This brief report seeks to provide decision makers among Cytûn's member churches and denominations with a concise overview of where the organisation now stands and provide a brief strategic analysis of how Wales' national ecumenical instrument aspires to serve its members during the next three years. This report does not seek to provide a comprehensive view of the entirety of what Cytûn does but underlines a number of key organisational changes, strategic priorities and significant pieces of work. Cytûn, as a modern charity, has also sought to set out how it meets the public benefit threshold. Above all, this report sets out to be a source of encouragement and a focus for prayer.
Cytûn, as it now stands, is a busy place approached daily by member churches and denominations, government, the third sector, the press and media as well as national, regional and local churches and faith communities looking to Wales' national ecumenical instrument for: written articles, advice, comment and assistance as a conduit by which the churches can be accessed and approached. The staff team also seeks to support significant activities and events organised by member churches and denominations and to act as signs of a growing move towards a greater unity on their behalf as they act distinctively on their own initiative or together.
This report is offered at a time when Britain and Ireland's churches are reflecting on changes to the way in which Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) works and receives its funding. It is also envisaged that the financial 'common pot' currently administered by CTBI may be administered differently in the future. This report is also offered at a time when all of Cytûn's member churches and denominations are confronting robust fiscal challenges and have to increasingly provide proof of value for money.
This précis of the breadth of an organisation's activities hopes to show in a concise manner that Cytûn rejoices confidently in its historical legacy, offers crucial shared pieces of work for Wales' churches in its current work plan and is endeavouring to the best of its ability to provide a broad platform of conversation and good financially sustainable organisational management as the ecumenical agenda evolves in Wales and the wider British and Irish scene. Cytûn is a servant of the churches and looks constantly to its member churches, denominations and bodies in association to shape its work and provide the means for that agreed work to be achieved.
It has been requested that the report include a map of the organisation and a concise list of significant organisational outcomes. Cytûn is pleased to provide that summary.
Churches have asked for a list of tangible outcomes achieved by Cytûn. This list is not comprehensive but seeks to highlight a number of land mark outcomes achieved in particular since the advent of the National Assembly for Wales in May 1999. Cytûn works, more often than not, in partnership with others in the delivery of outcomes but played a lead or decisive role in a number of areas.
Faith, Order and Witness
- Breaking new ground as an ecumenical instrument in co-ordinating the service to open the first National Assembly in Llandaff Cathedral (1999).
- Co-ordinating the high profile National Millennium Service for Wales (2000).
- Facilitated the holding of the second service to open the National Assembly held in Saint Mary's Church, Cardiff (2003).
- Ensuring the success of the churches' shared witness at the National Eisteddfod. The churches now have the most vibrant presence on the Eisteddfod field. (Since 2003).
- Co-ordinating the UK Police Federation National Memorial Service in Saint David's Hall, Cardiff (2005).
- Co-ordinating with inter-faith colleagues the national service to mark the passing of 60 years since the end of World War II (2005).
- Published No, Please. I don't Want to Die! as an account of a high profile visit by a Christian Group from Wales to Syria and Lebanon in March 2006 and arranged a return visit to Wales in 2007 (2006-2007).
- Organise By The Well, the Companions for Change Conference, Trinity College, Carmarthen (2006).
- Co-ordinating the memorial service of the late Peter Clarke, Wales' First Children's Commissioner, working closely with Llandaff Cathedral and the Commissioner's Office (2007).
- Assisting the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff to hold the inaugural service of third National Assembly in Saint David's Cathedral, Cardiff (2007).
- Co-ordinating the Welsh National Falklands Memorial Consecration in Cardiff working closely with Falklands veterans from Wales (2007).
- Co-ordinating, with an array of key partners, the national Valuing Freedom celebration held in Saint David's Hall, Cardiff to mark the abolition of the North Atlantic Slave Trade (2007).
- Succeeding in agreeing two pioneering memoranda of understanding with the Commission of the Covenanted Churches and the Free Church Council of Wales securing funding for a new shared Faith, Order and Witness post and an ongoing agreed pattern of work (2008).
- Administering a pioneering ticketing arrangement with the National Eisteddfod securing free access to Sunday worship in the Eisteddfod Pavilion. The success of the 2008 arrangements led the Eisteddfod authorities to ask Cytûn to repeat the arrangement in 2009 (Since 2008).
- Receiving an application for membership of Cytûn from some of Wales' newer 'black led' churches and provided support to the Reverend Irvan John in his pioneering work with ethnic minority congregations (2009).
