Farewell and thanks to our retiring minister Rev. Lindy Latham

On Saturday 4th January UMB was full for a service to say farewell and thank you to Rev. Lindy Latham, our minister, who at the end of 2013 has retired, after serving the Bristol Group for over 8 years. The service was presided over by Lis Dyson-Jones, former GA President from Swansea Unitarians, and featured contributions from many members of the Bristol congregations. We were honoured by guests from the Western and Midland Unions, and well as from South Wales. An amazing feast was coordinated by Sally Pugh, and after the services there was entertainments, including a contribution from the Bright Lights all-age worship group.
We would like to thank Lindy for her years of dedicated service to Bristol Unitarians. We wish her well in her retirement - however she will be greatly missed!

Article written for the Inquirer by Susan Wildman

Almost one hundred people gathered at Unitarian Meeting Bristol on Saturday 4th January 2014 when members and friends of the Bristol Group attended a celebration of Rev, Lindy Latham’s ministry  in Bristol. Lindy moved to Bristol to be near to her Mother and was welcomed to the Bristol Group by the then minister, Rev Gerald Whitaker and his wife June. After Gerald’s premature death, Lindy was appointed as part-time minister in 2006. Everyone agrees that her 7 years of ministry have been more than part time and her cheerful encouragement will be greatly missed.

The event started with a welcome from Jean Bryant, President of the Bristol Group and lighting of the chalice candle by Lis Dyson Jones who led the service which followed. In her opening words, Jean said that Lindy had been a friend as well as a minister who had listened and helped her congregations and supported them in all their events. She had initiated several study and training workshops and an all age group. Lindy had conducted many weddings, funerals and baby namings, always sensitive to the needs of those involved. Everyone appreciated her pastoral care. During her ministry Unitarian Meeting became the first religious building in Bristol to be registered for Civil Partnerships. The first of these took place last summer for Karl Stewart and Mark Gartside after which Lindy conducted a wedding ceremony.

During the service there were three hymns: “Come sing a song with me”, “Flying Free” and “Song of Peace”, all from the purple hymn book which Lindy introduced to the Bristol Group. The readings were given by Bernard Omar, President of the Frenchay Chapel, and Karl Stewart, President of Unitarian Meeting. Delydd McAdam sang a solo, “Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius accompanied on the piano by Bob Cook who played the organ for the hymns and musical contributions.

In her address “Reflections on Ministry” Lindy quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson who spoke of converting life into truth. Lindy said the she had striven to speak her own truth and create communities of kindness. Lis Dyson Jones gave some wider reflections. After an amusing introduction she pointed out that Lindy has been and is still making a contribution to the wider Unitarian movement. She is currently National President of the Ministerial Fellowship and provides exceptional support for her ministerial colleagues. She is much respected for the work she does with those wishing to train for the ministry. She is a founder member of the longest existing covenant group of ministers and has given valuable help and advice to this group. She was the instigator and visionary of the “Bright Lights” all age group programme in Bristol.

The service ended with a Benediction and Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” played on the organ by Bob Cook after which Lindy was presented with flowers. There followed a splendid tea organised by Sally Pugh and Jane Hulin. For those able to stay there was entertainment including singing by the “Bright Lights” who gave Lindy a book of photographs of some of their meetings put together by Anna Sherman.

A number of visitors had come some distance for this event including Rev Eric Jones from Aberdare, Rev Sue Woolley from Northampton, Martin Fieldhouse, President of the Western Union and former Frenchay members Anne and Peter Barwell who had braved the West Country floods to come from Exeter. Karl Stewart, Bristol Group President, thanked everyone for coming and said that Lindy would always be welcomed by the congregations in the future.. Everyone hopes that Lindy will enjoy her retirement trip to New Zealand as much as she did her sabbatical visit to India.

SUSAN WILDMAN - Bristol Group

Photos from Lindy's Leaving Service



Lis Dyson-Jones at Lectern

Group President Jean Bryant at Lectern


UMB President Karl Stewart - photo by Toran Shaw