Minutes of the 2019 AGM

The Hymn Society of Great Britain & Ireland

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Society held at Keynes College Campus, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NP on Thursday 25th July 2019
The Executive President opened the meeting with prayer.
19/AI 59 members were present.
19/A2 Apologies:

Apologies were received from: Rt Revd Michael Baughen, Mr Ken Bowden, Revd Vincent Canning, Mr Philip and Mrs Pam Carter, Revd Douglas Constable, Dr Adrian le Coq, Rt Revd Edward and Mrs Patricia Darling, Revd James and Mrs Patricia Dickinson, Rt Revd Timothy Dudley-Smith, Mrs Miriam Ellis, Mr Colin Ferguson, Mrs Margaret Garland, Revd Alan and Mrs Winifred Gaunt, Professor David and Mrs Caroline Gill, Mr Rhidian Griffiths, Mr John Hardiman, Revd Michael and Mrs Barbara Haighton, Mr Ross Hinds, Mr Paul Inwood and Ms Kathryn Christmas, Mr Nicholas Page, Mrs Annette Peters, Mrs Christine Purcell, Mrs Valerie Ruddle, Professor David Smalley, Revd Dr David Thompson and Mr Brian West.

19/A3 Memorials:

Members remembered in silence and prayer those members who had died during the past year: Mr Dennis Armstrong (Davenport. Cheshire), Revd Geoffrey E. Beck (Polegate, East Sussex), Revd Alasdair P.W. Fraser (Aberdeen), Revd Leslie S. Ivory (Stowmarket, Suffolk), Revd Canon G. D. Underwood (Glen Parva, Leicester), Mr Richard R.C. Weston (Highbury. London), Mrs Jan Wright (Plympton, Devon) and Mr David Young (Parbold, Wigan, Lancashire).

19/A4 Minutes of the 2018 AGM:

The minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 27th July 2018 at Bishop Burton College, York Road, Bishop Burton were approved and signed.

19/A5 Matters arising:

There were none.

19/A6 Executive President’s remarks:

The Conference had been a great success; it had been good to welcome participants from HSUSC, whose report had been intensely exciting as they were achieving much that was at present beyond the reach of HSGBI – but it was no bad thing for our reach to exceed our grasp. The Society needed to reach out to the church community. Links were being established with other like-minded bodies: an RSCM representative had been welcomed at Conference: there had been a Regional Day in South London: and via PGT, the Society had run hymn-writing workshops at the Cheltenham Christian Arts Festival with scope to further develop this link. All of this was about making and developing connections.

19/A7 Secretary’s report:

Since the last AGM there had been 14 new UK members. Sadly, there had been 8 deaths. Membership stood at 449, comprising 333 members in Gt Britain & Ireland, 53 in the USA and Canada, 49 in Europe/Scandinavia, 2 in Australia, 3 in Japan, 3 in South Africa, 3 in Nigeria, 1 in Cyprus, 1 in Mexico and 1 in Taiwan. This represented a small decrease in the UK but an increase in overseas members. Work needed to be done in the UK and in this respect improvements to the Society’s published publicity material were progressing. It was hoped this might be available during the coming year. There were 44 subscribing libraries, again mainly overseas, together with various other institutions who received our publications.

The Executive Committee had met on two occasions: in London in January and during the Annual Conference at the University of Kent. The Officers had met twice at the Diocesan Office in Birmingham. Work reviewing the Constitution had continued and we were indebted to our Executive President for her work on this. It had taken longer than anticipated, however, if approved at this AGM, it would be ready for submission to the Charity Commission for consultation and, hopefully, approval. In addition, work had continued on Safeguarding and Health and Safety issues, for which we were grateful to Michael Garland.

A Second London Regional Hymn Day had been held in March and a Paris Hymn Day in May; neither attracted huge attendances but were much appreciated and deemed a success. Such occasions raised the profile of the Society, promoting its aims, and it was hoped members would consider what was possible in their own locality; the Executive was able and willing to support such initiatives. The Society continued to contribute a Hymn Festival to the Charles Wood Summer School in Armagh: last August delivered by Gordon Giles and much appreciated.

Our Web Administrator, Ken Cope, had further developed the Society’s website. Digitising the Bulletins continued and, although a substantial project, considerable progress had been made; to date all Bulletins since May 1973 (127) were now available in the Members’ Area of the website. The Society was grateful to the Pratt Green Trust for its continued grant funding support. A significant innovation, enabled by the expertise of Christine Purcell, had been the compiling of information about the various libraries in the UK which hold hymn-related collections. This should prove invaluable to those undertaking research and it was hoped to add more information as it became available. Our presence on Twitter and Facebook continued and the Society was grateful to Gordon Giles and John Crothers who facilitate this.

Terence Atkins, and Michael and Viv Garland had continued their work on indexing Volume XXI which should be available for publication in 2020. We were grateful to Martin Leckebusch and the Publications Committee who continued their work on the Society’s behalf with the Occasional Paper Suitable for Singing? An Exploration of the Hymns of the Book of Revelation by Graham Deans being published recently. Thanks were due to Bulletin Editor Andrew Pratt and his team who assiduously continued producing our quarterly publication. Claire Wilson, the Society’s Pastoral Link Person, remained much appreciated in giving pastoral oversight to members. As always, thanks to the Secretary’s wife, Jenny Canham, whose unstinting work and support was incalculable.

