Workshops and Sessions

With 27 workshops and sessions to choose from, the schedule is packed to the brim with inspirational, challenging, and nourishing activities.

Associate Members

All Associate Members attending these Meetings are invited to their own Reception before dinner on the Friday– very appropriate! Associate Members? Who are they, I hear you ask. Briefly, they are Unitarians who are interested in the way the General Assembly is governed and what their congregational quota payment pays for. They are prepared to pay an annual subscription, for which they receive early notice of some formal work of the GA, the Annual Report, two Newsletters and this invitation to the Reception. If you are interested/curious, come and meet us – we look forward to meeting you and hope to persuade you to join us!

Coastal Connections

“Spirit of Land and Sea” – Join Gavin Howell and Lizzie Kingston Harrison as they begin a conversation around the opportunities presented by our unique coastal landscapes. This workshop will be a time for connection, sharing and reflection and is open to anyone from a coastal congregation. You will have a chance to share your experiences and come away with new ideas and inspiration. 

Collaborative Session

In this fast-paced session, you’ll meet a bunch of Unitarians one-on-one in conversations of just a few minutes each. Use this time to discuss your own experience as a Unitarian/within your congregation, learn about challenges that other Unitarians are facing, and exchange contact information if you’d like to stay in touch to talk further. Within this fun and fast-paced format, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many new contacts, resources, and common experiences you’ll collect! Please note that, due to space constraints, the session will be limited to 48 people.

The Ethnic Minorities Heritage Spiritual Space (EMHSS)

This meeting welcomes all those who self-identify as ethnicity diverse people of heritage from the black, African, Caribbean, Asian, Latinx, Indian, Pacific diaspora, (as defined under the UK protected status) and provides a space to explore and share our Unitarian and world experiences, receive support, validation, and healing from peers. We are unapologetic in recognising the need for People of Colour, of Mix/Multiple-Heritage, of White Passing, and of Ethnic Minorities to create and hold spiritual space where they can be and participate in conversation in their whole authentic self. Sometimes it’s about challenging the status quo to make the world better, and sometimes it is just about understanding our own internal struggles and sharing practices.

This year our guest facilitator is Rev Alicia Forde, the UUA International Office Director. Alicia was born and spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as an African descent queer, cis-gender female with deep roots in Tobago. She considers herself bi-cultural and is grateful that her formative years enabled her to cultivate a global perspective. Alicia is a certified Spiritual Director and has a strong interest in health and wellness. When she’s not hiking, you can find her reading, working-out, or podcast-walking. (

Nourishing & Sharing Our Global Faith

A conversation on exploring how we remain connected as a global Unitarian/Universalist and Free Christian Church community, and the power of our connection to bring more Love into the world.

The Reverend Alicia Roxanne Forde serves with the Unitarian Universalist Association as the Director of the International Office. Alicia is passionate about engaging individuals and communities in discerning what they most care about and working alongside others as they seek to enact Love and Justice in this world.

Alicia was born and spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as an African-descent, queer, cis-gender woman with deep roots in Tobago. She is a graduate of The Iliff School of Theology (MDiv ’03) and currently lives with her partner in Boulder, Colorado.

Worship Beyond “The Word”

Our worship services tend to be word-heavy and sermon-centred. While tradition is important, how and why might we include more participatory or embodied moments in worship? In this program, we’ll play with worship building blocks that resonate with us as “all senses on” meaning-makers.

Speaker: Rev. Erika Hewitt (she/her) serves as the Minister of Worship Arts for the Unitarian Universalist Association, in the United States. Her work includes creating and curating worship resources, including the weekly spirituality series Braver/Wiser. Erika loved being with us for the 2022 Annual Meetings and is grateful to return this year.

Note: this workshop is being offered twice. The teaching material will be the same, but the experiential segments will differ.

