Chairperson’s Welcome, February and March 2020

Hello from the Chairperson in February 2020

We’re well into the start of 2020 now, and as is traditional for January, we’ve been planning for the year ahead! The biggest event looming on the horizon are the UK Unitarian General Assembly, the AGM for the national Unitarian movement, over 7-9 April in Birmingham. All congregation members are invited to consider attending – it’s an excellent few days to meet fellow Unitarians and find out what’s happening across the UK. The booking deadline is 18 February for early discount booking, and 10 March for all bookings.

No less important will be our own church’s AGM on Sunday 26 April 2020 at 12.30 in the Turner Hall, when we’ll report back on the GA, on how the year has gone, and on what we can expect in the year to come – including the impending sale of our building. We’ll also be handing out copies of the new Church Rules (effectively our constitution). Please put the date in your diaries. (There will be cake!).

The Christmas celebrations seem to have been a long time ago now! We decorated our church with our traditional approach of finding all the tinsel and baubles we can, and hanging them anywhere we can find. We also got out the traditional nativity scene, which for some reason has no Mary and Joseph, but four Wise Men instead. Our Christmas services were well-attended, and we donated many toys and games to Barnardo’s children’s charity during our Toy Service, to go to children in need across the region. A new feature of our Toy Service was that we decorated our Christmas tree during the service, which was very well received.

Finally, we’ve continued our support for the Joseph Cowen Centre, which provides health and wellbeing services for homeless men in the local area. Joseph Cowen was a Liberal MP in the 19th century who regularly attended the Church of the Divine Unity. We continue to donate clothes, toiletries and hot drink supplies to the Centre, including a very generous donation of a box full of teabags, long-life milk and instant soup which was given by some friends of the church. The Centre has recently been refurbished, and we joined other supporters at their Open Day on 16 January, when staff and people who use the centre showed us around it and told us about their plans for the future. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our collections for the centre, and we look forward to continuing to support them in 2020.

Louise Reeve

Newcastle upon Tyne Unitarians Secretary