BELPER UNITARIAN CHAPEL
A Community with living and loving spirituality
that engages both the Heart and the Mind
August – September 2022
It is with much sadness we record the death in July of Maureen Cummings a life long
friend to David & Judith Pugsley.
Maureen on her visits to Cruck Barn Cottage , Brailsford Derbyshire attended over
the past ten years services at the Belper Unitarian Chapel. In fact, Maureen was so
impressed with our Chapel and the ethos of Unitarianism that she sought out on
returning home her then nearest Unitarian place of worship formally joining Essex
Unitarian Church, Kensington, London.
Rachel Burton conveys her kind greeting & thanks to the many people at Chapel
who periodically send uplifting and often humorous cards – these cards are much
appreciated by her.
In July a well attended Congregational Meeting was held – Our sincere thanks to
Ruth Beck who has now become our Chapel Secretary replacing Winnie Green.
The meeting was optimistic regarding our future with various suggestions being
shared about possible events such as our Chapel hosting a talk on Saturday 17th
September during “ The Derwent Valley Mills Georgian Weekend “ This talk will be
given by Mr. Adrian Farmer who is a Chapel Trustee.
Our Chapel Chairperson David Burton was approached by Rev. Maria Pap who is
Minister of our Mansfield Chapel ( The Old Meeting House ) regarding any possible
help towards assisting with the provision of a Cooker for a Ukrainian family.
The Mansfield Chapel are actively supporting a Ukrainian Family. On moving into
their home the family desperately required a Cooker which David felt we could fund
as a gift from the Belper Chapel.
Copies of “ Faith & Freedom “ Spring / Summer Edition are now available on the
Chapel Bookstall .
This journal of Progressive Religion Published at Harris Manchester College Oxford
always contains stimulating articles with superb Book Reviews
On Saturday November 5th our friends at Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Hinckley
will be celebrating their 300th Anniversary at 2 pm.
At our Congregational Meeting we unanimously decided that Belper Chapel will hire
a Mini Bus in order to support this event.
Please place this date in your diary – full details nearer the time but we will depart
from Belper 12 noon . Refreshments which are always superb at Hinckley will be
served after this special service.
In September we invite all those who wish to renew their Annual Chapel
Membership – Anyone who is in sympathy with our Unitarian Ethos or values is
welcome to join the Belper Chapel. New membership forms will be available in
September outlining options for membership such as, “ Friend of Belper Chapel “
This allows those who belong to other denominations to be part of us –
Local Member of Belper Unitarian Chapel –
Full Belper Chapel Quota Member of The General Assembly of Unitarian &
Free Christian Churches.
BRING & SHARE SUPPER EVENINGS :
Our first will be held on Saturday August 27th at 7pm ..
Please come with a favourite Reading, Poem or musical contribution with food for
our shared supper table.
On this occasion we will be joined by Rev. Tony McNeile a Unitarian Minister living at
Bolton. Tony is Chaplain to the National Unitarian Fellowship. As our guest Worship
Leader the next day he will be speaking about the “ Theosophical Society “ which for
many years has been an important part of Tony’s spiritual life.
The second Bring & Share will be held on Saturday September 10th at 7pm.
On this occasion we will be joined by Alan & Rosemary Ruston both active members
of Watford Unitarian Fellowship.
Alan is a past National President of The General Assembly of Unitarian & Free
Christian Churches. Also a former Editor of The Transactions of the Unitarian
Do by your presence and contributions welcome our guests to Belper.
WORSHIP SERVICES – AUGUST – SEPTEMBER 2022
Sunday 7th August David Burton
11.00 am Philip Larkin’s Poem “ Water “
Sunday 14th August Revd Patrick Timperley
11.00 am ( Secretary, East Midland Unitarians )
Sunday 21st August Ed Fordham
11.00 am Leader, Gt Hucklow Old Chapel
Sunday 28th August Revd Tony McNeile
11.00 am Chaplain, National Unitarian Fellowship
Sunday 4th September David Burton
11.00 am A Service to celebrate 60th Anniversary of the Unitarian
Children’s Holiday Charity, “ Send A Child To Hucklow”
Sunday 11th September Alan Ruston
11.00 am Member of Watford Unitarians
Sunday 18th September Ed Fordham
11.00 am Leader, Gt Hucklow Old Chapel
Sunday 28th September Rowan Beton
11.00 am The Importance of Self Expression
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 8] by Sunday 18th September if they are intended for
inclusion in the October – November edition.
VISIT BY BELPER NORTH MILL VOLUNTEERS 18 JULY 2022 Photo – Ashley Franklin
We were thrilled to host a meeting for the Belper North Mill volunteers this month and
to show off our lovely building, tell them about our history and how it relates to both
Jedediah Strutt and the mills. It seems the North Mill Museum is to close – a huge loss to
Belper and also the Derwent Valley. But there’s only so much money in the pot, and the
museum itself has been flooded several times in recent years, each time being dried out,
artefacts saved, refurbished and relaunched, only for it to happen again.
Belper Unitarian Chapel is anxious to help keep the education about the history of our
town alive. We look forward to working in conjunction with the volunteers and
professionals at the Mill to host visits for schools and after-walk refreshments just like
we did in the old days before you-know-what. The volunteers were treated to a talk by
Frances and Fred, then a Q&A session with Jan also. There were information boards,
photos, leaflets and resources shared. Everyone was given the opportunity to explore
the crypt by candle-light and the Musician’s Gallery, accessed by the outside
cantilevered staircase – a rare architectural feature in a building of this age. The views
from the gallery are spectacular and there were plenty of takers to explore both spaces
and take photos.
