“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)
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.
St. Dunstan’s Parish Team Meeting.
26th May 2020 via Zoom.
Karin Harvey, Fr. Peter, Fr. Simon, Deacon Russell, Julianne Birch, Nanda Mee, Mary Smith, Joe Dunne, John Sexton, Adrian Sharman and Mark Potter.
Emilia Aina and Michele Harrison.
Karin thanked everyone for joining via Zoom and opened the meeting with a prayer.
Karin informed the team that Emilia, after many years, has stepped down from her role on the Parish team. Karin thanked Emilia for all that she has done. For her service and generosity. The team will miss her.
Finance – Joe Dunne.
Joe Dunne reported that the expected outcome from this year will possibly be to break even, adding that we are all in uncharted territory and anything can happen!
The Offertory collection this year has gone up, due to the amazing hard work done by Ian White in promoting Standing Orders and Gift Aid. The income from Standing Orders has risen by 40%.
Peter thanked Ian for all his work.
Probable income £253,000, probable expenditure £252,000.
For the Staff that have been furloughed, the Church will get a Rebate from the Government of 80% of their cost. This could be around £16,000 (depending on how long everyone is off for).
Salary payments and spending in the Parish have fallen due to Lock down.
The Diocesan Levy will stay the same.
People have donated via the Diocese and we have received £2,500 up to 13th
As weekly accounting cannot be done at present, Joe stressed that the figures he presented is a projection, but things do seem to be positive and healthy. The team were very encouraged.
Karin and Fr. Peter both thanked Joe Dunne for all his work.
Peter stated that people have been so good, kind and generous in giving money through this period. He is delighted that we have such a fabulous parish.
Fr. Frank’s memorial fund
Peter reported that he is looking at preparing a budget.
He has recently written to the Chair of Trustees of the Diocese stating that we anticipate the cost of the statue to be approximately £35,000. We will be submitting this budget, with caveats, to the Diocese.
Peter stated that we are in a position now to pay the Artist/Sculptor for his work on the statue and at present we have a third of the money available through donations;
A question arose asking if we were still short of funds for this statue, to which Fr. Peter said “Yes, but we have not yet made an appeal for this” – we will make appeals for the remainder when the Church is re-opened and he felt that people would be happy to make a contribution to reflect their relationship with Fr. Frank.
Julianne stated that as Fr. Frank was such a huge part of the school, she felt that parents would contribute to the fund.
Update on the Church – Mary Smith
Mary Smith reported that the Church is completely locked.
Streaming of all services is going well and we are reaching a lot of people.
Last week’s viewing figures from Kevin Wallace were:
Sunday – 1,866
Saturday – 615
Weekdays – 340 to 450
Feast of the Ascension – 583
It was pointed out that these figures relate to the number of locations logged on. There may be a number of people watching from these locations so we cannot actually measure exactly how many individuals are watching Mass. It is likely to be many more than those shown above.
We now have music input for the Masses, largely thanks to Kevin Wallace.
There are a lot of emails from around the country and all over the World thanking the Priests for the Masses. Several have expressed their appreciation of the music and the readers.
A Virtual Prayer Board is now on the website.
Peter and Mary are responding the many telephone calls and emails which continue to come in from people looking for help and reassurance.
Contact is being maintained by the Priests, Deacon Russell and Mary with those involved in the various Sacramental programs.
SVP are doing fantastic support work via the telephone.
Simon and Deacon Russell are officiating at all funerals whilst Fr. Peter is self-Isolating.
Mary Smith has been working on a new Parish database with the help of Nick Harvey.
We will be subscribing to a communication platform called “Flocknote”, which enables churches to contact parishioners more easily through text or email very quickly and simply. Flocknote also would allow us to provide resources from the “Word on Fire” program through a Parish wide subscription.
Once the data base has been updated a blanket email will go out to everyone.
Adrian Sharman is working alongside Mary Smith regarding consent and controlling data. Parishioners will always have an option to consent or not. A disclaimer will be placed in any communication allowing this option to always be available.
At present the Newsletter is only available via emails and the Website.
Most people are asking when will the Church open again. Fr. Peter stated that it is impossible to plan anything until we have a date and guidance from the Government and Diocese.
