This week our current Chair of Trustees Erica Dunmow tells of how she first heard of UTU.
My first contact with UTU was through David Moore. I attended and worshipped at Bow Road Mission, East End, London from 1981-1991 where David was minister. David’s creative style influenced by UTU’s approach, significantly shaped my own worship leading. At Bow we developed interactive Bible Study and occasionally used real letters to the church as our epistle readings. I remember an encouraging pastoral letter from a member who had retired to Jamaica; and the one from the Miners’ Wives Support Group, Markham Main pit, thanking us for a food delivery and updating us on how they were faring.
We hosted several UTU study year weekends, so the students could experience another urban setting. Sometimes I put some of the students up in the small flat I rented –eight people sleeping on floors in two rooms! A manse party was a key element, featuring both reggae and rum. One year a friend had already booked to stay the weekend, so I took her along to the party. She had mixed feelings about who she was going to meet, and was relieved to find the students relatively ordinary – and not, as she later admitted, all Che Guevara clones wearing black berets!
UTU was one reason I was drawn to Sheffield in the early ‘90s. I attended the Saturday informal, lunchtime communions at Abbeyfield Road, and was glad to find friends – people with a similarly adventurous and grounded faith. UTU is a companion organisation which gives me comfort that I am not alone in my understanding of Jesus’ kingdom. I resisted John Vincent’s attempts to recruit me as a Trustee for many years, but it’s been a privilege to serve in that capacity recently and help discern UTU’s next prophetic task.