Wednesday, 14 April 2010

New President & Vice-President

New President - Neville Kenyon

Friendly and forward-looking Neville Kenyon, a life-long Unitarian who lives in Bury, Lancashire, was installed as the President of the General Assembly for 2010-2011 at the Annual Meetings in Nottingham on 11 April. He is emphasising the openness and flexibility of Unitarianism, and his wish to encourage the quest for spiritual understanding and innovation, by choosing 'Nurture Your Freedom' as his theme.

Both practical and imaginative, Neville has a long history of energetic service to the denomination. He joined the Unitarian Young People's League in the 1950s and was its President in 1961. He has been a member of the General Assembly's Council and served from its inception on the successor body, the Executive Committee, until he was elected Vice-President in 2009. He is passionate about publicising Unitarianism and is a member of the General Assembly's Communications Commission and a Director of the Board of the Inquirer Publishing Company (2004) which produces the Unitarian paper, The Inquirer. He is chairman of the congregation of Bury Unitarian Church. Among his many achievements is the adoption by the General Assembly of a colour-scheme, typography and imagery which gives the Movement a 'consistent identity'. He is a steadfast supporter of any cause he takes up, is unfailingly genial, and, with a flair for selecting silk ties and elegant suits, is very possibly the best-dressed man in the Movement!

Neville recognises that Unitarians are in an ideal position to provide, in the 21st century, a home for those who have a spiritual hunger but are repelled by the creeds and dogmas of more orthodox faith groups. He says "We are in an ideal position, to reflect a growing imperative for a spirituality unfettered by narrow creeds and dogmas." He wants to encourage social networking between the newer members throughout the country. "People come to us from a myriad of backgrounds", he says "but they have all made a journey to find their spiritual home with us. The mutual support provided by networking on the web adds a valuable communication dimension for newcomers stretching beyond their local congregation".

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New Vice President - Rev Dr Ann Peart

The Reverend Dr Ann Peart, a distinguished Unitarian scholar and leading woman minister was appointed as vice-president of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches at the close of the Denominations Annual Meetings in April 2010 in Nottingham. She is looking forward to visiting Unitarian congregations and other groups both in Britain and overseas. "I am particularly interested" she says, "in exploring what keeps such a diverse collection of groups and individuals together."

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