Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 27 April 2015

Present: Fr Pat, Fr Bob, Fr Anthony, Jim O’Sullivan (Chair) and 12 parishioners.


Paul Simmons, Deacon Geoff Cook, Ann Maddocks, Mary Jane O’Sullivan, Stephen Warde, Sr. Pat.

Matters arising

Response for Synod on Family, Rome Autumn 2015: Virginia Bird reported that small groups did not start off very well but one small one had excellent discussions. Paul Robertson has been asked to write this up in a format suitable for the Pilgrim. A questionnaire devised from two online questionnaires has been circulated and is producing a good response, still to be analysed in the form of graphs (Helen Allen) and a write up (Dick Wilson and Virginia Bird). It has been very difficult to work out time schedules etc as there seems to have been little advice from the Bishops. Fr Pat also noted that the clergy had not been clearly directed towards their response. (See articles in the Tablet, 25th April) (a phone call on Tuesday 28th from Bishop Peter Doyle assured us we are not too late to send in our results). There are things coming out of the questionnaire that directly relate to St Laurence including a wish for the development of small local house groups. Virginia suggested that a notice is placed in the bulletin asking if people in particular areas of the parish would like a local small group to be used as they decide; prayer, bible study, discussion, friendship etc, member led, frequency, place, date etc to be decided by the participants.

Data Base. Richard Birkett said that the time scale for beginning a small trial should be in the next couple of months. The system needs to grow organically starting with current groups etc to preserve confidentiality.

Newsletter/Bulletin. The large format is still going to be trialled. Richard Birkett has got quotations on a new duplicator giving greater flexibility, including folding and stapling, for all parish uses including possibly the Pilgrim. Dick Wilson was keen that home publication of the Pilgrim should not lower the quality. It was thought that there should be trial runs to make sure this does not happen.

The outside notice board is being upgraded by Peter Jackson.

Selection of new chairs for the Parish Room

Nora Darby has done a great deal of research and shortlisted three chairs which seemed best design and value. She had samples of each chair to be examined. Fr Pat said that he was more concerned about quality than cheapness. Two chairs were the same design but one example was far lighter being made from aluminium and therefore easier to stack (8 high at maximum) the other chair was a bit cheaper and with a shorter guarantee period. Karen Rodgers was concerned that upholstered chairs could get very dirty but she was assured that the covers are of public use quality with this in mind. They have special fabric guard and can be cleaned with upholstery cleaner. The lighter weight, higher quality chairs were chosen, the cost for 50 will be about £2500. Chairs of this design have recently been used in Histon Baptist Church and Dry Drayton Village Hall both of which have heavier and more frequent use that we have at St Laurence. The new chairs will now be ordered.


Ablaze, the new name and format of the YAYA Mass, is going excellently, with thanks to Sandy Hobson, and attracting a larger following, 60 at the most recent one.


The Parish Accounts are to be published shortly with thanks to Christine Knight. r Pat will talk to this in a couple of Sunday’s time encouraging people to increase their regular giving and Gift Aiding. It was asked if we have one off Gift Aid envelopes for visitors and one off collections etc.

Social Life

SVP lunch for older parishioners will be held on 2nd May.

Cafod is holding a tea, coffee and book sale on 9th May at Mary Watkins’ house.


Confirmation course has started. It is a 5 week course for those aged 13 at the start. Confirmation is on 17th June.

First Communion course at the Church on Saturday mornings is going ahead well and is viewed very positively by the parents. This is run in close cooperation with the preparation given at the school.

Buildings and Grounds

Replacement of the bar across the balcony which blocks the view is being explored. As this is a structural thing replacement has be done very carefully and professionally.

Replacing a damaged window frame in the church is going ahead and Angelo Dama will be doing the work subject to a good quotation. He suggested that for future windows parishioners might like to sponsor a window in memory of a family member or friend, having a memorial engraving put into the glass. It was asked if there might be any “green deal” involving double glazing could be used. It was feared that these sort of deals tend to involve all sorts of other improvements as part of the deal and might not work for piecemeal improvements.

Sue Price asked if better more secure storage could be made for the Parish Room or Children’s liturgy and first Communion work. It was suggested that the possibility of creating a lockable built in cupboard under the staircase be explored subject to fire regulations. This will be looked into immediately by inviting a fire officer to discuss the design, materials etc.


All is going well. A photo of the new headteacher, Clare Clark, is needed for the Narthex noticeboard. This will be done as part of a general update.

Parish Groups


Imogen Sutton told the meeting that a meeting in February has set up a small working group. There are several others who will help on occasion.


Christine Knight thanked the parish for their generous donation on Maundy Thursday.

The group support quite a lot of people in the parish and outside and Social Services is now referring people. The branch has one new member.


Fr Pat asked for views on the idea of leaving the church unlocked at certain times of day. He said that the principal that Churches are shut when not “in use” is something he does not like. There is a liability risk due to the possibility of arson, so to leave a church open all matches and candles have to be removed and sanctuary lights have to be electric which is less nice. He suggested that CCTV which picks up movement only would need to be installed. It was thought that all other problems can be dealt with. Insurers are prepared to take this sort of risk. Fr Pat asked everyone to think about this suggestion, and there would be further discussion at the July meeting. Sue Price heartily endorsed the idea of an open church.

Sr Pat had sent a message expressing concern about the way people are using the car park, she felt that it appears to be beyond school mothers, Milton Road School, with people leaving cars all day. Fr Pat feels that this is a gesture to the community and said that at present no problem has been created for funerals etc. There is a neighbour who does seem to have moved in but that is not a problem! The situation needs monitoring.

Nora Darby said that elderly parishioners arriving for evening masses find the path very dark. Painting the walls white could brighten this at little cost.

A comment was made by Helena that very few people attend the Forum, even though it is in the Bulletin and Fr Pat gives out a clear invitation to attend. She suggested that congregation members speak to this in the Masses prior to meetings as it is important.

There is a meeting on 27th June at Poringland in New Evangelisation. The Parish needs to send a representative. Please see Fr Pat if interested.

Information on boards relating to groups and individuals needs updating. Please check the facts and let Jim O’Sullivan know of any necessary changes.

A comment was made that the Loaf Project no longer seems to have the visibility it once had. It was suggested that Jenny Martin and Lyn Dekker are still involved, and that one of the Lent lunches had donated to this.

Dates and topics for future Forums