Skip to main content

Newsletter April – May 2022



 When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,

and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives

with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day – blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.  

                                                                                    Wendell Berry   




We record our immense appreciation in regard to a generous bequest recently received by the Chapel Trustees of £2,000 from the late Maureen Chapman former lifelong Member & Trustee of Field Row Unitarian Chapel.

This year our friends at Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Hinckley will be celebrating the 300th Birthday of their present Chapel.

“ A licence was taken out for a conventicle in Samuel Ward’s house in 1672. For some years before toleration came in 1689 the congregation had been able to adapt another house for worship, and this remained in use until replaced by the present simple and gracious Meeting House in 1722 “

Full details of various special events are listed in this edition of our Newsletter- We very much hope as a congregation to have a Mini Bus to support at least one if not two of the special celebrations.

This years Unitarian Annual Meetings will be held in Birmingham from April 19th to 21st. The official nominated voting representative for the Belper Chapel will be Rowan Beton.

David Burton will also be attending as the representative of our District Association, East Midland Unitarians which currently composes of eight congregations & one House Fellowship.

At the March Quarterly Meeting of East Midland Unitarians the following people ( David Burton, Peter Soulsby, Patrick Timperley, Christine Everton & David Wykes ) were charged with the task of proceeding to formulate an appropriate contract in order to appoint a full time Unitarian Minister based in Belper.

The Belper Congregation will have a 50% share of that Ministers time – the other 50% given to supporting our chapels at Derby & Nottingham.

After a recent meeting of those charged with this important task –  their target will be to try and have in place a suitable Minister by October.



After being Minister of Great Meeting Leicester for 33 years Rev. Dr. Arthur Stewart conducted his final service at the Chapel on Sunday 27th March.

The devoted stability and sensitivity of Arthur’s ministry with always a very well prepared sermon for Sunday Worship has in recent years resulted in a much stronger congregation at Leicester.

All of us at Field Row Chapel Belper convey to Arthur our kind greetings, wishing you a good retirement.

It was good recently to see on B.B.C. East Midlands Today an interview with Rev. Maria Pap & many helpers at The Old Meeting House ( Unitarian Chapel ) in Mansfield loading up several lorries with much needed aid for those refugees now suffering from the brutal Russian invasion into Ukraine.





At the time of writing, our new website is still in progress. It is, however, already live at:  Since It is currently still under construction you won’t find full info on there and I have noticed an error. This is easily solved. I watched Rick, our web designer (and my son….) build the site itself and it took several hours of him working at warp speed. I’ve never seen anyone get things to fly around a screen at that fast before. He had already done all the background research and made the skeleton site before we met up, so I just pointed out one or two things we’d like. I will eventually learn how to do this but we’ll just get it up and running first and then I can modify it as often as needed. There is plenty of scope for it to be modified. We have used the traditional logo chalice throughout. Some of the current photos are ‘holding photos’ – which means they are just in place until the ones he took can be inserted. Another new term I found out is ‘parallax animation’ which refers to how the images move up the screen. (I think we all need to find a way to insert this new found phrase into our conversation this coming week to impress the crowd).

The ‘contact us’ section will take you to our new email address which is  You will be able to access this soon when I’ve finished setting it up and then we’ll need to disseminate it to everyone. We will need also to inform ‘head office’ of our changes and to modify any advertising. This may take some time. Our old site is still active but will not be paid for beyond the end of the month. It may still appear in some google searches but will not be current. I’m therefore going to insert some info on there to direct people to our new page. I don’t think it can be deleted but I can find out. We could have had the same site name but transferring it is a lot trickier than just having a new one. If you think there are any others we need to inform, please let them know.

Rick took over 100 photos and has given them all to me via Dropbox. Any of you are welcome to see, download and share them. If you wish to credit Rick, his company is Ambitious Creative and he is Rick Barrett. He has not relaunched his own website as he is overwhelmed with work by word of mouth and doesn’t need any more, but here he is  You can also search for him on Instagram and other platforms. Whilst we may think, well, I don’t ‘do’ social media (or websites), then we need to remember that this website is not for us but is outward facing. This is for others out there who are looking at us.




