m041216 - SMMCC

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Led by Lyndsay Docherty, Joe and Diane Oliver
Joe thanked everyone for  being at today’s meeting and introduced himself, Diane Oliver and Lyndsay  Docherty. Joe said he was anxious about coming to today’s meeting at the  prospect of encountering all the United fans following City’s loss to Chelsea yesterday, but had been uplifted after attending  today’s Mass.
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.”
The minutes of our last official meeting, held on  the 30th October 2016, were distributed. Diane asked everyone to  please glance over them and reminded everyone that these minutes and other  church information can be found on our new website www.smmcc.org.uk.
No  issues were raised from the Minutes. Diane then told everyone that she,  Lyndsay and Joe would themselves like to raise some items from those Minutes  which were as follows:
A/ Diane requested everyone to turn to the section  on PAGE 2 concerning the staging of the Christmas Fayre. It was  proposed to have a planning meeting to that effect on Sunday 6th  November. Diane confirmed this meeting went ahead but said she and Joe were  unable to attend. As Diane and Joe and many other parishioners had been  involved in SMM Xmas and Summer Fayres for the past 30 years, they had created  a preparation sheet to aid our team of volunteers. It listed the practical  stages that have been found to be useful in the lead up to the creation of a  Fayre, as well as further tips to help with the organising of the day itself.  Many new volunteers came forward and it was therefore agreed that we could go  ahead with the Xmas Fayre.
Diane  then asked everyone to please note from the Agenda sheet, Item 4, that we  would have a specific discussion about the Christmas Fayre at that point in  today’s meeting.
B/ Diane then referred  everyone to Page 3 of the Minutes,  Under Item 5 entitled:  “Open Forum”. A  number of ideas were raised which Diane was happy to say in many cases were  taken on.
·         A suggested Joint Parish & Primary School contribution to our  Remembrance Sunday in Church, on Sunday 13th November: The response was the School’s Remembrance  and Holy Souls display included at the Xmas Fayre.
·         A proposed Fair Trade/ Cruelty Free Stall in the Church/ Parish Hall: This was looked into, but due to the  high initial cost of purchasing stock, it was decided to leave this until a  later date.
·         A suggested weekday Coffee morning for parents in the Parish Hall: Thanks to Patricia and Brenda, we  have had two Coffee Mornings, one on Wednesday 16th November and  one on Wednesday the 30th November, with more to come in the  future.
·         A proposed stall to support Sr. Rita’s work for the Lalley Centre: The response was not taken up in terms of a stall at  the 2016 Xmas Fayre. Also the collection for the Lalley Centre, at the back  of the church, was terminated shortly before the appeal for goods towards the  Christmas Fayre.
Diane then asked how everybody felt about reinstating the Lalley Box  at the back of church again. People were in agreement to this.
·         A quiz night? Would anyone like to run such an event?
C/ Lyndsay then referred everyone to Page 6 where you will  see a report on the Progress of Our  Link With the Primary School.
Lyndsay reported that  in paragraph 6, from which she quoted, Joe had talked about the low number of  parents at the last meeting, adding his comment that after reading the Moston  R.C. Parishes’ newsletter, he had noticed an article about the Sacramental  Programme which was highly relevant to these parents. The article stated that  the Registration for the children’s sacramental journey would take place at  St Dunstan’s. Joe asked if  it would be  better if it took place at SMM Church, so that rather than just registering  the children, they could be formally presented to their own community, as was  done throughout all the years in which a Sacramental Programme was run in all  our parishes. Another parishioner pointed out that this made sense, as in the  Bishop’s Document, we are proposed to be twinned with St John Bosco’s, rather  than with St Dunstan’s.
Lyndsay continued to  say that Joe asked for everyone’s permission, that he, Diane and Lyndsay  should send a letter to Fr Saunders requesting this, and everyone had agreed.
She  went on to report that we duly sent an email to Father Saunders (also copying  in the Headmaster and Chair of Governors) that evening, Sunday 30th  October 2016, which she read out to the meeting as follows:
“Dear Fr. Saunders, Mr. Sutton and Mrs. Ager,
We had a Parish Meeting at St. Margaret Mary's today which was  attended by approximately seventy people.
