Page 20 - Church Music Quarterly June 2019
P. 20

 When I speak to those outside the RSCM, the question is frequently asked: what does the RSCM do? It’s quite hard to
respond succinctly, given that we do rather a lot: from centrally organized education courses for choristers, instrumentalists and clergy, through to a myriad of different local events of all shapes and sizes. We also, of course, do much more than run events, including acting as a resource point for churches, and as a positive, informing voice for church music. How do you hold all the threads of this diverse and vibrant organization together and make them part of a unified whole? Ultimately, that’s part of the role of the Strategic Plan. Over the last few months, council members and senior management have been working to create a plan to see the RSCM through the
next three years. We have defined the vision, clarified the mission, and identified five key strands for developing our work. They are:
1. Influence the church, and wider society 2. Advance our mission
3. Build financial sustainability
4. Develop effective communications
5. Optimize our impact through technology
You can visit to read the plan in full.
Of course, in the background there is also a working business plan to make sure all this actually
happens. This new-look CMQ is one of the practical examples of the process. Have a look at the list and consider which of the strands you think it fits with: it’s often more than one. We also have in mind that the RSCM’s centenary is just around the corner in 2027. That will be a significant source of celebration and the focus for all sorts of events. But more of that in the years to come!
The second thing to come from my conversations with people is that they have their own idea of what the RSCM should be about, usually based upon their own preferences. There is nothing wrong with that, but in an age where division seems rife we should remember that we are a diverse organization that supports all kinds of music-making. Even if we had unlimited resources, we could not recreate supposed ‘glory days’ of the past. What we can do is reinvigorate the present and inspire the future. I recently conducted a come and sing evensong event in Ely.
It was striking that a number of the participants had no previous experience of singing evensong at all. The words cantoris, decani, canticles, responses were completely unfamiliar to them. Yet, the rest
of the group made them welcome and helped them along, and everybody went away smiling and promising to come back again. The willingness to be open, and to welcome new members has to be one of the key ways we can help church music grow. We need to encourage everyone to be open thinking and open facing, and not closed off. At the very top of our new strategic plan is a vision for ‘a church drawn closer to God through music’. Let us all play our part in helping to achieve that.

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