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At the Belper Chapel, we were all shocked to hear of the death of
David P Pugsley.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Judith. We are grateful to her for the following notes about David’s distinguished life.

David Philip Pugsley was born in Liverpool in 1944, youngest of 3, to a Methodist minister father and teacher mother. When he was 3 the family moved to Newquay, Cornwall where his father, Clement was a minister for some years, and his mother a headteacher; later they moved to Tiverton .
David attended a minor Methodist boarding school, Shebbear, in Devon.
Sadly his mother died when he was only 10 (and his father when he was 21).
David was always preoccupied with providing security for his family after this early loss, which was a severe financial as well as emotional one.
He studied history and law in Cambridge where he met me, and we married in 1966.
We had two daughters in 1972 and 1974, Joanna and Alison. Alison has two sons, Charlie, 18, and Leo, 16.
David was a barrister for some years in Birmingham, covering both crime and civil work. He was appointed Chairman of Industrial Tribunals in 1985 and then a Circuit Judge in 1992, at which point we moved to Derbyshire.
About 10/12 years ago, during a holiday in the States, where Judith’s brother lives, we came upon a fine Unitarian church in Charleston. We attended a Sunday morning service and were deeply impressed, to the extent we sought out a Unitarian chapel on our return home.
David retired from his judicial work about 6 years ago. His health, never robust, was increasingly an issue in recent years. He suffered a serious stroke while on holiday in March this year in Morpeth. David died on May 1st in North Tyneside District Hospital in North Shields.
His funeral will be in Brailsford Parish Church, near our home, on Tuesday May 31st at 12 noon. It would be lovely to see members from the Belper congregation there, and afterwards at our home, Cruck Barn Cottage.
Judith Pugsley



️  On Saturday 11th of June the Belper Chapel will host from 2.30pm the District Quarterly Meeting of East Midland Unitarians. Normally around twenty people will attend from our constituent places of worship.

Contributions towards the Tea will be much appreciated – we need sandwiches, sausage rolls, quiches & cakes please ! We also need help to lay out the food and afterwards people to wash up the pots !

️ Back in April we formally expressed our thanks to Winnie Green Chapel Secretary-
Winnie has now relocated to Alnwick, Northumberland to be nearer her family.

On Sunday 17th April a presentation of two books by the poet Mary Oliver, “ A Thousand Mornings “ & “ Felicity “ with a bouquet of flowers took place after our morning service. Words of immense thanks to Winnie were sincerely expressed from our Chapel Chairperson David Burton.

A beautiful hand made card had also been produced by Jan Barrett signed by most friends & members of the Chapel. All of us send Winnie our love wishing her all the very best for the future.

️  The District initiative ( East Midland Unitarians) to fund and base a shared ministry at Belper has now been formally advertised on the Official General Assembly List of vacant Pulpits. Our thanks to all those concerned who have given time and thought in preparing the Formal Contract which clearly lists the required areas we expect this ministry to cover.

Ideally, the District target is to appoint a suitable relevant person by October 2022.

️  Our continued thanks to all those who take time each Sunday to conduct our weekly service of worship. As a small congregation we appeal to all those who deem this place as “ their chapel “ to support and share worship with us.

With recent departures & deaths we do now need everyone’s support.

️  On Sunday 26th of June – David Burton will lead our “ Congregational Celebration of Summer “. Please try and bring to this service a suitable poem, reading, song or musical contribution from an instrument !





For over three years, Winnie Green has been a very resourceful and efficient chapel secretary, but those of us who have worked with her know that she is not just a good administrator – she has a very wide range of talents, fuelled by a keen intelligence and interest in everything that goes on around her. A regular attender at the discussion group, she has informed opinions, and has expressed them with great clarity. She is very interested in people. She has written and published a book “The Ploddy Horse” which portrays the character of not only of the horse, but also of the people around it, with considerable insight. [This book is still available from Amazon, for £5 in paperback].

She also writes poetry, and the following is an example. Now she is in Northumberland and we shall miss her.

Spring 2021


Every year she comes, never fails,
Sometimes early, other times late,
Shaking free from winter snow and gales,
She hesitantly starts to recreate.

A  much needed reminder that all things pass,
Bright flowers, with joy, announce her arrival,
Carpets of colour begin to spread en masse.
And we recognize our own survival.

This first season of the year reminds us life goes on,
Last year has finally departed .
We too will soon spring out , no need now to be withdrawn
With care we can once more be wholehearted.

Spring is almost here, the summer is to come
We’ll feel the warmth of hugs and the shining sun.





