Tag Archives: AGM

Minutes of AGM, 2013

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of CSCS
Saturday 16th February 2013 
St Annes’ Church, 55 Dean Street,Soho, London W1D 6AF

  1. 1.      Welcome

Members were welcomed by Martin Pendergast (Chair).

  1. 2.      Apologies

Apologies were received from John & Daphne Cook, Mike Egan, Roberta Rominger, Carla Grosch-Miller, and Heather Barfoot.

  1. 3.      Minutes of the previous AGM – 17.3.2012

These were circulated to all present and then signed as a correct record of the meeting. Proposed by Hazel Barkham. .Seconded by Rosie Martin.

  1. 4.      Matters arising

There were no matters not already on the agenda.

  1. 5.      Annual Report

Martin Pendergast gave a summary of the developments over the past year and this was available for all present and is attached to these minutes.

Proposed by Anthony Woollard. Seconded by Jane Fraser

  1. 6.      Financial Report

A report of the financial position of CSCS was given by Colin Hart (Treasurer) and a copy is attached to these minutes. He noted that subscriptions were down slightly this year due perhaps to some new members joining at the end of the year and not being asked to renew again in January. Those who pay via Charity Aid have been prevented from doing so due to problems with the Charity Commission who have withdrawn our charity status due to problems posting our Annual Return. Most members now pay by standing order which is helpful. An anonymous donation last year has enabled us to set up a new website. There was a considerable loss on the conference last year and we aim for this year’s conference to break even thanks to support from Sybils who have funded the speakers. The Theological Educators Project is a cost to CSCS without bringing in any income but as it is nearing completion the committee are not concerned about this and hope members agree. Martin Pendergast is exploring a charitable grant to support the final stage of the Project which will be a conference of theological educators.

Assets of £4,533.36 were confirmed. Hugh Bain asked how much is being set aside to pay for the Theology & Sexuality journal. Colin Hart replied that he had paid for 2010 but 2011 had yet to be invoiced. £800+ was being held for this. The report was accepted. Proposed by Tony Crowe and seconded by Anthony Woollard. There was a vote of thanks to Mike Egan for auditing the accounts and he was unanimously proposed to continue in this role.

  1. 7.      Election of CSCS Committee 2013/2014

Heather Barfoot, Jane Fraser, Colin Hart, Rosie Martin, Michael Moran, Martin Pendergast,

Terence Weldon and Anthony Woollard were willing to stand for re-election.

Proposed by Bernard Lynch and seconded by John Gladwin

  1. 8.      Any Other Business

A question was raised about the official reasons for the delays in publishing the Journal. These were given as the increased number of such journals, open access to papers through libraries, and a reduced number of papers being submitted due to the subject matter not being so topical.

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AGM 2012: Chair’s Report

Martin Pendergast

I present this Annual Report for 2011/2012 on the work of the Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality (CSCS) only two days after the launch of the Government’s Consultation on Equal Civil Marriage. The issues which are highlighted in the Consultation Document and the debates in recent days show yet again, not only the need for an ecumenical network such as CSCS to be able to contribute to a specific debate, but also to situate the issues within a wider context which reflects a broader discussion of concerns around human sexuality. I will return to this later. Continue reading AGM 2012: Chair’s Report

CSCS News, Spring 2008: EDITORIAL

Anthony Woollard


CSCS struggles on – for the moment – and still has work to do. That was the conclusion of our AGM this February.

Most of this edition is taken up with the various minutes and reports of that AGM. As usual, it was a rather select group which gathered at St Anne’s Church, Soho, to carry out our annual business and to hear Christina Rees urge us to carry on. There were ideas in plenty, but who will help us put them into effect?

