20 MUA delegates, representing nine MUA congregations, attended the 2011 Annual Meetings of the General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches at Swansea University on 15th – 18th April 2011, including three ministers, two retired ministers, two ministry students, our President, Mrs. Bronwen Taylor, and Mrs. Alison Thursfield, who is now a member of the national Executive Committee. And we were certainly in evidence! Dorothy Haughton (Shrewsbury) was the star of the Opening Celebrations, performing three ‘Talking Heads’ monologues on the theme of volunteering, which had been written by Kay Millard. How she kept her face straight I will never know.
The Opening Celebrations were followed by the Peace Vespers, which were led by Sue Woolley, with the help of Carwyn Tywyn, the new Welsh Secretary, who played some beautiful peaceful music on his harp. Sue was also one of the speakers at the Unitarian Renewal Group’s slot, on the theme ‘Too much organisation, not enough God?’, which attracted a capacity crowd.
Northampton Unitarians were the proposers of one of the motions, urging the General Assembly to affirm and support the Charter for Compassion, and to become a Partner Organisation. It was passed unanimously. And Angela Maher was one of the indefatigable team producing the GAZette.
One of the highlights of the Meetings was the Anniversary Service, held in the beautiful Brangwyn Hall. It was led by Rev. Ant Howe, minister at Kingswood & Warwick, and Rev. Jeffrey Lane Gould delivered the Anniversary Sermon. This was preceded by a Welsh singing festival, during which we all nobly attempted to get our tongues around Welsh lyrics.
As usual there were many meetings and workshops to choose from. The signage at Swansea was excellent, and there was an interesting innovation – walking buses leading delegates from the Fulton House refectory to the various break-out venues. During the business meetings, the national Executive Committee announced its strategy for the next six months, during which time all the various commissions and panels are going to be reorganised in line with the new Strategic Priorities (see other news September 2010)
In the closing session, Rev. Dr. Ann Peart was installed as the new GA President, and Ms.Lis Dyson-Jones as the new Vice-President.