Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 9 February 2017

Led by Fr Pat and chaired by Jim O’Sullivan. 26 members of the Parish attended.

The Forum opened with a prayer, remembering the recent death of Margaret Simmons. Acknowledgement was made of the contribution made to the Forum by her and Paul since its beginning.


Apologies were received from Martine Walsh, Karen Rodgers, Mary Watkins and Fr. Bob.

Minutes of last meeting

Minutes of the last Forum have been publicised in the Narthex, on the website and are on offer to anyone who wishes to have them emailed − contact forum@saintlaurence.org.uk.

Matters arising

Alive in Faith

Fr. Pat expressed his thanks to everyone who took part. The target for the parish was £185,000 and to date £250,000 has been raised. This is the total figure over the 5 year period. Diocesan target is £6m and over. £5m has so far been achieved. The money goes partly to support retired clergy and to pay for seminary training. In addition a percentage is returned to each parish. St Laurence’s propose to put a small amount of this aside for training purposes, eg. catechists; of the remainder, 50% will be put aside to replace the church roof in due course and 50% will be managed by the SVP (Society of St Vincent de Paul). This figure is approximately £50k.

Irial McGinley, architect, has discussed the roof with Fr. Pat and they noted that over time the cost of this replacement will inevitably rise while leaving the money invested may not cover that increase. It might therefore be wiser to replace the roof sooner rather than later.

It will be possible to begin to access the money in May 2017.

Christine Knight gave a presentation on the current work of the SVP and some of the possible use/projects greater funds could open up for them − see attachment (PDF).

Questions were received as to where referrals came (answer: within the parish and from other agencies). Christine said that SVP has good links with other agencies in the area including The Besom, based in Histon, which stores and distributes second hand furniture. As the parish does not have any storage facilities and OLEM, who used to have a store had had to give it up due problems of damp etc, donations of furniture etc tend to go to The Besom. British Heart Foundation and Emmaus are also equipped to deal with these sorts of items. Cambridge Re-use, based in Cherry Hinton, formerly SOFA, has access to soft furnishings, blankets etc.

A question regarding training for volunteers confirmed that training is available and SVP has several good training modules.

Proclaim − (New Evangelisation)

Virginia gave an update following a meeting that she and Rosina attended in November.

The diocese wants each parish to take on 3 new evangelising ideas for this year, in addition to what is already done, one for each of three areas: those who’ve left the church, the ‘unchurched’, and existing parishioners. Several proposals were discussed:


Lent House Masses will take place again on the Monday evenings in Lent. The first week is already taken. Further bookings should be made via the parish office where Pat Cook will coordinate.

Holy Week planning is going ahead.

At a previous Forum it was mooted that those receiving Communion at home might be actively prayed for. This was liked but they can only be named if they have given their consent. A small ceremony to hand the Pyx to ministers at the end of the Mass was suggested as a good way of incorporating them into the main mass. Fr Pat and Fr Bob will discuss how this will be done.

Latecomers at 11am mass are often invited from the altar to move forward into vacant seats. It was commented that although it shows a welcoming approach, some latecomers may prefer to stand, and the true number of vacant seats is not always apparent if the call goes out during children’s liturgy.


Provisional figures attached (PDF). Fr. Pat drew attention to the fact that last year expenditure was greater than income but that several large projects had been undertaken to improve the care and structure of the Church. He proposed that the coming year be a fallow one without any large projects.

Social Life

The SVP had undertaken several social activities (see presentation).

CWL had provided a monthly Friday lunch.

The Epiphany party had been a success.


Confirmation date is 26th June.

Buildings and Gardens

Covered by roof and financial projects.


The Mass in Church for the whole school, as well as previous students and parents, to celebrate Barbara Quail’s 25 years at the school, had been a joyous occasion. Barbara was honoured with the Diocesan Medal. Pictures of this are on the Diocesan Website and will be in the Diocesan Newspaper.

Parish Groups

The Gift, the Life in the Spirit seminars, have been taking place and are about to finish with the final session asking for the Spirit to come down upon those taking part.

CAFOD. The Connect2 Peru Project has started and thanks were expressed to Mary Watkins for her work in this regard.

The Pilgrim will be published on 5th March.

The Diocesan website and newsletter have lovely pictures of Jay Magpuyo’s Ordination to the diaconate.

Topic for next Forum

Perhaps looking at the ministry to lapsed Catholics.


Rosalie Maloney said that as a “bird of passage” in Cambridge studying at Margaret Beaufort Institute she was grateful and appreciative of St Laurence’s.

Stephen Chapman spoke about problems regarding filling the paraffin candles over the sink designed for washing the Communion vessels. He wondered what people’s opinions were regarding the use of paraffin or electronic candles over wax. Electronic were not liked.

The SVP Pilgrimage to Walsingham had been a lovely social activity and it was wondered if a day trip with a hired bus, perhaps to the sea, might be a nice idea. It was suggested that this could be explored further at the next Forum.

Dates of future Forums