Category Archives: World Unitarianism and Universalism

Any Hungarian Unitarian activity in the UK?

Those who follow international news know that Romanians and Bulgarians are now able to enter the United Kingdom legally.

Hateful and xenophobic screeds notwithstanding, little has changed no far, except those who have taken advantage of undocumented labor can no longer abuse workers with impunity. London is not swimming in people from southeastern Europe. But that’s not to say there’s not a critical mass.

Surely my dear readers know that most of the Unitarians in Europe are Hungarian-speaking Transylvanians; that is, Romanian citizens.

So I wonder has there ever been, or has anyone ever intend to (or hoped to) create a ministry to accommodate our religious kindred, should they come to the United Kingdom? And if so is there any plan for the larger community to help?

These are honest questions. I would love to hear from someone who knows.

The Unitarian center: UK edition

Last year I made a somewhat silly mapping thought exercise: locating the geographic center of the membership of the Unitarian Universalist Association. That’s one way to describe what holds us all together, I suppose.

This year, I’ve sought out and geocoded all the member churches of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, in Great Britain. I have some observations and a map like I made for the UUA, but there are some lingering choices for how to render the map. So instead, I’ll tell where the centerpoint — er, centrepoint — for UK Unitarians, based on the reported quota numbers. (With the understanding that this probably isn’t an adequate way to measure membership, much less participation.)

The proper location is on a farm south of Barton-under-Needwood, in Staffordshire, just off the A38. Hardly the place for 3,600-plus Unitarians and Free Christians, who’d about double the population. So let’s call it nearby Burton upon Trent, which has about 44,000 residents and at least has a train station on a main line.

To tell you the truth, I was hoping for Ashby-de-la-Zouch (for the name alone).

A map of British Unitarian churches forthcoming

The annual meeting of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches took place recently, and (to mark the occasion) I have taken to reading the annual report (for 2012, PDF). Minister and blogger Stephen Lingwood referred to it in early March. Grim numbers. So little wonder I had a parallel concern with the persons interviewed in the UUWorld magazine (“British “Unitarians rally to save faith from extinction” by Donald E. Skinner) about the fate of British Unitarianism. I had already been putting together a map, not unlike the one I created for UUA member congregations last year.

And I discovered is how difficult it would be for a newcomer to find many Unitarian churches, based on their web sites. There’s often plenty of information about teas and their seventeenth-century history, too many lack basic directions, maps, visitor expectations, parking or transit information. So I hope my map in addition to being a visual tool for understanding prospect for new church development — see my earlier concern about a lack of a church in Milton Keynes — can also be useful in helping newcomers find a church that already exist. A good website isn’t everything, but why make it harder for vistors than it needs to be?

And because as was suggested in UUWorld article I believe what’s happening with the British Unitarians is a bellwether of what’s to come in the United States. We’re larger, but by no means large and the same thing can happen to us.

The map is quite a labor but I hope to have it up later this week.

Happy communion Sunday for the Hungarian Unitarians

Autumn Thanksgiving Day, keyed to Michaelmas, is one of the four times a year the Hungarian Unitarian have communion, and that’s today. Let us remember them in prayer, and see this video (from the same festival five years ago) which demostrates how it is distributed. The use of two cups in tandem and the refilling flagon is very smart. Note the bread and cup are given hand to hand.

Hungarian Unitarians promoting free and open source software

The website of Hungarian Unitarian church, in Hungary and Transylvanian Romania, points out three free and open source software projects — thank you, Google Translate! I use all three, and recommend them, too. Links to the English software sites follow:

Reading Stanton Coit

Stanton Coit (1857-1944) has always been one of “those names” — a Humanist source for pleasingly churchly worship material, a quoted authority, largely an enigma. Partly to since he was a Humanist, I wasn’t likely to come across him. But I saw some of his work in the 1937 Services of Religion (prepended to Hymns of the Spirit) and looked up his Wikipedia article, which provided much of the following reading list. See the links to read the PDFs. (Will fill in the gaps if the works appear online.) And thanks to Humanist Heritage for this delightful photo of Coit in beach togs.

Community Wayside Pulpit recap

Following up on the Community Wayside Pulpit thought — and the Twitter-ed news that it lives in Britain — I thought I’d start with some background from the Unitarian Universalist Association. Some history, the old sayings and the most recent (but not the newest thing…) series of posters as PDFs for printing locally.

Read these first before we consider what comes next.

Is there a Unitarian congregation in Mercy, Saskatchewan?

Happy days. I’ve been waiting for years to see a well-reviewed Canadian sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie (aka Little Mosque) and it’s now available on Hulu. It’s about a small Muslim community in the fictional town of Mercy, Sasketchewan. Cute, quirky, a bit broad and gently preachy in a distinctly Canadian way.

And then there’s this screenshot. Hmm. An announcements-in-worship themed plot device!

From season two, episode one episode “Grave Concern”.

Notes from another church fellowship

American Unitarians and Universalists have, for about a century, kept and extended fellowship through a series of institutions, the largest and most notable today is the Church of the Larger Fellowship.

The British (and independently the Scottish) Unitarians and Free Christians have a similar fellowship. And the Quakers have one globally.

But when I discovered the Coptic-jurisdiction British Orthodox Church had one,  I knew I had to investigate. And thus the background for the next couple of posts.