Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 15 October 2009

Fr. David Paul opened the meeting with prayers.

The meeting commenced at 8p.m. with Jim O'Sullivan in the Chair, Deacon Geoff and Pat Cook and fourteen parishioners.

1. Apologies

Apologies were received from Margaret Simmons, Mary Jane O’Sullivan, Anne Maddocks and Richard Birkett.

2. Minutes of the last meeting

It was hoped that everyone present had seen the minutes which are placed on the notice board in the Narthex.

3. Parish Update

Fr. David reported that preparations had begun for First Holy Communion. 47 children had enrolled, 27 from the School and 20 from Saturday morning classes. They were fully staffed for the Saturday morning classes and for the School.

The amount raised for CAFOD was enormous: £500 from the Harvest Supper, over £1,000 from envelopes, over £900 from the School. The final amount was still to come.

The School is expanding and is heavily over-subscribed. It is at the top of such schools in Cambridge to expand - to become two form entry, although funding has still not been obtained from the county council. There were 61 applicants for 31 places this year. OFSTED report very good and top school this side of river. 41% of the children are non-white British and all integrate well. Other schools in the area have empty places. There is a 93% Catholic intake and only two Catholic primary schools in the Diocese.

Regarding the self-proclaimed 'King of Witches', Lynius Shadee, Fr. David had been invited to his opening on 24th December - best thing is to ignore him!

4. Buildings Update

Irial McGinley gave a report on the building works that had taken place. The garage roof is finished; but there is more to be done in the toilets, such as mirrors and shelves to go up.

Regarding the garden, suggestions were invited as to how the gardens, both front and rear, could be made low-maintenance. We cannot keep employing people to do it, it is too expensive. It needs tidying about once or twice a month. About half-a-dozen people had signed the census form as interested in helping with the garden. It was suggested that a compost heap should be established. A shed is to be built for the flower arrangers to keep their equipment and do the flowers. Possibly create an allotment behind the house − it was suggested that Sr. Pat might like to take this on.

It was suggested that the benches in the church need to be secure to stop them being moved. There is an ongoing problem with people sitting on the steps to the balcony - this is a safety hazard and they should be kept clear. Irial was thanked for all his work, the toilets are a success, especially the disabled. £20,000 has been spent on the building work; £1,400 for the safe in the sacristy. The crib figures (which came from St. Joseph's) are to be offered to the School. The question of disabled access for the garden was raised but a ramp would be difficult but possible.

5. Parish Census

A lot of work has been done in analysing the forms. All the data is now on the parish office computer. Lists of people who have volunteered to join/do things have been passed on to the relevant groups. There were 470 forms completed. Jim O’Sullivan agreed to produce a modified form to be filled in by new parishioners, to be kept in the porch and given out by the Welcomers.

6. Statue

The Statue of St. Laurence was on target and should be delivered during the first two weeks of November. It will be placed by the window near the keyboard. It is four foot high and made of lime wood. The Bishop is coming to bless it on Monday, 9th November 2009 at 7.30 p.m. and there will be a reception afterwards. The donor is Helen Dunn.

7. Day of Prayer for the Church in Need

Paul Edwards introduced this subject. The day of prayer for the Aid to Church in Need is on 15th November 2009 and he said it would be good idea to join in. It is good to pray for suffering Christians and others in need of prayer; many live under persecution. Idea to have suitable Bidding Prayers and a talk.

8. Any Other Business

The welcoming group had been expanded at 11 a.m. Mass, although there were some problems with people not turning up for their allotted dates. Dick Wilson and Rosina to be thanked for input. New people should be encouraged to come for coffee after 11 am Mass.

The question of the new Parish Handbook was raised. Stephen Warde agreed to produce a draft.

The blocking of car park entrances was mentioned - dangerous if the need for an ambulance to get in, but difficult to police.

Paul Simmons suggested that groups in the Parish should report to the Parish Forum but it was said that organisations such as the CWL and SVP already wrote reports for the Parish Magazine. Other groups should be encouraged to write a short report on their activities for the 'Pilgrim'.

Paul Simmons mentioned the Parish Constitution which was approved at the last meeting. He had some items he would like included and would discuss these with Fr. David and Jim after the meeting.

A 'thank you' letter had been received from Jimmy's night shelter for the Harvest goods and they would be grateful for gifts for Christmas. They have been given £3,000,000 for refurbishment.

Ivona Sztechelova had put forward a suggestion for the showing of Christian films either in the Parish room or in her home. These could be shown during the winter months. Elizabeth McCluskey suggested a film about Banneur.

Paul Simmons suggested that we should have a speaker at the Parish Forum to encourage people to come to the meetings.

Irial McGinley suggested that a big poster should be placed at the entrances to the Church advertising when the meeting was being held.

9. Date of Next Meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting would be in January, the precise date to be arranged nearer the time.

The meeting concluded at 9.12 p.m.