So the start of the next Annual Meetings gathering if the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches draws near. The sooner we finish now, the sooner we recommence our family reunion.

For a family reunion is what this is - and in celebrating the new ministers, meeting the students and remembering those sadly no longer with us, we annually regenerate our passion, our commitment and our values.

There are reasons to attend a conference, to learn, to listen, to network, to socialise - today I wept and they were tears of delight, of pride and of achievement.

At the General Assembly of the Unitarians and Free Christian Churches Kate McKenna was received into ministry and is now styled Rev. Kate McKenna and listed in the roll of Unitarian Ministers.

Poets amongst priests is, in many respects, obvious, but for me at least, it is initially anachronistic. But sitting here amongst the gathered Unitarians and Free Christians poetry is a refreshingly dominant interest and theme.

There are those who have self published, there are Chapels celebrating poets with whom they have a link or interest or direct connection and there are Ministers who use poetry as a means of expression, of dialogue and of communications.

I often write about my slipping into the back of my chapel, a chapel or a tranquil place in order to reflect. On other times I talk about my active interest and role and history in front line politics. Detached from that is my own digestion of news, events and current affairs.

So today I found these three strands coming together when my dear friend Rev. Feargus O'Connor introduced and welcomed the presentation of cheques from the Unitarian Movement to the British Red Cross. In reply the representative from the British Red Cross, Hugh Fenton, highlighted the work that is going on in Syria and Yemen to tackle the humanitarian crisis facing both civilian populations.

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.