1. Executive Committee Key Messages, 18 May 2018
1. Moving ahead with the Training and Education Development (TED) Project
The Executive Committee received a progress report from the TED Project Governance Group, which had met on 25 April 2018. The first-ever orientation retreat had taken place in February 2018, as part of the transitional programme for Ministry training, and individual learning plans had been developed with the three incoming students. A proposal for bridging funding of £35,000 to ensure the delivery of the new programme and of an orientation retreat for those selected by the Interview Panel in January 2019 was presented and agreed. This sum also includes the budgeted legal costs of the establishment of the new Unitarian College Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). The funding will be sourced from an unanticipated legacy and a recent £5,000 donation from a Chapel Trust for the new ministry training programme.
2. Retirement of the Chief Officer – Recruitment of a Successor
The working group established at the last meeting reported on its work to develop the recruitment and selection process for a new Chief Officer, following the announcement of the retirement of Derek McAuley due in April 2019. If required, support on specific tasks would be obtained from an external human resources adviser. It is planned that the job description, person specification and process will be agreed at the July meeting of the Executive Committee and the post will then go out to advertisement. The Executive Committee also noted that provision for the costs of the recruitment process, and of any overlap during a handover, would have to be built into the budget for 2018/19 to be agreed in September 2018.
3. General Assembly Roll of Ministers
We are pleased to announce that Rev Claire MacDonald, having completed the academic requirements of her training, has been admitted to the Roll of Ministers with Probationary status.
The Executive Committee considered the Alert on Safeguarding issued by the Charity Commission on 5 April 2018 and reinforced the need for all congregations to consider carefully the adequacy of their arrangements to protect people, not simply vulnerable beneficiaries like children and young people. Actions were agreed for the safeguarding arrangements of the General Assembly for its own activities and services to be reviewed.
The results of the audit of safeguarding in congregations carried out in late 2017 were received. The response rate had improved from 38% to 51%, yet this still meant that nearly half of congregations had not returned the audit form. The responses to specific questions showed a high degree of compliance on basic policy issues, but with more to be done on liaison with groups that might use Unitarian church premises and making sure congregational committees regularly had safeguarding on their meeting agendas.
5. Presidential Duty
Mrs Joan Cook, President of the General Assembly, was in attendance at the Dedication of the National Memorial to British Victims of Overseas Terrorism held on 17 May 2018 at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, joined the family members of those killed by terrorist acts overseas to dedicate a new national memorial called 'Still Water'. Created by artist Alison Wilding and sculptor and maker, Adam Kershaw, it invites visitors to the site to interpret and draw their own personal connection to the memorial. Joan had the opportunity to talk to Prince Charles and representatives of other faith and belief groups.
6. New GA Youth Co-ordinator/Safeguarding Lead
The Executive Committee was pleased at the appointment of Gavin Howell as Youth Co-ordinator/Safeguarding Lead. He will be starting
with the General Assembly on 1 August 2018.
3. The Samuel Jones Fund
The income of the fund is applied ‘in augmentation of the salaries of such conscientious and Dissenting Ministers as shall stand in most need of assistance as the Managers of the Fund shall approve, preference being given to those who have been students at Manchester (now Harris Manchester) College, Oxford’. New applicants are also invited and grants are considered annually. Applications should be in hand by 9th June 2018 and be on a form obtainable from the Secretary:
Rev Peter Hewis, 1 Little Blenheim, Yarnton, Kidlington, OX5 1LX
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01865 372265
4. Media coverage
Rev Chris Hudson of All Souls, Belfast was profiled in The Belfast Telegraph
Bridport’s community fridge project was covered in Bridport News
In November 2017 “Live at Brighton Unitarian Church” - Rag “n” Bone Man singing “Lay My Body Down” has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube
York Unitarian Chapel was mentioned by Petroc Trelawny on Radio 3 breakfast programme on Friday 25 May and listeners were told of the Last Friday Lunchtime Concert being performed at the Chapel by the Sax Forte Quartet, a York based Saxophone Quartet, with a range of music from classical to contemporary.