At this meeting, Diane, Joe and I were happy to inform everyone  of the support we have pledged to the school on behalf of our parishioners.  We also reported the school's kind assistance in advertising, through their  own channels, today's parish meeting and for agreeing to connect our new  Parish Website to their own School Website. We also told all present that we  had relayed this good news to Bishop John.
A particular issue which was raised, the resolution of which we  feel would assist our progress towards the church and the school becoming a  community again. It concerned this announcement in today's Moston R.C.  Parishes Newsletter:
Registration will take place after half term for the  children of the three parishes. As last year, the registration will take  place in St. Dunstan's, as it seemed to go very smoothly and families from  different parishes and schools were able to meet with each other. The  catechists will meet to work out the fine details."
There was unanimous assent that such an event should actually  take place in St. Margaret Mary's Church, to familiarise the children and  their parents with their main place of worship. It was pointed out that the  Diocesan Restructuring Proposal links St. Margaret Mary's with St. John  Bosco's rather than with St. Dunstan's. It was felt, therefore, that families  should get used to attending the churches which will be their spiritual homes  in the future.
All our parishioners felt this issue was so important that they  wanted us to convey this information to you as a priority.
Thank you in anticipation for your attention to this  matter.  Your time and trouble is greatly appreciated. If we can assist  in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.”
Lyndsay  then added that we had sent a further email to Father Saunders about this  communication on Thursday 10th November 2016, but up to this point,  had not yet received a reply to any of these communications. As Father  Saunders has not been very well recently, she said that we presumed this was  the reason why he has not been able to respond to us.
She  continued to say that it has since been announced in the recent newsletters  that Registration will take place at  St. Dunstan’s early next year, with no mention as to whether or not SMM’s  children may be presented here before their own community, as well as being  merely registered at St. Dunstan’s.
Lyndsay  replied to the questions that arose, confirming that we had not received any  form of reply from Father Saunders. The school had stated verbally they had  seen this letter. She added that we would pursue the issue by trying to  contact Father Saunders about this again.
D/ Joe then referred everyone to ITEM 9 at the bottom of page 6  entitled: FURTHER BUSINESS & ARRANGEMENT OF OUR NEXT MEETING
He said: “In paragraph two, from which I quote, ‘A  parishioner then asked why we have not been given the  totals of the weekly collections or any other  collections taking place within St. Margaret Mary’s Church, such as the CAFOD  collection.’ We had discussions about this, and whilst it was agreed totals  of collections should not be published, they should at least be read  out as an important part of the inclusivity  and openness missing from our community.
Joe had asked Marie for this information, which  she had kindly brought to the meeting. Marie gave a resume that since Canon  O’Connor’s illness; the reading of weekly collections had not taken place, as  visiting priests did not always want to read notices out. Marie also told us  that collections had gone down and that covenants promised by parishioners  were not being honoured.
Last week’s collection was £318 (previously over  £500 was received) and the recent CAFOD collection totalled £377 and also a  further £35 was also given in (previously we would have received £800 to  £900).
Joe thanked Marie for this information and asked  if the collection amounts could be announced in future.
Parishioners would now be able to address this  problem. It was also brought up that covenants should be reviewed in  accordance with the guidelines concerning people’s changing tax statuses, for  example, at the transition into retirement. Also, it was mentioned that only  having one mass now reduced the weekly collection.
Marie stated that she was put in charge of SMM  Parish Finances by Father Saunders.  
Because  of these issues, collections would be brought up as an agenda item at the  next meeting.
E/ Diane referred everyone to PAGE  7, paragraph two, where we had mentioned DBS checks and that this was the  reason why we have not recently done the Children’s Liturgy. Both Diane’s and  Lyndsay’s DBS checks are now renewed and therefore she and Lyndsay are fully  authorised to work with children in church and are happy to be able to renew  the children’s liturgies at Mass, starting from today.
