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New Hall Bridgewater

As a current member of the Finance Council and I was on the first Parish Pastoral Council when the Bridgewater Church was built, I was at the meeting on last Thursday the 7th to view the concept plans explained by the architect John Icopetta. I was very impressed with the trouble that he had taken to select the best spot on a difficult site, taking into account all the legal requirements while keeping costs to a minimum. I was also delighted with the overall appearance of his concept in keeping with the character of the church. However I felt there was a degree of confusion and doubt from some of the people at the meeting. Birdwood has had a meeting room for many years and I was also heavily involved in the planning and building of the new Mary O’Dea centre recently. With that background I would like to share my thoughts on the necessity and advantages of a hall or meeting area.

I know that there will always be some who stay around the front of the church after Mass to catch up with friends and share ideas or even make comments, perhaps that the homily was pretty good. One of the eight steps of the renewal program covers ‘Welcoming’. So here is a golden opportunity to put that into action, show Christian concern for members of our Parish family and score a big tick when we report why we are planning a hall.

A hall is a great way to catch up with a new face, hear a piece of good news, learn of somebody who is sick and may need help, perhaps a visit with Communion, in fact a whole range of issues. All of this is so much more comfortable in winter or on a hot day with a drink and a biscuit in a comfortable hall.

There are many more regular uses:

Children’s Liturgy at Mass,

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd current has around thirty children each week during term time and needs space for their activities which is badly lacking at the moment.

Regular meetings of the CWL ladies.

The youth group will be delighted with a better meeting area.

Fund raising events will be possible.

Fr. Fred conducts at least two retreats each year and has to hire the Village Well facility—why not at our own place?

An area to gather after a funeral service was mentioned at the meeting but as you can see there are many other reasons why a meeting room is almost essential for the Christian life of the Parish.

I am so used to having a meeting room at Birdwood and see it as an essential package for a vibrant parish life. However when there has never been one at Bridgewater, I suppose you get out of the way of appreciating this. Now we have the chance, we should grab it with both hands.

LEON HOLMES

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