INTRODUCTION : David Burton Chairperson of Belper Unitarians & former President of East Midland Unitarians –

Fellow Unitarians – This Motion, Motion 3 is not today about whether you or I like or dislike the New National Logo :

This Motion is about something far more significant which is at the very heart of our Movement- For at our best we are a Free Religious Movement sensitive to enabling all voices to be heard –

Today at the very heart of these G.A. Meetings are present numerous voices representing autonomous democratic communities which we all treasure !
So it is appropriate that this morning our gathered religious family has the opportunity to hold this conversation-

Since 1985 many of us have been singing from Hymns For Living 188:

“ Let Love continue Long “ – where other words proclaim,
“ Debate Can Cause No Strife “ – – – “ Disputes Enrich Our Lives “

For many of us over recent months there has been without any doubt a painful dispute – This dispute has sadly not enriched some of our relationships with each other as the hymn expresses. For some, this issue of in my view – limited – consultation – just does not matter – Yet, it is because things do matter that 45 years ago I formally joined Belper Unitarian Chapel:
On no occasion do I recall at any District Meeting were we actually made aware of the possible replacement of the then existing “ Chalice “

At no point was the courtesy given of showing us any visual examples that as quota paying members we would be helping to fund ! This raises the question why were our voices not sought or heard !

Obviously an approach had been decided to pursue the new symbol with no consultation to District Associations or places of worship, or Fellowships which compose the G.A. ?

I have still yet to see any convincing data from “ The Rebranding Consultants “ that proves their costly case – ⭐️So when The Design Approach was presented to the E.C. Sept 2020 – I note the comment from our Chief Officer Liz Slade – “ We also sought feedback from people outside the movement “


Fine –  I have no problem with that, but why did the Executive Committee not at this point feel it would be wise to consult with District Associations & Member Congregations ?

Those of us who are at the very heart & soul of this movement were deprived of making any “ Feedback ! “ because there was simply no visible consultation happening .

If we pride ourselves to be a democratic denomination then voices from all our Churches, Chapels, Meeting Houses & Fellowships deserve to be heard – ⭐️ This Motion simply seeks to make that happen –


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I write this as your representative at the Unitarian General Assembly 2022, presenting to you my feedback, thoughts and observations..


The General Assembly was held in the convivial surroundings of the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre from the 19th to the 21st of April. There were about 400 Unitarians from all over the country there. It was a great opportunity to meet up with some old Unitarian friends, and to make some new ones as well. Being a representative gave me a great opportunity to listen – and take part in the debates on the motions that had been submitted. My overall impression was that we held each other with love and respect. That meant that in the debates we had, views could be sensitively, earnestly, robustly and respectfully expressed. To my spiritual and political mind, this was a breath of fresh air. To me, it was a microcosmic vision of how our society could be organised and run.
There were 4 main motions that were debated and voted on. Before I go on further, I will apologise that there wasn’t an opportunity for three of the motions to be properly raised within the congregation before going to the GA. The problem that we had was that the agenda wasn’t released until the 1st of April, which didn’t give us an opportunity to have our own discussion on these motions. The exception was that three months ago, we did approve and support motion 3 (At our Sunday service), that David Burton presented at the GA.
5                           [ Continued on pages 6, 7, and 12 ]

Motion1  –  That this general Assembly Of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches Supports a well funded NHS, free at the point of use and considers that the increased use of the private sector in the delivery of NHS healthcare, benefiting shareholders at the expense of patients is ethically reprehensible.

We therefore call on the UK government to make a renewed commitment to a well funded NHS – free at the point of use – and to abandon plans and practices that further divert public resources to private healthcare companies.

I voted for this motion. I did so on the basis that historically , the Unitarian movement has always supported the ideals that are incorporated into the NHS. Also, I thought that this would be in keeping with the broadly liberal/green/left principles that we – as a congregation – have.

This motion was carried.

Motion 2 – The General Assembly of Unitarian and free Christian Churches:
Affirms with joy that each person’s understanding and statement of their own gender identity is a matter of conscience;

  1. Affirms that transgender rights are human rights; Joins the      British Medical Association, the TUC and others in civil society in urging the adoption of a self declaration model for gender recognition by the UK and devolved governments;
  2. Requests that the Chief Officer (Liz Slade) lobby for this model in response to UK or devolved government consultations and on any other suitable occasion

My initial thought on this motion was that whilst I personally fully supported it, that there had not been time to consult within our congregations about what -for some people – is a contentious issue. There was an amendment brought forward to suspend this motion for a year to allow consultation to take place in our congregations. I voted for the amendment, but it was rejected. I voted for the substantive motion because I felt that it was intrinsically the right thing to do.

