SACRED HEART PARISH OPEN MEETING
NORTH WALSHAM CHURCH HALL
MONDAY 20TH MAY 2013
The meeting was well attended by about 58 Parishioners and the delicious food was produced by teams of ‘willing volunteers’ from St. Helen’s Community and from the Sacred Heart Community.
Following supper Terry McIlwee introduced the invited speaker:
‘Traditionally at these events we invite someone to talk about initiatives or activities outside of our direct parish and in the wider community,
I would therefore like to invite Dr Dilys Wadman, who was appointed last autumn as Acting Diocesan Communications Officer, to give us some insight into her activities in that role’.
Acting Diocesan Communications Officer – Dr. Dilys Wadman
She introduced herself and told us something of her previous background before she started work with the Diocese. She illustrated, by using examples from her previous experience as a Director of Education in Southwark, that in a geographically spread Diocese, communication to keep people informed as to the latest changes and initiatives was essential. Since first taking up her role and through talking to various individuals and groups in East Anglia, she had noted that there was something special about the way people currently identified with the Diocese and that the Diocese had a unique place in the development of Christianity in England.
Her primary task at the moment is to produce a booklet to be published at the end of the Year of Faith (subject to the approval of our new Bishop if appointed by then), which highlights examples of interesting and novel activities that have taken place and are taking place in the Diocese during the Year of Faith. This will help to inform the new Bishop and all of us about the unique elements of the Diocese. She finished by urging anyone who had good stories to send them to her for possible inclusion in the booklet.
Parish Pastoral Committee Report – Terry McIlwee – Chair of PPC
It does not seem to be a year since we were all sitting in this Hall listening to last year’s report but a lot has happened since then
– Pope Benedict has stood down and we have a new Pope in Francis
– Pope Francis has canonized the 813 Martyrs of OTRANTO but still not given us a Bishop after 22 months so Fr David is still having to undertake a very full diary and is visiting parts of the Diocese he probably did not even know existed
– Norwich has retained its status in the Premiership
– The summer has not yet come
– And I hope I am not spoiling the plot because Fr David has not had time to catch up, but the Rovers Return has burned down!
To be serious
Your PPC has had 5 meetings since our last parish open meeting and in the absence of new initiatives from the Diocese has had a year of consolidation and further development of previously initiated activities.
Three members have stood down from the PPC – Aneta Dzeidzik representing our Polish Community, Dominic Boddington and Michael Lovett – our thanks to them for their efforts over the years.
These have been replaced by Jenny Evans, Jayne Randall, Teresa Butler and Agnieska Gabriel for our Polish community.
As I previously commented this has not been a year of new initiatives except those relevant to the Year of Faith but Fr David has told me that he will wish to report in that area.
We are pleased to see that the Parish Support Group is now fully functioning, the team is in place, the relevant CRB checks have been undertaken, the required technology has been acquired and the group is now available to offer help and advice to those who need it. My thanks to all those involved in getting the idea operational.
In advance of the appointment of a new Bishop PPC representatives completed an audit last summer as to the degree to which the Parish Plan was still in line with the Diocesan plan and concluded that most of the operational issues were being catered for in the parish at some level and that there were no glaring omissions. It was felt that it would be useful to have one person responsible for parish communications with the local media, but felt that, as some training might be required, we should await initiatives in this arena from the diocese.
The Parish Website is being currently redeveloped, this is still work in progress and it will take a little time to get it to where we want it to be. Thanks to John Bolger for leading on this and Sam Meyer for developing the web and coping with our requests.
John Bolger as Parish Pastoral Assistant role has contributed to a number of activities over the year including our combined choir during the Easter celebrations and to our Faith Fun and Food event in November, Our thanks to John for the work he has put in over the last two years and for supporting Fr David and we are pleased to say that we have extended the post for at least another year.
On the Faith Food and Fun front we had a good day on the 18th November where we had as our theme Year of Faith Preparing our Hearts, where the children acted out the story of Peter walking on the Water, and John gave us a very interesting audio visual presentation on Vatican 2 and the laity. There will not be a Parish Picnic this year as there is a Parish Fete but we will hopefully be having another Faith Food and Fun day in November this year.
I think I have picked out most of the highlights of our work this year and would like to thank all those who have served on the Council over the year for their support.
Finally I must also express the Parish’s thanks to Fr David for all the work he does in the Parish, despite his other role as Diocesan Administrator – and having to “suffer” attending the Bishops Conference Retreat in Rome – he is always here for us, is cheerful and attentive of our needs.
Fr. David Bagstaff – Parish Priest
Spiritual/Liturgical Dimension – This must be at the heart of our Parish life. We are fortunate to have three full churches every weekend with many involved in the Liturgy – not forgetting those who do so much behind the scenes. Thanks also to our musicians and singers. I receive many positive comments from visitors about how welcomed they felt when attending our churches and how much they appreciated the Liturgy.
