Over a hundred Unitarians, and representatives from other faiths in Birmingham, gathered this afternoon to celebrate the Induction Service of Rev. Winnie Gordon as Minister of Unitarian New Meeting Church in Birmingham. The title of the service was Being Purposeful Together, and the hymns and readings had been chosen with this in mind. The chapel was looking beautiful with bright banners and lovely flowers, and organist Mr Derek Grinter played some wonderful prelude music, as well as accompanying the whole service.
Following a welcome by UNM Treasurer, Mr Roland Kay, Mrs Mina Tilt lit the chalice, using some words (in both Sanskrit and English) from the Hindu Rig Vedas. After the whole congregation sang the hymn We light the Flame, Rev. Michael Dadson told a (possibly apocryphal) story about Icelandic Unitarians, which was followed by a brief history of Unitarian New Meeting, which was delivered by Professor Alan Barker. Mr David Gaussen then shared a reading with the title Purposefulness. The second hymn was the wonderful I Dream of A Church.
After this, Rev. Alex Bradley, Principal of Unitarian College Manchester, delivered the Charge to the Congregation. Then Committee representative Ms Angela Maher explained what sort of minister the church had been looking for – their standards are very high indeed! A prayer led by Rev. Alex Bradley was followed by a lovely musical interlude, All Things Bright and Beautiful by John Rutter, then the Charge from the District to UNM by Rev. Sue Woolley, District Minister.
MUA President Mrs Jane Couper brought greetings from the District and commended the congregation for choosing Winnie, and Winnie for her commitment to Unitarianism and her wonderful hairstyle, which brought a laugh. After the third hymn Wake now my senses, the central part of the service began, with Rev. Michael Dadson’s Charge to the Minister, which was followed by the Ceremony of Induction itself, in which Chairperson David Jones and all the congregation took part (as well, of course, as the minister). The newly inducted minister then delivered a short address, accepting her ministry, and we all joined in singing the final hymn We’ll build a land, and in the closing responsive blessing.
The assembled then moved into the Priestley Room, where a lovely spread had been laid on, and it was time to congratulate the new Minister, and to catch up with old friends, and make new ones. It was a truly joyous occasion, which augurs well for a joyful and purposeful ministry.