Hibbert Trust

Subject: Hibbert and John Gregson Trusts. Want to know more about how the Hibbert and John Gregson Trusts can financially help congregations and individual Unitarians? The number of applications for funding has reduced during and since the Pandemic. Come along and learn more about the priorities of the Hibbert Trust for the next seven years and also what we have been doing to address our legacy of slavery with notable partnerships developing. The John Gregson Trust supports Unitarian and Free Christian buildings with survey and emergency grants and support for development projects. We are open to projects utilising funds from both Trusts that involve capital works to enable innovative activities in local congregations. All welcome.

Unitarian Historical Society
Speaker: Professor Grayson Ditchfield, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Kent
Theme: Essex Street Chapel in the Later Eighteenth Century

The year 2024 marks 250 years since the founding of the Essex Street Chapel in London, the first avowedly Unitarian congregation in the country, founded by Theophilus Lindsey. In this presentation Professor Ditchfield will be looking especially at the chapel’s members, adherents and supporters, including a number of women who were involved. He will also look at the work of Hannah Lindsey in providing much of the chapel’s pastoral work. He will examine the social make-up of the chapel’s membership, its regional diversity, and its ability to attract unlikely visitors and casual observers. Finally, he will comment on the nature of worship at the chapel and its importance in the nascent Unitarian movement. All will be welcome at this presentation.

International Association for Religious Freedom – IARF, British Chapter

The International Association for Religious Freedom held its Global Conference in Transylvania, Romania last September. We shall hear from the new President George Williams on the exciting plans for the future of IARF (online message) and from a representative of the Hungarian Unitarian Church on the significance of the event (in-person). We hope to give a flavour of the Congress. Looking ahead we will be promoting the forthcoming European and Middle East Conference in 2025 which will be in-person in Germany and online. 

Music Society

For the love of hymns We all sing hymns at Unitarian services and events but what do we know about the lyricists and composers? We will choose hymns that link to a theme, and then in small groups research those hymns. Please bring smart phones or tablets with you.

National Unitarian Fellowship (NUF)

The newly appointed Social Action Officer will be telling us of her vision for this role, how she intends to represent the public face of the Unitarian Movement and also inspire and support the member congregations to become actively involved in a social responsibility programme.

Social Action

What do we care about and what do we want to do about it? We’ll dive into results of the recent Social Action Audit and get inspired to take the next steps in Unitarian Social Action. See which issues are at the forefront of our minds, how much capacity we have within our congregations and the movement as a whole, and how we might best combine our efforts to have the most impact. Featuring the team behind the Social Action Audit, plus a couple of surprise guest who have some ideas about next steps.

Safeguarding: Making purposeful safe space

Guided by the GA Object and thirtyone:eight’s 10 safeguarding standards, I’ll show how GA HQ plans to develop its current arrangements. This session might be of interest to GA member groups wishing to review their approach to safeguarding.

Social Justice Network Speaker 

Professor Bernadka Dubicka will be speaking on the subject of “The Mental Health of Children and Young People  – Challenges for the 21st Century”

About Prof Dubicka: “I trained in child and adolescent psychiatry in London and Manchester and have always worked as a clinical academic, with a research interest in mood disorders, in particular brief interventions in adolescent depression. As past chair of the faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, I have been extensively involved in national policy, media and public engagement, particularly around mental health services, the environment, and technology.” 

Thriving Congregations

A workshop on how we can help our congregations to grow, develop and thrive as centres of spirituality and community. How do we help, support and encourage great leaders, resilient congregations, and thriving communities to face the challenges in our world today?

Facilitated by Simon Bland, Lizzie Kingston Harrison & Rev Rory Castle Jones

Together in Meditation

You are warmly invited to join Richard Bober from The Meditation Fellowship, Rob Oulton, Rev. Sheena Gabriel, and Lizzie Kingston Harrison for a time of meditation and fellowship. This will be a good chance for rest and contemplation during a busy few days. You can also find out more about our Thursday evening online meditation sessions and how we are working to connect and support leaders of meditation across the movement.

