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.

So I am seeing a large number of people here at the General Assembly and it's a great chatter and discussion. I'm seeing quite a few people looking in via Facebook and enjoying the photographs and the reports.

But more interesting for me is the role of twitter and Facebook as a means of sharing information. Too many people appear to be viewing and absorbing and not sharing. So let me illustrate my point.


One of the best features for me at a Conference is hearing different voices, challenges, ideas, thoughts and even just stylist concepts. Today at the General Assembly of UK Unitarians I got that in full.

It started as the somewhat dry John Reilly Beard lecture but presented by the somewhat thoughtful, provocative and engaging Carla Grosch-Miller.  The John Reilly Beard Lecture lead by Carla starts with an illustration of the dead and the living in the biblical world of the near East of the Mediterranean.

Listening to the clear and impressive Convenor Robert Ince (outgoing) here at the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, I am struck by the need and reliance on communications and the challenge facing faith organisations.

Reflecting on that I penned these: my own little set of pleas to all of those Unitarian congregations and Chapels who are perhaps listening.

Tiday was hardly my second visit, but a welcome one nonetheless - and coming the day before the General Assembly of Unitarians and Free Christian Churches - it seems an appropriate time to write a posting.

Now, Elder Yard is a very special place in a number of senses. It is special to me as my haven of personal reflection and solitude - more tranquil than the external experience that is my allotment. It is special to me for where it is located. Ithe very street in which it sits it is surrounded, almost shrouded, by other buildings, largely the Cooperative - living almost the Victorian and pre-industrial dreams of working together. Within Chesterfield itself it is unusually early and survives from a more tumultuous and some would suggest more naive era of ideas, passion and principles. And within itself it is very very special - a piece of untouched space in an otherwise busy world, tended and preserved and nurtured for future generations.