This is the text of the announcement made at last weekend’s Masses across the Partnership:
The Diocese has asked all partnerships to carry out a Property
and Community review.
Between 1985 and 2017 Mass
attendance in the Diocese fell by more than 64%, but the number of Diocesan buildings has hardly changed. This means that we have too many churches and
buildings, and the way they are currently used is
unsustainable into the future. This situation places an increasing burden on
priests and volunteers to manage property and we cannot afford to meet ongoing
running, maintenance and repair costs.
Now is the time for Partnerships to look ahead
and consider what our future property and community needs will be. The Diocese has asked that we undertake a
full review of our buildings and land so that a flexible plan can be developed
to maximise their use and sustainability, to meet the needs of our parishes and
of the wider community.
Each parish is asked to carry out a Community Audit, including talking
to the local community such as local councils and voluntary groups, to help us
think about what our buildings could be used for. We will be looking for volunteers in all our parishes to make sure there is plenty of
communication and consultation with parishioners, and to identify options for
use of our buildings.
The Partnership is then
asked to look ahead to 2030, taking account of the views of the parishes,
financial forecasts, and property appraisals which look at building use and
condition, to identify priorities. A Property Proposals Plan will then be developed
and submitted to the Diocese, where it will be reviewed.
Partnership Development Group is meeting with Jeremy Brock, the Diocesan
Property Review Co-ordinator, on 1 October, to find out more about the
process. We will, of course, be working
with the Building Committees / volunteers in all of the parishes, and there
will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to contribute their thoughts and
ideas over the coming months.
If you think you could help with the Community Audit please contact Margaret Doyle on firstname.lastname@example.org