Pastoral Council Meeting 22 October 2015

Present:  Norma Brown, Stephanie Brown, David Crookes, Margaret Davis, Andy Doyle, Margaret Doyle, fr. Benjamin Earl, Bernard Faulkner, Dominic Goodall, Margaret Harvey (taking minutes), David Hughes (Chair), Sarah Milner, John Marsland, Judy McClean, Susan Penswick, Frances Simmons, John Urquhart.

The meeting opened with a prayer.

Apologies for absence were received from Cliona Kear.

Minutes of the last meeting were accepted.

There were no matters arising.

There were as yet no nominations for the post of Deputy Chair.

The Financial Report was presented by John Marsland, who said that there was £38, 869 in our current account and £43, 603 in the deposit account. This healthy situation, however, was to be considered against the need to send £4, 500 collected for Belpahar to another charity (see below number 7e) and £1500 earmarked for chalices (see below, number 7f). Furthermore the balustrade would
require about £10,000, and work was needed for the entrance, the presbytery, and decoration, which would take about another £10,000.

We also need LED lighting for the church, which will cost about £20,000, but we are approaching the Diocese for this.

At a recent meeting the Finance Committee decided to institute a rotation system, so that members would retire in turn.

There was discussion of the Special Collections for various diocesan causes, for some of which we currently pay out of parish funds, whereas for others a special collection is held. It was agreed that we need to know more about the details of the collections and Andy Doyle agreed to do research on the question and report back, so that priorities may be agreed.

Following a suggestion made to the Forward in Hope process John Marsland will try to improve communication with the parish about finance beginning with a briefing in November.

Reports from sub-committees and groups.

Building Committee. The report was presented by Gil Bolton. The balustrade was due to be delivered on Tuesday. The Combi boiler providing hot water and heating to the ground floor is still problematic. A contractor has identified the problem, and quoted for the repair but we are still waiting for the work to be carried out.

A formal request will be sent to the diocese to replace the church lighting with a more efficient and accessible system (see minute 6 above). The existing system is out of date, expensive to run and to maintain. Until we have diocesan approval there is little point in taking the matter further.

Susan Penswick reported that some fund-givers for the Building Project check regularly to ensure that we are opening the church as we undertook to do.

On Fundraising
Fr Ben reported that at a recent meeting the former Fundraising Committee had decided that a group more focussed on organising social events would now better serve parish needs. The group will call itself the Events Group and will meet ad hoc to plan what is needed. The first meeting is to be 29 November after the 10am Mass. At that meeting the group will discuss who is to chair it and how it may be organised.

Catholic Society. Dominic Goodall reported that so far the Society is doing very well. The group had been able to replace its musicians with excellent singers, the Fresher’s Fair had gone well and the first student mass (and the meal that followed) had been packed. Lauds and breakfast and Cath Soc night continue to be well attended and there is a good programme for the term.

Room for improvement might lie in attempting to become more

At the Forward Together in Hope discussion the members had decided that they would welcome more involvement with the wider Durham Community, and so would seek to link up with some existing local charitable work, as other student religious societies already do.

The students would also welcome more links with the parish and suggest, for instance, a joint Bible Study and prayer group.

It was suggested that John Marsland should address the students at the 6.30 Mass as well as the parish at 10am. (see number 6 above).

On Churches together in Elvet and Shincliffe Andy Doyle reported that at the St Oswald’s Day celebrations in August, which had been very successful under a new format, not many Catholics had been

Churches Together had decided to organise talks. The first would be on 17 November, on ‘Policing in the 21st Century’. A further talk on
‘Prison Life’, and another on ‘Cosmology’ would follow, the dates to be arranged.

Some adjustments need to be made in the distribution of Christmas cards, especially to blocks of flats.

The Rev. Shaun Swithenbank will talk to the Rev. Alan Middleton, Chair of Churches Together in Durham about the possibility of holding one service only for the whole city in the Elvet and Shincliffe cluster in Unity Week 2016.

Lent talks in 2016 will involve three Tuesday evenings, two with some clips from films on Lenten themes and then one whole film.

The Holy Island Pilgrimage in 2016 will be on 11 June

St Nicholas church is seeking members of a choir for its presentation of The Nativity in the market place.

Margaret Harvey reported that Churches Together in Durham had organised a very successful evening discussion of Laudato Si

Margaret Davis reported that the Justice and Peace Group continues to meet after Sunday Mass and to collect loo rolls and biscuits. They continue in contact with the Refugee Project.

The money (£4131) collected for Belpahar will now be sent to a Cafod Hands On project for this time only.  The recipient of a further £800 has yet to be decided.

The Virtual Village Project is continuing.

Gift Aid is to be facilitated.

The Bishop has enquired about what the parishes are doing for refugees. Maryanne Fleming is the parish link for this.

A letter has been sent from local church leaders to urge the government to do more for refugees. The meeting agreed that more practical advice about what individuals can do would help.

Andy Doyle spoke on Liturgy. New chalices, to replace those old and worn, would be coming before Christmas (see number 6 above).

Remembrance Sunday will be celebrated as usual.

A Carol Service jointly with the Students will be held on Wednesday 16 December.

To mark the Year of Mercy in 2016 the parish will introduce a new hymn for which Paul Inwood has won a competition.  Further ways to mark the year are being discussed,

The celebration of 800 years of the Dominican Order will need to be
further considered.

We are aiming to have some ‘taster sessions’ to allow people to sample ministries for which (we hope) they will have suggested themselves on the Parish Census.

There have been no diocesan meetings to report

9)    Margaret Doyle reported on the progress of Forward Together in Hope. She has now collected most of the data and has had three open meetings as well as having talks with individuals. All the information is on the parish web-site.

A second DVD on the subject, rather long, has been sent to her, which may be borrowed.

The next meeting for the parish will be on 5 November, to sum up our strengths and weaknesses. The Diocese is particularly anxious for more involvement of young people. The parish will act upon its own findings in any case.

Margaret also sought information and opinions about the Parish Pastoral Council, presenting its guidelines (of 2002) for scrutiny. These are very out of date and need to be reviewed. It was decided to do this at a later meeting. For purposes of a questionnaire Margaret asked when the Council had begun. It was agreed that this had happened some time in the 1970s. The meeting considered that the Council performed a very useful service.

10)  There were no items from the parish Priest.

11) There was no other business.

12)  The next meeting will be on 18 February 7.30pm in the Parish Room

The meeting ended with a prayer.