Parish Council Minutes 19th November

Minutes of the Durham Martyrs Parish Council Meeting 19 November 2019

Present: Fr Colm, Margaret Wallace, Katie Flood, Peter Thompson, Joanna Pallister, Kathleen Murray, John Thompson, Chris Parker, Maria Melia and by invitation Dan Murray, Dennis Bradley

Apologies: John Lavery, Mike McNally, Graham Donachie, Fred Haywood, Tom Hoban, John Reilly O’Donnell, Erica Smith, Tony Power.

Update on St Thomas More and St Joseph’s schools:

Dan Murray , as the new chair of governors for the two schools, gave a concise summary of the current situation here. He pointed out the strengths of both communities and the challenges seen in both ensuring the effective running and securing the future of the schools.

The community ethic and catholic values of the schools are extremely strong, the team of governors and the staff are extremely committed.

Both schools have falling roles now and projected into the future, this impacts greatly on their budgets. Both schools have run a negative budget over the past 4 years and will continue to have a significant budget deficit over the next 5 years. It is not responsible to continue running this way year on year .

Fr Colm raised awareness of the stresses on headteachers and the difficulties recruiting and retaining them because of the demands of the role. Concerns about securing the futures of the two schools have been recorded for more than a decade but now the time for change is imminent. Dan pointed out the need for parish support in this and said that the governors had a single mind as they discussed needs, priorities and possibilities.


Dennis Bradley brought us up to speed on the changes in requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service DBS checks within parishes since they were introduced. Our parish are holding drop in sessions to speed the process of renewal and new applications for volunteers. From March 2020 the diocese will be asking people whose DBS has gone out of date to step down from their role until it is renewed.

The PC expressed thanks to Dennis and Kathleen for their work in this area.


Chris Parker has condensed the forms suggested by the diocese into a manageable one side A4 sheet. This was approved as a clearer way of collecting the data and consents needed and it was agreed to roll it out after masses in January.


Melanie has signed the parish up for the award and got two volunteers to work on this. St Leonards school have also registered for the award and will collaborate with us in it. More information will soon be put in the bulletin.

Election Of Vice Chair Deferred until next meeting

Partnership Development Group Update

· Property and Community Audit- each Mass centre now has a small group who are identifying the land and property assets and the community strengths / needs with a view to finding out how we can best use or develop our resources to serve our communities. They will receive training shortly. Their findings will be announced to the parish by the end of January with an opportunity for discussion.

· Open Afternoon for parishes (6 october) This was a very successful event being well attended by parishoners and those from other churches. It was well organised and friendly.

Building Committee

The new boiler will be in the back of St Josephs on Friday 22nd November.

A couple of “nuisance” issues regarding st Godrics car park were discussed. One partial solutionto trial will be locking the gate with a combination lock.

Liturgy Committee

The group are reviewing all aspects of our liturgy. They are inviting people from different ministeries within the parish into the discussion as mentioned in the bulletin.

Youth Update

Katie gave a comprehensive report telling of the her work in our schools and the new groups in the parish ie the Garden- prayer group for 18-35s, the now monthly signpost group and a monthly film night.

Homeless Project

There was a great response to the second collection for this project, £941. The money has already bought winter weight sleeping bags to distribute. Sanctuary 21 is well volunteered by students in term time and our parishioners during holidays. The night shelter will operate when temperatures fall to 0 degrees, there is a shortage of volunteers for the whole night shift but the twilight shift is well covered. Parish support in the form of donations , knitting, volunteering has been excellent.

St Godrics steering group

The group are working on “the big bid” to apply for grants. In the first stage they are generating a wish list. They have successfully run the Heritage Open Days, Lumiere (with 1664 visitors to the church) and The Resurrection Choir Concert all of which open our church to others and raise its profile in the city.


Maria will prepare a summary of the meeting to be read at this weekends masses by Joanna at 5pm, Maria at 9am and John T at 11am.

Next Meeting 14 January 2020

About Us 

The parish of the Durham Martyrs incorporates the Catholic churches of Our Lady of Mercy and St Godric, St Bede and St Joseph in Durham City. We are part of the Finchale Partnership and based within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

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St. Bede,

St Godric's RC Primary School, Carrhouse Drive,


DH1 5LZ 

Our Lady of Mercy and St Godric

Castle Chare

St Joseph

Mill Lane

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