1. London Attack
The following short statement has been issued by Rev Charles VanDenBroeder, President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and appears on the General Assembly website.
“Our hearts go out to those who suffered in the most recent atrocity in London but we refuse to give into hate as that would give the attackers a victory.”
2. Executive Committee Key Messages, 19-20 May 2017
1. Executive Committee Convenor
Marion Baker was appointed as Convenor of the Executive Committee replacing Robert Ince whose term of office on the EC had come to an end.
2. Co-option of Three Executive Committee Members
Following the open application process, we are pleased to announce that Sheena McKinnon, Christina Smith and Rev Dr Rob Whiteman have been co-opted onto the Executive Committee and will formally take up their positions at the next EC meeting on 14 July 2017. They will serve until the close of the Annual Meetings in April 2019. An induction process is currently being arranged for the new members.
Sheena is active in Bradford Unitarians and the Yorkshire Unitarian Union and is also secretary of the Unitarian Association for Lay Ministry. Christina Smith is currently Chief Community Cultivator for Derby Unity (2020 project) and worship Leader for Derby Unitarians. Rob has recently taken up the position of Minister with Dundee Unitarians and had a long career in church administration.
3. Resignation of Gwynn Pritchard
The EC received the resignation of Gwynn Pritchard due to health issues. Gwynn was thanked for his contribution over the last two years, particularly on communications, as link to the two Welsh Districts and serving on the Annual Meetings Panel. The Executive Committee will pro-actively seek a replacement to address any identified geographic and/or skill gaps given its new composition.
4. Next Steps
The Next Steps priorities were reviewed at some length to bring everyone up to speed since the last meeting. An update report was received from Rachel Skelton, Project Manager, on progress with the Training and Education Development (TED) Project and the related Web project, both of which had been showcased at the Annual Meetings in workshops.
5. Identity Project
Good progress was reported on the Identity Project with a detailed presentation from Kate Eden, the consultant who is assisting the General Assembly. The identity project forms part of "Next Steps" and is intended to assist Unitarians create a clear message about who we are and what we stand for. A lively and stimulating workshop had been held at the Annual Meetings. Guidelines on the identity, along with suggestions on how implementation might be delivered, were considered but more work is required for the July EC meeting.
6. Local Leadership Strategy Group (LLSG) – Safeguarding Training
The EC was pleased to learn that safeguarding training arranged by the LLSG will take place on 4 November 2017 at Unitarian New Meeting in Birmingham. Look out for further detailed information.
7. Nightingale Centre
The Nightingale Centre was congratulated on being awarded a grant of £18,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out research into the World War One history of the centre and then share this story with users of the Centre through an information point, and the production of a curriculum-related teaching aid. This is a joint project with Richard Godley of East Peak Countryside Associates. Discussions have also taken place on how the Centre could support the Unitarian Youth programme to promote its events.
8. Future EC Meeting arrangements
The Executive Committee considered its ways of working for the future. It was agreed, with the exception of the annual visit to the Nightingale Centre each September, that meetings in future would be for one day only starting at 9.00am and finishing at 5.30pm.
3. Death of Rev John Storer
We are sorry to report the death of Rev John Storer on 28 May 2017. John was born in 1925 in Stockton-on-Tees and educated at Unitarian College Manchester and the University of Manchester. He served at Hale from 1951-57 followed by Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1958-71 with pastoral oversight of South Shields from 1964-71. He subsequently pursued a career in education but remained on the Roll of Ministers of the General Assembly. His funeral will take place on 14 June 2017 in Ipswich with further information available from Rev Cliff Reed.
4. LEAP - Leading - Enabling - Affirming - People
Have you ever needed leadership skills? Have you ever been called upon to lead? Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a leader? Would you like to be able to put leadership skills on your CV?
Then LEAP is the course for you.
After the success of REvolution, a course to train RE leaders, the LLSG (Local Leadership Strategy Group) has developed LEAP, a brand new programme that prepares leaders of all groups in Unitarian contexts.
The LEAP Course consists of two residential weekends which will be held at The Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow in Derbyshire, 1st to 3rd September 2017 and 1st to 3rd June 2018. The four assignments will be done in your own time with tutor support and feedback, in between the two weekends. Places will be limited and allocated on a first-come first-served basis. A draft programme, information and a participant list will be forwarded to you before the first weekend.
Participants must commit to attending both residential weekends, carry out all activities and complete assignments and reflections to receive a LEAP Certificate.
Please book as soon as possible.
5. Flower Communion
The Flower Communion was celebrated in many churches around the world on 4 June 2017. The Czech Unitarians have produced a website of resources, including a newly discovered Hymn by Rev N F Capek “My Life is made Worthwhile” written in Dachau.
6. Media Coverage
- Rev Jim Corrigall on BBC Radio Lancashire on 21 May 2017 on what kind of society he would like to see after the Election. Scroll along to 2.49.28
- Rev Chris Hudson of All Souls NSPCI on “Thought for the Day” BBC Radio Ulster on 7 May 2017 and on 21 May 2017
- There is a two page article on New Unity in Newington Green, London “Radically different on the Inside” in N16 Life magazine (Summer 2017 go to pages 22-23)