Automatic hand sanitizers are being delivered to the Church next week.
Peter thanked Pepe for all the work he has carried out on the Church during this period.
Peter thanked both Schools for all their hard work to prepare for the return of the pupils, and their commitment to prayer and spiritual life, it was wonderful to see this happening.
Julianne Birch stated that all of her staff have been amazing.
Peter thanked SJB school for making PPE face shields for all the priests in the Deanery, and Hospitals.
Michele Harrison had sent an update stating that SJB have set-up a “Thought for the day” on their social media pages. They also have a staff and community prayer e-mail for those who wish to ask for prayers. SJB is supporting all those in their community.
Mark Potter Reported;
Other churches are also relying on live streaming.
The Emmaus Road Churches in Woking and Guildford are trying to run the biggest Alpha Course ever.
Very successful R.O.C meeting held in March; the principal concerns were;
Another meeting of work groups has taken place on Zoom and some action has already been taken. This meeting was attended by the Mayor, Councillors, Police and Church leaders.
Adrian Sharman commented that it was heartening to see the amount of positive feeling around despite the present situation.
Peter endorsed this comment and thought we were blessed with our community and to continue Praying.
Fr. Peter ended the meeting with a Prayer.
Saint Dunstan’s Parish CORE Team Meeting. Tuesday 30th June at 7pm via Zoom.
1 Welcome and Opening Prayer: Karin reminded us that the commemoration of the first martyrs of the church is held annually on 30th June. We gave thanks and prayed for all those who gave their lives for the Faith and for all around the world today who are being persecuted for their Faith. We prayed for all who have been affected by the pandemic.
Present: Fr. Peter, Fr. Simon, Deacon Russell, Julianne Birch, Karin Harvey, Michele Harrison, Nanda Mee, Mark Potter, John Sexton, Adrian Sharman, Mary Smith
2 Apologies: Joe Dunne
3 Minutes of the last meeting: acknowledged
4 What, when and how? ….Opening of the Church and Covid-19 update.
This was the main item on the agenda. A considerable amount of work and planning has gone on behind the scenes during lockdown to prepare for the eventual reopening of the church.
We are planning to open the church for Sunday Mass from the weekend of 11/12 July, but before that on a date still to be decided the church will open for Mass on a weekday next week (i.e. 4th to 10th July). This is to allow time to put all the necessary procedures in place to open the church safely and to experience what it might be like with (an anticipated) fewer people attending during the week.
Fr Peter said he would be meeting with Fr. Simon and Deacon Russell in the morning (Wednesday 1 July) to discuss the Liturgical aspects of all celebrations.
Mary Smith announced that there will be a meeting with Mass Co-ordinator’s on Thursday 2 July.
From these two meetings the complex logistics will be worked out.
The Bishops Conference have reiterated that the Sunday Obligation has not yet been re-instated.
Mass will be shorter in length (this is to minimise the time people spend together and also to give time between each celebration to close and clean the church)
There will be no singing
Holy Communion will be distributed under one species only
There will be no exchange of speech at the distribution and receiving of Holy Communion (e.g. The Minister will not say: “The Body of Christ” and the communicant should not say: “Amen”)
People will be asked to leave immediately after receiving Holy Communion and not return to their bench.
Peter and Mary have looked at possible maximum numbers we could get into the church using the “1 metre plus” rule. 108 in the main body of the church and 54 in the Liturgy Room, which will be open. Thus 162 in total. The 1 metre plus rule means that everyone MUST wear a mask. Masks are not obligatory under the “2 metre rule” but this would reduce the capacity substantially.
There is one-way system in place: An Entrance into the church and an Exit
People will be asked to bring and wear a mask
People are asked to sanitise their hands on entering the church
Stewards will be needed at each Mass to show people to their seats and people must sit in the seat allocated (no just sitting on the end of the bench!)
