Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 4 April 2019


Chair: Stephen Warde
Minutes: Sarah Sykes
In attendance: Fr Simon, Deacon Geoff and 8 parishioners.


Martine Walsh, Jim O’Sullivan.

Minutes of last meeting

These were agreed to be an accurate record and it was noted that they had gone online a little quicker as requested.

Matters arising

Live streaming is now live on St Laurence’s website. It can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Live Streaming’ button on the homepage. Following the testing period, the service was ‘soft’ launched and has been running for a few weeks. It has already enabled family members to virtually attend a baptism and funeral and were very appreciative of the opportunity to do so. The Tech Group are still working on refinements, one of which is a kill switch, which would stop all audio and streaming if necessary. This would be operated by the priest or altar servers on the altar. They have also designed a ‘meditative’ mode which can be run when we want to continue the streaming mode but not broadcast events in the church online. The Tech Group plans to make an announcement in the newsletter before Easter to raise awareness that this service is up and running and a letter will also be circulated to all children who are altar servers. If anyone is organising an event within the church which they feel would not be suitable for live streaming, then all that needs to be done is to email the Tech Group with the details of the time period for the streaming to be paused, and they will arrange for the ‘meditative’ mode to run. Action: Tech Group

Social event at Pentecost (9 June) − originally suggested by Deacon Geoff as an ecumenical event, a note was put in the newsletter, but no volunteers had come forward. Fr Simon proposed that perhaps instead a multi-ethnic celebration could be held instead, and Serga Collett suggested an international bring and share. Serga and Helena Judd volunteered to start organising this. And Helena also volunteered Chioma Ubajaka in her absence. Richard Birkett suggested that although it might not be an officially ecumenical event, it would still be worth advertising it in the ‘Across the City’ newsletter which publicises Christian events running across the Cambridge area. The deadline for the May edition of this newsletter is 18 April. It would be good to get an advert in both the May and June editions. Action: Serga/Helena

It was also suggested that some paper copies of the current ‘Across the City’ newsletter were made available in the Porch alongside the OLEM newsletter. Action: Parish Office

Finance Report for 2018

James Dore introduced himself as one of the two people who have taken on the post of Treasurer since the end of November 2018. He presented the Forum with a spreadsheet showing our income and expenditure. This will be circulated in the Parish at a later date.

Income – our income total for 2018 was £133,973 with the majority of this being generated through the Offertory Collection and gift-aid. ‘Alive in Faith’ income is our second major source of income. Smaller amounts are received through the sales of candles, flowers and papers and through the repository.

Expenditure – our total expenditure for 2018 was £125,622 with the largest expense being the upkeep and maintenance of the buildings, the priests and other staff salaries. A large sum also goes to the Diocese which helps to pay for our schools, among other things.

The spreadsheet showed an £8,352 surplus which is roughly equivalent to what we received from Alive in Faith, so we have broken even financially this last year.

James also highlighted the amount collected from the second collection over the year, which amounted to £27,000 for the many good causes we have supported including the work of CAFOD.

It was suggested that we could make use of either a donations box in the church, as well as making available the facility to make contactless donations and donation by text. The Tech Group and Treasurers will look into these possibilities. Action: Tech Group / Treasurers

Fr Simon mentioned that there may be people in the Parish who may not realise that ‘Alive in Faith’ is still an active fundraising project which they are able to join and contribute to either with one-off donations or through a regular monthly donation. The money from this fund is being used to support the work of the SVP and to contribute to the cost of replacing the roof.

Richard Birkett made a plea to those using the Parish printer to be aware of the printing costs when printing colour copies. Colour costs considerably more than black and white. This prompted a vote of thanks to be given to Nora Darby and Sarah Sykes on the production of the Pilgrim magazine. It was agreed that in this case the colour photos greatly enhanced the magazine and was worth the expense. The magazine has a wide-reach and readership beyond our church and as such is good for outreach with a worldwide audience.

Feature presentations

Pound for Peru – Nora Darby presented a final update to mark the end of this fundraising endeavour. She talked about the projects which had been supported by our donations and reported on the final amount raised which was: £7,047.44 and thanked the Parish for its support. Thanks were also given by the Forum Chair to the CAFOD Parish team who set up and ran this initiative.

