Dec – Jan 2023 Newsletter.
As a child, not as well off as today’s children, Christmas meant the anticipation and
then the excitement of waking up about 4am or 5 am on Christmas morning to dip
into a bulging pillow slip full of mysterious parcels.
Those gifts, by today’s standards, were not expensive, but they were wonderful.
Then for many years Christmas has meant “ the family “. I have never wanted to stay
others or have others stay with us – though anyone is welcome to “ call in “.
For me Christmas was a day of rest spent at home with a first class dinner ( including
crackers ! ) and the warmth of the family around me. The presents and family, are
still for me an essential part of Christmas.
Yet, today I welcome this Festival because it is a light shining in the darkness – the
light of the life and teaching of Jesus being expressed and seen in countless ways
and actions in a world that is so often selfish, violent, uncaring, and intolerant.
Not that we ever, even for a day, see the fulfilment of all the promise incarnate in
the life of Jesus, but that at this time of the year in many simple actions from
ordinary people we catch a glimpse of that promise.
In this world so often dark and despairing we need such glimpses of light and
promise – however small and simple – and we need to recognise them and
appreciate them. And we need to find Hope and joy in them.
A very happy Christmas to all my good friends at the Belper
Unitarian Chapel –
Our thanks to Rev. Derek Smith for his letter, reproduced on page1. Derek was
Minister of our Belper Chapel from 1975 to 1993.
Derek lives in Mansfield with his wife Pauline both are active members of The Old
Meeting House Unitarian Chapel.
Some thirteen of us from Belper Unitarian Chapel aƩended the special service held
on Saturday November 5th which celebrated the 300th Anniversary of the present
magnificent building of Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Hinckley.
Music & Silence Evening
Back in November 40 people from Belper and beyond aƩended our first evening of
this kind. It was a beautiful occasion with music from Taize, Iona, & the Findhorn
communities with periods of silence and reading of the “ Desiderata. “
Our sincere thanks to our Chapel Secretary, Ruth Beck for making this successful
event happen at our Chapel !
Recently, the Trustees of Belper Unitarian Chapel held their formal yearly AGM.
Those who serve as our “ Managing Trustees “ have legal responsibility for all fabric
matters pertaining the maintenance and care of our Grade 2* Listed Chapel. Over
and above their “Fabric” responsibilities, the trustees are concerned with “the
maintenance of religious worship at, and the support of, the Unitarian Chapel at
With the resignation of Mrs. Marjorie Fox as a Trustee two new Trustees were
For those who are not aware of the people who are the present Chapel Trustees
here’s their names –
David Burton ( Chairperson of Trustees )
Ruth Beck ( Secretary of Trustees ), Joan Blackham ( Treasurer )
Victoria Campbell, Sue MacFarlane, Judith Pugsley,
Matthew St.Lawrence, Frances St.Lawrence, Adrian Farmer,
Neil Fisher (appointed by East Midland Unitarians) & Richard McLachlan.
East Midland Unitarians
. The next Quarterly District Meeting of our District Association East Midland
Unitarians will take place on Saturday December 3rd at The Old Meeting House
This Meeting is open to any Member or Attender from the Belper Chapel with on
this occasion our nominated official voting member being Ruth Beck.
District Family Day
Next year Belper Unitarians will host our District “ Family Day “ It is over twenty
years since we last held this event at Belper which at the time was immensely
Please in your new diaries for 2023 – try and reserve the date, Saturday 5th August,
10.30 am till around 5 pm. Full program details next year but help will be needed
from all of us at Belper Chapel.
Celebration of Christmas
Please support by inviƟng your family & friends to our “ CelebraƟon of Christmas “
Carol Service on Sunday December 18th At 6 pm.
This will be a service of various contributions put together by Jan & Fred with Ruth
A useful book mark
Our good friend Anna who worships with us most Sundays from Bakewell has
donated a number of Leather Book Markers ( placed at the front / to the right of the
central table ) which are £1 each towards Chapel Funds.
