Thursday, 15 July 2010

Developing Spiritual Community - what this blog is about

This blog has started from my desire to see the development of Unitarian communities in the UK. Many of the approaches that have been suggested recently take a marketing approach where Unitarianism is a product and if we only marketed it differently we would 'sell' more of it. The model adopted in this blog is one which sees local Unitarian communities as just that - communities - which most community members are committed to developing.

I shall look at a number of community development ideas and approaches from other disciplines to help people see beyond ideas such as the distribution of leaflets and market analysis which are currently being offered as a way forward. I hope that this will be of help to some.


  1. The values that you list as being those which bind your community together are good, decent and ones that we should all have or at least strive to have. But of course some of us require more. I live in a town with no Unitarian congregations. While I belong to the wider community where I live, which by and large also shares the values you list, it does not give me a fellowship of faith. I personally yearn to belong to a community of people that are united by our shared love and devotion to God, to have that familial bond with fellow believers, as Jesus said; "For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and mother". As Unitarians we have always given much space for individual conscience and thought, and that should always remain, but we were in our past more united around our shared worship of the Creator. I have found that many Unitarian congregations wish to unite around anything other than God. Which is fine for those who want that, but what about the rest of us? Anyhow, I pray that you be successful in creating vibrant, caring communities. And I pray that the day soon come when all the world will be united in fellowship under the Fatherhood of God.

  2. Thank you Joseph for taking the time to contribute.
    There are many things that I personally would like to see but being within a faith community I recognise that I am just one part of the whole and we co-create that whole together.
    I am not convinced that if we all believed the same theology it would make us a better community. I do believe that how we behave towards each other and how we respect our differences makes us stronger and feel more supported as individuals.
    We cannot make ourselves believe anything but we can be committed to developing what we are and what we have - I am lucky to have a community nearly for that.
    Perhaps you have thought about starting a Unitarian Fellowship in your area - I would hope that there are people within your district who could help you with this.

  3. I like the "feel" of this - meaning, the sense of gentle energy that I receive. I feel it as refreshing and... er.... spiritual, especially after coming straight from other (men's) posts elsewhere. I feel merry to your headlines on 'solution focused'. If it works, do more. If it doesn't, do something different. But not when it means 'find out what the market wants this year and provide it, whatever it is'. That's fine for profit, but doesn't nurture soul development.

  4. Thank you, Wade. I think that we have to be robust and focused during some of our debates on Facebook to weather some of the storms. I know that some people have stopped engaging because it can be too rough.

    Finding out what the market wants is not solutions focused. Solutions focused starts with you (a person or a group) not an external thing like the market. It can be used to increase commercial competitiveness - the process is the same but the end is different.

    The solutions focused approach came from counselling/family thereapy mainly through the work of Isoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer. It then made it's way into organisational development. It shares much with Appreciative Inquiry. xx