Torbay: An emerging spiritual community.

In this session I’ll tell the story of how this new group has evolved over the past two years as well as comment on its relationship with other local spiritual communities. This session might be of interest to fellowships, other small groups and those wishing to adopt a more emergent approach to community work.

Unitarian Christian Association 

Joseph Priestley: radical roots and new beginnings 

What can we learn when we return to our beginnings? How does knowing where we came from help illuminate the way forward? In this gathering, Lizzie Kingston Harrison will contextualise the emergence of our Unitarian and Free Christian movement as a radical answer to a specific set of urgent cultural and personal questions. Reflecting on the work of Joseph Priestley, Lizzie invites you to examine how our roots inform our current practice and future directions. Drawing parallels between the Eighteenth Century and our own sacred time of change and crisis, this workshop also gives you a chance to reflect on our collective future. 

Unitarian College – Five Years On

Staff and students are thrilled to share how Unitarian College has, over the past five years since its’ reincarnation, met the primary Strategic Aim to “develop a broad and balanced curriculum that all Unitarians can access”. Not only has the college succeeded in maintaining 20 Ministerial Students at different stages across the nation, but we have also grown our hugely popular Lay Leadership programme seeing over 150 participants. We are also helping to ignite our Leaders of Tomorrow with inspiring Children & Families residential weekends and, together with the GA, will be offering a new Youth Leader Training course for adults who share our vision in seeing our Youth base grow. We are honoured to be able to continue serving into the next five years to help further your personal spiritual learning and provide the greater Unitarian community with profound leadership.

LGBT+ Unitarian Voices

Join Rory Castle Jones, Lizzie Kingston Harrison and Kate Alderson Smith for a workshop exploring the power of sharing our Unitarian stories and archives. This is your chance to find out more about the successful LGBT+ Unitarian Voices project and how to host the exhibition in your own place of worship. If you have taken up our invitation to bring your own archival material to the Annual Meetings, you can share it with others during the workshop and hand it over to Kate for careful preservation and storage. Please come along to celebrate our stories to find out how we can shape future projects together to preserve our unique and moving voices for generation to come.

Unitarians 4 Climate Justice (U4CJ)

U4CJ invites you to take part in the Unitarian movement’s first-ever climate-focused People’s Assembly. Using a process of true participatory democracy, we’ll identify actions for a more climate-conscious movement. The session will focus on three key themes: Food, Buildings, and Investment. Together, we’ll explore impactful actions that we can take now to protect our planet into an uncertain future. The crowdsourced actions, voted on by all participants, will lay the foundations for a shared climate charter for individuals, congregations, and the wider movement. Please bring ideas, enthusiasm, and the willingness to make a change. 

Unitarian Renewal Group

Embrace the transformation: Commemorating 50 years of Unitarian renewal

Join us for an inspiring presentation celebrating inclusive worship and authentic welcome. With gratitude, we will be honouring the dedication of past and present members of the Unitarian Renewal Group, whose tireless efforts have paved the way for positive change over the past half-century. We also recognize that there is still work to be done. Current members of the Unitarian Renewal Group committee will host a presentation and discussion incorporating their experience, vision and insights for what lies ahead.

 Christina Smith – URG Chair

Women’s League

At this year’s GA Meeting the Women’s League will hold their AGM and the presentation of the financial accounts for 2023. It has been decided that the Women’s League Project Fund for 2024-25 will be the Unitarian Ministerial Fund, which is used for the training of our future ministers. A talk will be given by Rev Ant Howe on how this money would be used and how our contribution could be of benefit to everyone commencing in their training for the ministry.

Youth: Supporting local provisions

This session willshowcase some of the new youth initiatives that have emerged over the past 12 months with an emphasis on how they came into being and my role in the process. We’ll also touch on the new youth leader training – a collaboration between the GA and Unitarian College. This session might be of interest to those already running youth and family provisions as well as those groups that aspire to do so.