F/ Diane again referred everyone to PAGE 7, paragraph  three, regarding the timing of the Bishop’s “Final Decision Document”. We now  know that the decision has been delayed.
Diane  went on to state that at last Sunday’s mass, a letter was read out from the  Bishop. She said she understood that parishioners attending that mass were  unable to hear any of the content properly. She added that Joe had retrieved  the main information from the Salford Diocesan Website and that we have  copies of the Bishop’s letter for people to take home. In this letter, it  told us that the final decision will not now be announced until Sunday  January 15th 2017. She concluded that we will all be praying hard  for St Margaret Mary’s.
4. Joe then addressed a REVUE OF  LAST SUNDAY’S XMAS FAYRE
Joe referred to the flyer that had been  distributed at mass that morning and said how well the Fayre had gone. It was  also good to see parishioners there from St Dunstan’s.
Joe  then asked for people’s views of the Fayre.
A  good crowd of people, excellent attendance.
People  said it would be nicer with music.  Another parishioner did not want music.
Were  any parents there? A parishioner said four were helping on stalls and Joe  said from small acorns we would grow.
Joe  summed this up by remarking: “We must be welcoming to all new  parishioners. No-one should be put off. All should be shown our good wishes  and that we are happy for them to join us.”
Joe  mentioned the excellent Father Christmas who had enhanced this important  aspect of a welcoming atmosphere which in general was a very happy one and it  cheered everyone up.
Joe reiterated the key point  about not welcoming people and quoted, “Ultimately to BLOCK people from joining in  fully at a social level, also BLOCKS them from taking part in sacramental  life. If they are debarred from the one, they will not approach the other. If  they are discouraged from playing their part in our social life, they are  unlikely to play a part in our worship.”
She  said that she would first like to pass on our thanks to Patricia and Brenda  for putting on these two excellent social events.
The  Headmaster and his Deputy promoted the events for us and attended along with  the parents and parishioners.
Patricia  and Brenda hold the coffee mornings from 8.50am to catch the parents when  they have dropped their children off at school and they keep it open for an  hour to an hour and a half.
Diane  explained that for future occasions, we will be creating more reminders to promote  consistently good numbers, adding that we know that the healthy growth of our  social life will foster the growth of our community’s life of worship. This  is why all efforts to encourage a thriving social life are so important.
One  of our parishioners suggested that we could have a Christmas Coffee Morning  on Sunday 18th December, after the 10.30 Mass, in order to  celebrate our own Parish Christmas together, before we are all absorbed into  our own busy family Christmases. This was agreed by all to be a good idea.
Lyndsay  told everyone that we addressed this in our last meeting,that it is shown in  the minutes on Page 6, in which can be read that we were very successful in connecting with SMM Primary School, and  that we also have informed the Bishop to that effect.
Lyndsay  then gave a further update, as follows: -
1/ We wrote to the School Governors pledging our  support in bringing the community together again.
RESPONSE: The Head teacher, Staff and Governors have  been most supportive. In my telephone calls, I am greeted by the words: “What  can I do for you, Lyndsay?” or “How may I help you?” The help requested has  been both readily offered and carried out with a sense of genuine good will  towards our future partnership.
2/ The school kindly advertised our parish meeting  by using their own channels to reach all the parents.
RESPONSE: The school has been true to that  promotional partnership with us and has continued to advertise all our  meetings and events.
3/ The school has agreed for our new Parish Website  to be connected with their own website.
RESPONSE: As you will know, there are very complex  issues concerning cyber-safety on school websites. Luckily we have our expert  parishioner who set up our own parish website and he is looking into this, in  conjunction with the school’s IT department, so as to ensure protection  against any inadvertent link to something dodgy from another source. Very  dark materials can sometimes piggy-back their way into schools during the  establishment of external links. So we hope this is sorted out and that we  will be connected in the very near future.
Lyndsay added that we actually wrote that letter to the  School Governors on the most meaningful day to our School Convent and Parish  combined, that is: on the Feast of St. Margaret Mary, October 17th  , pledging our assurance that we would support the Head teacher and his  Governing Body in their two-fold tasks of:
·         'bearing witness to the faith in all aspects of  its work'.
