Training Course, May 2021: Pastoral Care of the Bereaved

(This information is mostly taken from the flyer.)

Death is a fact of life. But when it happens to someone you love, it is devastating. At this time, the Unitarian congregation can provide the sort of loving care that a bereaved person needs.

The Midland Unitarian Association of Lay Preachers and Service Leaders is offering a one-day course for lay people, covering the basics of the pastoral care of the bereaved within our congregations.

The course, which will be led by Rev. Ant. Howe (Ministry Tutor of Unitarian College), will focus on:

  • The grieving process
  • Pastoral issues around bereavement
  • Running a bereavement group

Where: Via Zoom
Dates: Saturday 8th May 2021
Times: 10.00 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. (coffee/tea from 9.30 a.m.)
Cost: FREE (to people from MUA congregations)
£10 (to people from outside the MUA)

There will be opportunities for coffee breaks and lunch during the day.

Pre-registration required. Contact us ASAP for further information.

Carol Service 2017

Our Carol Service will be on Sunday 17 December at 3 pm.  Next time we meet for worship will be the 2nd Sunday of January 2018, the 14th.

We wish you a happy, hopeful, blessed Christmas with joy and delight in the New Year.

Parkinson’s UK Christmas Service

We were delighted to host the Christmas service for the Parkinson’s Disease Society, who are regular users of the Heaviside Hall, on Thursday 26th November 2015. Over 50 people attended, and the service was led by Mrs. Sue Woolley, District Facilitator of the Midland Unitarian Association. Her theme was that the message of Jesus – love your neighbour as yourself, and don’t forget to love yourself – was relevant all the year round, not just at Christmas, the season of goodwill. Carols were sung with gusto, ably accompanied by the pianist from the Welsh Church, Margot.

After the service, the company adjourned to the Heaviside Hall, to be served with hot pork batches. A good start to Christmas!

David Woodward

We are very sad to report that David Woodward, Treasurer of Coventry Unitarian Great Meeting House for more than 45 years, passed away on Tuesday 12th April. His wife Elaine was with him. David was a well-loved figure in the church, both in Coventry and in the wider Midland Unitarian community. His funeral took place at the church on Friday 10th June, when many people gathered to pay tribute to a kind and gentle man.

75th / 350th Anniversary Service

The Great Meeting House Unitarian Church was filled to capacity on the afternoon of 22nd July, when Unitarians from all over the Midlands, members of organisations who use the building, and the Lord Mayor of Coventry joined the congregation to celebrate the 350th year of the congregation’s life, and its’ 75th year in the church on Holyhead Road.

Following some welcome words by Rev. Jeffrey Bowes, greetings were offered by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Tim Sawdon, Rev. Sue Woolley, from the Midland Unitarian Association, Mrs. Nicola Harwood, headteacher of the Richard Lee Primary School (which was named after the Unitarian minister who was in post at the time of the move to the new building) and Ms. Kay Dyer, ecumenical officer of Churches Together in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The service was conducted by Rev. Peter Hewis, who is one of the Coventry Trustees, and the address was given by Rev. Peter Godfrey, who had attended Sunday School at the church as a boy.The well-chosen readings, hymns and prayers celebrated the life of the congregation and illustrated Unitarian ideals and values. The address was on the theme of abundant life; after sharing some of the congregation’s history, Rev. Peter Godfrey’s message was one of the importance of living a good quality of life, full of wonder, awe and compassion.

After the service, the company adjourned to the Heaviside Hall, where there was a display of art work and photography by members of the Coventry Art Guild and Coventry Photographic Society, both of whom use the Hall during the week. While we enjoyed a wonderful spread laid on by Ruth Bowes and her helpers, we listened to a medley of Gilbert and Sullivan songs, beautifully performed by the Savoy Opera Group, who also use the Hall.

It was a joyful and fitting celebration of 350 years of Unitarian witness in Coventry.

Miss Janice Ashley: 1932 – 2009

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.

2009 Midland Unitarian Association AGM

38 members from 13 of our 18 congregations, plus two visitors (Mrs. Joyce Ashworth, President of the Unitarian General Assembly and Mrs. Lis Dyson-Jones, MUA link member on the GA’s Executive Committee) came together on a beautiful Spring day at Coventry’s Great Meeting House Unitarian Church.

The business part of the meeting went very smoothly, and then we came to item 19 on the Agenda, choosing a new name for the Midland Union of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches. After a spirited debate (see above), we decided on Midland Unitarian Association.

After a congenial lunch and a short service led by our new President, the Rev. Peter Hewis, who took the life of famous conductor and Unitarian Sir Adrian Boult as his theme, we enjoyed a stimulating and interesting talk by Rev. John Harley, the General Assembly’s Youth Coordinator. He was full of good ideas for involving children and young people in worship and other activities in our churches and chapels, and those present made good contributions too. John emphasised the need to have at least one adult present who has been CRB checked, and that it was better to have adults working in pairs. Keeping a log of activities was also recommended. He finished his talk by giving us some information about the GA’s Chalice Award Scheme for children and young people. We all went home with a lot to think about, and inspired to be more inclusive to our younger members and attenders.