Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 5 July 2018

The meeting began with a prayer.


Stephen Warde, Father Pat Cleary, Serga Collett. Total of 22 parishioners.


Fr Jay.

Minutes of last meeting and matters arising

The minutes of the last meeting were unanimously agreed as a true record.

New Parish Priest

Father Pat announced the change of parish priest. He told the Forum that Fr Simon Blakesley from Newmarket would be coming to St Laurence’s probably in early September (delay due to finding a replacement for the Newmarket Parish). We look forward to welcoming Fr Simon, who people may know, among other things, from his significant involvement with the Lourdes pilgrimages. Father Pat will be leaving St Laurence’s parish for Wymondham – exact dates to be determined.

Attendees of the Forum wanted to formally record our thanks and appreciation to Father Pat, thanking him for his great service over the last 8 years.

A farewell for Father Pat and also a welcome for Father Simon were the subject of discussion. Dates for Fr Pat’s farewell to be determined once his departure date is known. It was agreed that a social event that provided an opportunity for Parish groups to introduce themselves to Fr Simon and advertise their activities to other parishioners would be a good idea. Fr Pat said that a similar event had been useful to him when he started in the Parish.

ACTION: Organise farewell to Fr Pat and welcome for Fr Simon (Facilitation Group).

Fr Pat mentioned that he was particularly thrilled that during his time at St Laurence’s, the ‘Alive in Faith’ programme was particularly successful and explained that this had enabled 6 extra priests and 4 temporary deacons to be trained in the deanery.

Update on 60th anniversary celebration

Joanna reported that the plaque commemorating past priests, to go just inside the double doors to the Narthex, will be here by next week. It is to include Father Simon and will be unveiled by the Bishop after mass on July 15 – the 1st celebratory mass for the 60th anniversary of the church. Joanne Kerigun explained that it would be fixed up on the Friday before and Sarah Sykes added that there would be a curtain in place for the bishop to unveil.

ACTION: Fix plaque (Joanne and Sarah).

The 2nd celebratory mass for the anniversary to be held on Friday 10 August should be moved to the earlier time of 7 pm. It is to be followed by a social. Joanne reported that we were in touch with priests with a connection to the parish to invite them. A Steering Group is organising this event.

ACTION: Organise 10th August event (Steering Group); Advertise timings (Parish Office).

Fr Bob’s Jubilee celebration was acknowledged and he said how thrilled he was by the welcome of parishioners – “thank you for giving me a lovely party, I feel very blessed” he said. At mass a collection of £800 was taken and separately £3850 (yet to still increase) was donated to the Training Fund of the Dominicans. Official congratulations for Father Bob’s jubilee were recorded.

Buildings and Grounds


There been limited progress – a second quote is now being organised so that we have something to compare with the first quote previously received. Any decisions should wait until Fr Simon arrives.

ACTION: Prepare quotes for review with Fr Simon (Facilitation Group).


There has been some discussion in regard to the trees on our boundary at the north edge of the grounds, most of which have a preservation order. The residents of the next door property are getting these reviewed by a tree surgeon. One of the trees is on our property and is possibly responsible for some cracks in the building of the parish house. Fr Pat has been in touch with Sara Payne from the residents association next door and we will see what the tree surgeon reports. In addition one of the neighbours to the rear has requested that the bamboo on his boundary be thinned out.

ACTION: Keep in touch with neighbours and organise thinning of bamboo (Fr Pat / Stephen W).


We did request a quote for a ramp to the garden, but it was quite expensive. Nora has spoken to Sue Price who advises that it may be possible to cut out a path with a lesser gradient that would not require the same hand-rails and other expense etc. as a ramp. On hold for now pending decisions on other buildings & grounds issues.

Gardening funding is available to get gardening support – there are two possible options to take forward. Nora has a contact, hoping to come next week – but also gardener from next door is available.

ACTION: Follow up on gardener options, get short-term tidying up done (Fr Pat / Fac Group)

Milton Road Library

Father Pat explained that the library next door is being turned into flats, workmen have been very cooperative, e.g., stopping noisy building works during funerals. Father Pat explained that the council have pledged to put in plain glass windows on the far side of the church. One of the problems with the new building works is that there is no parking for flats so there will therefore be increased pressure on parking in the area. Father Pat explained that he allows parking in church car park for school and that he felt very lucky to have such a car park. The question, he said, was where one draws the line, e.g., how tolerant one can be. He said he had had problems with parking by the Day Nursery and that in bad cases he has taken photos of cars and put notices on them.

Site manager

The position of site manager was discussed but it was felt it would be best left to discuss for new parish priest.


Fr Pat explained that he felt that he was leaving the church in financially good shape and there was some funds to make improvement. Fr David left over £100,000 when he left.

ACTION: Christine to follow up low interest rate question.

Tech group

Some progress, but how to put in new power line, temporary camera, and sound is being reviewed. Some discussion about new laptops and PC’s for office, VPN access, updating router, IP address, CCTV requiring tweeking, improving the wifi and establishing a logging system.

Father Pat pointed out that a server has had bike stolen and that it would be a good idea to have a camera on bike parking. (However he said the bike was returned!) Cyclists should be reminded to lock their bikes to the stands and if there is capacity of the CCTV maybe buy another camera for that area. It was also decided to get rid of the abandoned bike in the bike park.

If anyone wishes to join the Tech Group they should get in touch with one of the other members or through the office.

Catechesis and Liturgy

Fr Pat said he was pleased that there will be continuity into next year and Helena and Chioma will continue. He expressed grateful thanks to both of them, supported by the Forum.

Fr Pat also reported a very positive reaction to the preparation for marriage course running at St Philip Howard (run on 4 Sunday nights).

A parishioner spoke about a new resource ‘Seeking God together’, a practical companion for parish communities in meeting, welcoming and accompanying families. It is being launched at the world meeting for families in Dublin.

Other regular items

St Laurence’s School

The school celebrated their 50th anniversary with a lovely mass with bishop. Mary Jane said that the interim diocesan inspection at the school was rated as ‘outstanding’.


Christine recalled the trip to Walsingham as a great success as they had rented a coach with wheelchair access. This enabled Jeremy to come on his scooter, the first time he had been able to go to Walsingham in years.

Any Other Business

The meeting closed at 9:19 pm.

Dates of future meetings

To be held at 8 pm in the parish rooms.

All action points marked in yellow.