1. Please Support Unitarian Day for Peace on 19 October 2014
On 24 August 2014, I attended the IARF 34th World Congress at the University of Birmingham. I was very lucky; it was a great Congress with 250 delegates, representing 25 countries, and there were many informative and thought provoking workshops. However, for me the highlight was the opening keynote speech by Karen Armstrong who, as Derek McAuley tweeted, said: "unless we implement the Golden Rule globally there is no future for the World".
When asked by a member of the audience ‘but what can we do practically’ her reply was: ‘go back to your congregations, churches and communities and promote peace and interfaith tolerance wherever and however you can’.
This October, Unitarians will have another opportunity to do just this by observing our Special Unitarian day for World Peace on Sunday 19 October and hosting an ‘Interfaith Service/Vigil/Gathering for World Peace’. There is a wonderful service pack available on our national Website with resources and prayers you might find useful.
I know many of you may be holding a service/vigil/gathering for peace on this day, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking part this year and making it part of your annual calendar. For those of you who may have already scheduled your service for the 19 October, I urge you to have a look at the worship pack and see if there is a prayer for peace that you could include in your service or that you could ask the visiting worship leader to include.
I know that, given the situation in the world at the moment, this may seem a ‘drop in the ocean’, but Karen Armstrong echoed my own beliefs on this – we all must do whatever we can to raise awareness and provide a platform for the contemplation of peace, especially interfaith peace – and this is one way that Unitarians can do it sooner, rather than later.
2. Key Messages Executive Committee 5 September 2014
1. Ministry Strategy Group
The appointments of Rev Daniel Costley as Chair of the Ministry Strategy Group and Rev Ant Howe as a member of the Group were approved.
2. Budget and Congregational Quota 2014/15
The budget for 2014/15 was approved and in order to achieve a balanced position, following a projected deficit in the current year, a congregational quota was agreed at £35 per member. An additional £5,000 was committed to the Ministry Strategy Group budget to enable them to support the ongoing work on ministry training, subject to EC approval.
3. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Ministers
The Executive Committee stressed its strong support for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Ministers and asked that the Ministry Strategy Group consider how it might be taken forward and supported by the Denomination, the Colleges and congregations.
4. Annual Meetings 2015
The new venue at the Hilton Birmingham Hotel, near Birmingham airport and the NEC, was welcomed and the convenience to major rail and road connections would be attractive to attendees.
The importance of all congregations taking their responsibilities seriously was reiterated. EC link members would be raising this issue with their link Districts to ensure congregations were supported. Joan Cook was appointed as Executive Committee member to take a lead on safeguarding and liaise with the Chief Officer.
6. President and Vice President
District Secretaries were to be reminded of the request for suggestions for nominations for the positions of President and Vice President of the General Assembly for 2015/16 which will be considered by the Executive Committee at its November meeting.
7. EC Election Timetable
The Electoral Panel – Gavin Mason, Wade Miller-Knight and Howard Wilkins - had met with the Chief Officer and agreed that the Executive Committee election would take place after Christmas and therefore closer to the Annual Meetings where those elected would take up office. Anyone interested in finding out more about the role should contact the Chief Officer or speak to a current EC member.
8. IARF Council
Robert Ince was congratulated on his election to the Council of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF).
3. General Assembly Roll
We are pleased to announce that the following has been admitted to the General Assembly Roll with Probationary status having completed their academic requirements:
Rev Maria Curtis
4. Spirituality+ Words, music and meditation
A Unitarian support and meditation group in Oxford for students who are ‘spiritual but not religious’. Come and explore living a life of meaning together; share your stories and ideas.
Odd Wednesdays during term-time at St John's College:
Week 1: 15 Oct 9 - 10pm
Week 3: 29 Oct 8 - 9pm
Week 5: 12 Nov 8 - 9pm
Week 7: 26 Nov 8 - 9pm
Free entry. Meet at the front gate (on St Giles) about five minutes early, and Eileen will lead you to the meeting room. If you’re lost or late, phone her at 07539 561978.
Contact Kate Dean firstname.lastname@example.org/07870 322 519
5. What is your 2020 Vision of a Good Society?
Our friends at Church Action on Poverty have asked us to share the following message:
Church Action on Poverty on Sunday 15 February 2015
What is our shared vision of a Good Society for the UK? What more can we do to Close the Gap between rich and poor, and build a society which will be happier, healthier, safer and fairer? Use our resources to plan a worship service built around visions of the Good Society. You will be praying and worshipping together with other churches across the UK. Hold a collection or soup lunch to raise funds for Church Action on Poverty, or invite your congregation to support us in working to build a Good Society by taking part in a sponsored fast during Holy Week.
Find out more and get free resources at Church Action on Poverty website.
Church Action on Poverty
6. Media Coverage
Heritage Open day at Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford.
Tree planting to mark Anniversary at John Pounds Unitarian Church, Portsmouth.