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Chatteris desire for a Church

1979 - Fr Smith informs Bishop that the Anglican Vicar offered Catholics first refusal on mission hall in Chatteris. £3000 in kitty; perhaps could sell presbytery. Bishop suggests keeping the two issues apart and think through whether this is needed pastorally. 1981 - Bishop not for a new church in Chatteris; summary (unsigned but probably by Fr Peter Wilson) sets out position regarding loan & anonymous donation - there is friction as some in Chatteris congregation believe they were promised a Church and they were saving for it. Frank Molyneux (parishioner who does the parish accounts) supports Fr Smith's view that Chatteris retention of collection funds (as allowed by Fr Donald Hillier) did not benefit the parish as a whole. Fr Smith understands that this situation arose back in Fr Gaffney's time. Two letters from parishioners (Green & Rudd) set out the Chatteris perspective on the expectation for their own Church. Fr Smith hopes to take a shorthand writer to take notes at a meeting with parishioners in April. He will make his & the Bishop's position clear. It was a difficult meeting. Bishop asks Fr Smith to "Cool it": concentrate on Sisters' arrival and Presbytery nearing completion. Fr Peter Wilson will be brought in to aid Fr Smith. FR Smith is disappointed in the Chatteris people who cling to the desire for their own Church - but not enough to form a sustainable congregation. But at least he now knows who the agitators are. 1988 - suggestion of sharing Church with the Anglicans - this would replace the community hall they currently use in Chatteris. The vicar, Fr Myhill, will discuss it with his council and understands the Bishop makes the final call. Bishop good with the idea; there are a few considerations, but Fr Smith can explore the opportunity. The PCC meeting minutes support the idea but "no poaching by either side" and "no incense at any time"! Bishop says go ahead for a 3 to 5 year trial.

Smith, James M Rev