Delegates and Coordinators met in Birmingham on Saturday 29th February 2020. Prior to the meeting they had received the resignation of Martin Bennett [Liverpool] who has been National Chair for the last five years. He has taken on a significant role in the preparations for the Diocesan Synod in Liverpool and this required a significant investment of his time and effort. Members recalled the huge contribution he had made to ACTA in identifying key areas for its work at a national level. He was a generous leader, sharing his experience and insights, supportive and challenging in equal measure. A Vote of Thanks was passed recognising his thoughtful and imaginative leadership.
Frank Callus [Cardiff] was nominated and elected as Martin’s successor. As ACTA recently achieved Charitable Incorporated Organisation [CIO], his role will include Chair of the Trustees. He is a retired teacher with experience in catechesis and evangelisation. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Diocesan Evangelisation Commission in the Archdiocese of Cardiff. He is the Lead Coordinator for the settlement of a Syrian refugee family in Cardiff, where his local parish has worked for the last three years with two of the city’s mosques. He is married with two adult children.
The meeting discussed ACTA’s new role as a CIO. Jo Fenton [Shrewsbury] and Andrew Hornsby–Smith [Portsmouth] were thanked for the significant time and effort that had been invested to meet the stringent requirements of the Charity Commission. It marks a new chapter in the evolution of ACTA, giving the organisation a status and a responsibility for which it is well-prepared.
At the National Conference in Cardiff in 2018, Dr Anna Abram, Principal of Margaret Beaufort Institute, Cambridge had spoken on the subject of Ecclesial Ethics. ACTA was actively supporting this work and would be working with Dr Liam Hayes, newly-appointed Silver Jubilee Fellow, on this critical issue in the months ahead.
Members discussed the evolving purpose of ACTA- founded during the papacy of Benedict XVI but more and more reflective of the synodality of Pope Francis- a place for Catholics [lay, religious and clergy] to meet and discuss the Church for which we are all responsible. The members committed afresh to supporting the work of ACTA in those dioceses where its voice was not strong, ensuring that the exhortation of Pope Francis to “Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue...” is heard and responded to.
The latter part of the meeting agreed plans for the National Conference in Birmingham on 17th October 2020, when the international correspondent, Robert Mickens, will be a guest speaker. Details will appear on the website in the next couple of months.