[written during the Annual Meetings of the General Assembly of Unitarians & Free Christians]
Being at the Unitarian General Assembly Annual Meetings is a bit like living inside a bubble. For these few days, spent with 300 or so fellow Unitarians, I am immersed in matters Unitarian, morning, noon and night. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
On the good side, it is an annual opportunity for spiritual nourishment, and a chance to catch up with old friends, and perhaps make new ones. It is so good to spend time with like-minded people, talking and learning about things I care for passionately, and enjoying the deep cameraderie and fellowship that is GA at its best. The opportunity to worship in a large group is particularly rich.
And yet, and yet. In the world outside - the real world - anything may have happened. We are cocooned in our Unitarian bubble, and I have no computer, and hence no access to what is going on.
This year, for the first time, this worries me. I feel as though we are perhaps too inward looking, maybe even a little self-obsessed, rather than being concerned with how we can make a positive difference to the world in which we live.
Maybe that is a bit unfair. Several of our motions, about which there were passionate debate, were very much concerned with that same outside world. And I have seen and heard some marvellous examples of Unitarian social action this week - Send A Child to Hucklow, the new social justice initiative in Bethnal Green - the list goes on. During these meetings, I have heard over and over again the wish that we might have a higher profile, so that our marvellous Unitarian message of welcome and inclusivity and spiritual & religious liberty could nourish the lives of other spiritual seekers.
I just hope that the people here (myself included) will take this to heart, and go back to our congregations and our lives inspired to spread the Unitarian message through our words and our actions, so that we may indeed become a force for good in our complicated 21st century world.