AGM 2009 at Wesley, Harrogate
The constitutional meetings (AGM and the Annual Assembly on 22 January 2009) have been held.
Promoting wider church activities: the acclaimed Christmas and Easter brochures have been produced (attached below) along with a new Google map pinpointing the front doors of every local church. The Secretary was delighted to be invited to run a stand at the Northern Christian Resources Exhibition, illustrating the impact on the community of this advanced way of working.
The ‘Church Diary' in The Advertiser has been available for proof-reading up to three months in advance on the CTH website. Following the AGM of CT Knaresborough, the CTH Hon Sec has integrated CTK events in the listing – the inside pages of The Advertiser have usually been copied to the Knaresborough Post (historically without any mention of their churches). Our gratitude is to be noted to the good staff at The Advertiser, BBC Radio York and the CRE Team for their uplifting, professional and caring welcome. Our prayers go with them.
We are grateful to the Trustees of Church House Trust for their continued support of many ecumenical projects, especially the Church Leaders' Fraternal 'Wydale II', as well as the contribution of Archdeacdon Janet Henderson and Peter Barnes for their wisdom, prayer and leadership.
Due to declining health and excessive demands on time and finances, the Honorary Secretary is stepping down at this AGM. For many years, the office work has grown along with speaking engagements, research and communications and corresponding costs in time and finance. As requests for help over the years have gone unanswered, and aware that after some 6½ years he has only arranged two residential conferences for church leaders, he prefers not to hinder God's work and knows that it is time for others to take up the mantle.
He remains grateful to have had the opportunity to rebuild sour relationships between the churches and the local press, include all churches for the sake of those outside our congregations and promote what God has been doing across the area.
His prayer continues for all he has been delighted to serve and work with, following first the Lord's command to love as the raison d'être to life and faith before responding to the call of the commission to share the good news. He has often been heard to say that everything flows smoothly if we learn how to love first.
Whilst not invited to help the Working Group explore how best to develop and improve the Executive and Secretarial work of CTH, the Secretary has summarised the Working Group's reported Developments for 2009 on a page also available on this website.
Personally … Cormac Murphy O'Connor said that we're called to be faithful rather than be successful; I hope and pray that my time has been marked by a faithful devotion to the Lord, the community we humbly serve and to every one of the Christian congregations in this area, not just those who pay their subs or who are of like mind. The strap-line “Loving God and neighbour – Together” was welcomed by leaders six years ago as a strong and wise direction; as has been since said, “Lead on, Harrogate”.
Acts 5v34). To all, it has been a humble privilege to have had the opportunity to serve the community and the wider church.
The secretary expressed his thanks at the meeting to all for their generosity with the print of Betty's and Montpellier Hill and the gift.
[The brochure-style AGM reports included brief summaries of the main ecumenical projects, added below along with the powerpoint slide show. The Trustees of YfC closed the Centre a month later.]
Youth for Christ Report 2009
HYPeR Report 2009
CTH Office Report 2009
AGM 2008 at St Paul's URC, Harrogate
The constitutional meetings (AGM and the Annual Assembly) have been held, dates are listed on the website. It has been most enjoyable working and praying with our president. We pray God's continual grace and peace on the community and worshipping congregations and especially on all new to the life of the church over the last year. (See News Archive for clergy moves). With the 100th anniversary of the WPCU taking John 17 as its theme, our prayers continue for those exploring closer working, especially Harrogate Baptist and West Park URC congregations.
Promoting wider church activities: the Christmas and Easter brochures (chronological list of services and map), were printed with grant support from Church House Trust; the DL style Easter brochure included the service sheet for Good Friday.
The CTH website continues to grow; all can check and proof read entries to the Church Diary in the Harrogate Advertiser newspaper up to three months in advance of publication. Postal Mailing dates continue to be published within the website Communications page. Updated pages include hall capacities and languages / ethnic minorities listings as part of a revised Church Lists section.
With the Labyrinth seen on BBC Songs of Praise on 3 February, correspondence and requests for further info have been received from across the UK and beyond. The secretary continues to contribute on BBC Radio York and at churches and to groups in the area and as far afield as Somerset. The customer-focused approach to marketing the work of the wider church appears to be welcomed; this area has room for further development.
