The Great Meeting House Unitarian Church is very sad to announce the death of one of our long standing members, and a dear friend to many of us, Miss Janice Ashley. She died peacefully in her sleep following a battle with cancer on 20th July 2009.
Janice was an active member of our Church all her life, being Church Secretary and Lettings Secretary – posts she took over from her parents. She was also a Church trustee.
In the 1960s and 1970s she was one of an active group of young Unitarians in the Midlands who organised annual activities and competitions for the Midland Sunday Schools Association.
Under the guidance of the late Philip Spencer (of West Bromwich) she studied to become a lay preacher, and led worship regularly around the Midlands District until the end of 2008. She was President of the Midland Union of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches from 1983 – 1985, and its Secretary from 1985 – 1987. She was also a leading member of the Birmingham District Women’s League, being its President from 2007 until her death. She had also represented the District on Central Committee. She was able to attend the District AGM in March 2009.
She was also involved with the Unitarian Lay Preachers Association (which later merged with the Unitarian Association of Lay Leaders), being its President from 1992 – 1993, and was its conference organiser for many years.
She was also very much involved with Moose International, the local branch of which meets here in the Church.
She will be greatly missed by her Congregation and many friends throughout the Unitarian Movement. Our sympathies are sent to her brother Anthony and sister-in-law Sheila, and to her cousin Jean Dyer.