[Saint Laurence]

St. Laurence’s Roman Catholic Church

Diocese of East Anglia

Parish Priest:
Fr. Simon Blakesley
(Tel: 07946 390060)

91 Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1XB
Tel/Fax: 01223 704640
Email: office@saintlaurence.org.uk
Office opening times: 10am−1.30pm Monday to Friday

Rev. Geoffrey Cook
(Tel: 01223 351650)

More on the Parishioners’ Open Meeting (Forum)

Latest information on the Open Meetings and minutes of past meetings are available on the main Open Meetings page

On this page, you can find some more background information on the Parishioners' Open Meetings (previously the Parish Forum).

What is the Parishioners’ Open Meeting?

Open Meetings are a venue where all parishioners are invited to contribute to discussion on Parish life and stay up-to-date with what's going on. They are held at least once per year, (our Annual General Meeting) and at other points where there are signficicant issues, ideas, or changes to discuss.

The Constitution governing Open Meetings can be read here.

History of the Forum and Open Meetings

The St Laurence's Parish Forum was established in 2007 and later renamed "Parishioners' Open Meeting" in an effort to clarify its purpose. It was our response to diocesan policy on lay participation. The Open Meeting has always provided a useful mechanism for informing and involving parishioners, and a venue that has enabled valuable discussions of parish life and the issues that surround it over many years. It was particularly valuable during the COVID pandemic, when meetings went online and were held monthly (rather than the previous quarterly frequency), providing an essential connection-point in maintaining parish life.

However, this experience highlighted issues that had long been evident - namely, that Open Meetings on their own do not provide a good mechanism for ensuring that specific actions are identified, assigned, and implemented, and that it can be difficult to mix a focus on the day-to-day detail of parish life with discussion of the 'big picture' for the parish and the church.

In 2023 and 2024, we reviewed parish organisation, seeking to learn from our experiences. We concluded that we should move to a Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) model for the day-to-day management of the parish, and we should further establish a number of core teams, coordinated via the PPC, to focus on managing specific areas of parish life. Open Meetings should be retained as a venue for updating and involving the whole parish community, and when there is a need to more widely discuss ideas, changes, significant issues, or new initiatives.

New arrangements for parish organisation

In our new model, PPC meetings will occur regularly, with an agenda focused on coordinating core teams and supporting the working life of the parish. The agenda and discussion will be driven by PPC members, although any parishioner is welcome to attend. Open Meetings, designed for the whole parish, will be held at least once per year and as needed when there are issues to discuss.

Open Meetings will normally be called and organised by the PPC, but may be called at any point by the request of ten parishioners.

To ask questions about or request an Open Meeting, please contact the current chair of the PPC or the Parish Priest, or email openmeetings@saintlaurence.org.uk.

More information:

Typical agenda

Meetings include some or all of the following items, with additional special topics added as appropriate:

  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
  3. Feature presentation or discussion topic
  4. Liturgy
  5. Finance
  6. Social life
  7. Catechesis
  8. Buildings and grounds
  9. School
  10. Reports from parish groups
  11. Any other business
  12. Date of future meetings