Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 15 January 2019


Chair: Stephen Warde Minutes: Sarah Sykes Fr Simon, Deacon Geoff and 20 parishioners.


Mary-Jane O’Sullivan.

Minutes of last meeting

These were agreed to be an accurate record. It was requested that they go online a little quicker. Action: Steve W

Matters arising


Fr Simon gave a brief summary of the aim of re-ordering the sanctuary. A meeting had been arranged for those interested in being part of the team that organises the works, but only 2 people had been able to attend. Fr Simon will aim to bring sample materials and drawings drawn up by an architectural technician to the next meeting. He gave a ballpark figure of costs being around £40-50,000. He hopes to be able to make a start on the works this summer. He also reported on the following:


Improvements were being looked at with the Tech Group including plans to make light switches more accessible and to be able to be operated by remote control.


On the library side of the church to be replaced with double-glazed units. Cost to be covered by the library building works.

Projector screen:

Plans to install on a hinge to fold away against the righthand side sanctuary wall with a rear projector at the cost of about £5,000 with a view to using it at the Ablaze Mass, First Holy Communion preparation, various presentations (ie CAFOD), but not necessarily used at every Mass.

Some concerns were voiced that the design should not be overly ornate, but to aim for a simple, clean design while bringing the church décor up-to-date.

Live streaming update:

Ronald Haynes reported that a handful of testers have been watching the live stream. They have been using a private YouTube channel to do this. It has thrown up some tech issues which need work. He gave a short demonstration. Discussion followed on whether to do a soft launch with problems to be resolved still or wait til in our ducks are in a row – mood of the meeting was that we should go live. Copyright issues re music will not be a problem for any live worship services, but if any recordings were made copyright permissions would need to be sought. Also if any ‘performances’ took place in the church space streaming would need to be able to be temporarily suspended. With regard to picking up sound on the streaming, if people are talking in the body of the church it is unlikely that it would be heard, but if you are speaking on the sanctuary it will be heard.

Some concerns were raised about sound and vision being on 24 hours a day. Discussion about an on/off switch followed and who would be responsible for ensuring it was on/off at appropriate times. Could it be combined with the lights being turned on/off? What is the cost of electricity to keep the system on 24 hours a day? Would permissions be needed to stream funerals/weddings? As a public worship area that anyone can attend, it was thought not. Conclusion was that the Tech Group should take one more look at options to avoid audio being permanently on before we go live. Decisions on this do not need to come back to the Forum. Action: Tech Group

Diocese have been consulted about safeguarding in regard to altar servers, and we have been informed that formal permission not required, but as a matter of courtesy a letter will go out informing parents of the streaming and poster are up showing what view will be seen online, so people can choose to sit out of camera shot. Action: Office / Tech Group

The Chair thanked the Tech Group for all their hard work. The picture and sound quality are good, and with the work being done by parishioners we have made a considerable saving on set-up costs.

Parish savings:

Fr Simon reported that we had made a little over £1,000 in interest in the last year between Diocesan and general investments. Figures will be discussed with the new Treasurers but Fr Simon feels this is a reasonable rate of return. Action: Fr Simon / Treasurers

Garden plans:

No further change, at present.


Discussion was held reviewing the Christmas Masses:

5pm Christmas Eve: Historically the 5pm Mass was started for primary school children and younger. Those children having now grown up still like to go to this Mass as a Christmas tradition. Church was very crowded. It was suggested that it could be split into two separate events, one for the primary children and one for older children and youth. Originally this service wasn’t a full Mass but a crib procession. Fr Simon felt that the crib procession was a little stilted, could flow better. It was mentioned that more Eucharistic ministers are needed at the back of the distribute the host. Those wanting to receive Communion under both kinds should go up to the altar.

Midnight Mass: the benches seat 6-7 people, and 8 can easily be achieved. Could the welcomers be asked to help people fill the gaps and find seats for those who would like to be seated.

Thanks to all who were involved in the Christmas Liturgies in all areas were recorded.

Lent: Fr Simon asked what events we would like to have running through Lent. He would be happy to do something on a Wednesday evening. Maybe an ecumenical venture? Would Fr Bob be running a Lent course? Action: Fr Simon

Ronald Haynes representing Cambridge Justice and Peace group said that they regularly put together Stations of the Cross at OLEM and would happily do so at St Laurence’s on at least one Friday in Lent. Would any other Parish groups like to do a week? Sandy Hobson said that the organisation Catholic Faith Exploration (CaFE) has a 4-week Lent course that could be shown.

Children’s Stations of the Cross was discussed. It usually takes place on the morning of Good Friday but it was difficult to fit in timing-wise with the Stations for adults also taking place. It was suggested that Stations of the Cross for adults could take place in the evening of Good Friday at 7.30pm. This might also suit those who are unable to make the 3pm Mass due to work commitments.


Parishioner, James Dore, introduced himself as one of the new co-treasurers for the Parish. He is joined by Joanne Kerrigun, who also runs the Repository. They are currently going over last year’s accounts. A report on these will be due at the next Forum. Action: Treasurers



Helena reported that we have 10 candidates taking the confirmation course this year. We are currently awaiting a date from the Bishop.