There will be no collection during the Mass, but baskets will be available on exit for offerings. There is a Digital Collection Point in the forma off a Card Machine near the exit to allow contactless offerings/donations
The church will be closed at the end of each Mass or Celebration and will need to be cleaned
A rota of cleaning teams will be needed. Those serving in this capacity will have to able to reach down to thoroughly clean the kneelers, benches and other surfaces
The Italian Community who attend Mass at noon on Sundays will be asked to follow all these procedures
Toilets will NOT be open
No other areas of the building will be open – only access to the “Worship Area”
Those who are able to attend Mass during the week will be encouraged to do so, in order to free up spaces for those who can only attend on Saturday/Sunday.
Vulnerable people, including those who have been “shielding” may be advised NOT to attend Mass at the moment
5 Fr. Frank’s Memorial statue update.
We have received Diocesan Approval to go ahead with commissioning Fr. Frank’s Memorial. Fr. Peter has been in touch with the artist and asked him to go ahead. The present cost is estimated to be about £37,000. To date, we have received £10,000 in donations towards the cost of the Memorial, but this is without a major appeal.
Looking at the composition of the Parish Team.
Mark Potter raised a question about the composition of the Parish Core Team and asked whether we truly are representative of this large diverse parish?
This has been raised in the past and after some discussion, including questioning the nature of the CORE Team: “Why does the Team exist? What is our purpose?” It was agreed that we review again the purpose and nature of the Parish Core Team at a future meeting and consider how everyone in the parish understands the role of the CORE Team. See appendix for further information.
Karin gave a brief report from Joe Dunne on Parish Finance, which is much the same as the last report (26 May 2020).
Joe drew attention to the Digital Collection Point outside the Office, which should enable people to make their Offerings very easily and in a contactless manner.
Mary Smith reported that the new Database is now functioning after a lot of work in transferring from the old Database. Under the terms of new GDPR (Data Protection) we shall contact everyone on the Database and give individuals the option of opting out and/or update their details. Mary will liaise with Adrian in this matter. We now subscribe to “Flocknote”, which means that all of the Parish’s communications are in one place. It will make it much easier to communicate with individuals, families and parish groups through different media. It also is a platform which will enable the parish to offer useful Christian (Roman Catholic) resources to parishioners.
Julianne and Michele both reported on how superbly St Dunstan’s School and SJB respectively have responded to pupils’/students’ needs during the lockdown. Both were full of praise for the staff of both schools, for their commitment and professionalism.
A brief discussion took place on how we can better reach out to people where they are, especially the most vulnerable.
Finally, we considered what we have learned during the lockdown? What did we do well? What could we have done better? We must beware of returning to “busyness”.
8 Date of next meeting: Tuesday 14 July at 7.00 pm by ZOOM. Karin will arrange it.
Fr. Peter led the team in prayer to close the meeting.
St Dunstan’s Parish Team Meeting
September 11th 2020
Karin Harvey, Mary Smith, Julianne Birch, Joe Dunne, Fr Peter, Michele Harrison, John Sexton, Nanda
Mee, Adrian Sharman, Fr Simon, Mark Potter, Deacon Russell and Elizabeth Lucek (to record minutes).
Karin Harvey thanked everyone for attending the meeting on a Friday evening. The meeting opened
with the team praying the Lord’s Prayer.
The minutes were approved.
2. Update on parish life – Mary Smith
2.1 Mass Attendance
Weekend Mass attendance was approximately 200 people when services first resumed, has been
rising gradually each week, and is now greater than 500.
Weekday Mass attendance is good and is in excess of 60.
The SVP are still regularly contacting those parishioners who have been identified as lonely or
2.3 Sacraments 2019/2020
Since the last meeting 15 adults have been received and 2 more adults will be received this weekend,
concluding the RCIA programme for the last year.
First Holy Communion
First Holy Communion Masses are in progress. Children receive their first communion either at a
Saturday morning Mass or at a regular Sunday Mass. There has been a large group of children
preparing this year, but all children should have received their first communion by the first weekend
of November. Until this weekend parents had been informed that they could have a group of 10
people attending Mass, but from Monday (September 14
th) this has been reduced to a group of 6,
unless the family group exceeds 6, in line with the new government rules. Families have been very
understanding of the new restriction.
Confirmations for the 2019/2020 group will be celebrated in October, parents have been contacted
and there is a notice in the newsletter this week.
