1. Executive Committee Key Messages, 19 January 2018
1. Retirement of the Chief Officer
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly, gave notice to the Executive Committee (EC) of his intention to retire on 30 April 2019. The EC is grateful to Derek for giving fifteen months’ notice, allowing time to plan for the future. The EC established a small working group to take forward a recruitment and selection process for his successor.
2. Training and Education Development (TED) Project
The Executive Committee received a progress report from the TED Project Governance Group which had met on 13 December and was scheduled to meet again the following day. The transitional programme for Ministry training was being put in place with an orientation retreat led by Rev Ant Howe and Rev Maud Robinson being arranged for early February 2018 for those selected for ministry training (see below).
Reports had been received on the work of Assessment and Curriculum groups, particularly on templates for individual learning plans. Work on the proposed Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), the relationship with Harris Manchester College Oxford, finance and budgets, arrangements for future applications for ministry training and partnerships with key Unitarian bodies, such as the Ministerial Fellowship, was on the agenda. The EC recognised that the establishment of a co-ordinated approach to training and education for all would have implications for the General Assembly structures.
3. General Assembly Roll of Ministers and Lay Pastors
The recommendations of the Ministry Strategy Group and Interview Panel were approved and we are please to announce:
a) that the following were approved for entry on the ministry training transitional programme for September 2018; Stephanie Bisby, Jane Blackall and Lizzie Harley.
b) that, having successfully completed their probationary period, the following be added to the Roll of Ministers with Full status: Rev Kate Dean and Rev Lewis Rees.
4. Next Steps
The Chief Officer presented an update report on the “Next Steps” priorities. The major focus had been on education and training. Exploratory work had been commissioned in other areas, such as the web project and identity. Others, such as campus ministry, would not be taken forward in the way originally intended. Support for congregational growth was under active consideration by the Executive Committee. There was a recognition that the priorities needed to be kept under review and built upon to reflect changing circumstances. It was clarified that the priority of “engagement with the wider community on today’s issues” was intended to be focused upon spiritual development in small groups within congregations on the engagement group model.
5. Stipend Review Report
The report of the Stipend Review Committee, which met on 7 December 2017, was accepted for presentation to the Annual Meetings.
6. Annual Accounts 2016/17
The Annual Accounts of the General Assembly and of the Nightingale Centre were approved and those of the Sustentation Fund, which has a separate group of appointed trustees, noted.
7. Annual Meetings Update
An update was received on the forthcoming Annual Meetings and arrangements for EC business discussed. It was intended that a Resolutions Update be included on the business agenda following the successful session at the last Meetings.
8. Correspondence from the Unitarian Association for Lay Ministry (UALM)
Correspondence was received from UALM following a discussion at their recent conference on the issue of bullying and how this problem might be addressed, initially through conversations in local congregations as well as support from the General Assembly.
9. Lindsey Press
The Lindsey Press Panel was congratulated on the revised edition of Cliff Reed’s “Unitarian? What’s That?”, which is an important resource for local congregations. It was noted that a new book by Rev Sue Woolley “Unitarians: Together in Diversity” was in production and that both books would be launched, and be available, at the Annual Meetings.
2. General Assembly Staff - Vacancies
Youth Co-ordinator/Safeguarding Lead
To lead and manage the General Assembly’s National Youth Programme and to provide support to districts and congregations with their provision of activities for children and youth people. To act as the Safeguarding Lead for the General Assembly.
Salary: approx £35,000 (pro rata) plus pension contribution. Hours of Work: Part-time (0.4/0.1wte worked flexibly).
In the past this has been one post, however, the General Assembly is willing to consider appointing separately to the two elements of the advertised post to meet the skills offered by applicants.
To provide support on communications for the General Assembly with a focus on development of our social media presence, managing the website, internal communications and promotion.
Salary: approx £25,000 (pro rata) plus pension contribution. Hours of Work: Part-time (0.5wte).
For information, job description and an application form for both posts see https://www.unitarian.org.uk/pages/recruitment
Applications should be sent to Mhennis@unitarian.org.uk by the closing date of Noon on Wednesday 28 February 2018.
For informal discussion please contact Derek McAuley, Chief Officer, on 020 7240 2384 or DMcAuley@unitarian.org.uk
3. Hucklow Summer School, 18-25 August 2018
Hucklow Summer School is now open for applications. The theme for 2018 is ‘How, Then, Shall We Live? Living, Dying, and Considering Our Legacy’. The core purpose of summer school is religious education: we focus on matters of religion and spirituality and intend to draw out and develop the potential of all participants. We aim to provide a balanced programme, offering a rich mix of activities for both the heart and head, and a variety of optional sessions showcasing a range of worthwhile activities which participants might ‘take home’ and try out in their own congregations and communities. We also ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for relaxed fellowship and fun during the week.
