The first meeting of the Wellington & Wiveliscombe Parish Forum was held on 6th May 1998.  Since then it has met four times a year, wherever possible, to fulfill its agreed mission statement and responsibilities, namely:

Mission Statement

To be a united and coordinated Roman Catholic Community, spreading the word of God through practical mission wheresoever we are.


  1. Helping the Parish to discern its mission by listening carefully to the needs of all its parishioners and those of the local community, and to work out a common vision and priorities together.

  2. Encouraging the kind of open, trusting and caring relationships which are characteristic of genuine community.

  3. Fostering a climate of acceptance, affirmation and encouragement in which people will be empowered to recognise their, and others', gifts for the good of the community and the glory of God.

  4. Ensuring there are opportunities for people to grow in a faith that links with everyday life.

  5. Working together to provide a communication structure within the Parish through which everyone can be involved in consultation and appropriate decision making.





(AGM. lower down.)


St John Fisher, Wellington & St Richard, Wiveliscombe

Saturday March 17th 2012                10.00 a.m.

attending: Fr Vincent, Liz Berry, James Corry, Geoff Gunn. Margaret Gunn, Alma Hamilton (minutes), Mary Hutchings, Julia Tucker (Chair), Adrian Kellett, Andrew Marsh, Mary Ravnkilde, Chris Rimmer, Deirdre Roberts, Chris Shackleton, Jackie & Steve Tapsfield.

  1. Opening Prayer, Julia Tucker.
  2. Apologies:  Anita Abrams,  Jill Bryce, Sheri Corry, Paddy Finnegan, Peter & Veronica Gaywood,  Jim Hawkins, Eileen & Clive Hewitt, Pat Howard, Trish Longley, Jan Rimmer, Sue Marsh, Monica Spalding,
    William, Noreen & Angela White.
  3. Minutes of 2011 A.G.M.  Approved and seconded.
  4. Matters Arising:  item 5, Treasurer’s Report:   Funding to be found for security doors to be fitted at St John Fisher (Presbytery & Sacristy) and for the sacristy at St Richard’s.
  5. Treasurer’s Report & Accounts.  James Corry (Treasurer) thanked those who count the Sunday collections.  He reported that the amount allocated for electrical work had been spent but projected spending on the back garden had been deferred.  Fuel bills had risen slightly but not as much as projected, due to the mild winter.  Second collections were slightly down.  There had been no response at all to the autumn appeal for more parishioners to sign up for Gift Aid; more commitments would greatly improve parish finances. People claiming expenses eg. for church flowers, can Gift Aid the amount through the Parish Office.  Parishioners need to be encouraged to conscientiously plan their church giving.

It was suggested that appeals could be made or fund-raising events organised to finance specific needs.

There was a vote of thanks to James and the Finance Group.  Proposed by Mary Hutchings. seconded by Mary Ravnkilde.

  1.  Group Reports:  a) Social Committee.  Various events have been planned for the coming months, publicised in both churches.

b)  CAFOD.  No report.  Fund raising soup lunches continue on Lent Fridays; a Quiz Evening and a raffle are planned; for a limited period, the Government will match £ for £ the amount raised for Cafod’s Lent project.

     c)  Welcomers.  More are needed.  Geoff Gunn reported that many latecomers to mass prefer to stand at the back or in the porch even when seats are available.

     d)  Liturgy Group.  The Children’s Liturgy urgently need more leaders and helpers.  Leaders and those who do sacramental preparation would need to be trained catechists.  There is a catechists’ course in Bristol;  the Skills Survey may prompt people to think of enrolling for this. There is a considerable time commitment involved but travel expenses can be claimed.

     e)  Bible Study.  At present, the Group are hosting the parish Lent course, ‘Open our Hearts’.  15 people are regularly attending this scripture-based faith-sharing programme, including 2 welcome participants from other local churches.

     f)  Magazine.  No report.  The Group are hoping to produce a new edition after Easter.

    g)  Fair Trade.  Sales are well organised at Wiveliscombe.  It is hoped to re-establish the monthly Fair Trade stall at St John Fisher soon.  More volunteers are needed.  Lack of space is a problem, as before.

    h)  Churches Together in Wellington & District.  No report and no reps present.

