Thoughts and Information

Prepared by Lorraine MacMillan


The following report draws together the thoughts, expressions, and concerns from parishioners in St Ninian’s Parish, Knightswood, Glasgow, regarding looking back at the decline in attendance numbers in recent past years, and particularly considering the effect of the global pandemic COVID 19.

With direction from Father Francis Balmer, the Parish Council undertook planning meetings to agree and plan a course of action to gather the requested information from parishioners to be presented as required.  Throughout the process and each meeting prayers were said to enable God’s voice to be heard through the spoken word.

After feedback we looked at ‘Synodality’ – what is it? What’s the plan? What does it mean to belong to the Church? – ‘being’ a Church that fulfils our desires. We have each an equal dignity and are called to walk together in equality, recognising the equal dignity of all those who make up our Church (the people of God).

It was felt that our equal dignity suggests that this Synodal time can now be a time to promote equal responsibility throughout or Church communities. The whole life of the Church needs the contribution of every single person.

Listening to one another is just the start of our journey together with God’s Great Mercy.

The following is a summary of responses gathered from parishioners for the purpose of this report: 

Finding the good news and fullness of life in your own life:
  1. Ways that being a member of St Ninian’s enrich and support our life and spiritual growth:
    1. Friendship
    2. Communication with others.
    3. Bulletin – things happening in parish.
    4. Shared values bring a feeling of belonging to something.
    5. Structure to life – mass and services; sense of right and wrong; helps in making decisions affecting lifestyle, facing criticism; voicing own opinion.
    6. Regular devotions.
    7. Introducing children at an early age gives individuals support as they go through life.
    8. How much society in general has/is changing which affects how baptised people view their connection and practice of their faith.
  1. Family Participation:
    1. A creche for young parents/mothers.
    2. Families and children.
    3. More services during the week.
    4. Discussion groups: faith/current lifestyles/prayer/church history.
    5. People enjoy reaching out to others – this is made more possible through our faith and relationship with God.
    6. Ecumenical outreach through daily life situations and the social aspect with St Margaret’s.
    7. Awareness that people are slowly returning after lockdown however, many are still missing.
    8. A desire to be more inclusive.
    9. Awareness that many people are hurting and how we can reach out to them.
    10. Parish is a welcoming place for those already integrated into the community however, many are on the margins and somewhat anonymous.
  1. Other comments:
    1. To be able to contribute.
    2. To be positive, helpful, and hopeful.
    3. Social side lacking, bring back a social committee, young people, youth groups.
    4. To be listened to.
    5. Leaving church due to divorce, relationship break ups, feeling of not being listened to when this is the time that support/faith is most needed, feelings of rejection, losing faith. Feelings of not being allowed to participate, experiences of loss, knock on effects of the COVID 19 global pandemic.
    6. Marginalised groups i.e., deaf individuals – how do we reach out to include and engage?
    7. The church employing Community/Youth Workers to assist the church growth.
    8. Needing to be less judgemental when people’s practise is different to your own.
    9. Promotion of Third Order’s such as the Carmelite’s to give people a chance to reflect more on their Faith.
    10. Lived experience of God’s Mercy!
  1. Importance of including the negative impact on the Church from the past e.g.:
    1. Abuse in the Church
    2. Impact of COVID.
  1. Information and education needed in relation to the Church recognition that no one is excluded e.g.,
    1. LGBT
    2. irregular relationships
    3. disabilities
    4. cultures etc.
The message of God’s Mercy needs to be more central to the Good News.

The contents of the report pulled together by all members of the St Ninian’s Parish Pastoral Council members:

Sister Anne, Betty, Bernie, Joseph, Toni, Julie, Teresa, Zee, Carmella and Lorraine

Thanks to Father Frank and Deacon Tommy for direction and input, and to Father Paul Annis for his attendance and explanation on the Synod on Synodality to the Parish.