Malcolm Smith as Chairman, assisted by his wife Mary as Secretary, saw us through the transition. Together they undertook the onerous tasks of securing permission from the Charity Commission for the sale, finding a suitable property and finally, negotiating the purchase. Finding a suitable property, within limited financial resources, was a real problem, and one “desirable building” was lost, because of a delay in obtaining permission from the Charity Commission. It was decided by the committee at an early stage, that since lack of finances prevented the appointment of a minister, we would supply our own “service takers” from within the congregation, with only occasional “supplies” from outside. Some contacts from other congregations told us that it couldn’t be done, but we proved them to be wrong. Occasionally we heard comments about holding services in “an Estate Agent’s Office”, but within a year, we had the plate glass window engraved “Northampton Unitarians”, twenty new seats, a new adjustable music stand as a lectern, a plinth and a new chalice and a picture of the world from space, as a symbol and reminder, that we are people of one world. Our “worship room” had visually taken on the appearance of a place of worship. One of the early decisions made by the committee was that alternate collections would be given to a charity: sometimes this has been for an international emergency, but mainly the local charity “Head Way”, which helps victims of head injuries, has benefited.
Malcolm stood down as chairman in March of this year, having won the gratitude of everyone. Mary resigned last year, when Fiona Boyle agreed to become Secretary. At this year’s AGM Fiona, having been nominated as Chairperson by Malcolm, was duly elected, and quickly gained the confidence of the congregation.
As we reach our 175th. Anniversary, we look back and realise the value of the work done by our founders. We recall how the great burdens of the past have been overcome and are strengthened by the knowledge, that if spiritual inspiration is with us, we shall be successful servants of our Master.
Frank Field 15th September 2002