“Parish Teams” are known by a variety of names, for example: Parish Council, Parish Pastoral Council, Parish Pastoral Team and Parish Team. At St Dunstan’s we call this body: “The Parish CORE Team” (CORE: Community of Renewal and Evangelisation).
The Parish Priest has ultimate responsibility for the parish and he has the authority to preside over all parish matters.
The parish team is a consultative body, set up at the invitation of the parish priest with the remit to counsel and support him in all matters pertaining to parish life and activity. The team also is a forum for the parish and a channel of communication for parishioners.
Prayer is at the centre of all our discussions. In our deliberations we seek inspiration from the Gospel and guidance from The Holy Spirit.
Each member is there at the invitation of the parish priest, though some serve by nature of their office (for example the assistant priest and deacon).
As a leadership group, the team aims to give a sense of purpose and direction to the parish; and to assist the parish priest in building up a community of faith, hope and love founded on the Gospel and the Mission of the Church given to us by Jesus: “Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.” (Mark 16: 15) The Parish Team hopes to show initiative and enable the parish to grow and develop.
The parish team should be made aware of all parish activities and, where possible and desired, the team would hope to offer support to any of the many varied groups, which exist in our large and vibrant parish.
Some members of the team undertake a special interest in and responsibility for parish activities, for example: Liturgy and Prayer, Formation, Ecumenism, Youth Ministry, Social activities – to name a few, but members of the team do not serve in order to represent a particular group, nor do they necessarily need to lead any parish group or organisation; all members of the team are expected to serve the interests of the parish as a whole and offer counsel and support to the parish priest.
2015 (updated February 2019)
A Review of 2018.
The end of a year often is a time when we look back on the events of that year, and, perhaps look forward to the New Year ahead. What follows just a few of the events of the year in our parish; there are others and I apologise in advance if your activity is not mentioned.
Canon Frank Harrington R.I.P.
For us, the community of St Dunstan’s Catholic Church in Woking, the start of 2018 brought with it a great sadness as we mourned the death of Canon Frank (or simply as Frank, as he preferred), our beloved parish priest for over twenty-four years. We all were in a state of shock, we had lost our rock, but his death was followed by a most tremendous outpouring of love for this man who had influenced so many of our lives, when we celebrated his life in a Mass of Thanksgiving and at his Requiem Mass. We published a special edition of this magazine at Easter as a tribute to Frank. As the year drew to a close, news came that Woking Borough Council wished to pay their own tribute to Father Frank; the new apartment block on the site of the former St Dunstan’s Church is named after him: “Harrington Place” – Father Peter attended the naming ceremony in November. Frank would have been tickled and chuffed in equal measure! May he rest in peace.
Father Peter Andrews was appointed parish priest and Father Simon Hall assistant priest. We truly are blessed to have such devoted and caring priests.
What of the other notable events that have marked 2018?
It would be tempting to list all of the activities that take place regularly at St Dunstan’s; so much happens on a daily basis, it can be difficult to find a space for a meeting at times; in many respects these Ministries and activities form the backbone of the parish. There are so many unsung heroes who give so freely of their time for the benefit of others. The parish would not exist without this generosity of heart. Many of these Ministries and activities are listed elsewhere in this magazine; thank you and may God continue to bless your work.
We have a lively and vibrant parish but it would be foolish to be complacent and we are truly blessed that other teams and Ministries come into being. We have an excellent Adult Formation process in the parish, so ably organised by Mary Smith. Someone asked me recently: “What is this talk about “formation”? What does formation mean? A fair question! Images of The Red Arrows spring to mind or a football team playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3! If you check a glossary of Catholic terminology, “Formation” isn’t mentioned, nor have I found it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but in the sense that we use “formation” in the church, it relates to learning, understanding, discovering, development, and growth, especially in relation to our Faith. To become the person God created us to be.
The point is that here at St Dunstan’s there are numerous opportunities to deepen the knowledge of our faith. In recent years much of these initiatives have been inspired by the experiences and writings of a priest named Father James Mallon, born in Scotland but currently serving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
His book: “Divine Renovation” is truly inspirational and it describes how his parish of St Benedict developed and continues to develop into a vibrant faith community centred on missionary discipleship.
The first ALPHA course was very well attended and a second one started in the autumn on Saturday mornings. A third is planned to start in the spring of 2019. These are great ways of learning about Christianity and to journey with others in the process in a social setting. Out of ALPHA a number of groups has emerged; first the ALPHA team itself, second Acclaim (Worship and Praise) and Connect. Other groups and initiatives are sure to follow.