The ‘Church Diary' in The Advertiser can be proof-read up to three months in advance on the CTH website. The secretary can add/amend entries up to midnight on Mondays for the following Friday's edition. Our gratitude is to be noted to the good staff at The Advertiser, BBC Radio York and the BBC Songs of Praise production teams for their inspiring and professional approach. Our prayers go with them.
The two banner stands have been on show at various events including the Conference Centre for the New Wine Women's and Leadership events and various other Ecumenical meetings. They continue to provide a professional approach in promoting the Lord's work in this area; they're always available for your Area Group.
We are grateful to the Trustees of Church House Trust for their continued support of many ecumenical projects, especially the Christmas Nativity themed lights in the town centre and the forthcoming Church Leaders' Fraternal 'Wydale II'.
The administration work within CTH continues to grow along with the increasing calls on the secretary's time at events and speaking engagements. In the coming year, discussion and decisions on the future direction of this work need to be made to prepare ourselves for both the challenges in society and church as well as in the way that we deliver the many elements of the ecumenical work in Harrogate.
President's Report 2008
Rev Canon Lawrie Hulme, St Robert's RC
My first and pleasurable duty was the mayor making ceremony at the Old Sawn Hotel - with fine food, too. A very formal but social occasion; many wondered where I was the mayor of because of the Churches Together badge. A reminder that we are part of the make up of the fabric of Harrogate.
Highlights included the WPCU and our Annual Assembly with Brother Thomas of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal whose simplicity of life and prayer moves them to action. Last year's theme of prayer moves seamlessly to Ian's year's theme of action and serving in the community. One must lead to another; nothing lives in isolation.
A number signs; Radio York; I recall the Christmas Lights which the churches of Harrogate put up in our town; It was notable that the Radio York interviewer was less interested in the Christian input to Christmas but was looking for an argument with the local council, suggesting that the ratepayers should be paying for them rather than the churches. When it became obvious that I wouldn't go down that track, the interview finished abruptly.
There were other occasions where I was able to put forward the Christian point of view.
Tonight's handover is just as much part of my year as president; I would like to thank all those who have supported me this year, especially the secretary. One of my hopes this year was that we would get rid of Humph, or at least vast lots of what he did. We started the process of breaking down the role into its component parts to try to move them around because his generosity has made the job so big that nobody wants to take it over. Something for the year to come.
AGM 2007 at St Aelred's parish hall, Harrogate
The constitutional meetings (AGM and the Annual Assembly) have been held under the new constitution. Dates are listed on the website. It has been a joy to welcome the new Exec members from Area groups – the secretary's presence at Area Meetings should become superfluous in this coming year! It has been an exciting and demanding year supporting our president and the growing work of CTH, sprinkled with much delight, especially with new clergy and worshippers; we say a sad farewell to Brian Hunt on the Exec and pray God's grace on those who have moved on from the congregations of the town, and for those whose places of worship are being closed. (See News Archive for clergy moves)
Promoting wider church activities: the Christmas and Easter brochures (chronological list of services and map), were distributed with help from Keith Gough to most hotels, TIC and other locations.
The CTH website continues to grow and is now used for the entries to the Church Diary in the Harrogate Advertiser newspaper. Postal Mailing dates continue to be published within the website Communications page. The website now includes listings of church postal codes to assist the emergency services, with a downloadable poster for churches, halls and offices. Other new pages include a page on languages spoken at various churches, responding to the need to welcome all ethnic and national groups.
Our president started his CTH year with a series of issues for consideration by the wider church. Thorough research was made over the lap dancing club on Oxford Street – and especially its foundation stones, noting wise views that either the stones should remain as a proclamation , and also that they could be replaced if the stones cause the concern.
On other issues, Harrogate was unsuccessful in applying for the Casino licence, the CTH website carries various links and materials in response to the Da Vinci Code film; along with USDAW, Morrisons and many others, the move to 24 hour 7 day opening was defeated in the House of Commons, our MP also supporting other related causes.
