Q & A of Adrian Worsfold 

I was born in 1959 Hornsea, which is 14 miles from Hull and a little north of where 0 longitude strikes the east coast.

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In reverse order:

1st October 2010 on
32, Chamberlain Close,
Sutton-on-Hull,
HULL,
HU7 4UD.

1st October 1994 on
13, Manchester Square,
New Holland,
BARTON-UPON-HUMBER,
DN19 7RQ.

27th June 1990 - 30th September 1994
4, Mitchell Street,
Clowne,
CHESTERFIELD,
S43 4SQ.

18th September 1989 - 26th June 1990
Unitarian College,
Luther King House,
Brighton Grove,
Rusholme,
MANCHESTER.

6th April 1989 - 17th September 1989
4, Mitchell Street,
Clowne,
CHESTERFIELD,
S43 4SQ.

22nd May 1987 - 5th April 1989
19, Rockford Grove,
Lamorna Avenue,
HULL.

30th November 1985 - 21st May 1987
37, Sextant Road,
Beverley Road,
HULL.

October 1964 - 29th November 1985
25, Watson Street,
Sutton-on-Hull,
HULL,
HU7 4UR.

April 20 1959 - OCtober 1964
57, Ebor Avenue
HORNSEA.

 

There was Cavendish infant school from 1964, then Neasden Junior High from its opening (I was 7), and after a few weeks in Bransholme High (now Winifred Holtby) came the senior school, Malet Lambert High, where I stayed from 1972 (I was 13) to 1977 including sixth form (to 18 years).

 

Malet Lambert crest - click for school website

 

I spent a brief 7 weeks wasted on an Economics course at the then University College/ Prifysgol Coleg Bangor Wales/ Cymru. I didn't understand the equations and the maths as I had done diagrams.

Then there was a successful three years at The University of Hull doing Economics, Politics and Sociology, gaining a 2.1.

Then at The University of Essex my accommodation situation became a complete mess where the MA American Politics was repetitive from what I had done in Hull, and, given poor relations with the main tutor, I left. That was across three months from 1981 to 1982.

Then I got it right again at the University of Hull from January 1983 (officially backdated to 1982) until the beginning of 1989 when the Sociology of Religion thesis gained me a Ph.D. From 1989 to 1990. I found myself too radical for the traditional local Unitarian churches around Manchester for ministry training to be successful at Unitarian College in Luther King House. If you are not asked back to churches, you cannot maintain training. At the same time an adult education course at the University of Manchester was fine but it depended upon the ministry training. Then, whilst I was happy enough with FE practice during PGCE teacher training in Derbyshire from 1991 to 1992, the final and longer school practice involved discipline problems with one class in particular. I didn't care for Business Studies that much - it was neither training nor critical education like Economics. Also the conversion of Sheffield Polytechnic to a University meant a fee of 400 for a retake. I should have done these practices the other way around. So that was a year wasted.

From 1996 to 1998 I successfully did the MA Theological Understanding of Contemporary Society, being constructively critical of all the assumed Christian biases of the course, and getting the MA in the timeslot of 1999. RSA 3 Text Processing (distinction) was followed by RSA 3 Word processing, and I had gained a City and Guilds 730 Teacher's FE and Adult Certificate part one. However, unable to get teaching practice with Part 2 and, in any case, needing a higher level qualification with most flexibility, including in schools, I applied for and entered a PGCE schools course for Religious Education.

From 2002 to 2003 I successfully took the PGCE (Secondary) Religious Studies at the University of Hull.

All this meant over fourteen years in universities (three in combination with training), two in further education (very part time), over two years year in adult education (very part time) and the usual thirteen years in schools.


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I made contact with Elena in Russia. She visited in January to February 2001 which came to fruition as Elena returned to England and we married. She has spent about seven weeks abroad every year and 2005-2006 was spent in Portsmouth. Then she moved to the University of Reading for an MSc Biometrics course and stayed living in that town and thus we are separated. Since then I have dated a small number of women.