Baptisms that had been postponed from March have now all taken place and the programme is
continuing with the regular monthly baptism services. Preparation of those parents who had not
previously attended a course has been taking place over Zoom. Parents who have attended an earlier
course are not being asked to take part again.
New Parish Database
The new parish database is now up and running. Parishioners can register themselves using a link on
the parish website. There are still a significant number of people registered who have probably left
the parish, but it is not straightforward to identify them.
The parish has now also subscribed to Flocknote and Word on Fire – Engage. The parish newsletter
will be transferred to Flocknote soon. Access to, and distribution of, material from Word on Fire were
reasons for choosing Flocknote as a new platform.
The final two sessions of the last Alpha course did not take place in March, but Alpha will resume on
Zoom this weekend (September 12th) to complete the course. An Evangelisation meeting will follow.
2.4 Sacraments 2020/2021
First Holy Communion
The First Holy Communion programme is tentatively planned to start in the new year, but the
organisation and running of the groups will have to be reconsidered. In the current programme
parents prepare their children for the sacrament, with the help of the catechists, but for next year
parents will perhaps be given preparation over Zoom, and then they will prepare their children at
Baptism preparation will continue via Zoom for the time-being.
Invitations have been sent out, but the programme has not yet started. It is likely to be a smaller group
than last year.
Question: Are there parishioners who are being excluded from the sacramental programmes through
their lack of access to the internet?
Answer: For Baptism, no, no one has been unable to attend the course. For First Holy Communion
most parents are likely to be able to join the programme. For Alpha, all 25 participants had been
invited back to join the Zoom sessions to finish the course, but of those, only 11 intended to do so,
with the remainder preferring to wait until meeting in person would be possible. At the meeting
tomorrow 9 of the 25 are expected to join. The reasons given are firstly that people don’t feel that
Alpha transfers very effectively to Zoom, and that many people use Zoom extensively for work, and
don’t wish to join additional Zoom meetings.
The final two sessions of the existing Alpha course will be a test for how it runs on Zoom, followed by
a discussion of how to take it forward.
On behalf of the Parish team and the Parish Fr Peter thanked Mary and Nick Harvey for setting up the
database, which has been a great deal of work. The Parish now has a modern database which is as
complete as possible at this stage.
Fr Peter commented that in terms of Mass attendance (at approximately 20-25% of numbers before
lockdown) and Sacramental programmes St Dunstan’s was comparable with other parishes.
Karin thanked Mary, the SVP, catechists, helpers at Mass, cleaners, steward and all the volunteers who
have supported parishioners through the last six months.
3. Implications for the parish of the recent change in government rules – Fr Peter
There is no change to the organisation of Masses or other services, but people can now only attend
as a group of up to 6. This affects First Holy Communions Masses, where previously families had been
asked to have a group no greater than 10, and Confirmation where the previous limit had been 5.
However, the situation is continuing to evolve.
4. Financial updates – Joe Dunne
Joe started by explaining the exact financial situation wasn’t completely certain, but he reported that
the parish is in a good financial situation for 2020. For the first six months of the year the parish had a
surplus of income over expenditure of just over £21K, but part of this figure might relate to the
The appeal last year led to a significant number of parishioners changing to contributing through a
Standing Order, with additional gift aid, rather than through cash in the collection basket.
Ian White has estimated that the Gift Aid tax rebate will be approximately the same as last year.
The income from Standing Orders has tailed off slightly as some parishioners cut back on giving or
suspend Standing Orders. This is understandable given the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and income,
but it is not yet a very significant effect.
For 3 months of this year most parish staff have been furloughed, which has led to a big saving to the
parish. The furlough scheme is now tailing off and will cease at the end of October.
Joe discussed two aspects of the financial situation that need some further clarification:
1. Looking at the financial reports in detail it appears that there have been some duplicated
expenses. He has asked the Diocese to look at these, and they have prepared a new set of
figures, but they still have to be examined in detail. This should happen next week. The
adjustment is, however, likely to increase the surplus, as the errors were only in outgoing
payments. The figures will be presented to a meeting of the Finance Committee in the week
2. Before April 1st the parish used Gooch Maloney to manage Staff Salaries. When the Diocese
took over this role in April, the standing order to Gooch Maloney to cover the salaries was not
cancelled immediately. Gooch Maloney returned £33K to the parish in July. This sum might be
split between 2019 and 2020 finances.
