1. Executive Committee Key Messages - 20 February 2017
1. 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 Ministry training commencing September 2017:
* Michael Allured - to be trained for the ministry based at Harris Manchester College, Oxford over 3 years
* Melda Grantham - to be trained for the ministry based at Harris Manchester College, Oxford over 3 years.
b) that having successfully completed their probationary period; Rev John Carter, Rev Dr Maria Curtis, Rev Jo James, Rev Anna Jarvis, Rev Matthew Smith and Rev Kate Whyman have been added to the Roll of Ministers with Full Status.
2. Training and Education Development (TED) Project
An update report was received from Rachel Skelton, Project Manager. "Ministry in all its forms" is a key element of "From Vision to Action: Next Steps" with the aim of ensuring the provision of the best possible ministry for congregations. The objective of the TED project is to develop a modular framework for training, education and professional development that will be accessible to a larger number and variety of people than before. Some, but not all of these, may then go on to seek entry into professional Ministry. Since the last EC meeting discussions have taken place on the development of a framework describing a Unitarian approach to learning and development for all. This has focused on learning pathways and an overall governance structure. A workshop will take place at the Annual Meetings.
3. Web Project
The objective of the web project is to develop a web site as a one-stop landing page for Unitarians seeking information as well as to provide a resource for spiritual browsers and seekers on Unitarian perspectives. An initial workshop has taken place to develop and clarify the ideas behind the proposal into a brief prior to meeting the web development company who will be assisting the General Assembly in creating the site. A "soft launch" will take place at the Annual Meetings.
4. Identity Project
The identity project forms part of "Next Steps" and is intended to assist Unitarians create a clear message about who we are and what we believe. Following a tendering process and interviews a Consultant has been appointed to provide professional support. The process will involve engagement with a number of key stakeholders from across the denomination and participation in a workshop at the Annual Meetings.
5. Executive Committee Membership
The Executive Committee agreed to initiate a process of co-option for the three vacancies that are the result of insufficent candidates being nominated to fill all the positions up for election. This will involve a skills audit of the new Executive Committee in order to identify gaps that could be filled by co-option. It is hoped to make a decision at the first meeting of the new EC in May with the new co-opted members attending their first meeting in July 2017. Look out for further information soon.
The Executive Committee spent some time considering the issues underpinning the inability to attract sufficient candidates to fill all the vacant places on the EC. It was felt that this reflects the position at every level of the denomination; congregational, district and national. There is a clear need in this context to look closely at issues affecting Volunteering which has been identified as a priority in "Next Steps".
6. Ministry Strategy Group
Rev Daniel Costley was thanked for his service as Chair of the Ministry Strategy Group following his decision to stand down.
7. Annual Meetings
It was reported that arrangements are in hand for the 2017 Annual Meetings. As part of the agenda there will be short reports on what action has taken place as a result of three recent Resolutions.
8. European Unitarians Together (EUT) Ulm/Neu-Ulm, June 2-5, 2017
British Unitarians are encouraged to support the first pan-European meeting of Unitarians, Universalists, Free Religious and Humanists which will take place in Germany from 2-5 June 2017. The Executive Committee agreed to fund two bursaries for young adults to support attendance. Further information is available from the Chief Officer.
2. Youth Programme seeks a volunteer social media worker
The Youth Programme is looking for a volunteer with social media experience to use Facebook, Mailchimp and other social media channels to help the programme publicise youth events and so enable more children and young people to enjoy our activities. A small honorarium is available for this role.
For a fuller 'job description' please send an email to John Harley.
Rev John Harley
3. Media coverage
- Kendal Unitarian Chapel hosted its first same sex marriage and made the front page “Same sex duo wed in church” (Westmorland Gazette 25 February 2017)
- Gellionnen Chapel “Meet the first ever gay couple to marry in a religious building in Swansea or Neath Port Talbot” (South Wales Evening Post, 2 March 2017)
- Auckland Unitarian Church in New Zealand was in the news as a place of sanctuary. “Indian Student vigil in final days” and “Indian Students will leave church and NZ”