PARISH OF THE SACRED HEART – PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting held on TUESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2022 at 7.30pm
PRESENT: Fr Peter Raj, Richard McGreevy (St Helen’s), (Chair), John Bolger (Parish Pastoral Assistant), Antonia Martinez (Sacred Heart), Ann Gibbs (Sacred Heart), Peter Rylands (St Helen’s), Georgiana Rylands (St Helen’s), Keith Copperwheat (St John of the Cross), Catherine Watkins (Secretary)
1. APOLOGIES: Ginny Keane, Shanti Devassey.
Fr Peter opened the meeting with a prayer.
2. It was agreed to try and finish the meeting by 9.00pm.
3. MINUTES OF THE MEETING: on 27 September 2022 were agreed and signed.
4. MATTERS ARISING:
a. Health & Safety Update. Peter Brander had submitted a report on Health & Safety at the Sacred Heart Church and hall:
All the required safety and electrical tests have been completed in accordance with the annual schedule. Only three items require immediate attention.
1. The fire exits in the hall must be made wheelchair usable, by levelling the outside and providing a solid pathway to the car park. Quotations for this work are in hand, with Ben White taking the lead.
2. Emergency lighting is required in the church. I have purchased a light that will probably meet our requirements, although more than one may be needed. I hope we can test this light when I return from Ireland.
3. The three wheelie bins need to be moved away from the church wall as they present a fire hazard. (The Fire Safety Inspector recommends a distance of 8 metres). I circulated details of housing for the bins before I left and I know consideration was being given to the idea.
Keith said that he would speak to Peter Adamson regarding Health & Safety at St John of the Cross.
Action – Keith
b. Elections of PPC representatives. James Ellis had had to resign as a representative of St John of the Cross as he was now regularly attending the church in Cromer so felt he was unable to properly represent the people of St John of the Cross. A nomination was now required for a third representative of St John of the Cross and Cathy had emailed a nomination form to Keith. Shanti Devassey had been nominated as a representative of the Sacred Heart church and had accepted. Unfortunately he was unable to attend the meeting. Georgiana was willing to be re-elected as a representative of St Helen’s church for a second term.
Action – Representatives from the church of St John of the Cross
c. Faithful Stewards of God’s Gifts – Time, Talent & Treasure. There have been quite a few new parishioners in recent months. The welcome packs contain forms where they are invited to note ways in which they feel they can contribute to the smooth running of the parish.
d. Updating of Parish Directory. The parish office has been notified of errors in the updated directory. An Errata sheet has been produced which will be distributed for insertion in the new directories. It was agreed that the Directory should be updated every two years.
Action – Cathy
e. Trees in the Sacred Heart grounds. John reported that Georgiana had offered 4 silver birch saplings. John said that he would speak to the gardener who looked after the Sacred Heart grounds and ask for advice on planting.
Action – John
f. Sacred Heart memorial garden – accessibility. It was currently difficult for people in wheelchairs to access the Memorial Garden due to the steep incline of the main approach. Possible solutions were discussed; e.g. concreting a path across the grass to the garden’s side entrance which is the access the undertakers use. This could be included in work to improve fire door egress from the hall.
g. Sacred Heart church car park. It was asked what the cost of Creative Car Park’s signs would be. John explained that the signs and equipment would be free, along with installation. Fr Peter expressed reservations about a system that appeared unwelcoming. It was agreed to suspend action on this matter.
5. PARISH TWINNING WITH ST FRANCIS XAVIER – REPORT FROM PAULINE ANDREWS:
Brief background history: In 2004 Diocese of East Anglia twinned with Holy Land and Diocese of Battambang, Cambodia.
In the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Bishop Michael Evans, asked that parishes in the Diocese consider twinning. In 2005, Sacred Heart Parish, North Walsham, after a vote of parishioners, was twinned with Cambodia.
The Parish of St. Francis Xavier, in Svay Sisophon was at that time in great need of spiritual and financial support. This has been our twinned parish since 2005. In 2007. Three parishioners, Katie and Bob Maidment and Susie Thomson, accompanied a Diocesan group on a visit to Cambodia. The experience prompted them to start a parish-based support group. For the next 7 years, friendship was promoted and practical support raised, initially within Sacred Heart Parish, but increasingly in the wider community, with Katie and Bob also running annual group visits to Cambodia from 2008-2014. The parish priest at the time, Fr. David Bagstaff, accompanied a visit on at least two occasions. In 2014 Katie and Bob Maidment, on their own initiative, set up a small, independent UK registered charity, “SUPPORT CAMBODIA”, to be able to continue to help very poor communities, beyond our twinned parish at Svay. This was not connected to the Catholic Church. Much confusion occurred within the parish, and continues to do so!
In 2017 Pauline Andrews became the Parish Twinning Rep. from St. John of the Cross, Becky Walker from Sacred Heart, and Janet McElwee from St. Helen’s. In 2018 Pauline and Ian Andrews went to Cambodia with a ‘Support Cambodia Charity’ Trustee, Bob Maidment. They were able to visit our Twin Community in Svay Sisophon. On return a talk was given and video shown to the Senior Citizens group.
