UNI-NEWS 159th Issue 24th November 2015

1. Executive Committee Key Messages 13 November 2015

 1. President of the General Assembly 2016-17

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Dorothy (Dot) Hewerdine will be nominated for the position of President of the General Assembly 2016/17 at the Annual Meetings in April 2016. Dot was nominated by the Scottish Unitarian Association, Sheffield and District Association of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches and Cardiff Unitarians/Undodiaid Caerdydd.

Dot was born into a Unitarian family attending the Hunslet Unitarian Church, Leeds and was involved with the Unitarian Young People’s League in Yorkshire. She went on to serve in many national roles across the Unitarian Movement, with a particular interest in the development and training of Lay Leaders and Ministers. She is chair of the Hibbert Trust and serves on the committee of Unitarian College Manchester. She is a former member of the Executive Committee.

Unfortunately the Executive Committee was unable to make any nomination for the position of Vice-President 2016/17 as no names were received for consideration.

2. Annual Meetings 2017

For the third year running, the venue for the Annual Meetings in 2017, which will take place from 10 - 13 April, will again be the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham. This was a popular and successful venue in 2015, and we return there next year. There has been excellent feedback from attendees, particularly on the ease of transport connections from all parts of the country and we are pleased to have come to satisfactory arrangements with the Hotel.

3. Nightingale Centre

The Annual Budget for the Nightingale Centre was approved by the Executive Committee in their role as Trustees of the Centre. An overall break-even position is forecast and a generally conservative approach to finances has been adopted throughout.

Discussion took place on the “Management Delegation Principles” governing the relationship between the Executive Committee and the Centre’s Management Committee. Consultation will take place with the Management Committee on revised draft proposals and we hope to have an agreed version signed-off at the January 2016 EC meeting.

4. Ministry Strategy Group

It was agreed that Jane Couper should be appointed as a member of the Ministry Strategy Group.

It was agreed that Bob Janis Dillon, a Unitarian-Universalist Minister currently working as a Partnership Minister in Merseyside, should be accepted to work towards inclusion on the General Assembly Roll of Ministers, with a programme of suitable training and mentorship to accompany his work with congregations.   


2. Making Change Happen – from Vision to Action - Thanks

The Executive Committee would like to thank everyone who attended the “Making Change Happen – from Vision to Action” event at Upper Chapel, Sheffield on 21 November 2015. It was an energetic day with lots of hard work by the over 90 people who attended. We are currently gathering together the outcomes from the day and will feed back the highlights shortly. In the meantime the Chief Officer has compiled a Storify record of the day.

Thanks are also due to:

•the Trustees and staff of Upper Chapel for making us so welcome

•Simon Wilson and his team for successfully facilitating the event 

•Ed Fordham, John Hewerdine and Eli Intriligator for photography and video

•Susie Ince and other volunteers on the day

•Derek McAuley for planning and Mary-Jean Hennis for making the advance arrangements

Executive Committee


3. Emergency ICUU Appeal to Support Unitarians in Burundi

The Unitarian Church of Burundi is in the midst of crisis, under attack from their government for reasons of religious identity. The church has been attacked, ransacked and robbed. Church members, including the minister the Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, have been jailed, threatened, and forced to flee for safety.

Update (Today 24/11/15) The Rev Fulgence Ndagijimana remains in police custody but he is being “reasonably” treated. He has full access to his lawyers and both Rev Steve Dick (ICUU) and Rev Eric Cherry (UUA) have been able to speak directly with Fulgence.

Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists around the world are taking action – from the Philippines to Canada, South Africa to the USA, Romania, the UK and beyond.   Embassies, United Nations officials, congressional and other governmental offices, and human rights organizations have been contacted and asked to join in our efforts to bring this persecution to an end. We are working together on many fronts.

The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists asks for your help in these efforts. Beginning with the members of our Francophone East Africa coalition, congregations which have supported the development of U-Uism in East Africa for several years, we are calling on all our member groups and contacts around the world to help raise funds in support of Unitarians in Burundi.  

Your donations will enable help for displaced persons, address legal fees and building repairs, and let our siblings in Burundi know with certainty that they are not alone – that they are indeed part of a global Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist community.  We welcome your participation.

You can donate online via credit card or PayPal by clicking here or at 'donate' link:

Cheques in £ can be sent to Burundi Appeal, ICUU, 345 Addiscombe Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 7LG, UK

[Note: A collection for this Appeal was held at the Vision Day event in Sheffield on 21 November 2015 and raised £346.70 – Derek McAuley]

Thank you for your support. It makes a difference.

Rev Steve Dick
Executive Director,
International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU)


4. Lindsey Press Christmas Sale

Christmas present buying can sometimes be such an ordeal! Therefore, why not give a Lindsey Press book? Lindsey Press, publishing house of the General Assembly, has launched a 10% discount sale on all their publications (except hymnals) for all purchases until 20 December 2015. For further information and to make purchases contact Audrey Longhurst at Essex Hall on 020 7240 2384.


5. Media coverage

Rev Ant Howe of Kingswood Chapel was interviewed on the “Sunny and Shay” programme on BBC West Midlands (4 November 215)

Bridport Unitarian Church’s collection of medical supplies for refugees  is mentioned in a Buzzfeed.com article “There’s a huge theatre in France’s refugee camp” (10 November 2015)

Bury St Edmunds businesswoman organises early Christmas market for charity close to her heart (Bury Free Press, 4 November 2015)

The play “Boston Marriage” will be performed at Bury St Edmunds Unitarian Meeting House in December 2015 (Bury Free Press, 21 November 2015) 

Elizabeth Gaskell online collection launched at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Former LDPA District Minister Rev David Usher, now undertaking an interim ministry in California, was in the news “Grass Valley Church Unveils “Black Lives Matter” banner (The Union, 2 November 2015)

Derek McAuley
Chief Officer