As a Parish we are fortunate to have a number of people who have come to make their homes here from other parts of the world. We must continue to find ways of integrating them into the life of our Parish and celebrating their particular cultural contribution e.g. as Readers and Minister of Holy Communion etc.
Just to mention a few of the events of the past twelve months:
- Sacramental Programmmes: First Holy Communion (& Reconciliation); Confirmation (Celebrated on 26th April 2013); Journey in Faith. Thanks to our catechists.
- Annual Mass in the Memorial Garden (21st August 2012) – very much appreciated by those attending.
- Mass at Bacton Priory ruins last September
- Monthly Sunday afternoon Services and Bible Study on Friday – Thanks to Deacon Ron
- Parish Picnic last August and Parish Faith, Food and Fun Day on 18th November 2012 – the theme was ‘Preparing our Hearts’ and linked with the Year of Faith
- We had the usual Advent Programme and Christmas Services which were well attended
- We had a full and varied Lenten Programme this year – Holy Week is always a high point and rightly so, and the attendances for our Holy Week Liturgies were up again
- A backdrop to everything liturgical and spiritual this year has been ‘The Year of Faith’ – a time of celebration and of deepening our faith and of trying to explore ways of witnessing to our faith in today’s society. The year started last October and runs through until the Feast of Christ the King this year.
Young People – Sarah Shippey represents us on the Diocesan Youth Council. Again a number of our young people were involved in the HCPT Pilgrimage to Lourdes at Easter. Sarah Shippey will be attending the WYD celebration in Rio this July
Senior Citizens Group – This continues to be a thriving group. They have had a varied and full programme. Sadly a number of members have died during this past 12 month. They produce their own Annual Report. We also have the 4th Wednesday Club at St. Helens.
Cambodia – We are still very active in our Support Cambodia – A visit in January from our Parish; Information boards at each of the churches; Mango News; fund raising – can appear to be a lot of events going on but we have made a commitment to our brothers and sisters there – we are trying to address the matter of spreading out our fund raising. All our encouraged to do a small event e.g. a coffee morning with friends.
Parish Pastoral Assistant – John has now been in post for two years. We recently had a review of the Post and have decided to continue it at least for a further year with another review in 12 months time
Ecumenical Activities – We continue to develop these. We have ‘Churches Together’ groups in each of our Church areas.
On a personal note it has obviously been another full and challenging year. Bishop Michael died on the 11th July 2011 and I was elected as Diocesan Administrator the following week. I was supposed to be spending two days a week at Poringland but it often doesn’t work out like that. I am expected to attend various activities and events to represent the Diocese. I try to balance Diocese and Parish but am conscious this is not always the case or possible. I’m aware that I have not been around quite so much and therefore less involved and some of you have taken on more commitments – for this I am very grateful. I could not have taken on the role if you had not all been so supportive and understanding. For how much longer????? Your guess is as good as mine!
Finally ‘Thank You’ to everyone for what you do in the Parish towards the building up of God’s Kingdom. Often they are things which no one sees or hears about. Thanks also to Deacon Ron, Antonia in the Parish Office, John Bolger and to you ALL.
Parish Finance Committee Report – Nick Sutherland – Chair of Finance Committee
The Annual Income and Expenditure Statements looks very encouraging in that is shows that we had a surplus of income over expenditure. This looks particularly good when one recalls that we had budgeted for a £12,000 deficit. However, the reason for the surplus is that building work we had intended to carry out during the last financial year was postponed and is proposed to be carried our during this year.
Those who recall my recent exhortation to sign Gift Aid declarations will recall that I mentioned that we were expecting to have building expenditure of over £40,000 in the next year or so, which includes the building work postponed from the last financial year.
There is no need for concern that we will have such heavy expenditure (which will create a large deficit) because, as can be seen from the Income and Expenditure Statement, we do have a healthy balance in what is, in effect, the current account, and in addition, over the last yew years we have built up a ‘sinking fund’ which you will see is referred to in the Expenditure Statement as a property reserve fund. You will see that we paid nearly £5000 into the fund last year.
In addition, we are fortunate to have the legacy money at North Walsham, but it can only be spend at North Walsham. Although, due to prudent financial management, we will be able to cope with the building expenditure without a major problem, it does mean that the reserves (excluding the legacy money at North Walsham) will have taken a hit and we will need to rebuild them over the next few years.
I sound one note of caution in that the total of amount of first collection and standing orders in 2012 is almost the same as it was in 2011. This is not surprising given the financial position and I know that everybody is giving as much as they can. However, our expenditure does increase with inflation, particularly heating and lighting costs. This was why I was keen to emphasize the importance of Gift Aid declarations and for people to consider the Parish when making their Wills when I addressed the congregations recently.