Spencer, Principal of the PRC since March, 1964, continues to manage the completion, editing and publication of NDS and PRC reports and papers. Both the NDS and the PRC have had a pragmatic approach. Unexpected but urgent calls for assistance have not been sent to the back of the job queue. If assessed as important they have been given priority. As a result, many interesting and worthwhile jobs have been put on hold, to be resumed later. When the NDS was shut down at short notice early in 1964 the work being done by perhaps a hundred volunteers came in most cases to a sudden halt. There was little point in completing them later as there was a general ban on publishing anything without permission. So they could only be circulated privately. This situation ended early in 2005 when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference declassified all NDS reports and papers. Since then a considerable number of NDS reports and papers have been formally published, but large numbers wait in the editorial queue. Much larger numbers represent jobs that were ‘in progress’ early in 1964 but need a great deal of further work before publication can be considered. The same pragmatism applied to the work of the PRC, particularly in N. Ireland where the focus was on conflict resolution. There remain a huge number of NDS and PRC jobs to be completed, reports drafted and then published.
Moreover, in December, 2009, Spencer’s wife had a severe stroke and now requires a great deal of his time as her carer, and as manager of the household and a large garden. The Trustees have accepted that work programmes and publication targets are no longer practicable.
Drafts are circulated to the Trustees for comments and suggestions. As Hon. Secretary, Spencer prepares a detailed report on his work for discussion at the two Trustees’ meetings each year, usually held at Heythrop College, by courtesy of the Principal. Now that arrangements have been made to transfer most of the library, databank and archives to Durham University and other institutions, attention has to be given to the identification, cataloguing, arrangement and weeding of files in the archives, disposal of unwanted items in the library and storage of items in the databank. The destination of the Third World Collection (on the educational, health and social action work of Christian Church-related agencies in Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America) has yet to be settled.