2019-2022 The twinning gradually reduced to an occasional email between the parish priests. Pauline Andrews continued to contact Fr. Gregorius Priyadi, the Indonesian Jesuit parish priest. He occasionally sends photos and requests for prayer intentions. He prefers friendship and spiritual support to anything financial. The parish has recently contributed to the restoration of a bridge in Svay Sisophon, to a shrine to Paul Tep Im Sota, a priest killed during the Khymer Rouge Genocide.
Prayers for our twin parish were included in the Bidding prayers on Sundays from time to time. We used to have monthly services in Cambodian style at St. John of the Cross.
In the autumn, a Diocesan mass was held for PCHUM BEN, Cambodian feast of the Ancestors, which we linked with November, Holy Souls and Remembrance of the Dead. Our parish often hosted this. In the spring, Cambodian New Year, a Mass was offered for our Diocesan twin parishes. Venues varied across Diocese.
There used to be Diocesan Twinning meetings to which our reps were invited to give reports. The last I attended was on Zoom during Covid.
Where do we go from here?
Over the last few years we have had a change in congregations. We also have a new parish priest, Fr. Peter Raj. Understanding and knowledge of our twinning is limited to those parishioners who have actually visited Cambodia and those who have been involved in the past. We have many new parishioners who know nothing about it.
We have to decide if and how we continue with this twinning.
We could invite Fr. Mark Hackeson from Swaffham to give us a talk (+food) on the Church in Cambodia. He has first-hand experience. Meanwhile it would be good to still send individual greetings at Christmas and Easter and Cambodian New Year(April). Note this week’s newsletter.
Action – Antonia
Prior to Lockdown the PPC had considered the possibility of supporting an additional charity and it is believed that a decision was made. Cathy to look up in previous minutes.
Action – Cathy
6. PARISH CENSUS:
The parish was in need of a fresh census, the last one having been carried out in 2014. In the New Year, detailed forms would be distributed to parishioners who had arrived since 2014, and simpler forms for those who were present for the last census. Parish records would then be held digitally in a secure format. Peter reminded the meeting of the need to comply with Data Protection and said that he would be happy to assist in ensuring the forms used were Data Protection compliant. Forms to be produced.
Action – Antonia, Peter
7. PARISH PRIEST’S REPORT TO THE PPC:
Fr Peter said that work was going forward to start up a” warm hub” in the parish hall, with effect from January. Churches Together in Aylsham and in North Walsham are active on this front. Commissioning of Ministers should be renewed annually and Fr Peter proposed that this should be done in January, with a short briefing of Ministers and Readers beforehand. He asked that Ministers of the Eucharist who took Communion to the sick could let him have details of those who would like to be visited.
Action – Ministers of the Eucharist
8. PARISH PASTORAL COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS:
St John of the Cross. Keith reported that a Forum meeting was held on 4 December. A ”warm hub” has been set up which will run from 9 December. It will be advertised by Churches Together, in the next Just Aylsham magazine and on their website. A new cleaners rota was needed and Angela Ellis volunteered to set this up. More kneelers were required – the current 25 cost £660. Richard said that St Helen’s church had surplus and could let St John of the Cross church have some of theirs. Meetings of the Liturgy Committee are to resume, with decisions being passed to Fr Peter. The company which had been approached regarding the new church sign was a national company. A local company provided and fitted signs for the Sacred Heart church and Peter Adamson would liaise with Neil regarding them. All actions required by the Quinquennial Report had been carried out, apart from the repairs to the chapel west window. The stonemason is being chased up. A new PPC representative is needed.
St Helen. A new garden shed had been erected, a new sit-on mower had been purchased, the garden rubbish had been removed, a leak in the toilet had been fixed, a new lock had been fitted to the side door of the church. The lighting on the front steps had failed and cannot be repaired – a new system is on order. Confessions are now available before Mass, House Masses have resumed. New hymn books were needed, however the cost would be around £600. Ideas for fundraising were discussed.
Sacred Heart. Attendance numbers for Sunday and weekday Masses are still rising. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament has been introduced on Saturday mornings and was initially well attended, but attendance had since fallen off. The church now has three new young altar servers who are being trained. There is a need for more Ministers of the Eucharist. There are some additional Readers, some of whom read in their first language. The need for a liturgy meeting has been expressed.
9. 2023 SYNOD OF BISHOPS: The “National Synthesis Document” has been published and can be viewed on our website.
10. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
a. Votive lights in the Sacred Heart church. Each Sunday, the candle stand fills up, but very little is deposited in the money box. It was suggested that a sign was posted “Suggested donation 20p per candle”.
b. Whole Parish Activities. Resumption of the Summer Fete was suggested. If this was held in July, a plant sale could be included. Planning should start early, with a task force across the whole parish.
c. Family Mass. Fr Peter had spoken to Kerry about 6pm Christmas Eve Mass and the children’s involvement.
d. Times of the Christmas Masses. These have been published in the newsletter.
11. DATES OF NEXT MEETINGS:
Tuesday 7 March 2023, 7.15pm for 7.30 at the Church of St John of the Cross, Aylsham
Tuesday 6 June 2023, 7.15pm for 7.30 at the Sacred Heart Presbytery, North Walsham
Tuesday 5 September 2023, 7.15pm for 7.30 at the Church of St Helen, Hoveton
Tuesday 5 December, 7.15pm for 7.30 at the Church of St John of the Cross, Aylsham
Fr Peter concluded the meeting with a prayer.