An important part of every Quest conference is the AGM, which this year was held on the first evening of conference.
Reports from our chair, treasurer and membership secretary all showed that although low in numbers, we are a vigourous, healthy organisation that is now well-placed for renewed growth. As we reported earlier, in a previous post on day 1:
The highlight of this year’s AGM was the chair’s report, with encouraging news of how over the past year or so, our focus has moved beyond our traditional focus on supporting our members in the challenge of reconciling faith and sexuality, to a greater emphasis on looking outwards, to the wider world.
On the one hand, this has been by reaching out to Catholic bishops and others in Church structures, on the other, it has been by working together with secular LGBT organisations such as LGBT history month, and especially Stonewall, whom we have started to collaborate with on their school role models program. All these initiatives will continue, and grow. The meetings already held with bishops, priest, and the church safeguarding team will all require follow up. We have also been discussing with Stonewall some opportunities to expand our areas of co-operation to new areas, and already, there are plans in place to take our work with the School Role Models project beyond talking to the pupils in school assemblies, to providing some training to school staff on the supportive elements in Catholic teaching – and why church teaching requires us to combat homophobia, and any form of violence or malice, in speech or in action.
Achieving our aims with our present limited resources, depending entirely on our team of willing volunteers will not be easy – even now, we are hardpressed just to keep up with existing commitments. This is why a group of committee members, regional convenors and a few others gathered recently for a weekend workshop to do some brainstorming on identifying priority objectives, and ways to develop the resources to implement them. A summary report on the workshop conclusions, and the action plan that was agreed on, was distributed to the members present, and will be formally submitted to the new committee for their consideration.
That “day 1 report” mentioned that the previous slow decline in membership has now been arrested, with membership now showing modest growth. It’s worth noting that in the membership secretary’s report, we learn that there have been only 6 formal resignations during the past year – and none have anything to do with dissatisfaction with Quest:
Those who resigned cited loss of faith, loss of faith in the Church, a belief that the Church doesn’t properly reflect the faith, too many other commitments and a lack of interest in the group’s activities and the time to participate in them.
Year on year, our membership grew from 174 as at 31/03/2015 year, to 196 as at 31/03/2016 .
The summary document and action plan that was developed at our recent weekend strategic planning workshop, was distributed. Amongst other things, this includes a specific commitment to a new, formal drive to recruit new members. That should result in a further improvement in both our numbers, and our finances, by the time we report to the next AGM.
Election of Committee
The following office bearers were elected:
- Chair – Ruby Almeida
- Treasurer – Ricky Horscroft
There were no nominations for deputy chair, or for secretary. The committe will fill these roles later, by co-option.
Committee members elected were:
- Nick Burchnall
- Dr Trish Fowlie
- Dr Claire Jenkins
- Fr Kieran Fitzsimmons
- Terry Weldon
At the first meeting of the new committee after the AGM, the following additional members were co-opted onto the committee:
- Tony DiMambro
- Nick Hogg
- Chris Miles
(Formal minutes of the AGM will be published later).