Fr. Tom Egan, Fr. Damian Cassidy, Eddie Albert, Brian Hunt, Jane Landi, Pat Bolger, Cecilia Webb, John Donnelly, Ramon Landi, Joe Sutton, Tina Bolger, Frank Nolan, Mary McMullan, Anna McMullan, Hilary Carrasco, Marianne Ahearne and thirteen other parishioners.

Jackie Reddington, Peter Coleman, Clyde Webb, David Clarke and Doff Landi.

Minutes were agreed and signed as correct.

Fr. Sunn’s grave in Waterfall Road cemetery.

This has now been cleaned up and is legible.  Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to add a brass plaque as agreed at the last AGM because it was felt that the slab would split.


DECORATION AND REPAIRS IN THE CHURCH:  Painting of the church has now started and will be a shade of yellow.

The parish council has been discussing a block of colour on the wall behind the statue to make it stand out, and the painter has suggested the colour red.  A photograph of a similar job was passed round for the meeting to see.  

Should the block of red be surrounded by a frame or not?

Those for the block of colour felt that it would enhance the statue and allow it stand out from the wall, and that generally a frame would detract rather than help.

Those against felt that the exuberance of the statue would be contained and enclosed by the colour, and they were particularly against the idea of a frame.

The yellow colour being applied to the back wall may well be enough to bring the statue out without any further colour.  Because of the curve in the wall it is difficult to limit the area which would be blocked out.

This discussion led to a more general appraisal of the job of the Parish Council, which is elected by the parish to make decisions on it’s behalf and it is not necessary to go back to the parish at large for approval on each occasion.

The pipes at the upper window level will be boxed in, which hopefully will check the condensation levels.

The statue, the stations and the side altar will all be cleaned during the painting process.

We have asked the painters to quote for the Hall, which we would like to get done during the summer holidays.

This would be a good opportunity to upgrade the speakers down the side of the church, which are quite old and could be much smaller.  Getting this done before the painting has finished would allow the painters to paint behind them.  We should not replace the large speakers on the sanctuary, these supply the sound of the organ.

The window in the corner behind the choir is still not right, despite being looked at several times.  We should get it looked at again.  The draught is more noticeable in the winter.

Could we have hymn boards on both sides of the sanctuary for those with short sight?  The unsympathetic response was that you should sit where you can see to your best advantage!

Are we under any Health and Safety obligation to secure the old sacristy door open during Mass?  Could this be a problem when it is cold?  The Fire Inspector didn’t mention it when he came to assess the buildings recently.

HYMN BOOKS, OR LACK OF:  There are plans to replace our books with an edition called Laudate, which will be useful to both the 9.45 and the 11.15 choirs.  We also need to think about locking them away as all our books are tending to “walk” rather a lot at the moment.  We have lost an incredible number of year one, part one mass books since they were put out in December.  We can’t replace them until the new English version has been agreed, but when we do we will need to secure them, and make people aware of the cost so they may be less inclined to leave them at home if they have absent mindedly taken them there.

The priests are going to a study day in October about the new version, which should be available sometime in 2009.  When this happens all our mass books will need to be replaced, including the Lectionaries, missals etc.

COVERING THE STATUE DURING HOLY WEEK:  Ramon will talk to the builders about putting up a pulley system, which will take some of the strain out of covering the statue of the Risen Christ.

DEFENCE OF THE FAITH:  Could we hold talks or seminars which would offer parishioners a deeper understanding of their faith?  The Deanery are already holding a series of talks, which we could tap into.  We need any instruction to be led by someone authoritative, and we don’t need to repeat things, although we could probably complement the Deanery talks with something at parish level if so desired.  We would also need to tailor things to the needs of all, not just those who already know what they are listening to – the young and the unsure would benefit more but need to be attracted to the idea.  Use the Deanery – let them do the hard work!

We could ask the Agency for Evangelisation to create something for us – but we need to tell them exactly what we want.  It is also important that we enthusiastically advertise and promote anything that we set up.

SCHOOL ADMISSIONS:  This year we asked parents to make appointments to see the priest for school form signings.  Only 22 signed up and there was a big drop in applications for OLOL compared with last year.  Entry criteria, under Government guidelines, has not changed.

Fr. Tom began by thanking the parishioners for all the work they do around the place throughout the year.  The Bishop was very impressed at the way we all work together on his recent visit for the Confirmation.  He will be back again in December on an official Visitation.

