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Showing posts from October, 2012

173 congregations?

I got my directory in the mail today. As always I use this as one of the ways to keep an eye on the overall health of the denomination. This is not always an easy thing to do, but it's still worth trying. The preface says that there are 173 Unitarian congregations in Great Britain, which is one up on last year (172). But I can't work out where the new congregation has come from. The breakdown in the preface suggests that the growth is in England (146 congregations compared to last year's 145). When I counted the recognised congregations and unofficial fellowships I also counted 146, but none of those are new, so perhaps last year's numbers were wrong? I'm confused. However, going through the directory, I can see that one congregation has closed in England and one fellowship has been formed in Scotland. Gloucester Unitarians , listed as worshipping with the Quakers once a month in 2011, has disappeared in 2012. Gloucester is a city with a population of 121,000

"Redefining" marriage

OK, let's deal with this idea, presented by the critics of marriage equality, and defenders of "traditional" marriage that same sex marriage "redefines"  marriage. Is this true? What is the nature of this "redefinition"? I think we gain an important insight into this from an interesting story that has just emerged from Australia. The Anglican Diocese of Sydney has added the word "submit" to the vows a wife makes to her husband in the marriage ceremony . In the proposed new wording the minister will ask the woman "Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?' This is justified by the very conservative bishop by explicitly saying that equality between sexes is wrong. Clearly women need to submit to men, according to this bishop. This is the argument for "traditional" marriage. It is about one woman (or more) submitting to a man. It's about women becoming, in some sense, the property of men.