Several churches are in communication with Tesco over their planned return to HG1, exploring the possibility of a community quiet or prayer room (other towns have even seen such a room be used for blood donations and registering births); there is the possibility here of an ecumenical project to run a ‘shop front', open ‘all hours' and providing a welcoming, loving meeting point with our community.
Church House Trust has supported many ecumenical projects, especially providing funding for a Poly Canvas Labyrinth which has already been requested by schools and churches. The fund has also funded a replacement HP Pavilion dual core tower system. New websites and webpages created this year include www.YouthCells.net for Rev Peter Askew, a rapidly rebuilt www.HYPeR.org.uk following the loss of server facilities and various webpages for local churches and Berwick Grange.
The two banner stands have been on show at various events including the CVS ‘Meet the Funder' day supporting the voluntary sector across the district; also at the Conference Centre for the New Wine leadership event and various other Ecumenical meetings and Lent groups. They provide a professional approach in promoting how the Lord is moving across this area; they're always available for your Area Group.
The changes to the ‘Church Diary' in The Advertiser now provide the opportunity for anyone to proof-read the planned entries for the coming week – up to six weeks in advance – via the CTH website. The secretary has contracted to add/amend entries up to midnight on Tuesdays, but would prefer all additions, changes, alterations and corrections to be emailed earlier! The administration work within CTH continues to grow.
AGM 2006 at St Peter's church, Harrogate
The constitutional meetings (Steering Councils, AGM and the Annual Assembly) had been published and held, except for the Spring Steering Council. Dates are listed on the website.
Promoting wider church activities: the Christmas and Easter brochures (chronological list of services and map), were distributed to most hotels, TIC and other locations.
The CTH website continues to grow and has won accolades for its user friendliness and the way it answers the browser's questions. Postal Mailing dates have now been published for two years within the website Communications page. The website includes links across North and West Yorkshire; indeed, some church websites link directly to specific pages (eg the map of Yorkshire, Ripon Churches Together). Harrogate CT Area Group logos are downloadable from the website.
In addition to the CTH-owned Toshiba Equium notebook, the CTH inventory includes a colour laser printer. The equipment is used to run the ecumenical websites, other ecuemnical group accounts and administrative tasks. As well as the CTH website, the United Gigs, HYPeR and Youth for Christ websites and various church web-pages are maintained on this one computer.
The work of administering, marketing and communicating CTH with the wider community continues to grow and especially the CTH website - and News page - being used by more than ever. With daily – or hourly website updates – and on-call answering of telephone and other requests, the role of the secretary in promoting what God is doing through his Church is developing into the work of a small office.
Following Wydale I and Wydale II [evening Annual Assembly in 2007] , the progress being made within various ecumenical and single church projects has highlighted the desire to provide two key aspects to help reach out to the community and meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs: our place on the ‘High Street' and wiser ways of sharing administrative and organisational burdens. As well as seeking to create improved worship centres, meeting place, conference and events venues, there is a growing vision to provide a ‘ shop front ' to the community, open when ‘the community is open' (midweek, daytime hours). There has been a call to support smaller churches with areas such as their administration and websites; it has been suggested that the wider church in Harrogate considers options and solutions to meet these needs.
As we draw on the experiences of those who have investigated options over recent years and learn from their research, pains and visions, my prayer is that we, as a wider church, present the town of Harrogate with a welcoming, available, contemporary and vibrant expression of God's presence and work amongst us. May our decisions be based and surrounded by the Father's love as we seek to be part of his kingdom here together.
AGM 2005 at St Paul's URC church hall, Harrogate
The secretary reports that the constitutional meetings (Steering Councils, AGM and the Annual Assembly) had been held and that details of dates were listed on the Who's Who page of the website.
Promoting wider church activities: the Christmas brochure with a chronological list of services and a new, more comprehensive map, was distributed to most hotels, TIC and other locations; thanks to St Mark's church for duplication services, and Paperworks for folding the brochures. The Easter services listing was produced as a simple A4 print from the CTH website listing; hotels were grateful for the opportunity to be able to print off further copies as required.
For the 2005 General Election, CTH worked in partnership with Wesley Chapel in arranging a Political Candidates meeting with Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, The Alliance for change and UKIP candidates; CT Knaresborough ran a separate meeting on 20 April in Holy Trinity church with Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates.