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My interests go in phases. I tend to pursue one thing quite intensively for a long time and then move on. However, in general, I have painted pictures in a thick watercolour and gouache style. It connects with photography. Both have given way somewhat to artistic work with photographs (mine and others) directly on computer. I have tried to be creative with computers. This started with an Amstrad 8256 which I had improved with Mallard Basic and then moved to a Personal Computer. I used it for nearly a year before going online in late 1998. I started making a website using MS Word, AOL Press and Arachnophilia 4 but now I do it by hand only using NoteTab Light. This interest has maintained itself since and with blogging combines with religious ideas and theology as a window on to a more general understanding of life. My interest in education was dented by the experienced state of school and sixth form education in the UK, in that most students enrolled for an abstract thinking course of Sociology lacked logical thinking, literacy and study skills. In 2009 on I presented a Theology Course to the Anglican In Depth Group in Barton-upon-Humber. I've since volunteered to produce the music at the Hull Unitarian Church on my bespoke CDs each week involving sourcing, editing, music and audio editing.

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I first thought that the purpose of religion was to keep us in order at school. In the sixth form I was identified as a humanist critic against the religious ethos there, although I didn't know or understand the term humanist.

I mixed with some who were Methodists, and away from home I was an agnostic but a frequent visitor to the Wivenhoe chaplaincy for the short period there (the Anglican priest was Andrew Linzey). This included an important chaplaincy trip to Ditchingham Covent (Anglican). That was the first spark of a different and liberal approach to Christianity. Then in the PhD these Methodists and a chosen evangelical Anglican church became subjects of (part of) my thesis. I rejected the traditional and evangelical beliefs of these churches. It was from the broader issues of the thesis, and a reflection back upon the Essex chaplaincy's liberal features, and Andrew Linzey's interest in John Robinson, that brought me into doing theology, and into disagreement with the minister in that Methodist church. I identified with academic theology. I (and others) saw myself becoming a minister of religion. So I was confirmed at the University of Hull and seriously considered Anglican ministry.

However, I also had contact with Bahais, whose stance I rejected as it was a curious blend of early twentieth century progressivism and literalism with obsessive personal control; but they once used a Unitarian building where I asked the meeting a series of embarrassing questions about Bahai history. This brought me into first contact with the Hull Unitarian church. I realised anyway that liberal theology, particularly Tillich, was a one way street, from committed Christian belief to the existential and secular world, and not the other way around, which was my approach. A visit to Queens College, Birmingham, for a week, found me in some agreement with the staff but little sense of shared beliefs with the students. Eventually I transferred my ministry seeking to the Unitarians, only to choose the wrong college. It wasn't the ecumenism that was the problem there: I was interesting to the liberal lecturers and enjoyed the company of many students and I was also clear to the evangelicals who disliked Unitarian Christians. The problem was the local and traditional Unitarian Christian churches not wanting what they called a "humanist" amongst them. This opposition was in both the college committee and the local churches. The latter was especially important as so many did not want me taking their services. This was set against the college principal who was Buddhist minded and the worship tutor who was a Pagan. I was experimental too. Much of the time I was bored. In the end I clashed with the local Unitarian congregational ethos which I found sectarian, and regretted leaving the broader and overlapping authority of the Anglican church. Also I had come through Anglican theology, and it had been shown in Christian terms to be more radical that the moribund state of Unitarian ideas. However, in being active in Anglicanism (2004-2009) and producing my own theology course I returned to Unitarianism in a local setting with interests in broad liturgy and a speficif musical task.

