UNI-NEWS 169th Issue 1st August 2016

1. Executive Committee Key Messages – 14 July 2016

  1. General Assembly Roll of Ministers

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

    - that having successfully completed their probationary period, Rev Cody Coyne and Rev Winnie Gordon have been added to the Roll of Ministers with Full Status.

    - that Rev Ralph Catts, Rev Katie McKenna and Rev Rob Whiteman have been admitted to the Roll of Ministers with Probationary Status.

  2. 2020 Congregational Development Programme

        As growing new congregations is a "Next Steps" priority, Rev Andy Pakula and Aleks Zglinska from the 2020 Leadership Team joined the Executive Committee to give an update on the programme and to share their thoughts on the future. The success of the first 2020 project at Derby was highlighted and examined - showing that new Unitarian congregations and/or communities could be established. The close working relationship with the East Midlands District was also commended, along with the inspiring leadership of Christina Smith. Additional funding would enable more new congregations to be initiated. The 2020 Leadership Team agreed to bring forward more detailed proposals for the future of the Programme.

  3. Vision – Next Steps

        As agreed at their May meeting, the Executive Committee received the initial detailed plans for each of the 15 “Next Steps” priorities. Considerable time was spent carefully reviewing the purpose of each one and particular attention was paid to the financial implications, the risks involved, who would need to be involved to take the priority forward and the links between the priorities. This is of course a complex task and further work was initiated for the next EC meeting in September.

  4. Bowland Trust Donation

        It  became apparent that there were misunderstandings concerning the recent £1.5million donation from the Bowland Trust to the General Assembly. This replaces the anticipated annual contributions that we expected to receive over the next 10 years. It was decided that the primary use of this money  – which will be separately identified in a Restricted Fund – would be to support the ongoing work of the General Assembly (as has been the case for the last 10 years) and to fund specific initiatives identified under “Next Steps”.

  5. Review of Investment Management

        A review of the investment management arrangements has been initiated to ensure that all funds are managed effectively and generate the best return for the General Assembly. A further report will be considered at the September EC meeting.

  6. Risk Register

     Effective risk management is an important governance requirement for all charities and the annual review of the risk register took place. Following the recommendation of Peter Hanley, Honorary Treasurer, it was agreed to focus upon the desired working outcomes (the positives) as well as the risks (negatives) in a more sophisticated and rigorous process.

  7. London Pride Videos
              The Executive Committee was pleased to grant-aid the London District and Provincial Assembly (LDPA) from the Sexual Orientation Equality Group Designated Fund, in order to enable the production of two videos featuring Unitarian involvement in this year's London Pride event, held on 25 June 2016. Produced and directed by Sarah West, the two London Pride videos can be viewed on Youtube  along with her "Next Steps" and our videos page.

2. Thinking of training for the Unitarian ministry or lay pastorate?

Applications for training beginning in Autumn 2017 should be received by Monday 3 October 2016. Short-listed applicants will be called for interview at Oxford on 5 – 6 January 2017. For further information on applying for training please contact:

Mary-Jean Hennis
General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Essex Hall,
1 – 6 Essex Street, London WC2R 3HY
Phone: 020 7240 2384

To discuss applying, please contact: Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, Phone: 020 7240 2384.

Derek McAuley, Chief Officer

3. Come North for FUN  - the Findhorn Unitarian Network

Applications are now open to participate in the FUN programme which will take place from 2pm on 7 January  to 9am on 14 January 2017 at Findhorn. The programme aims to enable Unitarians to draw ideas that they can apply to leadership and renewal in chapels and the wider movement. The programme provides an experience of Findhorn, with a focus on learning about leadership and change. Additional sessions provide Findhorn members with an opportunity to learn more about Unitarian beliefs.

Who can I talk with about the FUN course?  You can contact Ralph Catts who has lived at Findhorn, via Hull Unitarian Church or phone him on 07468 538 821.

Applications are now open: Please apply now, and by August 31 if you want a subsidy. A £95 deposit will be non-refundable from 30/9/2016. Late applications accepted if places remain.

For further information please see our Event page.

Rev Ralph Catts

4. Media Coverage

Bridport Chapel in the Garden “Celebrating same sex marriage” (Bridport News, July 2016)
Brighton Unitarian Church “Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra” (Argus, 17 July 2016)