The course on Catholicism, an epic DVD series by Bishop Robert Barron, was repeated this year. We also had two very interesting and challenging talks given by Abbot Stephen Ortiger OSB and an inspiring Day of Reflection at the Seminary in Wonersh, led by Father Kevin Dring.
Retirements, Appointments and Awards
A few parishioners went on a course at DABCEC on communication. We have formed our own communication team. Zoe Lightfoot is a member; Zoe followed John Sylvester as Editor of this magazine. John stood down after 27 years of amazing and dedicated work as the founder and editor. Thank you again John and wishing Zoe a most fruitful time with the magazine.
We also wish Mary Cooper a long and happy retirement. Mary retired in August 2018 after 24 devoted years as Parish Secretary. Elizabeth Lucek was appointed and has settled so well into the work.
In November, Nick Harvey was presented with the Bene Merenti, an Award from The Pope, for over 30 years of service to the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage. Congratulations to Nick, so richly deserved.
Youth Ministry Coordinator
Another new appointment for the parish is Fernanda Mee, who becomes the Youth Ministry Coordinator. Fernanda is getting to know the parish and particularly young people. This is an exciting new post and we wish Fernanda and the young many blessings.
Pilgrimages, Conferences and Days Out
In August a small group form the parish went to Dublin for the meeting of families with Pope Francis; and in September another small contingent attended a Eucharistic Congress, named Adoremus, in Liverpool. Accounts of these events were published in the autumn edition of the magazine.
Nearer to home, Parish Days out continues to be popular and many parishioners benefit from these trips visiting places of interest with friends and companions. There also was a five day Parish Retreat in Lourdes in September. Next spring a pilgrimage to Italy is planned.
The Future of the Diocese
Following an invitation to the whole diocese in 2017 to take part in a survey on the future of the diocese, Bishop Richard has been visiting every deanery in the diocese to present the results of the survey and his plans for the future. He came to the Woking Deanery on 7 November to make his presentation. He asked that full details should not be published until after 14 December, when he will visit the final deanery. The Bishop’s presentation and plans can be found on the diocesan website: https://www.dabnet.org
Wishing all at St Dunstan’s and your families a joyful and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
St Dunstan’s Parish Core Team
St Dunstan’s Parish Core Team Sixth Meeting of 2018 held on Monday 26 November 2018 at 7.30 pm in the Library
“Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours …”
(St Teresa of Avila)
The team listened to and reflected on a song based on St Teresa’s prayer: “Christ has no body now but yours …”
Present: Fr Peter, Russell, Mary Smith, Emila, Julianne, Nanda, Mark and JohnApologies: Fr Simon, Karin, Adrian, Mary Cooper
Minutes of fifth meeting of 2018 held on 17 October were read and approved with the following additions or comments:Well over £6,000 was raised from the Christmas Fair. Grateful thanks and congratulations to all involved. The charities will be contacted in the coming week to inform them of the results and arrangements made to present cheques to representatives from each charity.Health and Safety: Lynda Crosby has taken on responsibility for Health & Safety and has identified some potential hazards, including blocking exits and Fire Doors being left open. These are being corrected. We have agreed a contract with new contractors for the Fire and Alarm system, to start on 1 December 2018.
News, developments, forthcoming events and discussion(Parish Priest, chairman and team), including:1 The Bishop’s Presentation: “The Word Who is Life” – and the future of the DioceseOn 7th November 2018, Bishop Richard and his team led a presentation to the Woking Deanery on “The future of the Diocese” in St Dunstan’s School. The meeting was well attended. Looking to the future it is clear that there will be a need to shift from a “parochial mentality” to a wider concept of the local church.The Bishop requested that the full presentation should NOT be made public until he has been to every deanery in the diocese; the final meeting with deaneries will be on 14 December. After that date the complete presentation and proposals will be posted on the diocesan website.4.2 FinanceThe team looked at the most recent summary of accounts produced by the finance team for their meeting on 29 October.
It was agreed we should hold a parish meeting in the Spring of 2019 to present “end of year accounts for 2018” – BUT the meeting cannot be held until such accounts are ready and have been audited and Joe Dunne, Chairman of the Finance Team and members of that team are free to attend.
Although we have good reserves, owing to the sale of the previous sites and a substantial Legacy, our annual expenditure is exceeding income from collections and Gift Aid.
4.3 Live streaming of the Mass and Celebrations
Thanks to Kevin Wallace, procedures are available and ready to be posted around the church. The team studied these procedures and looked at photographs showing different views from the camera.
