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


  1. From the past springs the present, from the present springs the future. We are part of a continuum and should recognise that.

    To quote from the much scorned 'Orders of Worship'published in 1932.(page 46)

    "May we ever feel that we are all one family,one company of friends and brethren, on earth and in heaven"
    Amen to that.

  2. A good article, Ash. We can learn much from the past. I was fed up in the educational world of seeing the baby thrown out with the bath water! As for the Americans, I just love these Unitarian Universalists. They look you in the eye, speak as they find and are thoroughly engaging. Let's have more visits!