PARISH OF THE SACRED HEART – PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL
Minutes of the Meeting held on TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2020 at 7.30pm
PRESENT: Fr James Walsh, Richard McGreevy (St Helen’s), (Chair), Antonia Martinez (Sacred Heart), Keith Copperwheat (St John of the Cross), Catherine Watkins (Secretary)
- APOLOGIES: John Bolger, Ginny Keane, Grazyna Skawinska, Elaine Haughton, Peter Rylands, Sue Short, Becky Walker (These members were absent to allow compliance with the Covid-19 “Rule of 6”) Sadly, Deacon Ron O’Toole had died since the meeting in January 2020 .
Fr James opened the meeting with a prayer.
- It was agreed to try and finish the meeting by 8.45pm.
- MINUTES OF THE MEETING: on 22 October 2019 and the note of the informal meeting on 26 June 2020 were agreed and signed.
- MATTERS ARISING:
a. Readers’ Guidelines. Antonia reported that some readers at the Sacred Heart had stepped down. There is no readers’ rota at present, readers being asked on an ad-hoc basis, to read. Antonia said that she hoped to ask some of the younger parishioners to read on occasion and hoped more experienced readers would be willing to stand aside at such times. Printed guidelines for new readers are available if required. Cathy asked if readers could have a contact list, for times when they needed to find a replacement for themselves. St Helen’s and St John of the Cross representatives reported that they had no shortage of readers.
Action – Antonia
b. Recommissioning of Readers and Eucharistic Ministers. Commissioning would be carried out when the Covid crisis is over.
c. Welcome Pack. This item was also put on hold because of Covid-19. It was agreed that now was not an appropriate time to conduct a census. Cathy had not yet designed a form to be inserted in the newsletter – action on this would be delayed until church attendance was back to normal.
d. Parish Twinning. Also on hold.
e. Newsletters. This is now printed on a single sheet of A4 and is available on-line. A copy is also posted on the notice boards at the three churches. An earlier suggestion that the font size be reduced was discussed and it was agreed that there was currently no need for a reduction in font size. Parishioners encouraged to read the newsletter on-line.
f. Year of the Word 2020. This has been scaled back. Naomi is currently leading a bible study group.
- YOUTH MATTERS: The image of Christ which the children of the parish had produced during Lockdown was praised. It was noted that Ginny is one of the PPC reps due to stand down this year.
- HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE: Ken Watkins had submitted a report for Sacred Heart. The inspection was carried out on 11 August. Two of the recommendations had been given high priority; (i) commissioning a fire risk assessment – this has been carried out, and (ii) carrying out a fixed wiring test in the church – this will be done as soon as finances permit. All the other recommendations were either medium or low priority. Keith reported on behalf of St John of the Cross that a fire drill had been carried out in March. At their inspection, it had been noted that they lacked written procedures. Michael Ludden is dealing with issues raised in the inspection. Fr James observed that he was relieved to have three competent people dealing with health and safety matters.
Action – Health & Safety Officers
- COVID-19 UPDATE: The three churches had adopted slightly different strategies, but all following the Bishops’ conference guidelines. Parishioners have rallied round and the system for booking places for Sunday Masses works well with numbers increasing all the time, although still at about one third normal attendance levels. Fr James has performed 2 Baptisms, as well as hearing Confessions, conducting funerals and anointing the sick. Report submitted by the Sacred Heart church Covid Team leader: The Sacred Heart church (capacity 40) has a Covid team, led by Chris White, which has carried out risk assessments and ensured necessary signage is in place. There is a volunteer team of stewards with 2 at each Mass, provided with written guidance and PPE. The parish hall has just re-opened for hire and has two regular bookings already. Cleaning of the church and hall is being regularly undertaken in accordance with national guidelines. St John of the Cross limit is 30 and last Sunday was near to capacity. Windows are opened, although how that will be in Winter, will have to see. Stewards show people to their seats. There is a written procedure for the cleaner to follow. St Helen’s is the same size as St John of the Cross and follows a similar procedure, in addition, communicants’ hands are sanitized before and after communion. Fr James reported that finances have been affected by the pandemic. Although standing orders have increased, plate collections are down and the overall total is about 20% down, in addition to which there has been until recently, no income from the hall. John had raised an issue regarding capacity at the Sacred Heart. Last Sunday was fully booked and he had to turn away 7 people who phoned to book in advance. However, looking down from the choir loft, he could see free spots. We discussed this, and it was agreed that he would note on the booking list where there were couples booking and adjust numbers accordingly. There would be room on one pew for two couples, still maintaining distance and stewards could guide churchgoers to the appropriate places. Richard said that at St Helen’s he was able to organise the chairs in advance, knowing how many couples would be attending.
- PLANS FOR CHRISTMAS: Fr James said that he had not finalised arrangements yet, but Mass times were likely to be the same as last year, i.e. 6.00pm Christmas Eve at Sacred Heart, 9.00pm Christmas Eve at St John of the Cross, 9.00am Christmas Day at St Helen’s and 11.00am Christmas Day at Sacred Heart. Antonia suggested the times were published in the local paper, along with the other local churches. Fr James would talk to John about when the lists would be open for booking.
- ELECTION OF CHURCH COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES: Three Council members are due to stand down; Antonia from the Sacred Heart, Peter from St Helen’s, and Ginny from St John of the Cross. Nomination forms have been distributed to the churches. If no nominations were received, consideration would have to be given to representatives standing for a further 3 years.
- PARISH PASTORAL COUNCILLORS’ REPORTS:
St John of the Cross. The site for the new memorial garden had been agreed following an on-site meeting and it will be situated behind the church. Two people have already asked for their ashes to be interred there. The funeral director prepares the plot, so parishioners do not have to take on the duty.
St Helen. Attendance numbers continue to increase but are managed well. There is a loyal cleaning team.
Sacred Heart. Congregation members are thrilled to be able to attend church again. The choir and organist are socially distanced, the choir has been divided to enable this. Numbers are up and the booking system is being well used. However, there is not much enthusiasm for being on the PPC.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS: Hilary Bolger has been shielding and wanted to suggest that other parishioners would like to share things that had helped them through Lockdown. Baking, crafts, puzzles, reading, exercise – the Facebook Sacred Heart Parish group could be a good forum for this, or it could even be made into a little book! Keith said that St John of the Cross circulates a little bulletin containing this sort of thing by e-mail, which was well received.
Antonia asked if one representative from each worshipping community could come to the church office, and go through the parish records, to remove any parishioner records for people no longer in the area.
Richard reported that the annual Catenian National Conference was due to be hosted by Norwich and had been postponed until 2024.
- Date of Next Meeting:
Tuesday 12 January 2021, 7.15pm for 7.30 at St Helen’s, Hoveton.
Fr James concluded the meeting with a prayer.