The Charles Williams Society

The Future of the Society: April 2011 AGM

At the annual general meeting of the Society, held on April 9th 2011, important decisions were taken on the future of the Society/The Chairman said that there were two great problems facing the Society. One was the composition of the Council. All members had been on it for ten years or more, and were anxious to pass on their tasks, but no-one had come forward. The other was the changes in the world. since our foundation in 1976. Then, no websites or internet existed, and transport was cheaper, so meetings were more popular. We had already reduced our meetings from four a year to two, but attendance was still meagre.

Two possibilities were open. One was simply to close down altogether. the other was to adopt something on  lines proposed by Mr. Barber, which are described below and were accepted unanimously by the meeting..

Mr. Barber said that we were a membership organization in order (a) to publish the Quarterly and (b) to hold metings.  There was no real need for the latter,and website publication would  be cheaper than print. His proposals came under seven heads.

1. We should continue to exist as a society until the publication of Dr. Lindop’s biography. (probably in later 2012 or early 2013).

2. The website, if Matt Kirkland was agreeable, could continue, but with a discussion forum and a section on news and events. Those wishing to contribute to the forum would be asked to register.

3. Meetings could be held in people’s own homes, except for the AGM required by law for charities. Those hosting discussion groups could notify the website with details and a contact email address (not the host’s personal address but a forwarding one working through the website.)

4. Our finances being in a healthy state, we could use our funds to publish or republish uncollected writings by Williams. He had a list of possible suggestions.

5.  Negotiations should continue with Judith Wolfe, the editor of the “Journal of Inklings Studies”,, and its parent body, with a view to transferring activities, assets and goodwill to them.. This was a peer-reviewed organ; non-scholarly material could use the website. Archives might continue to be held at the Oxford Centre for Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies, as at present; if so, part of the Society’s funds should go to the Centre to support this.

6. If this went forward, membership could be transferred (with obviously the possibility of opting out for those who wished to). [The current subscription to the JIS is £12 a year, so subscription rates would be slightly lower than at present.]

7.  If proposal 5 went forward, any remaining funds, together with the libraries and archives, would go to the parent body of the JIS (subject to the agreement of the Charity Commission). Archives should also be supplied to the Bodleian, the British Library, and the Marion Wade library at Wheaton.