UNI-NEWS 177th Issue 26th January 2017

1. Executive Committee  Key Messages – 13 and 14 January 2017

  1. General Assembly President 2017/18

    The Executive Committee are pleased to announce that Rev Charles VanDenBroeder will be nominated for the position of President of the General Assembly 2017/18 at the Annual Meetings in April 2017. Charles was proposed by the Manchester District Association (MDA).

    Charles trained at Manchester College, Oxford from 1988-1990 and has had ministries in the Eastern, Yorkshire and Manchester Districts. He retired in 2015, however, has remained very active in Unitarian affairs, preaching at least once a month and serving on the MDA Executive Committee. 

    Unfortunately the Executive Committee was unable to make any nomination for the position of Vice-President 2017/18 as no names were received for consideration.

  2. Honorary Member of the General Assembly

    The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Rev Cliff Reed will be nominated as an Honorary Member of the General Assembly at the Annual Meetings in April 2017 in recognition of his considerable contribution to the Unitarian cause worldwide. Honorary Membership is awarded to those who have rendered long and consistent service nationally.

    Cliff was active in the Unitarian Young People’s League and followed his father into ministry undertaking his training at Unitarian College Manchester.  His ministry was at Ipswich with Bedfield and Framlingham (1976-2012). He has made significant contributions to the General Assembly at national level, including being a member of the Objects Review Panel and serving as General Assembly President in 1997-98. He is well known as an author producing “Unitarian? What’s That?”, worship material and historical writing. He was one of the founding group of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU).

  3. Women’s League

    Rev Celia Cartwright, Joy Foster and Janet Poole joined the meeting at the request of the Executive Committee and gave a short presentation of the work of the Women’s League. This included the contribution of its members to local congregations and its national work, especially for charities. The League had a long history and was looking to the future. Discussion took place on how the League could work with the Executive Committee to support the Vision for the future in “Next Steps” and to improve communication and promote growth. The members of the Women’s League were thanked for their contribution to the wider Unitarian and Free Christian Movement and it was agreed that the dialogue was useful and will continue.

  4. Training and Education Development (TED) Project

    A report was received on progress with an extensive programme of consultation underway to engage with and gather feedback from those with an interest in the wider Training and Education agenda. This, and other external research, has resulted in some initial conclusions which will guide the development of a framework or “prototype” to be presented at the Annual Meetings.  

  5. Investment

    A report was received from an independent Investment Adviser on the General Assembly’s current approach to investment, as recommended by our legal advisers at the last EC meeting. An approach was agreed which will strengthen the capacity of the Executive Committee to exercise its stewardship of the considerable financial resources of the General Assembly. Work on a revised ethical policy will also be taken forward.

  6. Annual Meetings – Future arrangements

    A report was received on the results of the survey on possible changes to the arrangements for future Annual Meetings. A total of 126 responses were received.  Overall there appears to be a strong desire for change and the Executive Committee will be bringing a motion to the 2017 Annual Meetings seeking support for changes to the length and format of future Meetings. If approved, this will require proposals to be presented to the 2018 Annual Meetings, including amendments to the GA Constitution and By-laws.

  7. Annual Report and Accounts 2015/16

    The Annual Report and Accounts for 2015/16 were approved.

2. Worship Studies Course in 2017

Are you thinking about leading a service but not sure how? Looking for new ways to enliven worship for your congregation and beyond?
The London & South Eastern District (LDPA) is offering a four-part course, leading to a General Assembly recognised qualification, the Worship Studies Course (WSC) (Foundation Step).
The Foundation Step course is based on the very popular version run by Kensington Unitarians in 2013 and further WSC training is offered as a correspondence course after this first step. Group sessions will take place on the following Saturdays in 2017: 4 March, 15 July, 30 September and 2 December at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead.
Session 1 on 4 March - The Foundations of Worship with Rev Martin Whitell and Rev Kate Dean
Session 2 on 15 July - Prayerfulness/sacred space with guest speakers Rev Sarah Tinker and Jane Blackall
Session 3 on 30 September - Writing, Preaching and Ritual with guest speaker: Rev John Harley
Session 4 on 2December (date TBC) - Practicalities, Craft and Storytelling with guest speaker Rev Sue Woolley
Course fee: £39. Deadline for registration is 31 January 2017.
For more information, contact Rev Martin Whitell.

Rev Martin Whitell
LDPA District Minister

3. Media coverage

Derek McAuley
Chief Officer