1. Annual Meetings
The final closing date for the Annual Meetings is fast approaching. Please ensure that all bookings have been received at Essex Hall by 5.00pm on 7 March 2018.
Additionally, this year's Motions and Background Papers have been released. These have been mailed out to congregations, worship leaders and those booked for the Annual Meetings but if you wish to view or download them, they can be found at https://unitarianmeetings2018.com/ under the menu item 'Policy & Debate'.
Andrew Mason, Operations Manager
2. Death of Rev Dr Phillip Hewett
It was with sadness that we learned of the death of Rev Dr Phillip Hewett on Saturday 24 February 2018, at the age of 93. He served at Montreal (Assistant 1953-54), Ipswich (1954-56), Vancouver (1956-91) and Victoria (Interim 1991-92).
3. Death of Rev Dr David Doel
It was with sadness that we learned of the death of Rev Dr David Doel on Thursday 22 February 2018, at the age of 87. He served at Manchester Blackley (1953-57), Hindley (1960-76), and Dukinfield (1976-98) with Manchester Gorton (1982-95).
His funeral, conducted by Rev Danny Crosby, will be held on Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 11.30am at Dunham Road Unitarian Chapel, Altrincham, WA14 4NX. Committal will follow at 1.00pm at Altrincham Crematorium, Whitehouse Lane, Dunham Massey, WA14 5RH.
4. Working on our Welcome: Improving Our Hospitality to LGBTQ+ People
A workshop “Working on our Welcome: Improving Our Hospitality to LGBTQ+ People” will take place on Saturday 16 June 2018 with arrivals from 11.00am for an 11.30am start until 3.30pm. It will be held at York Unitarians, St. Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, St. Saviourgate, York, YO1 8NQ.
Unitarians are rightly proud of our historically progressive views on gender and sexuality issues, particularly our part in campaigning for equal marriage, but there is so much more work still to do. As a wider range of voices from across the LGBTQ+ rainbow (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people) begin to make themselves heard, some of us may find ourselves confused by new terminology, and by seemingly conflicting messages about how best to respond to people’s needs. In this workshop, led by Quaker activist Fred Langridge and Jane Blackall from Kensington Unitarians, we will explore some practical ways in which our communities can offer a better welcome to visitors who identify as LGBTQ+ and highlight areas where we could improve our awareness and sensitivity around issues of gender, sexuality and relationship diversity.
Advance booking is required for this workshop though the training is free of charge. Please bring your own packed lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided. This event is open to Unitarians from across the Yorkshire district and beyond – the more the merrier! – as we are keen to spread best practice far and wide. To reserve your place, or to find out more, contact Rev Nicky Jenkins, Minister with York Unitarians, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. European Unitarians Together (EUT) – Berlin 2019
The European Unitarian Universalists (EUU) and the Unitarier – Religionsgemeinschaft freien Glaubens (URFG) are pleased to announce that the 2nd EUT will take place in Berlin from 7–10 June in 2019. We would like to thank all of those involved making the first pan-European gathering of UU’s, Unitarians, Universalists, Free Religious and Humanists at the EUT 2017 in Ulm such an overwhelming success. Representatives from 17 countries came together for worship and workshops, song and celebration.
The Boards of both the EUU and URFG are convinced that a gathering of likeminded yet different European Unitarians, Universalists, U U’s, Free Religious and related groups can bring out the best in all of us, helping to spark contagious inspiration and provide leadership in Europe during tumultuous times. We hope you’ll join us. Please put the dates in your diary.
European Unitarians Together (EUT)
6. Open Letter co-ordinated by Christian CND
The following open letter was co-ordinated by Christian CND:
“Successive UK governments have pledged their support for a world free of nuclear weapons. Today the House of Lords will discuss a United Nations Treaty that bans nuclear weapons. The Treaty is the result of multilateral negotiation and is supported by more than 120 states, more than 50 of which have already signed. Unfortunately the United Kingdom has refused to engage with the process.
Nuclear weapons continue to pose a threat to the survival of humanity. The Bible teaches us that we are stewards of the earth, with a duty to protect all life. Nuclear weapons are the antithesis of this teaching.
At a time when the threat of nuclear war continues to hang over all of us, the Treaty represents a unique opportunity for the nuclear weapon states to walk together towards a total ban.
We hope that the debate in the Lords today will be the first step towards the UK engaging with this process and joining the growing international consensus against nuclear weapons. Being the first nuclear-armed state to sign would show real moral leadership and demonstrate the UK’s commitment to work for a world without nuclear weapons.
We urge the government to reconsider its position on the Treaty.
Jill Baker, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
The Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener, Church and Society Council, The Church of Scotland
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Revd Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk - Quakers in Britain
Rev Kevin Watson, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Alan Yates, Moderator of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
7. Minority Safepack
The following request for support has been received from Rev Gyerő Dávid, Deputy Bishop of the Hungarian Unitarian Church:
“Dear Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist Friends in Europe!
I write in my capacity of a leader of the Hungarian Unitarian Church, on behalf of its Executive Committee, to ask for your cooperation and help regarding a European initiative called Minority SafePack.
The Minority SafePack is a European citizen’s initiative started in Romania by a political party of the ethnic Hungarians, the DAHR (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania), and joined by many others.
The citizen’s initiative is a legal tool of the citizens of the European Union to propose legal protection for an endangered value in Europe, asking the EU to issue a law or policy action in that regard.
This new initiative called Minority SafePack calls upon the EU to adopt a set of legal acts to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union. It shall include policy actions in the areas of regional and minority languages, education and culture, faith and religion, regional policy, participation, equality, audiovisual and other media content, and also regional (state) support.
Practically, supporting the initiative means to sign an official petition to the EU at their official webpage, https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/32/public/#/ It is a very easy process, it takes 3 to 5 minutes or so and asks for a few personal data only. Please keep in mind that this initiative requires an individual support, and not a group action or an institutional stand.
The goal is to reach 1,000,000 (one million) signatures until the deadline, April 3, 2018. Today, there were only 285,000 signatures reported, so it is apparently low, but I understand these actions speed up around the deadline.
To be successful, the initiative must reach the 1,000,000 statements of support as well as minimum thresholds in at least 7 countries. Please see the status of each EU country at https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/32/public/#/
Romania and Hungary have already reached the minimum threshold. Closest to success are Spain (44%), Denmark (33%), Austria (23%), Germany (9%) and the Netherlands (7%). These are the countries with the most likely success to reach the threshold, but every signature helps, from every member country of the European Union.
More background on the initiative is available in the attached PDF, as well as the website of the initiators, http://www.minority-safepack.eu
Please let me know if you have questions. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your fellows in your Unitarian community, as well as friends, family and anyone you think would support this action.
I hope for your cooperation in this very important matter. Thank you for your attention, and partnership.
Yours in our shared faith, Gyerő Dávid
8. Media Coverage
A photographic tale of a Wedding at Ullet Road Unitarian Church, Liverpool https://leegar.land/blog/handyman-supermarket-ullet-road-unitarian-wedding-liverpool