Macclesfield Unitarians


FAQ’s

We’ve included this page because you would almost certainly expect to find FAQ’s on a website these days, and you might be relishing the chance to ask your questions about What Unitarians Think or Believe about . . . . this, that, and the other.
Well, in fact this gives us a good opportunity to show you just how much our approach to spiritual community differs from pretty much any other religion or philosophy:-

You are not asked to agree with any principles, belief, or point view; what you believe is up to you to discover and deepen – because you are your own highest spiritual authority – and we offer a mutually supportive setting within which to do that work.

SO it is actually pointless asking what UnitarianS think or believe about anything; every individual is free to hold and maintain their own belief system, so every Unitarian is likely to give a different answer to any question of thought or belief.

Confusing? Only if you assume we’re going to impose shared thoughts and beliefs on you . . . but that’s how we’re so different. Scrap that assumption, and instead welcome the freedom to think what you think, to believe what you can believe!

The commitment we do make together is to work at giving mutual respect and support; no one of us is going to impose views on anyone else, thinking that what we believe is Right and someone else is Wrong. No; we give, and expect to receive, respect for the way that life is looking and feeling to us at any given time.

To give you a taste of that freedom and diversity, here are just a few of the answers we got when we asked what our members believe about some of the ‘big’ questions . . . wonder what your answers are?!


DO MACCLESFIELD UNITARIANS BELIEVE IN GOD?
WHAT DO MACCLESFIELD UNITARIANS BELIEVE ABOUT LIFE AFTER DEATH?
WHAT ARE YOUR SERVICES LIKE?
DO YOU OFFER RITES OF PASSAGE?
HOW DO YOU ORGANISE YOURSELVES?
IS THERE A WIDER UNITARIAN ‘CHURCH’?
HOW ARE YOU FUNDED?
WHY DO YOU HAVE A MINISTER?


DO MACCLESFIELD UNITARIANS BELIEVE IN GOD?
“The jury’s out” “This one doesn’t”

“I believe there is a higher being – whether that higher being is called God, I am not sure”

“I believe in a creative wonderful energy in everything in the universe – that is my “God””

“I believe in the mystery of the unknowable”

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WHAT DO MACCLESFIELD UNITARIANS BELIEVE ABOUT LIFE AFTER DEATH?
“I believe in life after death…energy cannot be destroyed and evolves into something else”

“I profoundly don’t know – but unlikely in my view”

“Have no idea but love to speculate”

“I don’t think there’s anything - I hope not – I don’t want anything else”

“I believe that the spirit lives on but the body is only a vessel to enable you to live life”

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WHAT ARE YOUR SERVICES LIKE?
Unpredictable; we don’t follow a set calendar, we don’t have set services, we are free to refer to any wisdom or teaching, whether spiritual or secular. There will be singing (we have our own hymn books), there will be stimulating materials, there will be space to think, to reflect, perhaps to pray – there may well be creative activities or conversations within a service . . . we never know until we get there.

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DO YOU OFFER RITES OF PASSAGE?
Yes, we mark birth, marriage and death with ceremonies tailored to the individuals involved, so that each one is designed to be genuinely personal and therefore unique – you can read more elsewhere on the website.

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HOW DO YOU ORGANISE YOURSELVES?
We make our decisions as a community, in the context of a monthly Community Meeting, and we invite anyone to get involved with whatever area of responsibility and activity that draws them.
There is an elected Chapel Committee which is our Trustee body, observing and monitoring the life and work of the community as a whole.

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IS THERE A WIDER UNITARIAN ‘CHURCH’?
Not a ‘church’ but an association; each of our local communities is completely independent in the way it chooses to manage its affairs, but all are welcome to convene under the umbrella of our General Assembly.
Annual national meetings of that Assembly are held, to which local groups are invited to send delegates and representatives, and there is a small London office whose staff offer centralised support, looking to co-ordinate resources and advice to all of our varied groups and congregations.

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HOW ARE YOU FUNDED?
Although there are Unitarian funds which contribute towards our running costs, we are mainly responsible for our own funding – maintaining our building and paying for a full-time Ministry. Through our regular giving and our hard work, we raise the funds we need to meet both these running costs and the additional expense of building repairs.

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WHY DO YOU HAVE A MINISTER?
We do not expect a Minister to teach us as much as to stimulate us to learn and grow, reminding us of the quality of both our personal spiritual living and our shared community life.
A Minister for us is as much a catalyst, facilitator and supporter as a leader – inviting our journeys rather than directing traffic.

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WHAT ARE THE STEPS TOWARDS JOINING THIS COMMUNITY?
Very few, and very easy:
Come along to anything that’s going on, to see what you think.
Talk to anyone you like about anything you like (including Michael directly if you like) to see if you can find the catch – because it all seems so easy.
Get in involved in the ways that suit you, and when the annual opportunity comes, put your name to our Covenant statement to say that you are happy to be part of this community.

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