With this in mind, I have to trust Rick’s experience (over 10 years as a graphic and web designer) on what will appeal to the public and it may not always be what might appeal to us oldies.  Having said that, I think you’ll find it very attractive (and please note the parallax animation!)

Rick spent several hours in the chapel taking photos, and even more time preparing and building the   website (and teaching his mum how to operate it). All of his time and expertise have been given for free.

As you may know, the famed Derbyshire photographer Ashley Franklin has also been into our chapel to take photos the same week and in fact, they overlapped by being in the service on 13 March to take photos during the proceedings. Rev Maud Robinson was taking the service that day, and despite it being the first time in our chapel, entered into the spirit (so to speak!) of the occasion and posed appropriately. Check out our Facebook page

All Rick’s and Ashley’s photos are royalty free (something we would not have had with another web designer). I also have lots of photos taken over the years if ever you need something. Rick also recommended that we share these photos onto a photo-platform and recommended Unsplash. This is a global sharing site where photographers find and use free photos.  Its great advertising  We seem to be the only Unitarian church in the world to be on Unsplash.  I have uploaded the first 15
and in the first two days had almost 600 views.  If anyone goes on the site and searches ‘Unitarian’ or ‘Belper’ they will find those photos.  I can only upload 15 a week.  People seeing them may use them for free, but more importantly, they may be inspired to come and visit the chapel.  After adding Rick’s, I shall add some of mine and you are welcome to find them there and use them.  Or I can send you the Dropbox link.

Ashley Franklin is using some of the photos he took on Sunday 13 March and the week preceding for his new book The deadline for photos is 31 March and you may wish to submit photos yourself too. The books are, I think £20 or £30 – I can’t remember.  I shall be buying one.  Some of our chapel images are definitely going in there, as is a wonderful photo of Ted.  This again is excellent advertising as there is text with each photo to explain it.  He has also asked Rick for some of his photos, so they should be in there too. Do have a wander round these sites, click the ‘like’ button and spread the word. Enjoy!
Jan Barrett 




WORSHIP SERVICES  –    APRIL to MAY 2022                             [Greeters]

Sunday April 3rd                  David Burton                                      
11 am                                    A celebration of Spring                       Ruth Beck

Sunday April 10th               Sir Peter Soulsby
11 am                                  Great Meeting Unitarians
Leicester                                               Rowan Beton

Sunday April 17th               Ed Fordham
11 am                                    Easter Sunday                                     Frances St Lawrence

Sunday April 24th
11 am                                    Fred Barrett                                         Jan Barrett

Sunday May 1st                  David Burton
11 am                                    Short service, followed by
Congregational AGM                        TBA

Sunday May 8th                  Revd Maud Robinson
11 am                                    My spiritual Journey                          Frances St Lawrence

Sunday May 15th                Ed Fordham
11 am                                    Leader, Great Hucklow                     Rowan Beton

Sunday May 22nd               David Burton                                       Ruth Beck?
11 am

Sunday May 29th                Ann Brown                                           TBA
11 am                                    “William Blake”


All members and friends of the Chapel are welcome to offer contributions to our newsletter. It could be a 350 word article, or a poem, or something arresting or humorous you have read. For example, see on page 8 what Winnie Green found when reading the Guardian. Contributions should be in the hands of your editor [contact details on page 12] by Sunday 15th May if they are intended for inclusion in the June – July edition.






East Midland Unitarians will cover 50% of a Mini Bus if people at Belper would like to support any of the following events at Great Meeting Hinckley.

Perhaps at our Chapel AGM to be held first Sunday in May we might decide which events we will take up that offer and support our Unitarian friends at Hinckley ?

