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Led by Lyndsay Docherty, Joe and Diane Oliver
Joe thanked everyone for  coming to us today.
Joe informed everyone that  immediately after today’s meeting, Lyndsay has been given a musical role in the  Churches Together Service at Holy Cross in Eccles at which Bishop Arnold is  giving the address. Hopefully, such missionary and musical projects like this  will be on our agenda again in the future. We wish Lyndsay good luck at this  special occasion with the Bishop, remembering with gratitude his last meeting  with us here in this parish hall.
Diane then started the  meeting with our opening prayer.
Father,  We ask you for the gift of Discernment,
That  we may see the way You wish us to go,
For  the gift of Wisdom, that we may make the right choices,
For  the gift of Courage, that we may see decisions delivered and completed  by our actions,
That  the values of the Gospel may determine our every step,
And  that You, Lord, will stay with us on our journey. Amen.”
Diane  then continued the meeting.
Diane reminded everyone that as they came into the  hall they received copies of the minutes of the last meeting. She hoped they  had a chance to scan them and wondered if anyone had any issues arising from  them.
Joe then added that if anyone had something they  wanted to raise, this could be done at the end of the meeting under ‘Any  Other Business’.
Diane continued with a reminder that these minutes  are already on our website. www.smmcc.org.uk.  
Diane began the distribution of the Bishop’s  letter to our parish, giving everyone a chance to fully appreciate what was  said.
She pointed out that one paragraph had special  significance for our identity and for our future role, namely the third  paragraph down, reading it out as follows:
“In the case of this parish of Saint Margaret  Mary, New Moston, it is proposed that it amalgamates with the Parishes of St  Dunstan, Moston and St John Vianney, Moston, to form ONE NEW PARISH.  This will formalise the current working relationship between these Parishes.  There is no proposal to close any of the three churches, but this can be  considered when consulting further about this amalgamation.”
She continued to explain that this has now led us  to break down the elements which are particularly significant for us in the  amalgamation.
At this point, Joe distributed a written breakdown  of these important elements prior to Lyndsay’s delivery of their key points.
She  began as follows: “The document that came our way last week has given us much  pause for thought as to WHAT WILL BE OUR RESPONSE?”
She continued under the heading of ‘Embracing AMALGAMATION’:  the issue of the parity of status between our three churches.
She expressed a wish to clarify what amalgamation  means, quoting the document: “The formal canonical process requires that each  constituent parish becomes extinct and that a completely new parish is formed  by their union.” P. 18)   
She went on  to say that with this as understood, we need to address the following items,  using the document again as our source, where it clearly outlines the Canon  Law requirements for the administration of a parish (page 6).There needs to  be:
·         Equal Representation from each church on the Joint Parish Council.
·         Equal Representation from each church on the Joint Parish Finance  Committee.
·         Equal Representation from each church on the Joint Parochial Buildings  Committee.
·         Equal Hosting between the three Church venues of all liturgical events,  namely; Vigil Mass and Sunday Masses, Weekday Masses, Holy Day Masses,  Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and all elements of the Sacramental Programme.
She added that the document clearly states on  p.19, that this stage of our journey rests largely on the redistribution of  responsibilities. “Priests must invite members of the parish communities to  administer many more aspects of parish life. The priest’s primary role must  be one of pastoral care, providing sacraments and encouragement. It must be  the priority of the priest to know the people of his community and their  needs. It must be for others to maintain buildings and administer the  parish.”
She reflected that this is a big light shining out  to us, our mandate, our open door. She asked: “Do we take those first  outward-facing steps towards that door, to offer all that we are to these new  challenges?”
She continued that with this in mind, Joe would  like to suggest a possible first step, something which must precede all other  initiatives, namely to establish our pastoral relationship with Father  Saunders, our designated parish priest.
JOE: Joe then addressed the meeting and referred everyone to the Agenda, as  it states clearly under item 5, the response just explained by Lyndsay.
He asked if everybody was happy with what we are  doing and if so would they give Diane, Lyndsay and me the authority to go and  see Father Saunders by no later than Tuesday 24th January 2017 and  to put this before him.
A parishioner suggested we did this by a show of  hands. This was done and the verdict was unanimous.
Joe then addressed the issue of Joint Parish  Councils. Appointment protocols have been researched by Lyndsay, who has prepared  a paper entitled ‘A Pastoral Plan for the Future’. This has been on hold  until we knew what was going to happen to St. Margaret Mary’s Church.
For us to be pro-active, Joe asked that the names  of volunteers for these committees be given to us as the end of today’s  meeting. People asked when these meetings were. The St Dunstan Hall Committee  would next be held on 6th February and a St Dunstan’s Finance  Committee would be held also in the first week in February, as shown in their  newsletter. He added that we are currently unaware of when the St Dunstan’s Parish  Council meets.
He added that we need to go to these meetings as  observers, so that we are aware of what to do when the joint parish councils  are formed.
Joe asked if Marie was still at the meeting and  was informed that unfortunately she had left. Joe told everyone that he was  going to put her name forward as a representative for St. Margaret Mary’s, as  she has done considerable work for the church over the years. Joe said he  would ask her after today’s meeting.
