Nearly 40 people from 13 MUA congregations gathered at Kingswood Meeting House, to hear our guest speaker, Colleen Burns, editor of our national newspaper, The Inquirer, and to share a delicious meal and some time together.
Following some opening devotions by resident minister, Rev. Ant Howe, who shared an interesting reading about criticism, Colleen was introduced by MUA President, Bronwen Taylor. After commenting that although Unitarians reject creeds, they loved words, Colleen said that this was reflected in the sheer number of periodicals around – The Inquirer, The Unitarian, Faith and Freedom, the UCA Herald, and the many newsletters of various congregations and societies. She said that The Inquirer was at the centre of the movement’s publications “a universal conversation among British Unitarians”. She sees The Inquirer as having a dual role: it reflects and informs the beliefs of British Unitarians, and also presents British Unitarianism to the wider world. With a circulation of 1,700 magazines a fortnight, its ‘market share’ is approximately 85% if one assumes that many copies are read by more than one person. But the income from subscriptions does not cover expenditure – the support of grants and sponsorship is needed. The Inquirer Board are hoping to improve the website and make better use of social media like Twitter, but the hard copy is still important. Colleen concluded by asking us whether the denomination wished to continue to support “this national conversation”. There followed a lively question and answer session, after which Colleen was thanked for her presentation by Bronwen Taylor, and we all adjourned to the schoolroom for a sherry before partaking in the splendid lunch that Jill Bowie and her team had prepared for us. The meal concluded with the usual toasts and votes of thanks, then it was all hands on deck to clear the schoolroom in preparation for the Sunday after-service refreshments. Another happy MUA occasion.