In summary, for 2020, parish income comfortably exceeds outgoings.
Fr Peter informed the team that Felicity Grubb has now handed over her role in managing the finances
to Valerie Hamilton. Fr Peter wished to record his gratitude to Felicity for all the work she has done,
especially in transferring the finances to the new system as required by the Diocese, which has been
an extremely large task. Fr Peter’s thanks were seconded by Joe Dunne.
Question: Are there any other Diocesan costs that might result in a rebate?
Answer: This is unlikely.
Comment: The system adopted by the Diocese is not a bad system, but the instructions for users have
4. Updates – Fr Peter
Memorial for Fr Frank
A contract for a memorial has been placed with the sculptor and work is ongoing. Fr Peter has seen
photographs of the construction of the figure of St Joseph. Fr Peter reported that he is waiting for a
meeting with the sculptor on-site in order to discuss the precise location of the memorial, the location
of lighting around the seats and the manner in which the sculpture will be mounded on the stone
plinth. The seats have already been purchased and Vincent Gradwell will make some alterations to
the garden around the memorial. Fr Peter is also waiting to hear from the sculptor about when the
sculpture will be finished, as it is planned that the memorial will be blessed by the Bishop when it is
Fr Peter met with Joe Dunne to discuss the cost to the parish – a total of £37K, of which just over £11K
has already been donated without a formal appeal. An appeal for the remainder is planned, and Fr
Peter has started drafting the text. The parish is, however, currently able to fund the statue without
borrowing from elsewhere and there are no other significant maintenance costs anticipated. There
has been a leak in the church roof, just above the Marian statue. This has hopefully been resolved, but
this won’t be known until we have a spell of heavy rain.
Fr Peter reported to the team that Pepe had not been furloughed at any time during the lockdown,
and that he has been performing ongoing maintenance work. Fr Peter wished to record his thanks,
and the thanks of the whole team, to Pepe, whose work has been invaluable and whose skills and
abilities have saved the parish thousands of pounds. Now that the church is open for Mass, Pepe
cleans the church every morning, including Saturdays.
Fr Peter thanked the Parish team for the support they have given both him and Fr Simon – they would
both be spiritually poorer without the Parish and Parish team. Fr Simon seconded Fr Peter’s thanks.
Julianne Birch – All the children have returned to St Dunstan’s, including the new reception pupils, and
are getting used to the new covid-safe school routine. She commented that there has been a great
deal of trust built up between the school and the parents, and that most parents have been
cooperative in the new routines set up for the children to return to school safely.
Fr Peter commented that not all schools have found it easy, and he thanked Julianne and all the staff
for their work and professionalism.
Adrian Sharman – There have been no new referrals since the last team meeting.
Karin Harvey thanked Adrian for his help during the last months.
Mark Potter –
The Communication Group will meet again shortly.
Mark reported that churches in Woking are in various states of operation. Some churches have chosen
to delay restarting services for now, for example, until singing is once again permitted, and have
continued with online services.
Churches Together in Woking continue to be in touch.
ROC – the three subgroups continue to meet: Youth, Mental Health, and Social Isolation and
Loneliness, of which Mark is a member.
Foodwise – Foodwise continue to support families on benefits, receiving Universal Credit or in other
difficulties, with the help of Bills and other restaurants during the time that restaurants were closed
to the public. Initially deliveries were made to 27 families, and by the end of August more than 100
families received twice weekly deliveries of frozen food.
Street Angels – Street Angels started operating again once pubs and clubs reopened, with appropriate
social distancing measures.
Diocesan events – The Diocese is organising a Dialogue and Unity day, publicised in the newsletter this
Michele Harrison – All SJB pupils have now returned and the school has decided to run a full
curriculum, which has not been done at all schools. Managing the large number of pupils across the
school is challenging and time consuming. Some previously face to face activities are now taking place
using Zoom, which has some drawbacks. The students are, however, very happy to be back. The school
is finding a number of pastural issues – some cases of bereavement and significant medical diagnoses.
