Stephen Beer, Blog, Stephen Beer

Stephen Beer (www.stephenbeer.com)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

CSM AGM

Saturday saw the Annual General Meeting of the Christian Socialist Movement.

The election results were declared (see previous post).

It was my last AGM as Vice Chair and my last report in that capacity.


Tabling my written report, I said:


Friends, you should have with you my written report which was tabled today.

Values

As you would expect, much of my work this year has been spent again on our values. Following the resolution passed by the AGM last year, we held a ballot of members which saw 80% of those who voted vote in favour of the new statement in our constitution. I am proud to have been associated with this work over the years. The first stage is now over – now we need to build on that with policy.

Fellow Vice Chair

I should mention that my colleague and fellow Vice Chair, Stephen Matthews, has focused much of the year on membership issues. He has been instrumental in restructuring our membership – as you can see in the new membership leaflets.

Voice of CSM

During the year I have continued to be a major Christian Socialist voice. I have spoken particularly on themes of religion and politics. We face strong challenges from the atheist secularists. This is something I have been engaging on for some time. My written report gives some links to recent articles. As you will see, I have not been popular with atheist Guardian readers!

The role of CSM Vice Chair

The role of Vice Chair during my tenure has been somewhat different to what I expected and planned. It has involved me much more in management issues and the day-to-day organisation of CSM than my predecessors, which is worth reflecting upon. Yet despite this very necessary work, I have still been able to pursue my main objectives: work on values and policy; and sustaining the link with the Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement.

Thanks

I would like to thank my fellow officers. In particular I am sure you will agree that we owe Bev a great deal of thanks for her work for CSM over the years, both as Chair and in the years before, for her commitment and leadership. There is much that officers do under the surface that is probably too boring to highlight here but is essential all the same and I and my colleagues have worked hard during our terms of office.

I would also particularly like to thank Kumar Jacob, our Treasurer, and Stephen Matthews, for their support, in addition to all others who have supported me.

The future for CSM

Now, CSM must look forward.

We have a new set of officers; a new executive committee.

Charged with guarding and fanning the flame of Christian Socialism.
Building on a centuries-old heritage.
Grappling with the challenge of ensuring CSM is relevant to the needs of today while remaining inclusive and welcoming to all who call themselves Christian Socialist.

We – you – have bequeathed a better defined set of values.

To our new officers and executive lies the task of coordinating the work to build upon that foundation.
To develop policy positions.
And to engage with the political debates of both today and tomorrow.


As for me – as I return to the CSM backbenches as it were –
I wish them well and pray they will be successful.


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