The beginning of something new?
At our meeting on September 1, we made the decision to wind the group up in its present form. Thanks are due to Art and Barbara for their part in organizing services, in ensuring that post-meeting snacks were always provided, and for attending to other administrative tasks. Meetings in recent months have been too sparsely attended to justify the effort involved in organizing them.
If anyone has ideas on what form a new group that might attract new members might take, please do get in contact. Possibilities that I have wondered about include Sunday afternoon meeting (very possibly, the current premises could be available), moving to a book discussion format, or moving to a more general discussion group format. If you have ideas on a way ahead, please do contact me.
The only remaining functioning Unitarian/UU group in New Zealand is the Auckland church, which is doing just fine. Both the Christchurch and the Blenheim groups have ceased meeting in the recent past.
A call for fresh blood and new ideas
For 11 years from 1958 to 1969, Nancy Fox was the driving force behind the NZ Unitarian Association publication ‘Motive’. I knew her as a member of the Auckland church. Here are her comments about what the Auckland church meant to her:
As institutions and organizations, not just churches . . . the people who run them, unless they are constantly renewed with fresh blood, become less flexible, less able to meet change constructively, more likely to appeal to the letter instead of the spirit, and to fall back on precedent. . .
I have been a Unitarian for twenty-five years. This church was a home for my spirit when it was homeless. . . . But over the years I have seen successive waves of innovative newcomers come and fall away, because they were not made welcome, they were sometimes actively discouraged. I have seen successive ministers beating their heads against negative attitudes . . .[Auckland Unitarian Church: News and Views for December 1979]
I see the freedom of mind that Unitarian and UU groups offer to those who join them as a precious gift. It should not easily be lost.