Tag Archives: Annual Conference

AGM 2007: Chair’s Report

REPORT FROM THE CHAIR FOR THE AGM OF CSCS
10 TH FEBRUARY 2007

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 has been achieved through the medium of the CSCS Newsletter, through contacts with other Christian bodies and conferences/workshops. 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. The committee is a small but energetic and committed group who would welcome additional support from other members to invigorate our planning for and organisation of CSCS. 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. We were sorry to lose Colin Coward from the Committee due to his increased commitments with Changing Attitude but we continue to ‘keep him in the loop’ and draw on his contacts and expertise. Anthony Woollard continues to double as minutes secretary and editor of CSCS News. Martin Pendergast has enriched our understanding of sexuality issues and concerns within the Roman Catholic Church and we continue to marvel at the extent and breadth of his range of contacts – both within and outside the churches.

The introduced a two-tier membership subscription seems to have been successful in enabling some members to remain involved with CSCS without the additional payment for Theology and Sexuality. Membership numbers, since releasing those who had ceased to pay an annual subscription, have remained broadly static, but we continue to get a trickle of new members. The majority of current members have chosen to receive the newsletter three times a year and the journal Theology and Sexuality. Sage Publications have agreed to keep the subscription to the journal at the same rate as last year. 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 look forward to receiving contributions from two of our Patrons, 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. We value the continuing commitment of The Rt Revd. John Gladwin to the aims of CSCS which is reflected in his willingness to contribute to our Annual Conference today. Both David Gamble and Roberta Rominger were extremely disappointed not to be able to attend today and have sent us their good wishes for this 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 and will be travelling to Africa to attend the meeting of Primates where one of the main agenda items is the subject of the Church’s position on gay clergy. 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. The annual, residential conference of MCU last summer was a joint enterprise with CSCS and SCM and was extremely successful, generating a surplus of £300 to CSCS funds. We also maintain links with Inclusive Church and LGCM to our mutual benefit. Martin Pendergast has been actively involved in the LGCM conference on homophobia, which takes place later this month. Your Chair is active on the General Synod of The Church of England where, as you know, there is a continuing, lively (and sometimes acrimonious) debate on the role of gay clergy in the priesthood and of women in the episcopate. She is also active in raising concern within church congregations on the problem of teenage pregnancy and has started to organise conferences on this topic with funding from the Teenage Pregnancy Units in the Midlands. As an experienced trainer, she has run a workshop on sexuality education with church and youth work funding and plans to continue this work.

Lat year we circulated the CSCS Newsletter to Theological colleges and seminaries as an
experiment to stimulate interest in CSCS and its aims but this was not successful in its aim.

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.

The Revd. Canon Jane Fraser
Chair of CSCS

 

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AGM, 2007: Minutes

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF CHRISTIANITY AND SEXUALITY
MINUTES OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD AT CARRS LANE CHURCH, BIRMINGHAM,ON 10 FEBRUARY 2007

Present

Jane Fraser (Chair)
John Gladwin (Patron)
Lydia Gladwin
Daphne Cook (Treasurer)
John Cook
Hugh Bain
Hazel Barkham
Janet Kent
Bruce Kent
Martin Pendergast
Anthony Woollard

Apologies: David Gamble (Patron), Roberta Rominger (Matron), Jean Mayland, Colin
Coward, Michael Egan.

Minutes of meeting of the AGM held on 11 February 2006 were agreed as correct.
Matters arising were covered under the Report from the Chair.

Chair’s report: Jane Fraser spoke to her circulated report (copy attached to these
minutes). She drew attention to the following points:

  • The cost of Theology and Sexuality had been frozen for a further year, meaning that no change was needed in the subscription rate.
  • The new two-tier membership appeared to have been a success, with numbers remaining around the 100 mark (of whom about two-thirds took Theology and Sexuality) despite some weeding out of those in arrears. The death of Roy Parr was noted with sadness. Subscriptions were still being received from a couple of members who had proved uncontactable, and attempts would be made to track them down via the bank.
  • The experiment of sending the newsletter to theological training institutions had not had any visible impact.
  • The joint residential conference with the Modern Churchpeople’s Union had proved particularly successful, though again the visible impact was limited (one former member had rejoined).
  • Attempts to contribute to the Anglican “listening process” had so far also been unsuccessful but other avenues would be pursued.

Treasurer’s report Daphne Cook spoke to her report (copy attached to these minutes). She noted the surplus of £1,253, compared to the previous year’s deficit of £70. Whilst subscription income had fallen under the two-tier membership system, nearly all categories of expenditure were markedly reduced.

Anthony Woollard proposed, and Martin Pendergast seconded, the adoption of the report. Daphne proposed the re-appointment of Michael Egan as independent examiner of accounts. Both motions were carried unanimously.

