Around 50 parishioners attended the meeting. Fr David gave an introduction highlighting four areas for reflection: Liturgy and Worship, Knowledge and understanding of our Faith, Building community through social activity, Mission and outreach. The meeting then divided into four groups to share ideas in each of these areas. The groups then reported back and this report contains their thoughts and ideas.
Table of Contents
Prayer, Liturgy and Worship
- Prayer for many is a very personal thing. We should promote existing groups like the Rosary Group. Could Benediction be offered?
- There was much discussion about reaching out to families and children. The Children’s Liturgy was valued but we need to try and expand it: it should happen more regularly and explore the possibility of extending it to other Masses. We should develop links with our primary school: maybe involving the school choir more in our Masses; explore the possibility of a Year Group leading a Mass on a regular basis; providing a Children’s Nativity at Christmas; Focus on 11am Mass as “A Family Mass”.
- Reach out to families of newly baptised: re-start annual Mass for the newly Baptised.
- Provide Recollection Days with a shared table.
- Explore ways to improve participation through Mass leaflets; screens with prayers, hymns etc. The establishment of Welcomers/stewards very much appreciated and need to develop this.
- Offer support and training to Readers.
- Could we provide a rota of drivers to help some get to church? Reach out to those watching on live-stream.
- Is it possible to provide more information about deceased at funerals?
- Some practical concerns raised concerning noisy heating system and amplification for choir.
Building Community- The Social Life Of The Parish
- Re-establish a Social Committee to plan and organise events.
- Building links with schools would help reach out to young families.
- Possible events might be: Harvest Festival, Quiz Nights.
- Could Coffee be introduced after Mass at least monthly maybe alternating between 9am and 11am Masses?
- Importance of reaching out to new members of the parish.
- Develop links with school and pre-school. Fr David to visit the pre-school. See schools as a resource. Brownies?
- Re-furbish kitchen in the Hall.
Growth In Knowledge Of The Faith
- Talks on aspects of the Faith would be welcome. Opportunities to come together and share the challenges that church teaching presents and the relationship of the Church to the modern world.
- Would Alpha (or something similar) provide a way forward?
- Revive RCIA.
- Bible Study Groups.
Outreach And Mission
- The work of the SVP was acknowledged and praised. Need to increase awareness of all that they do. The work of Minnie Vinnies was recognised.
- Develop better links with local organisations working to support the weak, poor and vulnerable in our local community.
- Oversea links with missionary areas should be developed: existing links through SVP; former link with Philippines; possible link with communities in Cambodia that Fr David has worked with in the past.
- Develop our links with the other local Christian churches. Develop the Crib Service.
Some New Structures To Help Bring Ideas To Fruition
- Establish a Parish Pastoral Council
- Re-establish a Social Committee
- Establish “Cell Groups” to develop different areas.
- Employ a Parish Secretary/administrator.
I am very grateful for the wide range of ideas that were shared and for the enthusiasm that was obvious at the meeting. I am grateful too for the very positive and charitable way in which people shared and the honesty that was very apparent. I hope I have included everything that was shared. Over the next weeks and months I will begin to try and move forward with some of the ideas and establish structures to help me with that. In the end most things are achievable as long as people are prepared to share their time and their gifts to make them a reality.