As usual at this time of year, this issue focuses on the outcomes of our Annual Conference and AGM in February. Yet again, it seems, we have drawn back (or been dragged back by the Spirit?) from the brink of resigned self-annihilation. Yet again we seem to have been persuaded that there is still work for us to do, if we can only find people to do it.
With only very light editing, I reproduce below the warm, witty and wise words of Clare Herbert’s address to the Annual Conference. At one point she refers to Harry Williams as one of her inspirations. When, in the future life of a more inclusive Church, the works of that great experiential theologian are put together in the manner of the prophecies attributed to Isaiah, perhaps Clare’s contributions to our thought will be added on as a sort of deutero-Harry.
I also include the formal minutes of the AGM, the Chair’s Report and the accounts. As will be seen, the Chair and Treasurer are firmly planning to lay their burdens down; and we continue to have no Secretary as such, the functions of such an officer being performed on a very ad hoc basis by other Committee members. The meeting, which was attended by quite a few guests, indeed produced one new member for CSCS who promptly joined the Committee! Nevertheless, our future clearly depends either on our finding yet one or two others who are prepared to take on some small responsibilities on the Committee, or on absorption into some larger organization which can take our remit forward.
For this reason, you will find in these pages a questionnaire to which I must ask all CSCS members to respond. This is not a formal poll of members on a proposal to wind up the organization, but simply an opportunity to indicate where members’ priorities lie.
If just a handful of people ask for the organization to continue and are prepared to help it to do so as committee members, then we may decide at the next AGM to carry on. If not, not.
But in the meantime, our continuing usefulness seems to have been proved by the highly successful start, at a meeting on 16 March, of our network with theological educators.
Only four out of nine invitees were able to join us on this first occasion, but we made a good start in identifying issues of formation of ordinands for the difficult work of dealing with sexual diversity in Church and society. It is evident that, despite the current constraints (at least in the Anglican and Roman traditions) on addressing the questions openly, there is a great desire in many theological colleges to do so and find mutual support in doing so. It would be premature to say what will come out of this work, but
we meet again – hopefully in a larger grouping – in September. And, alongside this, work continues on the proposed Consuming Passions conference to be held jointly with Inclusive Church in 2010, to which reference is made in the Chair’s Report below.
Whatever the outcomes of our review of our own future and of these other activities, CSCS is clearly moving into a new stage of its existence. Will you continue to support us?