I was a founding Steering Committee member of the Sea of Faith Network, which promotes the view that religion and God is a human creation. After the pathetic experience at Unitarian College I had nearly two years of no religion except Sea of Faith. Then I drifted back to the Church of England. Any thought of ministry soon evaporated again - a priest advised that I could be a Unitarian in the Church of England orders but not a non-realist. I quite identified with Western Buddhism (the FWBO variety was exposed as flawed in 1997, after my time in Derbyshire). But moving to New Holland I was able to resume my association with Unitarianism. As someone who'd "let them down" at Manchester, and because of my own radicalism, I found myself acting as a lightning bolt for some of the church's difficulty. There was a problem with the Trust Deed (about which I expressed little view) and also fear of change from new people. My involvement with Unitarianism was marginal and fell to zero. I left Sea of Faith in 2001 only because its membership fee went up by too much but stayed on its email list. Over time its online debates became thin. I started rebuilding my Anglican involvement, particularly through St. Mary's church in Barton, a regular if infrequent attendance that suffered only because of sixth form teaching work but then recovered, especially assisted by its new incumbent.

However, this itself went into decline. I thought of ministry again, which was taken seriously, but was told I had made no promises. When I heard a new curate repeat her promises, I realised I could not make those. I realised I simply did not believe what others apparently believed, nor did I find the increasingly saints-orientated Anglo-Catholicism relevant: in fact I saw it as a kind of fantasy world. The postmodern Christian experiment came to an end. A book review of Don Cupitt's 2006 Old Creed and the New, SCM Press, where in 2006 I'd disagreed with his insistence on autological language and said yes to liturgical heterological language now bit me back, as I came to agree with him once again, and like Cupitt I had withdrawn from communion. Soon after I was back at the Unitarians again, though actually attending both churches under this new associations with each. Although I showed some interest in Liberal Catholicism as in The Liberal Rite, I disliked their behaviour regarding a friend nor their ever 'higher' delusory ethos.

When I moved house to Sutton I attended the Unitarians exclusively. The need to improve music provision involved me in arranging having a new sound system installed and building up ICT based hymn and music resources, which I then delivered each week (with occasional replacement). I made renewed contact with the 'reformed' Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church but the contact was unreliable and I have constructed emergency liturgies. Indeed, I am the short-notice service taker.

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I think that scientific truth is somewhat inadequate in terms of finality and is subject to large shifts in understanding and also distortions of interest groups and power. However, its experiments deliver answers you might not want or expect. This limits my 'postmodernism'. Religion, however, is about myth systems, which are good in so far as they help us think again about where we are going in life, and assist us in coming to terms with death. At one time I made the effort of living in the Jesus Christ myth and drawing upon it, and the crucifixion-resurrection model gave a structure of passing from the dark to the light, and the Eucharist I have viewed as the theology of the gift, giving something of yourself and receiving spiritual direction in return, as a kind of weekly rite of passage, though this principle of binding is extendable.

I have since become more of a straightforward religious humanist. Buddhism interests me in terms of transience, clearing the mind of clutter, losing what does not matter, and finding instead a more serene happiness when coming to terms with the clutter of life. I agree with Buddhism that we cannot put our trust in permanence because that illusion generates unhappiness; happiness lies in that kind of quantum condition of understanding where samsara and nirvana are one, a kind of ultimate unity within the opposites. I have always been positive about neo-Paganism towards symbol and colour, in a postmodern interpretation without the magick and the dafter predictions of the New Age. Thus I was able to take a Pagan marriage service in New Holland in June 2001 as well as Unitarian services. I have taken one Anglican service in Derbyshire to a men's group and another one Easter at Barton. RE training has boosted my knowledge of other religions and I further value Hindu plurality and modernism, Islamic historical cultural intelligence, and Sikh reform and purity. Religion is reflective, contemplative and restorative through myth, story and suggestion. However, I have shifted more in a liberal direction and the content of the In Depth Course became about the failure of liberal expressions of theology to penetrate the Anglican Church except at the margins.

