PARISH OF THE SACRED HEART – PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL
Minutes of the meeting held on TUESDAY 24th NOVEMBER 2015
PRESENT: Father James Walsh, Deacon Ron O’Toole, John Bolger, Hilary Bolger, Adrian Rudman, Mary Edmonds, Michael Haughton, Carol Shippey, Robert Hardie, Frances Green
- APOLOGIES: Chris Falla, Agnieszka Gabriel
Fr. James began the meeting with Prayer. He then welcomed the 2 new PPC members and introduced them to the other members.
- It was agreed to try and finish the meeting by 8.45 p.m.
MINUTES OF THE MEETING of the 22nd September 2015 were approved.
- ELECTION OF CHAIR
Fr. James asked for nominations. Robert nominated Michael Haughton who thanked everyone for the vote of confidence but he declined as felt he was not in the best of health and had only another year to serve on the PPC. Fr. James reminded the members that in fact a new Chair was elected each year as per the Constitution (copy given to each member), Michael nominated Robert and as no other names were put forward Robert was duly elected Chair. Having looked at the Constitution it was realised that there was no need to elect a Vice Chair
- MATTERS ARISING
New Organ for Sacred Heart, North Walsham – This has now been installed.
Wheelchair Access to Sacred Heart, North Walsham – This is now completed with 5 disabled parking spaces.
S.V.P. – The Parish collection amounted to about £400 and Fr. James had received a letter of thanks from Michael McMahon, President of the Cromer Conference. There had also been a collection for the SVP throughout November at Waitrose in North Walsham.
New Evangelisation – Fr. James has received our Posada statue. This is a Mexican custom and represents the journey to Bethlehem, but in fact in Mexico a young couple usually represent Mary and Joseph and come and stay with families. Our Posada statue will start its Advent journey at the Sacred Heart for the first week, St Helen’s for the second week and St John of the Cross for the third week and then be returned to the Sacred Heart. There will be a list in each church for people to sign if they wish to have the statue in their home overnight. It could be used as an opportunity to gather with friends and neighbours for some day or evening prayers together and there are prayer sheets to accompany the Posada.
Robert had attended the second New Evangelisation day at Newmarket on the 31st October. This was run by Fr. Sean Connolly, Rebecca Bretherton and the Diocesan Youth Mission Team. Rob said it had been an excellent day that had focussed on how to be a ‘welcoming parish’ and also how to evangelise to the general public by coming alongside all we meet and gently leading them to hear the Good news of love and forgiveness. Rebecca highlighted one of the commonest unwelcoming features of parishes was ‘seat reservation’ and people always sitting in the same seat and therefore making visitors feel unwelcome should they happen to take such a seat. Fr. James has mentioned this problem to both St. Helen’s and Sacred Heart communities. Deacon Ron and Fr. James both strongly felt that Parish welcomers should remain at the door for a further few minutes as Mass starts to help latecomers find a seat, particularly at the Sacred Heart. Fr. James will speak to the welcomers at the Sacred Heart. Hilary said she tries to encourage parents of children preparing for their First Communion to sit at the front of the church in order for the children to really see and understand what is taking place during Mass.
RCIA – Fr. James has already given two sessions on Sunday evenings in the Parish Hall. About 20 parishioners and 2 candidates have attended these and all have thoroughly enjoyed the evenings and found them most enlightening and informative.
Notice Board at Sacred Heart – This is in hand but there is some difficulty in trying to match the paint colour of the board with the windows and doors of the Church
CAFOD – Live Simply – Robert asked if Stephen Matthews had been approached to talk at our Annual Parish Meeting. Clare said she would do so as soon as we have fixed a date for the meeting.
- ALIVE IN FAITH
Fr. James had circulated an information sheet (attached), which had also been given to Parishioners last Sunday. He had also read the Bishop’s letter at each Mass that invited Parishes to join the ‘Alive in Faith’ campaign. He explained that he really wanted the PPC on board and that this was a Diocesan wide initiative, which every Parish was being asked to become involved with. There is a real need for financial support for our Seminarians and for our retired clergy and without this fundraising the Diocese will have to dig deep into its reserves. The campaign is being supervised and run by professional fundraisers and Fr. James has already had a couple of meetings with our fundraiser Lisa and he has been very impressed with her so far. He explained that the training for the Priesthood was costly and was not eligible for any funding from student grants. Seminarians were not asked for any financial contributions themselves so the full cost fell to the Diocese. Deacon Ron pointed out that the option for retiring priests to perhaps live as a chaplain in a Convent was no longer an option as most Sisters lived in much smaller houses, so now properties had to be provided for retiring Priests. Fr. James has already asked a representative from each community to assist him with the campaign – Terry McIlwee from St Helen’s, Carol Shippey from St. John of the Cross and John Bolger from Sacred Heart. Annabel Goodlet will help with the financial administration. Our target would be £120,000 over 5 years. This sum is arrived at as it represents our annual collections x 2. Michael Haughton asked if we couldn’t just have a drive to get people to put a realistic amount in the collection each week he had recently been in a parish where there had been a leaflet issued to really explain to the parishioners how much money was actually needed to run a Parish and Diocese, he will try and obtain one of the leaflets. Fr. James said that a resume of the Diocesan finances were published in the Year Book and people needed to understand that funding did not come from the Vatican. It was thought that a Parish meeting would be a very good idea so that people could raise issue of concern. Fr. James will ask Lisa to attend the meeting, which will be on Saturday 11th Jan 2016 from 11-12 noon. Fr. James also circulated an “Alive in Faith” newsletter, which gave updates on how the pilot parishes were achieving their goals. He also circulated a draft proposal form setting out what projects the Parish would like to undertake with the 25% share of the fund, which would be returned to the Parish. Obviously there is a need for redecoration in the Sacred Heart and St. John of the Cross as well as repairs/replacement of the organs at St. Helens and St. John of the Cross but all felt we should be more outward looking and be able to support our local Food Banks and SVP groups which are proving essential in these times of huge financial hardship for many people locally. Michael Haughton asked if all avenues for grant funding had been explored as far as building works on our churches were concerned and Fr. James assured him that Sacred Heart was only a listed building and there were no grants available and many churches in Norfolk in need of maintenance work.