Christina in her keynote address gave us much food for thought. She endorsed the view that there is simply no other organisation which is doing what CSCS is attempting to do, and that there is a continued need to ensure that the fundamental issues of Christianity and sexuality are debated and the Churches’ thought thereby developed. In particular she urged us not to give up on our contacts with theological educators. Members will recall that our recent attempt to interest theological colleges and networks in our activities, through a mailing of this Newsletter, appeared to fall on stony ground. But Christina gave instances of initiatives within the colleges, possibly influenced by that attempt, in which ordinands and the newly ordained had taken up issues of sexuality as a personal vocation. Members at the AGM felt that we should be initiating direct dialogue with leading theological educators and perhaps developing materials which could be used in initial or continuing ministerial education. This would be in addition to – or perhaps even prior to – our Chair’s
proposals to build a network of organisations concerned with faith, sexuality and justice.

Shortly before the AGM, we had messages from some of our leading supporters who were unable to be present. Taken alongside Christina’s encouragement, they make interesting reading. All of them took the same line – the work is vital. One instanced a discussion which took place in a local Changing Attitude meeting regarding the nature of sexual commitment, which a diverse group felt unable to tackle and found a source of embarrassment. The Churches need people and materials to facilitate such discussions, which can raise extremely sensitive issues. The traditional Christian position on lifelong monogamy, on which many of us were reared, is very different from the mores of many contemporary subcultures – yet both that position and those mores are evolving, and this can be painful and confusing. The issue of what sexual commitment means in contemporary society, and how in practice faith can inform that commitment, is one relevant to gay and straight alike. And the debates about women’s ministry have made all too clear that confusion still reigns in the Churches about how women and men should respond to one another within both an authentic sexual context and an authentic spirituality. In these areas, all of us need help, and all of us need to help each other.

And, of course, to an extent we do. Christina herself, though best known as a campaigner on the specific issues of women’s ministry, has written helpfully and honestly in her little book The Divine Embrace about the deeper issues of sexuality and spirituality. Other campaigners who have worked with us, such as Jean Mayland and Colin Coward, have shared their own insights in ways which have enriched all of us who have come into contact with them. If these contributions are mostly at the level of vision and inspiration, rather than practicality, they are none the worse for that. We need vision and inspiration.

Yet for the most part, when it comes to the nitty-gritty expression of work and witness within the Churches, these people have felt obliged to prioritise specific issues rather than to focus on the work of CSCS. At a time when the Anglican Communion (at least) is torn apart on the gay issue and still struggling over women bishops – and when, as we understand, the campaign for married priests within the Roman Catholic Church may be gaining new impetus – that may seem a very rational choice. And we were reminded at the AGM that even the major single-issue organisations, such as LGCM, can have difficulty finding trustees and activists. It is most understandable that those who feel called to work in these areas should give them priority, particularly with Lambeth 2008 coming up. Yet there must surely be others – and not least people in other denominations – who can see the longer-term need for the work CSCS is trying to do?

If not, then your Committee will simply do what it can over the next year.

Meanwhile, we are actively following up the idea of further contact with theological educators. After a lot of discussion about the ideas expressed at the AGM, we feel that this should be the priority, and that the broader idea of a network and conference of all organisations in our field should wait until we have seen what such a network and conference might contribute to the educational effort. We are most grateful to Christina for having steered us so firmly in this direction, and hope to report progress in the next issue!

Apart from AGM-related material, this issue includes a book review by Martin Pendergast, and also – by kind permission of The Tablet – an article by Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP which goes to the very heart of our theological endeavour. Many will feel grateful that that article, from the heart of the Roman Catholic Church, widens the theological debate and relates it to other matters dear to many of our hearts. Perhaps some will feel that Fr Timothy still gives sexual activity a theological significance which is more “essentialist” than that put forward for example by Jo Ind in Memories of Bliss – and may be even further removed from the assumptions behind the work of David Brown which we featured in our last issue. There is room here for a debate on these pages, as long as CSCS and this Newsletter continue to exist. So send us your thoughts!

But please do not assume that our continuing activity means that CSCS can be taken for granted. So far as we can see at present, from next February we will have no Chair, no Secretary and no Treasurer, and therefore cannot carry on. Your Committee continue to hope and pray that new supporters will come forward. If not, then despite the encouragement of Christina and others CSCS will simply have to bow out, in the faith that the mantle of our work will be assumed by other organisations.

