Chapter met on the 31st of May and the 28th of June.
31st May 2015
We discussed the churchyard, and in particular how best it should be used and managed. There was general consensus that management to keep it in a natural and semi-wild state is most in-keeping with the ethos of St Edward’s. This topic will be revisited in the forthcoming Chapter meeting in August.
We considered music during services, and agreed that an organic growth in this area is appropriate.
The bulk of the meeting was taken up with a wide-ranging discussion initially focused on the possibility of restarting an LGBT group, but moving on to cover the vision and mission of St Edward’s.
28th June, 2015
We revisited the question of vision and mission of St Edward’s. Four headline topics were identified which roughly corresponded to elements in the parish profile previously developed, namely: inclusiveness, meditative spirituality, intellectual engagement, and reconciliation. We started to address the question of how, given the interregnum and limited resources, we move forward on these fronts at St Edward’s.
The meeting also considered the timeline for the interregnum. Following on from a discussion with the Trustees for the Charity for the Emolument of the Chaplain, we noted that the first steps towards a new appointment would be revisiting the parish profile towards the end of this calendar year, with a view to starting the practicalities of finding a new incumbent at the start of 2016.
The most pressing matter considered by Chapter during this meeting was the ongoing challenge of identifying clergy for Sunday services. A number of factors make this difficult. Amongst these are the following: (1) we are in a diocese with a large number of interregna, and so clergy are spread very thinly amongst the churches. (2) at St Edward’s, for a church in an interregnum, we run a large number of services (four services during a week). (3) we are currently at the stage where a number of people who have taken services in the past are moving on or away (4) as we enter the summer holiday period, many are on holiday or otherwise unavailable. Whilst it may be expected that clergy might be abundant in Cambridge, in practice it is also true that the demand for and on clergy is also large here.
Without changing how we manage our services, we are therefore not in a position to run – in particular – all of the three services on Sunday, however much we would like to do so. The principal service at St Edward’s is the 11am service on Sundays, and it is there that, with limited resources, the churchwardens need to focus the bulk of their efforts (see below). However, the 8am service and 5pm services are an essential part of St Edward’s character. The 8am service maintains the BCP tradition, and the 5pm service represents most strongly the meditative and spiritual aspects of St Edward’s. In response to this, Chapter identified some subcommittees – one for the 8am, and one for the 5pm – with the remit of clarifying how we can maintain these services despite the challenges we face.
As the limiting resource is the availability of clergy, the most obvious solution is to decrease our dependency on clergy being available – that is, to have more services which are run in their entirety by laity. This requires planning in terms of service structure, adherence to Canon Law, and in terms of practicalities (e.g. “who has the key to open the church up?” and so on). However, these are challenges that, with help from the congregations at the various services, can be met.
It is clear that the 8am and 5pm services are very valued. The sense by the end of the meeting was that the challenges were well-understood, but equally so was the value, and that with some degree of pragmatism, we will be able to help these services to flourish.
Concerning the 11am service, we reviewed the developing patterns of service styles (see also below). As discussed at the APCM, the Churchwardens are keen to get St Edward’s “back” to the rich and varied liturgy for these services at has had in the past. Chapter broadly approved this endeavour.