All posts by admin

PAG Constitution

It is laid down that every parish must have a Finance Committee to assist the Parish Priest in the administration of the goods of the parish.  The Constitution of the Finance Committee is governed by universal canon law and by the norms laid down by the Bishop.

For greater detail on its responsibilities, please click the link below


Gift Aid planning

The article from our Treasurer in the recent Three Parish Magazine (Issue 16, page 14) and also copied here on the website, will explain why the decision was taken to discontinue the weekly Gift Aid donations. It is through the Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme or ‘GASDS’, that our three parishes can now, within certain parameters, claim back tax from cash put anonymously into the plate at Mass.

You will appreciate that the weekly donation process has been running at a cost to the three parishes for such items as envelope purchase, the time given by volunteers, the keeping of weekly records of each parishioner’s donations, the counting arrangements and storage of used envelopes for seven years for audit purposes.

But there is, a potential difficulty with the GASDS plate arrangement in that there is an annual ceiling figure per parish above which tax cannot be claimed.  However! The arrangement for individuals who make Gift Aid donations has not altered and here there is no ceiling, except for that within each individual’s tax arrangements.

There are continuing advantages therefore to the parish of Gift Aid giving by Bank Standing Order, so if you are a regular donor, may we request you consider transfer to a Bank Standing Order arrangement?  It would be of considerable help to our parishes at a time of falling revenues in a rough world.

If you used to be a weekly Gift Aid donor, to give by monthly Bank Standing Order, there is no need to sign the Gift Aid Declaration form again.  It is just a matter of completing the Banker’s Order and also making a copy of the same form for our Treasurer so that he knows to expect the new donation.

Bank Standing Orders (BSO)

If you would like to transfer to a monthly, quarterly or annual donation, please would you 1) inform your Bank using the BSO form for the Parish you attend and 2) make a copy the same information for our Treasurer (Col Brian Williams). 

For the copy to the Treasurer, please forward the form and address it to ‘The Treasurer’ at: The Office, St Mary’s RC Church, Lyme Road, Axminster, EX13 5BE, in an envelope marked ‘In Confidence’.

For copies of the BSO form, these are available from:  Peter Porteous for Axminster;  Mike Hamerton for Lyme Regis;  Tom or Julie Dunnon at Seaton.

Please Note:  Our three parishes have unique BSO forms as they give the Bank details for each of our parishes.  If you would prefer to set up your BSO on line, then you will need the number from the paper form.  Please also remember to get a copy to the Treasurer!

PPC Constitution

PASTORAL COUNCIL CONSTITUTION     The Axminster, Lyme Regis and Seaton Parishes Pastoral Council has a new written constitution, designed to enable parishioners to support our clergy more and to contribute to the running of the parishes.  The document is on display at the back of each church, and can be found at the link below.  It may take a few moments to open.



Bishop Christopher – Autumn 2016

Img_0008I have been invited to pen a few words for this section of your Three Parish Newsletter, a section that hitherto has been reserved for Father Michael.

My first thoughts are about the gap that has been created by Fr. Michael’s death which has left all three parish communities without a proper pastor. I am sure a new one will be sent in good time and we should direct our personal and communal prayer for that intention. In the meanwhile, under the administrative gaze of Canon Paul Cummins, we ‘oldies’ will offer what ministry we can.  For me it is a privilege to be available to you for such a ministry.

The year of mercy, inaugurated by Pope Francis on Dec 8th 2015 is now over half way through. The question that hovers in my mind is what has its impact been so far. To give an adequate answer would involve speaking to a lot of people. As that would be difficult, it is more manageable to talk about hopes and aspirations that it has aroused to be realised in the future. This jubilee is due to come to an end in November with the Feast of Christ the King, but if it has had any impact at all we should be able to see its results well into the years ahead.

So what do we hope the lasting fruits of this year of mercy to be? I will mention three but I am sure there will be many more.

PP Numbers1The first issue that I would like to mention concerns the way we think about God. Have our dominant images / ideas of God been in any way changed or developed? Pope Francis and others have regularly encouraged us to use ‘mercy’ as the most important and all-embracing name of God. We are encouraged to say ‘God is mercy’. There is however a problem. If God is total mystery, it is difficult to claim that we can accurately capture the reality of God with any of our images and ideas. God is totally beyond us and any ideas or images we have are necessarily provisional and certainly inadequate.

