UNI-NEWS 206th Issue 6th February 2019

1. Executive Committee Key Messages (25 January 2019)

    1. New Chief Officer

The Executive Committee ratified the appointment of Elizabeth Slade as Chief Officer and commended the members of the Recruitment Panel and the General Assembly’s HR Adviser for their work over the previous year. An induction programme was supported for the handover period with the current Chief Officer, Derek McAuley, from 18 March 2019 until 30 April 2019. During this time Elizabeth would visit Unitarian and Free Christian congregations in various parts of the country as well as acclimatising at Essex Hall.

    2. General Assembly Vice-President

The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Anne Mills will be nominated for the position of Vice-President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches for the year commencing 18 April 2019, leading to the Presidency in 2020-2021.  We congratulate Anne and thank her for agreeing to serve.

Anne is a lifelong Unitarian and an active member of Bury Unitarian Church. She has held many offices in the congregation and has been Traidcraft organiser for fourteen years. Since 2015 she has been Secretary of the Lancashire Collaborative Ministry. She is a member of the Women’s League and is a frequent contributor to “The Inquirer” and “The Unitarian”.

    3.  General Assembly Roll of Ministers and Lay Pastors

The recommendations of the Ministry Strategy Group and Interview Panel were approved and we are pleased to announce:

a) that the following were approved for entry into ministry training:

  • Robin Hanford at Harris Manchester College, Oxford
  • Laura Dobson and Rory Castle Jones at Unitarian College

b) that, having successfully completed their probationary period, the following be added to the Roll of Ministers with Full status: Rev Phil Waldron and Rev Kate McKenna.

c) that, having successfully completed a transition programme, Rev Mária Pap be added to the Roll of Ministers with Probationary status.

    4. Role of Districts

A discussion took place on organisational effectiveness and growth, including the role that District Associations might play, and it was agreed that this subject would be revisited with the new Chief Officer as part of an overall review. It was recognised that these issues needed to be explored with the wider Unitarian movement and District Associations. Sharing good practice was seen as essential to supporting growth.

    5. Annual Reports and Annual Accounts 2017 – 2018

The Annual Reports and Annual Accounts of the General Assembly and the Nightingale Centre for 2017 – 2018 were approved.

    6. Investment Policy

Further consideration was given to ethical investment as agreed at the November 2018 meeting. A draft Investment Policy, incorporating socially responsible criteria reflecting ethical standards, was endorsed with implementation subject to expert investment advice being obtained and subsequent adoption by the Executive Committee.

    7. Stipend Review Committee

A report was received from the Stipend Review Committee following its meeting on 14 January 2019 and was approved for presentation to the Annual Meetings.

    8. Executive Committee Workshop

The Executive Committee Workshop at the Annual Meetings would take the form of “Frequently Asked Questions” so look out for further information on how these should be submitted.

2. Book Now for GA Annual Meetings 2019

Bookings are now open for the General Assembly Annual Meetings, which will be held at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole on 16-18 April 2019. Join hundreds of Unitarians from across Britain for worship, socialising, learning, relaxation, and shaping our future.

This is our first 3-day Meetings, and we’re hoping to pack it with interesting and useful activities. A full standard booking is only £268 (less if you are sharing a room).

Those aged 17-39 are eligible for a young person’s grant covering 90% of the cost.

Book your place before 26 February to avoid the late booking fee.

For more information, please go to the Annual Meetings 2019 website.

3. European Unitarians Conference 2019

Unitarians from across Europe will be gathering for a conference under the title “Variety – Spice of Life? European Unitarians Together 2019” in Berlin on 7-10 June 2019. Celebrate our common heritage and delight in our different ways of pursuing truth and meaning. Bookings are due to open this week. Visit their website for more information.

4. Youth Events

Junior Weekend (ages 7-11) will take place from 1-3 March 2019 at The Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow. Booking deadline: 8 February.

Inter/Senior Weekend (ages 11-14 and 14-17) will take place from 15-17 March 2019 at The Nightingale Centre, Great Hucklow. Booking deadline: 22 February.

Information about both weekends can be found on our website’s events page.

5. Unitarian College Manchester

Please note that as of 1 February 2019 the contact address for the Unitarian College Manchester Charity is: Unitarian College Manchester, For the attention of Rev Dr Ann Peart, c/o Cross St Unitarian Chapel, Cross St, Manchester, M2 1NL.

6. In The News

‘‘She is irreplaceable’: Award-winning Cambridgeshire countryside campaigner Shirley Fieldhouse dies at 84’ (10.1.2019) – Wisbech Standard

‘First same-sex wedding to be held at church in Bury’ (22.1.2019) – Bury Times

‘100th anniversary celebrations of distinguished Aberdeen Reverend’ (22.1.2019) – The Press and Journal

‘Countdown as Shrewsbury's DarwIN Festival continues to evolve’ (26.1.2019) – Shropshire Star

‘Rochdale businessman and charity co-founder named as finalist in British Muslim Awards’ (26.1.2019) – Rochdale Online

‘Oldham charity challenges homeless figures’ (1.2.2019) – Oldham Evening Chronicle

‘Rochdale talent Orladh & Leo to shine bright at Todmorden Folk Festival’ (2.2.2019) – Rochdale Online

‘Founder of Oldham Charity nominated for national award’ (2.2.2019) – Oldham Evening Chronicle

‘Swansea's getting a massive Pride event for 2019 and it will feature RuPaul's Drag Race star’ (5.2.2019) – Wales Online