Message of Hope for the coming year to the citizens of Cambridge from the minister of the Cambridge Unitarian Church

Last week I was asked to pen a New Year message by the Cambridge News. Not surprisingly it wasn't published there so it seems important to post it here: 

The Unitarian tradition has its roots in Hungary and Poland and, during its four-and-a-half centuries of existence (and even when it found itself exiled and persecuted during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), it has consistently promoted the ideals of democracy, freedom, reason and tolerance. Without doubt 2016 has been a year during which these ideals have begun to be seriously challenged across the UK and Europe (and now the USA) and we have all seen a disturbing rise in hatred towards migrants and refugees, in shocking anti-democratic rhetoric and activities, in challenges to basic human freedoms and in a general drop in tolerance toward others different from ourselves. As heirs of the European, radical Reformation and radical Enlightenment traditions, we wish to offer the citizens of Cambridge (of any formal belief or none) a New Year message of hope that it remains both possible and desirable to proclaim to all, with gentleness and intelligence, that: “we need not think alike to love alike.” 

Memorial (Unitarian) Church looking across Christ's Pieces