Fr Vincent noted that reps from each group should be asked, as a matter of course, to submit a report to A.G.M./Forum meetings.                                                                                                                            Action: Administrator.


Question Boxes.

Q.                     Could a group be formed to make sure that parishioners living alone are contacted regularly? 

A.                     An organised group was not thought to be necessary.  Such contacts happen informally.

Q.                     Could hymn books be kept in neat piles on the bench ends (St John Fisher) ready for use, instead of being handed out by the Welcomers?

A.                 It was decided to try this arrangement for 2 months, beginning immediately.

Parish Charitable Projects.

CAFOD was approved as an on-going commitment. 

St Margaret’s Hospice was adopted as a local project.  Liz Burns’ fund-raising trek in aid of the Hospice was turned down because of difficulties with timing.

Friends of the Holy Land, proposed by Adrian Kellett, was adopted as our international project.  This charity gives aid to needy Christian families in the Holy Land.  Their admin.costs are low as the charity is run by local groups in Catholic & Anglican parishes in this country liasing with parishes in the Holy Land.  Supported by the Bishops. (Leaflets available in both churches)

Fr Vincent noted that the 10% of collections now allocated to our charitable projects may have to be reduced in the future because of parish financial difficulties.

C.R.B. Checks are now nearly complete for parishioners in contact with children and/or vulnerable adults.  Fr. Vincent thanked people for their co-operation with this process and Jan Rimmer was thanked for her work.

Parish Mission Statement.  There was no time for the planned discussion. At a Sunday mass soon,  parishioners are to be given a tick box list to indicate what think should be included in the statement. Those attending the Forum were invited to submit suggestions by Tuesday March 20th  for inclusion in the list. There would be no opportunity for input  from those not present at the Forum.                                                                                                                                                                                                 Action: P.P.C.

The Forum ended with the Angelus at 12.00 noon.

The date of the next Forum is to be announced later




Parish of St John Fisher, Wellington & St Richard, Wiveliscombe. 


 Present: Fr. Vincent, Monica Spalding (Facilitator), Peter Gaywood, Veronica Gaywood, Mary Ravnkilde, Anita Abrams, Geoff Gunn, Margaret Gunn, Mary Hutchings, Julia Tucker, Mark Yvon, Eileen Hewitt, Andrew Marsh, Alma Hamilton (minutes) 

Apologies: William & Noreen White, Angela White, Jill Bryce, Trish Longley, Paddy Finnegan, Sue Marsh, Deirdre Roberts. 


The Forum began with mass in church at 9.15 a.m. using the new rite, followed by tea & coffee in the Parish Room.

At 10.15, Monica Spalding (Facilitator) welcomed those present and outlined the programme for the morning. She encouraged a positive attitude to the changes; change in itself is often difficult. She explained that the process of revision had been under way for some years. The main aim was to bring the language closer to the words of the Latin mass in order to bring out a greater depth of meaning. Translation in itself is always difficult and, in this case, complicated by variations in spoken English in different parts of the world.

Part 1. Questions, comments and suggestions.
Use of the new books would encourage us to focus on the words.
It would be useful to have the number of the Eucharistic prayer on the board.
Most other European countries had revised the words of their liturgy.
Some phrases in the new form are closer to the first post-Vatican 2 translation and more scriptural.
Fr Vincent commented that many of the ‘new’ Latinised words had a deeper theological meaning than the ones we are used to.
Some European languages are closer to Latin, so their ‘new’ liturgies needed less revision to bring them into line.
Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence so must be noted.
We will need a short pause before the creed so that we can remember to begin with ‘I believe’ rather than ‘we believe’ as at present.
Fr Vincent hoped that The Sign of Peace will be more restrained.
Music settings used at present don’t fit the new words. New settings will be used. Some are circulating but not yet approved in England.
To end the lectionary readings, ‘the Word of the Lord’ seems abrupt, but is more of a proclamation than ‘This is the Word of the Lord.’ It was noted that this new ending takes us further away from forms of worship in other churches.
How could we encourage more attentive listening to the scripture readings? Possibly themes could be highlighted before the mass began.
Should the Church be putting so much time, effort and money into changing the liturgy when there are more urgent social and global needs? Would the new liturgy attract more people, especially the young? The laity were not consulted about the process.
There were strong feelings about this.
Perhaps our soon-to-be-redundant mass books could be sent to developing countries?
Was it right to be concentrating on verbal niceties rather than on the values of the gospel?

