Category Archives: PPC

Parish Assembly

On Sunday 15th January there will be a Parish Assembly in the Parish Room, after 10 a.m. Mass.  This will include reports from the Parish Pastoral Council, the Parish Finance Council and other parish groups and committees.  

If any parishioner wishes to raise a question or issue at the Assembly it should be notified in advance, by email, to by Thursday 12th January. You can also join the Assembly by Zoom – for login details, contact

Parish Pastoral Council

The PPC met on 21 September.  The meeting discussed finances (there will be a briefing for the parish at the beginning of December) and buildings.  We have recently completed work on the office and installed new furniture in the church porch, and there is work to be done on the boundary wall and the presbytery stonework.  There was an update from the Partnership Development Group, and we are reviewing the Parish Pastoral Plan.  This was originally our Forward Together in Hope action plan and we have so far implemented 40 of the 86 actions.  The full minutes of the meeting are available on the website.

Who’s who on the Parish Pastoral Council

If you would like to know more about the work of the Parish Pastoral Council, or if there is anything you would like the PPC to discuss, please speak to the Chair, David Hughes, or any of the council members.

Left to right:

Helen Schofield,  Cliona Kear (Secretary),  Catherine Dyer,  Margaret Doyle (vice-chair),  Andy Doyle,  Alison Purvis,  John Marsland,  Fr. Andrew,  Margaret Harvey,  Phoebe Sowerby

Meeting of the Parish Assembly

Back in February, we agreed new guidelines for the Councils and Groups in the parish. One of those groups is the Parish Assembly.  The Assembly meetings are open to every member of the parish, and the next meeting is on Thursday 25 May at 7.30pm.  This meeting is also the parish’s AGM.

There will be an explanation of the new format, elections to the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and a full Finance Report, as well as updates from the parish’s groups and committees, and the latest news about Forward Together in Hope and our new area partnership.

At the meeting, we will be electing 3 new members of the PPC.  If you are interested in standing, please talk to any member of the PPC – their names are on the noticeboard at the back of church.


First meeting of the new PPC

The first meeting of the PPC took place on 23rd March.  Full minutes of the meeting are available here and on the noticeboard.

David Hughes was elected as Chair, Margaret Doyle as Deputy Chair and Cliona Kear as Secretary.  There will be three elected members from the Parish, who will be elected at the Assembly meeting in May. If you are interested in standing, please talk to any member of the PPC.

The meeting talked about Forward Together in Hope. Parish reps. and clergy from the 9 parishes in our area partnership will be meeting in April to share information from our parish questionnaires and start to get to know other churches.  Meanwhile, the action plan from our own questionnaire has now been turned into the parish’s pastoral plan, and the PPC agreed the actions to be taken forward with the Chaplaincy and the parish’s young people.

The Assembly meeting in May is also the AGM.  There will be an explanation of the new format, elections to the PPC and a full Finance Report, as well as updates from the parish’s groups and committees. 

Parish Pastoral Council

The first meeting of the newly constituted Parish Pastoral Council will be held on Thursday 23 March. If you have any items that you would like to have discussed by the PPC, please give them to Fr Andrew or to Margaret Doyle. Elections for members of the PPC will be held at the Parish Assembly on Thursday 25 May, to which all members of the parish are welcome to attend.

Parish Pastoral Council

The first meeting of the newly constituted Parish Pastoral Council will be held on Thursday 23 March. If you have any items that you would like to have discussed by the PPC, please give them to Fr Andrew or to Margaret Doyle. Elections for members of the PPC will be held at the Parish Assembly on Thursday 25 May.

Changes to the Parish Pastoral Council guidelines

At the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) meeting on Thursday, 2nd February, we agreed revisions to the guidelines for the PPC itself and for the parish’s other committees and groups.

The guidelines have been updated following discussion at open meetings as part of the Forward Together in Hope process, and the changes help to clarify the responsibilities of each group and to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for the people of the parish to get involved and to make their views heard.

The revised guidelines are attached below.

PPC Guidelines Feb 2017

If you have any questions about the guidelines, or if you’d like to know more about the background to the changes, please contact Margaret Doyle on or 0191 3783660.

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.