Bideford Catholic Churches

Parish In Council Meetings

Parish In Council

The annual Parish In Council Meeting was held during October 2014. This is an opportunity for the groups of the Parish to give an update regarding their activities for the past year. To read about what goes on in your Parish please go to the Groups page above.

Parish In Council - Chairperson's Report 2014


When I sat down to write this report I had little recollection of what your PPC had sanctioned and achieved this year. That is until I re-read the minutes of our meetings! We have had another very full and very varied year.

The building work on both our churches has been a major consideration at all our meetings; As you can see work on The Sacred Heart looks nearly complete though there are still some water ingress and dampness issues to be dealt with. We had the drainage problems to contend with, but we now have one of the best public Loos in North Devon, and it is connected to the mains sewage system.

To me one of the main "pluses" of our refurbishment is our new altar, its pure simplicity was a real leap of faith, but it is just what was needed. Our ongoing task is to get the new altar furniture " chairs and table(s) to complete our altar refurbishment.

The main building issue now at Bideford is to finish the work on the garage. The door and roof cannot be replaced until some planning issues are sorted out.

The organ has been refurbished but may well need replacing in a few years" time.

Lighting has been installed in the crypt which makes that a much more usable space. In the Holy Family Church, in Torrington, the work which has been done is much less obvious; a leak in the flat roof has been repaired and tree work has been done to ensure that our trees are maintained in a healthy state. We are now in the process of getting tenders to replace the carpet in the body of the church and to get polished any exposed wooden floors. Hopefully this work will be completed before we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Holy Family Church which occurs in March 2015. We have invited the new Bishop, Mark, to celebrate with us and hopefully he will do so.

Your PPC has sanctioned many social events in the Parish, all of which have been successful, they have included:

The Variety Show at Abbotsham Village Hall, thank you Josie for organising this and cajoling people to take part.

The Parish Lunch, again in Abbotsham Village Hall, this was organised by the Social Committee and Maxine and her team.

The Summer Fete was extremely successful, held at Bideford SureStart, organised by a group mainly from Torrington lead by Mary Poole, blessed with glorious weather.

The BBQ at Blights was as good as ever. Thank you Teresa and the team who work very hard to ensure its success, thanks also to Jeff, the silent partner.

The 101 Club started in Bideford and run mainly by Barbara de Noronha and her family has been very successful (even I won first prize one month).

So many things have happened that it is hard to keep track of them all. We have a new system for counting the weekly collection and so far it appears to be running smoothly. We have had a fire drill, and now have safety stewards in place, hopefully we will never need them.

We have a new Church cleaner at the Sacred Heart and she is keeping our upgraded Church looking spick and span.

The various wall plaques, which were around the church, now have a new home, they are all together on a "Remembrance Wall" in the up-graded Parish Room. We have also taken over the "Garden of Remembrance" from the PLG. It is in the garden behind the church and is a small oasis of peace and calm where we can all remember our loved ones.

We hope that you all appreciate our new chairs " both in the church and in the Parish Room " a vast improvement on the old wood and metal ones. The armchairs at the front of the church should make life easier for our less mobile parishioners.

We thank Hilary and Yvonne for their work on Safeguarding, this ministry has been going through a time of great change and they have had a very challenging year.

Thanks are also due to Rod, John and David for their work keeping our finances in order and getting the best deals for what money we have.

All this so far has been about practical, material issues, it is now time to turn to our spiritual development. We are hoping to put on a course of 4-5 evenings looking at and discussing "Catholicism" " a DVD Course put together by a Fr Barron, I think that we will all find this very thought provoking.

Hopefully you have all received and completed two handouts:-

a) A questionnaire on what other services you would wish to be provided, eg. Holy Hour, Morning or Evening Prayers, the Rosary, Evening Mass, etc.

b) A leaflet on Stewardship, highlighting our gifts from God, and what we can each do for the Church.

And finally, one of the highlights of our year for me, Fr Terry"s 40th Anniversary where we listened and learned, where we celebrated and cared, where we made full use of our refurbished church with a concelebrated mass. We "partied" in our upgraded Parish Room and Garden and a good time was had by all present. Our thanks must go to everybody who helped in any way to show our appreciation of our Parish Priest.

God bless and care for your Catholic Church in our corner of North Devon.

P.J. Hawkins
Chairman of the Pastoral Parish Council