The Congregation will hold a much needed Chapel AGM on
Sunday 1st of May after a short Devotional Service conducted by David Burton –

Please let David know if you have an item you wish to place on the agenda. ⭐️
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

⭐️ Some Words From the American Poet Mary Oliver : ” You wouldn’t believe what once or twice I have seen. I’ll just tell you this ;   only if there are Angels in your head will you ever, possibly, see one. “
“ Why do people keep asking to see God’s identity papers – when the darkness opening into morning is more than enough ? “



Every time I look at the pictures of Mariupol or Kharkiv, I see a corner of Whitechapel in east London. I reacted the same way to images of Aleppo and, before that, Falluja and, before that, Grozny, because buildings crushed to rubble have a sad habit of looking the same. It brings back a memory – or rather something fainter: an inherited memory, one that was passed to me.

Its origin is 27 March 1945; the 77th anniversary is a little over a week away. Early that morning, at 7.21am, a V2 rocket landed on Hughes Mansions , a block of flats on Vallance Road in the East End. It killed 134 people, more or less instantly. Among them were two sisters, Rivvi and Feige (pronounced fay-ghee). Feige Hocherman was 33 and she left behind two children, a son not yet 11 and a daughter aged eight and a quarter. The little girl was my mother, Sara.

The bomb that fell that morning would be the very last V2 to fall upon London. It wasn’t a targeted missile, though if it had been it could hardly have delighted its masters more. For of the 134 people killed by that Nazi rocket, 120 were Jews.

It meant that, as a very young child, I somehow thought “Vallance Road” belonged alongside Belsen or Auschwitz in the small lexicon of words to be spoken only in whispers, each of them bywords for terror and grief. I was well into my 30s before I ever went close to that place. And yet,  though I only ever saw the physical destruction that bomb wreaked through grainy archive photographs, I can honestly say that event shaped my life. Because it shaped my mother’s life. It made her who she was.

There were the direct legacies, of course. For many decades, my mother was implacable in her anger towards the Germans, because it was a German rocket that had killed her mother. There would be no German products in our house; no German car. She was no less unbending on the necessity of Israel. For the Nazis, the identity of the victims of Hughes Mansions was no more than a lucky accident; but the fact remained that my mother had lost her mother to a Nazi operation that killed Jews en masse: she had felt the breath of the Shoah on her neck. Like many others, she would never lose the conviction that Jews would always need a place they could call their own and a means to defend themselves.

The experience of such intense hurt so young had another, perhaps less predictable consequence: it opened up deep reservoirs of empathy for the suffering of others. “I feel your pain,” has become a joke phrase. But my mother really did feel your pain, even if you were someone she had only just met and whose life she had only glimpsed.                                   Jonathan Freedland, in the Guardian


For years, I have listened to the BBC News every day – it’s not that I enjoy it – it’s just that I think it is a duty of every responsible citizen to know about current affairs and to participate in democratic discussion of the issues of the day. When I was a boy, our country was at war, and all the news was about the war – we believed  what we were told by the BBC, and we rejected propaganda from the German broadcasts. On one occasion, “Lord HawHaw” as we called him, claimed that there had been a heavy air raid on Sheffield – we knew that all had been  quiet in Sheffield on that particular night, so obviously he was not to be trusted. There were rumours of a heavy raid on a chicken farm near Gainsborough, but we treated that story with some reserve as well, because rumours are often untrue, are they not?
When the war ended, we wondered what the newspapers, and the BBC would offer us – surely there was nothing left to report?  I was amazed how many real issues and problems emerged. Issues that affected us personally, in our homes and where we worked. My interest was permanently aroused. Now, there is a war again, and the news is almost entirely highly distressing detail about life in the Ukraine. I am suddenly required to drop my interest in climate change, or Covid 19, or current levels of poverty, or the cost of living and instead I hear what it is like to hide in a basement or a shelter when the air raid sirens sound. I know! I have done it myself! They don’t mention the relief you feel when the “all clear” sounds, and you come out and make a cup of tea. I feel angry that any world leader can inflict this sort of experience on ordinary civilians again, and helpless that no democratic action can be taken to stop it. There is nothing that I can do about it – it is very frustrating
In war, the first casualty is the truth. Every story is exaggerated, or played down as necessary to convince you that our side is winning and others are rubbish. All the enemy casualties are bumped up, and ours are reduced. The press and the media have never been any good at interpreting statistics anyway, but in wartime falsification is standard. My father, who was flying bombers in the first world war, used to tell a story about a reported direct hit on an enemy target – the plane in question was found, on return to base, to have that particular bomb still suspended under its fuselage. There was no question of cancelling the claim of a direct hit – the embarrassingly surplus bomb was quietly wheeled away and buried near the perimeter of the airfield. The actual details of the number of enemy aircraft destroyed by the RAF in the Battle of Britain – our claims as compared with theirs – makes interesting reading if you enjoy fiction. All you really need to know is that it was a lot!
So, how do I feel on hearing about all this slaughter? I feel angry and upset. I have no doubt that it is happening, but the truth is distorted. Will world leaders ever learn? And on top of my anger and distress, I have to add that I feel very cynical.
9                                                           Ted 