A general discussion then took place as to who  should serve on the committees.
A parishioner suggested that people who wanted to  serve on these committees should put their names on a list at the end of the  meeting so that we can offer a pool of talent to illustrate our support to  this new parish.
Further discussions and views were put forward  about what we could offer in the future and about how could improve our links.
A long standing parishioner, who was unable to  attend today’s meeting, sent a letter, of which the following extracts were  read out: -
“Yes, for the amalgamation of our new parish from  the three churches that make up that parish, to be a successful one, it  requires a solidity of purpose and attitude from all the people of the three  churches. The aim will be to make every person of the new enlarged parish  feel of equal value and opportunity. Together, as the Bishop hopes, let us  become stronger by caring for each other.
St. Dunstan’s, St. John Vianney’s and St. Margaret  Mary’s should look to fostering good inter-church relations. Liturgical and  social events at each church should be supported by members of all three  churches”.
Joe continued to explain that St. Margaret Mary’s Newsletter  was formed to keep us aware of Anniversaries, Deaths, Sick of our parish and  advertising our meetings, whilst also including the Mass details of all three  churches. He added that it is expected, that once the amalgamation is  complete, we will only need one parish newsletter.
He expressed the feeling that people were aware  that Father Saunders needs more help in running the three parishes, so we all  hoped the Bishop will give him appropriate assistance.
The nuns were asked about their future position in  our community. They confirmed that, as far as they were aware, they would not  be leaving St. Margaret Mary’s parish and they asked everyone to keep on  praying that this proposed new amalgamation works. They also appealed for  concerted prayer that we receive an additional priest to help to manage this  three church amalgamation.
Someone raised the issue of the high repair costs  of St Dunstan’s, with a concern about the drain on our finances in sharing  these astronomical costs. Joe responded that the principle of amalgamation implies  sharing mutual expenses.  
Diane then addressed our links with school.
She  began by highlighting that in last Sunday’s Newsletter, it stated that Mr  Sutton’s father has recently deceased. She offered our sincere condolences to  him and his family in behalf of our parish.
She  went on to affirm that the school link remains a high profile target for us,  as it is a vital missionary outreach to much needed young people and their  parents.
She  continued to say that as the Christmas holidays are over and that we also  know that our church has a future, we can now pursue many opportunities to  bring this generation back into our church, for example by ensuring that St.  Margaret Mary’s Church is used equally, alongside the other two churches, as  a venue for the children’s emerging sacramental life.
Moving  on, she introduced Joe’s proposals for some practical remedial work which  needs our attention in the Parish Hall.
7. JOE: - PARISH HALL OF St. Margaret Mary’s
Joe  began by suggesting that prior to attending the St Dunstan’s Hall Committee, we  should select the date of Saturday the 4th February 2017 at 9.30am,  to give the parish hall a good clean up. He asked people to volunteer to help  with this. He added that Marie, Rosemary and Anne had done a lot of work in  maintaining the Parish Hall, but we want to repair lights, clean the kitchen,  etc.
He explained that this was the first stage in a  practical response, one which relieves the Priest of these matters (as  previously explained by Lyndsay,) and it is also a useful preparation for our  future involvement with the ‘Joint Parochial Buildings Committee’, based on  our need to know our buildings thoroughly.
Lyndsay then took the next item.
She asked if anyone had any other business they wished to raise.
1/ A parishioner said he had heard that all the priests were  going to meet the Bishop on Wednesday – nobody was aware if this was  happening.
2/ Ideas for Future events were expressed as follows:
a/ Have an Easter Fair to include an Easter Bonnet Parade. This  would involve the primary school children and would replace the usual summer  fair.
b/ There is a possibility of having a concert by a trio of  singers here on the 19th February 2017 as part of a ‘Sunday Afternoon Tea’.  All parishioners, parents and children would be invited to come.
c/ Missionary outreach to the vibrant Christian Communities  around us who already include us in their many social events. Lyndsay said  she will be organising a concert at St Chad’s Anglican Church in April 2017  and hoped everyone would come along.
3/ A parishioner raised the need for more church cleaners and  also two new hoovers. It was agreed that we would advertise this in the  newsletter.
4/ A parishioner said that as well as encouraging the primary  school children, we should also be involving the senior school children at  our high schools. We hoped this would be possible to achieve in the  future.  
5/ Lyndsay was given a written breakdown of an existing  parochial council structure by a parishioner who has extensive experience in  serving on these committees.
Joe first thanked everyone for sharing their time  and valuable contributions with us today, adding that the meeting took 44  minutes rather than the 30 minutes he had hoped for.
He continued that we now need to pencil in a  convenient date for the next meeting. Sunday the 19th February  2017or Sunday 26th February 2017 and said that we will update you  later.
Diane finished the meeting with our final prayer.
Diane referred everyone to look at the back Page  of the Minutes and join in with us in our concluding prayer: -
Dear  Lord,
As  the Living Body of Christ,
May  we open ourselves with docility and humility
To  the newness of God which surprises and surpasses us, but never disappoints  us.
May  we take up the challenges of our present time,
As  did Mary our Mother and St Margaret Mary our Patron,
Blest  with a new apostolic vision, Amen.
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