MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
HELD AT ST JOHN’S
CHURCH, WATERLOO, LONDON, ON 11 FEBRUARY 2006
Present: Jane Fraser (Chair), Anthony Woollard, Martin Pendergast, Daphne Cook, John Cook, Tony Crowe, Jenny Clark, John Blowers, Mike Dark, Hazel Barkham, Catherine van Ruhland, Derek Reeve
Apologies were received from Colin Coward, Jean Mayland, Mike Egan and Roy Parr.
2. Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the meeting held on 12 February 2005 were agreed as a correct record.
3. Matters arising: Theology and Sexuality
It was reported that the journal had been sold by Continuum to Sage Publications, without the knowledge of CSCS, but that Sage had confirmed the policy of the previous publishers to increase to 3 issues per year, with a continuing substantial discount to CSCS for at least one year. It was suggested that the publishers ought to be encouraged to widen the range of outlets at which the journal was available, though it was recognised that it was mainly aimed at an academic market.
4. Report from the Chair
The Chair circulated her report, a copy of which is attached to these minutes. In discussion the following points were made:
• It appeared that membership remained around the 100 mark, though some members in arrears had been “weeded out” and a number appeared to prefer the option of a basic subscription without the journal.
• It could be argued that CSCS had fulfilled its mission in raising the debate about sexuality in the Churches, and that its separate existence was now in question. Many CSCS members already belonged to other cognate organisations, and some were evidently cutting down on their overlapping memberships and did not appear to prioritise CSCS. Against that, it was argued that discussion in the Churches at present was confined largely to specific issues, notably homosexuality, and that there were much more basic questions about sexuality and the Gospel, and other specific issues such as singleness, gender dysphoria and teenage pregnancy, on which debate needed still to be encouraged. CSCS remained the only ecumenical organisation devoted specifically to the sexuality debate in all its aspects, and, because of that fact, the Chair and others continued to be approached from time to time to contribute to aspects of that debate in various groups. Moreover, despite the very modest attendance at most Annual Conferences and AGMs in recent years, the fact that at least 10% of the membership normally turned out should be
taken as a respectable expression of continuing interest. It was agreed that the future of CSCS should be reviewed further in the light of current approaches to theological training institutions and the outcome of the summer residential conference.
5. Treasurer’s Report
The Treasurer circulated her report, a copy of which is available on request. She noted that in cash terms CSCS had ended the year with a deficit of £70, but that a further bill for the journal, of about £1,100, remained to be paid at the year’s end. Some 2006 subscriptions had been paid in advance. Part of the deficit resulted from the cost of circulating the newsletter to theological colleges. In addition, Gift Aid tax rebate for 2005, expected to be over £400, had not yet been claimed and would be added to the 2006 accounts. The true deficit was therefore of the order of £700-800, and it was hoped to reduce this in 2006 by the reduction in the number of journals taken and by a review of the theological college contacts and of newsletter circulation generally. In discussion the following points were made:
- It would be helpful to publicise that CSCS used an “ethical” banker namely the Co–operative Bank.
- The website had been reviewed and updated; in the past this had been a vital source of new recruits but it was essential that it be kept up to date. All present were invited to view the website and send comments to the Chair as soon as possible.
Acceptance of the Report was proposed by Tony Crowe, seconded by Jenny Clark, and agreed unanimously.
The Chair explained that David Brown, elected last year as Secretary, had felt unable to continue due to other commitments and that Colin Coward had similarly felt obliged to resign. A Secretary was urgently needed and, in the absence of nominations at the meeting, the Committee would hope to co-opt someone.
In the absence of further nominations, the following were proposed by Derek Reeve, seconded by Tony Crowe, and elected unanimously:
Jane Fraser (Chair)
Daphne Cook (Treasurer)
7. Appointment of examiner of accounts
It was proposed from the Chair and unanimously agreed that Mike Egan should once again be appointed.
The Chair drew attention to the emergency motion passed by the Committee in the Autumn, namely that, in the light of the new journal price, subscriptions for 2006 should be set at £40 for those taking the journal and £15 for others, with a subscription of £55 for two members at one address taking the journal, and overseas subscriptions and other special cases to be adjusted pro rata.
The endorsement of this decision was proposed by Jenny Clark, seconded by Tony Crowe, and agreed unanimously.
The feeling of the meeting was that £40 should be viewed as a maximum, and that, in the event of the publishers putting up the price of the journal to members for 2007, CSCS should cease its link with the journal.
9. Any other business
- The Chair drew attention to the joint residential conference with MCU and SCM in the second week in July, and to the 30th anniversary celebrations of LGCM in Cardiff in April.
- The newsletter editor appealed for contributions, particularly reactions to the Annual Conference, and for book reviewers.
- It was suggested that the newsletter should include a strapline giving the full nameof the organisation.
10. Date of next meeting:
10 February 2007.