Part 2. We divided into small groups to study different sections of the ‘new’ mass and then reported back to the whole group.

It was noted that:
The Penitential Act seemed to over-emphasise sin.
Was salvation for ‘all’ (as at present) or for ‘many’? If only for the ‘many’, who was being excluded? But ‘many’ was closer to the original Latin.
Perhaps the offering of the gifts could be done in a more meaningful way, in order to emphasise our offering of ourselves and our lives?
Silence is a valuable part of the mass – perhaps a respectful silence before and after mass should be encouraged and also kept at certain points in the liturgy, such as after the sermon and during the Bidding Prayers?

In conclusion, it was hoped that the new words and forms would help us to grow in our understanding of the liturgy and to deepen our faith.
Monica thanked those present for coming to the Forum and for participating in the discussions.

The Forum ended with the Angelus at 12.00 noon.


Parish of St John Fisher, Wellington & St Richard, Wiveliscombe. 


Present: Fr. Vincent, Monica Spalding (Facilitator), Peter Gaywood, Veronica Gaywood, Mary Ravnkilde, Anita Abrams, Geoff Gunn, Margaret Gunn, Mary Hutchings, Julia Tucker, Mark Yvon, Eileen Hewitt, Andrew Marsh, Alma Hamilton (minutes)

Apologies: William & Noreen White, Angela White, Jill Bryce, Trish Longley, Paddy Finnegan, Sue Marsh, Deirdre Roberts.


The Forum began with mass in church at 9.15 a.m. using the new rite, followed by tea & coffee in the Parish Room.

Saturday June 12th 2010.

The meeting was held in St Richard’s, Wiveliscombe and began with mass at 9.15.

22 parishioners attended: Fr. Bob, Pat Howard, Brenda Towler, Monica Spalding, Peter Gaywood, Adrian Kellett, John Crabtree , Mary Crabtree, Mary Ravnkilde, Mary Hutchings, Eileen Hewitt , Clive Hewitt, Sue Marsh, Andrew Marsh , Margaret Gunn, Geoff Gunn, Jenny Donnelly, Ollie Donnelly, Janet Lee , Anita Abrams, Alma Hamilton, Angela White

7 apologies: Paddy Finnegan, Julia Tucker, Jill Bryce, Noreen & William White, Anna O’Donoghue, Mark Yvon.

The parish welcomed as speakers two of our Diocesan deacons, Deacon Ken Fowler from Ilminster, who will shortly be coming to us in Wellington/Wiveliscombe for 3 days a week, and Deacon Vincent Woods , who belongs to the Minehead parish.

Deacon Ken outlined the history of the diaconate from biblical times.  Deacons had to be of good character, sober and good family men. At first they were used for practical tasks such as collecting relief for the poor, distributing the consecrated bread and teaching the catechumens (people under instruction to join the Christian churches.).  Their role developed as Christianity grew. It was a servant ministry, carrying out the wishes of the episcopai (bishops) often as adminisrators or representatives.  Under persecution, many were martyred.

By the Middle Ages their role had declined as the role of priests grew in importance.  In Europe , deacons were consecrated men on the way to priestly ordination.  Their role was revived again in the 20th century by the teaching of Vatican 2, although even now not fully implemented in some places. 

After the coffee break, Deacon Vincent explained how men are selected and trained for the diaconate. They have to be 30+ if single or 35+ if married but with no small children under 5.  People who are ambitious to be deacons are not usually right for the job;  those who see the need to go through some period of discernment may be better.  Unlike priests in training, they have to be financially self-supporting. Again, unlike priests, once ordained and appointed to a parish, they cannot be moved, in recognition of their family commitments.

  Their role in any parish varies according to local needs, a mixture of liturgical, pastoral and administrative duties.  Deacons can administer the sacraments of baptism and marriage, conduct funerals, distribute communion and take communion to the sick, conduct marriage preparation  but not  preside at the eucharist, absolve or anoint. Some of these roles now overlap what the laity can do by virtue of their baptism.  Because of the declining numbers of priests in Western Europe most bishops have recognised the growing usefulness of deacons in parish life. It was noted that many of the laity in most parishes – and even some of the priests – do not yet fully understand the role of a deacon.

