TARGETING OUR RESOURCES

by Francis Gardom



The title of my talk is Targeting our Resources and in the course
of it I shall be commuting between the two subjects of Resources and
Targeting because for reasons that I hope will become apparent the
two things are closely related.

First then to say something about our Resources. Adapting Sir Christopher
Wren’s epitaph let me put it his way: “If you would see our resources,
look around you”. Our most immediate resource is People like yourselves.

This morning we have around 40 people who represent wide areas of
experience, knowledge and professional expertise. We have doctors,
clergy, synodspeople, journalists and those who have had extensive
experience of the publishing world. 

Now each one of us at a guess would be able to name twenty or more
people who are equally concerned in one way or another with the subject
we are considering today. Therefore without too much difficulty we
could access some eight hundred other people upon whose help and support
we should be able to count.

Secondly, we have significant, if limited, financial resources which
we have been able to call upon, for example to organise this conference
itself, and Cost of Conscience is most grateful to Reform and Reform
Southwark for their generous assistance. 

However, what we shall be able to do in the future will depend on
the amount of financial involvement we are able to attract. 

You can rest assured that Facts Matter will continue its publishing
work in the belief that "the Lord will provide" as He has over the
past months; but beyond that it will depend entirely on what other
monies individuals and organisations are able and willing to place
at our disposal.

Thirdly, and this must surely be our most important resource, we have
Facts. Note that I call our resource Facts rather than the Truth.


I do so advisedly because we know that those who are opposed to us
include some who are sufficiently unscrupulous to take their example
from jesting Pilate and ask “What is Truth” and, like him, not wait
for an answer. Truth for such people is essentially a moving target
a subjectively mobile goalpost which can change its meaning in the
course of a single discussion, or alternatively mean no more “what
I feel is true for me at this moment”, in which case its meaning can
change from one moment to the next. But Facts are Facts are Facts,
however anyone feels about them, and the Facts are our allies. The
opposition knows in its heart that this is so, which is why they are
always so keen to talk about almost anything else. Calling someone
a "bigot" or a "homophobe" is childs-play compared with proving that
he's got his facts wrong!

This leads on to the matter of Targeting. Today's’ proceedings will
be published in full and a copy sent to all those who have attended.
We are committed and have the resources to do that. But the question
of what we do next requires very careful consideration.

There is a school of thought which would like to see the publication
of an extensive book of essays challenging the whole Gay and Lesbian
position. 

My opinion, for what it is worth, is that this would be a mistake
at the present time. One of the problems about such “Grand Slam” publications
is that they are nearly always out of date by the time they are published:
medical research, political legislation, to say nothing of public
perception are changing, for better or worse, the whole time; moreover
it is only necessary for a book of Essays (for such it would be) to
contain just one weak argument, or the opinions of one writer whose
words or deeds may render him liable to be labelled a “fundamentalist”
or “bigoted” for the whole collection of essays to be tarred with
the same brush.

That is why it is necessary, I believe, to be in a position to produce
quickly and inexpensively quantities of smaller documents, either
in the format of the Facts Matter publications or the very successful
triptych-style Irenaeus Leaflets which served Cost of Conscience so
well in the 1980s.

It is pointless to complain that we are shooting at moving targets
or flexible goalposts. That is the situation we find ourselves in
and no amount of complaining will make one iota of difference. It
is possible, I would remind you, to learn to do both these things
with a reasonable degree of accuracy, but the way to achieve it is
not by investing too many resources in any given salvo but to target
a number of different areas with much smaller ammunition. 

The advantage of this strategy is that one can turn quickly to any
new area which is being threatened and supply an effective counterblast.
We are being assailed on a number of fronts: Politics, the Family,
the Faith, Morality and the Law to name but five. We need to be able
to turn our attention to whichever one is currently under attack.

What I have just said applies to the matter of Publishing. It is even
more relevant in the area of conferences.

One of our assets, it appears, is the ability to organise conferences
and meetings such as this one at relatively short notice. There is
going to be a need in the immediate future for further meetings of
this and other kinds. These can be organised without any difficulty,
as our recent experiences have shown, by Cost of Conscience and Reform
working in tandem; however, like the publications, the number and
sophistication of these conferences will depend upon what resources
we are able to put into them.

Here again, the concept of targeting is important. Today’s conference,
like the one at Bawtry from which it stemmed, is a targeted events
in which participation was by invitation only. Even had it been desirable
to hold a more general or “open” meeting (as this was originally conceived
to be) the resources which we had readily available would have been
overstretched. Today’s experience has, I believe, demonstrated once
again the truth of the adage that “Small is Beautiful”, and whatever
future events are planned we should bear this in mind.

In a moment I am going to invite you contribute suggestions and discussion
about Targeting our Resources. But there is one other thing that I
must say.

Everything that has happened so far in which I have been personally
involved, including today's event, originated from the Day of Prayer
and Fasting which Reform Southwark and Cost of Conscience organised
to coincide with the Lesbian and Gay Festival in Southwark Cathedral
last year.

The Cathedral event, as you know, caused much distress and searching
of heart, not least amongst Reform Southwark members, and there was
a good deal of uncertainty being expressed amongst those who attend
its meetings, including myself, as to what form, if any, our response
to it should take. 

It was at that precise moment that I was inspired (and I can use no
other word to describe it) to suggest a Day of Prayer and Fasting.
From that Event sprang my involvement with the Bawtry Conference;
from that my association with Roy Silver; and from that my visit to
Dr Stalley and Maranatha in Manchester and the initiative of the Facts
Matter literature and ultimately this Teaching Seminar today.

So my final word this morning is to remind you that Prayer and Fasting
and Almsgiving (the three Notable Duties) are a Scripturally-enjoined,
well-tested, if recently neglected, combination of resources to which
today and all that will, I am convinced, come out of it, are exclusively
due.
2017-06-10T14:24:22+00:00 October 1997 Articles|