36 members from 14 of the MUA’s 18 congregations met at Park Lane Unitarian Chapel, Cradley for the 145th Annual General Meeting on 26th March 2011. There would have been over 40 people there, but there were a record number of last-minute apologies, for various good reasons. The business meeting was over in a very short time. We welcomed one new member to the Executive Committee (Mrs. Pamela Rose of Oldbury, representing the Birmingham District Women’s League) and thanked one retiring member (Rev. Ann Latham) for her past services. A presentation was also made to retiring President Rev. Peter Hewis. Following a delicious three-course lunch, laid on by the ladies of the Cradley congregation, we enjoyed new MUA President Mrs. Bronwen Taylor’s short service ‘Service with A Smile’ on the theme of the importance of joy and humour in worship, and of being welcoming congregations.
The highlight of the day for most people was our Guest Speaker’s presentation. Mr. Scott Pettitt spoke to us about ‘Nonconformity and Social Reform’, concentrating mostly on the radical non-conformists of the Victorian and Edwardian eras (particularly Unitarian Joseph Chamberlain), but also harking back to Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans, and forward to the possible role of non-conformist congregations and individuals in David Cameron’s Big Society. I think that all of us left with the feeling that yes, we could make a difference to our society. Watch this space!