In a series of daily theme talks our team of speakers will offer their perspectives on the question of how we should live in light of the knowledge that we, just like all those who have ever lived, will ultimately die. What does a ‘good life’ look like? And how can we live a good and faithful life in practice, especially when we find ourselves in challenging personal circumstances, and as troubling world events unfold around us? What constitutes a ‘good death’ – and how can we best prepare ourselves for dying? And how might it prove fruitful to reflect on our own legacy – individually and collectively – while we are still in the midst of life, or even as we begin to sense that our lives are drawing to a close?
Our theme speakers for 2018 are Jane Blackall, Michael Allured, Rob Gregson, Helen Simpson and Bill Darlison. A selection of daily engagement groups exploring the theme are on offer, led by a team of skilled facilitators, including Claire MacDonald, Mark Stewart, Kate Dean, Elizabeth Harley, Dot Hewerdine, Katie McKenna, Jef Jones and Danny Crosby.
The basic full-board cost for an adult in a shared room is £520. Bursaries are available if needed to help with the cost of attending. For more details and to download an application form, see: www.hucklowsummerschool.co.uk
Hucklow Summer School Team
4. Worship Studies Foundation Course
This course is aimed at those wishing to ‘take the service’. It can be a daunting prospect, without any training. Let the North West Provincial Assembly show you the way.
We are offering a four-part course, leading to a GA-recognised qualification, the Worship Studies Foundation Course. All the sessions will be held at Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M1 2RU and will be on a Saturday.
Dates: 16 and 30 June, 14 and 28 July 2018
Times: 10.30am to 4.00pm (coffee/tea from 10.00am)
Total Cost: £55.00 (£15.00 registration fee payable in advance; £10.00 for each session or you can pay the whole amount up front)
You must attend all four parts and two service of worship must be assessed to get your certificate. Refreshments will be provided during the day, but please bring your own lunch.
See our website for any updates www.ukunitarian.org.uk/northwestprovincialassembly
Please send your name. address and email together with your cheque for £15.00 deposit or £55.00 full fee made payable to ‘North West Provincial Assembly’ to Rev Lynne Readett, 57 Douglas Street, Atherton, Manchester M46 9EB, by 1 June 2018. Phone Lynne on 01942 893 965 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org for any other information.
North West Provincial Assembly
5. Cross Street Chapel, Manchester - Chapel Lettings Assistant
Cross Street Chapel, Manchester are recruiting for the position of Chapel Lettings Assistant. 16 hours per week @ £10 PH in Manchester City Centre. The role involves meeting a wide variety of people, who come to Cross Street Unitarian Chapel to use our meeting rooms. You will prepare the room, serve refreshments and above all offer a warm welcome.
For more information, please write a letter (No CVs) explaining your particular interest in this job, emailing or posting it to:
or post to: The Administrator, Cross Street Unitarian Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester, M2 1NL
On receipt of your letter we will send you the job description, person specification and application details. Closing date for completed applications is Thursday 8th of February.
If you need further information, please call 0161 833 0522 or visit our website at http://cross-street-chapel.org.uk/
Cross Street Chapel
6. Hymns of Faith and Freedom
Horsham Unitarian Church has a stock of about eighty (red) “Hymns of Faith and Freedom” (The Chalice Press, London 1991) which have lain in storage for many years. If any congregation would find them of value we are pleased to offer them free of charge, however, they must arrange collection in person or by a courier. Alternatively they will be recycled. If anyone is interested please contact the congregation on email@example.com
Horsham Unitarian Church
7. Media coverage
Kingswood Meeting House featured on Bloglovin.com as a Wedding Venue for same-sex couples
Roberta Wedge, a member at New Unity, featured in Islington Faces Blog in 2016 but I have only just seen the article
Newington Green social change initiative - East London Lines (19 December 2017)
Swansea Unitarian Church generated considerable publicity from a shocking theft of money from their Nativity crib
“Charity box stolen from Church’s nativity scene on Christmas Eve” (Sky News, 29 December 2017)
“Hundreds of pounds for the homeless stole from Church nativity scene2 (Wales Online, 2 January 2018)
Hilda Dumpleton, Swansea’s Treasurer and new EC Member, was interviewed on BBC Radio Wales on 4 January 2018. Scroll to 2.21.30 (available until 02 February).
You can still donate to the Appeal to replace lost funds https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/swansea-unitarian-church
“Great Yarmouth Church hosts first same sex wedding” (Great Yarmouth Mercury, 22 December 2017)
The report on same sex marriage from Leeds and York universities released before Christmas generated more coverage including pictures and an interview with a couple from Gellionnen Chapel and a quote from the Chief Officer.
“Liberal churches boosted by LGBT weddings as couples join their congregations” The Telegraph (13 January 2018)
“Churches that welcome gay couples see congregations grow” Pink News (15 January 2018)