St. Matthew’s Parish Forum Minutes: 28th July 2014
Present: Fr. Conor, Dcn. Eddie Cawley, Joan Purcell, Dcn. Ronny Burke, Paula Burke. Apologies: Agnes Williams, Dave Cotterill, Joe McGunigle, Paula O’Toole.

Surveys/Work: Recent essential works to remove asbestos from the Church boiler house, to service the boilers, the hygienic cleaning and surveying of the Tower and electrical work has considerably depleted the parish funds by over £30,000. The immanent Fire Safety work will cost approximately £22,000. This will leave the Parish in debt and overdrawn and the Fire Safety work is soon to be followed by general health and safety essential work. All this is statutory work that was essential to keep everything in line with legislation for such public buildings and has basically wiped out the Parish’s account which has been managed to enable this work to be done. There is no “for a rainy day” account and, as we all know, a rainy day often causes leaks in our Church, so we will shortly move onto the major phase of work to enable us to keep St Matthew’s surviving as the landmark place of worship it is for the City.
This will be done in four stages and please brace yourself for the figures involved.
1st Phase: Essential work - Church roof, parapets, down pipes, guttering etc. estimated cost £191,400 and will take 8-12 weeks. Funding to be sought from National Lottery Heritage Fund (as a listed building) but they will not give 100%, on average will give 60-65% or as low as 40%. If they provide 50% there will be a shortfall of £95,000 which will be provided by the Archdiocese leaving St. Matthew’s with a debt of £100,000. Please note that the trustees of the diocese are investing in the future of St Matthew’s recognising its viability and vitality as a worshipping community for many years and decades to come. The parish will repay its debt to the Archdiocese as and when it can. The parish will continue to function in terms of its annual costs while servicing its debts. Phase one work will probably commence in the first quarter of 2015.
2nd Phase: Essential work - Tower – The structure is sound but it needs pointing, guttering, reconstruction of copper dome and repairs to internal structure etc. estimated cost £178,200. Once phase one is secured and underway a further application will be made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If they provide 50% there will be shortfall of £90,000 adding to the debt making and making a total of £190,000.
3rd Phase: Other urgent work – exterior/interior – Flat roof, windows, pointing, plastering etc. £200,000 excluding VAT. There will be no Heritage Funding for this.                        
4th Phase: Any necessary but not urgent work. Such as decorating
The total debt will be held by the Archdiocese. The rate at which we have to pay back is connected to the parish annual income/budget.
Fr. Conor has hard copy reports available on request and he will be available to discuss this matter if required.
The sums of money are so huge that no amount of parish fundraising could cover it. However, as the archdiocese invests in our Parish we need to carry on as the living community of faith we are fundraising for others less fortunate than ourselves as well as our parish, never losing sight of our place in the universal Church and those in that Church who experience grave hardship.
Bereavement Group: Cards continue to be sent out.
Family Shoe Box Appeal: Information to be published after the Fundraising Tea Party - Request in newsletter for shoe boxes.
Parish Pilgrimage to Walsingham - 15th-18th May 2015:35 parishioners signed up.
Confirmations/1st Holy Communions -‘With You Always’: Fr. Conor confirmed the course will run for 3 weeks in November 2014 to include Sacrament of Reconciliation and for 4 weeks (after Easter) from the end of April/May 2015.
Journey in Faith: To be advertised in newsletter from mid August 2014.
‘The Joy of the Gospel’: No further plans at present due to The Bishops of England and Wales program intended for next year.
Quarant’Ore - 40 Hours: Fr. Conor stated this was great from start to finish. Holy Hours Thursday and Friday were great and on Sunday was amazing. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this possible.
Fundraising – Fun Run: The idea to include others on the run has been cancelled. After making enquiries the logistics and organisation would end up costing more. As some aspects are prohibited Fr. Conor’s will now run alone from St. Cecilia’s to St. Matthew’s.
Church Cleaners: 3 ladies have volunteered as and when required.
Readers/Eucharistic Minister: We now have 2 new Readers and 4 new Eucharistic Ministers. All to be give a copy of the Norms and a training session. There will also be a Readers Training Day – Saturday 1st November 2014 from 11am-4pm.
Pastoral Area Celebration Mass – Archbishop Malcolm McMahon: Fr. Conor stated how lovely it was to have the new Archbishop celebrate Mass with us and spend time after Mass chatting to parishioners.
Pastoral Area Talks – Very good.
Pastoral Area Retreat Day:Saturday 4th October at St. Oswald’s with Archbishop Malcolm McMahon.
Memorial for Deceased Infants: Fr. Conor confirmed that after continuing the discussion at St. Cecilia’s Parish Forum it was decided that there was an ideal peaceful and spacious place in the garden at St. Cecilia’s. Planning is underway.
Diaconal Ordination – Ronnie Burke: Fr. Conor, thanks everyone for their contribution to this lovely and beautiful day, reiterated by Ronny and Paula.
Guild of St. Stephen: Fr. Conor was delighted that so many of Lucas’s family came to Mass on Saturday 26th July to see him presented with his medal.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Holy Day of Obligation: Friday 15th August - Mass at 10.00am in St. Cecilia’s and 7.00pm in St. Matthew’s.
Catechist’s Renewal: Sunday 17th August – 2.00pm-4.00pm in St. Oswald’s.
Baptism Course: Fr. Conor is proposing a change during the coming year, probably after January 2015. 1 session programme enabling 2 courses to take place each month. Fr. Conor will meet with Baptism Catechist’s for planning and discussion.
Parish Day Trip: Dave asked if he could arrange a Parish Trip. Fr. Conor suggested Blackpool, to leave after St. Cecilia’s Mass on a Sunday - Joan to report back to Dave.
Next meeting: Monday 6th October 2014 at 7pm.