Parish Council

A Message from Fr Doug:

I believe that the parish council has a key role in the development of the parish over the next dozen years or so. We have met to look at the way ahead and decided that we’d like to propose a few changes to help make it work better. For those changes to be agree at our March  Parish  meeting the current constitution demands that the proposals be published now before the New Year, today in fact.

Since I arrived I have tried not to interfere too much but to observe and reflect on what are the strengths of the parish. I think better with pictures and so I have tried to draw a picture of what I have seen. That’s the basis of the handout that is with your newsletter this weekend.  With all the groups or departments or areas that are drawn it didn’t take much imagination to put the Parish Council in the centre of it and suggest that the constitution be amended so that those groups will all have a seat at the table and then be in a good position to coordinate and lead parish activity and deliver the mission that Christ wants us to deliver here in Bexley and beyond. It would be reasonable too to task that group with the discernment and drafting of that mission for consideration by the Parish Meeting of 2020.

In the proposals that we in the current parish council are putting forward there is space for two elected and two nominated members  but the majority of the council would be constituted by those presently carrying responsibilities or in leadership roles or those who could be put forward by their constituencies. Everyone in the parish could exercise an influence through any of these people or through any who stand for election or are nominated for purposes of balance by the parish priest. I hope that you can see from the picture, where you would be and that most importantly, as far as I am concerned, that you would feel connected in an obvious way.

The second piece of the handout is the constitution that would emerge as a result of the change . Please have a look and offer feedback through the current council members or more easily through the contribution or suggestions box at the back of Church. The main thing as far as I am concerned is that we can be together, feel together, work together and enjoy the journey together. God wants everyone to be involved, he has given each and every single one of us gifts that will enable us to do so, and it is really up to us to make sure that it happens. Then we and Bexley parish and others beyond will All be better off.

“Love one another as I have loved you”, Jesus says. But he expects us to figure out the best way of doing it. Please help!


ST JOHN FISHER PARISH COUNCIL CONSTITUTION

1. AIM
   • To assist the Parish Priest in maintaining and developing the Christian life of the
   parish
2. OBJECTIVES
   • To co-ordinate parish activities
   • To support programmes to develop our Catholic faith
   • To attend to the needs and concerns of parishioners
   • To encourage spiritual and social activities
   • To assist in the efficient administration of parish resources
   • To consider issues that the parish priest may raise
   • To set up sub-committees and liaise with other parish groups as appropriate.
      The Parish Priest may attend such meetings at his discretion.
   • To enable access to parish life for all

3. MEMBERSHIP aims to reflect the composition and needs of the parish.

• Composition — up to 15 members
   o Parish Priest (or in unforeseen circumstances his delegate)
   o Delegates from each of the principal parish groups
   o Up to 2 elected by parishioners
   o Up to 2 nominated by the Parish Priest to ensure a proper cross-section of the
      parish is represented.
   o A quorum will consist of the Parish Priest plus one third of Parish Council members.

• Election
   o Applications for new elected Parish Council (PC) members shall be considered at the
      Annual Parish Meeting.
   o At least four weeks’ notice of elections will be given including forms for nomination.
   o Forms for nomination should be returned no later than one month before the
      Annual Parish Meeting. They should include the names of two proposers, the
      nominee’s agreement, and a passport photograph.
   o Nominee’s names will be publicised 2 weeks before the Annual
      Parish Meeting with elections being held at the Annual Parish Meeting.
   o The results will be posted on the
      Noticeboard in the Church porch and Hall.

• Service
   Service is for three years in the first instance which may be renewed, but this does not
   apply to the Parish Priest or in unforeseen circumstances his delegate

• Meetings will be held quarterly, to include the Annual Parish Meeting, with
    extraordinary meetings called as needed by the Parish Priest or their delegate.
    The Council will meet to:
   o further priorities agreed at the Annual Parish Meeting
   o discuss items the Parish Priest may wish to raise for consultation
   o consider parishioners’ comments
   o consider, by exception, brief updates from delegates on their group’s activities
   o receive a report on the financial state of the Parish.

• Communication Names and photographs of the PC members, agendas and notes of meeting will be published on the Church notice board. A box for parishioners’ comments and concerns will be placed in the Church porch 2 weeks before each PC meeting and the Annual Parish Meeting.

4. OFFICERS The Council will elect a CHAIR to draw up agendas with the Parish Priest and manage meetings; a VICE-CHAIR to deputise and a SECRETARY to circulate meeting information to take and publish notes of meetings.

5. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION Suggestions should be submitted in writing to the Secretary at least 6 weeks in advance of the Annual Parish Meeting and will be published in the parish newsletter.

6. ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
   • The agenda will be published 3 weeks before the meeting to include:
   o report on parish finances
   o suggested priorities for the coming year
   o any suggested changes to the Constitution. A majority vote in favour is
      required for amendments
   o any other business from the parish comments box as time permits

   • A quorum will be 25

   • The meeting will aim to end with a social event

A Parish Council is advised by the new Code of Canon Law. It is “a representative body of Christ’s faithful whose purpose is the promotion of the Church in all its aspects in the parish”

December 2018