The Parish Pastoral Council met 5 times during the year with an average attendance of 8 from a total of 12 lay members, the same as last year. Sub committees also had meetings to deal with such events as the Summer Fete and the Musical social evening.
Two items carried forward from the previous year were completed; the revision of the Council’s constitution and the confidential Parish register of church members.
The Council constitution of 1999 required to be updated because of changes in the Council membership and to bring the AGM arrangements into line with current practice. A draft constitution unanimously approved at the Council meeting on 11th November 2014 was submitted to the Bishop and received his approval on 1st April 2015 meaning that the new constitution could be adopted in time for this year’s AGM. In essence, the updated constitution retains the features of the old one in a fresh format with the lay membership now reduced from 12 to 8 which has been shown to be an adequate number.
The arrival of Fr. John in 2013, new to the Parish and to Inverness, highlighted the need for an accurate, up-to-date confidential Register of church members to help with the response to sick calls etc and for home visits. The onerous and lengthy task of collating the various existing lists with updated information into one Register was undertaken by Douglas Robertson leading to its launch early in the New Year. Douglas’s endeavour and that of Trish in this exercise is greatly appreciated by the Council and Fr. John.
Last year the Parish website was vastly improved in presentation and format while also giving Paul Crowe the new facility to edit and amend the content. The website not only carries the weekly newsletter, and items of interests but can also offer much greater space than the notice board and the newsletter for more detailed information on the pastoral activities of parish committees, groups and organisations. To date only the Inverness Justice and Peace group has taken advantage of this facility; after a recent discussion with Paul it was agreed to actively promote this item by contacting all the other groups individually.
With the Finance Committee setting a fundraising target for this year of £4,000.00 the Council relied on the Summer Fete again and a sponsored event with a difference; a hard working sub committee and numerous helpers led by Sheila Lamont and Alison Francis delivered an enjoyable and successful Summer Fete on Saturday 23rd August giving over £2,000.00 to Church funds.
In early September, Paul Crowe agreed to use his annual 3 day bike ride to the Edinburgh Festival as a sponsored event for the parish (delivering letters of pastoral greeting to 8 RC churches on the way); this initiative proved to be highly popular resulting in a handsome total of £1436.00 including Gift Aid.
It is a feature of the Council membership that some are involved in other Parish organisations such as the Fabric and Finance Committees, Catechists. Justice and Peace, Catenians etc; perhaps in the future such individual contact by members could be extended to other parish groups and to the Dominican Sisters from Elgin who have consolidated their important pastoral work with our children and in their excellent talks on diverse church themes that deserve a bigger audience
During the year, the Council responded to points raised by parishioners; the need for more Eucharistic ministers resulted in two further appointments; complaints about noisy chatter in the Church before and immediately after Mass was tackled by reminders on the need for silence at these times; from the pulpit, in the newsletter and the generously donated production of appropriate bookmarks by Tony Lightfoot; the council also bowed to popular demand to have excellent photographs of the Council members by Peter Chisholm displayed on the Notice board.
There were two social occasions; an enjoyable Christmas party for the children and in February a successful Musical Evening showcasing the members of our own church group and which raised over £200.00 for Mary’s Meals.
This Council year is ending with planning already underway for the next Summer Fete being held earlier this year before the school holidays. As Fr. John is keen to involve new blood in the Fete organisation and to attract new volunteers and helpers, all parishioners were invited to an “Open Meeting” recently, attracting enough offers of assistance to stage the Fete on Saturday 20th June. It is to be hoped that parishioners really rally round to support this fundraising event in every way they can and make it an enjoyable, successful occasion once again.
At this meeting we record the retirement of Archie MacCallum and Mario Fernandez and the resignations of Miriam MacDonald and Douglas Robertson; all were enthusiastic and active members of the Council and we are sure they will continue to contribute their talents to the Parish in other ways.
My term as chairman also comes to an end; my thanks go to my fellow Council members for their forbearance and support (especially to Trish our secretary par excellence) to Fr. John for his guidance and to Janet for her immense assistance throughout my 2 years in office.