Parish Council Minutes – July 2023

18 July 2023, 7:30pm

Present: Mike Campbell (chair), Father Kevin, Deacon Stephen Parker Sian Price, and Richard McQuinn.

Apologies: Eva Kaltenthaler, Stephen Spooner, Richard Bushell, Lindsay Reynolds and Maria Levesey

Parishioners Attending: David Bellamy, Jenny King and Miriam Mawimba

Opening Prayer: Two minute meditation

1.      MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 May 2023 were approved.

Matters Arising

•        Parish Website: Mike had already done some work on updating the website.  Father Kevin still has a list of items that need removing. He will send these to Mike.

•        Financial Support: The parish had given Benedict Yewdall £100 to participate as a support worker in the Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes and £300 to Isabel Ruvinski to attend the World Youth Day in Portugal later in the year.  They would be asked to make a brief report on their attendance in due course.

•        Garden Benches: These had now been removed due to their poor state of repair and as younger members of the public were using them inappropriately.

•        Hall Chairs: These still needed some cleaning. The best method had yet to be explored.  One suggestion is that Tesco’s Rug Doctor might also be used to clean upholstery.

•        Finances:  A new member of the Parish Finance Committee is being sought.  A potential candidate had possibly been identified, who would be contacted by Mike.


•        Lenten Retreat: Stephen reported that he believed this had been a success.

•        Big Picture: This course had now been run. Lindsay Reynolds had circulated a report on behalf of herself and the other three organisers Geraldine Houlton, Diane Rossiter and Clare Byrne.  The course ran from March 21st to July 11th with 13 evening session and had an average of 25 attendees.  The verbal feedback during the course was very positive and this was borne out by the high attendance rate and the enthusiasm of the participants. Final written feedback had yet to be analysed but would be reported on in due course.


Sian Price explained the ‘Live Simply’ campaign was gathering momentum with parishioners being canvased for ideas and suggestions.  Many ideas had been received and were being reviewed such as:

•        A virtual equipment list which parishioners would be prepared to allow other parishioners to borrow and use in order to avoid additional purchase of such items that were infrequently used.

•        Green projects for younger parishioners – bee hotels, bug hotels, bird baths, rewilding patch, in the appropriate locations of the parish grounds and garden

•        Holding the Childrens Liturgy and parish meeting such as committee meetings in the parish garden.

•        Acquiring a bicycle rack of up to 4-8 bike capacity.

•        Use of Fair-Trade tea and coffee.


No report was made on this occasion. The Council noted the donations reported earlier in the meeting.


It had been agreed a new wooden notice board would be sited in the parish grounds close to and on the right-hand side of the main path entrance on Sandyagte Road, sized 4 feet by 3 feet.

Jenny King had already circulated the proposed wording for the new notice board. St Wilfred’s could supply the main notice board, but it was currently understood the parish would have to provide posts and site the board.

It was noted that St Francis was one of only a few churches that was regularly left open during the day and not just at service times. It was agreed a balance had to be struck between drawing attention to the church and possibility of prayer and the ongoing security of the premises. 

Following some further discussion, it was agreed the wording of the Notice Board should be be: 

St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
A Place of Peace and Prayer
Sunday Mass 11 a.m.

Jenny king undertook to get a fee estimate from Saint Wilfred’s.


It was suggested that it might be appropriate for the parish to set aside a small percentage or fixed sum of its annual income to be donated to local charities or good causes each year.

Following discussion, the Parish Council agreed to this suggestion in principle.  It was also agreed that the Justice and Peace Group should be the appropriate body to determine which group received the payment, paying attention to suggestions from parishioners.  Additionally, efforts should be made to ensure charities and groups who did not normally receive high level of funds should especially be considered.


The Council noted a neighbour had reported 2 trees situated at the rear of the car park were overhanging his garden and blocking his light and enjoyment of his house and garden.

The Council also noted a further neighbour had requested the ivy and excess bush growth be removed or cut back from or close to the retaining wall, so that the wall to his garden on the St Francis side could be gradually repaired over time.  Father Kevin reported that had already been achieved by the gardeners during their latest visit.  The neighbour had also asked if the parish could contribute financially in some way to the upkeep of the wall.

The Council considered the above 2 matters as both reasonable requests from neighbours and required a reasonable response, rather than one based on strict legal necessity.

Mike Campbell and David Bellamy undertook to explore the cost of removing, crown thinning or pollarding the trees at the back of the car park with a local tree surgeon.  This should probably be best undertaken in the autumn and would involve some expense; it being noted £3,000 had been spent on similar activities three years ago.

Mike Campbell undertook to explore with Ed Whitaker whether it was appropriate to make any financial contribution to the retaining wall renewal given the retaining was the neighbours property and responsibility.   


Prayers For Peace: It was suggested that a more formal Prayer for Peace could be introduced at the end of Mass.  Father Kevin pointed out that this was perhaps best left in the biddings prayers, as was already done on a regular basis.

Tabletop Sales: It was suggested that the Parish could occasionally organise Tabletop Sales at which parishioners could pay to take a table and sell unwanted items, keeping the proceeds themselves or donate items to a parish table for which proceed would go to the parish.  It was decided this suggestion need some further thought as it would require some organisation.

Parish Newsletter:  It was suggested that a Parish Newsletter could be published in addition to the weekly Franciscan.  This new newsletter would be to include more details of parish activities.  Jenny King and David Bellamy undertook to explore this in more detail.

Parish WhatsApp:  Mike Campbell agreed to investigate the status of the parish WhatsApp group formed during the covid pandemic and whether new parishioners were being invited to join the same.  

Father Kevin read the closing prayer.

At the end of the meeting, the Parish Council and attendees inspected the wall, the trees that needed pruning as well as the potential sites for the new Notice Board and the bike racks

Date of next meeting 12 September 2023 (Thursday) at 7:30pm.