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I have always been able to draw and indeed roughly capture a face in cartooning. I did do some painting when younger but in recent years there has been more. I went to a few adult education art classes and did my own thing within them, otherwise finding them restrictive. I liked being a member of Chesterfield Art Club. The website, Elena in New Holland, RE training, blogging and paid work meant a rapid decline in picture output, and that has rather been the case since, but my art is active in many computer drawn cartoons of known and fantasy individuals and the website art now uses Facebook space.

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As a teenager I took over doing the family photographs. These were always landscapes and family, but when living in Clowne I heard about the Worksop and District Photographic Society. I never became an anorak like some there but wanted the photography to tie into the art and to improve in general. I soon saw that whereas the art club encouraged people as a whole and was positive, photography as a group interest was individualist, technical and nitpicking. Art seemed more "female" and photography more "male". Photographic societies are about the perfect spotless photograph and I would always rather be creative in a looser manner.

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When I went on line in November 1998 using Freeserve I thought I would try web design, and by January next year the web site was beginning. I first used MS Word to create web pages and later sometimes used AOL Press, but used NoteTab. I wanted to understand HTML, and learnt HTML 4. So much these days, as with the blog, is automatic and Dropbox represents a further movement in automatic uploading after years with FreeUK.

In my Amstrad PCW days I did get into Mallard Basic programming, to the extent where I could make a fully operating menu interface to make CPM use much easier, and I linked together graphics files formats in integrated menus. Although I could never write my own PEEK and POKE lines I was able, with understanding, to bolt them in to structures I was making and link them together.

So it was that I first learnt what HTML lines were doing and how to slot them together. The first menu came from the UK Unitarians' early website, for example, and the first use of frames came from the Unitarian Universalist Website. Slowly I copied and copied and learnt until I wrote HTML 3.2. Now I produce HTML 4 and XHTML using style sheets. I cannot do Javascript, but just like those PEEKs and POKEs I know how to bolt it in. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is not a necessity to learn, although I do know that HTML is becoming a subset of it and in 2010 I knew I was using XML in .PDF overlays and music composition.

I did not develop just my own web site. I produced an unofficial Hull Unitarian Church website as a voluntary act before it was taken from me. I then went on to do a few commercial websites most of which were succeeded by later versions. I also offered some advice and materials for the St. Mary's website at Barton-upon-Humber. There are now demonstration web pages for SETAM of Hull.

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Although well praised, and seen as superior to other Unitarian sites by a number of people, my doing it did not have the confidence of enough members. I handed it over to the Chair of the congregation and eventually it became a one page effort via the General Assembly. In more modern times it has had a very capable local webmaker and an active webmaker at the GA.

A mention of website authoring on holiday led to me doing a website for YMCA Bonskeid House (conference and holiday centre near Pitlochry, which has since been sold) and one for Frostbite Samoyeds (but its dogs were sold too and the website became redundant). One website I wrote was for a local Claims Direct agent but its owner was asked by Claims Direct to delete it. This was my first go towards HTML 4 and Javascript effects as possible, whilst keeping a very strong sense of design. I went on to use this strict design approach for Thomas Research Services (changed to a commercial provider and yet so similar!) and then Smith and Walker Optometrists (also changed). SETAM in considering going online to sell was given some demonstration webpages. Now online these pages point to its EBay shop.

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Bonskeid is an example of how a chance event can change life. In 1997 my mother and I were on a touring holiday in Scotland, a big drive for me not so long after passing my driving test. They were booking into overnight accommodation each day. It was getting on and we were coming south down the A9. We moved off the main road before shops' closing time and got to a Tourist Information Centre at Kingussie. At the end of her working day this woman said we might find accommodation in a place that was a bit run down, etc., but was cheap. And it was some miles down the A9 out of Pitlochry. Now we had stayed in some disappointing accommodation, for example at Spean Bridge, but this place we were in fact led to believe would be old, grotty, and one night only. Well, and for what was a cheap price, we ended up in this roomy, spacious, free to move around place of some considerable charm and history. It was like an old castle, and had these incredible huge rooms including a library, broad staircase in a hall, like a Cluedo game for real. Rather than go next morning and risk more restricted accommodation, we decided to make it the place to stay the next night! From there we went home.