Anyone else who wishes to view our fine building is welcome to contact us via our
website or Facebook page. Or just turn up at a service any Sunday at 11am. We often
welcome outside visitors after the service has finished too at midday and people join us
for a cuppa and a chat, but experiencing a service is even more informative.
Modern Unitarianism welcomes people of all faiths and none, those who are seeking a
spiritual element to their lives, and those who are on a journey of discovery. We have no
formal creed, so you will not be told what to believe, but instead, to ‘knit your own faith’
based on your reading, meditation, listening, life experience and any spiritual
intervention that might entail. Still not sure? Come and try us out! Every Sunday, 11am.
Check out our website: www.belperunitarians.org
5 Jan Barrett
As a method of punishment, transportation was often used as an alternative to execution
in England from 1717 onwards. Most of the criminals sent were convicted of repeated
theft, but some of them were protesters – for example, the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Following
the discovery of Australia by Captain Cook, Botany Bay became a popular destination for
those who survived a hazardous voyage.
Protesters – These people were not necessarily dishonest or violent – although some of
them would be – but it is important to note that they had offended people wielding power
or influence who thought it was a good idea to get rid of them.
According to Google, Transportation was not formally abolished until 1868, but it had
been effectively stopped in 1857 and had become unusual well before that date. During its
80-year history 158,702 convicts arrived in Australia from England and Ireland, as well as
1,321 from other parts of the Empire. In 1853, penal servitude was invented and in many
instances substituted for transportation for those convicted of serious offences.
We English like to think that in general we welcome foreigners who arrive on our shores,
particularly if they have been persecuted where they lived before. For example, 140,000
Jewish refugees were allowed to settle in England between 1880 and 1920. However,
attitudes hardened by 1933-39, even though Jews were then suffering extreme
persecution in Germany and Austria. Only a small proportion of 90,000 Jewish people
who escaped to England were encouraged to settle. With the outbreak of war, many of
them were interned, then released within six months, but around 29,000 of them were
sent to camps in the Isle of Man.
I can remember when, in 1945 I first joined the Ministry [of Labour] we were very busy
resettling ex-servicemen and war workers and finding jobs for them. However, our training
included a warning that we must not help “aliens” unless they had permission (often long
delayed or refused) from the Home Office. This word – “alien” seems somehow to bring to
mind pictures of little green creatures brought home from another planet. One gets the
impression that the officials in the Home Office don’t like them – an assumption I would
base on their treatment of children brought to this country in the Windrush generation.
So, we come to the present day. Refugees are coming, with increasing numbers, across
the English Channel in small inflatable boats and the reaction in the Home Office is to
sentence a number of them to transportation to Rwanda. They are being treated the way
we used to treat hardened criminals between 1717 and 1857! Only a small proportion can
be transported, so the great majority of them must remain a problem, and the cost of the
exercise will be astronomical. Well, perhaps it tells us what people who wield power and
influence feel about “aliens”.
AN INTERFAITH MIDSUMMER EVENING WALK
Recently Ruth (my wife) & myself took part in an “ Interfaith Walk “ around
Markeaton Park Derby.
The evening was organised by the “ Derby Multi Faith Centre “ based at Derby
University Kedleston Road.
The evening brought together 36 people from various Faith Communities. It was a
delight to share conversation with four ladies representing the Jews of Derby – with
lovely interplay with members of the Baha’i community finding much common
My wife enjoyed talking to a Baptist Minister from Wirksworth and a female
During our walk around Markeaton Park brief devotions were given at various points
– these devotions were thoughtful and united us all.
I was personally moved by these words shared by the President of Derbys Hindu
Temple found on Normanton Road.
“ Natures beauty is an art of God. Let us feel the touch of Gods invisible hands in
By the first touch of his hand rivers throb and ripple. When He smiles the sun
shines, the moon glimmers,
the stars twinkle, the flowers bloom. By the first rays of the rising sun, the universe
The shining gold is sprinkled on the smiling buds of rise; the fragrant air is filled
with sweet melodies of singing birds, the dawn is the dream of God’s creative
The Derby Multi Faith Centre hope to host another Interfaith walk early Autumn. As
a legitimate Faith Community we are as Unitarians not just welcome but a respected
part of the Multi Faith Centre. These walks I recommend as a good way to enable
dialogue and harmony between people of different faiths !
7 David Burton
Chairman and Safeguarding Officer
David Burton, Ivy Cottage, 4 Wheatley Lane, Two Dales, Matlock DE42FF
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:01629 734072
Secretary Ruth Beck email@example.com Tel: 07790 656350
Frances St Lawrence fmstlawrence@gmaiLcom Tel: 01773 824548
Asst. Treasurer Matt St Lawrence contact details as above
Communications/Publicity Jan Barrett
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01773 827831
Jean Hemming 144, Far Laund, Belper, DE56 1FJ Tel: 01773 827869
Ruth Beck email@example.com Tel: 07790 656350
Joan Blackham firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01629 733841
Ted Roadhouse email@example.com 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.
BELPER UNITARIAN CHAPEL