All involved in Liturgical Ministry have been given notice of the camera and live streaming procedures and have been asked to sign consent to their image appearing.
It is planned to record a weekday Mass this week and then to play it back later in the week after Mass, using the screens at the back of the Sanctuary, so that parishioners will see the recorded image.
The Light up a Life Service for Woking Hospice to be held in the church on Sunday 2 December will be streamed live, with the agreement of Woking Hospice.
4.4 Youth ministry
Nanda updated the team with recent developments in Youth Ministry. Nanda has held meetings with potential adult volunteers, and has visited St Dunstan’s School about twice a week in order to get to know the children and the children to meet her.
Youth Alive Junior will be available for years 4, 5 and 6 in the New Year.
Nanda also will encourage students taking the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to consider helping with youth activities as part of their “service” activity.
Monthly meetings also are being planned for older teenagers.
A diocesan project called “Encounter” will be starting in Woking soon. It is open to young people from 15 to 35 years old.
Fifty nine young people are following a programme to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
4.5 Open Parish Meeting:
see above under finance – date to be decided
4.6 Car Park
Recent problems with the car park being full during the week when parishioners attend morning Mass, owing to work being undertaken at the school and, although the school playground is open for parents to park once the school has opened, they seem reluctant to move their cars from the church car park. Julianne will again appeal to parents NOT to leave their cars at the church once they have taken their children into the school – and if they are staying for a school event, to move their cars once their children are in the classrooms.
4.7 Evangelisation – “Divine Renovation” where are we?
Much has grown out of the two ALPHA courses undertaken in the parish this year:
Acclaim! (Worship, Prayer and Fellowship) continues, usually on Monday evenings.
“Connect” (groups meeting for prayer and bible study) is developing.
Taizé evenings also continue.
A Hospitality Team is being formed.
Adult Formation: Next course or series of talks/workshops on Scripture or Biblical Formation
Fr Peter has been thinking about the number of proposed new residences in Woking. He has sent letters to representatives of Woking People of Faith and Churches together in Woking to suggest we produce, as a joint project, a booklet to list all the places of Worship and Prayer in Woking and all religious opportunities of all Faiths. This booklet could be made available to all new residents, through Developers, Estate and Letting Agents and Woking BC.
The next ALPHA course is being planned to start at the end of April 2019.
“Red Wednesday 28 November 2019” – The church will be illuminated RED this week to show “solidarity with persecuted Christians and Faith minorities who suffer unjustly for their peacefully held beliefs” (from Aid to the Church in Need website)
A new design for the website is in progress. Kevin has produced an attractive design and the content is being developed. The next stage is either to launch it as it is and add to it over time or wait until there are more photographs, links and information. Possibly seek the advice of a professional web designer who specialises in church websites. Date of change to be decided.
The next New Parishioners’ evening will be on Friday 7 December at 7.30 pm. It would be good if members of the Core Team could attend to greet new parishioners. The event is usually fairly brief – about an hour.
Dates and topics in 2019 – it is proposed to hold a Parish Core Team meeting every two months as follows:Wednesday 16 JanuaryTuesday 5 MarchThursday 9 MayTuesday 9 JulyTuesday 24 SeptemberTuesday 26 November1 Topics to cover in 2019 – Open discussion (also see 4.7 above)John asked the team to send in ideas for major topics for discussion in 2019. (Send by email by Sunday 6 January 2019 please)
Parish Structure – a clear list of all activities (in “family groups”) of the parish and how these fit with the Parish Vision. A visual of this structure to be considered for publication on the website and elsewhere in the parish.
Review again the Role of the Parish Core Team and how it is structured and responsibility of members.
For both the Parish Core Team and all Parish Activities, what is in place for continuity and succession?
St Dunstan’s Parish Core Team First Meeting of 2019 held on Wednesday 16 January 2019 at 7.30 pm in the Library
“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.”
Present: Fr Peter Andrews, Fr Simon Hall, Rev Russell Young, Mary Smith, Julianne Birch, Mark Potter, John Sexton
The meeting opened with prayer
Apologies: Adrian Sharman, Mary Cooper, Nanda Mee, Karin Harvey, Emilia Aina
The minutes of sixth meeting of 2018 held on 26 November were read and agreed to be correct, with the following amendments:
Item 3 £7,800 was raised by the Christmas Fair,
Item 4.2 Finance: it was agreed to hold a separate Finance meeting to present the end of year accounts to the parish. Additionally we should plan a parish meeting for all other activities and to present a parish plan.
