The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Financial Update January 2015

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Dear Parishioners

Parish Finance

You may recall that in June last year I reported on the current financial position and to remind you I attach a copy of that report.

Draft accounts have now been prepared for the half year ending 30th September 2014. These indicate a deficiency of income against expenditure. We budgeted for property repairs of £25,000 and have already spent £33,000 which includes the cost of a survey carried out on all the electrical installations within the 3 churches and 3 houses of £7,000.

This in turn has highlighted the urgent need for extensive repairs and renovations which will cost approximately £45,000. We have submitted a detailed request to the Diocesan Finance & Property Committee to withdraw this sum from our capital account and this is due to be considered by them.

There are also other urgent non electrical works on the properties for which the parish will have to pay from weekly income to maintain these properties to the necessary standard.

The offertory collection is our principle source of income and this has remained constant over the last 2 to 3 years.

I do not like asking for money because I am well aware of the difficulties which many families face; however could I ask those who are able to increase their offertory contribution so the parish is able to meet its current financial obligations.

God Bless Mgr. Paul Fisher Parish Priest - Philip Dyson Finance Committee

Youth Ministry and the Youth Fund

At the Annual General Meeting of the Parish 21st June 2014 and printed in the summer edition of the Parish Magazine I said...

‘As you know we have three large catholic schools in the parish. As well as giving our children the best education they can it is done in the context and ethos of our catholic faith. We shouldn’t underestimate the effect our schools have on the faith development of our children and we witnessed this in a very powerful way after the tragic death of Ann Maguire. Granted without parental support this doesn’t always manifest itself in mass attendance but we should never assume that our youth have no faith.

Hoping to complement our parents and school, a youth worker was appointed to the parish some years ago to coordinate the youth ministry in our parish. In many ways it was a difficult role to fulfil, resources were limited and coordinating youth ministry over three former parishes was never going to be easy.

Financial support for a youth minister/coordinator came in part from donations to the parish from parishioners and the money you have given is ring-fenced for youth ministry. The Parish Council, a sub-committee from the parish council and advisors from the schools and the diocese have spent much time on trying to work out the best way to meet the needs of our young people within the resources we have. At present we simply do not have enough money to fund a full time youth worker or even a part-time one on any long term basis. Part of the advice we received was to begin slowly, perhaps with the young people that already come to church and begin to build up relationships with them by giving them responsibilities within the church, perhaps setting up a youth parish council, involving them
in the liturgy perhaps as altar servers and readers, or Eucharistic ministers for the older ones.

The money donated each month speaks volumes about the desire of the parish to do ‘something’ to help the youth in their relationship with God and the Church. What to do is actually the more difficult part. What has become clear from our meetings is that it was not a question of appointing a youth minister and leaving it all to them. What was needed was all of us to be involved in encouraging the youth at every opportunity and having a group of volunteers who work, or would be willing to work, with the youth and who would provide the foundation and the man power for a future youth coordinator to work with and develop the ministry.’

Since the AGM, a sub group of the Parish Pastoral Council has been established. It is called The Family and Youth Meeting and has met regularly to consider ways of building on, and developing small initiatives for an ongoing ministry to the youth and our young families. The meetings are lively, well attended and well represented. The underlying principle is a very simple one – how do we do more, or do better, what we do as a parish for our families and our youth.

At our next meeting we will begin to consider the areas of Children’s Liturgy, Children’s Masses, our First Holy Communion children and their families, Reception Class and their families, Confirmation candidates and Youth Council. It is hoped that we can find opportunities ‘to do more, or do better, what we do for our families and youth,’ in the seasons of the Church’s year, the already existing Church calendar of events and those youth and family groups which already exist in the parish. Having said that we do not want to stifle new ventures either!

Should I still contribute to the youth fund?

Some people (understandably) have been unclear as to whether they should continue to contribute to the youth fund, and some people, again understandably, have stopped their donation altogether since a youth minister has not been appointed.

The money you have already given went towards paying for the youth worker, it didn’t cover the whole cost. Since our youth worker moved on in June 2013 the donations, many of which have continued to come in, have always been ring fenced, for a youth minster. All other expenses for youth work and family ministry have come from parish funds. The total fund is now just less than twenty one thousand pounds. Since it is clearly not enough for any long term appointment of a Youth Ministry Worker, and it is no longer certain that such an appointment would be the best way forward, I want to release the youth fund monies in a broader way, resourcing present initiatives
and future initiatives which will help our young people and our young families in their faith journey and their experience of the Church.

The Funds will be administered by a finance committee made up of a subcommittee of the Family and Youth Meeting group and the Parish Priest. The present fund will be budgeted over a four year period dividing it into an annual budget of five thousand pounds.

Therefore I would encourage those who give to the youth fund to continue though I can understand if you feel this is not quite what you had originally signed up for and you may wish to discontinue your offering but we hope you will not. If you have already cancelled your contribution you might like to reconsider.

I would ask those who have not had the chance to contribute to the fund to consider doing so either in a one-off donation or as a regular monthly donation. If you would like to do this then please contact the parish office (2645260) for details. Many of you have already provided a good foundation of resources for which we are grateful – not enough to provide a youth minister – but more than enough, if we release it, to resource some serious outreach in the present to the youth and to our families.

May God Bless you all

Mgr. Paul & the Parish Pastoral Council

Published Thu 19th Feb 2015 11:12:15

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