Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Post by Graham.

We have all been horrified in recent times by the dreadful stories coming out of the Roman Catholic Church concerning paedophile priests and the abuse of children in their care. And yet, in spite of these horrendous events (and let`s not kid ourselves that such things happen only in the Catholic Church ! ), we need to keep a sense of proportion and realise that the vast majority of priests, the world over, work selflessly and courageously for their people and deserve nothing but respect for their efforts.

I have recently returned from Poland where a charismatic Roman Catholic priest, Jerzy Popieluszki, was beatified earlier this month on June 6th. Whatever we Unitarians think of beatification, this was a man of outstanding bravery and character. He was born in 1947, lived under the oppression of a brutal Communist regime but he kowtowed to nobody. By continuing to serve his flock and to celebrate mass with them (another thing many Unitarians are not too keen on !), using his sermons to criticize the regime and motivating people to protest against injustice, he became an enemy of the authorities and was finally and brutally murdered by the Security Police in 1984 at the age of 37.

He was much loved by all his people and his life illustrates how little an affiliation to a particular church or doctrine matters. His life was dedicated to the service of others and it proves that the only thing that really counts in this life is selfless love. It is something, surely, to which we all aspire.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Posted by Ash

....so the saying goes.

A few weekends ago we were delighted to welcome to New Meeting three new friends from Harvard, Massachusetts. Why had these wonderful people turned up on our doorstep for a Sunday service, thousands of milies from their home ? Simple really. They had been researching their ancestry and found through contact with the New Meeting web site that our congregation had been blessed with many years of service by their `lost` aunts, Jane and Caroline Badland. In this case, `many` really does mean exactly that;the sisters gained fame in the 1950`s as the oldest living sisters in the UK, and they both lived to well beyond 100 years of age. Most of those years were spent in unstinting service to New Meeting, its community, and the people of Kidderminster.

What was so amazing, was that had it not been for our American friends, we may not have revisited and appraised in such a significant way this uplifting connection with our past. Neither would we have met the local newcomers, who upon reading of the visit in the local press came to us with stories about the sisters that brought them very much back to life. We were even shown artefacts the sisters had used.

We talk a lot about the significance of `social action`;doing good works in support of others. These two sisters reminded us all only too clearly of what `good works` really means.

The visit helped fill in some gaps in our American friends family history. They were delightful people to meet and brought with them understanding, warmth and love. It also helped our community here to re-focus and grow.
So perhaps sometimes it really is useful to `look back` and learn from our forebears. Wisdom,after all, does not just reside in the present.


`Don`t look back unless you intend to go that way` is a quotation from Henry David Thoreau, author,transcendentalist ,abolitionist,naturalist,civil libertarian, from Concord, Massachusetts. 1817-1862

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Post by Graham

Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday and an Anglican friend who knows that most Unitarians don`t subscribe to the Trinity, asked me what our church service was about. When I told her that our theme was `The Nature Of God`, and that we held a mock court scene discussing whether in fact God existed or not, you could see that she was clearly horrified, although she was too polite to say so.

To her and most churchgoers, you go to church to worship and praise God, not to question his exitence. Why not ? Perhaps it`s because, as I read on an official church`s website: `If you probe the depths of God too deeply you are likely to slip into heresy`. This is a view that I simply cannot accept. Surely, it is not heresy to seek answers to the mystery of the Universe? Perhaps it is because there have always been so many ready-made answers in the established church that so many people are put off going there.The age of blind acceptance is past and the sooner the church realises this the better.