted − £19,000, the annual levy, will be deducted in May.

In reply to a question on the Annual Turnover Fr David said one could multiply the weekly income of £1,600 by 50 to give £80,000.

Approximately 29% goes on levies.

The balance sheet will be published in the Pilgrim.

Fr David felt it might be useful to repeat an exercise undertaken by Sean Martin several years ago to record the amount taken in a year’s ‘second collections’.

In reply to a question on Development Fund envelopes − Fr David said monies collected for this fund were not liable for levies.

Night of Light Party.

Karen Rodgers reported that this was a great success. The children were able to explain what they were celebrating to ‘trick or treat’ callers and Karen looks forward to a repeat next year − but with more helpers.

Building Improvements

Plans for incorporating a toilet for the disabled and baby changing facilities and refurbishing the present toilet are ready to go. We have a builder and now await the return of Irial MacGinley.

Parish Update.

Currently the largest number ever have begun their preparation for First Holy Communion − besides a class at school.

26 children attend on Saturday morning and there are 4 catechists.

Confirmation classes will start soon.

Up to December 2008: Mass attendance 740-750, 59 Baptisms, 48 Holy Communions, 48 Confirmations, 4 Adults received into the Church, 9 weddings.

All of these have increased but we have no idea of the Catholic population. 1,200 attended Christmas Mass. Fr David ‘knows’ 1,000 faces.

An interesting discussion could be held around the question of ‘What it means to be a practising Catholic’.

Bishop’s Audit

This is to report on progress in the 5 years since the publication of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. This is to be completed by Palm Sunday. The next meeting of the Parish Forum will be devoted to this.

In reply to a question about how we might find out about the Audit, Richard Birkett offered to put it on the web-site if the information was available on disk. [This has now been done.]

Parish Welcome ― update

Fr David was pleased to report that with 11 new volunteers, we now have 22 people to welcome those coming to 11am Mass.

There will be 2 sessions of instruction − to be held in the evening or on a Saturday and a list of duties will be drawn up. Please pass on any ideas to the volunteers. Eileen McEwan emphasised the importance of the welcomers being available at coffee time to continue their work − rather than tidying up hymn sheets for recycling. Richard asked that boxes for collecting these should be clearly labelled. Mary Jane O’Sullivan agreed to make and laminate notices. Tony Brotchie will continue to take the papers for re-cycling.

Karen suggested a discreet notice should be placed in the narthex to tell parents that babies can be breastfed in church. She had recently reassured a mother on this point at Mass. She was sure this approach would encourage individual parents newly returning to the Church. She also suggested a new family should be able to fill-in their details in the Pilgrim.

Registration/Census/Skills Audit

February 8th was decided on. Pencils and forms will be available and volunteers will be required at each Mass. There will be questions about different languages being spoken by parishioners and whether a question should be included on the census: the aim being to produce the weekly readings in other languages. After some discussion, Jim pointed out that no-one need reply to any question, if they chose not to.

School News

Again the school is over-subscribed − a positive sign − and a go-ahead has been obtained for a new class-room but funding has to come from 3 sources, which takes time.



St Laurence’s support 3 campaigns including Living Simply, Climate Change and on January 25th we are invited to support the ‘Shine a Light’ campaign − watch this space.

Christmas cards

Eileen McEwan suggested that instead of parishioners writing Christmas cards to each other we could sign a large card/chart and donate money to CAFOD.

‘God, Creation and Us’

Bishop Michael will lead this module of the Diocesan Certificate at St Laurence’s on Saturday January 24th. Eileen reminded us of this date.

Church Unity Week

January 18th. Songs of Praise at the Good Shepherd is the only activity this year.


Paul Simmons was pleased to report that now Jimmy’s Night Shelter has 6 volunteers from St Laurence’s and now asks about Oakington Detention Centre where there is a desperate need for ‘Visitors’.

OAP’s party

This annual event for around 40 people is a great success and hosted by CWL and SVP. Michael McEwan of SVP pointed out that in most cases those serving were in the same age group as the guests and suggested that it might be good to involve younger parishioners in running this celebration.

Offertory Prayers

Paul Edwards suggested that we pray for Christians in our Offertory prayers as a priority.


Anne Maddocks was pleased to report that the Newsletters from other Cambridge parishes were available again. She was thanked for supplying these.

Parish Lunches

Mary Jane reminded us of dates for parish lunches at 1pm on:

Date of Next Meeting: March 26th 8pm.

The Meeting closed at 9.30pm