Dancing at the GA 2003
RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT THE 2003 ANNUAL MEETINGS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITARIAN AND FREE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES
1) FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY COUNCIL
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches is pleased to receive the application for membership as a Provisional Fellowship from The Unitarian Fellowship of Durham and welcomes it onto the General Assembly's Roll of Congregations
2) FROM THIRTEEN FULL MEMBERS
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches instructs GA Council to appoint a task force to develop proposals to change the system of governance to have a nationally elected leadership, and to present them at the 2004 General Assembly.
3) FROM THE EAST MIDLAND UNITARIANS
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, whilst welcoming the generous grant from a charitable trust to continue a fortnightly edition of The Inquirer until August 2004, urges the Inquirer Board to seek ways to continue this commitment which we consider vital to the movement.
4) FROM THE FOY SOCIETY
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, mindful of the importance of representative Annual Meetings to the vitality of our movement, instructs the General Assembly Council to set criteria for future Annual Meetings which will ensure that venues and pricing structures are selected which offer low cost options with a view to maximising attendance.
5) FROM THE RICHMOND AND PUTNEY UNITARIAN CHURCH
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, mindful of the danger to world peace from the stockpiling of weapons brokered through the international arms trade; noting the legislation passed by the British Government during the year 2002 with a view to government control of intended arms exports on the part of agents operating within British jurisdiction and regretting its incomplete range:
- Calls on all members to support efforts by Oxfam, Amnesty International, the International Action Network on Small Arms and others to secure a new International Arms Trade Treaty to stop the flow of arms to potentially abusive regimes;
- Welcomes the recent international conference convened by the British Government on arms control;
- Urges Her Majesty's Government to strengthen its legislation and its implementation;
- And furthermore urges it, as representing the world's second largest arms-exporting country, to press for new international controls over arms sales.
6) FROM THE MIDLAND UNION
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, recognising the uncertainty caused by the fundamental changes in Charity Law now envisaged by the Government, the threat to the continued existence of smaller congregations due to their aging memberships and the reduced financial and staffing capacity of Essex Hall to cope with tasks which could be undertaken without charge by the Charity Commission:
- Urges every Congregation which has not already done so to take immediate steps to ensure that:
- Its bookkeeping and Annual Report & Accounts fully comply with statutory requirements.
- Its Constitution complies with best modern practice in defining the policies and procedures required to administer its affairs and in particular that this includes a Winding Up Clause guiding future trustees about the disposal of its assets in a manner designed to continue the work of the Unitarian Movement.
7) FROM TWELVE FULL MEMBERS
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches affirms the importance of Ministry in the Unitarian Movement and the desirability of this being reflected in its structures. Accordingly, it requests the Council to ensure that the work of the Ministry Committee is continued in a unified way, either as a Ministry Commission, or, failing this, incorporated into one other Commission.
8) FROM SIXTEEN FULL MEMBERS
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, mindful of the profound religious sensibilities aroused by the present war in Iraq, and conscious of the necessity of not exacerbating the situation further, expresses its deep concern at reports that some so-called "fundamentalist" and "evangelical" Christian organisations are planning to enter Iraq in the aftermath of war for the purposes of religious proselytization, and calls upon Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States to ensure:
- that the religious integrity of Iraq be fully respected by any post-war administration set up under the auspices of the United States and the United Kingdom.
- that the indigenous faith communities in Iraq, including both Muslim and Christian, be left free to practise their faith freely and without interference.
- that any individuals or organisations intending to enter Iraq in the aftermath of war for the purposes of undertaking religious proselytization be prevented from doing so.
- that humanitarian aid programmes not be used for the purposes of religious proselytization
- that the post-war administration place the utmost importance on the fostering of positive and constructive relationships with the indigenous faith communities of Iraq.
Furthermore, as Unitarians and Free Christians we dissociate ourselves unreservedly from any attempt to interpret the war in Iraq in terms of "Christian triumphalism" or the "fulfilment of biblical prophecy", believing such interpretation to be erroneous, irresponsible and dangerous.
9) FROM THE UNITARIAN PEACE FELLOWSHIP
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches expresses its sorrow and deep regret at the thousands of deaths and injuries, civilian and military, suffered by victims of war in Iraq; urges Her Majesty's Government to devote, as a matter of extreme urgency, massive resources to the emergency relief and succour of the Iraqi people; and calls upon our congregations, as a practical gesture of our own humanitarian concern, to respond generously to the special appeal administered by the Unitarian Peace Fellowship for the life saving work in Iraq of Save the Children.