Elections: The meeting noted the resignation of Colin Coward and more recently of Jean Mayland. In the absence of other nominations the remaining committee members (Jane Fraser, John and Daphne Cook, Martin Pendergast and Anthony Woollard) were elected unanimously.

Discussion on the future: The Chair invited members to consider issues regarding the future of CSCS – a very small organisation, with an ageing committee, which nevertheless had considerable human resources and connections, and also now sufficient financial resources to make possible some small new initiatives.

Points raised in discussion included the following:

  • Advertising in the ecclesiastical Press, one possible use of the current surplus,  arely brought in any significant results.
  • There might be a better case for using the money in some way to bring together the fragmented “liberal” groups who shared the CSCS agenda – though it was noted that a previous attempt at this, namely the establishment of Inclusive Church, appeared simply to have created yet another body!
  • The current public focus on issues such as teenage pregnancy, which did not fall within the remit of the other groups, could offer new opportunities for CSCS.
  • Although Press advertising might not be worthwhile, the placing and sharing of articles could be valuable. Even closer links with other bodies such as MCU and SCM could be helpful (and weblinks could be improved, for example with the Churches Together in England site which was believed to be hungry for content).
  • Some ecclesiastical journals might be susceptible to encouragement by Patrons/Matrons to carry CSCS copy, including reports of the Annual Conference.
  • There might also be a case for trying to provide a “voice for the voiceless”, as in urrent debates on gay adoption where the professionals (not to speak of the adopters/ adoptees) were being largely ignored.
  • The independent future of CSCS depended, not only on its continuing to develop its “unique selling proposition” along the lines suggested in discussion, but also on recruiting new officers and Committee members.

The Chair, summing up the discussion, said that the Committee had noted the many positive points made and would attempt to progress them during the year.

Date of next meeting: Saturday 9 February 2008, probably in London.

 

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From the Chair (Spring Conference, Membership and Subscriptions)

Jane Fraser

An ecumenical theme to our Spring Conference – A Dialogue between the Churches on Sexuality Issues

Plans are at an advanced stage for our AGM and Spring Conference to be held on Saturday 11th February 2006 at St John’s Church, Waterloo. Please see the enclosed publicity flyer and complete the booking form as soon as possible if you are able to join us for this extremely interesting event.

The decision to hold it in London this year has meant that we have been able to invite our Patrons and Matron to attend and contribute to the theme that was agreed at the last AGM. At that meeting, members asked for an ecumenical perspective on current issues around sexuality and we are delighted that The Revd. Roberta Rominger (URC) and The Rt. Revd. John Gladwin (Anglican) have accepted our invitation to respond to your request. Unfortunately, The Revd. David Gamble (Methodist) is unable to attend due to prior commitments that he has been unable to change. However, we are confident that we will be able to offer you two further highly respected speakers who will challenge us on a Methodist and a Roman Catholic perspective. A residential conference in collaboration with The Modern Churchpeople’s Union For the last three years, CSCS has had observer status on the Council of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union. This has reflected our common stance on Christianity and Sexuality and is now to be reflected in a more tangible way through this year’s annual residential conference entitled ‘Passion for Justice’. This is to be held at the High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddeston, Hertfordshire from 11th to 14th July 2006. You will have received a flyer inserted in the last CSCS Newsletter. It is to be chaired by Professor Elaine Graham, who spoke so compellingly at our last CSCS Annual Conference in Birmingham and there are some exciting contributors on themes around human sexuality. It is proving to be a popular event, so if you would like to attend and haven’t completed a booking form, please do so as soon as possible. If you’ve lost your conference flyer, do let me know and I’ll send you another! We hope that this event will give CSCS a broader platform and welcome publicity. Publicity about the event has gone out to theological colleges and seminaries and through the Student Christian Movement. In this way we hope to attract younger Christians concerned about this aspect of their faith.

Consolidating membership lists and subscription rates

I would like to thank all those of you who have responded to Daphne Cook’s letter and indicated to us your wishes regarding the option to continue (or not, as the case might be) receiving Theology and Sexuality but at a slightly increased rate to reflect the fact that it is now published three times a year. Some of you have indicated that you wish to continue as members of CSCS without subscribing to Theology and Sexuality. Our membership list has been amended to reflect these changes and the names of those who have not responded to our correspondence over the last year have been deleted.  At the last CSCS Committee meeting, an executive decision was made to clarify the subscription rates for the year 2006, as follows:

 “In view of current uncertainties about CSCS membership and publications costs, the Committee as an emergency action agrees that the subscriptions from 1 January 2006 should be £40 where Theology and Sexuality is required and £15 in other cases. Where two members at one address ask to receive Theology and Sexuality, one copy shall normally be sent to that address and the combined subscription shall be £40+15. Overseas subscriptions and any other special cases shall be adjusted pro rata. The membership shall be invited to endorse this emergency action at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 11 February 2006.”

As you see, we shall be asking you to endorse this decision at the AGM. I look forward
to seeing you there!

Jane Fraser

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