Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 4 February 2016

The meeting was attended by Fr. Pat Cleary, Deacon Geoff Cook and 21 parishioners, chaired by Jim O’Sullivan.


Apologies were received from Martine Walsh.

Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting have been published in the Narthex and the parish website and were agreed to be accurate. Dick Wilson said that he would create a way of advertising the importance of the Forum and publishing the agenda on the website. Parishioners would also be offered the opportunity to receive Forum agendas and minutes by email. A request for this should be sent to forum@saintlaurence.org.uk.

Matters arising

Photocopier. Richard Birkett reported that costings seem to show that the new one in total will cover the cost of publishing the Pilgrim so everything else will show a saving. Therefore there will be a saving overall. Fr. Pat and Pat Cook have the details. It should be set up and running for the production of the next edition of the Pilgrim. (Not the one just about to go to press).

Data Base. Richard Birkett has this in hand with the help of Dick Wilson. There is data for the trial entry but it will be necessary to have help with main data entry. No data will be used without specific permission. The plan for data collection will be discussed at the next Forum.

Chalices. Stephen Chapman has been looking into this as sometimes the “Holy Blood” runs out and the various chalices are of very mixed design and ease or not of administration. Also 2 nice chalices have gone missing. If anyone knows where it would be good to have them returned. Stephen showed the meeting various designs at all prices. Fr. Pat is keen to have a nice matching set but feels that, to be in the spirit of Pope Francis, they should not be too expensive. A very nice design, simple and fairly low in height but quite capacious, with gilded interiors, from an Italian firm were agreed. They cost less than £100 each and it was decided to buy 5 so that administration could be done at the back of the Church in very busy seasons. The current chalices will still be used at weekday Masses


Holy Week:

On Ash Wednesday, 10th February, there will be three Masses:
9.20 at the school
9.30 at the Church
19.30 at the Church

The diocese has new vestments for times when all the clergy are together to celebrate. The new white vestments have arrived and Fr. Pat showed the chasuble to the meeting. They have been made in Poland.

It is necessary for there to be bulletins and music leaflets in the Narthex at 11am when many people come in fairly late. It is also probably advisable for someone to sit there to keep an eye on the new fire alarms which can only be set off manually and have twice been triggered during mass. Members of the Children’s liturgy team usually put out chairs in the narthex so that people do not need to interrupt the children to get themselves chairs. The speaker in the narthex needs to be turned up during Mass.

Appeals at Mass all have to go via Fr Pat. The church is asked for so many and Fr Pat keeps them to a minimum as there are a number of ones that are a diocesan requirement.


The figures for this year are already in hand and will be published shortly when deacon John Steel has completed the bits that relate to the diocese. They will be available soon.

the parish has had 2 bequests of £10,000 each and a further one from Pauline Kynoch’s estate which is about £15,000.

It was requested that the music group purchase some music stands.


The Confirmation course starts this month. It will take place on Saturday afternoons. The diocese is setting a course which will have to be used in future. It was suggested that the Ablaze Mass would be a good setting for confirmation preparation.

First Communion. Sue Price and her excellent team continue to do this

Baptism preparation carries on every couple of months. A DVD is used designed for two sessions but experience has found that one longer session works better.

Marriage preparation is undertaken by Marriage Care in Newmarket at present with the theology part being done mostly by Fr Bob. The diocese is producing a 4 session programme to be used throughout the diocese next year which will make things less flexible.

Adult preparation. At present people are prepared individually. Fr Bob has done some of this. The question arises about whether people should be invited as well as those who request. This was felt to be a good idea.

New Evangelisation. See attached report. Fr Pat commented about the film that the issue of sexual abuse was so serious and Virginia and he both stressed how excellent the procedures are for the Church in England and Wales now.


The issue of opening up the Church during the day was discussed and it was decided this should be examined in detail at the next Forum. Issues include the need for an electrical sanctuary lamp and prayer lights neither of which are much liked. But arson is the greatest risk. Insurance etc needs to be looked at and as well as the extent of opening, should there be people present to keep and eye on the church and welcome people etc.

An insert will go into the bulletin re the new fire alarm system with a short explanation after mass. The easy positioning of the key to reset the alarm was discussed.

Milton Road Library development. There will be a display of the plans in the library for the next month as well as a meeting on Tuesday 9th when councillors etc will be there for questions. The consultant architect will be seeing Fr Pat on Monday 8th February. Anxiety is still felt about the use of the car park and complaints of noise. The tenants will have both these issues addressed within their tenancy agreements. The wall facing on to the Church will be rendered with special colour core render which reflects light and so boosts the amount of light coming into the Church. Irial McGinley was concerned about the suggestion of sky lights in the roof as the roofing felt is very worn and he fears leakage. Nothing is yet planned regarding this and the council’s consultant architect and structural surveyors would assess thus before anything would be done.

Note of discussion with the architect on 8th February re skylights:
These will only be considered if the amount of light after the building proves to be seriously reduced. Cleaning these skylights would be undertaken as part of the council’s maintenance agreement. They understand about the old felting and would take it into consideration. The developers will replace the remaining old windows on the library side of the Church at their expense to increase the light.

Replacement main doors. Irial McGinley expressed reservations re the design. He also said that the balcony rail could easily be altered.

Parish Groups

No information.


No information.


Christine Knight organised an excellent Christmas Day dinner for 20. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and the hospitality.


Thanks were given to Rev David Busk from Godmanchester who preached last Sunday in lieu of during the week of prayer for Christian unity.

Karen Rodgers asked why the parish was not apparently doing anything special for the Year of Mercy though she acknowledged the New Evangelisation often addressed this without saying so. She mentioned various things that could be done including a “buddy” system for new families; teaching the Rosary to the children; a “Mercy Tree” where people could put “leaves” on to say what they are doing for the Year of Mercy.

It was stated that a Lent study group on the Year will start next Thursday and that Fr Bob will be starting study on St Luke’s Gospel, the Gospel of Mercy, on Wednesdays starting on 17th February.

A new minutes taker for the Forum is urgently needed. Not a very arduous task. Please see Jim O’Sullivan, Virginia Bird or Fr Pat if interested.

Dates of future Forums