BELPER UNITARIAN CHAPEL
A Community with living
and loving spirituality
that engages both the
Heart and the Mind
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER FOR PEACE
Lead me from Death to Life,
from Falsehood to Truth.
Lead me from Despair to Hope,
from Fear to Trust.
Lead me from Hate to Love,
from War to Peace.
Let Peace fill our heart,
our world, our universe.
Peace, Peace, Peace
Difficult though it may seem, we look for peace even in the Ukraine
NEWS UPDATES –
We record our sincere thanks to Jean Hemming who has now retired as our Organist
after faithfully playing at Chapel Services for over fifty years !
Jean is now in the process of leaving Belper to make a new home on the Isle of
All the congregation wish you Jean every happiness as you establish your new
Back in April Jan Barrett produced a superb “ Thankyou “ Service which embraced
so many people who make up or are associated with the Belper Unitarian Chapel.
The magnificent “ Sun “ artwork produced by Jan with its splendid rays has some 32
names of valued people who help make up our Chapel Community !
Congratulations to our Chapel Chairman David Burton who in May was elected
Ward Member as a Liberal Democrat, and has since been elected as Derbyshire
Dales District Council’s Civic Chair for the coming year. This was a major
achievement after a break of eight years taking the seat back from the
Conservatives and topping the poll.
The East Midland Unitarians’ joint Annual District Service for will be held this year
at Boston Unitarian Chapel, Lincolnshire, on Sunday 18th June.
The Service at 5pm will be led by Vince McCully National President of The General
Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches. Vince is a member of Rivington
Unitarian Chapel Lancashire.
There are just two places now available on the Mini Bus should you wish to support
the District Service. THE MINI BUS WILL DEPART FROM CHAPEL AT 2PM PROMPT.
We record our thanks & appreciation to all our “ Worship Leaders “ both far & near
who often enhance our Services at Belper !
The Family Day for East Midland District Unitarians will be hosted by the Belper
Congregation on SATURDAY 19th AUGUST 10.30am until 5pm .
Program details will be circulated in mid July News Updates.
Finally, we give a warm welcome to John Hodson who has accepted the invitation to
become our new Chapel Organist.
THE ILLEGAL MIGRATION BILL
This Bill, at present under consideration by the House of Lords, has aroused
widespread concern across the UK, shared by many Church Leaders, and also by the
Law Society, who have stated:-
“We are concerned that the bill may be incompatible with our international
obligations under the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Refugee
Convention. Breaching our international obligations undermines the rule of law. The
bill will fundamentally reduce the oversight of our courts. More cases are likely to
end up in Strasbourg, which puts the UK at increased legal liability.”
At the recent General Assembly, the following resolution was passed:
“The General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches:
A) Is concerned that the provisions of the ”Illegal Migration Bill” will remove rights
to protection in the UK for vulnerable adults and children seeking safe haven.
B) Asks our Chief Officer to join with other church leaders in publicly opposing the
bill as it stands.
C) Calls on Unitarian Congregations and individuals to raise these concerns with
their MPs before the third reading of the bill on the 25th of April 2023
D) Calls on the British government to establish safe and accessible routes for
all those seeking asylum.”
Rowan Beton, who voted for this resolution on our behalf, writes:-
“I recognise that the date for the third reading of the bill has now passed, but it is
still worth contacting your MP to voice your concerns about this horrendous bill.”
[It is, perhaps, noteworthy that Pauline Latham, the MP for mid-Derbyshire, did not
vote for the Bill’s third reading – she may have had reservations about its morality or
practicality, but she might simply have reached a pairing agreement with one of the
Labour MPs on the other side. The House of Lords may make substantial
amendments to the Bill, in which case it will come back to the House of Commons
for further consideration].
The Reverend David Hardman (Methodist Public Issues Team Leader) wrote:
“ If ever there was a contemporary example of ignoring our neighbour and walking
by on the other side, this is it. On a moral level, these proposals lack compassion
and respect for people’s dignity. On a practical level, they fail to see that punishing
people who cross the Channel in small boats without offering alternative safe routes
will only cause pain and increase the backlog of people who are stuck in unfit
accommodation here in the UK.”
WORSHIP SERVICES – June – July 2023
Sunday 4th June Revd Andi Phillips 11.00 am “Cracks”
Sunday 11th June Kath & Peter Faulkner 11.00 am
Sunday 18th June 11.00 am Devotional Service – Rowan Beton
2.00 pm Minibus leaves for Boston
5.00pm Joint District Service, Boston
Vince McCully, National GA President
Sunday 25th June Your favourite hymns 11.00 am David Burton
Sunday 2nd July Fred Barrett 11.00 am
Sunday 9th July Rowan Beton
Sunday 16th July David Burton 11.00 am
Sunday 23rd July Revd Maria Pap 11.00 am Minister of the Old Meeting House, Mansfield
Sunday 30th July David Burton 11.00 am
Sunday 6th August Mr Paul Newsham 11.00 am Influences to my spiritual journey
All members and friends of the Chapel are welcome to offer contributions to our newsletter. It could be a 380 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 page12] by Sunday 16th July if they are intended for inclusion in the August-September edition.
A POEM REFLECTING THE WEATHER?
“Hope is born In springtime though the cold wind chills”
[Hymn 63 in the purple book] We have quite a lot of poetry and hymns about the fresh green buds of Spring; the cheer of Summer sunshine; the glory of Autumn fruit and harvest. Not so much about the rain and the snow, although without them we would be living in an arid desert. I searched in vain for something about the weather that might offer a balance to the wonders of creation and help us to live with floods, earthquakes, droughts and the adverse effects of climate change .
One feature of life is that, even in adversity, there are friends and counsellors who can cheer us up and make us laugh. Entertainers who can have a whole hall full of people smiling and happy. Two such people were Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. Here is their take on the English Weather.