Michele commented that it was very welcome to have Fr Peter back to celebrate Mass in the school.
Staff are being proactive in preparing online lesson material should a group of students need to be
sent home to isolate.
Karin thanked Michele and all the Staff at SJB and offered help from the parish. She said that the team
will keep both schools in their prayers.
Karin thanked the Parish team for meeting on a Friday evening and for their ongoing work. We will
keep Fr Peter, Fr Simon, Deacon Russell and all the staff at St Dunstan’s and SJB in our prayers.
Next meeting – Tuesday October 20th, 7pm, by Zoom.
Fr Simon concluded the meeting with a prayer.
St Dunstan’s Parish Team Meeting
October 20th 2020
Karin Harvey, Mary Smith, Joe Dunne, Fr Peter, Michele Harrison, John Sexton, Adrian Sharman, Fr Simon, Mark Potter and Elizabeth Lucek (to record minutes).
Welcome and opening prayer.
Karin thanked everyone for attending and opened the meeting with a prayer.
Deacon Russell, Nanda Mee and Julianne Birch.
Minutes of the last meeting.
The minutes were approved.
Baptism. There have been many requests received for baptism, including some older children. Baptism preparation has been going ahead with parents who have not previously attended a course having preparation over Zoom.
First Holy Communion. There will be two more Masses at which children will make their first communion. These will complete the course run last year. Plans are needed on how preparation will be done next year. There are lots of ideas and options, but it needs to be finalised how they will work within Covid-19 restrictions.Confirmation. The final candidates have been confirmed and planning for next year is in progress.
RCIA. The RCIA programme has now started. The first meeting was via Zoom, but the group unanimously decided that subsequent meetings should be in person, with social distancing in place to make the meeting safe. Meetings in person are much better than over Zoom, even if the group might need to revert to Zoom in the future.
Venue Check in for Mass. This is a requirement, but it would be helpful if more people would use the App.
A relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions is not expected before Christmas. To allow more parishioners to attend Mass with social distancing in place, it is almost certain that an extra Mass will be included sometime over Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. A booking system will be needed for Masses over Christmas. Kevin has explored ways in which people can book online, but not all spaces will be released for online booking in order to include parishioners who do not have access to the technology needed.
Ways of including music in the Christmas Masses is being considered, in particular the possibility of pre-recording music. Although we have a licence to play commercial CDs within the church, the license does not cover the music being broadcast over the Live Stream, so alternatives need to be found.
Activities to be done with the children are also being considered.
Shortly a sub-group of the Evangelisation team, who are responsible for Alpha, are going to run a course called ‘The Wild Goose’. The format will be a little like a book club – parishioners who would like to join will be send a link to a film to watch and some text to read, and then the group will come together for a discussion of the material. This is likely to start in November.
A course of some kind will be run during Advent. This will be something for people to do at home, which might then involve a coming together of a group over Zoom
Database and Newsletter.
The new database has now been up and running for a few weeks and is working well. It has led to many new parishioners registering since it was launched, for example, over the weekend eight new families registered with the parish. There is still an issue with people leaving the parish without notifying the office, so there are a lot of out of date email addresses.
The Parish newsletter was sent by email over FlockNote for the first time last week. FlockNote shows how many of the emails have been opened, and the newsletter has been opened by over 900 people so far. Monitoring which messages are never opened might help to identify email addresses that could be removed from the system.
Fr Peter commented that the parish now has additional facilities that were not available in March at the start of lockdown e.g. The new database, FlockNote and the resources associated with it, and the aim is to use them to evangelise. He noted however, that it needs careful consideration, planning and co-ordination to use the tools to their best advantage, to choose carefully which tools to use and when, and to avoid bombarding parishioners with too much information, potentially alienating people. He suggested that it be considered that people have different capacity and are free at different times. If there are groups of people interested in certain elements, it would be useful for them to meet. Which group should take the lead in organising this? The communications and evangelisation groups might be obvious candidates.
How might we gain maximum benefit from the new newsletter format? The electronic version is sent to at least 50% more email addresses than before. However, we need to keep the print version, both in hardcopy for collection from the church, and to download and print from the parish website. The newsletter will improve as we get to know the system better and we will identify potential opportunities to better communicate with the parish. To reach out effectively needs a multi- disciplinary approach, not just one team, and it is important to get it right.