Calling God mercy however is backed up by the revelation of God in the face of the One who is mercy in flesh, God made man, Jesus.   In the document setting up the Jubilee year, Pope Francis starts with the phrase Miserericordiae Vultus, the face of mercy, which of course is Jesus. We know God as mercy particularly from Jesus. The issue for us is whether we have allowed the revelation of God as mercy in Jesus to form the way we think about God. This sort of fundamental truth is worth engaging with now and into the years ahead. The Pope’s most recent document about Family, Amoris Laetitia, following two Synods, is coloured by mercy-thinking. We need to allow this sort of thinking to exercise the way we think of God and let it deal with the wrong sort of fear which can so often bedevil our relationship with God our Father.

PP Numbers2

If mercy, what about sin! This is an unpopular issue because it runs against a dominant image of ourselves as ‘how great we are’. Without in any way diminishing the manifold achievements of much human endeavour, we do have to acknowledge a flaw in us, individually and collectively, that poises a question mark against ‘our greatness’. We call this reality sin and it needs remedy from outside ourselves. This remedy lies deep in the heart of God and is made available in the person of Jesus Christ and the Spirit that comes to us from the Father and the Son. A jubilee year does not focus on human sinfulness; its core is the loving God which says to us ‘mercy’.  It is in the light of God’s merciful love that the true nature and extent of our sinfulness comes to light and we are enabled to deal with it. Hence conversion, new beginnings, prayer, penance (including the Sacrament of Reconciliation), pilgrimage etc. are necessarily an important part of the celebration of this jubilee year. It is only in the light of the mercy of God that we can own and deal with our sinfulness.

PP Numbers3

Thirdly and intimately connected with the two previous points is the place and nature of prayer in our lives. The jubilee year is an invitation to allow our praying to become more contemplative. This means that our prayer becomes quieter, more fully focused on God and to be given an assured space in the daily reality of our lives. All this is easier said than done! Our liturgical prayer is by nature communal and our personal prayer, which flows from and into our liturgy, needs to be ‘a remedy’ to the frenetic, hyperactive lives most of us are involved in. We are made for interior silence as well as good works and one without the other can be damaging to our humanity

A final word of thanks to Fr. Michael for his ministry among us. I was privileged to be his bishop when he started seminary formation, when he was ordained in 1993 and when he came to our three lovely communities of Axminster, Lyme Regis and Seaton. May he rest in peace.

Gift Aid – GASDS

The Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS)

As part of the Plymouth Diocesan Trust our three parishes are eligible to apply for a Gift Aid top-up on Loose Plate collections without requiring from individual donors  a declaration that they are paying sufficient income tax to cover the amounts they donate each year. This means that for many of us who are not signed into the long-standing Gift Aid scheme, the money placed onto the offertory plate can now  attract a 25% top-up from the Government through HMRC.

The Scheme, which is a Government initiative and can be withdrawn at some future date, applies to donations made at the weekly Saturday/Sunday  Mass at each church, and to qualify:-

  • Individual donations must be in cash not exceeding £20 (so no cheques or £50 notes, please!)
  • Attendance at each Mass must be at least 10 and a written record of the approximate number must be kept and available to view on request.
  • The amounts of the donations included in an annual claim for the top-up must be supported  by  details of the notes and coins received each week which are in fact recorded as standard procedure  by our Collection Counting  teams.

GASDS is already operating in our parishes and claims for the top-up on Loose  Plate collections in the2015/16 tax year will be made shortly for each parish, subject to meeting the qualifying conditions. It complements but is entirely separate from the Gift- Aid Scheme  which has been operating to the benefit of our parishes for many years. Those of us who are paying sufficient income tax to remain in  or wish to start regular donating through the  Gift-Aid Scheme, are encouraged make their donations by Standing Order in particular (rather than through envelopes), and if you would like to change the way you donate in this way please contact either Peter Porteous (01460 221325) or myself (01460 67909) for the necessary form to be completed.

Brian Williams Treasurer

Short Biography

Abstracted from View News – incorporating View From Newspapers and Pulman’s Weekly News 20 May 2016.  Updated by editors of the TPN on the 5th June 2016.

