Last Wednesday, a meeting was held at Dunsop Bridge to discuss the Bishop’s proposals for the restructuring of Parishes. Almost forty people attended, representing each of the three church communities within Our Lady of The Valley parish.
We discussed the principals which underpinned the Bishop’s proposals: the need for change due to reduced numbers of priests, for strengthening our ability to become a missionary church, for larger more dynamic parishes rather than smaller struggling communities, the welfare of our priests, involvement of lay people, developing our outreach to the community, retention of ownership of closed churches and necessary changes to parish structures to face the challenges of the 21st century.
These proposals were condensed into three questions.
- How did you feel when you first heard about the proposal to amalgamate with another parish?
- Fears always lead to opportunities. What opportunities do these changes present?
- What do you think is our next step should be?
The questions promoted lively debate which highlighted some genuine concerns but also identified positive opportunities that could result from the proposal. All conclusions were noted and will be collated to share with the Bishop and the parish.
This was a productive evening which showed that our three church’s communities were ready and keen to work together.
This coming Wednesday, 21st September, the Forum meets at 7.30pm in the parish social centre. For the benefit of new parishioners, I should explain that the Forum is our parish council but differs from almost all other parish councils in that you and every parishioner is a member with the right to attend, to speak and to vote. The only condition is that you turn up! We meet every six weeks or so and have full and interesting agendas so do come along and play your part in parish life. Tea and biscuits will be served from 7.15pm.
Laudato si is the first line of a hymn written by St Francis in praise of God’s creation and quoted by Pope Francis to introduce a letter written to the world to warn of the damage that humanity is inflicted on our common home, planet earth. The letter has been praised by many both within and outside Christianity. From Wednesday 5th October we shall begin a study of this important document. Make a date in your diary! A full list of 7 meetings spread over the coming 7 months will be published next week.