- Assisting Wales' Irish community to hold annual services to mark the tragedy of the potato famine and bringing the series of services to a successful completion on Saint Patrick's Day 2009 (2009).
- Co-ordinating the UK Police Federation National Memorial Service in Saint David's Hall, Cardiff (2009).
- Seek to assist CTBI with providing a broad range of bilingual liturgical material.
Church and Society
- Serving Wales' faith communities on the National Assembly's Voluntary Sector Partnership Council and winning an election to serve on the newly named Third Sector Voluntary Sector Partnership Council in 2008 (Since 1999).
- Securing matched funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, primarily through the good offices of the United Reformed Church's Rural Advisor, ensuring that the ARC Addington Fund could distribute some £3.4 million to Welsh farmers during the foot and mouth crisis (2001).
- Ensuring, working through the Cardiff and District Asylum Network, that asylum detainees were released from Cardiff Prison (2001).
- Providing a successful administrative platform for the creation of the Inter-faith Council for Wales following the "9:11" New York Twin Towers attack leading to the creation of the National Assembly Faith Communities Forum which now meets with the First Minister and other National Assembly Party leaders twice a year (Since 2001).
- Helping to produce and launch CTBI's (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) Time for Action: Sexual Abuse, the Churches and a New Dawn for Survivors in Wales (2002).
- Creating and securing initial funding, under the lead work of the Church in Wales, for Tros Gynnal as a national child advocacy service following the withdrawal of the Children's Society from Wales (2002).
- Assisting Cytûn Churches and the Inter-faith Council for Wales in giving evidence to the Richard Commission (2004).
- Publishing Guidelines on the Current Role and Responsibilities of Trustees and Treasurers of Churches (2004).
- Publishing Considering Contrasts and Futures: A Faith Reflection on Devolution in partnership with Graham Blount of the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (2004).
- Publishing Women, Church and Society in Wales (2004).
- Helping to produce and launch CTBI's Prosperity with a Purpose: Exploring the Ethics of Affluence in Wales (2005).
- Securing two successive rounds of funding from the Community Development Foundation enabling the Inter-faith Council to form a written constitution and produce a high quality Inter-faith Directory. Cytûn has also made initial contact with public bodies seeking to progress this work further (Since 2006).
- Ensuring a helpful involvement in keeping faith communities together in Wales during the 'Shambo' TB incident in West Wales (2007).
- Publishing a briefing in the Welsh language denominational papers on Human Rights, Equality and the Welsh Language (2007).
- Successfully nominating a member of staff to serve on the Executive Committee of the All Wales Convention on the National Assembly's powers (2008).
- Taking a leading role concerning some social justice issues particularly regarding tragic and high profile migration cases such as the deportation of the late Ama Sumani from Ghana (2008).
- Publishing a briefing in the Welsh language denominational papers on ID Cards and the Welsh language and addressing a key North Wales Police Symposium on the Welsh language in Bangor (2008).
- Producing and launching Inter-faith Wales: Building Trust and Respect Between People of All Faiths throughout Wales (2008).
- Ensuring that the Welsh Assembly Government withdrew its guidelines on school uniforms in favour of new guidelines securing the right of children to wear faith symbols (2009).
- Successfully working in partnership with the Wales Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Committee in holding conversations between leaders from the faith and sexual orientation equality strands and contributing to a major UK Conference with the British Humanist Association in the CIA in Cardiff (2009).
- Assisting the Home Office and the Welsh Language Board to hold ongoing conversations regarding the inclusion of the Welsh Language on the proposed ID cards (2009).
- Playing its part, in partnership with other faith communities, in putting in place a suitable response to any possible flu pandemic. Faith communities in Wales worked with the Welsh Assembly Government in distributing information and ensuring that churches in particular are well informed (2009).
- Establishing a new Churches' Property Advisers Group, an ecumenical initiative to coordinate work on historic buildings and relations with Cadw (2009).
- Agreeing to work with Dolen Cymru to prepare the Churches for a celebration in 2010 of 25 years of the Wales-Lesotho Link (2009).
- Facilitating the International Forum's response to the Sri Lanka civil conflict, with a view to protecting religious minorities (2009).
- Working on the consultation on Presumed Consent for Organ Donation (2009).
- Working with the RADAR Group's Election Campaign Committee to produce values statement on how elections should be fought, without intolerance and racism and co-ordinated a joint Welsh statement for the 2009 European Elections (2009).