- REFUGEES IN NORFOLK
Hilary and John had attended an information meeting at St. Luke’s Norwich where nine agencies talked about what they were doing to help refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich.
19,196 people claimed asylum in the UK from January to July 2015 of whom 1,314 were from Syria (UNHCR).
Norwich is one of the dispersal cities used by the Home Office. There are already refugees in Norwich but not from the Syrian crisis and Norwich has a history of reaching out to refugees and asylum seekers. Norwich City Council is offering to take 50 Syrians in ten families but is in discussion with the government as the funding is only for a year instead of the five needed.
The Red Cross offers an orientation service for refugees and asylum seekers, especially women and young people. It has helped manage the arrival of refugees from Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon and Iraq. Many refugees who are multi-lingual become volunteers. One of whom is Gervais Kouloungou, our Deanery representative (see below).
Hala’s House to Home offers translation from Arabic to English as well as offering assistance with forms, befriending.
English lessons are offered by at least 5 different organisations including
English +, New Routes, Nile, Sure Start children’s centres, and Norwich Mind.
City Reach health services help people who find it difficult to access health services, which can include refugees and asylum seekers.
Christian Aid spoke of its work in many difficult places and pointed out that the UK offer to take people from the camps will virtually exclude Christians, since they do not feel safe in the camps.
Free legal advice from Norfolk Community Law Services
The Besom offers help with practical tasks like decorating, gardening and fencing. They also provide kitchen starter packs.
The SVP in Norwich provides very necessary small items like mobile phones with cards, bus passes etc.—vital in making and keeping appointments—as well as its food bank.
Several organisations offer friendship, mentoring and befriending services, including St Matthew’s Church, Thorpe Hamlet.
The Mother’s Union is working with refugee communities in many parts of the world, but is looking for premises to house the Syrian families in Norwich when they arrive. They also offer practical help with shopping, lifts, gardening and time when problems arise.
Within the parish boundary is Aylsham Refugee Crisis Response
Contact Revd. Andrew Beane – www.aylshamparishcurch.org.uk
Gervais Kouloungou was a refugee from the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) and he now works at the UEA and for the Red Cross. He has set up a group for French speaking refugees and asylum seekers. He has agreed to be the Deanery Representative and is very willing to talk to us. Fr. James and John will arrange a suitable time for him to come and talk to the Parish. John and Hilary agreed to be our Parish representatives and point of contact
- PARISH PASTORAL COUNCILLORS REPORTS
Sacred Heart – Hilary and John suggested that it would be a nice idea for the whole Parish to get together to celebrate the New Year. A New Year’s Day gathering will be held at 12 noon in the Parish Hall all will be asked to bring along a plate to share
St. John of the Cross – At the Forum last Sunday the re-decorating the Church was discussed and the costs likely to be in the region of £10,000. This is scheduled for next May.
The problem of responding to the needs of the sick and elderly in the parish community had been discussed and it was agreed we needed a way of knowing when someone was sick and then being able to at least visit them. If Fr. James is told then he will obviously let the community know. We need a ‘sick and housebound list.’ Rob said that where there is an active SVP they seem to be able to take this on while other parishes seem to have a ‘visiting group’. Hilary said that the Support Group is still active and had had a couple of new referrals. Although the Support Group doesn’t actually take on sick visiting she would obviously pass on anyone requesting visiting. St John of the Cross community will nominate one person, probably Pauline Andrews to be the point of contact for the community. Transport is always a problem from one town to the other which makes attending the Over 65s groups difficult. The ACT in Aylsham is able to collect people to go to the lunches and coffee mornings
St. Helen’s – The Harvest Supper was enjoyed by all who attended and two donations of £53 had been given to the Macmillan Fund and to the First Responders.
There was no further business.
- DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Tuesday 16th February in the Parish Room
Deacon Ron then concluded the meeting at 9 p.m. with a prayer and reading from Pope Francis.