Parish Council Minutes – March 2024

12 March 2024, 7:30pm

Present: Mike Campbell (Chair), Father Kevin, Richard Bushell, Maria Levesley, David Bellamy, Sam Coldwell and Richard McQuinn (minutes).

Apologies: Deacon Stephen Parker, Stephen Spooner, Eva Kaltenthaler, Lindsay Reynolds, Sian Price

The meeting opened with a short prayer.

  • 1. Matters Arising
  • Gas Supply: Richard McQuin reported that IFM had processed the application to move into the collective Diocesan scheme for gas supply, St Francis already being in that scheme for electricity. This would lead to cheaper energy costs than could be found elsewhere.  Some alternative suppliers were requiring a circa 150% increase, however, the parish would see increased gas costs of about 25% with IFM, having been protected by the low rates under the old British Gas contract for the last 3 years.  Father Kevin confirmed he had received correspondence from British Gas that the Parish had been put on to the default standard variable rate, so he questioned if the transfer had been fully processed.  Action – RM confirmed he would take this up with IFM.
  • Parish Volunteer List: Mike Campbell confirmed he now held an electronic list (register) of all Parish Volunteers as requested by the Diocese on a password protected file on his laptop. Action – see below.
  • IT Support:  Mike Campbell confirmed the notice requesting support with the parish desktop and laptop computers and the tasks currently undertaken by John Green had not yet gone into the Franciscan. Action – MC would do this as a matter of urgency.  Note – DB agreed to do this.
  • Photo of Confirmation Group for Chronicle: Richard Bushell confirmed this had been sent to the Chronicle.
  • 2. Ongoing Synod Process and Diocesan Consultation on Parishes

The Council discussed the above 2 consultation processes that were currently underway, each currently requesting input from individual Parishes.  It was noted that the groups for Synodal discussions were often started with short Lectio Divina sessions.  The Diocesan consultation on Parishes required answers from the Parish by 5 June. 

Mike Campbell tabled a short analysis he had prepared on the Hallam Statistical Data on individual parish Mass Attendance, Baptisms and Expenditure/Income Ratio provided by the Diocese. He went on to explain that probably insufficient context had been provided with the raw data. He would work on the analysis further and submit his analysis to the Diocese.

Later in the meeting Father Kevin raised concerns about the low level of Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations at Saint Francis.The Parish Council reassured Father Kevin that the statistical analysis showed Saint Francis was broadly typical of parishes within the Hallam Diocese who were experiencing or likely experiencing similar trends.  Saint Francis could not be considered an outliner, or his efforts be considered the cause of the fall in numbers.

Action – A subcommittee of David Bellamy, Richard Bushell and Sam Coldwell would be tasked with preparing a meeting on 8th May at 7.30 for parishioners to discuss these matters in an appropriate forum.

  • 3. Justice and Peace

Maria Levesley reported the group were now ready to launch the CAFOD Live Simply action plan after Mass on 28 April, using 3 stalls to cover the main theme of Live Simply, Live Sustainably, Live in Solidarity with the Poor.

Action – OK to proceed on 28 April

Maria also wanted to speak to the church cleaner about cleaning products used at the Church.

  • 4. Liturgy and Spirituality

In her absence, Mike Campbell reported that Lindsay was not yet ready to lead a Bible study course on St Mark’s Gospel.  Claire Byrne was keen to see some aspect of Catholic Social Teaching presented.  Sam Coldwell mentioned New Zealand’s Caritas Aotearoa had many resources on CST.

  • 5. Youth Ministry

Richard Bushell reported the youth group continued to meet monthly and that the First Holy Communion preparation was up and running.

  • 6. Maintenance

Mike Campbell and Father Kevin reported that:

  • Church Door: Efforts were ongoing to repair one of the churches main (large and heavy) doors that had recently stuck. It was going to be a two-man job and John Clarke was not able to undertake it on his own.  If required, one of the Fire doors could be used for access/egress. Action MC and Father Kevin to continue to pursue.
  • Church Windows and Roof Leak:  A number of high windows in the Upper Room and Side Chapel were to be replaced with electronic windows and certain other maintenance work aimed at resolving the roof leak into the narthex were to be undertaken at a cost of £4,800 by Messrs A J Murphy staring on 26th April.
  • Ground floor Windows and Lychgate Repainting:  Mike Campbell would approach Leo Whittaker to see if he was capable and prepared to undertake this work and what cost may be involved. Action – MC to Progress.
  • Roving Mic at Mass: It had been noticed that the roving mic was intermittently cutting out.   Sam Coldwell said he would check this with Father Kevin in the coming days.  Father Kevin new the original equipment suppliers if spares or a replacement had to be sourced. Action – SC and Father Kevin to progress.
  • 7. Defibrillator

The Parish Council noted the 200 club had offered to purchase a new defibrillator.  David Bellamy ran through the various options in respect of this equipment.  Following discussion, it was agreed David should liaise with the 200 club and source a semi-automatic version and other associated equipment at a cost likely to be in the region of £1,400.  David agreed he was perhaps currently well placed to undertake a monthly inspection of the equipment and associated material.

Action – DB to proceed. Note added DB purchased the defib.

  • 8. Social Committee: Social Events.

Following discussion, it was agreed Mike Campbell should put a notice in the Franciscan asking whether anybody would be happy to form a social committee to organise additional social events. Action – MC to proceed.

  • 9. Bidding Prayers

Following discussion, it was agreed the parish should continue with the format of having a brief period of individual silent contemplation following each of the individual intentions rather than a collective response such as “Lord Graciously Here Us”.

  • 10. CAFOD Visit

CAFOD (Angela Powell) had wanted to visit Saint Francis to thank parishioners for the financial support they had received in recent years. Following discussion, it was agreed that the launch of the Live Simply Campaign might be an appropriate time for such a visit. Action – MC to liaise with CAFOD and J&P group.


Father Kevin read the Closing prayer.

Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday 21 May 2024 at 7:30pm.