Chair: Jim O’Sullivan announced that the agenda would cover the Bishop’s Parish Visitation Report and the celebration of St Laurence’s Golden Jubilee – as mentioned in the Parish newsletter.
Fr David: opened the meeting with a prayer.
26 people were present.
Apologies: were received from Sr Pat Robb, T.Campbell, M.McGinley, L.McIntyre.
These were to be held over till the next meeting.
The bishop found that St Laurence’s, one of the largest parishes in the diocese, was lively and positive in its approach. He was pleased that large numbers of people were involved in various ways. In Cambridge, a vibrant and growing community, he was glad to see our parish’s plans for the future and he thanked everyone for his welcome.
Jim O’Sullivan – Chair – joined Fr David in highlighting pointers, under the bishop’s heading ‘Reflections’, for moving us forward:
Gift Aid, as a more tax-efficient way of supporting the parish and diocese, came first. Jim Scally had seen numbers using Gift Aid increasing this year but had no figures.
Teams, which could be trained in the diocese to help with Baptism and Confirmation were recommended, the latter to be co-ordinated between the 3 Cambridge parishes.
Fr David hoped we would be grown-up and volunteer for this work. A speaker from the floor felt it was up to us to encourage each other to do so.
Welcoming at the door was unsatisfactory. It was pointed out that 50-70 people arrive together just as Mass is beginning.
We should include helping people to find seats and encouraging them to stay after mass, when all of us should be ready to talk especially to newcomers. Stephen Stafford offered to lead a group with this in mind.
Fr David remembered Rosina Abudulai telling him she had seen ushers in a church in Ghana who wore a distinctive red sash. It it was felt Rosina would be pleased to be involved even though she was not present today.
Telephone numbers of the interested would be given to Stephen. He would feed back to the next meeting.
Co-ordination and Co-operation with other Cambridge parishes. Some of us were sorry to have missed the recording of Sunday worship from OLEM on a recent Sunday.
An annual Mass for people with learning difficulties is planned to include OLEM, St Philip Howard and St Laurence’s, starting this year with OLEM.
Preparation for Confirmation could be shared. Fr David has already been responsible for the Retreat at other Cambridge parishes.
There followed a discussion on ways and means of sharing news of activities and events.
The Cambridge Deanery is in 2 parts: for example, it seems less than practical to attempt co-ordination with (1) City parishes and (2) Buckden and Huntingdon.
A parishioner had experienced living in the Brentwood diocese whose news was exchanged at Deanery meetings and brought back to the constituent parishes. Fr David would act on this.
Other parishioners volunteered to exchange newsletters with OLEM. St Philip Howard’s newsletter is printed at OLEM and a copy could be exchanged at the same time. Fr David suggested a copy of St Laurence’s newsletter could be taken to Blackfriars by the priest saying the 8am mass.
It was suggested that the Pilgrim have a page advertising activities.
The bishop encouraged us to attend the big days at the Cathedral and Walsingham.
Parish Links Scheme – small neighbourhood groups for prayer, bible reflection and growing in community are suggested: 10-15 homes with a link person or a couple to welcome newcomers, get to know members and serve as a link with the parish, and perhaps deliver a weekly newsletter to the sick.
Fr David saw the need for small groups as the parish enlarges. A start will be made in Lent when a course will be held in Girton.
There was an exchange of views on whether the particulars of individuals could be shared.
Fr David felt the first move must be a new census to be filled in at Mass in the near future. Many helpers will be needed on the day. Jim O’Sullivan will work on a registration form and for the next meeting we should discuss ‘Needs and Skills’, the Newsletter exchange with other parishes and the Welcome Ministry.
Deacon Geoff briefly reported that the North Cambridge Council of Churches had been very pleased with the recent ‘Songs of Praise’ event held at St Laurence’s for Church Unity Week.
Fr David explained that 2008 was:
It was suggested that the Year of Jubilees’ activities should run officially from 8 March 2008 until 8 August 2008.
Irial McGinley will investigate the possibility of an etched window or a statue for the church.
April 25th (Friday) – 11am Mass to include former teachers and pupils.
May 5th (Bank Holiday Monday) – we are encouraged to join the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham.
June 15th (Sunday) – MAIN EVENT – 11am Mass with Bishop Michael, to include former Parishioners, and followed by a party. (Cf. Millennium Celebration)
August 22-29 – Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
A Flower Festival is planned – date to follow.
September 13th (Saturday) – A concert in church by Cambridge Brass Band.
A core of helpers will be required to form a committee of musicians, school representatives, caterers, sound system organizers, publicity, and to work with the children.
The meeting closed at 9.30pm.
The next meeting of the Forum will be held on Thursday 10th April 2008 at 8pm.