Congratulations and thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm and involvement we had a successful assessment on the 14th May 2018 and have gained a LiveSimply Award for our Parish. We will shortly receive a wooden plaque for each church plus the report of our assessment from CAFOD, which will be published on the Parish website and on the church notice boards along with the report we submitted to them about our efforts to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the poor.
Over the years we have compiled a ring binder full of information about all the projects etc we have been involved with whilst working towards the award. Below are the front sheets listing what he have done together with the results of the final questionnaire:
OCTOBER 2016 – MAY 2018
In June 2016, using the CAFOD Laudato Si’ Study Guide, we organised a series of talks for the Parish and encouraged by these talks we decided to try and achieve a LiveSimply Award for the Parish
We formed a steering group with Fr. James and several members from each of our three communities and agreed to meet each month. We are a Parish comprising three very different communities each about 10 miles apart which does make joint working together quite difficult. However our steering group was extremely positive from the start and we all worked very well together.
We put together our plan, explained what we hoped to achieve to each community and submitted the plan to CAFOD
During the course of working towards our LiveSimply Award we have been very encouraged by the enthusiasm of our parishioners particularly when we have asked them to take part in a campaign or complete questionnaires. We are a parish of approximately 300 regular attenders and had well over 100 questionnaires returned each time with lots of comments and suggestions
We asked parishioners to complete a final life style changes questionnaire in April 2018 just before we submitted our portfolio for assessment to ask what changes people felt they had made and will continue to make in order to live more simply, more sustainably and more in solidarity with the poor.
We were very heartened by the responses and the desire that people obviously have to keep trying to live more simply. We will continue to encourage our parishioners by having an annual Parish LiveSimply Week based around Harvest Fast Day
The Main Action was to use the Weekly Newsletter to suggest ways in which we could all be involved in living more simply.
We started by asking for suggestions from the Parishioners as to how we could do this We also used a lot of the ‘100 ways to Livesimply’ suggestions on the CAFOD website.
Using these suggestions we planned a monthly theme to concentrate upon and added a suggestion each week in our parish bulletin
Each church has a LiveSimply display board with useful articles, CAFOD magazines, prayer cards and a suggestion box
In March 2017 we asked parishioners to complete a monitoring questionnaire with their thoughts on how we were all doing. We repeated this questionnaire in March 2018 which showed a marked change (doubled in two important areas) in the direction we had hoped
We took the decision to stop having Fair Trade stalls in the Parish as we felt that most of the local supermarkets were selling Fair Trade goods at a much cheaper price than we could obtain them ourselves and we were not selling sufficient items each month. However we have encouraged many parishioners to buy CAFOD World Gifts over the last two Christmas periods.
World Gifts – The true spirit of Christmas giving. World Gifts are a fun and meaningful way to give virtual Christmas present to our friends and family. With each gift, you’ll receive a certificate to pass onto a loved one, which explains how your donation and their gift will make a difference to some of the poorest communities around the world. During Advent let us take the time to think about gifts beyond Christmas presents – the gifts of our own life, the gift of creation and gifts of hope and mercy. Through World Gifts we can give our loved ones a great present this Christmas and we can also choose to give gifts of hope to others
We obtained a supply of the “LiveSimply” Prayer Cards and have incorporated this prayer every Sunday with our Prayers of the Faithful in each of our three churches
In September 2017 we took part in Pope Francis’ World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and had a Creation Liturgy in the Memorial Garden of the Sacred Heart Church, North Walsham
We have tried to encourage people to share lifts to Church and to cycle or use public transport, but the distances involved in North Norfolk doesn’t make this very easy.
On Sunday 29thApril despite the appalling weather we took part in the Rosary on the Coast of the British Isles For Life, Faith and Peace
The Main Action was to ensure parishioners were aware of how to use the local recycling facilities in the best way possible.
We were slightly handicapped in that two different district councils who issue slightly different leaflets serve our parish. We tried to visit the local recycling centre to see the process for ourselves but unfortunately it was not possible to arrange a visit as there had been an incident at the centre and all visits had been stopped.
However the weekly bulletins have suggested many ways in which we can become better at recycling and we provided parishioners with leaflets which we obtained from the district councils and a list of recycling hints and tips which we compiled to help them make correct decisions about what can and cannot be recycled.
We have encouraged parishioners to get involved with CAFOD campaigns such as “Power to Be’ and have spoken at our Churches about the campaign and provided parishioners with cards to sign to be sent to the World Bank
We have encouraged parishioners to become MP correspondents both with CAFOD and by writing personally to their MPs and by signing the many petitions via 38 Degrees. During the General Election we ensured that parishioners were given a copy of the “Our Common Future” briefing from Caritas and CAFOD.