As I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continuing support of our Chapel community could I also remind you of our bank details:-


Belper Unitarian Chapel


St. Peter’s Street


Sort code. 60-02-18

Account number 71273719


These can be used for one off donations or regular payments via a standing order.

Please ask for a gift aid form if you are able to do this-we can then claim an extra 25p on top of each £1 donated!

We do still take cash or cheques (some banks are now charging small charities for their use).

As always do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Once again many thanks

Frances St.Lawrence
Congregational Treasurer






Just when I’ve given up on humankind,
when the daily news of violence batters my  ears and assaults my eyes,
Just when I’m thinking that you can’t trust anyone
and it’s better to stay indoors, safe not sorry – – –
Just then I see a man fight injustice and a woman stand against oppression,
and I realize that it is better
to light one candle, than to curse the darkness.

Just when I’m ready to give up on life – –
I realize that life won’t give up on me !


Have you ever wondered at the beauty of a tree,
The tiny velvet rosebud,
The humming fluffy bee ?
The furry fledglings in the nest
And daisies small and shy,
A tinted sunset in the west,
A dainty butterfly.
Our world is full of wonder
There’s beauty everywhere,
If only we would take the time
To stop – and stand – and stare !


“Our conviction is that Christianity has this to say to the world;
Your reliance upon armaments is both wrong and futile. Armaments are the weapons of organised violence and outrage. Their use is a denial of true laws of good living. They involve the perpetuation of strife. “
“ The only true safety is the safety of all, and unless your weapon of defence achieves this work, or works towards this, it is a source of antagonism and therefore of increased peril. “

Quotations provided by David Burton


Chairman and Safeguarding Officer
David Burton, Ivy Cottage, 4 Wheatley Lane, Two Dales, Matlock DE42FF                                               Tel:01629 734072

Secretary   Winnie Green     Tel: 01332 882878        [Until the end of April ]                                                       or 0796 8823103.

Frances St Lawrence
 fmstlawrence@gmaiLcom             Tel: 01773 824548
Asst. Treasurer
Matt St Lawrence                                                   contact details as above

Communications/Publicity   Jan Barrett                                           Tel: 01773 827831

Jean Hemming
144, Far Laund, Belper, DE56 1FJ        Tel: 01773 827869

Trustees’   Secretary/Treasurer
Sue MacFarlane                                        Tel: 07774 004240

Newsletter Editor
Ted Roadhouse             Tel: 07835 727987
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Belper Unitarians aim to be a loving community of spiritual seekers. We are diverse in our opinions yet united in our common search for truth and our desire to support each other, and sometimes challenge each other, in that search.
We have our roots in those Christian non-conformists who gathered in Belper in the late 1660s following the ejection from the established church as a result of the 1662 Act of Uniformity of belief and worship.   The famous industrialist, Jedediah Strutt, had the central section of the present chapel built in 1788 to replace a Meeting House that had been built at the other end of Green Lane in 1721, and which still stands there. Today our present  Chapel is a Grade II* listed building.
We are on the Belper Poetry Trail, displaying on the front chapel railings the poem “To Nature” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
*Please contact David Burton to enquire about chapel hire, Christenings, Namings, Weddings/Civil Partnership Ceremonies, or Funeral Services.


Author JaniceBarrett

More posts by JaniceBarrett

Leave a Reply