On Wednesday 19 August 11am – CAFOD Campaigner Phil Kingston speaks. Did anyone else listen/ see this presentation by Phil I actually never thought of CAFOD as being so involved in Climate Change. I am passionate about all aspects of Climate, conservation, compassion and caring for our peoples and planet. Today’s repost from scientist that we have lost 28trillion tons of ice in the last thirty years is so so concerning. This was an an inspiring talk from Phil Kingston, Phil is 84 and 10 years ago founded Grandparents for a Safer Earth which a secular and non-political-party organisation which aims to be as inclusive as possible. The members include different faiths and ideologies. He is a long time CAFOD campaigner now based in Bristol and he is involved with Extinction Rebellion. Phil told us about his particular interest from the Christian perspective and exactly what areas of Extinsion Rebellion (ER) a peaceful civil disobedient organisation, its aims, its achievements for the protection of our planet, why he joined and that he is well prepared to go to prison for the cause although not, if he can avoid. Peaceful civil disobedience is annoying but not illegal. Homes, food and people’s ability to earn a living are being destroyed by the climate crisis and the pollution of our land, oceans and forests. We need to restore God’s precious gift of creation, enable people to adapt to a warming world and stop the climate crisis from getting worse He, like us all, are very worried for future generations. Homes, food and people’s ability to earn a living are being destroyed by the climate crisis and the pollution of our land, oceans and forests. We need to restore God’s precious gift of creation,
- Becoming an Inviting Church
In this third and final session Fr James Mallon takes about what makes a church healthy. He uses the analogy of the human body which has 11 systems of the human body , Integument (skin) Skeletal Muscular Nervous Endocrine Circulatory Lymphatic Respiratory Digestive Excretory Reproductive If once of these is not working it effects all the others . He explains that the church has 5 systems and that is helpful to look at each one as they relate to the parish to begin to see how healthy our parish is . 1. Worship - mind and heart raised to God - liturgy of the Eucharist 2. Ministry - Anytime someone is serving in any capacity- there are internal and external ministries. 90% of parishes focus on internal ministries 3. Fellowship - meaningful community which is growing and developing missionary disciples. 4. Evangelisation- making Jesus know to others 5. Discipleship Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.” The command is as clear as day. Fr Mallon explains that the role of the priest is to feed his sheep. The current way this is done is by cramming food into them for 45 mins on a Sunday (generic feeding) and then when they die burying them. Fr Mallon talks about making Ninja Sheep - people who are mature and are able to lead. He speaks about the need for a vision, then a purpose statement and finally an action plan with people identifies who are able to execute it. Fr Mallon speaks in detail about the value of developing an Alpha program and the importance of this not being just for parish members, but that people should be invited who are none believers. Perhaps now is a good time to ponder, as we look to the future when our parish reopening fully is, what vision and dream do you have for building our community at St Clements. The following questions make help to formulate your thoughts. What indicates that the weekend liturgies are a priority in St Clements? How do we celebrate liturgy in such a way that it touches and effects everyone else in the parish? What stands in the way of making more out of the weekend liturgies? Who welcomes who at the weekend liturgies ? How are people identified and welcomed? Who follows up with new people and makes sure they are finding their way into parish life? Does the parish sing with full participation? How do we evaluate our present music ministry? How do we ensure that our music is diverse? Is the parish priest open to feedback and suggestions about his homilies Do the homilies follow the suggestion of pope Francis.? Do people know what is expected of them when they come forward for sacraments or other activities.? How do we communicate parish expectations? Are people offered ministry work in the parish that fits their strengths What processes do we have in place to help people meet and encounter the Holy Spirit? Do people have enough opportunities to share their faith? How can we create opportunities to which we can invite the unchurched in our parish? How do we invite those who have been absent from the parish to return. How do we prepare our active memebers to become"spirit filled evangelisers. Questions taken from Bill Huebsch book the Divine renovation group reading guide.
