Friday, January 05, 2007

Sonrise, Moonshine, & Hogwash

So, as predicted - front page headline of the local paper : "Artists & Council Row over Church".
This is from the paper's website, posted on 04/01/07 :
http://www.hastingstoday.co.uk

"A row has erupted between council chiefs and a group of artists, which claims it is being given its marching orders.
South Coast Artists (SoCo), based in St Mary-in-the-Castle in Pelham Crescent, is furious councillors are considering handing the management of the building over to Sonrise Church.

The group has held numerous art exhibitions at the venue since the organisation was formed in July 2004.
Robin Holtom, chairman of SoCo, said: "The council is trying to evict us, yet we have turned St Mary-in-the Castle into a successful art gallery. We have made good use of this space to brighten up the seafront and raise the cultural profile of the town."
Hastings Council manages the venue as a gallery for SoCo and takes 30 bookings a year for the auditorium.
Residents said the council's proposal to give Sonrise Church a lease from April 1 raised 'serious alarm bells'.
John Clark, of St Mary's Terrace, said: "How can the local electorate and ratepayers be sure the financial negligence and mismanagement displayed by the previous administration in the appalling recycling saga is not going to be repeated by the present one?
"The online report for Monday's cabinet meeting states the annual revenue cost of St Mary-in-the-Castle is £138,850.
"It also says the proposals will save £66,000 in the first full year after the transfer and a further saving of £35,000 will be made in repairs and renewal. But one wonders how these savings are going to be made without any details of the terms of the lease.
"Latest available figures show the centre's total income for April 2004 to March 2005 was £84,066 with expenditure at £55,451."
Erica Smith, of Waterworks Road, fears Sonrise Church may exclude certain groups. She said: "I am concerned one of the aims of the church, as is the case with other evangelical churches, is to try to discourage homosexuality. The equal opportunities statement on its website states all minority groups are welcome to join, but it doesn't make a clear statement about how tolerant it is of 'active' homosexual relationships.
"St Mary-in-the-Castle is currently one of only two large venues in the town which are wheelchair accessible. I would like assurance that if this venue is to be handed over to an evangelical church, it will remain open for use by all members of our community.
"It is too valuable a resource to be allowed to become exclusive and was, thanks to a broad-based, and long-drawn-out community campaign, with a lot of hard-earned fundraising, this building was saved from ruin."
Under council proposals Sonrise Church will be given a five-year lease from April 1 and be charged with refurbishing the building.
It also plans to develop the ground floor area as a coffee bar, market the venue as a conference centre, and make the building available to schools, the university and local charities."

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:06 PM

    "The council is trying to evict us, yet we have turned St Mary-in-the Castle into a successful art gallery. We have made good use of this space to brighten up the seafront and raise the cultural profile of the town."

    Define "successful". If that means being economically viable for the building SoCo are in then it's most certainly not successful. So what alternatives are there? Make more noise and see if the Council will subsidise SoCo so they can work in a place they can't afford?

    Here's a thought, lease to someone who can pay the bills. For every grant, every subsidy and every person who doesn't exceed their economic footprint, others have to fund with the taxes they pay. What about taxpayers rights to not have leeches occupy potentially lucrative buildings?

    As for discrimination against homosexuality, their website clearly states "Sonrise Church is committed to building a culture within the Church where all persons value and respect each other and are treated equally, no matter their sex, marital status, race, colour nationality, ethnic origin, disability, age or sexual orientation."

    Do they need to mention the word "homosexuality" before people are happy they won't exclude them? Is the above message not clear enough?

    I don't see that SoCo have any argument with the Council other than the opinions of the 'arts community' suiting themselves, well guess what, I'm not an artist and I want St. Mary in the Castle to be an economic and sustainable success and if SoCo can't do it, let someone else make it work.

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  2. I can only say that these are not my words - they are taken directly from the Sonrise website. My objections go much much further than issues like "gay marriage" - they are far more political.
    In many ways your comment (unwittingly) sums up part of the situation - I allow ANYONE to write comments about my posts - that doesn't mean I "approve" them all for publication, although so far I've NEVER rejected a single one! Also my name & email address are there for all to see. You on the other hand hide behind anonymity - I take that to mean you don't have the moral courage to "stand up & be counted". What are you scared of? Don't talk to me about DEMOCRACY - show your face!

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  3. Sorry - I should have said "local newspaper" rather than "Sonrise website", for what it's worth.

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  4. Anonymous7:53 PM

    You on the other hand hide behind anonymity - I take that to mean you don't have the moral courage to "stand up & be counted". What are you scared of? Don't talk to me about DEMOCRACY - show your face!

    Knowing who I am neither helps nor hinders the value of my response, does it?

    The more I hear about this the more I understand it to be a battle of morals and beliefs. Am I missing something here? are the church 'anti-homosexuality'? I think not. The gripe is probably that they are not 'pro-homosexuality'. Well respect and tolerance for morals and beliefs works both ways.

    As for signing off, being counted and democracy, what's the point? I'm for making St. Mary in the Castle work and whatever that takes to do so. If my 'vote' needs to be counted for a decision to be made then I'll vote. All putting my name here does is put me up against the insular, art 'war machine' since my views aren't what they wish to hear.

    If the art community put some 'real' effort into effective marketing and not spend all their time on internal nattering in cafes, pubs, local mailing lists and demonstrations, things may not have gone this far in the first place. It winds me up that there is real talent in Hastings across all aspects of art, new media etc., and all people do is waste time negating the system. Why can't the coalition come up with 'solutions' that can be presented to the decision making boards?

    What a refreshing change that would make.

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  5. You're talking to the wrong person I'm afraid!

    No more publishing until I know who you are.

    I know how/when/where you logged in/out, what kind of computer & browser you use, which service provider you use, & with a bit of help from any of my hacker friends, could find everything I need to know about you.

    Luckily I'm far too busy working to be bothered.

    Log in or blog off!

    See you on the beach...

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  6. DJ Miles1:37 AM

    Sonrise...Sonset...Tough one this.
    Great walls of such fragile making.
    All the minds working it out.Fragile minds too.I don't know... I smell ££££ somewhwere..Hey! That'll fix it (id)....it ain't dead...jus' smells funny...ie NO COMMENT.

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