Trainee priests at St John’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Surrey are now using Video Arts’ training resource, ‘Meetings, Bloody Meetings’, to improve their ability to organise and chair meetings. Peter Andrews, a trainee priest at the Seminary said: “Running effective meetings is part of good management but these skills are not covered in our training. I’d used Video Arts’ resources in industry, before I joined the seminary, so I was able to recommend this resource.”

‘Meetings, Bloody Meetings’ shows how to plan the agenda, how to chair meetings, how to control the discussion and how to take minutes more effectively. Featuring John Cleese, Robert Hardy and Jeremy Childs, the 30-minute film – first produced by Video Arts in the 1970s but re-shot and updated in the 1980s – uses humour to highlight five ways of making a meeting more efficient and productive.

The five rules for running shorter and more productive meetings, outlined in the film, are: be clear about the precise objectives of the meeting; make sure everyone knows what is being discussed, why, and what you want from the discussion; prepare a logical sequence of items and allocate time to each based on its importance, not its urgency; control the meeting and stop people jumping ahead or going over old ground; summarise all decisions and record them straightaway with the name of the people responsible for any action.

St John’s Seminary, which has been preparing trainee priests for over 100 years, will stream ‘Meetings, Bloody Meetings’ online via the internet.

Comment: It’s long been said that the church is ‘behind the times’. So it’s encouraging to see that, in now studying a training programme that’s been around since the 1980s, this bit of the church is only 30 years behind the times – at least when it comes to managing meetings