Fr Tom Egan, Gerard Barden (chair), Ramon Landi, Felicity Brown, Michael McGowan, Sean Carroll, Greg Howard (minutes)

Apologies were received from Patrick Madigan. Patrick Bolger has moved away.

Opening prayer
Fr Tom opened the meeting with a prayer.

Minutes of last Parish Council Meeting and matters arising
Further to the suggestion noted in the minutes of the meeting of 23 November 2015, under the heading Ecumenism, Fr Tom suggested to Felicity that she could write a prayer for other churches herself. This could then be included in the bidding prayers. She could hand this prayer in at the office, or email it in.

The minutes of the last meeting were otherwise agreed.

Gerard informed the meeting that the parish's finance committee had met on Monday 8 February. He told the council that the parish's bank balance is up from £414,449 at the end of 2014, to £470,885 at the end of 2015, and that its average weekly running costs are about £4,000. The parish receives a small amount of interest on its savings - £953 in 2014, and £1,014 in 2015.
Some members of the council suggested that the parish might be able to use its financial assets to assist other charitable causes. In reply, Fr Tom said that the law relating to charities prevents us from doing so. He added that we cannot tell what will happen in the future, and that the day might come when we are very glad to have these reserves.

The parish has recently received £26,000 from the Growing in Faith Fund from the diocese. This covered the expenditure on the new doors at the back of the church. The papershop has also done well in the run up to Christmas. With regard to fundraising, Janet Butterworth organised a sale in January, which covered the cost of the curtains which have been fitted in the hall. The parish has also sent in the financial returns for the year ended 2015 to the diocese.

Fr Tom told the meeting that the current first Holy Communion programme is continuing. The parish will soon have to employ a part-time catechetical coordinator, as the current coordinator has recently been appointed a deputy head teacher, and can no longer spare the time to run the programme.

Bishop John Sherrington visited the parish on the first Sunday of Lent - 14 February. He said two masses, and met a number of parishioners.

The Lenten talks organised by the parish will start on February 23. The mass for the anointing of the sick will take place on February 27.

A priest from another parish will come to Our Lady of Lourdes to hear confessions on 4 and 5 March. Fr Tom will go to Ponders End parish on those days for the same reason.

The pilgrimage from Our Lady of Lourdes to Westminster Cathedral was a success, and was attended by 70-80 people.

Felicity informed the council of news from and upcoming events in various churches in the locality. She started by saying that three local churches are currently without a minister - the three are: St John the Apostle, Manor Drive Methodist Church, and Christ Church United Reformed, all in Whetstone.

In addition:

All Saints church in Whetstone has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant to finance the restoration of its spire.
Felicity contributed to a service held on 24 January during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the church of St John the Apostle, Whetstone.
The same church held a very enjoyable 'Pancakes and Prayers' event on Tuesday 9 February
St Peter's Bourne is hosting a series of Lenten talks.
The Churches Together Stations of the Cross will take place on the day before Palm Sunday, starting in All Saints, Whetstone. It will be publicised in the parish newsletter.
A service to mark Women's World Day of Prayer will be held at All Saints, Whetstone, on Friday 4 March.
St John's, Friern Barnet, will host a recital in April to help raise funds for charitable causes in Angola and Mozambique.
Felicity encouraged members of the council to support these events.

Parish hall
Gerard reported that the curtains in the hall are now in place.
A window in the corner of the hall near the piano which has been swinging open has been closed, but is not yet fixed. Gerard suggested that it needs to be screwed down. Fr Tom said that he would ask Owen Campbell to arrange this.

Felicity enquired if the hand drier in the ladies' toilets had been fixed, but no one knew. Felicity said that she would check on Sunday.
Michael asked if it would be possible to put some felt, or similar material, on the corner of a cabinet near the door, on which he has banged his head while setting up the fair trade stall.

IT and security
There was recently a burglary at the bookmakers' shop on Bowes Road. The police have found it helpful to consult the footage from the church's CCTV cameras. In another recent incident, a motorist parked in the church car park in the afternoon, and drove off after the gates to the car park had been shut. He broke the lock on the gates so that he could drive out, but was caught on camera. A sign in the car park clearly advertises at what time the gates will shut.

There is a problem with the timer-controlled security locks on the doors of the old sacristy. When the doors are open, they swing freely, as the magnets along the top are not strong enough to stop them. Fr Tom has spoken to Chris Fanning about this - it might be possible to make the magnets stronger, or there may be another solution to the problem.

The diocese is keen that churches should maintain a good level of security on their premises.

Any other business, and dates of next meetings
Gerard said that he would purchase some self-adhesive vinyl signs to point out the locations of fire exits and assembly points around the site.

There was some discussion of the streaming of services to the parish hall over Easter. It was agreed that the services to be streamed would be those at 3pm on Good Friday, and 1115 and 1230 on Easter Sunday.

Gerard said that he thought we would need new speakers for the hall, as the current ones produce a distorted sound. He said that he will look into this.

Michael enquired how he might be able to find out if CAFOD have received the proceeds of the Autumn fast day collection. Fr Tom confirmed that the money had been sent, including gift aid envelopes, which continue to come in for some days after the main collection day.

Michael also suggested that a sign might be put up in the car park asking people to park considerately. Gerard and Fr Tom both said that it is not easy to force people to park considerately.

Cecilia Webb, who fell over in the parish hall on Sunday, was taken to hospital, but has now returned home. Fr Tom said that he could be held responsible for an accident on church premises.

The parish Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday 22nd May at 730pm. It will count as a parish council meeting, in the regular cycle.

The meeting concluded with a prayer.