Our Laetare Sunday
Our AGM took place this morning, Sunday, 31 March. It was Laetare (Rejoice) or Refreshment Sunday, currently known as Mothering Sunday, when roses of different colours were blessed, then handed first by children to their mothers before being more widely distributed. It is one of only two Sundays when the Chaplain wears a pink chasuble. Attended by 74 adults, the Annual Meeting took place in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, sounds of the children singing upstairs in the church in preparation for their concert next week occasionally wafting down to the hall. Food and entertainment were provided for the children while the meeting was going on. Adults had to wait until the end, but were then rewarded with a delicious buffet and drinks provided by the Social Group.
The Chaplain explained the purpose of the meeting and the importance of the Synodical structure of the Church of England, i.e. the representation both at a spiritual and a secular level from individual churches and parishes, such as our own ; through elected members of the deanery or archdeaconry synod, in our case all the churches in Switzerland ; the Diocesan Synod, covering the whole of Europe on which Geneva is represented ; to the General Synod, comprising all 42 dioceses in the Church of England, of which Europe is the only one outside the UK. The election of churchwardens, archdeaconry synod representatives and council members later in the meeting was a concrete manifestation of the system in practice. The members of our new Council, led by the Chaplain, Alex Gordon, are :
Churchwardens – *Fred Samuels, *Mary Talbot
Archdeaconry Synod Representatives – Clare Amos, *Lameck Jaston, Ursula McGregor, *Swamikan Raja
Council Members – Carol Brown, *Mark Charles, *Mike Gunton, Nicholas Hacking, Gill Howie, Jo Kitson, *Julia Lacey, Ann Shazell, Aylwin Zabula.
*elected to the position this year.
Tribute was paid to Roy Damary, who had served as an archdeaconry synod representative until his death last summer. We regretfully accepted the resignation, for personal and work-related reasons, of Ben Jesudoss as warden and from Judith Munzinger, standing down from Council after two consecutive terms. It is expected that Mike Gunton will be formally appointed Treasurer in succession to Mary Talbot at the next meeting of Council.
The Electoral Roll which comprises the voting membership of the church has to be completely renewed every six years. Sonia Gunton, the electoral roll officer, has been extremely visible for the last six weeks, persuading members of the congregation to join or rejoin. In an almost unprecedented achievement, the roll increased from 183 last year to 190 on 17 March, the deadline for this meeting, and a further four since. We now stand at 194. This is both a tribute to Sonia but also an incredibly encouraging sign that members of our congregation want to be associated with Holy Trinity. Canon Alex spoke of the vibrancy and diversity of the Church and of his and of his wife, Geraldine’s, enjoyment and appreciation of being part of our community.
Council had earlier decided that it would like to make the statutory reports from the Chaplain, Wardens, Council, Archdeaconry Synod and Financial more interesting, more readable and more visually attractive. The result is a booklet containing all five, which we hope that you will have seen. It is both on-line and in hard copy at the back of the church. It contains a record of the principal focus of the church over the past 12 months and should remain relevant for future months. Much effort has been spent on ‘Building Tomorrow’ our planned renovation and upgrade of the church and its facilities, which aims to provide us with a building that meets our current needs and leaves a valuable and flexible legacy for the future. The project has now completed the pre-project phase, which includes creating a complete scope of work, together with appropriate costsings. It is now in a form where it can be presented to potential donors. Preliminary contacts have been made with both donors and also the Commission des Monuments et Sites (SMS), who have a statutory duty to look after historical monuments, of which Holy Trinity is one. Bishop David Hamid, in charge of issuing ‘faculties’ to allow us to make changes, visited Holy Trinity with the diocesan property surveyor. They were both very impressed by the scale of the project and indicated that there would be no barrier to obtaining the necessary faculties. The project has been explained in detail to the congregation in extensive consultation meetings. It is designed to carry out essential repairs ; to improve the ecological footprint of the building ; to bring the facilities up to modern standards, e.g. fire regulations and disabled access, access to natural light, toilets and kitchen ; to improve the overall aesthetic appearance of the church, its forecourt and garden ; to increase the space available by creating a basement below the current hall. The overall cost of the project is estimated at around CHF 4 million, including contingency. In addition there are likely to be additional operating costs while the work is taking place. Implementation is dependant on funding being made available and on permissions from the necessary authorities, particularly the SMS.
In reviewing the financial results for 2018, the Treasurer’s announcement that despite budgeting for a deficit of CHF 10,000, the result had produced a surplus of just CHF 48 was greeted with a cheer. The budget for the coming year follows a very similar pattern, still heavily dependent on people’s generosity in giving and showing an overall deficit of CHF 3,000, which we hope can also be bridged. David Powell was re-appointed auditor.
Later in the day, some of us returned to the church for the first of this year’s series of organ recitals, given by our organ scholar, Federico Terzi currently studying for his Masters Degree in the Organ at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva. The programme included music by Buxtehude, Bach, Franck and Duruflé, which was enthusiastically received. As always, it was followed by an aperitif for all attendees.
The day ended with the service of Compline sung by the choir to Gregorian chants. Appropriately for Laetere or Refreshment Sunday, the sun shone all day and it was still light as we left the church.