Current Pattern of Work
1. Working the Churches Together Model
Cytûn stands as a successor body to the Council of Churches for Wales formed in 1956 and was commissioned in 1990 to do six things:
- Gather together the churches of Wales in all the richness of their diversity so that they can learn from and value each other's traditions.
- Seek to enable the churches to do together whatever they can, either pooling their resources or allowing one church or agency to act on behalf of others and to do all other things in the light of the insights and understandings of others.
- Act to enable the churches themselves to reach their decisions in the context of common study, prayer and worship.
- Seek to help the churches to arrive at a common mind so that they may become more fully united in faith.
- Seek to become such a sign of that growing unity as will authenticate the churches' common call.
- Offer the churches the opportunity to enter into a new commitment to reflect together theologically on matters of faith, order and ethics and to work and pray together.
When it came into being in its current form in 1990, Cytûn met as a Gymanfa and a Council and sought to deliver its work through commissions, networks and working parties. At the time, there were two members of staff: a General Secretary and an Administrator. Cytûn's work was delivered during the 1990s through the active involvement of member churches and denominations to support primarily the work of the commissions. Some working groups produced widely acclaimed and substantive pieces of work such as the Wales: A Moral Society? report published in June 1996.
2. Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities of Post Devolution Wales
In May 1999, Cytûn set a pattern for its current work in the public arena by assisting Llandaff Cathedral to host the inaugural service to open the first National Assembly for Wales. The organisation also continued its faith and order work and acquired additional responsibilities in 2003 in the context of enabling the churches' witness at events such as the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the Urdd National Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod for Wales.
Staff deployment since 1999 has reflected the need to meet new strategic priorities. Consequently, in the context of the public arena, Cytûn appointed a full time National Assembly Liaison Officer in 1999 to serve as a link between Cytûn's member churches and denominations and Wales' new devolved legislature. This post was supported in 2000 by a part time administrative assistant. From early 2006, the administrative assistant was employed for a limited number of additional hours to assist Cytûn's work in arranging the churches' witness at the National Eisteddfod.
Faith and order issues have continued to command a priority as does local ecumenism. The part time post of General Secretary to the Commission of the Covenanted Churches received additional funding in 2005 providing a part time resource for the Free Church Council of Wales in the context of education and chaplaincy provision and Cytûn with an Assistant General Secretary. That post came to an end in January 2008 following staff changes. Two churches, the Church in Wales and the United Reformed Church, provided some support from their staff complement in support of local ecumenism in north Wales (until 2007) and south Wales (until 2008).
Crucially, in September 2008, Cytûn appointed a full time Faith, Witness and Order Officer funded primarily by the Commission of the Covenanted Churches to cover many of the duties performed previously by the Commission General Secretary with some additional funding being gained to cover Cytûn's responsibilities to the Free Church Council of Wales regarding chaplaincy issues and education policies and Cytûn's aspirations concerning witnessing at major national events. The hours previously allocated for administrative support to the National Assembly Policy Officer were either lost or incorporated in part into the amended job description of the Cytûn Office Administrator.
Thus, Cytûn currently has a full time Chief Executive (originally employed by Cytûn in 1999), National Assembly Policy Officer (originally employed by Cytûn in 2008) and Office Administrator (originally employed by Cytûn in 2003). The organisation also employs a Faith, Order and Witness Officer (originally employed by Cytûn in 2005) under memoranda of understanding with the Commission of the Covenanted Churches and the Free Church Council of Wales. The United Reformed Church has also provided Cytûn with an additional resource in the hours offered by their Ecumenical Officer, the Reverend Peter Trow, appointed in 2008.
Key outcomes are largely achieved through the activities of networks and groups: racial justice, social justice, international concerns, women's issues and the LAWS committee. Cytûn no longer has commissions. Cytûn also played its part in supporting the breadth of CTBI's work.
The Current Situation
It became clear in 2006 that Cytûn, over a two year period, would have to grapple with a number of key challenges and opportunities.
- Provide a working environment for a new and evolving staff team through more frequent staff meetings and a robust and transparent staff policy framework and agreed work plan.
- Take action through a completely new expenses procedure to reduce a substantial predicted financial deficit in 2007.
- Set up a Human Resources Committee and provide the Cytûn Finance Committee with an agreed remit.
- Establish formal memoranda of understanding with key partners such as the Free Church Council of Wales and the Commission of the Covenanted Churches.
- Ensure that Cytûn complied with all the requirements of company and charity law as a new company limited by guarantee undertaking a major review of the organisation's constitution.