Question – should we be more proactive in sending our newsletter to other churches? Should we invite them? How do we let them know what we are doing?
Responses – much of the newsletter content is specific to St Dunstan’s parishioners, so it perhaps shouldn’t be sent in its entirety to other churches. However, it is available for download from the website. There might be other organisations, such as Woking Borough Council, who might find some of the information useful, but it requires some thought. Also, FlockNote can support different deliverables for different audiences.
Question – would it be useful to send it to SJB?
Answer – Michele receives the newsletter in her capacity as Chaplain, although it might be useful to send it to the school office.
John Sexton thanked the team for holding things together during the current difficult time. Question – How many RCIA participants are there in this group?
Answer – Eight.
Question – Is there a straightforward way to convert a FlockNote message from an email to a printed document?
Answer – Formatting and pagination are required to make the printed version compact and readable. There is unlikely to be an automated way to produce a printable version.
One of the features of lockdown over Easter was the missed opportunity to mention to parishioners their Easter gifts to the priests, as most parishioners who contribute by a monthly standing order also use an envelope for a gift to the priests at Christmas and Easter. Diocese covered the gifts this year. A way is needed to remind parishioners that Christmas is the time when they usually make an additional donation to the clergy, especially as Mass attendance is still likely to be reduced.
In September Joe shared that during the first half of the year the parish had a surplus income over expenditure between £21K and £24k. A surplus has probably continued through the following quarter, helped by the Government Furlough scheme, by which most parish staff were furloughed and their salary largely covered by the government, and by a reduction in expenses. We also have a much higher level of standing orders. In previous years approximately £9,400 – £10,600 was received monthly through standing orders, but in September this year the total was £16,600.
For the first 9 months of the year, to the end of September the total income from standing orders and money in the collection basket was £152,500. This total is quite close to what was received during the previous 2 years. In the last quarter, which has full salary costs, the parish still look set to break even and it should have a surplus in this accounting year. Therefore, at the moment, there appears to be no cause for concern.
The cashless collection plate located in the Narthex started operating just at the end of June, but by the end of the month it had registered donations of £97. Over next 3 months donations averaged about £600 per month. or so. In the four months to the end of September the machine registered donations totalling £4000. The cost of the machine was £456 and the monthly subscription is £36. Last weekend it collected £290, of which 2 people gave £100 each, so it is a way in which people do contribute substantial amounts.
The accounts are slightly behind as a result of the change-over to Val from Felicity, but the figures for August are nearly finished, and the accounts should be up to date by the end of the month.
Question – The machine has three categories that people can choose for their contribution: Offertory, Donations and Fr Frank’s memorial – how are contributions split between categories?
Answer – of the last £2000 of contributions, £1000 were labelled Offertory, £805 were Donations and the remainder were for Fr Frank’s memorial. So the contributions are fairly evenly split between Offertory and Donations.
Question – would it be possible to have another button for the Repository?
Answer – yes, this category has already been set up but is not on display. The name of category could be altered.
Question – would it be possible to add a category for Mass Intentions?
Answer – Joe is still enquiring whether it would be possible to have a dedicated device in the parish office, and perhaps also a ‘card-holder not present’ facility that might be useful for mass intentions. This is still in progress.
Question – there were different payment options for inclusion on the website which had different handling fees – which was chosen?
Answer – there is a JustGiving account dedicated to Woking, so people don’t have to remember to specify that the donation is for Woking parish, and there is a field where they can enter a description for the donation. However, through JustGiving if the donor chooses not to have their message made public, the finance team cannot read the field either, and no written report is received. However on the parish website parishioners are given information so that they can make a direct bank transfer to the parish, and the reference on the transaction is private and will be picked up during book-keeping. A direct bank transfer is the most transparent method for anything other than general donations.
Donations through Just Giving are ticking along, at a slightly lower rate than during July and August, perhaps because more people are coming to Mass.