This motion was carried.                                                                       6

Motion 3 – That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches regrets the lack of consultation over the rebranding exercise and requests that the Executive Committee (EC) consults the constituent congregations and fellowships on whether to introduce the new logo or retain the traditional chalice design adopted in 2007 in the interests of maintaining a consistent denominational identity.

Further to our consultation (At one of our Sunday Services) on this matter, David Burton made a well argued speech to put forward this motion. I spoke in support of the motion. There was some “heat” in this debate, but the way that it was held meant that it was constructive, respectful and that everybody participating was much better informed about the depth of feeling that there is within the movement on this issue. Based on my prior knowledge of our consultation, I voted for the motion.

This motion was carried.


Motion 4 – That this general Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches:
Endorses a World Citizens Initiative “We the People’s Campaign”.

  1. Joins with campaigns and petitions of other faith groups who support this campaign.

On looking at the online literature of the World Citizens Initiative, it seems that it is aimed at democratising the UN and making it truly representative of all our world’s citizens. I voted for the motion.

This motion was carried

There were other motions, but they were all procedural motions that were really to do with the administration of the Executive Council.

It wasn’t all discussions about motions! There were extra-plenary sessions and keynote speakers on a whole myriad of subjects. To anyone attending GAs I would say that it’s important that you make sure that you pace yourself, because there are so many interesting things to go to that you can easily end up feeling a bit overwhelmed.

[Concluded on page 12]




WORSHIP SERVICES  –    JUNE to JULY 2022                              

Sunday June 5th                  Alison Scrowston                                               
11 am                                    Our Chapel Garden                           

Sunday June 12th               David Burton
11 am                                  “Let’s stretch the open hand of Love”
Sunday June 19th               Ed Fordham
11 am                                    Lay person in charge of Old Chapel, Great Hucklow

Sunday June 26th David Burton
11 am                                    A celebration of Summer

Sunday July 3rd                   David Burton
11 am                                    Short service, followed by
Congregational AGM

Sunday July 10th Revd Maud Robinson
11 am                                    Minister, Stannington Unitarian Chapel

Sunday July 17th Ed Fordham
11 am                                    Leader, Great Hucklow

Sunday July 24th Revd Maria Pap
11 am                                    Minister, The Old Meeting House, Mansfield

Sunday July 31st                   Hugh Beavin
11 am                                    From Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Hinkley


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.  Contributions should be in the hands of your editor [contact details on page 16] by Sunday 17th July if they are intended for inclusion in the August – September edition.





Frances St Lawrence writes:
It is said that Mary Goodwin [see her picture on page 13] had shaken the hand of John Wesley when he came to preach in Belper. Upon reading this,  I was immediately reminded of the following reading by American Unitarian Universalist Ashley Horan, which begins with a quote from John Wesley “ How is it with your soul?”

By Ashley Horan

“How is it with your soul?
This is the question that John Wesley, Anglican priest and founder of Methodism, was known to ask of participants in small reflection groups. I ask you because, for me, this has been a hard week. So, beloveds, how is it with your souls?
If your response to that question is anything like mine, I want to invite you to pause as you read this. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, sing a song, light your chalice, feel the force of gravity pulling us all toward the same centre – whatever helps you feel more rooted and less alone. Now do it again. And again, and again.
And, once you feel that rootedness and connection, hear this:
You are loved beyond belief. You are enough, you are precious, your work and your life matter, and you are not alone. You are part of a “we” a great cloud of witness, living and dead, who have insisted that this beautiful, broken world of ours is a blessing worthy of both deep gratitude and fierce protection. Our ancestors and descendants are beckoning us, compelling us onward towards greater connection, greater compassion, greater commitment to one another and to the earth. Together, we are resilient and resourceful enough to say “yes” to that call, to make it our life’s work in a thousand different ways, knowing that we can do no other than bind ourselves more tightly together, and throw ourselves into the holy work of showing up, again and again, to be part of building that world of which we dream but which we have not yet seen.”
Although we may not use the same words, I believe amongst all the stress and business of our lives, the truth of this abiding message remains.

