How can the parish realistically be expected to move the organ project forward at the AVM by collectively answering questions in the three areas a) the vision for music at St John’s b). the choice of organ c) Foundation Trust Monies because a vital process, Parish Strategy Meeting, as outlined in the May 2017 timeline Organ Project has not been undertaken and completed?
This is a great question, and it has caused me to reflect and look back on what I said in the timeline of last year. I concede that looking back I could have been clearer in what I meant by the Parish Strategy Meeting.
There are a number of areas where we can find out what is the mind of the parish. One of the best sources is the National Church Life Survey. (NCLS) In this survey. In that survey over 80% of the congregation surveyed supported the style of worship and music we have at St. Johns. The Parish Strategic Plan of 2005 also identifies our worship style and music as being central to our liturgical life. So, I have a high level of confidence that what we are going to decide at the AVM re the organ etc as identified in the question, is generally settled in the minds of the vast majority in the parish. In fact, as I go around the parish most of those who opposed the original plan did so not on the organ, or the music, but on the financial plan or lack thereof. So I am quite content to put the questions, it will be a secret ballot, and people can make their mind up as to whether or not I have given them enough information for them to vote. If they feel they don’t have enough information, then they must vote no.
Could there be an explanation as to the function and role of the Music Association? I want to give to the Organ Replacement Project but I don’t want those funds to be used elsewhere. How can I have confidence my donation will only go to the Organ Project?
I have been waiting for a question like this, thank you so much. It is true that the Music Association (MA) has a number of roles and can distribute money for those different roles. It was set up as a charitable association and is registered with the ACNC and the Tax Office with DGR status. It can be used to fund a replacement organ, maintain it, and also pay for the use of organists, other musicians, upkeep of robes etc. However, until the Organ Project is completed, all the monies collected will go to the Organ Project. The indicative timeframe for the project is start date plus 10years. Thus any monies donated for the organ project will be used solely for that purpose. It will only be after the organ is paid off that the MA will be used for the other functions described in the Deed of Association.
Has another organ quote been sought?
A number of organ builders were invited to quote, we only have one from SIOC.
The following questions are more appropriately questions for the AVM as they do not directly address or impinge on the Organ Project, but I include them here. They will also be included in the questions for the AVM with the questioner identified.
What accounting system does the parish use? If it is not SAPAS, the diocesan system, why not?
The parish has developed an excel based system which is subject to annual audit. The diocese does not prescribe the use of an accounting package for parishes as the accounting needs and resources vary from parish to parish. All financial reports lodged with the Diocese are prepared in accordance with the Diocesan requirements.
When did we last review our accounting procedures to ensure their efficiency? Have we sought external advice?
The financial records and reports are subject to annual audit and the auditor has not made any recommendations regarding nor identified any deficiencies in our systems. We of course look to continually streamline and improve internal systems and processes.
What is the capital amount currently in the Foundation Trust?
Will the motions being put to the vote at the AVM be by show of hands or secret ballot?