St Benet’s Beccles; Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)
Meeting held in the Presbytery Garden on Thursday 16 July 2020
Linda Last (Chair), Terry O’Brien (Secretary), Fr. Martin Gowman, Rev Tony Felton, Jo Hamer, Brian Lewis, Steph Madden, Brigid Rawlinson, Bernard Segrave-Daly, Pam Storey, Sue Workman.
LL welcomed those present and Fr Martin led us in an opening prayer
3. Apologies for Absence
Tim Madden. Sam Barlow (School Head).
LL reported that Thomas Harrison has resigned from the PPC. In accordance with the constitution, and recognising Bernard Segrave-Daly’s role as leader of the Stewardship Initiative (see 9. below), LL has invited Bernard to accept secondment to the PPC. Bernard intimated that he would be happy to serve and he was welcomed by all present.
5. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
These were accepted as an accurate record.
6. Matters Arising
6.1 Weddings – Authorised Person. Tim Madden has been trained in the procedures and will be undertaking his first service in 2021, with initial support from Rev Tony.
7. Finance & Fabric Committee
BL reported that no meetings had been held since “Lockdown” and the accounts and report from Treasurer for the first half of the year were discussed. In summary, while there was some reduction in running costs, our income was significantly reduced. Diocesan levies had not yet been actioned, but funds were available to meet them.
BL added that all projects were on hold, due to the Coronavirus Crisis. The architects have prepared an outline plan for screening St Anthony’s Chapel, and their account for this draft has been settled. This item would be tabled at the next AGM.
8. Feedback on COVID-19
LL asked for reaction from parishioners on the way the Parish had handled the restrictions – and their relaxation – and particularly any need for change in the event of a “Second Wave”.
The consensus was that the arrangements put in place were excellent and all concerned were to be congratulated. Care should be taken to check for “trip hazards” when the less able were directed to “unfamiliar territory!” It was accepted that there would always be a need for one clear course of action, recognising the over-whelming need to minimise face-to-face contact between parishioners – particularly those who are older or “at-risk”.
Many had found the use of “Live Streaming” of Masses and other services to be stimulating and interesting. “It’s good to see how other parishes do it!” While the Website and Email communications were very positively received, it was pointed out that those who are not “computer literate” must also be remembered and catered for.
9. Stewardship of the Parish
Fr M explained that this involved addressing the rising costs and falling revenue within our parish, as well as considering the spiritual life of the Parish. Bernard Seagrave-Daly (BS-D) had agreed to lead this project, which aimed to increase the contribution of “Time” and “Talents” to the parish, as well as the more obvious “Treasure”.
Bernard took the Committee through the principles of this initiative, as described in the attached paper. The Committee supported this initiative and noted that Bernard saw a need for some additional support and help.
(Post Meeting Note. This paper has been posted on the Parish Website, here, under its own “tab”.)
10. School Report
LL reported that SB had disagreed with the previous meeting’s statement that our school results were poorer than those of “Albert Pye”. The PPC felt that for any newcomer to the Parish, the headline OFSTED ratings for all Beccles Schools were a key factor. We all regretted that not all Catholic families send their children to our Catholic School – but this is a matter of personal choice and for their own judgement. It is not our Committee’s job to manage or judge our school – but we believe we can be a useful sounding board and can also be a source of additional help to our teachers – e.g. listening to pupils reading; talking about our life experiences (“we are living history!”); supporting fundraising; donating older PCs etc.
The committee re-iterated that we would welcome the opportunity to talk with the School Head, Governors and/or PTA leaders, to explore the establishment of closer ties between the church and school.
(Post Meeting Note. Attached is an email from SB suggesting we have a person to liaise between the church and the school. SB reports this works well with St Edmund’s, Bungay.)
11. Parish Life
It was noted that PS is now our contact with the Diocesan Lead for Caritas East Anglia. LL reviewed a paper she had circulated from CARITAS regarding the range of activities that are undertaken within the Diocese. It was felt that the review of these should be within the remit of the Stewardship Initiative.
12. Photocopier/Printer Replacement
TOB reported that a replacement printer/copier was on order.
(Post Meeting Note. Delivery is due Wed 22 July. The new machine is A3 capable and comes complete with booklet/collator/finisher.)
13. Any Other Business
We have been asked if a concert by local musicians could be staged in the Church in the autumn. This was agreed to be acceptable, subject always to Coronavirus Restrictions.
14. Dates of Next Meetings
14.1 The next planned meeting is Thursday 15 October 2020. Time and venue to be confirmed.
14.2 AGM – It is possible that the Parish Annual Meeting will be held in October – subject to Coronavirus restrictions. An announcement will be made as the situation becomes clearer.
15. Closing Remarks.
LL thanked everyone for their time and contributions. Fr Martin closed the meeting with a prayer of thanks.
Secretary; 20 July 2020
Copy of an email from Sam Barlow to Linda Last 17 July 2020
A couple of things around engagement for children. The Family Masses at St Edmund’s are really well attended, I mean to the point of packed at times. I think this is because we have a liaison person who actively works with us to keep us in the loop and asks us to seek children to read at the Mass, they do all the readings and the offertory. We then prepare the children in school and the hymns are sung in assembly too, where I then actively invite the other children along and their families. This person makes an attractive poster that we then put on the school FB pages. The Masses are around key times of the year, such as St Edmund’s Day, Harvest, Mother’s Day, etc so again making a focal point for the families. The children play instruments to accompany some of the hymns too, they are called up together to do this. It makes it very inclusive and lovely.
Another thing that works really well is that we have an FHC group in school, it is undertaken by Becky Clarke and she does a session once a week with the group after school. We have on average at least 10 children making their FHC and many new to the faith. It might be something to be considered at St Benet’s too. I feel we seem to be quite detached from the whole journey at present.
I hope that helps go some way to highlight what can be done and how it can work.