Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 22 October 2015

Present: Fr Pat, Fr Bob, Fr Alvan, Jim O’Sullivan (Chair) 17 parishioners


Mary Jane O’Sullivan, Stephen Warde, Richard Birkett, Ann Maddocks, Geoff Cook, Pat Cook

Matters arising

Newsletter - Photocopier.
The choice now appears to be down to 2 and the costings have been looked at. It looks likely that a single machine will be chosen on lease. It will produce high quality and the savings on the cost of producing the Pilgrim with colour printing, a copy shown to members, will cover the other costs. A flexible Bulletin can be produced, A4 or A3 size and a good update of the Parish booklet. The leasing firm will give training in use. Fr Pat backed that we go ahead and this will have to be approved by the Finance Committee. Thanks to Richard Birkett were expressed.
The software is just about ready for testing. An existing data set will be used initially for testing, possibly the Pilgrim subscribers group. It was thought that the database will be very useful for managing existing contact lists, and for new purposes, ie for notifying entry keyboard number holders when number is changed etc. Thanks again to Richard Birkett and Dick Wilson.

The New Evangelisation

Parishioners were encouraged to see the article in the Sept 2015 Pilgrim. The Diocese has a new website, www.rcdea.org.uk. This has a calendar and hopefully activities, courses, groups etc from each parish can be displayed so that good things other parishes are doing are available to us and vice versa.

There is a further diocesan meeting at Newmarket on 31st October. Rosina Abudulai and Virginia Bird will attend and Monica King is joining the group.

We now have a Facebook page which is an excellent way for publicising things. The address will be on the Bulletin along with phone numbers etc in future. There is another rather similar page which is people who were married etc, check which page you are on.


The Christmas liturgies will be as usual.

Stephen Chapman proposes that we invest in a new matching set of chalices which would be slightly larger than the assorted ones we have at present. Two rather nice and larger chalices have been missing since the beginning of the year. This will be discussed at the next Forum.

At 11am Mass there is still a certain amount of confusion at the start of communion, as some altar servers are regularly missed. One Priest/minister with the Host and one with the Chalice should distribute to all the servers on both sides of the sanctuary and the musicians while the other clergy/minister with the Host and another with a Chalice go down to distribute to the elderly and disabled, assisted by a member of SVP. Then the general distribution should start. We will get this straight in time.

At 9.30 am Mass it was suggested that the Priest and a minister go forward to communicate the disabled before anyone else, rather than leaving this always to two Eucharistic ministers as it makes it far clearer to the congregation to hold back before coming forward to be communicated and it is nice for the disabled to have their turn of distribution by the Priest.


The parish has received 2 very generous legacies, 20,000 from sisters Mrs Joan Cook and Miss Kathleen Taylor and 5% of her estate from Mrs Pauline Kynoch.


A performance of Menotti’s opera for children, Amahl and the Night Visitors, will be given in church on 29th November.


Christine Brierley is starting the Confirmation course in the New Year. The Bishop has given us a date in April.

The First Communion programme continues to be much appreciated.

Buildings and Grounds

Fire protections/alarms
Chubb has given the parish three quotations for slightly different levels of alarms and emergency lighting costing from about £4000 to £5000. This omits the Presbytery. Fr Pat and the meeting agreed that we will go ahead with the best level of protection but get the Presbytery included. Carbon monoxide alarms should be fitted as well. This will be paid for from the legacies mentioned above.
One of the Church windows has been replaced and Fr. Pat suggested that part of the legacies should be spent on further windows, probably 6 or 7 more, with acid engraving in memory of the ladies whose legacies had paid for them on two of the window. There would also be an opportunity for “in memoriam” sponsorship and engraving of the remaining windows in return for a suitable donation.
Porch doors and disabled access
The firm which made the porch doors has given a suggestion on how these could be replaced so that they work better. At present the automatic arm has been disconnected on the internal doors to ease access and to test how it could be without automatic opening. It is agreed that the doors need gentle automatic closure and with pressure pads to open and close these doors for disabled access. The main outside porch doors will be replaced by two glass doors to match the internal doors but of differing sizes with the smaller door usually kept locked. The other larger door will be big enough for wheelchair access, again opened either manually or with pressure pads the outside one being on an arched frame taking it just clear of the door when opened. Both the door and the pressure pad will be within the line of the disabled parking bay. The city council disability officer is visiting to give advice. Pauline Brown, parish disability adviser, who has limited sight has demonstrated that the narthex doors also need pressure pad opening. The sill to the main outer porch doors was mentioned by Rob Beckwith who has observed as a welcomer that this slightly trips older members and the door firm will be asked if this can be improved.
Milton Road Library rebuild
Two employees of Cambridgeshire County Council visited as part of the consultation process. They were very helpful and agreed that the church will lose light from the building. To compensate for this they offer 4 roof skylights with electronic blinds activated by a switch. The design of the building has been slightly amended so that only one of the 5 flats on the church side of the building will actually have windows looking directly into St Laurence’s. Residents will be forbidden to park cars in the church car park as part of their tenancy agreement. With regard to noise, both from St Laurence’s in particular during Christmas midnight Mass, and from the flats during church services, tenants who are too noisy will be penalised. The flats will have triple glazing and with the Church’s new double glazing noise will be considerably reduced. Paul Simmons was thanked for initiating the examination of this development. In due course plans will be available to see in the current library. It was suggested that the council be asked if they can help finance replacement double glazed windows as the legacies are not enough to complete the work. There will be an article in the Pilgrim thanking people for signing the petition.
Church visibility
Fr Pat and Virginia Bird had discussed improving the main outside notice board replacing the single board with a board at each end of the front wall placed at an angle so that people passing in either direction can easily see the information. Fr Pat also suggested that the trees need trimming on the undersides to make cycling etc. easier.


Martin Avery is looking at getting radio microphones for use at the school Mass, one for the altar and one for the lectern, as well as the music based mike.

Parish Groups

Not discussed at this meeting


Martine Walsh suggested that it would be nice to run a group exploring different tradition of praying. She felt the participants of the Week of Accompanied Prayer and others might like to attend. She was asked to look into organising this.

Sarah Sykes asked if the enlarged Bulletin could include hymns used at 9.30 Mass that are not in the hymn book.

Dates of future Forums