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Showing posts from February, 2012


It's that time of the year again. The Annual Report has been published, with the number of quota members of each congregation. Though again the total number hasn't been published, and I've had to do a quick calculation, which gives us a total number of 3560 . Unfortunately this represents a 3% drop in UK Unitarian membership in the last year. The Executive Committee were aiming for a 20% increase by 2016. The numbers have risen very very slightly in the last few years, but that looks like a blip now, as numbers have continued to decline. Here's how the numbers have been in the last few years: 2005: 3952 2006: 3754 2007: 3711 2008: 3642 2009: 3658 2010: 3672 2011: 3560 Now let's look at congregations with more than 50 members, and compare their numbers to last year (in brackets) Ashton 54 (54) Atherton 62 (62) Birmingham Hollywood 58 (48) Bolton Bank Street 58 (58) Bury 73 (75) Croydon 50 (51) Dean Row 70 (80) Dukinfield 52 (52) Eccles 60 (67) Hinkley 57 (59) Ke

LOST and theology: The Others

***Spoiler Alert*** I've been re-watching the American TV series Lost. It is one of my favourite TV programmes, it's very well produced on all levels. The engine of the storyline is mystery. As the viewer, you don't have any idea what's going on, and the drama happens when certain things are revealed. But of course every answer just brings ten more questions. The basic premise is that an airplane crossing the Pacific crash lands on a deserted island. Except the survivors soon discovered the island is not exactly deserted. There are "Others" on the Island, as well as all sorts of mysterious goings-on. Obviously re-watching a series like that is very different experience when you know most of the answers, and what's happening behind the mystery. In general the show knew where it was going, and planted some mysteries at the beginning that it solved at the very end six years later. This is not to say that there weren't some inconsistencies and plot dead-e

Prayer in council meetings

I was really interested to hear the High Court ruling yesterday that it is unlawful for public prayers to be said in local council meetings. I was actually pretty suprised by it. It wouldn't suprise me if this was a story from the United States. Stories like this come from the US pretty frequently, such as this story about a girl's objection to a written prayer in a public (state) school. But this is the UK, a country with a State Religion. I can't remember a ruling having gone this way before. The ruling was only in relation to the Local Government Act 1972, but it may have much wider implications. Don't forget that prayers are said in Parliament every day. How long until they are challenged? Are we actually seeing a move towards the separation of church and state in the UK? Well, I hope so. I entirely agree with the people who brought this case. The principle has to be that councils, or any democratic body, have to be for all the citizens of an area. Council meetings