Message from Fr. Philip
I am sure you would all agree that 2020 was like no other year that you have ever known and that you would not wish to live through anything like it again. All started well, our community was growing, and the church was always full, sometimes hard for you to get a seat on a Sunday. Our First Holy Communion group was already meeting and the Catechism classes for the younger children were in full swing. Everything seemed to be going well. On the development front, we had received a favourable response from a pre-planning consultation and the Diocese had encouraged us to get full plans drawn and go forward with a Planning Application. We celebrated Shrove Tuesday with a Pancake Supper marking the beginning of the Season of Lent. All the usual events to mark Lent were beginning, a Lent programme, Stations of the Cross, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
From outside our parish and our country we were beginning to hear worrying news about a possible pandemic, and then on 25th March lockdown began. The church was closed, public worship was suspended, we were told to stay home if possible and only those in front line jobs could go to work. With help from a few technically minded people, I began live streaming Mass for you from a locked church. Saying Mass alone was something I had never done before, and did not enjoy, but I knew some of you were watching the live stream and so it seemed we were a community gathered with help of the internet. At first this was very amateurish, the connection to the internet unreliable, I was not very confident about what I was doing. Easter was looming and the church still locked, celebrating Easter with no people was very empty and stressful. Fortunately, the technology was gradually improving, and I was getting the hang of it, so we progressed as best we could. Many of you were struggling with work at the NHS in circumstances of the pandemic, many contracted covid and were sick for some time and happily recovered. We re-opened for Sunday Mass on Sunday 4th July and because our church is so small, we started booking to attend Mass, live streaming continued as so many were very nervous about coming back to church.
Many of our events fell by the wayside, many families decided not to go forward with First Communion for the time being because of limitations put in place by the Government, our social events were cancelled throughout the summer, and we could not gather to celebrate the feast of St Michael at the end of September. With the start of the new school year, we began a new group for First Communion, this time we had to plan to do the classes via zoom, online meetings. As numbers grew in church, I started an extra Mass on Saturday evening to give more space in the church to encourage people to come back to Mass, this does make Saturday a long day with a late finish for me. The virus was still very present in our society as the autumn drew on and we were locked down again during November, this time Christmas was on the horizon. We managed to do our Posada Prayer devotion via zoom and had a small faithful group meeting every evening during most of Advent. The plans for our church development were submitted during November and we waited for a resolution. The Government allowed churches to re-open for worship at the beginning of December and we were able to meet together for Christmas. In the lead up to Christmas we had an outdoor carol singing event in the garden attended by a few hardy singers. We celebrated Christmas with limited numbers and rather nervously, but happy to be able to meet together for this great feast and all hoping for a much better 2021.
You can find the financial report elsewhere on the website by going to bottom of each page and following the link to “Financial Report.”
This is a short reminder of 2020 for you. May God bless you and your family and keep you all safe and well.
OUR FINANCIAL STATEMENT