Fr. Tom Egan, Fr. Damian Cassidy, John Wilson, Gerard Barden, John Donnelly, Clyde Webb, Celia Webb, Peter Coleman, David Clark, Marianne Ahearne, Pat Bolger, Ramon Landi, Eddie Albert, Jane Landi, Jackie Reddington, Joe Sutton and Gregory Howard


The meeting started with a prayer. 

Correction:  the pews in the church of St Anthony in Epping are not the same as ours, which will be unique in design.

Apart from this the minutes were agreed and signed as correct.


BUS STOP.  The stop has been moved but the shelter and road markings have not.   Eddie has written to suggest that this has made no difference, but has had no reply.

DAY OF RECOLLECTION.  This will probably happen in Lent now.  Fr. Damian has a couple of contacts in the Carmelites that may be able to help.

BENCHES.  A sample bench end will be delivered tomorrow.  The date for installation is now 11th February 2009.

CHURCH CLEANERS.  An appeal will be put in the newsletter for new cleaners.

The Finance Committee met on 10th November and looked at the figures to the end of September.  If the Gift Aid figures are added – they were paid in October – the figures compare well with the same period last year allowing for the repairs and renewal expenses we have had this year.  These include the church roof and decorating the church and hall.

Recurring income plus Gift Aid     = £36,000
Repairs and renewals     = £29,000
Recurring income Sept 07    = £56,000

Offertory is a little down, which is to be expected at this point between Planned Giving Appeals in the Parish.

The overall position is quite good.  We have £164,000 in the bank up on £143,000 same time last year.

Current expenditure:
Flat roof on the church
New boiler in the house
Windows in the church
Phone system in the house
New carpet on the sanctuary is also under consideration.

As ever the Finance Committee will prioritise expenditure.

There is always something interesting to read on the website.  Elizabeth Coleman recently posted an account of her trip to the World Youth Day in Sydney and there is an anonymous record of the Pilgrimage to Lourdes on the site.

Eddie also hopes to upload some photos when he has the time.

There will be three Advent talks on St Paul by Fr. Tom and Fr. Damian on Wednesdays.  They will cover his life story and his missions.  There will be further talks on his epistles in Lent.

There will be Friday house masses as last year.

Exposition will take place on the Sunday afternoons of Advent.

The Carol Service will be at St Paul’s as usual.  There is not much else going on.  It was agreed that we would remove this heading from the agenda in future.

We need to hold a restrained appeal for the benches, but not until February when they have been installed.   The school have been doing some fundraising, which they have promised to the church and we can use Pound a Month income as well.  We do have enough money in the bank to cover the costs.  

Celia is planning to do a roast dinner in the Hall on 15th February.

The Rat Pack event was cancelled but Fr. Damian’s brother is still happy to come in the New Year.

At the last meeting it was agreed that we would write a letter explaining to the Parish why we no longer intend to hire the Hall to private parties, but the letter proved quite difficult to write.  To clarify what the Council wants it to say:

-    no private parties on any theme, including baptism
-    children’s parties between 3 – 5 pm on a Saturday or Sunday
-    no adult element to children’s parties, eg alcohol shouldn’t be served to adult guests.
-    only hire to parishioners

We are not the only parish to have trouble hiring out our hall.  The list of problems that have been faced by the priests and other parishioners include: children misbehaving, broken windows, doors left open, lights left on, someone taking drugs in the toilet, personal abuse etc.

Events that will still be able to go ahead:
-    Parish events
-    Events supported by the Parish Council
-    Funeral receptions

Eddie will attempt another letter, which he will send to councillors for comment.  It will be publicised on the parish notice boards.

Other matters concerning the Hall

There is a broken window handle in the Gents.  It has been removed and the window locked shut.

Why is the disabled toilet always locked?  Because children play with the alarm.  It is possible to unlock it from the outside with a fingernail or penny.

Can a changing mat be placed in one of the toilets – the old one got very dirty and has been thrown away.  Greg will look into getting one that can be attached to the wall in the disabled toilet and users will be asked to clean it when they have used it.

People will need to take dirty nappies, and baby wipes, away with them and not leave them in the building.  We don’t have the means to dispose of them ourselves.

We have 40 signed up for the First Communion programme and 38 for Confirmation.  There are three on the RCIA programme.  The FHC books have still not arrived despite many calls to the distributors.  There seems to be a Diocese wide problem getting the books, which come from America, but the catechists like them.  Mary Sutton has made up photocopies for this years children.

Catechists for the children who do not attend Catholic schools are not happy with their books.  They are aimed at the wrong age group and are “horribly American”.  Sadly for us, all books of this nature are published in America.  There also seems to be a great discrepancy in the knowledge these children have about their faith – some know a lot, some don’t seem to know anything.

Bishop John Arnold will be visiting us on 13th/14th December.  He will arrive at 12 noon, meet catechists and visit the sick in the afternoon.  He will be available to speak privately to parishioners from 5 pm, before preaching at the 6.30 pm Mass.  He will also attend the Parish Volunteers Christmas Party.

On the Sunday he will attend meetings of the Parish Council and the Finance Committee.  We can ask him questions if we want.  He will send us a report afterwards, which will be shown to the Council.

Fr. Tom and Fr. Damian are planning talks for Advent and Lent.

The number of funerals we have had has slowed down since the summer.

There was a meeting at Westminster the weekend before this meeting, attended on our behalf by Nicky, John and Fr. Tom.  They picked up a new handbook, which has been left in the paper shop for interested parties to pick up.  Nicky has done an excellent job in keeping up to date with our volunteers.  The new protocol from the CP team includes a section that considers vulnerable and elderly adults as well as children.  There is some hope that we may soon be able to download CRB forms from the website.

GIFT AID ENVELOPES.  When there is a second collection can the envelopes be attached to the newsletter?  Not really, because they are too heavy these days.  We could make sure that there are pens available in the church so that people don’t have to take the envelopes home.  It might also help if there are people handing out the envelopes the week before.  

There was also a complaint about the envelopes themselves – there is a place for people to write in the amount of their donation for GA records but this is rarely clear and the counters have to spend time filling it in themselves.

PAT BOLGER was thanked for all he did in organizing the Lourdes Pilgrimage.

PARISH PARTY.  Volunteers should be told that they can bring partners to the party, if they wish.

THE DIOCESE are going to distribute parish profiles of collections and attendance – a kind of Parish League Table.

SCHOOL FORMS.  Secondary School forms have been signed – there were a couple of problems but they have been sorted out.  The priests are signing Primary forms next week.

The next meeting will be that with the Bishop on 14th December at 4 pm, with the following meeting on 23rd February at the usual time.

The meeting ended with a prayer.