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Showing posts from October, 2016

We are now too small to be a denomination

There's a thought that I keep coming back to: Unitarians in Britain are now too small to be considered "a denomination." Now, I've not gone out of my way to research what sociologists of religion consider to be the definition of "a denomination" so I'm not trying to make a claim with a lot of research to back it up. But it seems to me that a denomination is "an organisation of organisations" it is a series of organisations that have enough left-over energy and personnel to donate "upwards" to the organisation of a structure that is an umbrella to those local organisations. I just don't see that being possible any more. And I think that changes things. Many times I have said of Unitarianism "someone should do something" and imagined money, people and structures who's job it is to do those things. But that's just an illusion. Those people and structures don't exist, or at least are really struggling t

165 Congregations in 2016

Here is a record of the number of Unitarian congregations in Britain in the past few years, from looking at directories that I have. 2007: 182 2008: 177 2009: 175 2010: 173 2011: 172 2012: 2013: 170 2014: 169 2015: 166 2016: 165

A parable

There were once some people who decided to throw a party. They decided to invite as many people as they could. They put up a big sign outside their house which said, "Party here, all welcome." They sent out invitations which said, "Everyone is welcome at our party, whether you're black or white, gay or straight, young or old, you're welcome at our party." They invited friends. They advertised their party on the internet. When the day of the party came around a few guests arrived and came into the party. They stood around and wondered whether anything was going to happen. There were big signs all over the party that said, "All are welcome here. Whoever you are, you are welcome at our party." But there was no music playing, and there was no sign of any food or drink. One of the guests eventually asked one of the party organisers, "Is there going to be any music playing?" The party organiser said, "You're welcome at our pa

Growing Unitarian Congregations 2010-2015

In this blog I have repeatedly called attention to shrinking Unitarian numbers. However it is worth realising that not all Unitarian congregations are in decline. The picture is of course more complicated than that. Some decline, some stay static, some grow. Membership numbers have now been reported in the Annual Report for enough years that it is meaningful to look at growth across this time.  If we look at the five years 2010-2015 we can see that in fact 32 Unitarian congregations grew in this period, though many of them by only one or two and so really within the margin of error for these kinds of numbers. Nevertheless some grew more substantially.  So the most growing Unitarian congregations 2010-2015 were: Congregation 2010 2015 Change Norwich 37 55 18 Hollywood 48 65 17 Golders Green 41 54 14