A short train journey - meeting a fellow Unitarian en route - and out of Leeds Station, past the Queens hotel and there, as I cross the road four elders of this place greet us - of whom the last is Joseph Priestley, of course.  And there across the main square sits Mill Hill Chapel - and what one rose and towered - now enclosed by the rise and growth of the city of Leeds.  

Indeed the sight of the contrasts of the modern glistening glass tower, of the legal firms and accountants that look jealously on the tombs, stained glass, faith and real estate that is Mill Hill Chapel.  Here is a Chapel that either lives on it mission or dryly regrets the lack of living residential community.

And so to the Unitarian Theology Conference where we are greeted with food and drink as we arrive and box pews.  (We are reminded that the Putney debates took place in boxed pews).

And so it starts: Rev Ant Howe of Kingswood Ministry leaps enthusiastically into the debate, as he recounts the struggle to light his home fire and then the theology of god,the response to god - the Unitarian dilemma - and it brings me back to my own thinking. It is not what you hear, or what you see or can feel - but that you respond, and the test is not just the response of itself, but how you respond and its impact of how.

Rev Howe reminds that In scripture Jacob struggles with God and is bruised, and yet comes back for more.  And so Rev Howe re-lives his own narrative and story and the heat of the flame that draws us in - the chalice flame that warms and burns and reassures and yet we seem to need.  

To be Unitarian is to be religious, but against religion and harm done in its name.  Not just in the safety of our own churches - it is a prophetic message which campaigns for and witnesses for a better way.  For civil and religious liberty, but are we then prepared to strive for it when it becomes difficult.

This is not an easy topic - not is it meant to be but it will be interesting - but then "may you live in interesting times" was a Chinese curse.  So it may prove to be.