Holy Trinity Church

Anglican worship in Geneva

COUNCIL REPORT – AUGUST to OCTOBER 2022

This is a report from your Council for the period of August to October. Council did not meet in July but resumed monthly meetings in August.

Council has been meeting in the church hall, with a zoom access for those who cannot be physically present. We are aware that this hybrid method disadvantages those online in comparison to those meeting around the table in the hall and is in general less efficient. We thus conducted our September meeting fully online. In October we reverted to hybrid. We will give some more thought on how we will proceed in 2023 to balance the undoubted advantages of physical presence, particularly for discussions which involve looking together at plans or financial data, with the needs of those members who for various reasons cannot make it into central Geneva for an evening meeting.

Over summer we lost two Council members. Michael Omumbwa who has moved to Dubai for professional reasons and Lamek Jaston who has moved back home with his family. These two vacancies will be replaced at our next AGM in spring 2023.

In September we were delighted to welcome Leone Marangoni, our CEMES (Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme) intern, who will be with us till June 2023. If you haven’t already met Leone, please introduce yourself to him. He is usually in church on Sundays busy assisting in a multitude of ways.

Council has continued to work on the four priorities established for 2022. In August we revisited the objective of Reconnection with the Congregation. We are encouraged that the numbers in church at the Sunday services are increasing and there are new faces. Newcomer cards are now available as well as a new welcome leaflet. On the suggestion of Nicholas Hacking, Council has launched a car sharing scheme to enable those who would like to attend church on a Sunday but for who transport is a problem.  At our September meeting we reviewed our work with children and young people. Junior Church has resumed after the summer break with 8 to 12 children attending on a regular basis, including some new families. We are most grateful to Carol Brown and the four others who run the children’s programme but they are in urgent need of more helpers and staffing can quickly become problematic if someone is ill or unavailable. Please consider if you could help with Junior Church (Sundays during 10.30 service). Carol would be happy to speak to you to give you more information. The summer activities, organized by Armel, were successful and provided a good bridge to keep families and young people engaged over the holidays. In October we focused on the Environment and agreed that as a chaplaincy we will complete the Eco Church survey provided by A. Rocha to provide a picture of where we are now. Your Council also agreed, as individuals, to try and have a plastic free January. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you!

Council had an “Away Day” on Saturday 8th October at Bossey. During that time, Council considered in depth the feedback from the Vision and Strategy consultation conducted with the congregation in April/May. For those of you who are interested the feedback report from the survey, which the Council used for its deliberations is available on our website:    (link:  https://holytrinitygeneva.org/vision-strategy-report/ )  

The Council came up with objectives under each of the three categories covered in the survey; worship, congregation and outreach and hospitality. These objectives then framed the Vision and Strategy day with the congregation, facilitated by Sandra Cobbin on Sunday 23rd October. We were much encouraged by the level of engagement of the congregation in this work and thank all of you who attended. The Chaplain is now working with a small group to take this work forward.  

A Stewardship committee functions as a sub-committee of the Council and reports regularly to Council. Stewardship Sunday on 16th October was an opportunity for the congregation to meet the stewardship committee at a “freshers fair” after the 10.30 service. There will be a Talent Auction to raise funds for the church on the evening of Friday 26th November. We hope that you and your friends will come along for a fun evening, with dinner and a chance to bid for a variety of services and items. We are also encouraging those of you who are running (or walking) in the Course de L’Escalade to seek sponsors to raise money for Holy Trinity. Sponsorship forms are available in church or via the church office.

The “Building Tomorrow” project remains a significant agenda item, under the leadership of Mark Charles. Council were delighted to hear over the summer that our principal sponsor has agreed to provide a further CHF 2 million of funding. Currently there is a lot of work to ensure a smooth move from the front to the back of the church on 4th November. Mark has also presented the plans for phase 2 of our project to renovate the current hall and dig down to provide a second basement level. When appropriate Council will meet to discuss the costing and funding of these plans.

Council receives regular monthly reports from the Chaplain and the Wardens. Highlights from the past three months include: The moving commemoration service on the death of Her Majesty the Queen. A condolence book was available in the church and the service was well attended. There was considerable local media interest and the Chaplain was interviewed by both the Tribune de Genève and RTS. On the music front we were glad to welcome our two new organ scholars, Takahiro Sasak from Japan and Zeltin Perez Enriquez from Mexico. They are regularly replacing Mark at the 9 am Sunday service. The Community Choir continues to be a vibrant outreach activity. Their concert given at Emmanuel Church on Saturday 29th October was a great success and raised funds for the Maison de Tara. The Chaplain and Wardens have kept Council updated on the appointment of a curate. The candidate Glen Ruffle visited Holy Trinity between 12th and 17th October. We await the results of his French language examination before proceeding to apply for a work permit for him and hope that he can be with us early in the New Year. Some of you may have noticed the disappearance of our “eagle” lectern which is being repaired and renovated.

Council receives a monthly report from our Treasurer, Michael Gunton. Expenditure is tracking within budget, with the exception of higher than expected office expenses related to the cost of photocopying. This is being investigated to see how these costs can be trimmed.  One way in which you, the congregation can help here is that, if it is possible for you, to either download or print your own service sheets, so that we can print fewer service sheets. On the income side, we are feeling the impact of our building project in a reduction in our rental income and income from events. Church collections are picking up but not yet at pre-covid levels. We were however delighted to receive a legacy from Davina Hodson, daughter of George Hodson, who some of you will remember and who donated our West window in the memory of his wife. The legacy has been credited to the Development fund and we were also left a painting of our church, executed by George Hodson.

Another area of concern for Council is the organisation of the monthly lunches at the Jardin de Montbrillant. Fred Samuels has co-ordinated this activity for us for many years for which we are immensely grateful, however we now need to find someone to take on this role and make sure the teams are in place to cook and serve the lunches.

As you can see your Council has had a busy autumn and we are now embarking on the Advent and then Christmas season and of course planning for next year. We are all available for any questions you may have and would welcome any feedback on whether you find this report helpful and suggestions for improvements.

Ursula McGregor

Secretary to the Council

October 2022