Fr Tom Egan, Gerard Barden, Patrick Bolger, Edoardo Albert, Libby Biberian, Felicity Brown, Michael McGowan, Sean Carroll, John Donnelly, Melanie Gibbons, Greg Howard (minutes)

Apologies were received from Ray Landi.

Opening prayer
Fr Tom opened the meeting with a prayer.

Minutes of last Parish Council Meeting and matters arising
Further to the minutes of the meeting of Monday 7 July 2014, Felicity stated that one of the hand-driers in the ladies’ toilet is still not working. Fr Tom suggested that Felicity should tell the parish secretaries, who will contact an electrician who can fix the problem.

Michael said that the issue with the taps in the men’s toilets is not that the flow of water is slow, but that the tap does not stick out far enough to enable a user to get his hand underneath it. He added that the rota of Eucharistic ministers has not yet appeared on the noticeboard outside the church. Fr Tom said that a new rota has just been issued, and will be posted on the noticeboard shortly.
With this small amendment, the minutes of the meeting were agreed.

Pat told the meeting that the finance committee had met on 8 September. The main points raised at this meeting were as follows:

·    The parish’s income during the six months up to 30.06.14 is up by £12,000, when compared with the equivalent period in 2013.

·    Expenditure is also up due to various repairs that have been made to the premises.
·    A note will appear in the newsletter regarding the advantage to the parish of making offerings by standing order, or via the planned giving scheme, as opposed to loose plate. Offerings in loose plate have risen over the six months to 30.06.14, when compared with the first six months of 2013. Planned giving has also risen over the same period.

·    An application has been made to the diocese under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, which enables every parish to claim from HM Revenue and Customs a proportion of the sum offered in loose plate.

·    The committee discussed the best way of recruiting volunteers for the teams of counters.

·    The committee also discussed various projects which will require some expenditure, including the replacement of the main doors to the church, the carpets at the entrance, the repair/replacement of a faulty light at the side of the church near where the choir sits, and the floor of the parish hall. The parish can claim up to £16,000 from the Growing in Faith Fund to help pay for this work.

There was some discussion (at the parish council meeting) of the parish’s ‘benchmark’ – which could be described as a health check for the parish. It is produced by the diocese, and based on statistics that we submit to them. This benchmark enables us to compare ourselves with other parishes (which are assessed in the same way) and helps to ensure that the parish is run in a cost-effective way. Pat said that our benchmark shows that we are in a sound financial position.

John asked if there are any other major projects planned. Pat replied that a lot of major new projects have been completed, for example the new boiler, and the installation of CCTV. He added that it was always important that the premises are properly maintained.

Fr Tom said that on Monday 29 September he will be meeting the parents of children preparing for their first holy communion. There are quite a few candidates for first holy communion this year. He added that a consultation was currently going on in the diocese regarding the sacrament of confirmation. Matters being consulted on include:

·    Whether to have a full mass at confirmation, or whether to say only the liturgy of the word instead.

·    Whether it is necessary to bless each candidate individually, or whether the candidates should be blessed as a group.

·    The age at which candidates are confirmed. Fr Tom suggested that this could be lowered to the last year of primary school, or the first year of secondary school. There is a possibility that each parish will be given the option by the diocese.

An afternoon of reflection for readers and eucharistic ministers is being planned for October. It has not yet been decided what the parish will do for Advent.

Felicity told the meeting about the activities of various local churches, including:

·    A harvest festival which is taking place at St Paul’s, New Southgate, on October 5

·    A carol service, jointly arranged by St Paul’s and Our Lady of Lourdes

·    An Advent Service, scheduled to take place at St Peter’s Bourne on December 7

·    A service for Christian unity, also due to be held at St Peter’s Bourne, on January 18.

There and other events, will be publicised in the next issue of Compass. However, as Compass has not been published for some time, Felicity said that she would also publicise the events herself.

Parish Hall
The floor of the parish hall is worn and in need of repair. Chris Fanning is working on this.

IT and security
Edoardo circulated a list of parish organisations and their contacts, and various amendments/updates were made to it as it went round. Felicity suggested that an appeal for up to date information could be made via the newsletter, and/or via the notices read out on Sunday.

Gerard referred to the difficulties of finding volunteers for various groups and duties around the parish. He said that we need to make an appeal for new volunteers starting with those groups and duties particularly in need of help. Fr Tom mentioned church cleaning, the teams of counters, the papershop, the cleaning of vessels after Monday morning mass, and the cleaning of altar cloths.

Various councillors said that they were willing to address the congregation at mass this coming Sunday, requesting volunteers. Felicity said that she was willing to help collect the names of volunteers at the back of the church after mass. Gerard added that he would ensure that sheets are available at the back of the church on which the names of volunteers can be recorded. Michael said that it was important that the notice which will appear in the newsletter should be appropriately worded.

Parish councillors were asked to email photographs of themselves – ‘selfies’ – to Gerard for posting on the parish website. Gerard also said that he had contacted Chris Fanning to arrange various tweaks to the CCTV system, including the arrangement of remote access.

Any other business
Felicity told the council that an interfaith community event which was due to be held at Trinity-at-Bowes in August has been re-scheduled for 25 October. She had not been informed of further details.

Libby thanked Fr Tom for the wonderful, uplifting inclusive mass celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes on Sunday 21 September. She had received very good feedback from those who attended. Michael thanked Libby for organising the Saturday Club.

John said that he has received the forms for the renewal of the safeguarding children protocol. He will deal with these.

Other points raised under any other business included:

·    The People’s Support Network. We have people who are offering their services to the network, but not many people who are taking advantage of the offer. The council discussed the best way of publicising the network, and ensuring that help reaches those who need it. It was pointed out there are no contact details for the network on the noticeboard.

·    The Bereavement Care Group. There is not always much demand for its services. It was suggested that a reason for this might be that while a funeral is held in the church, the surviving family members may live some way away. The group meets regularly to discuss bereavement care. It is not always easy to approach a bereaved family, but the network is  available for those who do want to take advantage of it.

·    Gerard said that Ten Ten Theatre is looking for a slightly larger room to use, and that he would discuss this matter with Martin O’Brien. Ten Ten are currently very busy: This is my body, their recent production on human trafficking, is now touring.

·    On the subject of hearing aids, Michael said that the loop cannot be heard in parts of the church, though it is audible in the church hall. Fr Tom agreed that there are a few areas in the church where the loop cannot be heard, but said that the problem has been investigated, and nothing more can be done about it.

·    At Michael’s suggestion, the meeting offered its thanks to Fr Peter, an Italian priest who has said some masses at our Lady of Lourdes. Fr Peter will be returning to Italy earlier than had been planned, as he has suffered an injury in a fall.

·    The possibility of installing solar panels on the roof of the church was discussed. Pat said that he has discussed the matter with Chris Fanning, and he felt that we need not rush into anything. He added that it takes a long time for these panels to become financially worthwhile, and that they are very heavy. The technology will become cheaper in time. Gerard said that he would raise the matter with Chris Fanning, and would also mention to him the issue of the taps, as described under the heading Minutes of last Parish Council Meeting and matters arising.

Date of next meeting
15 December, 815pm in the Small Hall.