While CiS appointed a Development Officer many years ago, I was the first ever CiS Executive Officer. (Appointed back in 2015.) At that time CiS was financially in a position to make this new appointment.
CiS had been granted funding by Templeton Religion Trust (John Templeton Foundation) which covered most of the Development Officers salary for the period of the grant. (While Grants cover many costs, it will only cover staffing directly involved in the activities of the grant.) At that time Emily Sturgess was our Development Officer and she certainly worked hard on those activities. Emily was followed by Abigail Patterson to continue the hard work and then finalise the grant activities. That grant finished a number of years ago now.
I have enjoyed and am enjoying my time with CiS. Particularly meeting so many of our members, in person at our conferences and events, online during the pandemic or via emails or phone calls. The position is so varied with overseeing much of the website, helping organise conferences, production of the quarterly PreCiS, the monthly CiS Updates, all the general enquires, etc. The list goes on, but every day is different.
It has certainly been challenging at times, as we have faced many significant changes within the past 8 years. Not just financially but with changes in volunteers to the Trustees, Committee, local groups – large and small but COVID certainly changed many areas. Sadly, COVID directly affected many of you, but some good things did occur – many churches installed tech equipment to meet the COVID challenge which meant we have been able to hold conferences and events in new locations and holding workshops and conferences online also become easier than in previous years.
The recent Connect conference was planned to be both in person and online but with significant uncertainty whether people would be able to travel safely, due to weather conditions, we were able to quickly switch to be online only. Due to the late change, there were still costs involved but we had a lot of very positive feedback from attendees.
The CiS Trustees and Committee will have to make some hard decisions soon as we simply do not have the finances to continue as we are. Will this be cut backs in our activities spreading the word about the compatibility of science and faith, holding events around the country, production of leaflets to share with people, groups and churches or sadly perhaps staff cuts. That’s me and the Development Officer. The Development Officer position is already reduced from full time. Steph was 3 days a week and Jack is only 2 days per week.
I was delighted to be the first CiS Executive Officer, but do feel sad if in a couple of years this position is no longer viable for another CiS EO to take my place when I retire.
I know Paul our current Chair has written to you, but unless our members do encourage others to join CiS, or your church to become an Affiliated church we simply will have to make those hard decisions.
CiS has such a rich history. We are continually looking ahead at new ways to encourage new generations to follow in those historic foot steps. But…….
As you know, it sometimes takes money to make things happen. I am so thankful to our many volunteers both past and present. Our many wonderful CiS volunteers can only do so much, we pay to hire buildings, to attend events, we pay for printing and postage, we pay for insurance to hold events, we need to replace old equipment. Yes the list goes on ….. and on. We have endeavoured to continue our activities, to be wise stewards of our income from membership subscriptions and donations but our outgoings are exceeding our income and something has to change!
Many of our members are finding things a bit “tight”. Just this week we have heard of a number of Christian charities that are closing.
We are just a few years short of celebrating our 80th year. My hope is that CiS continues for many years past that time.
We look to God to know what is His plans and desires for CiS. Please pray for God’s wisdom for the Trustees’, the Committee and all our members.
CiS Executive Officer
To assist our members and the general public, CiS is listing new blogs regularly on different science topics.
Disclaimer: We will be asking top scientists in their fields to author the blogs, but the thoughts expressed are the author’s.