On Sunday in Elder Yard, it being April, the Reverend David Shaw chose for his theme the value of humour - it being April.  He shared stories of his mother, revealing her life charms and his deep affection and how it made us laugh and how important that was. He further developed the notion that crying with laughter was a similar emotion in crying from sadness and the direct and known link between comedians and depression.

Today I sat in the main plenary hall of the General Assembly listening to the Reverend Dr. Ralph Waller, Principle of Harris Manchester College Oxford and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford Queen's Suite. His use of humour in driving home a serious point was  a crucial and nuanced element of his presentation.

Jokes about Marx, about Lincolnshire and Texas and an affection of true challenges of teaching during a monsoon littered his address to the enthralled throng. Yesterday I enjoyed and appreciated Carla Grosch-Miller and today's treat, the first of today, is Dr Ralph Waller. The joy of conferences is the opportunity to hear alternative views and voices. And in that regard Ralph Waller did not disappoint.

James Martineau is an outstanding historical figure of the Unitarian movement and Dr Waller is a specialist scholar of Martineau. Having attended and enjoyed Rosslyn Hill Chapel, London, where Martineau was a leading preacher, I feel that I have a Martineau legacy to understand and reflect. And so it he proffered the dilemma of going to war (an evil) or allowing evil to thrive and not going to war. Martineau believed in the doctrine of bringing reason to bear and so laid the foundation stones for the rationale and scientific understanding of life and emotion of the Unitarian Movement today.

Listening to Dr Ralph Waller today I felt privileged to hear and refreshed to renew my own values, appreciation and love of humour to make serious points. And if anyone has doubts about Dr Waller - who can't like someone who declares themselves an admirer of Henry III... Dr Waller urged us to listen to others, I sat here today and listened to him. It was a pleasure and an all too brief education.