Annual Report & Accounts 2005
Chairperson - Father Gordon Gecco
As your Area Leader and Chairperson of the Clustered Parish Assembly [CPA] of St. Jude’s Hyperdeanery, I am delighted to report on another year of progress and rapid change.
At our annual CPA we account for our various gifts and community resources and give you a road map on the journey ahead. And we can confidently state that over the past year we met the majority of our strategic objectives and are well placed to meet whatever challenges come our way. As our veritable CEO, Bishop O’Faust, gaily commented, we are one of the most vibrant faith communities competing in a very tight and declining market.
We have seen real growth in the number of Deanery Pastoral Assistants and a further 135 have been trained as Ministers of the Eucharist. This brings the number to 448 and thus we have met our Minister-to-communicant ratio target of 2:1. This puts us in the top quartile of Hyperdeaneries on this service quality measure.
Our recruitment policy has met the stringent diocesan standards of diversity ensuring that we have a fair spread of evangelicals, women, ethnic minorities, young adults and interfaith representatives. All have been put through a rigorous training programme and are now an integral part of our business vision to ease the church into a renewed lay vision.
You will recall the outcome of the Diocesan Planning session in September 2002 - our inspired formulation: "Faith community – Live the Dream!" Well, I am thrilled to report that this vision – which we printed on the folk group T-shirts – has had amazing resonance with the laity.
For instance, we bussed over 200 parishioners to the G8 demo in Edinburgh. Though it transpires that most thought it was the annual Marian pilgrimage, they seemed to enjoy the ride.
We also hosted a local Ecumenical Workshop entitled ‘Martin Luther King – a case of equal rights for fast-tracking beatification’. This gave us the opportunity to replace the rather passé Stations of the Cross with a terrific photo montage of the late great MLK.
There are so many highlights which l would like to dwell on but it is my duty to report on the key performance indicators.
Our affirmative action recruitment plan upped the number of homo-, bi-, trans- and quadro-sexual chaplains of each mutation by 50%, allowing us to increase visits to a new high of 168, at a time resource investment of 2.2 person days – a 28% improvement on 2004. We have achieved these efficiencies by no longer talking to staff about hydration and feeding. These things are best left to professionals who monitor the cost-for-care ratio of each patient with such diligence and compassion.
Total visits: 12. Time resource invested: 0.5 person days – a 15% improvement on 2004. By only making individual reconciliation available on request and maximising the communal option we have squeezed out tremendous savings. The new open facility, which I’ll explain later, will further improve our performance.
Total: 1. Time resource invested - 1.5 person days. Sadly, this is up on last year. Next year a simple facility to log on to the internet and cover the combined Alpha/Alive-O programme on a distance learning basis should enable us to divert saved resources to our more pressing Syncretic Outreach Programme.
Total: 0. Time resource invested - 0.0 person days. Happily, the profitable sale of the long derelict Campion House seminary, Holy Cross Convent and St. John’s Abbey freed up financial and person resources for our Adult Faith Formation programmes. We can now steam ahead as the Holy Spirit opens up exciting ministries through Her renewed church, in which all are called to realise their priestly giftedness - and earning potential! In respect of which may I draw your attention to the part-time Giftedness Counsellor post now on offer within the Hyperdeanery secretariat - £25,000 with full benefits. Application forms together with a list of available Adult Faith Facilitator positions are on the CAFDOM table at the door, near the ‘Condoms for the Poor’ box - please be generous.
Training and Strategy Days:
Total: 230 days – up 18% on 2004 (and 60% on 1994). This is a terrific performance – remember athletes train daily to reach world-class levels! Although I took up 72% of these slots, including the 10 day Enneagram Awareness workshop in Columbia, I do hope that we can share out more of these opportunities among the Clustered Communities. To that end I have invited the workshop leader, Señor Pedro ‘Che’ Alinsky, to lead a pan-British event in the Miners Social Club in Wishaw, Lanarkshire. His book entitled ‘Profiling the Clustered Community: A Cuban Perspective’, is a must for this workshop at only £49.99.
Since worship attendance, RCIA coffee mornings and relationship regularisation ceremonies (the preconciliar ‘Mass, baptism and wedding’ figures) are no longer mission critical, I will move straight on to the various sub-committee reports.
To cater for increased accommodation needs of the folk group and Ministers of the Eucharist/Word/Mime/Dance/Welcome..., we have re-ordered the Worship Space - dispensing with the obsolete sanctuary and High altar. We achieved this on time and, most importantly, only 175% over budget. We have placed a rolling second collection to help fund the deficit.
The competition for the design was a great success as we worked with our local CAFDOM group who promoted the competition through their website and attracted the eventual winners, the Reformed Bratislavan Orthodox Workers Co-operative, an official United Nations non-governmental organisation, whose mural of workers in a field of wheat provides a perfect back drop to the liturgical action. Their altar, crafted from used lignite, is a masterpiece of retro-Communist - to wit "Communal" - art.
In line with our policies on Child Protection and transparency, we have also completed the ceiling to floor glass reconciliation/meditation room. The old confessional boxes have been converted into Game Boy cabins as part of our Teens for Jesus programme – our bid for a share of the competitive yet lucrative youth market.
I am pleased to report that our Faith Centre can now look forward and never again be subject to revision by flat-earthers who still pine for corporately outmoded forms involving market insensitive concepts like ‘penance’ and ‘sacrifice’.
Deanery Pastoral Council sub-committee:
The DPC sub-committee, a veritable Board of Directors, takes on onerous responsibilities for the well-being of the entire Hyperdeanery. I chair this body myself and must say that it represents extraordinary value for your money. Our main concern is to ensure we continue with our deficit budgeting whilst maximising our revenues to subsidize the salaries required for our overworked and underpaid Deanery Secretariat personnel, Area Leaders, Deanery Pastoral Assistants and Clustered Parish Pastoral Assistants, while pegging their pitiful remuneration at only 85% of net income.
It may seem that we are constantly hounding you with raffle tickets, bingos, coffee mornings etc. but remember our vision – ‘Faith Community – Live the Dream!’ This is what "community" is all about – maximising revenues so that we continue the spending essential to creating that dream.
This sub-committee has really got the bit between its teeth. It has put out the recessional hymn to tender, and Blackwood Undertakers have taken this slot at an annual licence fee of £3,000. Their name and contact details will appear on parish bulletins with the slogan – ‘For this once in a lifetime moment choose only the best – only Blackwood.’
The sub-committee has also, finally, reached agreement with the Rosary group to cease its endless chanting at the end of weekday services, as this disturbs the local Buddhist chapter of our Syncretic Outreach group who use the superb accoustics of the vast new Worship Space for their Tibetan Singing Bowls ritual. Tickets for their special Christmas performance are now available at only £30, and the first 20 applicants get our Vision T-shirt.
Eucharistic Services are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, allowing extra time for Training and Strategy Days as well as for myself. As you know, much of my own free time is needed for the corporate planning cycle which now must include our new critical business units.
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for sharing your faith journey with the Hyperdeanery as it plummets even further "into the deep." Let us "go forth and bear fruit" in the 2006 financial year - stripping our assets and maximising salaries for the greater glory of Her name - pilgrims together in strategic communal vision.