Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 27th April 2019
The Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary was held on Saturday 27th April 2019 at 2.30pm in the parish hall of St. Stephen’s, Gloucester Road, London.
There were approximately 80 persons present and the Warden welcomed all present and thanked the ladies who provided the buffet lunch.
Apologies: these were received and noted in the attendance book.
The minutes from the last AGM: held on 7th April 2018, had been printed at the back of the Order of Service for the Easter Festival.
Matters arising: – none were noted.
Secretary General’s Report: this had been printed in the order of Service, and can be viewed on the Guild website.
Finance: report by the Treasurer General, Grand Councillor Nigel Makepeace advised the meeting that our income for last year, 2018 was £24,183 and expenditure £32,932. Funds held at the end of the year amounted to £228,44 of which £17,913 was held on deposit and £212,673 in investments to produce income for the Guild.
Candidates for Ordination Fund: Copies of the COF report had been distributed and can be viewed on the website. The COF Fund stood at £272,457 of which £238,901 was in investments to help cover cost of grants for future years. The bequest of £13,269 from Frank Jellies had been added to the investments held by fund. During 2018, two candidates had been supported and it was noted that there were possible five in the process of being considered.
Appointment of the Independent Examiner of Accounts: Mr Alan Fletcher had independently examined the accounts and they had been approved with all necessary information and details being provided. Mr A Fletcher was re-appointed as the Independent Examiner.
The Server Magazine: Grand Councillor Peter Keat thanked all for the help he had received together with all the contributions for the magazine. He would like to receive more views from chapters and mentioned, that he would never have too much material.
The Warden’s Report: Fr. Darren thanked all for their reports and all who worked on behalf of the Guild to make it what it was.
Confirmation of General Council Elections:
Officers: Warden and COF Chaplain - Fr. Darren Smith Secretary General - Chris Barnett Treasurer-General - Nigel Makepeace Appointments COF Administrator - Colin Squires The Editor of The Server – Peter Keat Guild Organist – Roger Marvin Web Master - Terry Doughty
Council Elections: Due to various circumstances, no nomination forms had been sent out to chapters where council elections were due and as so Council had decided that any councillor due for elections in 2019 would serve a further 12-months period.
2019 Festivals: The National Autumn Festival would on Saturday 12th October 2019 at St. German’s, Cardiff. Notice was also given of various other festivals being held around the country.
Any of Other business: None are recorded
The meeting finished with members robing for the Guild Office, procession and benediction.
Warden's Report Easter 2019
May I start by very quickly thanking everyone of you, not only for your attendance today but for your membership of the GSS and your faithfulness in your own parish churches, and particularly to all our Councillors and Grand Councillors and the Executive who have supported me over the last 12 months. Our Gospel readings today give us that beautiful picture of Jesus walking by the side of His disciples on the way to Emmaus and their minds were so closed and their hearts so full of grief that they were preoccupied and distracted from recognising Him. And yet it was at that moment when Jesus took the bread and broke it that suddenly the penny dropped, and they realised it was the Risen Lord. “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures”.
Servers like clergy are often very preoccupied with 101 things in the presentation of the liturgy that can mean the closure of eyes and hearts to the presence of the Lord. We have just celebrated some of the most complex, as well as beautiful, liturgies of the whole year and I am sure like me those of you who part in any of these celebrations must have been very anxious and concerned that was omitted, that every “t” were crossed and “I” dotted. Without wanting to criticise the importance of the attention to detail, I really do think from time to time we all need to try and keep things in perspective, because this detail can sometimes become a hurdle and an obstacle to our own spiritual well being. Did you recognise the presence of Christ walking alongside you throughout these Holy Week liturgies? Did your hearts burn within you at the reading of scriptures and the breaking of bread? Did you truly feed on Him with faith and thanksgiving?
Being in the position I am travelling around the country and working for different Catholic Societies I see an awful lot to give thanks for as well as a lot of areas of great concern. One of the particular areas that worries me greatly is the genuine and almost critical crisis we face in clergy deployment. There has never been a time in the church’s recent history that it has faced so many retirements and so few in the system preparing for ordination. One of the consequences of this that many of you will already be witnessing is the closure and amalgamation of many of our churches. A church that is increasingly financed led is having to cut its cloth accordingly and usually stepping into the breach by members of our own organisation who are liturgically equipped to lead services as well as to guide visiting clergy in what is not part of the local norm. In this my 2019 address to you can I encourage you to not only pray for more vocations to the priesthood and search within you if God might be calling you to this form of ministry, but also can I thank those of you who already exercising leadership in this way and warn many of you that this may be the case in the not too distant future. Perhaps now is the time for you to look carefully at the liturgical movements in your church and make a mental note so that you are adequately equipped if you have to step into this breach.
