Parish Council Meeting Minutes 10th March

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE DURHAM MARTYRS PARISH COUNCIL St. Joseph’s Church March 10th 2020


Present: Margaret Wallace ( Chair), Fr. Colm, Graham Donachie, Katie Flood,Maria Melia , Joanna Pallister, Tom Hoban, John Thompson, John Reilly-O’ Donnell, Kathleen Murray. Apologies: Peter Thompson, Mike McNally, Tony Power, John Lavery, Fred Haywood, Erica Smith, Chris Parker.

Margaret welcomed everyone and opened the meeting with a prayer.

Actions from Previous Meeting: GDPR consent forms.Action deferred in light of Chris’ absence from meeting.

AGM Actions: Election of Vice Chair- deferred.

Discussion of Precautions against Coronavirus: Copies of the latest advice from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales were provided. We are currently at Stage 2. Each item was gone through in detail entailing much detailed and thorough discussion of varying views but trying to balance concerns about the effect of stopping the social gatherings ( with their positive effects on the problem of isolation) against more stringent health and safety precautions . The decision was that ultimately the latter must take precedence. The virus is currently in the county, so going through the document, item by item, we adopted and adapted the suggestions while linking them to our current practices during Holy Mass and services. ( See attached document for advice to be given to parishioners from Fr. Colm on Sunday.)

Stage 3: Christine Coxon had asked about the Baptismal programme and will be advised to carry on at present. Helen Haywood had asked about visiting the care homes. The advice is to follow the homes’ recommendations. Katie mentioned Lenten retreats with the youth which are scheduled for St. Godric’s Church. Again the advice is to carry on until we hear otherwise.

Partnership Development Group: Graham updated upon the partnership open afternoons. The next one is scheduled for St. Godric’s on May 3rd from 2-4 pm. As before we will have displays of Parish history and life, welcomes, refreshments etc. and will close with Benediction. Our usual Exposition will be cancelled on that day. There will be other sessions in different churches in the partnership during May and Sept. With regard to the Property and Community Audit, Durham Martyrs are carrying on for the benefit of the Parish and working from the perspective of outreach into the community rather than concentrating on the use of buildings and generating possible income. St. Cuthbert’s as the other city centre parish have asked to work with us.There is a suggestion of an away day in May to review the structure of the group before the meeting in June to review the findings.

Other Partnership Information: Dori has volunteered to run a basic Bible studies group during Lent to coincide with the Year of the Word. There will be a Partnership wide Confirmation programme next year. Another representative is needed for communications.

Building Committee: St. Bede’s Presbytery had been restored, painted, papered, carpeted and made a warm welcoming haven for Fr. Robert as he finishes his studies. This had involved a huge amount of work for which Tom was thanked. On the topic of Tenter House, a survey has now been carried out to see how best the property might be used in the future. Fr. Colm suggested that Tom, John and Joanna form a sub- group to clarify ideas for a fuller feasibility study.

Liturgy Committee: Peter had provided a resume of the last meeting. The group are aware that there will have to be accommodations made in view of the current situation and are working to address that. The Lenten calendar was mentioned.

The Homeless Feedback: Peter had provided an update on this.

Youth Update: Katie said there would be a retreat for anyone who would be interested from Sept 18th - 20th. More to follow.

St. Godric’s Steering Group: The application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is going ahead. We have again been invited to participate in the Heritage Open Days. This will be discussed at the next meeting, Wed. March 25th.

Parish Communications:

In view of Fr. Colm’s notice regarding the Corona advice, the minutes will not be read out on Sunday.

Future Meetings: Unless needed before this, next meeting May 19th.The AGM is proposed for the first week in July.

A.O.B. The Parish Pilgrimage to the Holy Land , May 23- 29th. Currently 33 people including Fr. Colm will be travelling. Maria, Dominica, Gerard and Kathleen are going to help prepare the liturgies.

The next meeting will be Thursday, March 18 th.

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