Fr Peter commented that the new initiatives for donations were as a result of the large reduction of money coming in when lockdown started in March, and they were put into place quickly. The card machine is quite basic in terms of what it allows people to do. For example if people want to donate after Mass, they have to queue up, which is discouraged according to Covid-19 guidelines. There is scope for the capacity for people to donate to be expanded.
Joe Dunne commented that we expect one or maybe two more devices to be installed. One might be dedicated to the repository and another might be fixed to a bench or a wall.
Fr. Frank’s Memorial.
Karin sent latest picture of statue.
Fr Peter reported that he’d had a meeting with the sculpture a little over a week earlier. It is now known where the statue will be installed, and the overall dimensions. It will be 7 feet tall with a spread of around 19”. Advice will be needed from a structural engineer on the construction of the foundations. The location of the benches was discussed, which will involve moving some of the hedges. A CCTV is already in place but a movement sensor operated light will need to be installed on roof to capture images at night on the camera.
Question – Is planning consent required?
Answer – Fr Peter is in touch with the authorities and expects to meet with them in the next 10 days to ensure that there are no planning issues.
The timescale for installation given by the sculptor is sometime in February or March 2021.
The budget, based on the quote from the sculptor is £37K of which just under £9K has been collected, but there has not yet been an appeal to the parish.
The most recent pictures show the statue under construction. The figures are not yet clad as the bodies can be formed first and the clothes added at a later stage.
Joe suggested that it needs to be considered when the parish is approached for fundraising?
Fr Peter answered that an appeal would probably be in the New Year – January or early February 2021. By that time there will be a much better idea of how the statue will look, and some drawings could be prepared of the full installation, including the plinth, seating and reconfigured setting. Also the timescale for installation should be clearer as he thought it likely the statue would probably be installed later than February or March. Fr Peter would like to invite the Bishop as well as civic leaders and representative of other churches as Fr Frank did have a high profile through the borough.
Question – If the full amount is not raised would it be possible to use part of the legacy that was left to St Dunstan’s a few years ago?
Joe Dunne – Yes – it was not a restricted fund so how the money is spent is down to the Parish Priest. Ft Peter commented that he would be happy to use that money to top up the fund.
Karin reported that the new issue of the Parish Magazine had been printed, and thanked Zoe and her team for the wonderful edition.
The minutes from the Communication team are published in the Parish Magazine. One topic that was discussed was diversity, which is something that has been discussed before. Moving forward with diversity the Communications Group would welcome any one with interest in media and communications to advise them on how to draw from the diverse groups within the parish in order to enhance their work. Their plan is to set up a meeting.
John Sexton commented that the representation of the different groups within the Parish has been previous discussed by the Parish team. One thought was to have a group comprised of representative from within the parish – giving those different groups a voice. The group would be separate from the Parish Core Team but would contribute to it.
Mark – Ecumenical News
There has been a new publication from World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Inter- Religious Dialogue, which is unusual. The topic is about serving a wounded world in inter-religious solidarity. It is a Christian call to reflection and action during covid19 and beyond. It is short, only 24 pages long, but it is significant that the Dialogue and Unity Commission of Diocese are going to arrange a day to consider the publication. It stressed the importance of churches working together: Christian denominations, other religions and those of no faith, to bring Christian love to our world and planet.
Mark said that he would send the document to the team.
Michele commented on how warm and friendly the team are. She thanked the team for their welcome of her personally but also through valuing her role at SJB.
Fr Peter thanked Michele and reiterated that we are very grateful for her work and the good job she does within SJB.
Fr Peter commented, in the spirit of Inter-religious solidarity and dialogue, that he quite often meets the Imam and they have discussed the numbers of people returning to worship and financial issues. They are suffering in a similar way with a return to worship of around 30-40% of pre lockdown numbers and similar impacts on their income.
Date of next meeting.
Whether there was a need for another meeting before Christmas was discussed, and the consensus was that it would be useful. Fr Peter pointed out that during Advent there is normally an early morning Mass. No decision has yet been made about whether these would go ahead, but he was unsure of how successful they would be. Breakfast could not be served, and the church would need to be cleaned before the 10am Mass. A suggestion was made that they might be Live Streamed only.
The date for the next meeting is Tuesday 1 December.
Karin thanked the team for attending.