 Frances St Lawrence





Living out of a backpack for movement with ease
Station platforms now sanctuary for distraught refugees
Waiting rooms stacked with donated supplies
Strangers united by despair in their eyes
Escaping bombardment, the shelling, the fear
Their welcome relief met with placards and tears

Persecution, invasion, the horror of war
A repeat of harsh lessons unlearned from before
Divisive decisions to save and protect
Relying on kindness from those never met
Leaving homes, crossing borders, countries, frontiers
To an uncertain future met with placards and tears

As heinous hell is unleashed – humanity heals
Trying to repair and rebuild what tyranny steals
For a people, a nation forced from their lands
A displaced population helped by hope, hearts and hands
Lives now in turmoil – the way forward unclear
Finding station salvation and placards and tears

A promise of safety through words on a sign
A proud blue and yellow national ensign
The world nervously watching what news filters through
Harrowed faces on people just like me and you
Emotional scenes show what Ukraine endures
UN- civilisation so close to our shores

In cities, towns, villages – we do what we can
Willing our efforts help our fellow man
Though a man -made monstrosity, mankind can bring hope
Our solidarity, friendship might just help them cope
Let us pray there will soon be an end to their plight
And they know that they have our support in their fight

Let us hope sense prevails and peace soon reappears
So we may lay down our placards and wipe away tears
10                           Carol Brewer




There are two kinds of religion in the world:
true religion and false religion.

Religion with love at its heart is true.
All other religion is false,
Whatever it’s claims and dogmas.

May our religion be true.
May it be true because it is
loving, merciful and kind.
That’s all that matters.

Words from Rev. Cliff Reed ️ MASQUERADE

In a world where, too often,
bigotry masquerades as faith,
and hatred masquerades as doing the will of God,
We kindle this flame of hope –
hope that, in our worship, and our fellowship,
We will witness to a better way.

Rev. Cliff Reed


PRAYER ️   These beautiful words come from Muriel Hilton from her devotional
“ The Invisible Sun “

Help me, O Lord, to live this day
With joy and wonder in my heart,
May all the things I touch and see
Their strange significance impart;
And as I do each simple thing
Lord grant to me a sweet content,
Thy all-pervading love and peace
Which make of life a sacrament



Rowan Beton concludes his report [pages 5 to 7] as follows:

It was really good to see some people that I haven’t seen in a while, especially seeing Sue MacFarlane again. She passed on her good wishes to all of us.
I led an impromptu music session there on Wednesday Evening and that enabled me to spend a bit of time with some younger people. I hope it’s not patronising to say, but I was so impressed by them. They were bright, intelligent and sensitive. It heartens me to see young people coming into our movement, and makes me feel hopeful for the future of our Unitarian Faith.
After three days of the GA, I returned home feeling spiritually full, beautifully tired and very uplifted by the whole experience!

David Burton,  reporting that his Notice of Motion [see page4] after debate was supported and carried when put to the vote by official delegates of the G.A., remarks that the motion was presented  with Rosemary Ruston of The Watford Unitarian Fellowship, and that it called  for a National Consultation to all constituent places of worship as to ascertain support or retention of our Traditional Chalice.

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Reflecting on recent parliamentary pronouncements:-




Earlier this week I was scrolling through the wonderful pictures and memories on the Historic Belper Facebook pages when I came across this one. A photograph of John Goodwin and his wife Mary taken on the 18th July 1865. John was a toddler when Jedediah Strutt built his first mill in Belper in 1776 and it was said that Mary had shaken the hand of John Wesley when he came to preach in Belper.


  Frances St Lawrence

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Adrian Farmer



The figures quoted are approximate and subject to error, but in all cases the totals must be substantial.

A surprising omission is Afghanistan, where since the start of the post-9/11 wars, at least 5.9 million Afghans have fled the country or been internally displaced. Afghan displaced persons and repatriated refugees unable to return to their original places of origin often live in informal settlements, where many people have died due to environmental conditions and illness.

More than 14 million people are thought to have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations (UN) says. More than six million have left for neighbouring countries, while eight million people are displaced inside the war-torn country itself. The response by adjacent EC countries has been to welcome them and encourage them to move on across the Schengen area – an attitude which contrasts with the EC’s policy since 2015 to detain arriving refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan etc, for up to 18 months. A few thousand from these countries recently arrived in Belarus, from where some have been pushed across the border  into Poland, to be detained, allegedly, in crowded and insanitary conditions. Others   have been repeatedly pushed back by Polish soldiers, or have camped in freezing local forests, being obstructed whichever way they try to move.







Let us see one another through eyes
enlightened by understanding and compassion.

Release us from judgement so we can receive the stories
of our sisters and brothers with respect and attention.

Open our hearts to the cries of a suffering world
and the healing melodies of peace and justice for all creation.

Empower us to be instruments of justice
and equality everywhere.





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

Ruth Beck                         Tel: 07790 656350

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
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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.                                                      16                                                                    


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