Volunteering, groups, and guilds
Living out our baptismal vocation first of all means being missionary disciples in our ordinary everyday lives: acting, speaking, and thinking as followers of Jesus Christ.
But as part of our local parish community, we can add to this by volunteering to help with specific roles that make up the life of the local church. Some such roles are listed below. If you would like to volunteer or feel able to help with any of them please get in touch. The more people who help with these roles the stronger our community becomes and the more included people feel.
Some of the roles take place as part of a group, such as flower arranging, or as part of a guild such as being an altar server. These provide a community and social aspect to the role as people mix with each other and carry out their roles together. This can help people feel included even more in the life of the church.
Over this Summer we plan to have renewal days for the volunteers in our parish, coming together for a bar-b-que and reflecting and praying together on the roles we have taken on.
These people help others to explore and understand the faith. They need to have a reasonable understanding of the faith themselves but more importantly they need to have experience of having lived the faith - there will always be others who can answer more theological questions. Some are catechists helping the young families who meet at the GIFT meetings on a Saturday morning once a month at St Nicholas school. Others help teenagers explore the faith in preparation for the sacrament of confirmation. Others help in the fortnightly Monday meetings for those who are already Catholics and who want to think more about their faith and who meet after mass in Sacred Heart lower room. Others help adults prepare for baptism or reception into full communion with the catholic church.
Baptism and Marriage preparation catechists
These people form groups who host days maybe four times a year
to help those who approach the church to get married
or have their baby baptised, to prepare for the step they are taking.
Childrens' liturgy of the word catechists
These help smaller children during the first part of the
0915 Sunday mass to think about the message of the
bible readings in ways which are age appropriate
Welcomers at mass
This is one of the most important roles in the church and can have life changing impacts, that is being one of the people who welcome those who come to mass. It is especially important that anyone who is new or nervous is given a warm non judgemental welcome. We need more welcomers for the Saturday night mass in particular, but also for the two Sunday morning masses. Some welcomers also double up as fire wardens and appointed persons, who in the case of fire help people evacuate the church, and make sure someone calls for the emergency services when they are needed..
We are not required by the diocesan health and safety policy to have first aiders, but it is a good thing if there are some present at mass. The diocese can provide training if people want to volunteer for this role
Money counters and money baggers
Money counters meet at a convenient time during the week in pairs to count and bank the mass collections. The money baggers work in pairs after each mass to transfer the collections from the collection bags to secure money bags and deposit them in the safe ready for collection by the counters. We desperately need more money baggers but we could also do with more counters to spread the load.
We have one sacristan for the 0915 Sunday, but we could do with one more, and we need a couple of sacristans for each of the other two Sunday masses. This role involves preparing the church for mass, putting out the chalices and books and so on.
At the moment we have a couple of people who take the linen we use at mass
to clean it ready for use next time. we could do with more people to share this role.
We have a great faithful team of cleaners who clean the church after mass on Wednesdays, but we can always do with more. It is a most important role which brings out the beauty of the church which in turn helps those who come to have their hearts lifted to God.
A particular sort of cleaning which we have no-one to do at the moment is silver and brass polishing to keep the sacred vessels looking their best
As with any building there are always snagging jobs to do which can be done in house. Those who fulfil this role do many small and medium jobs around the buildings to keep everything in good repair and working properly
A team of arrangers meets on Saturday mornings to look after the beautiful flowers they
provide in church. They are always happy to welcome new volunteers
Altar servers and readers at mass
We have both adult and child altar servers and mass readers. Servers help with the different tasks that have to be done in the ceremonies of the mass and readers read the scripture readings. We welcome any new servers, but especially we need more mass readers particularly young readers.
At both Sunday morning masses we have musicians who provide the music and lead the singing for the mass. Both groups would welcome more to join them.
Eucharistic ministers and eucharistic stewards
Eucharistic ministers distribute the body and blood of the Lord at mass. Some also take the sacrament to the housebound. Eucharistic stewards help to ensure that non catholics do not mistakenly come to communion and walk away with the host through not knowing what they are doing. This is a new ministry which is becoming necessary because in large churches like ours there are increasingly more people from outside the catholic church who are coming to explore, and this ministry helps both to make them welcome and also ensures we are good stewards of the mysteries of God.
It is possible for individuals to volunteer to take care of some particular aspect of parish life or activity that is not listed here, such as "cleaning and refilling a specific candle stand", "keeping a specific item clean and polished e.g. the sanctuary lamp above the altar", "keeping the chairs in tidy rows", "emptying the votive candle money boxes", and so on. If you have an idea of something that would suit you in particular just suggest it.
If you would like to volunteer for any of these roles or want to find out more, speak to one of the welcomers at mass or one of the priests, or fill in this form.