Welcome to our new website!

9 February 2021

If you’re a regular visitor to this website, you will have noticed there have been a few changes in the past week!

Our new look has been developed over the last year with the design agency This Ain’t Rock & Roll, the staff team, and a steering group of volunteers from across the movement. This is the first stage in helping to make our message reach out to and resonate with more people – it’s aimed at those who are not-yet-Unitarian. We dived into our roots to express our ethos to those who may not have yet encountered Unitarianism, and who, like many in our secular culture, may not have experience of being part of a faith community, but have a hunch there is something missing in their lives.

Yes, it’s bright! It’s the time for aliveness, for boldness. The colours and patterns are influenced by our past in the Georgian era, brought up to date for our future. (Our main typeface is a version of Original Sans, first used in 1828). The ideas in the text go back to our roots, too – hence the focus on ‘radical’, meaning ‘forming the root’. We will find a new future, guided by our roots.

Of course, part of the context of creating a new site is because of the need for transformation. Most congregations that we’ve spoken to have a wish to attract new people, younger people, but haven’t found it easy to do. Our numbers have been declining for many decades, and so we can’t expect our future to look like our past. But this isn’t just a Unitarian thing – our society is also in need of transformation. The pandemic has highlighted even more clearly the baked-in inequalities in the UK and elsewhere, and we know that environmental crisis is looming. Again, we can’t expect our future to look like our past. My belief is that the path through these challenges lies in spiritual community – that sustainable societal transformation can only come with inner transformation, and that means we need more people to be able to find spiritual communities in which they feel they can belong.

A few tips on what to look out for on this new site:

  • The ‘find your spiritual home’ search tool allows people to find their nearest congregation, and, importantly in this time of pandemic, to find out how they can congregate online.
  • ‘Your special event’ helps people to find a place for their wedding, naming ceremony, or a funeral – as we know that these can be important ways in to a congregation for many people.
  • ‘What’s happening’ and ‘news’ are where you can find out what’s going on locally and nationally, and we will be sharing these via uni-news and social media.
  • The shop is where you can buy Lindsey Press books – and many of those that are not currently in print can be accessed for free via the ‘resources’ page (along with historic lectures, annual reports, and other documents of interest).
  • ‘Support us’ is where you can make a donation to the GA or sign up for Associate Membership.
  • Broadly, these sections along the top of the page are the things that would be of most interest to new people, with more detailed information accessible along the navigation bar at the foot of the page.

You can use the search box in the top right of each page to find what you are looking for, including to search the resource library.

The website is the first stage – and we will soon be making a design toolkit available to congregations, including guidance on how to engage with their members to decide how they might update posters, websites etc with the new look. Of course, this is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The design team recognised early on that a strength of our movement is its diversity of identity and practice, and that it’s important for each congregation to reflect their own ethos – we hope that these tools will allow us to do this while recognising the larger family we belong to.

Although we’re excited to launch this new look, and are proud of the work that went into it, we know that websites come and websites go. The website is the front door, but it’s what’s going on inside that matters.    

So what’s next? What would help you strengthen your congregation, or to make it more welcoming to new people? What would help your congregation to plan for ten, twenty, thirty years into the future?

This new website is part of the immediate term work of letting more people know we are here right now, but at the same time we need to be looking further into the future.

Find out more about the design process in an interview in issue 8005 of The Inquirer.

Elizabeth Slade

Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches