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Open Parish Meeting 12th October 2010

Welcome and Prayer

Fr Kieron explained that the old style Parish Meeting was not a success and so an alternative had been trialed this year. The Open Evening in September had been relatively successful. This follow up meeting would take the form of a question and answer session with questions submitted in advance so that a considered response could be given.

Parish Finances

Kevin Jamieson gave a brief explanation of the financial procedures as required by the Diocese. Each parish is subject to visits from auditors. He confirmed the following points:
The building work to St Richard’s had cost £85K. The cost was covered from proceeds of the sale of Nutbourne and a legacy.
There are specific funds such as Mercy House, Fr Joe (Mivumoni) and the Friday Project. Repairs and maintenance were paid from parish funds and the interest from the Yr 2000 account. There is also ring fenced monies for projects such as the Youth Worker.
There is currently £197,915 in the parish account but half of the funds fall into ring fenced or committed projects

Income for 2007 was £180K, 2008 176K, 2009 164K.

KJ explained the various headings on the annual Statement. 'Personnel' was confidential. 'Office' included equipment and associated materials. 'Establishment Costs' included Utilities; 'Domestic' was cost for the Presbytery. 'Liturgical and Pastoral' were Sacramental Programmes. The Diocesan Levy was set each year by the Bishop and his Council and decided by the income of the parish. This year it is £23,021 which is taken quarterly.
The Friday Project balance stood at £2,402. £2K had been sent to Pakistan. A balance was maintained for such emergencies.

Susan Line asked if Gift Aid membership had increased. KJ confirmed that the new parishioner form had generated a number of new members.

The Polish community did not contribute to the Church as they donate to the Polish Mission. Fr K informed the group that the Polish priest did not speak English and that integration was difficult as they tended to be a young small congregation that did not stay in the area for any length of time.

Maria Whitehouse stated the Financial Statement that had been issued to the parish was unclear. The Legacy of £62K had not been included and the £50K for Projects was misleading.

Gerry Farrell gave the group a brief explanation of the Financial Statement. He explained the details of the Yr 2000 fund. It was generally felt that there should be a level of transparency and that some would be more interested than others. It was suggested that could be more detailed information for those who want it.

Bosham is the next major project and will be more expensive than originally anticipated. Fr K felt that though that it should be a parish project and not just confined to Bosham. He said that a Development Group is to be formed to look at the longer term needs of the parish.

Fr K confirmed that the Ambo had cost approximately £10K.

Justice and Peace

The parish contact is Clare Walls but she has only recently been appointed. Fr K felt that we are good at supporting specific projects such as Mercy House and Fr Joe but we could be better at promoting wider projects such as CAFOD which has a low profile in the parish. The possibility of joining with another church for a more ecumenical approach was suggested. The Youth could also be encouraged with ventures such as the Stonepillow “Sleepout”. Revelation Church is launching “Street Pastors”.

Involvement of the Laity

This was generally felt to be a difficult question. Fr K felt that there were layers of belonging to the church and that everyone sat at a different level. Disappointment at the lack of enquirers to the Open Evening was expressed. It was suggested that perhaps more adult formation and groups would deepen people’s faith and therefore encourage them to get more involved. The possibility of “champions” or groups to engage people was discussed. It may be that people found community in other groups such as the Amblers. The inclusion of the Asian Community was discussed but Fr K stated they had their own strong community. The Pope’s visit was deemed to be a success and that now we should be following this up and continuing the momentum. Fr K had heard that the Portsmouth Diocese had adopted the idea of stewardship from the U.S and was promoting “ownership of the Church”.

Questions from John Hutchings

Fr A read the questions to the meeting. They related to the Vatican Council documents on Laity and the Constitution of the Church. We should all be participating fully in the life of the church. Fr A felt that the importance of our Baptism should be preached and the gift we all receive emphasised. The moving of the Font had been to emphasise the centrality of Baptism.

Funerals

Frank Casey felt that on occasion there had been a lack of Altar Servers at funerals and maybe adult servers could be recruited solely for this purpose. Fr A had attempted to do this but had been unsuccessful to date. It worked well at Bosham and St Peter’s. Fr A would continue to pursue this.

Jean French thanked Fr K for all he had done over the last 10 years in the parish.