The Church Leaders' conference at Wydale Hall in November 2004 was welcomed as an opportunity for the wider fraternal to enjoy worship and fellowship together whilst assessing where the current place of the church in Harrogate and the vision for the future. The two day residential is understood to have provided a platform to enable productive dialogue and plans across many areas.
The CTH website has undergone various improvements to improve download speeds; colour co-ordination of the various areas of the website now make navigation easier. Staff at the Yorkshire Tourist Board are impressed by the "customer-focused" make up of the Service Times and Disability Access pages. Further developments continue to be published to help the wider community easily find out the activities and role of the wider church across Harrogate and this region. Surface Mailing continue, with dates now included on the website Communications page.
The secretary's personal laptop showed worsening signs of mortality throughout the 2004 summer, and the CTH Exec agreed to fund the purchase of a new CTH-owned Toshiba Equium notebook. This is available for use by the Exec committee, and is loaded with the software needed to run the ecumenical websites, accounts and administrative tasks. As well as the CTH website, the United Gigs, HYPeR and Youth for Christ websites are maintained on this one computer.
Following the good experience of Wydale, the secretary is drawing together a proposal for a similar opportunity for mutual encouragement and sharing of best practice for church administrators, as a half day held locally
AGM 2004 at Beckwithshaw Village Hall, Harrogate
The secretary reported that the constitutional meetings (Steering Councils, AGM and the Annual Assembly) had been held and that details of dates were listed on the Who's Who page of the website. To enable the 90% of Harrogate to discover more of what is going on in the churches, brochure detailing Services at Christmas and Easter were issued to hotels, Tourist Information Centres and many other public buildings; thanks were expressed to all for making these brochures possible.
The News and Events pages of the website were now detailing many more events and services enabling every church to find out and print off the latest details including contact info. While Mailings continue, they have reduced in number. Correspondence has now included emails - many asking for publicity for events, and much of this has been dealt with on receipt simply by adding the event to the website.
We now enjoy stronger ecumenical work in Harrogate through United Gigs (youth leaders working together to bring contemporary Christian music concerts to the town). Some events have seen hundred of our secondary school students screaming with delight at the opportunity to worship together.
Church Trails brochure is planned for development this summer.
The website now welcomes many visitors: 3000 hits since last year. News and Events pages regularly updated, and the many reports include the GM Debate, Dr Neil Richardson, Steve Chalke and, of course, the Lent lunch series. The Church and Service Lists have been upgraded with pics of each church in the area, and, with a new Regional map, there are links across North Yorkshire.
Issues requiring action or consultation included Software, DPA, Cyber insurance. CT has its own copy of Dreanmweaver, scanner and a memory stick for space efficient archiving. CT is understood not to need to register for Data Protection due to the avoidance of any records of a pastoral nature. Cyber insurance covers many issues but is understood to be unnecessary at this stage.
Development opportunities include a Members' area and search facilities (due to the growing wealth of information now available). Since the existing website runs as a sub-directory there is no easy possibility for a site search facility, so the web address "www.ctharrogate.org.uk" has been purchased with a view to investigating the possibility of a move at some point.
The regional links continue to grow, and with their being no umbrella website for the whole of North Yorkshire a second web address "www.ctny.org.uk" has been obtained. The secretary asked the AGM if this was a team opportunity - suggestions for those willing to catch the vision and form a working group would be most welcome.
AGM 2003 at St Mark's Church, Leeds Road, Harrogate, Acting Secretary's Report
Much of the secretarial work this year has been done by the President, ably assisted by the Rev Shaun Swithenbank and David Henthorne. Thanks to health problems, Paul Tennyson has been playing a low-key role, albeit still delivering items on foot as ever.
With reference to the President, the Acting Secretary recalls her address in May 2002 and her interest in organising the Churches Together website, the organisation of of a very successful Annual Assembly, two Steering Councils, four executive and other sundry meetings along with the Christmas Advertising campaign. Jo Grande has put in a lot of hard work for which the acting secretary is most grateful.
The loose end which should be tied up is the Local Area to which St Wilfrid's and their Jennyfield plant wish to join. The areas appear to be working well