Questions followed on the role of women, priestly celibacy, pastoral assistants and clergy wives.

There followed a short session on the ‘who-does-what’ document –‘Parish Provision Document 3’ -  initiated by the Parish Pastoral Council – which explores how the parish will function when we have no resident parish priest.  This is the 3rd part of a year-long process to take forward the ideas, questions and comments of parishioners at the Parish Meeting in June 2009.  The next step, under way by the P.P.C., will be a skills survey to invite parishioners to commit their talents, time and energy to ensure the smooth and effective running of the parish in the future. 

The meeting ended at 12 noon with the Angelus.  


Parish Annual Meeting held in the Parish Room on March 6th 2010.

Mass was celebrated in church at 10.00 am.


Present:  Fr. Bob, Monica Spalding (Chair), Mary Ravnkilde, Pat Leigh, Margaret Gunn, Geoff Gunn, Justine Macfarlane, Eileen Hewitt, Julia Tucker, Trish Longley, Mary Hutchings, Jim Hawkins, Janet Lee, Mark Yvon, Deirdre Roberts, Steven Tapsfield, Jackie Tapsfield, Peter Gaywood, Alma Hamilton, Sue Marsh, Andrew Marsh, Rachel Parvin.

1.     Fr Bob opened the meeting with a biblical prayer.

2.     Apologies:  Florence Ford, Anna O’Donoghue, Jill Bryce, James Corry, Sheri Corry, Chris Shackleton, Adrian Kellett.

3.     Minutes of the 2009 A.G.M. were approved.

4.     Matters Arising:  4:3 Outreach  The presentation ‘What the Papers Say’ was crowded out by other parish events but may take place later.  6: Treasurer’s Report   Boxes for church flower donations will put in place.                                                        Action: Monica& Mark

7: Parish Projects.  It was agreed that there should be more feed back from the people proposing the accepted projects. Projects to be called ‘Parish Charitable Projects.’  8: Question Boxes  A food collection at harvest time will considered by the P.P.C. later this year.                                                                                                Action: PPC

5: Ramp at St Richard’s.  Mark will check with Pearl Wilson’s son whether the church can still have use of the ramp.  Action: Mark

5.     Treasurer’s Report & Accounts for 2009; Budget for 2010.  These were prepared by James Corry (Treasurer), presented by Jim Hawkins’ in James’ absence.  

Summary:   The main source of income is the offertory collections.  This year’s giving (2009) was down by 4% to £22,000.  2nd collections rose to £6,804 compared with £5,606.  The new Diocesan contract for gas and electricity should reduce costs.  The Finance Group is considering the likely impact on parish finances of Fr Bob’s leaving in September.  Some of the recent legacy money has been spent on the Parish Room carpet and  book trolley (St John Fisher’s) and a loop system (St Richard’s).  

A detailed budget sheet is available in both churches.

6.     Questions on the finances.    

In response to questions it was noted that:1. the increase in the parish deficit causes concern and needs to be tackled, possibly by attracting new parishioners through distributing ‘Welcome’ leaflets in new areas of the town, by suggesting more people set up Standing Orders for their offertory gifts and encouraging conscientious use of the envelopes. 

 Action: PPC & F&GP

2. The presbytery would not be available for rent because the new deacon will be living there, probably part time.  3.  The deacon’s salary will be paid for by the Diocese but running costs, by the Parish.  4.  The high cost of supply priests was noted; this is under review.                                                                                            Action: F&GP

5.  The changes to the mass timetable have had some financial impact through a number of parishioners attending mass elsewhere.  6. Votive candles are paid from the Sacristy budget.  7.  Publications always show a deficit because papers, magazines and C.T.S. booklets sell slowly.

James was to be thanked for preparing the Treasurer’s Report and Accounts.  Proposed by Geoff Gunn, seconded by Mary Hutchings.