- Completely overhaul Cytûn's relationship with local and regional groups.
- Provide Wales with a national sponsoring body and place Cytûn in a position to take direct responsibility for some strategic ecumenical endeavours.
- Meet Cytûn's obligations to support the ongoing work of CTBI.
- Respond appropriately to a growing number of diverse public consultations.
- Meet the expectations of public bodies such as the Welsh Assembly Government, the Urdd, the Police Federation, Cardiff City Council, the National Saint David's Day March Committee and Wales' diverse faith communities in arranging national celebrations and acts of worship.
- Take the lead in arranging the churches' shared witness at the Urdd and National Eisteddfodau and the Royal Welsh Show.
- Take the lead in furthering the work of the Inter-faith Council for Wales and the National Assembly Faith Communities Forum as they come together for discussions.
3. Confronting the Challenges
On the 8th May, 2008 the current staff team: the Chief Executive Officer, the National Assembly Policy Officer, the Faith, Witness and Order Officer, the Office Administrator and the seconded Ecumenical Officer from the United Reformed Church met for a staff planning day at the Rhondda Heritage Park and provided the Cytûn Board with an analysis of the organisation's strengths and weaknesses while considering opportunities and threats. The following aims for 2008/09 were also agreed by the Board at its subsequent meeting:
- Re-energising and promoting ecumenism with an awareness of the inter-faith dimension
- Building an organisation which delivers effectively
- To communicate better with churches and within the organisation
- To measure ecumenical progress in Wales towards "Visible Unity in Christ".
- Enable the churches to influence public policy in Wales.
Having agreed these strategic aims two detailed work plans were prepared for and agreed by the Cytûn Board resulting in members of staff working on a number of agreed projects and additional unanticipated pieces of work deemed sufficiently important to command attention. The staff members work as a team with designated officers delivering key outcomes. These are the current priorities highlighted within broader job descriptions:
Chief Executive (Full time)
- Ensure that Cytûn remains on budget.
- Ensure that the revised Memorandum and Articles of Association are agreed by the Charity Commission.
- Make progress on establishing the Cytûn Enabling Group.
- Work with the Finance Committee to complete a new risk assessment.
- Ensure that all job descriptions and appraisals and probationary reviews are up to date.
- Work with the Honorary Treasurer to ensure that a new Three Nation model of working is established effectively with Scotland and England especially concerning the 'common pot'.
- Receive requests from churches to take direct responsibility for some ecumenical projects.
- Take the staff lead on chaplaincy and industrial mission issues.
- Take a lead in furthering the work of Cytûn's Racial Justice Network both in terms of justice issues concerning migration and asylum concerns and in welcoming new 'black led' churches in Wales into Cytûn membership.
- Ensure that the new Cytûn Communication Strategy is delivered.
- To ascertain from the churches if they want Cytûn to complete further work on women's issues.
- Hold further conversations with the Equality and Human Rights Commission around sexual orientation issues and develop further discussions with the advocates of other equality strands.
- Further the joint appeal with the RNIB concerning the Braille Bible.
National Assembly Policy Officer (Full time)
- Contributing to the strategic direction of Cytûn by drafting papers for the Board and Cytun's Networks and Forums.
- Preparing regular monthly briefing notes on Welsh Assembly Government's consultations and policies highlighting progress on issues of specific concern to the churches.
- Providing advice when required to the Free Church Council for Wales and the Covenanted Churches.
- Sharing key information with churches, such as government consultations, legislative measures and initiatives likely to impact on Welsh churches.
- Contributing to public policy development in areas such as Presumed Consent on Organ Donation, the National Census 2011, voluntary sector governance, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Grants Criteria, and the social cohesion project among others.
- Holding conversations with local churches and other organisations on the work of Cytûn.
- Providing policy advice and the Secretariat to Cytun's networks and forums, including the Cytûn International Forum, the Cytûn Racial Justice Forum and the Welsh Churches Policy Officers' Network, which was established by Cytûn in 2008.
- Representing Cytûn on external bodies, such as RADAR, the Third Sector Voluntary Partnership Council, the Faith Communities Forum, and Housing Justice Wales.
- Establishing and maintaining links between Cytûn and other organisations such as CTBI, Gweini and the Evangelical Alliance Wales.
- Taking the staff lead on furthering the Cytûn International Committee's work focused predominantly on the Middle East.
- Taking the staff lead on web site development.
- Furthering the work of the Cytûn Social Justice Network.