Item 4.3 John to ask Kevin Wallace whether the “live” camera could pick up images from the camera in the Baptistry.
Parish Plan or Vision – proposal presented by John for discussion and action. See appendix 1.
John proposed we should adopt a “Parish Vision” – on which a Parish Plan could develop. This was discussed at length and it was agreed that we should develop this and announce the “Vision” as soon as practical. It was agreed that the Parish Core Team would be the driving force to bring this into being.
It was agreed that Peter and John should explore this further before the next team meeting.
News, developments, forthcoming events
(Parish Priest, chairman and whole team)
ALPHA would be repeated in the near future. Dates to be confirmed (this will be the third ALPHA course in the parish).
A new “Hospitality/Welcoming” Team is being established.
A Communication Team has been established to look at all aspects of communication within and beyond the parish.
Kevin Wallace is developing a new style website and has considered a number of options, including the use of “professional” designers. This new website is almost ready to be launched, thanks to Kevin’s dedication and skill.
Churches Together in Woking and Woking People of Faith: Mark Potter reported activities organised by these tow groups. Church Leaders meet once a month for a shared breakfast and Mark usually attends. He also reminded us of the Good Friday Act of Witness – it is encouraging that so many from St Dunstan’s take part but we should promote it more in the parish.
Mark also reported on our on going commitment to supporting refugees. He is in regular touch with Adam Thomas of Woking BC, who coordinates refugee support.
In Nanda’s absence, it was noted that Youth Ministry is developing very well.
Peter reminded the team that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament would be introduced in February. Exposition will take place every Monday from 08.00 to 17.00.
Divine Renovation – Bringing your Parish from Maintenance to Mission by Fr James Mallon. Some of the parish team have read this excellent book and the ideas expressed in it have inspired some recent developments in the parish. John proposed that the whole team should study this book and suggested a number of exercises we could do, including a SWOT analysis of the parish and the parish team, which should help us to fulfil the Parish Vision.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 5 March at 7.30 pm
The meeting finished with prayer.
Notes from Parish Open meeting 9th June 2019
John Sexton, Chair of the Parish Team, opened the meeting with prayer, based on a new Mission statement for the Parish – a quotation which is on one of the stained glass windows in our church:
“Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
The Parish Core Team had been discussing the way ahead for our parish, based on this Mission statement. The Parish Meeting touched on this as well as covering:
i) the current financial position of our parish and the budget;
ii) the Diocesan Plan and its implications for our parish;
iii) new initiatives and current programmes/activities in the parish, both liturgical and pastoral;
iv) the new parish website and live streaming;
v) Youth Ministry
John thanked all those involved in managing the finances of the parish for their dedication and hard work.
Joe Dunne, Chair of the Finance Committee, presented the current Income & Expenditure Accounts, the Balance sheet, and also the budget for the next year. The following key points were noted:
· Expenditure has exceeded ordinary income over the past year; (“ordinary” meaning offertory collections and donations etc.). Whilst not serious right now it needs addressing and has been mitigated this past year by two generous legacies totalling over £130K.
· The parish has reserve funds over £500K. In response to whether it is right to be holding such a high sum, Fr Peter and others said such funds needed to be retained to pay for:
o Any substantial premises repairs that may arise;
o new parish programmes, as we move to become a more mission-focussed church;
o unknown costs associated with the Diocesan plan, including St Dunstan’s closer union with other local parishes and paying for chaplains in each Catholic school.
The reserves are held centrally in a Diocesan account and so help offset bank charges overall for the Diocese.
· The budget forecasts an overspend for our parish of £58K, assuming “ordinary” income does not increase. This compares with a deficit of c. £15K last year.
· This substantial change is due in part to increased personnel costs, incl. more people in paid positions in the parish, but the major reason will be an increase in the diocesan levy to 35% (over £80K).
· The higher levy is due to contributions to the maintenance fund for retired priests and the costs of clergy education being included.
Need to increase giving: The parish will therefore soon run out of money if expenditure continues to exceed income year-on-year.
The first priority is to appeal for an overall increase in offertory donations, not just an increase in Gift Aid. Fr Peter mentioned that the Diocese is suggesting offertory donation increases of £1 per person per week. It was proposed that the parish look at the sum it needs to raise for the year and what level of increase in offertory giving therefore needs to be made, per person.
Brian McKendry, the parish Gift Aid Coordinator said that:
58% of the offertory collections are through standing orders
2/3rd of offertory donations are gift-aided
Gift Aid in our parish and across the diocese is declining.