So the next year, 1998, it was clear where the second year for a Scottish holiday would be based. We would have one night on the way to Scotland pre-booked, as in 1997, but then two nights at Bonskeid, and then one night away but pre-booked (Mallaig) allowing a greater distance of travel, and the final night back at Bonskeid for then a direct trip home.

In 1999 there was the same on the way stopover, the same mid-date elsewhere (Black Isle), and two nights back, and the rest was Bonskeid. However, at that holiday I took a laser colour photocopy of my painting of Bonskeid House in a mount and frame as a gift. Money was knocked off the staying price, for which I felt a little guilty because it was hardly an expensive offering. However, because of this, I left a note saying that if they wanted I would construct a website for the place. I meant I would just do it, from home, with instructions on what to include and not include. I did wonder if I would return: after all many of the road routes around Highland Scotland had been covered in the years of visiting. However, I went back for three working visits in later 1999 and 2000, doing some work there on the websites. Unfortunately news came through of the closure of Bonskeid House and the website development work stopped. Its content was transferred to the Pluralist Website.

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In 1979 when I (I) was first able to vote I voted Conservative. That's because I was an economic liberal and monetarist (they did Keynesian economics in those days but this seemed out of keeping with micro-economics and I wanted them to be the same). I thought only with the Conservatives would nationalised industries ever be made private and market orientated to stop the drain on the national budget and GDP. By 1981 I'd already defected to the Liberal and Social Democrat Alliance (and its various names) as I saw the condition young people were in and I saw how my grant at Essex University made me a pawn in a game where I was more valuable for the institution for my presence than for what I had to contribute. Basically, my economic liberalism was joined by social liberalism. The one thing I could not be was a socialist. I reacted against the Falklands War, where Thatcher had taken the initiative over everyone. Why was it impossible to squeeze Argentina dry via the world economic system? They would rather risk nuclear war than risk the economic system!

I became more and more left wing, but always within the Liberal Democrats than Labour, though curiously saw agreement with some of Labour's left wingers. I voted Liberal Democrat in 1983 and 1987. But I was frustrated that the divided opposition kept letting the Conservatives in. It did in 1992, although if Labour had won that election the sinking of the EMS would have subsequently thrown them out of office. It crippled the Conservatives instead. This time everyone had to vote for whoever opposed the Conservatives. In 1997 I was in the marginal Cleethorpes constituency and voted Labour! The whole experience of this government, although not our MP, has been disappointing. I still had to vote Labour in 2001 because of the danger of an even more right wing Hague Conservative government. However, the Labour government became authoritarian, sleazy (lies rather than money) and pointless with its privatisations/ Private Finance Initiative and slavishness to the United States.

In 2005 I voted for the Liberal Democrats as I could no longer support Labour. Neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown would gain my support further. Brown I regarded as a kind of fingers in the pie managerialist anyway and David Cameron seemed to be all surface and could just as well introduce disastrous policies to health and education.

As a left winger voting for the Liberal Democrats, the coalition with the Conservatives is well beyond unpleasant. What annoyed me was that the Liberal Democrats pledged movement to free University tuition whilst having, in advance, a policy to abandon this should they need to negotiate regarding a coalition. The Orange Book Liberal Democrats are wrecking the party, having gone so native with the Conservatives. I still voted Liberal Democrat locally, once, and voted for the miserable little compromise Alternative Vote that the Conservatives offered the Liberal Democrats. The Bedroom Tax (Under-Occupation Penalty) defended by Steve Webb is nothing but discriminatory and draconion to those who can least afford it - fortunately I received Local Housing Allowance instead. Nick Clegg is devious and dishonest and must resign. I am far more likely to vote Labour next time, and regard Ed Milliband as clear and refreshing.

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