- Arranging a meeting with Church Action on Poverty.
- Taking the lead in Cytûn concerning environmental and sustainability issues.
- Keeping a watching brief on the Severn Barrage debate.
Faith, Order and Witness Officer (Full time)
- Furthering work with the Commission of the Covenanted Churches on issues such as raising awareness of the Trefeca Declaration and the Church in Wales' ecumenical canons, reviewing Eucharist and baptismal rites and developing the 'Big Idea' - a model LEP for use throughout Wales.
- Ensuring the churches' effective witness at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the Urdd Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod in Bala.
- Organising the annual Welcome to Wales Ministry Course for new ministers coming to Wales.
- Health Care Chaplaincy Work on behalf of the Free Church Council for Wales.
- Calling a joint liturgical group together by June 2009.
- Taking a staff lead on Free Church Council engagement with SACREs
- Working with Office Administrator on updating data on local and regional Cytûn groups, Free Church Council groups and Local Ecumenical Partnerships.
- Contributing to the work of the CTBI writers group.
- Taking a lead on 2010 celebrations in Wales.
- Taking a lead in serving a new Cytûn Faith, Order and Witness Network to be called as required.
Office Administrator (Full time)
- Taking a lead on administrating the office and act as the primary conduit for all external contacts.
- Taking a lead on document delivery and filing.
- Accepting primary responsibility for providing all administrative support to the Cytûn Board and AGM.
- Providing administrative support to all Cytûn meetings especially: Racial Justice Network, Policy Officers, International Forum, Finance and Personnel Committee, Inter-faith Council and all staff meetings.
- Providing administrative support around data gathering, SACREs, national events, conferences and acts of witness.
- Ensuring the effective delivery of Cytûn's Communication Strategy.
- Assisting with diary management.
- Taking a lead concerning Health and Safety issues within the Cytûn Office
- Reminding staff of work completion and target dates.
Ecumenical Officer (Part time)
- Furthering work on the revision of ecumenical rites and faith and witness work.
- Presenting recommendations to the Board on developing sponsoring bodies and developing local ecumenism.
- To develop worship and liturgical material for the website.
Since 2006 Cytûn has put in place rigorous financial procedures which have enabled the organisation to exercise due financial diligence particularly in eradicating predicted deficits. Over the two year period 2006 and 2007 Cytûn's audited accounts showed that the company's expenditure and income equalled each other. The 2008 accounts show that Cytûn worked within its budget.
Predicted Core Funding Requirements
Cytûn has prepared a three year budget, agreed by its Finance Committee, indicating the levels of income required to meet current work plan aspirations from the platform of existing staffing levels. Confirmation is awaited from the Covenanted Churches concerning their intentions regarding the Covenant beyond 2011. The Covenanted Churches funding relates primarily to the current Faith, Order and Witness post. All five Covenanted Churches are members of Cytûn.
Predicted Project Funding
Cytûn is increasingly being asked to complete projects for the churches and costs may vary. Consequently, Cytûn may be required to present churches with variable budgets for some projects such as witnessing at national events and festivals such as the Eisteddfodau.
Cytûn is held accountable to its 12 member churches/denominations and bodies in association through the
Board of Cytûn Directors and Trustees
nominated by the members and elected by the Cytûn AGMn
The Chief Executive [Full time Cytûn funded post]
manages the staff team and reports directly to the Board.
National Assembly Policy Officer
[Full time Cytûn funded post]
Faith, Order and Witness Officer
[Full time Commission of the Covenanted Churches, Cytûn and Free Church Federal Council funded post]
[Full time Cytûn funded post]
Ecumenical Officer Seconded from the United Reformed Church
[Part time United Reformed Church post]
|Takes the staff lead in Cytûn on public affairs issues
||Takes the staff lead in Cytûn on faith, order and witness issues and developing local ecumenism
||Takes the staff lead on office administration
||Takes the staff lead on liturgy and sponsoring bodies
The staff team serves the Board, the Commission of the Covenanted Churches and the Free Church Council of Wales with a number of networks and groups covering racial justice, Assembly policy issues, women's issues, finance, international affairs, faith order and witness, liturgy and the Inter-faith Council. Cytûn has no standing Commissions and frequently calls small ad hoc working groups to function as task and finish groups. The staff team also seeks to represent Cytûn at an array of denominational meetings, synods, ecumenical committees and church and society panels, constantly providing information and seeking to convey, as best they can, what are the views and objectives of all of Cytûn's member churches and denominations.