At another successful Conference, we were grateful to our lecturers Nicholas Markwell (Bicentenary of the birth of James Ellor (1819-1899) and the tune ‘Diadem’); John Bell (Whatever happened to Jesus in the Church’s Song?); Gillian Warson (Gathering rushes and playing the meadows: singing All Things Bright and Beautiful today): Carl Daw (What would Watts do 300 years later? Embarking on a New Psalter); and Christopher Gray (Nine Lessons and Carols – born in a shed). We were grateful to Martin Leckebusch, Martin Ellis, and John Webber with Sue O’Neill for contributing Sectionals and to our four participants in Short Metre. We were grateful to our chaplain Adam Carlill for his thoughtfully conceived and well-integrated worship, to Robin Knowles Wallace for preaching at the Eucharist, to all those who during the week had contributed musical accompaniments both in worship and in Conference sessions, to Janet Wootton, John Webber and John Bell for a memorable Festival of Hymns in the Western Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral, to Gordon Taylor for setting the tunes and to the Dean for his encouragement and generosity in providing lunch at the Deanery. We were grateful to Graham Spicer for handling Conference bookings, to Gordon Giles and David Lee for overseeing the technical facilities, to Terence Atkins and Alan Hall for managing our book sales and to the University of Kent for their hospitality.

19/A8 Treasurer’s report and Presentation of the 2018 Accounts:

The Treasurer reported on another good year. Of particular note was the continuing grant of £1.800 from the Pratt Green Trust together with an additional grant of £2.000 to enable the digitizing of the Bulletins for which thanks was expressed. Income from subscriptions had increased slightly. Payments remained broadly similar to the previous year. The increased cost of Bulletins was mainly attributable to higher postal charges. The considerable increase in website expenditure included the digitizing of Bulletins. Administration costs fluctuated: increased costs in 2018 included some necessary computer repairs. It was noted that the increased receipts from Gift Aid covered claims for a two-year period, without which the accounts would have shown a slight deficit. However, this period of reclamation was now up-to-date and so would not benefit future years. The Bishop Burton 2018 Conference had yielded a slight loss, but overall the Conference account was healthy. The Statement of Assets and Liabilities had, with the approval of the Independent Examiners, been clarified for greater ease of understanding and this was appreciated. At the end of 2018, investments were performing less well but had since improved. Within the current financial year, particular thanks were expressed to Gillian Warson and Worship Live who. with the closing of their present way of operating had transferred their assets of approximately £1,000 to The Hymn Society.

The receiving of the accounts was proposed by Gordon Giles, seconded by Graham Deans and endorsed by the meeting. The Executive President expressed her thanks to Secretary and Treasurer and to all those who served the Society in various ways.

The Treasurer then, citing escalating costs, proposed a modest increase in subscription rates for single UK members from £22 to £25 (pro-rata for other categories of membership) to be implemented in January 2021. The previous increase had been in January 2016. Seconded by Martin Ellis, this was accepted unanimously by the meeting.

19/A9 Appointment of Independent Examiner:

The appointment of Mr Roger Downes of Andorran Chartered Accountants, Cheltenham as Independent Examiner was proposed by Martin Ellis, seconded by Adam Carlill. and approved by the meeting.

19/A 10 Election of Officers:

The Executive Vice-President took the Chair:

The re-appointment of Revd Dr Janet Wootton for a further three-year term (2020-2023), proposed by the Executive, was approved nem. con.

The re-appointment of Revd Canon Michael Garland for a further three-year term (2019-2022), proposed by the Executive, was approved nem. con.

The Editorial Team comprising Miss Elizabeth Cosnett and Dr Ian Sharp, with the addition of Revd Canon Michael Garland and Mrs Lesley Butland. which remained an annual appointment, proposed by the Executive, was approved nem. con.

The Executive President resumed the Chair:

19/A 11 Election of Executive Committee:

The Secretary reported that as the new procedure for nominating members of the Executive Committee had failed to produce enough nominees, it had been necessary to revert to the previous system of receiving nominations at Conference.

The Secretary reported that there were three nominations for three vacancies. The following were approved by acclamation to serve on the Executive (for three years):
Mr Terence Atkins, Revd Dr Adam Carlill and Mrs Anne Harrison.

19/A 12 Constitutional matters:

The Executive President spoke to the proposed Constitution, circulated to the meeting, which apart from some minor revisions, remained largely unchanged from previous proposals first submitted to the 2016 AGM. Acceptance was proposed by Martin Ellis, seconded by Gillian Warson and approved unanimously. It would now be submitted to the Charity Commission for scrutiny.

19/A 13 Future Conferences:

2020: a three-day Conference would take place at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Southport. A series of straw polls indicated that whilst the present week was preferred by the majority, given that this was not possible for 2020, the preferred date, and with marginally less unable to attend, appeared to be Tuesday 14th – Friday 17th July.

19/A 14 IAH:

Michael Garland reported that the 2019 1AII Conference was taking place in Halle, Germany, the following week and that our former Executive President, Dr lan Sharp, would be one of the speakers.

19/A15 Additional items of Business:

There was none.

Executive President …………………………..

Date …………………………..

The Executive Committee 2019 – 2020 with dates of election:

Executive President: The Revd Dr Janet Wootton (2017-2020), Executive Vice-President: Mr Martin Leckebusch (2018-2021), Honorary Secretary: The Revd Robert A. Canham (2018-2021), Honorary Treasurer: The Revd Canon Michael Garland (2019-2022), Bulletin Editor: The Revd Dr Andrew Pratt (2017-2020).

Committee: (RSCM) Ex-officio vacant, Mr Terence Atkins (2019), Mrs Lesley Butland (2017), The Revd Dr Adam Carlill, The Revd Dr Graham Deans (2017), Mrs Anne Harrison (2019*), The Revd Professor Elsabe Kloppers (2018*), Mr Nicholas Markwell (2018*), Mr John A.W. Webber (2017), Dr Gillian Warson (2018).

* = the commencement of a second 3-year term of service and. therefore, not eligible for re-election for a year when that term is completed.

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