A new minister has been officially inducted at the Bury St Edmunds Unitarian Meeting House, which was recently registered to conduct same-sex marriages.
The Rev Matthew Smith was appointed in October in a joint ministry with the Unitarian group in Framlingham and a formal induction ceremony was held in Bury on Saturday.
He is relishing the chance to get involved in the community and is keen to make people aware that same sex marraiges can be conducted at the Meeting House, in Churchgate Street. It is the only religious building in the Bury area currently licensed for same-sex marriages.
Rev Matthew said: “I already have a sense that Suffolk has a culture of its own and it’s important to honour that and explore how the stories of people’s lives can be enriched in conversation with an open-minded faith. The Unitarian way offers an inclusive, spiritual alternative to the intolerance which is all too common nowadays. It’s how we choose to live that really counts. As Unitarians have no dogma, we can tailor wedding and child namings ceremoies in a way that respects the stance of those most closely involved.”
Born in Essex, he has served as information officer at Unitarian headquarters and as chairman of the advisory board of the International Interfaith Centre.
Rev Matthew was British Unitarian representative at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1993 and Cape Town, South Africa in 1999. His other interests include singing and acting having featured in Bury Theatre Workshop’s production of Dr Faustus earlier this month.
An informal 11am service is being held at the meeting house in Bury on the third Sunday of the month.