Father-Michael-KoppelMichael John Bernard Koppel was born on July 31th 1946 in London.  In the early 1960’s his mother, an artist and teacher, with his younger sister Lizzie, moved into the family home, a renovated farmhouse in the village of Smallridge, near Axminster.  Brought up in the Church of England, he had early aspirations of going into the church.

He attended Allhallows School in Rousdon and went up to Oxford to read Philosophy at Corpus Christi College.  He trained in accountancy and worked for Spicer and Pegler in London, during which time he became a Roman Catholic and was received into the Church at The Brompton Oratory.

Father Michael applied to the Bishop of Plymouth to train for the priesthood. He attended the Venerable English College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, studying for five years for the priesthood and was ordained July 25th 1993 at The Sacred Heart Church, Exeter.  Following his Ordination he became a Curate at The Sacred Heart Church and he was also the Hospital Chaplain in Exeter for a time.

He served as parish priest at Okehampton between 1997 and 2003 before moving back to Axminster in 2003.  That year he became the parish priest at both St Mary’s Church in Axminster and the Church of St Michael & St George in Lyme Regis. He later also became parish priest at St Augustine’s in Seaton, overseeing all three parishes.

With a background in accountancy, Father Michael had duties at the Diocesan Centre in Plymouth, was engaged in committee work and held the title of Episcopal Vicar for Administration and Finance.  He was also a trustee for the Diocese and was responsible for the training of Deacons to the churches in the Diocese.

Father Michael was a foundation governor at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Axminster.

Fr Michael died at home with his sister on May 18th 2016.   Two Masses, the Vigil Mass on Wednesday and the Requiem Mass on Thursday May 26th were said at St Mary’s Church, Axminster, with the church overflowing on both occasions.  Fr. Michael is buried in the family grave in All Saints Church yard.

The Catenian Association

We are an Association of Catholic laymen who are committed to our faith, family and to those in need.  Locally, we are an established network of friends and work for the enhancement of our family life, our young people and to strengthen our Catholic Faith which sustains us in difficult times.

Our meetings are held monthly to discuss issues, to plan social events and outings.  We manage a Bursary fund to assist those aged 18 to 25 who wish to further their experience through voluntary work.  This may be in the UK or overseas and usually (but not always) at a Christian based project. We organise a Catholic Secondary Schools Public Speaking Contest which assists students in their overall development and preparation for University, social and working life.

Each year newly elected President nominates a charity of his choosing and throughout the year, various functions are organised with a view to raising money.  Funds are then distributed to the chosen charity at the end of the year.

A Charitable fund is set up to assist members in difficulty or need which includes the widows of deceased members.  We look after members who are ill  and invite widows to our social functions .

We pray for Vocations at every monthly meeting and have a special Annual Mass for Vocations to the Priesthood. Liaison with our local priests is very important and Catenians value their support highly.

Regular social events are arranged and are enjoyed by members for families and widows. Typically, these include visits to places of interest, theatre, eating out, skittles and quizzes, and more!

Find out more about the Catenian Association by following this link:


Lyme Regis Church


We would like to welcome you to this little church – “The House of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.” (1 Timothy 3 : 15.)

The Catholic history of Lyme Regis dates back over a thousand years.  In 774 the King of the West Saxons gave to the monks of Sherborne a grant of land on the Western bank of the river Lym. Lyme takes its name from this river and it is assumed that the addition of Regis was made in the reign of Edward 1st. to form the name of Lyme Regis or King’s Lyme. The royal charter was granted in 1284.  An official seal was made and on it is the first representation of St. George.  On the stern of the seal is represented Michael, the Archangel. To this quaint seal, one assumes, the present church owes its dedication to St. Michael, the Archangel and St. George, the Protector of England.

Early post reformation history of the Church in Lyme is meagre. The few Catholics about here travelled to Exeter or Chideock until the Axminster church, to which they liberally subscribed, was opened on the 15th August, 1831.  It was to the piety and generosity of Mrs. Bellingham that the Catholic Church in Lyme owed its establishment. On settling here with her son and three daughters, she obtained permission from Bishop Baines to have a resident priest. He celebrated Mass in the house of Edward Hebden, now the vicarage, and also, in a house at the Cobb, on which site now stands the coastguard buildings.