Cambridge Churches Homeless Project – Serga Collett talked about how, following an appeal last winter by one of the project’s co-ordinators, she volunteered to help and has found it a rewarding and worthwhile experience. The project serves about 17 homeless people a night from November – March, providing them with a hot meal, washing facilities and somewhere to sleep. These facilities are provided by places of worship around Cambridge on a rotation basis. They have a no drink and drugs policy and no trouble was experienced. She found that it was an enriching experience for herself and a stabilising one for the homeless as it often helped to them being able to be found permanent housing. Volunteers are always welcomed whether for a few hours or overnight. It is a good ecumenical activity and those churches without the facilities to host often send volunteers instead.


The times for the Easter Masses and Stations of the Cross are: Maundy Thursday: 7.30pm Mass; Good Friday: 10.30am Children’s Stations of the Cross, 3pm Mass, 7.30pm Adult’s Stations of the Cross; Easter Saturday: 9pm Vigil Mass; Easter Sunday: usual Sunday Mass times.


Church roof: Fr Simon has received some quote for repairing the church roof. Quotes are coming in from Lodge Roofing (Suffolk), Cambridge Roofing, and another local company. One suggestion proposed was that the roof tiles be replaced by slate rather than pan tiles. They would be more durable, however would be about £30,000 more expensive – so cost probably rules out this option. We could also opt to reuse the existing tiles, but as they are already 60yrs old they are becoming porous and would not be a good solution long-term.

Roughly costs are showing as: £35k to replace with our current tiles; £45k to replace with new tiles; £75k to replace with slate tiles. New insulation is needed in the roof to meet modern regulations. There is a possibility that this might change the profile of church roof. In a recent meeting of the Finance Committee, it was agreed that the best investment would be in new pan tiles with the majority of the cost being met by ‘Alive in Faith’ money. Fr Simon hopes to be able to get the work done over the summer. He will also get quotes for upgrading the presbytery roof for the future, which is also in need of modern standard insulation.

Sanctuary: Fr Simon has spoken with Andy Brown of Brown & Ralph (formerly of Rattee & Kett) who are very reputable stonemasons and also general builders. Their architectural technician will produce drawings which Fr Simon will bring to the next Forum. Action: Fr Simon

Updates from Parish Groups and Activities

Confirmation – Helena reported that this will take place at the end of June. Meanwhile the candidates are busy preparing and will take part in the Ignite Festival and will join the Diocesan Walsingham Pilgrimage on 6th May. They had a very good Reconciliation session in the church led by Fr Simon along with candidates from Philip Howard and Cambourne churches, and took part in the Stations of the Cross.

CAFOD – Serga reported on Lent activities: family fast collection, hunger lunch, short film presentation and report given by Jeanette and Andrew Milbourn on their trip to the CAFOD’s Climate Change conference in Poland and the speakers from Palestine who spoke at an 11am Sunday Mass. The visitors had been very grateful to be able to come and it was valuable to hear how money raised is being spent in other parts of the world. She also reported that Jeanette has since been appointed by CAFOD as the Parish Volunteer Coordinator for the Cambridge Deanery and will speak on CAFOD’s behalf at various parishes in the area. For the future it is hoped to plan a special event in honour of Creation Celebration day, an historical churches cycle ride, and an auction of promises towards the end of the year.

SVP – Christine Knight reported that the SVP will host a Senior Citizen’s Lunch on 27th April. All are welcome but places limited, so please book if you would like to come. The Offertory Collection on Maundy Thursday Mass will be taken in support of SVP’s work.


Fr Simon announced that the Bishop has asked Fr Johanne, who is on a Sabbatical Year with us, to go and help at St Edmund’s, Bury St Edmunds over the summer. He will hopefully return to us in the autumn when a new priest is due to be appointed at St Edmund’s in September.

Pat Cook, Parish Secretary, is now back at home after a spell in hospital. Fr Simon reported that we are covering salary costs for her, as well as for the Office cover. Pat would like to come back to work as soon as possible. The Forum sent best wishes to Pat for a speedy recovery and thanks to Sarah Sykes for providing cover.

Paul Simmons suggested that one Sunday second collection could be used to support the charity WinterComfort. It would also be good to invite someone from that organisation to speak on the chosen weekend to encourage the history of volunteering at the charity which St Laurence’s Parish has had for many years. Action: Facilitation Group

Forthcoming dates for the next meetings

All meetings start at 8pm

All action points marked in yellow.