First Holy Communion:

Fr Simon reported that the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the children would take place on the weekend of 9/10 February. He will unfortunately be in Lourdes for a planning meeting for the Catholic Association Pilgrimage, but he has arranged for Fr Bob, Fr Pat, Fr Jay and Fr Adrian Gates (currently full-tie priest at Addenbrookes) to help with this. The approach to those who are part of the Traveller community wanting to receive the sacraments of Confession, Communion and Confirmation, often without attending the catechesis classes was discussed: we adopt an inclusive approach in this situation; however, it was agreed that efforts should be made to take a proper record of their details, so that in the future if they return for further sacraments such as marriage this record can be found. Action: Office

Children’s Liturgy:

Jim O’Sullivan reported that they are trying to make sure that they come back into Mass more consistently on time, but did not want to rejoin as part of the Offertory procession, particularly at the 11am church Mass, as it is quite difficult to move the children through the congregation seated in the Narthex, and timing can be difficult as sermon lengths often vary.



several of the gas heaters in the church are not working and in general are difficult to turn on. Fr Simon reported that the pilot lights keep blowing out. It was mentioned that a maintenance programme of a minimum of yearly servicing needs to be carried out, and preferably 6 monthly servicing. Instructions on how to turn them on need to be available, particularly to those saying additional Masses outside our usual Masses. Martin Avery volunteered to look at the heaters which are currently out of action. Fr Simon will organise gas heating engineers to return to make any necessary repairs. Action: Martin A, Fr Simon

Library building works:

These are due to be finished in May. There is no provision for parking and as part of the rental agreement for the flats, tenants will not be allowed a car. We should be aware that we allow our carpark to be used for the school/nursery drop off, but not for neighbours parking. Potholes at the entrance to our carpark were mentioned. Fr Simon will report them to County Highways using the online site. Action: Fr Simon


Fr Simon would like a regular announcement to be made every couple of months reminding people to park considerately when attending Mass. Volunteers for a parking beadle welcomed to take on this duty.

Diocesan update

Bishop resignation:

Fr Simon reported that Bishop Alan will be celebrating his 75th birthday in March and will, as is required, be resigning from his position as Bishop. He will remain in Norwich as Diocesan Administrator until a new Bishop is appointed. Fr Simon also mentioned that the Nuncio may contact parishioners throughout the Diocese privately to ask about the qualities we would like to see in our next Bishop.

Diocesan school bid:

The Diocese is putting in bids to build Catholic primary schools at 3 locations in the Diocese. Of particular interest to us would be the bid for Northstowe. Parishioners are being asked to register their interest, before 1 February, in support of any of the bids and to spread the news to their neighbours, especially in the villages to the north of Cambridge, who might also like to register interest. You can do this through the Diocesan website: https://www.rcdea.org.uk/vaschools/

There is also the possibility that there could be a Mass Centre built in Northstowe. If this does happen, we might consider moving the Sunday Mass currently celebrated at St Laurence’s School to the Mass Centre. There is going to be a big expansion in population with the building of Northstowe, which will be the largest town in the area after the city of Cambridge. We will need to make strategic changes to Mass times and places as the populations grow.

Parish Groups

Pound for Peru:

Nora Darby reported that she had taken on co-ordinating the Connect2 Peru collections for CAFOD at the beginning of the year. However, in the last week, it has been decided that we will bring the support of this project to a close. Nora explained that although CAFOD in Latin America had finished promoting this project, they would allow us to extend our collections into a third year because of our later-than-planned start due to the promotion of Alive in Faith, but with other pressing causes in the world, it was felt that we should finish now. We have consistently donated £300+ per month over that last 2 years. Nora proposed giving a short presentation to officially close the project at the next Forum at which time we hope to have from the Finance Committee the total amount raised from collections and other fund raising events. There will also be a report in the Pilgrim magazine. Deadline for Pilgrim submission for the Lent edition is 22nd February. Action: Nora D

CAFOD update:

Serga Collett renewed her thanks for the Harvest appeal, and reported on her attendance at the CAFOD conference on Ecological Conversion which took place in November. It focussed on taken care of our common home as we have been encouraged to do by Pope Francis. Following this, a Stollen and Mulled Wine evening had been held in December and the film Global Healing had been shown and discussed. Serga plans to follow up on several action points arising from this and hopes to be able to put a monthly note in the Parish newsletter reminding us with ideas of what we can practically do to achieve this, updates in the Pilgrim magazine and a relevant prayer in the bidding prayers each month. Action: Serga C

She also informed us that Jeanette Milbourn will be reporting on her trip to Poland for CAFOD’s Climate Change conference on the 1st Sunday of Lent. This will also be an opportunity to take part in the follow-up to the Global Healing film. Our Lent theme will be how climate change is affecting those on a daily basis in other part of the world. Action: Jeanette M

The Christmas Present Bring and Buy sale organised jointly with the SVP, in the New Year raised over £500.

SVP update:

Christine Knight thanked all who made contributions from the Giving Tree. 10 hampers were given out and also grocery vouchers. 39 gifts were given to children, 17 gifts to Cambridge Churches Homeless Project, 15 gifts to Meals on Wheels and 15 to Wintercomfort.

We are considering how we might support SVPs work in South Sudan where there is a difficult political situation, possibly by supporting the work of the medical centres which make sure children get a meal every day. Parishioner, Monica King is the person in charge of ‘Twinnage’ – the name SVP gives its overseas work and connections – for East Anglia. We will wait to hear from Monica about the best way to support this. Action: Monica K


Forthcoming dates for the next meetings

Please note that the dates have changed slightly from those advertised on the previous Minutes so that the dates alternate between Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All meetings start at 8pm

All action points marked in yellow.