Chairman’s Report to St Edmund’s Parish Pastoral Council AGM 2016

ST EDMUND’S PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL AGM 2016

Chairman’s Report

Thank You: I would like to begin by saying huge thanks to Fr Charles for shepherding us.  As evidenced in his own report, we are very lucky as a parish to have our very own PP.  Also, many thanks to Carole for keeping a beady eye on all things financial and for preparation of another clear financial report.

Indeed, everyone on the PPC, both long standing members and newcomers, deserves thanks for setting aside the time to assist Fr Charles in the pastoral affairs of the parish. On a personal note, it’s great to be involved in the PPC – and I will always want to be involved and to help – but I would like to make this coming year my last one as Chair.  I trust someone will step forward during the course of the year and that we will have a new Chair and fresh ideas here at next AGM.

In normal circumstances, we would have a brief report from our Schools Officer and Communications Officer.  However, neither is here today and, as it turns out, Fr Charles has covered the key points regarding the school and has also mentioned that Andy Parris has now taken over from Mary Kirk as communications officer and is progressing very well in administering the parish website.

Before going on to formal business, I would like to mention briefly those who left the PPC over the past year and to thank them for their contribution.  These include Mary Kirk, former communications officer, who brought rigour to our official parish communications, such as the parish Welcome Pack and First Holy Communion pack, along with leading the project to revamp our parish website.  Also, John Charmley who was also a member of the website development team and to Caroline Coles our former Schools Officer.  Huge thanks to Caroline for her continued support with the children’s choir and Family Masses.

Regarding formal business, there are three items I would like to report on.  They are: Laity meetings, Safeguarding and Evangelisation.

Diocesan Laity meetings – Historically these are twice yearly meetings between the Bishop and a rep from each parish, but meetings have often been postponed in recent years.  At our last meeting, Bishop Alan said he would like to review the Laity meetings, so a new format is likely.  I expect the new format to place more emphasis on Deanery meetings and then perhaps one or two reps from each Deanery to attend the new Laity meetings with the Bishop. However, this is still at discussion stage and we await the Bishop’s decision on the final format.

Safeguarding – the new e-Bulk system for processing DBS checks has finally been installed by the Diocese and I received training on this last Thursday.  The Diocese has asked all parishes to start the process of DBS rechecks and to work systematically until everyone in the parish who is required to have a DBS is rechecked, using the new electronic system.  We have a number of people in our parish whose DBS/CRB checks are now quite old so, working with Fr Charles, I will identify and commence with those.

Evangelisation – having started as a Diocesan initiative, meetings and events are now being done at Deanery level e.g. the event hosted by St Edmund’s in February.  Also, as the Diocesan Evangelisation lead (Rebecca Bretherton) is also a very busy Safeguarding lead, the focus on Evangelisation initiatives and events has eased off somewhat, compared to a year ago.  However, this does not mean that we should forgot about Evangelisation!  Whether we recognise it or not, we are all called to be evangelists – to enable people to have a personal encounter with Christ and to become one of His disciples.  And we do this, not by going out and preaching at Bungay Buttercross, but by own actions, by reaching out to fellow parishioners and beyond the parish; by getting to know and supporting people, be they newcomers or regulars, and by getting more involved in the everyday running of the parish.  Meetings at Diocesan and Deanery level are interesting and useful but, ultimately, I believe they are of limited value. Rather, we need to decide, as a parish, how seriously we want to take Evangelisation, and then be willing to get involved in a practical way.

Looking Ahead – I believe we have two routes which have proved effective in terms of evangelisation but which we can improve further.   These are our link with the school, and particularly through our Family Masses and Children’s Liturgy, and secondly, through events with a social dimensions e.g. our involvement in the St Patrick’s social event at St Benet’s and the Paschal supper organised by Sonia.   Regarding the former, it is wonderful that we now have the Deputy Head from St Edmund’s school on the PPC and we look forward to hearing her views on how we can deepen our links.  And regarding social events, I look forward to making a big event of our St Edmund’s celebration, of hosting a Filipino  themed event to celebrate Women’s International Day of Prayer and honouring our promise to St Benet’s by hosting the St Patrick’s party here in Bungay next March.

So, as a parish, we have a lot to look forward to over the coming year!

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

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