These are some of the topics that parishioners have written to their MPs about:
Nature directives to protect vulnerable wildlife
Cracking down on betting machines
Overseas tax dodging
SPUC campaign on behalf of chemists issuing the Morning After Pill
Relationship education in primary schools
Decrimilisation of abortion
Opposition to torture
Protection for survivors of torture
Detention of the Victims of Torture
Eviction of Maua community
Against fracking in Ryedale
Peace for the Holy Land
The choking of the oceans with plastic
Recycling issues and in particular to local stores about single use plastic containers
Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals
Environmental and global warming concerns
Climate change and renewable energy
Repairing and upcycling clothes and textiles
Parental choice for the education of children
Removal of the 50% admission cap in Catholic schools
Freedom for religious minorities
Compact on Refugees
We contacted Ecotricty for their most up to date advice about energy saving and incorporated many of the suggestions in or parish bulletins and we also encouraged parishioners to consider changing to a more green energy supplier.
Several members of the steering committee attended the Diocese of Norwich Environment Conference in May 2017
We have encouraged parishioners to try and reduce both their energy and water consumption by suggestions in the parish bulletin each week.
We have gardens and green spaces around all three of our churches these are planted with bulbs and flowers and trees which we hope will encourage bees and butterflies. On the anniversary of our first year of working towards our Livesimply award each community has planted a tree in their garden
Fr. James our parish priest is a bee-keeper and has 2 Hives in the garden of the Sacred Heart Church.
At any one time there are up to three colonies of bees in the parish garden. These help to pollinate the three fruit trees that were planted two years ago. The bees also benefit from the large garden which has many wild flowers as well as a new section of ‘bee-friendly’ flowers. They also produce good quality honey.
LIVING IN SOLIDARITY
The Main Action was to support refugees both in Norfolk and elsewhere
In May 2016 prior to commencing working toward achieving our LiveSimply Award we had invited our Deanery Representative for Refugees to come address the Parish at our Annual Parish Meeting
In October 2016 a couple of Parishioners were making a pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St Paul and knew they would be visiting Rhodes and Kos where they would meet the Franciscan priest who was almost single handedly trying to support the refugees arriving on the islands beaches from Syria via Turkey. The parishioners donated £2000, which was taken to Kos and given directly to Fr. Luke Gregory for his work with the refugees. The local primary school of St. Francis of Assisi had been learning about the Lampedusa Cross and their Deputy Head Teacher, a parishioner, asked if letters of support for the refugees, that the children had written, could be taken to the islands too
In July 2016 we tried to help the newly arrived Syrian refugees in Norwich via ‘English Plus’ and organised a collection of bicycles, vacuum cleaners and tools, which were taken to Norwich for distribution to the families.
Each November parishioners gather together items for the Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Box Appeal and usually send about 80 filled boxes
We have well established Clubs for our senior parishioners in both North Walsham and Hoveton, which offer friendship and social activities and outings for the members. The Clubs also do some fundraising for various charities – Support Cambodia, English +, The Anchorage Trust for the homeless, Bakhita House for trafficked women, First Responders, Norfolk and Norwich Befriending Volunteers, Shelter, The Benjamin Foundation, Marie Curie, The Samaritans, and a Dementia Club
During Lent we have had Lenten Lunches and used the CAFOD Stations of the Cross to be able to be in solidarity with the people who CAFOD are focusing upon with the Lent Family Fast Appeals
Our Parish is twinned with St. Francis Xavier Parish in Svay Sisophon, Cambodia and every year parishioners have made a visit to our twinned parish to maintain our friendship and offer our support. A report of the most recent visit in January 2018 is attached together with an Easter greeting from Fr. Greg the Parish Priest of our twinned parish
Each year in September, Parishes from our Diocese who are also twinned with Cambodian parishes gather for a Mass for the Ancestors at the Sacred Heart in North Walsham. The food offerings brought to this Mass are given to the Food Bank
Parishioners also support a local independent charity ’Support Cambodia’ which was set up by four of our parishioners to help communities in North West Cambodia (including our twinned parish at Svay Sisophon). One of the ways this is done is by filling jars with ‘Coins for Cambodia’ which has a particular emphasis on the provision of clean drinking water
Harvest Fast Day involves the parishioners with a Harvest Supper and food collection for the local Food Bank with local harvest produce being sold after mass and the money donated to CAFOD. Throughout the growing season parishioners bring their excess produce to church each Sunday and share it for a donation to Support Cambodia, CAFOD or parish funds.
During Advent we have for the last 2 years been involved with the Reverse Advent Calendar for the local Food Banks and collected about 70 boxes are filled and delivered to the Food Banks
In October 2017 parishioners organised a Bring and Buy and Cake Stall for World Homelessness Day and the money raised was given to the Salvation Army ARK and to The Connection at St. Martins in the Fields
Most Wednesday evenings during the winter parishioners have been making soup and sandwiches for distribution to the homeless in Norwich. They have also been able to give them warm, hats, gloves and scarves provided by our SVP conference
In November 2017 we organised a Prayer Liturgy as part of the ACN’s Red Wednesday to raise the profile of persecuted Christians around the world
In Advent parishioners were asked to donate to CAFOD’s Refugee Crisis Appeal
In February 2018 we organized a collection of men’s clothing for the refugees in Calais, which was transported to Calais by CamCRAG in Cambridge.
In April 2018 three parishioners volunteered to travel with a CamCRAG convoy to work in the L’Auberge des Migrants and Refugee Community Kitchen for the weekend. They took with them the financial contributions from the parishioners towards the work of the Refugee Community Kitchen.