It is also very encouraging that as a society we also value the importance of priestly vocations. Our Candidates for Ordination Fund has grown from strength to strength and I am delighted that many of the newly ordained have benefited from it. We have recently reached the decision to show a little more flexibility when it comes to the amount of time individuals need to be members of the GSS before receiving a grant. It is my firm belief that the more we can support the newly ordained the more likely we are to get a foot in the door of their parishes once they start to run a church. A form of speculating to accumulate. The Candidates for Ordination Fund had also each year made a grant towards the cost of the Catholic Societies Vocations Conference and for that we are all very grateful.
The changes that we are all noticing in clergy retiring, dying and not coming forward are also somewhat reflected in our numbers. I have know some local chapters have become somewhat disillusioned as the membership dwindles and the age profile increases. What I would say to you all is try and not be to disheartened, but to see this as an opportunity not as a sign of failure. As I said last year at this time we must do all we can to make each serving team, whether it be in the parish, in the Chapter, in the Diocese or Nationally a place of warmth and welcome that is centred upon spirituality and service. I recently received a letter from someone who told me that she had attended her local Chapter four or five times and was never spoken to by any of the servers or the clergy. This is so sad. We need to make sure that this is not a common place. Look out for the stranger.
Yes indeed there are so many distractions that we face both locally and nationally but let these never be a personal distraction from your full, prayerful participation in the Mass and may your hearts burn inside you as the Risen Christ makes himself real to you in the breaking of the Word and the bread of the Eucharist.
Fr. Darren Smith Warden of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary
Secretary General Report 2018
This is my first report as the Secretary General after taking over from Terry Doughty last year, I would like to start by expressing my thanks for all the help that Terry has given me over what has been a very busy 12 months.
The Guild received and admitted 30 new members and 2 Priest Associates during 2018 from the country, 3 of whom live and serve in Malta.
The Easter Festival remains fairly well attended with around 100 again in 2018, the Autumn Festival at St, George's Cullercoates in October was not too well attended, our thanks to Councillor Rowland Robbins for his work in organising this Festival.
I would also like to thank Fr. Darren, Nigel Makepeace and Colin Squires for their help this year as I have been getting to grips with the role of Secretary General.
On behalf of all the Council I would like to thank those members who have particular responsibilities in the running of the Guild be it nationally or locally. I would like to thanks Peter Keat for the tireless work he puts into each copy of The Server, Nigel Makepeace for his work as Treasurer General, Angele McMullen who produces the prayer cycle for the Server Magazine, and all who maintain the website. Lastly but just as importantly all the Councillors, Chapter Secretaries and Chapter Treasurers along with Chapter Chaplains for without these dedicated and hardworking members the Guild would not be what it is, it is through their work the Guild meets for Worship and Fellowship throughout England, Wales and Overseas.
As always we send sympathies to all relatives and friends of members who have passed on during the last year, May they rest in Peace and rise in glory.
During the last year I have found the task of Secretary general to be a lot more complicated than first thought as I am sure you can all imagine, as I mentioned at the start I am grateful to Terry for all the advice he has given me over the last 12 months, and to the Council for their support especially over the latter half of the year which has been very busy and difficult time for me. Difficult due to the loss of my Father in September, and busy due to the birth of my daughter in October, as I am sure you can imagine this has affected the amount of time I was able to spend on Guild affairs and I have to thank both Fr. Darren and Nigel Makepeace for holding the fort during that time.
Chris Barnett Secretary General
Treasurer General Report for 2018
From the Statement of Accounts for last year, you will notice that subscriptions from members, despite the increase in the annual subscription, have reduced. I believe we are still feeling the effects of when HSBC bank closed our bank account and many members may not, as yet, have updated their bank standing order details. I must thank several councillors who have been in touch with me over the last few months and have worked with their chapters to bring subs up to date.
I have been able to make a Gift Aid claim from 2013 to 2017, that together with our CCLA investments have offset our reduced direct income.