7. Reports from parish groups.

a.     Youth.  The Kingfishers’ Group has suddenly declined, which is disappointing.  This may be due to more participation in Sunday sport or to changes in the mass timetable.  Latecomers to church need to be encouraged to take their children into the Children’s Liturgy.  Perhaps sacramental programmes start too young so that 9-11 year olds have become disaffected.                                                          Action: PPC

b.     Liturgy.  The Advent penitential service was poorly attended; perhaps it was too early in the season.  A Lent Penitential Service is planned for Tuesday March 30th at 7.30 pm in St John Fisher’s.  Lent provision also includes weekly Holy Hours, Tuesday Cake & CAfé Evenings, Stations of the Cross on Fridays in both churches and the Lent study programme on Thursday afternoons (this year with ecumenical invitation from our Bible Study Group.).  Exposition can be arranged at St John Fisher church on Saturdays during confessions if one or two people can commit themselves to be present from 10.30 – 11.30 am.

c.      Ecumenical.  A successful Women’s World Day of Prayer had just been held; the speaker (in Wellington ) was Isidore Obi.  The Good Friday Walk of Witness will begin at Wellington Baptist Church and end at St John the Baptist Parish Church with refreshments at   A pre-election meeting will be held at the Baptist church on Sunday March 28 at 6.00 pm for Wellington church members in the Taunton constituency to question local candidates.

Questions (from those who intend to be present) to be submitted in advance in writing. (Details of this later)  

d.     R.C.I.A.   One candidate is being prepared for reception into the church at Easter.  She attended the Rite of Election service at Clifton Cathedral.

e.     St Richard’s Liason Group has met.  It includes Fr Bob, 2 P.P.C. members and other members of the Wiveliscombe congregation. It will plan local fund-raising events, look after the church buildings and liase with the P.P.C.  Communications between the 2 churches will have to be revised when the churches are being served each Sunday by different priests.   

f.       Fair Trade.  Goods are collected from Wellington Methodist Church .  They sell well at St John Fisher’s but less well at St Richard’s.  All tea, coffee, and  biscuits served in both churches need to be Fair Trade for the parish to keep its registered Fair Trade status.  (The Co-op and Asda also sell some Fair Trade food.  Paprika sells Traidcraft gifts.)  A display of Fair Trade and Traidcraft products was planned for Sunday March 7th in the Parish Room after the 11.15 mass.

Rachel was thanked for her hard work in organising the Fair Trade sales.

                   Additional.  More flower arrangers are needed.   Action: Monica

     8.     Parish Projects for 2010

Presentations were given on three charities and it was agreed that these would be our Parish Charitable Projects for the coming year:

·        Voluntary Service in Ghana for disabled support; 

·        Fr. Pedro training missionaries in Peru

·        Madagascar water, health, etc, support 

·        CaFOD is also on going. 

9.     Questions from the boxes.  None submitted.

10.   Future Events.  NB the current Parish Diary, is available in the porch.      Everyone should have one.

i.                    Café and Cake evenings. Last one on Tuesday March 9th, 7.30 pm in the Parish Room.  The organisers were thanked.

ii.                   Parish Forum: Saturday June 12th.  The Work of a Parish Deacon.  Permanent Deacons Ken Fowler & Vincent Woods.

iii.                 Lent Penitential Service.  See 8b above.

iv.                Isidore Obi’s ordination to the diaconate in St George’s , Taunton on Thursday May 13th at 7.00 pm.

v.                 Holy Hours in Lent on Wednesdays at 7.30 pm in St John Fisher’s.

vi.                Lent course: Love for the Future, continuing each Thursday in Lent.(but not in Holy Week.) 2.30 –4.00pm in the Parish Room.

11.    Fr Bob’s address to the Parish.

Fr Bob reminded us that this would be his last address to the parish before retiring in September.  He outlined his own plans for the future.

He thanked Monica Spalding for taking over the Chairmanship of the P.P.C  after the death of David Hamilton, and also thanked all the active people of the parish for their commitment to building up the local church community. Old embattled attitudes must be shed.  The church must be open and welcoming.

12.    A.O.B.                            

i.                    Anna O’Donohue and the Parish Magazine Group have decided to produce only 2 copies of the Parish Magazine instead of 3 as at present.  New editions will be on sale in June and early Advent.         Action: Parish Magazine Group.

ii.                   Monica noted that the PPC will revise the format of the Parish Forum in response to comments from parishioners.                   Action: PPC

13.   Date of the next A.G.M. meeting.  Saturday March 5th 2011.

The meeting ended at 12.15 with the Angelus.