The decline in Gift Aid is due to various factors, including:
– some parishioners not paying tax or not enough to support Gift Aid (e.g. as they retire);
– some people’s concerns about making a commitment or about security (even though management of the Gift Aid scheme is highly confidential and secure);
– Flexible/ variable work contracts and irregular levels of pay.
The parish will note these issues in planning appeals for increased, regular giving and for Gift Aid.
ii) Diocesan Plan
John Sexton ran through a brief summary of the Diocesan Plan (“The Word who is Life”). John and Fr Peter both made it clear that the details of what is proposed in the Plan can be viewed on the Diocese’s website (www.dabnet.org).
The closer working and, in some cases, future mergers between local parishes as part of the Plan were highlighted, with the point being strongly made that these were not certain to happen.
iii) New Evangelisation and Parish Activities
Mary Smith gave a presentation on current and evolving programmes as we move from “maintenance to mission” as a parish, and provided some of the background to this.
Some of the many references from the past four Popes to “Evangelisation” and “New Evangelisation” were quoted.
New Evangelisation is called for in situations where many are baptised but few practise, and where people have no real personal relationship with Jesus. All of the baptised are called to become Missionary Disciples.
While ‘Evangelisation’ was traditionally considered necessary in many countries overseas, a ‘New Evangelisation’ is now needed in our own country, town, parish communities and families. The current emphasis is more to invite people, whatever their state of life and belief, to “come and see”, and to be welcomed and hopefully to become engaged with our parish community. Having enjoyed this contact, they may then be open to hearing about Jesus and his Church. Beliefs are changed by building trust through relationships, through caring and through belonging.
Recent parish initiatives, focussing on the New Evangelisation, include:
· Alpha Courses,
· Connect Groups (small groups of individuals coming together)
· Youth Ministry and
More opportunities for formation, helping parishioners in the lifelong process of learning about and learning from Jesus, are also being planned.
Mention was made of the First Holy Communion Programme now being used, where parents are assisted to be the educators of their children and in so doing have an opportunity to develop or re-engage with their own faith and the Church.
The Parish Core team have been reading “Divine Renovation – bringing your parish from maintenance to mission”, a book by Fr James Mallon about making disciples of all the baptised and developing parishes to be more focussed on evangelisation and less on ‘maintaining’ the status quo.
A summary was then given of the many parish and related activities going on in the areas of Liturgy and Prayer, Sacramental Preparation, Adult Formation, Outreach and Social Activities.
iv) Parish Website and Live Streaming
Kevin Wallace presented the new St Dunstan’s parish website and its main features. Website address: www.st-dunstans.org
Statistics from the time that Live Streaming of Masses and other celebrations and events in the church had started was also presented. There are an average of about 50 unique viewings per day out of over 200 in total (i.e. someone looking in more than once). Over Christmas and Easter there were over 200 unique viewings for each day.
Kevin was thanked for his extensive work on the website and the streaming facility.
v) Youth Ministry
Fernanda (Nanda) Mee described the activities that had been established to engage young people in our parish since she started as Youth Ministry Coordinator in the parish in September 2018.
Nanda disagrees with those who say the youth are the future of the church. They are the present.
The objective of our parish Youth Ministry is to give young people the opportunity to meet the person of Jesus. The initiatives that have been set up include:
Youth Alive Jr – school years 4, 5 and 6
Youth Alive Nights – school years 7 to 13
A new young adults event called “Encounter”, aimed at 15+ to 35 (post Confirmation)
Some members of Youth Alive went to FLAME, (the big national Catholic Youth gathering) at Wembley; (part sponsored by the Catenians).
The Confirmation programme was also mentioned. Preparation for this was Alpha-based, each session being followed by a time of Adoration; – a new experience for some young people. 54 were confirmed by Bishop Richard at St Dunstan’s the previous Saturday.
Nanda was thanked for her hard work since taking office.
vi) Sculpture in memory of Canon Frank
A design for a Holy Family sculpture (with Jesus portrayed as an older child than the usual infant), is anticipated from newly selected sculptor, Marcus Cornish. The sculpture is likely to be in bronze and positioned in the front garden of the church.
vii) Change of Parish Team Leader
John Sexton was thanked by Fr Peter for the last four and half years he had given to the role of Parish Team Leader. A presentation was made to John and his wife, Libby, who was also thanked for her support for John in the role.
Karin Harvey was introduced and welcomed as the new coordinator of the Parish Core Team.
The meeting closed with prayer.
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