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Showing posts from January, 2021

Why I now identify as a Universalist

For a while now I've been thinking of myself as more of a Universalist, and less of a Unitarian. The reasons for this are many-layered and evolving, but I thought I would write some of them down.  Firstly I suppose I should say in many ways I am  still a Unitarian. I am a minister of the General Assembly of Unitarian Free Christian Churches. I am not a Trinitarian, and in that strict sense I am still a Unitarian. I am still inspired by a number of aspects of the Unitarian tradition: Channing, American Transcendentalism, Polish Brethren Unitarians, James Luther Adams, James Martineau. And yet I feel Universalism describes my faith better. This is despite the fact that, unlike in the United States, there never was a large organised Universalist denomination in the UK, though there were a smattering of Universalist churches, and some of today's Unitarian churches were originally Universalist (I might be wrong but I think: Brighton, Boston, Glasgow, as well as the congregations of

The death of Mohamud Mohammad Hassan

  I don't have anything wise of clever to say about the death of Mohamud Mohammad Hussan in Cardiff a few days ago. Clearly South Wales Police have a lot of questions to answer. We need truth and justice. For now, I will be trying to pray, holding the rage and the grief of it all. You're welcome to pray with me too.

Meeting the Beloved: A Time of Contemplative Prayer

Meeting the Beloved: A Time of Contemplative Prayer  Tuesday 26th January 7.30pm  Many of us are drawn to that sense of the divine, or the “something more”, but we don't know how to start to explore this, half the time we don't really believe it, and the idea of “prayer” seems silly and childish.  But contemplative prayer is a practice that can begin to introduce us to the mysterious "something more" that reaches out to us in love: the Divine, the Beloved, God.  This online event does not try to "sell" you someone else's ideas about God, but will create a space to encounter the Divine for yourself. We will introduce chants, meditation, and contemplative prayer to allow a space to genuinely encounter the God within for ourselves.  Send a message to to get the zoom log in for the event. 

Love your enemies

I'll never forget the time I heard a colleague of mine talking about when he was doing peace work negotiating with loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The one thing he said which struck me was this: that he genuinely found the loyalist terrorists to be nicer people than the peace activists; that within the peace organisations there was more “politics”, more backbiting, more bullying than in the terrorist organisations.  That's always stuck with me because it reminds me that an organisation can have a noble purpose, and yet have totally screwed up interpersonal dynamics. You can belong to an organisation that's purpose is peace, and yet one that acts in an ultimately violent way, even if that's just the violence of words.  This is the danger that is always present for any group of people trying to seek the Beloved Community. Churches can be places of nasty gossip.  Peace organisations can be places where people get bullied.  Climate activist groups can act