WORSHIP SERVICES – DECEMBER 2022 – JANUARY 2023
Sunday 4th December Kath & Peter Faulkner
11.00 am Alternative Views of Christmas
Sunday 11th December Revd Maud Robinson
11.00 am Minister of Stannington Unitarian Chapel
Sunday 18th December CAROL SERVICE
6.00 PM A Celebration of Christmas [See Page 3] Sunday 25th December Christmas Day
Sunday 1st January New Year’s Day
Sunday 8th January David Burton
11.00 am New Beginnings
Sunday 15th January Revd Derek & Mrs Pauline Smith
11.00 am Minister for Belper, 1975 to 1993
Sunday 22nd January Revd Maria Pap
11.00 am Minister, The Old Meeting House, Mansfield
Sunday 29th January Revd Patrick Timperley
11.00 am Minister to Boston Unitarian Chapel
& District Secretary to EMU
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 22nd January if they are intended for inclusion
in the February – March edition.
The side of the Chapel in Snow – A lovely picture by Jan Barrett
To see this in full colour, see our electronic edition, or view it on belperunitarians.org
THE AGED, AGED MAN
I’ll tell thee everything I can;
There’s little to relate,
I saw an aged, aged man,
A-sitting on a gate.
“Who are you, aged man?” I said.
“And how is it you live?”
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.
Lewis Carroll’s well known poem is too long to include here, but, in a way, it reminds us
of our feelings when we are faced with old age – with traditions and habits that have
become unfashionable, ideas and theories which many believe to be out of date.
Ashley Franklin’s brilliant portrayal of a very old man, who appears to be kneeling in a
very old Chapel with his hands clasped together and his fingers laced in each other
has attracted much praise in the photographic world – perhaps when you see it you
feel like Lewis Carroll did, when he met this aged, aged man and clearly did not
understand him. What is he thinking about? What is he doing here? Perusal of Ashley’s
website reveals that he has called the picture “quiet prayer”, which narrows down the
possibilities to some extent. We can still wonder what he is praying about, what
worries him, who or what is he praying to?
It is a tribute to Ashley’s skill and planning that he has made us think about these
questions. As the chosen actor who imitated Ashley’s vision of an aged, aged man
under his direction, I can reveal that, on the day this photograph was taken, I was not
actually praying at all. I was just an actor doing what Ashley told me to do and
conveying his concept to you. The man in the picture was conceived in his mind, and
together we have brought him to you. He bears only a slight resemblance to me in real
life, in that we are both extremely and tiresomely elderly.
To conclude, a few thoughts from the real me about the Chapel, and about Prayer. It is
a Unitarian Chapel, it has no creed or accepted beliefs and, when we pray we do not
address our prayers to any one recognised deity. Nevertheless, we have our very real
concerns for the welfare of humankind and we share them when we pray. I am 99%
certain that we do not kneel, although I have not checked every box pew. Any
kneelers we had have been thrown away a long time ago. When the sun shines, as it
did on the day of this photograph, there is a beautiful multi-coloured light in the
Chapel and you can see it in the picture. We hope that anyone seeking spiritual growth
will see some light (enlightenment ?), in what they see and hear.
QUOTATIONS FROM THE CHILDREN ON FRIENDSHIP
“A good friend needs to be kind, helpful and caring, they should also stand
up for you if needed. A good friend should always make sure you never get
hurt and get left by yourself. They should try to include everyone’s ideas
and not just theirs. They shouldn’t tell their friends secrets – that’s not
being a good friend .
They should always try to help in good or bad situations. They should
always try to be supportive even if something bad happens”
– Zack aged 10 [and a half] “A good friend is kind helpful caring and loving
The sun is shining on my picture because it makes happiness
Love is happiness
Annalise aged 7 [but almost 8] These two perceptive definitions of Friendship have been
contributed by Ruth Beck’s grandchildren.
Chairman and Safeguarding Officer
David Burton, Ivy Cottage, 4 Wheatley Lane, Two Dales, Matlock DE42FF
email@example.com Tel:01629 734072
Secretary Ruth Beck firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07790 656350
Frances St Lawrence
fmstlawrence@gmaiLcom Tel: 01773 824548 or 07410 699931
Asst. Treasurer Matt St Lawrence contact details as above
Communications/Publicity Jan Barrett
email@example.com Tel: 01773 827831
Jean Hemming 144, Far Laund, Belper, DE56 1FJ Tel: 01773 827869
Ruth Beck firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07790 656350
Joan Blackham email@example.com Tel: 01629 733841
Ted Roadhouse firstname.lastname@example.org 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.