Anthony Woollard

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AGM 2006: Chair’s Report

Report from the Chair for the AGM of CSCS, 11 February 2006

CSCS has continued to meet its aims of providing opportunities for sexuality to be discussed honestly and openly and to help others in the churches to provide similar opportunities. This process has been steered along the way by the commitment and energy of its committee members who have continued to meet quarterly to discuss policy, topics of relevance to our aims and the interests of our membership, items for the Newsletter and finance. In addition to these meetings there has been regular contact and discussion through the medium of email. Following a request made at the last AGM, we recruited Martin Pendergast to serve with us and to contribute from his extensive experience of the Roman Catholic perspective on sexuality issues. We are grateful for the generous hospitality of John and Daphne Cook for these meetings and Daphne’s diligent oversight of membership fees and CSCS finances. Jean Mayland and Colin Coward demonstrate their commitment to CSCS in travelling long distances to our meetings and we have benefited greatly from their fund of experience of church matters and their wide range of contacts. Anthony Woollard has acted as our minutes secretary so efficiently that there have been times that they have arrived on our computers before we returned to our homes!

Over the last year we have faced a number of challenges, both financial and structural and this may well be the case for the year to come. Following advice from the membership through a survey, backed up by discussion at last year’s AGM, we have introduced a two-tier membership subscription and had a thorough review of our membership list. Members who had not paid a subscription over the previous year were dropped from out mailing list as we could no longer afford to subsidise their membership. Current members have chosen to receive the newsletter three times a year and the journal Theology and Sexuality or to receive the newsletter only. This move was brought about by the need to increase membership fees to reflect the cost of three publications of the journal (now published by Sage Publications) instead of two. It was also designed to reflect the wishes of about a quarter of our members who did not wish to receive the journal.

Anthony Woollard continues to play an active role in the production of the CSCS Newsletter, both as commissioning editor and as a stimulating contributor. We are grateful for his oversight of current issues of concern to the membership and his ability to stimulate lively debate among the membership. We were delighted to have a contribution from one of our Patrons, The Rt. Revd. John Gladwin, Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, and look forward to similar contributions from The Revd. David Gamble, Co-ordinating Secretary, Legal & Constitutional Practice in the Methodist Church and The Revd. Roberta Rominger, Moderator of the Thames North Synod of the United Reformed Church. Their commitment to the aims of CSCS is reflected in the willingness of John Gladwin and Roberta Rominger to contribute to our Annual Conference today. David Gamble was extremely disappointed not to be able to attend and has sent us a letter extending his good wishes for the event.

We continue to develop our links with other Christian organisations with agendas that overlap with our aims. Colin Coward is our main link with Changing Attitude. Three of our committee members serve on the Council of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union, Anthony Woollard and Jean Mayland as elected members and your Chair as a CSCS observer, together with two other CSCS members. In addition, Colin Coward, Anthony Woollard and I have attended regular planning meetings with Professor Elaine Graham from Manchester University and John Plant from MCU in order to plan this summer’s MCU conference at the High Leigh Conference Centre, entitled Passion for Justice:Global and Faithful Perspectives’. This is the result of a partnership of MCU, CSCS and SCM and will run from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 July. Members have received flyers giving details of the conference and it is hoped that it will not only be supported by the CSCS membership but will be an opportunity to raise our profile there. We also maintain links with LGCM to our mutual benefit. We have circulated the CSCS Newsletter to Theological colleges and seminaries as an experiment to stimulate interest in CSCS and its aims. We have yet to evaluate this move.

We are grateful to Philip Gardner for his continued work on updating the CSCS website
despite other pressures on his time and expertise.

In the meantime, our thanks are due to Daphne Cook, in her capacity as our Treasurer,
for drawing up the end of year accounts for us and for keeping us within our budget.

Thanks are also due to Michael Egan for auditing the accounts.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the membership who contribute to the aims of CSCS
by encouraging education and informed debate on the issues around Christianity and sexuality within your church communities and congregation.

Jane Fraser