UNI-NEWS 144th Issue 4th February 2015

1. Memorial Service for Sheila Jones – Change in start time

Please note that the memorial service for Sheila Jones will now take place at 2.30pm (not 3.00 pm as originally planned) at the Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow on 7 February 2015.

Cathie Masztalerz

2. Executive Committee Key Messages 23&24 January 2015

1. Ministerial Competency Framework

The Executive Committee considered a report from Rev Daniel Costley, Chair of the Ministry Strategy Group, on Ministerial Competencies and Ministerial Training. It was agreed:
a) that the Ministerial Competencies and Assessment mechanisms (the “Ministerial Competency Framework”) be approved; and
b) that external, expert support will be brought in to assist the development of the next stage of the review of training.
The EC thanked everyone who had been involved in the development of the Competencies which represented a major step forward for professional Ministry.

2. 2020 Congregational Development Programme

Members of the 2020 Leadership Team - Rev. Andy Pakula, Alexandra Zglinska with Christina Smith - updated the Executive Committee on progress with the Derby rekindling project announced at the last Annual Meetings. The co-operation with the East Midlands Unitarians (EMU) was proving very valuable and there was joint funding of the project.
Christina outlined the work that had already been initiated and the plans for the future. The EC considered how best to support the 2020 Leadership Team with the project and also the dissemination of learning about congregational growth to other parts of the country.

3. General Assembly Roll of Ministers and Lay Pastors

The Executive Committee was pleased to add the following to the Roll with Full status having completed their period with Probationary status:
   Rev. Sheena Gabriel
   Rev. Nicky Jenkins
   Rev. Sue Woolley

The following were approved for Ministry training:
Claire MacDonald to be trained for the ministry based at HMCO over two years commencing 2015.
Andy Phillips to be trained for the ministry based at HMCO with a flexible training programme likely to commence in 2016.

4. Honorary Membership of the General Assembly

Honorary Membership is the highest honour that the General Assembly can bestow and is awarded to an individual for long and consistent service nationally who has thereby made a significant contribution towards the furtherance of the GA’s objectives. The Executive Committee, following extensive consultation with Districts, has agreed to nominate Dawn Buckle as an Honorary Member at the forthcoming Annual Meetings.

5. Vice President of the General Assembly 2015/16

Unfortunately no proposals were received for the position of Vice-President for the year 2015/16 and no nomination would be made to the Annual Meetings this year. Invitations normally sent to the Vice-President should be sent to the Chief Officer who will discuss with the President how they would be dealt with and Past Presidents may be called upon to assist.

6. Executive Committee membership

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that, after nearly three years without a permanent Treasurer, Peter Hanley agreed to be co-opted immediately and will be nominated as Honorary Treasurer at the Annual Meetings for the year 2015/16. 
It was with regret that the Executive Committee accepted the resignation of Louise Rogers. We would like to thank Louise for all her work on the Executive Committee over the last two years. She has agreed to continue as chair of the Local Leadership Strategy Group.

7. Executive Committee Elections

A report of the outcome of the Election was received with only two candidates - Marion Baker and Gwynn Pritchard - nominated for the four positions. They were declared elected unopposed and would take up post in April 2015. The General Assembly Constitution places a responsibility on the Executive Committee to fill the two remaining vacancies by co-option until the next Election (2017). As part of this process the EC will, at its next meeting, undertake a trustee skills assessment to identify any gaps that should be filled.

8. GA Representative on the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Council

Dr Jacky Woodman was appointed to one of the two positions to join the Chief Officer on ICUU’s Council.

9. Consultation on Nominating/Volunteering Group

The Executive Committee has been aware of the increasing difficulties of securing nominees to serve in various positions. The EC also faces a difficult balancing act of having formally to decide on appointments and nominations and how to encourage people to come forward. It has been suggested that a Nominating/Volunteering Group be established, with involvement of Districts who are more likely to know talented individuals, to help encourage and identify suitable nominees and a consultation paper will shortly be issued to Districts for views. A workshop will also be held at the Annual Meetings on the idea.

10. Annual Accounts 2013/14

The Annual Accounts of the General Assembly and the Nightingale Centre were approved and those of the Sustentation Fund received (the latter has its own trustee body).

11. Robin Hood Tax Campaign

In 2010 the Annual Meetings approved a Resolution supporting the “Robin Hood Campaign” for a tax levy on international tax transactions. Since then the campaign has made considerable progress in Europe. An appeal for financial support to take forward the work has been received and it was agreed to donate £100 as a contribution. 

Executive Committee

3. “Sing your Faith” -  Congregational Orders

As it is now less than 8 weeks to the Annual Meetings at Birmingham, could anyone wishing to collect and pay for more than 3 copies of the “purple hymn book" at the Meetings, please let Audrey know by Friday 27 February 2015.   Contact Audrey by email.

The cost of Sing Your Faith is £12 and by purchasing from the Meetings Bookshop, a substantial saving will be made on courier charges.

I will also only pack a limited number of Hymns for Living so again, if you wish to buy more than 3 copies at the Meetings, please let me know in advance. Price £7.50.

Audrey Longhurst

4. Media Coverage

Stockton Unitarians were featured on the BBC last Sunday for their “Church of the Month” slot. Several members -  Hazel and David Warhurst,  Rev Margaret Kirk and Melody Dixon-Oliver - were interviewed and some statements taken from the GA website introduced the item. The item can be found from 2 hours 27 minutes into the programme to 2 hours 32 minutes on the BBC website.

Hazel Warhurst
Stockton Unitarians

Look out for Countryfile on BBC 1 on Sunday 8 February which will feature an interview with Roger Mason.  The Spring Edition of FOY News will feature an article by Roger which starts:

"In 1957, the same year that I joined the Foy Society aged 16, I discovered the Precambrian fossil Charnia masoni with two friends, Richard Allen (Dick) and Richard Blachford (Blach) …. My Unitarian links played a large part. We had gone rock climbing in a disused quarry in Charnwood Forest, a hilly area a few miles from Leicester, in preparation for my participation in the Young Unitarian Arnøy Expedition in the summer, a mountaineering expedition led by Rev Keith Treacher who was the Minister at Golders Green Unitarian church where I am still a member. We explored the small but rugged peaks of a remote island in Arctic Norway....."

Hazel Warhurst
FOY Society