Sunday, January 04, 2009

EC election results

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all.

Before Christmas the results of the Executive Committee was announced. It's worth noting that these results were posted immediately on the website, which didn't happen three years ago. The website's much better at keeping up-to-date nowadays.

Here's the new folks elected:

Joan Cook
Jim Corrigall
Elisabeth (Lis) Dyson-Jones
Dot Hewerdine
Andrew Pakula
Ann Peart
Peter Soulsby
David Usher

All I will say about this group is that there are a lot more people that believe in CHANGE in there. And I think that's a good thing.

But for now I'm much more interested in what the electoral register reveals. The number of people on this register was 3933, which is considerably more than the number in 2006 - which was 2563. Now the number of Unitarians has not increased by that much since 2006, rather the way in which the electoral papers were distributed enabled a greater number of people to be registered. The number of people actually voting though was only slightly higher than three years ago: 1726, compared to 1703 in 2006.

Overall this of course makes the turnout proportion much lower. This does not suprise me. The voting papers were given to congregations and it was up to congregations to distribute the voting papers. In my congregation we gave out the voting papers to people who were there on Sunday mornings, but did not post them out to everyone on our membership list. There are more people on our membership list than we see on Sundays; which brings up issues in itself, but that will be for another time.

So I think we finally have a good estimation of the number of Unitarians in Britain - around 4,000. My question is: why did it take so long to get this number? Why hasn't this number been publicly known before now? If we are trying to grow, shouldn't we know this number, to be able to test objectively whether we are growing?


Blogger Robin Edgar said...

:So I think we finally have a good number for Unitarians in Britain - around 4,000.

I guess that depends on what the meaning of the word "good" is. . . 4000 U*Us out of a total population of 61,000,000 or so doesn't look all that good to me.

:My question is: why did it take so long to get this number?


:Why hasn't this number been publicly known before now?


:If we are trying to grow, shouldn't we know this number, to be able to test objectively whether we are growing?

Theoretically yes, but which religious community really wants to publicly admit that it only constitutes 0.00666 percent of the overall population of any country?

Interestingly enough the word verification code for this comment is - antis

7:33 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

"Good" as in an accurate estimate of that number.

I don't think 4000 is "good" in the sense you're talking about, Robin.

I've edited the post so it's clearer.

12:08 am  
Blogger Robin Edgar said...

I guessed that is what your meaning of the word "good" was Stephen but thanks for inadvertently providing the foil for me to play off anyway. ;-)

3:07 am  
Anonymous Tim (S Manc) said...

I don't think the the number of Unitarians in proportion to the whole UK population is particularly relevant. Why should it matter that there are only 4000 Unitarians, even if there are 110 000 URC, 250 000 Jews, 300 000 Methodists, 1m Anglicans? Apart from providing an objective scale to measure growth with, I don't think the actual number of Unitarians is so important, although I do understand your concerns regarding transparency.

What matters more is how capable those 4000 people are at being good neighbours and good witnesses to their beliefs. I think that Christian Churches have concentrated too much on numbers, which although essential to long term growth, is only one aspect of a healthy community. The numbers fetish of many Church leaders has distracted them from dealing with the real spiritual needs of their communities.

It concerns me that these "growth tsars" that have been proposed may end up becoming either all-encompassing autocrats who won't be stopped from messing with everything, or they'll become little more than greeters on Sunday morning, wondering why there aren't more people coming to church since they started serving coffee and chocolate biscuits as well as tea and Digestives after services (plus the same cheapo orange squash for the kids).

1:19 am  

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