Archive for December, 2009

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Report from the Laity Commission

Below is the report given to the Deanery Pastoral Council by Ken Atmore, our representative on the Archdiocesan Laity Commission.


LAITY COMMISSION

The Laity Commission met on 24th November with the Archbishop, an Mgr, a priest and ten members present. The meeting opened with a prayer led by the Archbishop.

The commission are looking to hold a retreat during lent with Fr John Mulligan as the facilitator. It may be that the invitation can be extended to Deanery members depending on the location.

The women’s world day of prayer encourages other faith groups to attend. The Treasurer holds a balance of £789.40 so next years grant will be declined.

There was some discussion on how the Laity meetings outcome was cascaded down. This was difficult where no D.P.C. was in place. However reports or minutes could be posted on notice boards and web sites used.

It was felt that D.P.C.’s could be an instrument and forum for lay people to look at pastoral provision and consider the shortage of priests and Mass times on Saturday/Sunday.

The Archbishop had looked at the value of the Laity commission and welcomed its continuation adding that a particular topic should be aired at each meeting.

The Archbishop stated that we are in a reasonably healthy state with priest numbers compared to the north. Demographic changes had a severe impact on church numbers. Whilst it was important to keep communities going the state of the building played a significant part. There had been instances of preservation orders being sort, the Victorian Society becoming involved to keep a
Church open despite attendance being minimal.

The Bishops are looking to raise a set of questions for the coming general election and Archbishop Peter Smith is preparing a paper on Catholic Social teaching.

Amigo Hall is all but complete. There is further information on the way Connections work.

The annual accounts were presented. The document begins by dealing with five of the trusts being amalgamated to make the trust easier to administrate. There are details of the investment trust and standard information returns that are open to the public on the Charity Commissions web site.

The accounts have been audited and passed. The accounts show an increase in asset sales and therefore income. Property sales are high as these were sold before the property slump. However some property had to be purchased at the high point.

Legacies are down and these tend to go to the wealthier parishes.
Collections are up for the 7th year in a row. Approx 100,000 people attend Mass on Sundays and with collections reaching 16M that comes down to £160 per year or £3 per week.

Restricted funds are those that are restricted by law and have been set for a particular purpose. Unrestricted funds can be dealt with as determined by the trustees.

There was serious loss on investments and next year could be even more severe, there was some recovery on capital value.

Expenses rose on child protection and chaplaincies. We spend little on generating funds as chiefly we simply put the plate out.

School grants are not reflected in the figures as these are sent direct to the school.

The Diocese is afloat the sale of assets was up considerably with overall income down. The balance this year 2008 is 1.3M better off. The next two years will be very difficult. Cuts will have to be made and overspends checked. We now have fewer assets and are likely to take a large hit on investment interest again.