- A message from Father Graham
Dear Fellow Parishioners, Hope you are not too bored and finding time for the activities we had no time for before “lock-down”. I am listening to more music, reading, gardening, reflecting, praying the Divine Office in a more disciplined way and, of course, playing with the cats more. This could become a new way of life, perhaps my vocation and your vocations and careers could be enriched in some of these ways, giving us a fuller life once this is over. It is good to remember that in times of crisis the best can come out of our humanity and be a reminder that there is a lot of good in what appears to be a dysfunctional world, e.g. greed, sinfulness and disrespect for our environment. This is a good time to review what is important and to prioritise in our lives, and in the life of the church, what is essential. With every good wish and God’s Blessing, Fr. Graham
- First Holy Communion
During the months of August and September a group of our young people will receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Back in November they made their First Reconciliation. Holy Communion has been delayed because of Covid 19. We wish them many congratulations and may the Sacred Host which they will receive for the first time be a source of inspiration for them during their lives.
- Church Re-Opening
Dear Fellow Parishioners, I hope you are well. I have good news, our church opened for the first time since 20th March. After a very deep clean, done professionally last weekend, the church was open for private prayer – just for two hours on Wednesday. From 4th July the Government are allowing us to have public liturgy. I would like to start from Wednesday 8th July at 10.00 am with Mass. The church will be open from 9.00 am until 11.00 am on that day. On Sundays we will have a restricted Mass schedule as above. Please note that numbers will be restricted to approx. 70 people per Mass. Sincere thanks to all who have volunteered to be stewards and cleaners and also to Jonathan Inns for organising this. Please respect social distancing – 1 metre apart, there can be no hymn singing, no books available (please use your own missal) and no chalice at Holy Communion. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. We will progress according to experience and developments. Keep safe! Sincere best wishes, God Bless, Fr Graham
- From Old to New
I think we can now safely say that the Churchbox series of email messages has come to an end. Our new web site has the facility to send such messages to all those who are on our parish database. Of course we do need parishioners to sign up to the parish database. So if you are viewing the web site and are a member of St Clements parish do sign up. The new web site also has a blog facility. So we have returned to church. Made it for the Saturday 6pm Mass. Good to be there, to see some familiar faces. Quite a strange setting. The grouped benches cutting down capacity to a safe 70. Some like me in masks. Communion single file, distanced, receiving at arms length. Step to one side, remove mask, consume host, replace mask, return via side aisle. Still a work in progress. But I felt quite peaceful as I left. The question haunting me during lockdown was to what sort of church would I return? More precisely was I content with the church I had left (physically speaking)? I guess my feelings chime with the strapline “from maintenance to mission” of the Divine Renovation programme. If we are not careful, a parish can be full of splendid activities but in practice they are all aimed at continuing the status quo. And if you are deemed suitable for doing a job, then it becomes difficult to step aside from it: and for those observing it can seem that a small group of ageing people are running everything. The Covid19 pandemic has revealed a weakness in our pastoral structures as well as our age profile. Over seventies can’t be stewards for the reopening. My recollection is that at a pre closure weekday mass under seventies were a distinct minority. We do have to find a way of allowing younger souls to take on leadership roles; even if it means saying in general terms no one stays in a particular role for more than five years. We need to encourage people to pass on their knowledge and expertise to prepare new leaders. This would lead to constant innovation and dynamism. The danger of not doing this is that we may reach a situation when those in ministry positions are no longer able to continue due to ill health. The tricky question is do people want to take part? And if few people do take part, why? The answer could lie in the response to - what do people see themselves taking part in? What is its purpose? What does it see itself doing in the church’s overall mission? In italics below is our Vision Statement. It would be interesting to get reactions to that statement. When was it developed? How well do we meet its objectives? Do we think it remains relevant? How would we rewrite it, if at all? This weekend a young man was ordained priest for our diocese. (He had a website to cover his ordination and the immediate follow up of masses). During the bishop’s homily- exhortation I heard the following: “We are all in the one business of proclaiming Christ to the world”. He was addressing the entire people, whatever their specific role within the church. Perhaps we all have to take up the bishops remarks. And take the necessary initiatives in our own ecclesial surroundings, the parish. The Existing Parish Vision Statement: some thoughts As a parish community we aim to obey, with all our fellow Christians, the Lord's command to love our Creator and all people. (That’s a serious commitment to recognise that we share with other Christians the Saviour’s command to fulfil the greatest command of the old law. Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and mind and strength and your neighbour as yourself) Inspired by this love and through prayer and the Sacraments we aim to grow in our understanding of our Christian responsibilities in our lives. (We are called into relationship with the God who loves us and has made this clear in sending His Son Jesus to live and die among us. Prayer, communication with God, is the basis. Within our community setting Sacraments suitably explained and embraced assist our growth.) (That growth also requires scripture and teaching(formation)) We commit ourselves, working together, to build a welcoming community in which everyone will be recognised and to which all will contribute, according to their call from God, in whatever way they are able (Commitment, collaborative working, the welcoming community, recognition of talents. All set in the context of the God who is with us) (A taste of the early Christian community and /or ‘from each according to his means: to each according to his necessity’) We will strive to be sensitive and respond to the needs of all. (Identifying needs is key.)(What about a model of responsibility and reliance on God’s help?) We pray that all our liturgy will be a celebration of our witness to Jesus Christ as Lord, the Light of the World. (Amen!) (How do we bring that witness into our liturgy?) Advice from a Modern Saint If you pray without serving, your prayer will be in vain. If you serve without praying, your serving will be in vain. Go forward. Pray and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. St Theresa of Calcutta(Kolkata)
- A New Website, A New Start
You may have noticed a rather significant change to the website over the weekend. The past two months have been spent entirely redesigning and updating the website to bring it up to date with where it should be. This has included adding extra content that wasn't possible before. I wanted to write a small post as an introduction to the new site and to bring you up to speed. We're also looking for new people to take on exciting opportunities with the website development in the future. Firstly, this blog. This is a great way to let everyone in the parish know a small bit of news or to start an ongoing conversation about faith thanks to the many contributors we now have on the website. Please engage with posts by commenting, this is a great way for us to have discussions and talk about what matters in our faith. If you are interested in writing regularly on the blog then get in touch (see below). Events. We have a whole tab for every event the Parish runs and it doesn't just have to stop there. We now have the option to take online payments and produce tickets directly on our website so they can be scanned or printed off for when you arrive. We have the ability insert videos, images, music; embed donation forms (we're working on this currently); the future possibility of live-streaming; produce or link to courses to deepen our faith. The list goes on and I could sit here and write thousands of words on why this is a brilliant thing for the parish. At the end of the day, this website should help us engage with our faith and parish more and hopefully lead to future development. We're really excited to have this website up and finally live. This doesn't stop here, we're looking for new people to become involved in what the website is about. The website is about you, the parishioners. If you want to become involved, even if you've never been involved in the parish before. We want you to contact us. We are particularly looking for a content manager (someone who ensures the content on the website is kept up to date and neat and tidy) as well as blog writers and people able to research new content like video series' to add to our formation page of the website. If any of these things even remotely appeal to you just drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All the best, Ciaran
- What is needed to transform the Parish?
Fr James tells us that it is important to be a good witness, to care for others and show compassion. This is a way of drawing people in and starting a dialogue. However, he also emphasises the need to proclaim the gospel "the words of life". Otherwise people will simple see the good deeds but lack the understanding and knowledge of our faith. He touches on the terms pelagianism and clericalism . In describing clericalism he says that "clericalism is nothing but the appropriation of what is proper to the baptised by the clerical caste. In this case I include religious professionals both clergy and religious. In the last decade, this has included the professional class of lay people who minister within the church in an official capacity." This he believes had lead to people "doing "their duty". as they see it . Just coming to mass each week . Fr James doesn't blame them for this. He explains that priests have been seen at the Holy one in the parish , the director of all things. Fr James refers to the bible and St Peter when he said "we need to equip the servants to do mission of the church". Priests, he points out need to be leaders and have around then a leadership team that is prepared to challenge and develop a relationship of co-dependence. What he calls for is a cultural transformation which looks at what we celebrate, reward, measure and tolerate. He encourages us to ask what as a parish we spent our money on, and use our time. He makes the point that 90% of most parishes budgets go on the church building. He ask the provocative question" do we need the building? He finally talks about the focus we have on teaching children and blessing adults and makes the direct comparison with Jesus who taught adults and blessed children.