For many years, the General Fund of the Guild had covered expenses relating to COF work; among those costs were the expense of attending ordinations. A small amount has therefore been transferred from the COF account to the General Fund.
On the expenditure side, the cost of generating funds, such as The Server and other publications have reduced slightly as shown on page 2 and our governance cost have stay roughly the same, that included the cost of some legal advice that council was obliged to make.
In 2017 we received a bequest of £5000 that was credited to the General Fund. During 2018, the balance of this bequest was received from the solicitors, and it was indicated that the moneys should be used for the work of COF. Therefore the £5000 from 2017 has been transfer to the COF account.
The Guild gave a grant of £5000 to ACS to help equip their new offices.
Our net liquid reserve in the general fund continues to cover our outgoings without the need to call upon our reserves that are invested with CCLA, that continue to produced a good return. I am pleased that when I took over the roll of the Treasurer-General several years ago I accepted the invitation from CCLA to review how we invested our reserve funds. Part of this investment portfolio is made up of life membership subscriptions designed to produce an income to cover Guild expenses. I must thank those Life members who still contribute to the Guild and also to those full members who contribute more than is expected from them.
Colin will cover details about the work of COF. However, I would like to draw your attention to a few items on the COF accounts. Income from chapters has reduced but our revised investment policy with CCLA has helped to maintain more than sufficient to cover our commitments for the foreseeable future. However, as pointed out to me by our independent examiner of our accounts, the Charity Commission are always concerned that we, as a charity, show that we are not building up assets but are able to give grants within the confines of our constitution. We have been fortune from past benefactors in that our COF investment assets together with various donations, have allowed us to be in a financial position to enable to make grants. I think Colin will have more to say about this later.
I can confirm that the General and COF accounts have been examined by our IEA, Mr Alan Fletcher and have been signed off, confirming that he has been happy that all the necessary books are correct and that any queries have been satisfactory answered.
Candidates for Ordination Fund Annual Report for 2018
Registered Charity No 212729
The work of the C.O.F. continues and I am grateful to all those individuals and Chapters who continue to support the Fund through their generous donations. These donations are essential to ensure that our Brothers who are training for the Sacred Ministry receive all the help we can possibly give them. Your trustees are always looking at ways to help potential candidates.
As many of you who arrange programmes for their Chapters’ know, it is getting increasingly difficult to find churches that welcome us. We therefore need to support our candidates, so when they are Ordained, we hope that at least we will be offered hospitality at the churches which they serve in. We supported the Vocations Conference again last year, which we hope will yield results. We also made a donation to the new ACS Offices from interest gained from our investments. I have one potential candidate for a grant, I am just awaiting the return of his application form. Once again, many thanks for your continued support of CO.F. NAME of COLLEGE TRAINING/ORDINATION Blair Radford Serving title St Paul’s Monk Bretton Deaconed June 2018, Due to be priested 13th July 2019 Ross Copley St Stephen’s House 2nd year Oct 2018.
Colin Squires COF Administrator Easter 2019
The Server Report 2018
As agreed in Council I have started a ‘Know your Councillor’ section to help the membership know the Council members, I am grateful for those who have replied and quite understand if you do not feel able to contribute. It has been rewarding to receive Chapter reports from overseas and even enquiries about membership from abroad, notably Malta. I have had many comments as to how good it is to see the section ‘The Wardens Words’ from Fr Darren this gives the whole membership a feeling of involvement. Here I must thank all those who are, in any way involved with the production of The Server. Whilst some Chapter Reports come in regularly from some Chapters there are many out there that I do not hear from at all, maybe other Chapters could be encouraged to send in reports. One thing that I do hear regularly in reports is the phrase ‘we were low in numbers’, maybe more reports from around the country might encourage lapsed, or new members to attend meetings. I have one sadness and that is the lack of input from the general membership, I have to say that if I relied only on general material sent into me, we would have a very thin magazine, so please encourage your members and Chapters to put pen to paper. You will notice that on the address page that, at their request, some Officers have their home addresses published. It does not seem 14 years since taking over as editor and it is a task I really enjoy but if you can see any way in which the magazine can be improved please let me know.
Peter Keat Editor of The Server Easter 2019 PS. One interesting point is that looking at the Register published in The Server over a 3-year period 2015-2017. The membership record makes interesting reading. New Full Members = 60 Deceased members = 93