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.

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.

 

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.

I can't deny I was excited. I went to chapel this afternoon. Nothing hugely unusual in that - but this was the first visit for me into the chapel in my new town. Peeking through the gates and railings it had all the hallmarks of charm and history that I like, so I was a tad excited.

Now this is a new town for my husband and I. Neither of us know Chesterfield, never lived there before, but are learning fast and enthusiastically. When we looked at towns to move to (criteria: not a city and not a village) husband had very kindly done a list of towns with Unitarian Chapels. On one of our early visits to scout Chesterfield the Chapel had been part of the recce and despite being locked I had managed to get into the back car park and see the old grand gravestones of the proud late 18th century and clearly flourishing Victorian congregation. It was a good start.