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Sustaining major parish churches

Sustaining major parish churches

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Sparkbrook's parish church - St Agatha's - is recognised as a major building of community and national importance. So its no surprise to see the church among a select few featured in Historic England's new report - 'Sustaining Major Parish Churches'. The full report is available here.

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Glastonbury Trip

Glastonbury Trip

A group of Saint Agatha's people led by Fr John Luff joined the Glastonbury Pilgrimage on Sat 9th July. The weather changed from moodily grey to sunny at the high point of the Mass. It was good to see so many there especially as the procession of The Blessed Sacrament wound through the town's almost-pagan streets, reminding the townspeople and visitors of the Love of God, and the town's roots in Christianity.


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St Agatha's Fest - 2016

St Agatha's Choir Introit Procession Bishop and vimpers Bishop in the pulpit Concelebration Concelebration 2
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PCC adopts resoltion

PCC adopts resolution

Minutes of Meeting on Wednesday 24 February 2016

Present: Mr P Ezeani; Mrs C Goodier (minutes); Mr C Goodier (chairman); Mr Q Greatrex; Mrs D James; Mrs V Kershaw; Mr K Harrison; Mrs M Haynes; Mr G McDonald; Mr R McDonald; Mr G Rainford; Mrs J Shufflebotham.


1 Apologies: Mrs R Bolton, Mrs D Bryant and Mr D Lane


2 Minutes of Meeting on 13 January 2016


The minutes were approved by the meeting and signed by the chairman.


3 Resolution seeking continued alternative Episcopal oversight


There was before the meeting a Resolution that:
"[For the sake of the unity of our parish] this PCC requests, on grounds of theological conviction [set out in the statement appended to this Resolution] that arrangements be made for it in accordance with the House of Bishops' Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests."
(Note that the words in square brackets at item 4 above are variants on the basic text of the proposed Resolution. The question of whether, if the Resolution is passed, it should include either or both of them was before the meeting).


The Chairman outlined the process to date, as follows. At the meeting on 3 December 2015 the PCC had been told that Fr Luff was anxious that progress as to a Resolution should be made quickly, and not await his arrival. It was agreed that Fr Coss should be asked to advise the PCC in the matter. He had done so in detail at the meeting on 13 January 2016, and the PCC had then resolved to start the process of consultation with the parish. That process had been announced by the Wardens at both churches on 24 January 2016. It had also been mentioned on the weekly newssheet, and a more detailed explanation of it had been provided in sheets that had been distributed at Mass with the newssheet. At both churches, literature explaining the issues had been put on display, and there had been boxes for comments by members of the congregations. Formal notice of this PCC had been given to the PCC on 21 January 2016, and on 6 February 2016 public notices of the meeting had been put up at both churches, informing all on the electoral roll, or who are regular worshippers at either church, that they may attend the meeting to observe the debate, but not to vote on the Resolution.


The chairman then touched on the views of the PCC members not able to attend. The Comments Boxes from both churches were opened: the St Agatha’s one was empty, the writer of the one St Barnabas note said he/she had no objection to women priests. There was then some discussion about the ‘minority’ in the congregation who do not object to the ministration of women priests, Mr Rainford indicating that this is the view of his family members. Some members of the PCC indicated that without the “unity” phrase, they would not be able to conscientiously vote for the Resolution. Mr Rainford quoted Mr Parkhouse as saying, of Methodist ministers, that we don’t approve of them but we recognise they exist; this parallel was extended by Mr Greatrex’s reading a paragraph from A Recovery of Love taken from New Directions, pointing out that we can’t go on hoping for the Church of England we might want, but we have to accept the one we have. Mr Harrison pointed out that the Church of England is now “catering” for Catholics like us, and the Chairman reminded us of the positive tenor of Fr Coss’s remarks about the new inclusiveness of the C of E. Mr Greatrex further added that this inclusiveness should prevent infighting.


Mrs Goodier sought to ascertain whether, with this evidence of people who are not opposed to the ministration of women priests, the PCC as a whole (and by implication the congregation) still retained as with the C resolution a clear majority view against the ministration of women in St Agatha’s. When it was established that indeed that was still the case, we proceeded to a vote on the “For the sake of the unity of our parish” and it was approved that it should form part of our Resolution.


The discussion then turned to the “grounds of theological conviction” phrase. The Chairman advised against including this, on the grounds that it would not be necessary as our views are well known by the Diocese and it is always good policy to keep your contracts as simply worded as possible. Mr Ezeani commented that that what was important was finding the ground to go forward. Mrs Goodier pointed out that should the Bishop call in a Representative to discuss the Resolution with him, the grounds as set out in the Forward in Faith Statement could then be used as the basis for that discussion. The Chairman put to the meeting: are we content to put in the first phrase but not the second? This was agreed by the meeting. Then Mr Graham McDonald proposed, and Mr Harrison seconded the proposal, that the Resolution be put. It was then passed unanimously. Mr Goodier was appointed to be the Representative should one be required. The Chairman indicated that he would inform the Diocesan Bishop forthwith.


4 To consider whether the Parish should affiliate to the Society under the Patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda
The Chairman began the discussion by reminding us that Fr Coss had spoken warmly of the ecclesial support that the Society provides. The Chairman proposed, and Mr Greatrex seconded the proposal, that we should affiliate (at a cost of £60 p.a.) and this was passed unanimously.


5 Any other business

6 Date of next meeting


It was agreed that we would suspend discussion of the date of the next PCC until after the Licensing. The AGPM would be held on the last Sunday in April, viz 24th.
The meeting closed with prayer led by Mr Parkhouse.


Signed by the chairman as a true record on 2016

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Licensing and Installation of Fr John Luff

Licensing and Installation of Fr John Luff


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