We measure the depth of our faith through how we live our lives throughout the week, rather than by a dutiful attendance on Sundays.  These are difficult times and faith is under attack from many quarters, but we can do our bit by standing up for truth and justice and by showing others our sincerity.  We should take heart from this year of St Paul, who with St Peter, moved the faith out into the world.  It helps if we understand and grow in our faith as we grow through our lives.

Offertories for 2007 were down on 2006 figures from £174,000 to £169,000.  This has a knock on effect on the Gift Aid figures, which are also down.

The non-assessable figures do not include the amount of £5,000 for Christmas 07 offerings, which was paid in January 2008.

Overall our total income dropped from £283,000 to £271,000 for the year.

Expenditure is up by £40,000.  Much of this is due to the Diocesan Assessment going up when our debt was paid off.  Costs for repairs, mostly for the new roof, increased by £15,000 on last year’s figures.

In January 07 there was £85,000 in the bank, by January 08, this stood at £142,000.  It looks healthy but we must remember that there will always be repairs and renewals to be catered for.

The first quarter of this year showed a drop of £1,000 income against the same period last year.

It may be time for an Offertory Appeal.  In the meantime we need to encourage people to take Gift Aid forms and planned giving envelopes and make sure newcomers are aware of the options.

Our parishioners have always proved to be extraordinarily generous when it comes to individual appeals and we have received a number of donations for the repair of the church roof and for our new benches.

The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer all agreed to stay on and were duly reappointed.

All those who were due to stand down offered to serve for a further term and were re-elected, except David Clarke, who was not present.

Greg Howard, John Wilson and Gerard Barden were also elected onto the Council.

Anna has been attending Churches Together meetings, but finds that it is quite hard to get all the communities together despite their good intentions.  Some events are more popular than others.  

A Knights of St. Columba group has been started in the parish and is going well.  They would like more members and need a bigger profile in the parish.  Perhaps they could speak at Mass one weekend and explain what they do.

There are a number of organizations at work within the parish that could do with some extra publicity to attract new members, or to explain their purpose to the parish.  A special newsletter, talks from the pulpit, posters, the website – there are many opportunities for promotion.

A day for readers and extraordinary ministers would be welcome too.  A day of prayer and reflection, but also with practical help included.

The Parish Council has been discussing new benches for the church.  The old ones are tatty and many are in dire need of replacement.  This church has never had it’s own seating and currently we have five different sets, none of which fit properly and the rows are made up with single chairs at the ends.

The new ones have been designed to resemble the seating on the altar, and although there is a sample bench, which was shown at the meeting, they will be slightly different from it.  We need to allow five months from the order to delivery.  They are being made by a firm in Ireland because they were the cheapest but the final amount will depend on the exchange rate when the order is confirmed.  At the moment the approximate cost will be £1,316 per bench for 58 benches averaged out for the various different lengths required.  The wood will be oak.  

The design leaves a space at the front for those going to Communion and has worked out good sight lines from wherever you are sitting.  There are also spaces for wheelchairs.

There will be no reduction in the amount of seats available.  There will be new chairs for the choir area.

Irish Contract Seating have agreed to buy the old benches off us.

Parishioners will be asked if they would like to make donations towards the new benches, but we will not be putting individual plaques on the benches.  We may, instead, keep a book of donors.

Fr. Damian was thanked for all the work he has done on this project.

Fr. Damian was appointed one of the Youth Chaplains for the Diocese in February.  He spends at least one day a week at SPEC in London Colney dealing with young people from school age to 25 and has found that there is a lot of work to do there!

He will also be attending the World Youth Day in Sydney next month, and insists that this is not a holiday.  There are 173 young people from this Diocese going and there are lots of activities planned for the trip.

The Diocese has made a big commitment to the young, and hopes to build on the WYD with the young people when they return from Sydney.  Can our parish do it’s bit towards the inclusion of young people?

Fr. Damian has also spent a lot of time at Finchley High School this term, whilst Fr Tom continues his many roles on Diocesan committees and boards, including the Irish Chaplaincy.

Children in the car park:  Where do we stand?  If their parents are not supervising them who is responsible for them?  Perhaps we need to make it clear through the newsletter, and also enquire of the Diocese if we have any liability.

Joan Wurr:  the collection taken at Joan’s funeral last week raised £1,600, which will be split between World Cancer Research Fund and The Cambridge Nazareth Trust.