St. Mary’s Blackheath
Meeting of Parish Council 25th January 2018
Present; Karen Suddaby, Julie Collins, Sue Gyde, Maria Teran, Viola d’Souza, Mary Miller, Mary Drislane. Julian Catlin, Sister Marie Christine and Monsignor Rothon,
Apologies for absence: Richard Lam and Candelaria Jurado Teran.
1: Mary Drislane agreed to chair the meeting.
2: The minutes of the meeting of 21st September 2017 were approved and signed.
3: Matters arising: it was requested that a note should be prepared after the meeting giving action points to be followed up before the next meeting.
4: The use of the Walk with Me booklet in other parishes was noted; it was reported that there had been problems in the past with the publisher and there was a reluctance to use the services of this company further.
5: The report prepared by Bishop Lynch following his recent visitation had been circulated prior to the meeting. The report was very positive and spoke of the parish in supportive terms. For matters arising from the report, it was agreed that the processes for the First Communion Programme should be made into a formal booklet and that the details should be passed to the catechists for use in the future. It was further noted that it will be necessary to find others to take on some of the tasks performed by Mgr Rothon outside the parish – but this may not be easy. It was agreed that the report should be placed on the website together with the minutes of the Parish Council and that a note should be placed in the newsletter to say that it is available.
6: The format of the parish Advent retreat held at the Convent during December was very successful but it was not well attended. For next year, it was suggested that the retreat should take place early in the New Year rather than in January.
7: The Christmas services were well attended – probably about 1300 people in all attended Mass. The 6.30 Mass on Christmas Eve is now very popular and it was agreed that if possible, we will try to provide an organist for this Mass in future. The format of the Advent Service and for the service before the midnight Mass were revised in accordance with the recommendation in the minute of the previous meeting.
8: The first draft of the parish Financial Return for 2017 was presented. Further information is required from the Diocesan Finance Office before it is completed. It will then be subject to internal and external audit and the details will be presented to the next meeting of the Parish Council.
9: Karen Suddaby reported on the work of the Justice and Peace Group: this included two coffee mornings, with a further coffee morning in mid-February to support action against human trafficking. Fairtrade Christmas cards had been sold and cards had been sent to prisoners of conscience. Over 300 gifts had been donated for the Manna Centre and for the Centre for Asylum seekers. The group had shared in local work for Asylum seekers and had also attended a meeting with the Quakers. On a practical level, a rota had been set up to clean the Angelus Room. The next meeting is on 18th February.
10: Improved facilities for wheel chair users had been provided by moving a side bench at the front of the Church.
11: The possibility of a Lenten Retreat was mentioned but it was noted that there are already a number of events at the Convent during Lent and these will be given full publicity.
12: Four new Eucharistic Ministers were instructed and commissioned since the last meeting.
13: There were no safeguarding issues to report.
14: Works to properties:
- The works to the Angelus Room to cover the damp problem were completed during the autumn at a cost of about £60,000. The costs were met by an insurance claim.
- A new fence has been provided in the garden
- Tree works have been commissioned and are currently subject to consultation with the Local Authority.
- The works to the tenanted houses have been completed.
- For the coming year, external redecoration of the presbytery will be put in hand.
- There are problems with the tenants of one the houses as there are complaints about noise: it was noted that this was a very difficult problem when an old house is adapted for multiple occupation.
15: In 2016 Mgr Rothon reached the retirement age for a priest but with the agreement of the Parish Council he was asked to remain as Parish Priest with the position to be review after two years. This proposal was agreed by the Archbishop. Two years have now elapsed. It was agreed that Mgr Rothon should be asked to remain for a further two years and for this proposal to be put to the Archbishop.
16: Other business: the joint service at St. Margaret’s for the week of Christian Unity was noted. Our choir had shared with the other Churches in the area and the Sisters had provided a spiritual reflection.
Coffee morning are popular and it was suggested that a rota might be established to see if this could be arranged on a regular basis. A notice will be put up in the Church together with an item in the newsletter.
17: Date of next meeting: 14th June 2018 and 8pm and AGM on 10th July.
18 The meeting closed with a prayer and blessing.