Pastoral Area Working Group: IMPORTANT UPDATE

Following on from the proposals brought forward by the Pastoral Area Working Group, the Archbishop has responded with a proposal for St. Agnes and St. Aidan's parishes to 'move towards becoming united'. What follows is the proposals that the parishes of St. Agnes and St. Aidan's offered and a copy of the letter from Archbishop Malcolm.

Published :  16/07/2015

Proposal from the Parishes of St Agnes & St Aidan
‘Much work has been done over the past seven years to bring the parish communities  of  St  Agnes  &  St  Aidan  together,  now  collaborating  in  most  of  the significant  areas  of  parish  life  and  mission.  After much  reflection  and  discussion by  the  joint  parish  pastoral  group,  and  in  response  to  the  challenge  of  the  2013 Huyton PAWG Pastoral Plan, we have reached the point where we feel the time
is right to ask the Archbishop to consult the Council of Priests with regard to the amalgamation of  the  parishes  of  St  Agnes and  St  Aidan  to  form  a  single  parish, preferably keeping the name: “The Parish of St Agnes & St. Aidan.”
If the union of the two parishes can be achieved, we would then propose two options for the Archbishop’s consideration:
1. Both parish communities as presently constituted are vibrant and have a healthy Mass attendance. The present St Aidan’s church building formerly the school hall, was condemned by the Council as unfit for purpose and was taken out of use.  It was subsequently re-fashioned to serve as the church.  Its structural faults, however, have proved an excessive drain on financial resources, and require further considerable expenditure.   Documentation to this effect can be provided.  Before wasting further resources on a building unfit for purpose, we propose that it be demolished and a new church built on the site to serve the community, maintaining the good relationship with the two parish schools which are nearby. St Agnes church, under this proposal would, of course, remain.

2. If, however, we were allowed to dream, the proposal that has been a key discussion point in our joint pastoral team, and that has gained most support and enthusiasm, is to build a new church closer to the
town centre, demolishing both St Agnes & St Aidan’s church buildings. While the St Aidan's building is clearly unfit, there is also a tremendous amount of expenditure needed for essential repairs to St Agnes
building.   This option would place us right where the people are in the centre of Huyton, where they meet, work and shop. It holds the exciting possibility for an open church in their midst, offering multiple
opportunities for outreach at the heart of the community. There  is  a  good  model  and  precedent  for  such  a  move,  as  happened  in Kirkby with the creation of the church of St Michael & All Angels and the
demolishing  of  the  churches  of  Holy  Angels  &  St  Michael.  We  would  ask Archbishop Malcolm to give it serious consideration.’

Fr Anton and SS Agnes & Aidan's PAWG members

Following is the letter from Archbishop Malcom:

26th June 2015
Dear Fr. Chris,

Thank you very much for attending the Archbishop’s Council meeting yesterday and presenting the report for Huyton Pastoral Area. As you are aware the Archbishop’s council was very enthusiastic about the amalgamation of St Columba & St John Fisher and St Agnes & St Aidan’s parishes. I would, therefore, be very grateful if those parishes could move towards becoming united as proposed.

We welcome the enthusiasm which St Agnes and St Aidan’s Parish Pastoral Team showed in their addendum to the proposals and I know at first-hand how enthusiastic the people are in these parishes from my recent visits. I would very much like those parishes to work towards having one church and in the first instance I think it would be prudent for them to consider the possibility of developing St Agnes’ church rather than looking for a new site. It is not my wish to dampen the ardour of the Pastoral Team but working within existing resources is very important for the church at the present time.

Once again, thank you very much for the thought and consideration that you have given to the proposals and will you please thank the parish priests, the religious sisters and the people who have worked so hard to come to these conclusions.

With all good wishes and every blessing,

Yours sincerely

+ Malcolm

Archbishop of Liverpool.

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