Mrs. Bellingham’s only son died with his regiment in India. In his desk, his mother found £100 and with this she began a fund to finance the building of a church in Lyme.. The present site of the church was purchased for £273 on the 17th. February 1835.  Father Charles Fisher, the first priest, had the foundation stone laid on 23rd. April 1835 and building commenced to the design of E. Goodridge, of Bath. Mass was first offered in the new, yet unfinished church, on 27th. August 1837.

Many priests served this parish in the early period and it is known that one resided in the cottage called St Heliers in Silver Street. Perhaps the most eminent was Father William Vaughan, who later became the second Bishop of our diocese of Plymouth, a post which he retained for forty seven years. It was he who built the presbytery to Welby Pugin’s design and he moved in on the first day of 1839. In about 1840, a school was built, the ruins of which lay at the western end of the church until the present function room was constructed recently. In 1851 the Lady Chapel was completed. The stained glass window behind the High Altar depicting the Immaculate Conception and St. Michael and St. George , was presented in June 1883.  At a cost of £140, it was the work of Messrs.Westlake, Lavers and Company of London . The church spire and tower were completed in 1886 .

Do pray for all who handed down to us , such a beautiful church.

‘What praise such men will have in eternity. It is not ours to judge – they were at least great men and deserve, beyond controversy, the brief homage of their fellows “.

Mgr. Ronald Knox.

Lym Zim

Jo Enright
Jo Enright

If you visit our church in Lyme Regis or indeed in any of our three-parish churches, you are likely to read or hear something about Lym Zim.   Lym Zim was set up in 2003 to raise funds for projects in Zimbabwe.  My brother Fr Brian Enright SJ is well known in the parish having spent time with my parents who had been parishioners in Lyme until their deaths in the mid ‘90’s.  Brian has been based in Zimbabwe since 1968 and when I visited Brian in 2000, parishioners asked me to identify projects for the parish to send direct support to where they would get immediate and reliable feedback about how funds had been used.

Our first project was to equip a bare physiotherapy room at a Leonard Cheshire Home for Disabled Children shipping out equipment which at the time was unavailable in Zimbabwe.  We achieved this within two years and on my next visit I was made aware that the boy’s accommodation house had fallen down so we set about raising funds towards rebuilding it. The economic climate at the time in Zimbabwe was in freefall but with the help of other organisations we not only rebuilt it but were able to build a disability resource centre which is used by children and families throughout Harare and Zimbabwe where clinics are run by medical staff, groups for young people with disabilities meet regularly, a variety of therapies are offered and much more.

I visited again to open the new building and whilst there met others who needed our support namely the Emerald Hill School for the Deaf in Harare where we pay the school fees for two deaf girls who without our support would receive no formal education and The Pedro Arrupe Centre which provides education and a home for several deaf children at the Musami Mission run by the Jesuits. Both Emerald Hill and Musami Mission have excellent web sites of their own for those interested to follow up.

The two projects we now support are always in dire need of funds. The children at Emerald Hill receive a first class education in addition to specialist services for their hearing impairments. The Musami Mission is in a very poor area of Zimbabwe and operates a school, hospital, parish church, clinics as well as the Pedro Arrupe centre which is home to several children. Standards at Pedro were poor when I first visited but with our support they now have a running water supply and electricity and gradually the thatched round houses where the children live are being upgraded with new monkey and fire proof roofs!

The needs at both projects will never end. Any additional funding we are able to send is used to improve facilities for all the children at Emerald Hill and Pedro Arrupe. We now aim to raise around £6000 each year which is less than the £10k we used to raise but fundraising has got harder in recent years, supporters have died and attracting new ones is difficult and sadly I no longer have the energy for so many fundraising events! Our main source of income comes for a weekly draw with members giving £1 weekly with a chance to win £10. We are more than grateful to the very many who immediately donate their winnings back to the Link and to many others who simply send donations when they can.

Further information about the Link and the Draw can be got from Jo Enright 01297 443796.

Our Facebook link


For the latest Lym Zim news, please go to the most recent Three Parish News magazine on this website.