What is the role of the speaker at a conference?  To reaffirm your knowledge or belief, to challenge and provoke, to humble and support your views or insights or just to make you squirm from your assumptions or comfort?  The last two days have achieved all of these, but today's Dr Ann Peart was the very best of all.

As she spoke I wanted to make notes, hear her treatise again, felt awkward at my assumptions and felt the need to act on what was said.  Theology from Women's Experience was a thoughtful, considered and provocative assessment of the development of notions of equality and inclusion. 

Yet Ann, as is customary to her style, both underplayed her own role and influence as well as regretted the pace of change still needed and un-met.

As I sat in the midst of the Unitarian Theology Conference I found myself, as I feared I might, feeling motivated to discuss further, and to act.  For it was clear to me that where Ann and others had led, more needed to follow.  But my list of actions is long and growing.

  • I have to sit down and read Mary Woolstonecraft, A vindication of the Rights of Women
  • Get some of the works under pseudonym or actual of Anna Laetitia Barbauld
  • Download Growing Together (1984) from the GA website
  • Ford, access or get hold of the "pink pack" guidance for service leaders (2003)
  • Chase up my own work on supporting Chapels moving to same sex marriages
  • Reflect on the work congregations might do on being more inclusive in their work and communications
  • Consult and listen on the radical next steps of the Equality work within the Unitarian Movement 
  • Understand the work and tradition of others, especially the Quakers and Reform Jews

Phew - I'm exhausted and nourished by listening to Dr Ann Peart - always a quality experience and today no exception.  Thank you Ann.

*PS.  My flippant and throwaway "postcard from Leeds to a god" now feels trite and patriarchal - #awks