PPC – Minutes of Meeting

St Benet’s Beccles; Parish Pastoral Council (PPC)

Minutes of Meeting; Held via Zoom

Thursday 15 October 2020                                          

1. Welcome. LL welcomed those present and Fr Martin led us in an opening prayer.

2. Present. Linda Last (Chair), Terry O’Brien (Secretary), Fr. Martin Gowman, Rev Tony Felton, Sam Barlow (School Head), Brian Lewis, Steph Madden, Tim Madden, Chris Scott, Pam Storey.   LL welcomed Toni Harrison, of the First Holy Communion Group, who would attend part-time to update the Committee.

3. Apologies for Absence. Jo Hamer, Brigid Rawlinson, Bernard Segrave-Daly, Sue Workman

4. Minutes of the Previous Meeting. These were accepted as an accurate record.

5. Matters Arising. There were no matters arising.

6. Finance and Fabric Committee. (Post Meeting Note No meetings have been held since “Lockdown” commenced.)

7. First Holy Communion Class – An Update. Unfortunately, Covid meant that the class of 2019/20 was not completed.  It was hoped to re-commence the class, aiming for completion in the spring of 2021. It was agreed that a close link with the school would be beneficial.  There would still be a need for a class to teach any “Non- St Benet’s” children.  It was agreed that a ZOOM meeting will be held of all those involved.  Action: SB; TH

8. Feedback on COVID-19 Procedures.

  1. Distribution of Holy Communion. LL reported that a brief meeting had been held on 15 August, which resulted in the current procedure for distribution of Holy Communion. These were agreed to be excellent. The procedure used at Gillingham also worked well.
  2. Entry, Seating and Exit Arrangements. These were generally satisfactory. Some delays occurred on exit, but it was accepted that this was unavoidable. Parishioners should be encouraged to arrive well before Mass start-time, to allow for the recording at entry.  Action: Fr M
  3. New “Order of Mass” Folders. These were a welcome addition – so long as we remember to bring them!
  4. Numbers Attending Mass. Sundays 08:00 25 – 30 with most regulars still attending;  10:30 range of. 45 – 60 usually with 2 or 3 families visiting the parish. (cf 80 normally)  18:00 c. 20, mostly regulars. Weekdays Usually c. 10 – 15.
  5. Time of Weekday Mass. It was suggested that 09:15 was a difficult time for many parishioners and it was agreed that a trial be held with Friday Mass at 12:30.  Action: Fr M

9. Communication of Information to Parishioners. 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. The paper Newsletter was essential – but normally it only reached those who attended Mass.  We have c. 350 registered households, with c. 150 getting the E-News;  this means some 200 families rely on the paper newsletter – with perhaps only 50 collecting a copy at Mass.  Options to address this include a letter to parents via the school children and a  letter/Christmas Card posted to homes or delivered by parishioners.      Action: Fr M; SB

10. Possible Initiatives for Autumn and Winter.

  1. November is the traditional month for remembering the deceased – through the “Remembrance Day” and our own “Mass for Deceased Parishioners”. The national parades and services will be curtailed, and a “Tree of Remembrance” has been proposed to meet the desire to remember all our deceased family and friends.  Action: LL
  2. It is intended to decorate the Church for Advent, with banners and flowers, while the school pupils are producing small cribs to be placed on each of the heaters around the church.  The decorated Church will be “Opened” at 18:00 Mass on 1st Sunday of Advent.  Action: Fr M, AP
  3. The children will be able to visit the Church to see the results of their work, in their class “Bubbles” and controlled by their teachers.  Action: SB

11. Christmas Masses

  1. It is hoped to have an early Vigil Mass, as in recent years; time and venue to be confirmed. Action: Fr M
  2. In any event, Fr M will celebrate two Masses on Christmas Eve; an earlier Vigil Mass and then “Midnight Mass” at 21:00 to facilitate attendance. There would then be two Masses as usual on Christmas Day.   Action:  Fr M     Additional Stewards would be required for these services.  Action: LL
  3. It may be desirable to ask parishioners which is their intended Mass – and a ticket service may be required if any Mass is likely to be over-subscribed.  Action: FR M, LL

12. School Report. The PPC were delighted to hear of the positive actions being taken in our school, which is fully “COVID Compliant” and has full attendance. Class Masses are a very welcome initiative, and the Mini-Vinnies are running again.  Parishioners will be able to attend the school’s Nativity Events.

13. Heating the Church. The heating in St Benet’s cannot be used when the Church is occupied, as the system re-circulates the used air, giving a risk of spreading any infection. The intention is to put the heating on prior to Sunday Mass, to let the building warm up.  Overcoats and thick socks are recommended.

14. Fund-raising. There is £2,000 in hand following earlier activities; it was agreed that this be retained until new events can be arranged. Any future activities would seek to involve the school children where-ever this could be integrated into the curriculum. Given the logistical difficulties, it was agreed that the Christmas Hamper Raffle would not take place this year.  The Food Bank has a scheme for families to volunteer to prepare a Christmas Hamper.  Details to follow.    Action: FR M

15.  Any Other Business No other business was raised

16. Date of Next Meeting. Thursday 14 January 2021. Time and venue to be confirmed.

17. Closing Remarks. LL thanked everyone for their time and contributions – and especially SB for hosting the meeting.   Fr Martin closed the meeting with a prayer of thanks.

Terry O’Brien

Secretary; 18 October 2020