·       'preserving and  developing the school’s religious character’
For  we all know that a collective expression of our Catholic Faith is so much  more powerful than what we can do alone. It is that truly great sign of witness, for which Our Lord prayed at the  Last Supper, on the night before He died, when He asked His Father:  THAT THEY MAY BE ONE .
Lyndsay  concluded that only in a Parish/Home/School  partnership can we unreservedly hand down our Faith, which is the most  precious heritage that one generation can confer upon another.
7. JOE then addressed the USE OF THE PARISH HALL
Joe wanted to mention the actual premises of our Parish  Hall, with which on the occasion Bishop John visited him, Diane and Lyndsay, he  showed a most favourable impression.
Joe  then read out an enquiry about using our Parish Hall, that he had received  from a Dance teacher called Jayne Jackson: -
‘My name is Jayne Jackson; I run dance classes  for children which are based in Chadderton. Many of the children I teach  attend St Margaret Mary's primary school. Prior to our classes being held in  Chadderton, we held them at the church hall of St Margaret Mary's, where we  did shows and danced at the School Fair, to help fundraise. A parent  told me that your hall may become available again, so I thought this would be  a good opportunity for us to bring a few classes back to where we started  from. The parents, children and I would be very grateful if you could  consider us for a Thursday, early evening, for a few hours. There is also a  possibility of starting a fitness class for children and adults.’
I  will tell Jayne that we cannot make such a decision until after the 15th  January 2017 By that date, we hope to have been given details of who our new  Parish Priest will be. Joe added: “That’s me being Positive to You!”
But  he continued to explain that if we are going to carry on using the Parish  Hall and thinking about hiring it out , we will need to consider the  following essential practicalities, to take place after Christmas:
1/  Carry out a thorough clean up and get everything working properly.
2/  Establish a Parish Hall Committee to run it.
3/  Make sure we have the correct insurance and that all the legal requirements  are fulfilled. (Joe would talk to other people who run Parish Halls about how  this is done.)
4/  Manage its financial administration responsibly and produce yearly accounts.
Joe  mentioned that we only have one key holder, and that is Marie alone, but she  firmly states has she alone has been entrusted with this responsibility. He  added that this is a heavy responsibility for a sole individual and that we  want to support Marie as a community together with her.
A  detailed and in-depth discussion then took place about the possibility of  someone having a spare key. Other issues concerning the use of the Parish Hall  and other events which people had taken part in were also discussed.
The running of the Parish Hall will be revisited after we have  received the Bishop’s Final Decision Document.
8.Joe then asked if anyone had ANY OTHER BUSINESS TO RAISE
No other business was raised at the meeting.
Lyndsay said perhaps we now need to a rest from  our formal meetings so we can concentrate our prayers to the Holy Spirit, for  however long the machinery of the Salford Diocese Review continues its  trajectory towards its conclusion, in early 2017.
We therefore propose to have our next official meeting  on Sunday the 22nd January 2017, after Mass as usual. This will  give us a week to think carefully through our responses to the Bishop’s final  decision which will know by Sunday the 15th January 2017, whatever  that may be, so we can have a productive and considered meeting.
But she added that Joe told her that she must be  sure to calm your worries about any interference with the football, as both  City and United are playing the previous day on Saturday the 21st  January 2017. This she affirmed by stating that we all know by now that  football is not a matter of life and death. It is much more important than  that!
But on a more serious  note, she said that if something comes up which parishioners  feel is imperative for us to address, we will call an emergency meeting.
She thanked everyone for sharing their time and  valuable contributions with us today.
She concluded by saying that she, Diane and Joe would  like to wish you a very Happy and Holy Christmas and a Jolly New Year, living  to the full this great new spirit we have revived among us! She hoped to see everyone  again in 2017.   
Then she invited Diane to finish our meeting with  our final prayer.
Diane referred everyone to look at Page 7 of the  Minutes they were given today, and asked them to 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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