Minutes of St Laurence’s Parish Forum : 20 October 2014
The meeting was attended by 20 parishioners, Fr Pat, Fr Bob and Jim O’Sullivan in the Chair.
Sr Pat Robb, Mary Watkins and Rosina Abdulai.
Minutes of previous meeting
These were agreed to be accurate.
New enlarged format. Richard is investigating this. He said that we would probably need to have new equipment before long in any case so the expense would be less of a problem. It was suggested that some of the material presently published in the Pilgrim could go into the new format Bulletin. OLEM has a newly formatted newsletter which was commended as excellent. The size of the font was discussed as a larger format would allow larger font size which would make easier reading. Alex Diaz who usually attends 6pm Mass works in the area of layouts and would be a helpful person to do some of this.
- Stacking chairs
This is now planned for the new financial year to spread financial load.
- Synod Consultation
Dick Wilson reported. The parish response which he felt should go to the Bishop. Now that the synod has met in Rome it seems important to see how to go forward. It was felt that a good and well collated forward document should be prepared in time for the next Synod which will take place in October 2015. Discussion around this and ways of doing it will be discussed at the next Forum in January, 2015. An edited version of the material Dick Wilson has at present may be published in the next edition of the Pilgrim with identities of the contributors left off.
Looks good although people would have liked it to be more easily accessible as upstairs tends to put it out of mind. A notice giving directions will be put on the stairs and on the door of the upstairs room.
Psychologist, Dr. Annmarie Golden talked to the meeting about her proposition that she starts a bereavement group in the parish.
Initially she is suggesting an 8 -10 week course of 1-2 hours, weekly. She would introduce the subject and there would be time for discussion, sharing etc at each meeting.
It might be possible to run a similar group for those facing/dealing with chronic illness.
She has run these sort of groups for about 10 years including ones for example at Addenbrookes, for cancer patients etc.
She has worked as a researcher also and while she mostly works in general bereavement it can have a Catholic flavour if that is what is wanted by the group. She is a Catholic and has experience with inter-faith work as well.
The upstairs room could be ideal for small group discussion.
She was asked if these groups might lead to self help groups; would the groups be "open" or "closed" and it seemed that people felt closed groups were more likely to keep attendees committed.
It was agreed to advertise to see who would like to come. The question of day time or evening was discussed as well as funding. It was acknowledged that day time only, or evening only excluded some who might really want to attend as well as the comment that a financial contribution could help commitment.
She suggested starting a pilot group in November.
Annmarie and Fr Pat would discuss funding and it would be advertised via the Bulletin and from the pulpit.
This was the main agenda item.
Areas that could be explored to further Pope Francis' wishes and encouragement to Catholics included:
- a Men's group to give a voice to those men who come along with their wives but may not feel a commitment, but, however, who might like the possibility of a series of meetings to discuss the big ideas of life. This has been done in other places with about 6 meetings in the evening at a pub and to include a meal. It has to be Parish Priest led to be really effective. No women are present!
- Fr Christopher Jamieson, erstwhile Abbot of Worth and TV personality, encourages parishes to look at Alpha which is an evangelising method in which a group meets for about 6 or 8 sessions over a meal. The meeting starts with a short talk, explanation of basic essentials of Catholic faith and is followed by a discussion over the meal. The hospitality mirrors Christ model of sharing food with people meeting them where they are without judgement.
- a Week of Guided Prayer where an experienced team joins the parish for one week and people are invited to meet with a team member for 30 minutes each day to look at how to develop their prayer life and to commit themselves to 30 minutes of prayer each day during the week to help develop this.
- the Formation of a Group to promote a Living Wage in Cambridge to help eliminate the underlying problem of injustice which has led to the need for things like the Food Bank. It is shocking that there are examples of people being paid less than the minimum wage in this city of wealth and privilege and this is sometimes done by those very agencies of privilege.
- Evangelii Gaudium stresses the need for the Joy of the Gospel to be preached directly from the pulpit although it was noted that both Fr. Pat and Fr. Bob were good at this. However, even those who are good can always be even better!
Ivona said that the way she prays demonstrates great joy and she feels people should be less inhibited in their prayer.
Teresa Campbell reminded us that we should pray every day to develop our personal relationship with God through Jesus and that a strong spiritual life is the greatest way of bringing others to God.
Small prayer groups were advocated, Bible study groups, retreat and quiet days for all the parish.
The YAYA masses continue to grow and the music and contribution is lovely.
Christmas midnight mass will continue to be at midnight.
The Carol Service will be in the afternoon of the 4th Sunday of Advent, 21st December as usual. Fr. Bob urged that the Bidding Prayers were made more dynamic, challenging and specific The children's toy/support box was discussed and the need for more directed activity for the very small during mass was advocated.
Fr. Pat apologised for the late delivery of last year's accounts and said this would not happen again.
Time was running short and this item was not discussed.
It has been suggested that the First Communion children should make a mosaic for display in the garden and this was thought to be a nice idea. Barbara Quail and Sue Price will be organising this
Buildings and Grounds
Not discussed due to shortage of time.
The new head teacher starts in January 2015.
CAFOD gave thanks for a generous response to the Parish Fast Day.
SVP have a young mother who would like a lift to Mass for herself and her child from Willingham
Topic for next Forum
Furthering the parish contribution to the next Bishops' Synod.
- the possibility of the Parish Retreat
- Fr. Bob will be giving 4 Advent talks
- Friday 7th November: an all night vigil will be held to pray for Syria and Iraq - from 7pm to 7am on Saturday 8th
Forum dates for 2015
- Thursday 29th January
- Monday 20th April
- Thursday 16th July
- Monday 19th October