Unitarian sets World Record

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"31 bottles of my favourite beer" was James' answer when asked what he got out of his marathon sermon as he stepped down from the pulpit after 31 hours. The beer was given to James as he passed the existing record of 30 hours and 6 minutes by his partner Lorna Hill. "James isn't really a champagne man, so we had a whip round and got him a bottle for each hour completed". The event that ended at 7pm on Monday 30th July was witnesses by a full Ditchling Unitarian Chapel and also an audience watching live through the webcasting facility James has been instrumental in setting up. "Setting up the broadcast took 2 days" James continued. "One way or another we ended up using 7 computers, 3 broadband connections as well as 3 microphones, 2 amplifiers, an audio mixer and 3 boxes of cables."

The event was registered with Guinness World Records and James and his crew are now putting together the evidence required by the rules. When Guinness was informed about the event, they decided to put it under the 'Longest Speech Marathon' section. "It was all very confusing." James explained. "You see a lot of claims on the internet but I have just gone on what Guinness have said."

"After 29 hours I rather ran out of things to say and was rather running on fumes after that, but fortunately I was getting questions via Facebook and I had also taken very few breaks I was allowed and so used some of the time I was allowed to think of more things to say."

"There were many rules we had to follow, including having 10 people listening the whole time. The youngsters helps with this, as the Unitarian Youth programme was getting a 1/3 of the money raised, many came to support the event. They were very useful when it came to pushing the Facebook pages as they seemed to know there way around these more than the adults."

Beard Loss
James Barry's last attempt to raise money for charity was in 2010 when his beard shaved. That raised £6,000 for the Unitarian youth programme.

The funds raised are going to three charities. The Unitarian National Youth Programme, for which James and his partner Lorna are both leaders. A Unitarian Charity that gives under-privileged children a holiday in Derbyshire called 'Send a Child to Hucklow'. Thirdly funds for Ditchling Unitarians who have the job of maintaining their 17th century listed chapel.

The webcast was on www.ukunitarians.org.uk/tv


About James

James Barry has been a Unitarian since 1994, not very impressive in compassion to his partner Lorna Hill who is an 8th generation Unitarian on her father's side and 4th generation on her Mother's. James is very involved in the Unitarian movement nationally, he wrote their current 200 page web site and is part of a team that supports over one hundred congregations maintain their local sites. He was a Unitarian district councillor for a few years, served as a trustee for the national Unitarian publication called "The Inquirer". He is a leader for the National Youth Programme and is a trustee for 3 local Churches. He worked for nearly 3 years at Unitarian HQ maintaining IT and is also a qualified professional photographer. James's previous careers include being an independent IT consultant and an operations manager for BT.

Lorna and James had their first daughter in July 2011 who is called Maisie. James has scaled back his voluntary work since her arrival and with the added complication of the need for her to have two cochlear implants later this year.

He has also walked from Sussex to Cornwall then from Land's End to John O'Groat, lived in chicken shed, been rescued 3 times by emergency services, was a Venture Scout leader, nearly killed himself half a dozen times rock climbing and the same number on motorcycles and once installed his own central heating system. Many of these stories will come out during his sermon.

Ditchling Unitarians

This event is to help celebrate 350 years since the Great Ejection and 175 years of Unitarians being at the Ditchling Chapel. The 'Great Ejection' involved 2000 ministers being thrown out of the established church for not agreeing to follow the rules and was the beginning of the non-conformist religions in the UK of which Unitarianism is one.

One of the records in the Ditchling archives dated 1837 is a license for the building to perform weddings. The Document is the first to use the word 'Unitarian' in the title of the congregation and is only a year after the 1836 Dissenters Act of Parliament gave non-conformist congregation legal status.

Send a Child to Hucklow

The Send a Child to Hucklow Fund supports British Unitarians' own home-grown social action project, which sends groups of disadvantaged kids, typically from inner-city backgrounds, with their leaders, for a Mon-Fri break at the Holiday and Conference Centre in Great Hucklow, Derbyshire, now known as the Nightingale Centre.

Whilst the break is an opportunity simply to "chill" from what can be the pressures of home-life, and no deliberate attempt is made at "development" or influence, the kids often gain much from the communal experience of being away from home, of new experiences, amongst kind, responsible adults, and behaviours can often improve. £250 (very roughly) pays for 1 child. Though children have been having holidays at Hucklow since the 19th Century, the Fund as such dates from 1962 (the first holiday), and became a registered charity in 1975. This is the Golden Jubliee Year, and we have a special Appeal for which we have good hope of having all live giving doubled. Thanks for your support of James!


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