Wednesday, March 04, 2009

GA motions of note

The motions for this year's Annual Meetings have been released. Every year I have this strange delusion that maybe there will only be a few procedural motions. Surely nothing too much to get het up about is happening in the world (that a GA motion would have much impact on) and in the denomination? Maybe we can get business done quickly and spend more time worshipping, singing, dancing, and learning. Alas no. As many as ever.

Of note:

A statement of understanding with the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland. I thought all of that was already the case myself.

A motion asking us to change our name. I've got to say I completely support this, but at the same time I'm dreading the debate. I'll write more about that one later.

What I think is a motion calling for us to have something like the Seven Principles of the UUA. Oh dear. That's going to be an energy-sapping debate.

And then there's two motions calling for the appointment of a national Information Officer and a Social Responsibility Officer (like we've had in the past). Now I would like to see the denomination commiting to social justice and publicity more effectively. But whether that means we need to employ two people seems like a decision that needs to be made at Headquaters. I think it's much more effective to start with the tasks that need to be completed and then ask the question of what roles are needed to complete those tasks. I think deciding employment priorities by a 300 member assembly might be a bad idea. Plus as we don't have a Chief Executive right now, this may not be the right time to do this kind of thing.


Anonymous Ade said...

The Foy Society motion about the Scout Association is an interesting one. I did my Scout leader training at Gilwell Park itself (Scout HQ), and while the Association requires adult leaders to have a faith (and to agree to 'do their duty to God') it is completely up to the individual to define 'God'. OK, so you probably couldn't put 'Atheist' on your application form, and perhaps questions would be asked if you put 'Humanist' - but I can't see any having a problem if they put 'Unitarian'. Indeed, there were Unitarians in my group of leader trainees, and if I remember rightly a Buddhist too (who I only mention because of the 'God' issue).

11:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the debate about the name is likely to be energy sapping but it is a fact of history,arising from the 1928 union of the two former bodies ; I suspect that there may be an agenda to remove the 'Christian' part of the title on the part of proposers. I can't see that the present name is anymore unwieldy or awkward than most of the 'mainstream' denominations;the idea that we can 'rebrand' the denomination with a new name and revival will ensue seems very wishful thinking !

4:47 pm  
Anonymous a said...

Yes, but you can be Unitarian and atheist. Besides which, traditionally our fights on behalf of religious freedom have been more than just ensuring we get our rights and leaving everyone else to shift for themselves. What about the Unitarians that called for the full emancipation of Catholics? I'm not saying being a Scout leader is as important as being able to stand in the House of Commons, but we should be encouraging everyone to promote freedom of belief, shouldn't we?

Neither the name debate, nor the 7 principles debate fill me with enthusiasm. At all.

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Tim (S Manc) said...

Anonymous: I think you have a point about energy-sapping debates in Churches. I do think it's time for a culture change in the way decisions are made.

For the name change, why not get a task force together to make suggestions, have a timed debate on it at the annual meetings (with the delegates properly briefed), ending with a vote? Much more efficient.

11:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does a campaign for a name change reflect a slow fragmentation of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches?

It seems that the agenda pursued by some to actively move away from traditional unitarianism and free christianity is continuing - and this could well be part of that.

I also wonder if is part of this shift? And perhaps a precursor to a new post-Unitarian / Free Christian movement?

8:08 pm  

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