PPC – Minutes of Meetings

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

Minutes of the ZOOM Meeting; 16:00; Thursday 21 January 2021

1.  Welcome and Prayer.

2. Those Present. – via ZOOM – Linda Last (Chair); Terry O’Brien (Sec’y); Fr Martin; Deacon Tony; Tim and Steph Madden; Chris Scott; Brian Lewis; Bernard Segrave-Daly.

3.  Apologies for absence. Sue Workman; Pam Storey; Jo Hamer; Sam Barlow. (Plus, Brigid Rawlinson, omitted in error from earlier version.)

4. Minutes of Previous Meetings – (circulated with Agenda.)  The minutes for the meetings on Thursday 15 October; Thursday 26 November and Friday 08 January were accepted.

5. Matters Arising from the Minutes. No items were raised.

6. Review of Christmas Mass Ticketing and Proposed Changes for Easter.  It was agreed that the Christmas arrangements worked well.

For Easter, it was proposed that we revert to the normal provision of           Masses; e. g. Evening Vigil at St B; 08:00 at OLPS; 10:30 at St B.  The need           for ticketing would be decided later, depending on the restrictions in place and the likely level of attendance.

 7. Review / Update of Parish Projects.

7.1. Screening of St Anthony’s Chapel was on hold until after lockdown. It was stressed that all our projects would require realistic budgeting when the parish financial circumstances became stabilised.

7.2. Urgent maintenance work to clean gutters and drainage would be progressed as soon as “Working at Heights” training was completed.

7.3. Improvements Required/Desired to the Parish Hall were highlighted, aiming to make the Hall more attractive to parishioners and possible outside hires.  The Diocese has agreed to fund the re-decoration and deal with water ingress, but all other works were additional to this.  The Diocese, the school, and the parish should work together to develop an agreed plan – with realistic budgets for the work.  Plans for  raising the necessary funds were also essential.

8. Enlivening the church.

8.1.Decorations in the church, had been well received, though some felt the trees on the altar were over fussy.

8.2. One Weekday Mass at 12:00 noon, was still on the cards, but it was felt that the time was not right for introducing a new service.

9. Working With and Supporting the School.

In view of the School Report (circulated with the agenda), it was accepted that involvement of the school with First Holy Communion (FHC) classes and School Masses would not be possible until the Coronavirus situation was settled. The use of Zoom for FHC classes was not felt to be desirable.

The school would welcome our continued prayers for their success and  for a positive message about the school to be spread in the parish and the town.

10. Any Other Business.

The purchase of a licence for the use of Zoom was suggested, but – in spite of a very generous offer to fund the cost – in view of the likely short term for which it would be used, it was not felt to be a justifiable expense.

11. Date of Next Meeting 16:00; Thurs 15 April 2021

12. Closing Remarks and Prayer

Terry O’Brien; Secretary.

Version 2; 23 January 2021

Minutes of Meeting

“Coping with Covid” Sub Committee of the PPC

Held via “ZOOM” at 16:00 Friday 08 January

Present:     Fr Martin; Deacon Tony; Linda Last, Chair;  Terry O’Brien, Sec.

Apologies:   Jo Hamer; Gabriel Doll; Hilary Wells.

Objective: To review the operation of the parish policies, procedures and practices following the identification of the new variant of the COVID Virus.

Discussion and Action Planned: The consensus was that our basic procedures are in good order.  Thanks are due to our Stewards –  and indeed to all our parishioners  – for the general level of compliance with the regime.

One area of concern is that we have all become a bit complacent in following the “Social Distancing” requirements when entering and leaving the church, and especially when waiting to comply with the “check-in” procedures.

To address these issues, we will:-

  • encourage earlier arrival to avoid build-up of queues;
  • provide clear markings for the “2 mtr spacing” at both entry and exit;
  • (politely!) discourage any chat between those queueing for entry and exit;
  • provide clipboards for “self-recording” by visitors, while in the porch;
  • investigate the use of simpler “parishioner lists”  for check-in;
  • make the QR codes more noticeable and encourage their use;
  • direct QR Code users down right-hand aisle (to use seats adjacent to this aisle only);
  • after Mass, all to leave by centre aisle, as and when directed by a steward;
  • leave in order from front to rear, then side chapels;
  • “2-mtr distance” to be maintained while leaving;
  • leavers to move well clear and not to stop to chat outside the door or in the grounds.

The changes were agreed to be implemented from Sunday 10 January. The above was posted on the website on Saturday 09 January, to inform parishioners what to expect on Sunday.

Terry O’Brien;

Secretary PPC; 11 January 2021

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