UNI-NEWS 157th Issue 20th October 2015

1. UNI-COMS Conference 6 - 8 November 2015

Do look at the UNI-COMS website for details of the conference in November.  

Main sessions include: 

Better Outreach Training Course - Saturday Daytime

Fiona Lewis from The Media Trust will be running a training course on how we can improve our outreach. This is an area where many Unitarian Groups can improve. Fiona will lead us through practical ideas and tips to ensure we can be better at this vital task. Uni-coms is very grateful to The Hibbert Trust and the Visibility Strategy Group for helping to fund this training. If you wish to attend this training and not the other events over the weekend, you can for just £14 (including lunch).

3 Recipes for a Successful Unitarian Community - Friday Evening

The session will look at three successful Unitarian Groups - Bridport, Lewes and Billingshurst. All of which have created an active energetic Unitarian Community with different approaches. After a report from each group there will be a discussion on how alternative approaches could provide success and relevance to other Unitarian groups in our changing world.

How to create good Posters and Images - Saturday Evening

James Barry will lead a session on what makes a good Unitarian poster. Included will be tips on how to use good images and what you should include and what can be left out.

To Book

If you wish to attend either the whole weekend or just the Outreach training on the Saturday, you will need to call the Nightingale Centre on 01298 871218. Prices for the whole weekend start at £108. If you are just attending the Outreach Training the cost is £14. This could be the best investment your congregation makes this year!



2. ‘Making Change Happen – from Vision to Action’

You may have seen the posters or read in Uni-News or The Inquirer that there will be a gathering at Upper Chapel in Sheffield on 21 November 2015 (10.30am – 4.30pm) where it is intended that the thoughts set out in the Vision document be translated into a plan of action for the Unitarian and Free Christian denomination in the UK. We are now moving from ‘vision’ to ‘action’.

The General Assembly Executive Committee wish to encourage as many people as possible to join this event and contribute their thoughts and ideas, so that the outcome can truly be a plan that has comprehensive and committed support from UK Unitarians and Free Christians.     

Besides our very respected and longstanding supporters we wish to attract to this event younger members and those new Unitarians and Free Christians who can energise our congregations. As well as representatives from each district, we are looking for people from each and every congregation and from our affiliated societies to come along and play their part.

We very much hope that our diverse community of faith will get involved and join us on 21 November 2015 as we start our journey towards our new Vision for our Movement.

If you would like to attend please contact Mary-Jean Hennis at Essex Hall for an application form (to be returned to her). It is hoped that participants will be financially supported to attend by the organisation they represent, however a limited number of bursaries will be available to cover the travel costs for those who would not otherwise be able to do so.  If you would like to apply for a bursary please contact Derek McAuley.

Robert Ince
Executive Committee Convenor


Registration for FUSE 2016 is now open.  Take advantage of the early bird discount of £20.00 if you register before 1 December 2015.  You can register at the FUSE website. 

We will once again be staying at the Chatsworth Hotel, Worthing, West Sussex.  

Of notable interest is the Friday 20 February 2015 pre-conference workshop entitled “Organising Communities for Strength, Connection and Justice” led by Citizens UK.  The workshop will be from 1:30-4:00pm and the extra cost is £20.00

Descriptions of all the workshops can be seen at the FUSE website.

We do hope you will join us again at FUSE 2016.  If you have any queries:

•about registration, please ask Leighton Cole

•about invoicing/payments, please ask me, Danielle Wilson at daniellewilson@ldpa.org.uk or on 01323-769 813

We look forward to welcoming you to FUSE 2016 next February.

Danielle Wilson
London District Administrator - LDPA

4. General Assembly Roll of Ministers 

We are pleased to announce that Rev Kate Dean, having completed the academic requirements of her training, has been admitted to the Roll of Ministers with Probationary status. Congratulations to Kate.

Derek McAuley
Chief Officer


5. Youth Sunday – Sunday 7 February 2016 – ‘Animal Magic’

Hello all. Just to say that Youth Sunday will be Sunday 7 February 2016. The theme this time will be ‘Animal Magic’. I will be compiling a worship pack to send out to all congregations full of ideas on this theme.  If you have any material to share exploring the theme of pets and animals please email it to me. We would like at least one outline of a pet service in there! Or you may have a teddy bear ritual or animal blessing.  Any material would be welcome including opening words, prayers, stories, songs etc. As many of you know Youth Sunday is a day on which the Youth Programme encourages congregations to ask some children or young people to take the service or make the worship child friendly and accessible to all ages. It is also a time to ensure more families are aware of youth events run by the Youth Programme. I will be putting the pack together in October and will send it out, hopefully, in November/December. 

Many thanks for your support.

Yours in fellowship,

Rev John Harley – GA Youth Coordinator


6. Inter and Senior Weekends – 13-15 November 2015 – The Nightingale Centre, Derbyshire

There are still places left for Inters (for 11-14 year olds) and Seniors (14-17). The final date for bookings is 4 November. Go to https://www.unitarian.org.uk/get-involved/youth-programme/events for more information and to book online. Contact John if you have any questions.

Rev John Harley – GA Youth Coordinator


7. The Right to Food? Beyond foodbanks?

Tackling the scandal of food poverty in 21st century Britain:

•Do you care passionately that no one in the UK should go hungry?

•Do you think that Government could do more to tackle food poverty?

•Do you want to be part of building a food justice movement in the UK?

The explosion in food poverty and the huge numbers being forced to turn to foodbanks undermines the UK’s commitment to ensuring that all its citizens have access to food – one of the most basic of all human rights.

Whilst hundreds of thousands of people have had to turn to foodbanks in recent years, emergency food aid cannot be a long-term solution.  A growing list of organisations including Church Action on Poverty, Oxfam, the Sustainable Food Cities Network, Trussell Trust and the Feeding Britain Inquiry have all called for stronger and more coordinated national and local government to take action to reduce food poverty.

Come and hear about the findings of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty - due out at the end of October – and have your input into shaping the growing campaign to tackle food poverty and hunger in the UK.

Church Action on Poverty is organising a series of events across the UK to explore the potential for bringing together a broad range of groups across the country to build a more powerful national campaign to end food poverty and hunger in the UK in 2016.  

Click the links below to find out more and book a place at your nearest event

London City Hall, 3:30–5:30pm, Tuesday 10 November 

North Road Methodist Church, Durham, 2:30–4:30pm, Tuesday 17 November 

Bridge 5 Mill, Manchester, 3:00–5:00pm, Monday 23 November 

Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, 2:30–4:30pm, Wednesday 25 November 

Birmingham Public Health, 3:00–5:00pm, Monday 30 November

Cardiff (details tbc) 

Niall Cooper
Director, Church Action on Poverty


8. Media Coverage

Mum-of-two travels to Greek border to help volunteers feed up to 4,000 Syrian refugees a day (Warrington Guardian, 1 October 2015). 

Macclesfield Chapel first in town to conduct same sex marriages (Macclesfield Express, 12 October 2015)

Cape Town Unitarians join Anti-Corruption March by Rev Roux Malan, who is on the Overseas Roll of Ministers of the General Assembly (News24, 1 October 2015)  

Now even Bake-Off is being used to stir the pot on immigration” by comedian Stewart Lee (Comment is Free in The Guardian, 11 October 2-15) mentions a “sponge Unitarian Chapel” as one of three “culturally, socially or politically significant icons”