Both: January brings the snow,
Makes your feet and fingers glow.
February’s ice and sleet,
Freeze the toes right off your feet.
Welcome, March, with wint’ry wind,
Would thou weren’t not so unkind.
April brings the sweet spring showers,
On and on for hours and hours.
Farmers fear unkindly May,
Frost by night and hail by day.
June just rains and never stops,
Thirty days and spoils the crops.
In July the sun is hot,
Flanders: Is it shining?
Swann: No it’s not!
Both: August, cold and dank and wet,
Brings more rain than any yet.
Bleak September’s mist and mud,
Is enough to chill the blood.
Then October adds a gale,
Wind and slush and rain and hail.
Dark November brings the fog,
Should not do it to a dog.
Freezing wet December, then…
Both: b***** January again!
Both: (January brings the snow),
(Makes your feet and fingers glow!)
………………….and so on!
THOUGHTS AFTER WATCHING THE CORONATION CEREMONY
Having spent several days contemplating what I have seen and heard, I must confess that I am very puzzled about the meaning and purpose of the Coronation Ceremony. What does it tell us? What have we learnt? What, if anything, has changed as a result of this amazing spectacle?
Charles III has been king of this country from the moment that his mother, the Queen, died. Nobody contested his entitlement. No one else had any claim – there are no other ‘pretenders’ seeking the throne. A few demonstrated against his accession. I assume they wanted to have an elected President! So bringing Charles to Westminster Abbey
and placing an enormous bejewelled crown upon his head was not really necessary – we knew he was the King anyway and we knew he was the one. I listened carefully to almost all the proceedings hoping that I would learn a little more as to what it was for. I still do not know.
The Service as a whole was very Christian. A lot of trouble was taken to recognise the many other faiths and beliefs which nowadays exist in the UK, and their leaders and dignitaries, including Catholics and Jews, participated. I suppose it shows that we recognise their existence and that they recognise that we have a new King, but the overarching message I got was that our official religion is still the Church of England and that our King is the head of the Church of England. [Scotland is another story.] The vows which Charles made and signed confirmed that he will continue to espouse the protestant faith and it follows from this that he [unlike a previous PM] is not allowed to
marry a catholic wife. The whole ceremony is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and he is very definitely, absolutely, the Church of England.
Now, in the UK, we often believe that the Prime Minister is the person who really has the power. He acts with the support of a majority of members of Parliament, and the King acts upon his advice. So what part does the Prime Minister play in the Coronation Ceremony? He reads a passage from St. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, sits down, and when the King drives back to the Palace he [the PM] goes back home to number 10 and relaxes. Likewise, 400 members of Parliament who have been standing in a compound in Parliament Square disperse and return to their homes or lodgings. Only 40 members of Parliament have actually been allowed into the Abbey. I wonder who chose the reading of Colossians? It strikes me as a very strong endorsement of the power and influence of Jesus – he, perhaps, is the real boss in the Abbey and it is noticeable that he (and not the rest of the Trinity) is singled out as the source of all power and love. Very evangelical stuff. I wonder how the PM, a practising Hindu, felt about reading this passage. I doubt very much whether he sees Jesus in this light.
Meantime, the King, accompanied by some 4,000 military personnel and most of the royal family drives back to Buckingham Palace in a golden coach. Another 5,000 military personnel fire off guns around the world and perform other functions to celebrate the day. As a means of guarding the King and looking after him this seems a bit excessive, but they look really good. They are all exactly in step and they demonstrate how powerful the King is as commander of all the armed services. Perhaps this is why thousands came to watch and millions, or trillions, turn on their TV sets. Of course, if the Military ever have to march off to war, the order would come from 10 Downing
Street, not Buckingham Palace.
ZEBBY THE SUPER CAT
A cat who alerts his deaf owner to visitors and phone calls is in the running for a national award. Zebby, a two-year-old black-and-white cat from Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, taps his owner Genevieve Moss’s face to alert her to put on her hearing aid. Ms Moss said: “Without my hearing aid, I can’t hear anything, but now I have Zebby to help me.”
Zebby is one of 12 finalists in the National Cat Awards, which is due to be held on 17 July in London. She said: “He’ll come and tap me when the phone is ringing, and then I can pop my hearing aid and speaker on and take the call. “In the night, if there’s an unusual noise, he will bat me on my head to wake me up and let me know. If someone is at
the door, he’ll pace about in front of me until I get the message. “He is very helpful and likes to bring me things – he’ll get the post from the doormat and pick it up in his mouth before dropping it in the bedroom. “He even brings me
my slippers if he finds them somewhere other than my feet. “Zebby is very special, I’ve never known a cat quite like him.”
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it is often said that cats are selfish creatures and that they have their own agenda. You can call them, but they only come if you are preparing food for them; they stay out when they want to, but come in when it’s cold. Actually, some cats are like that, but others are different. They can be very loving and affectionate, like Zebby. Sadly, they grow old after 12 to 16 years, and die if the road traffic accidents have not caught them earlier. When, eventually, Genevieve loses Zebby, it would be no use to present her with an independent cat that is always stalking off on its own
business. Their life together would be one long series of frustrations, and Genevieve would miss terribly the love and friendship that Zebby once gave her. It is a delicate situation, that demands careful and sensitive handling.
WORDS FROM JOYCE GRENFELL
I am very fond of both Autobiographies produced by Joyce Grenfell. The first was published back in 1976 “ Joyce Grenfell Requests The Pleasure “ Then her second volume printed just before her untimely death in 1979 “ In Pleasant Places “ Joyce all her life was a committed Christian Scientist reading each day “ Science &
Health A Key To The Scriptures “ by Mary Baker Eddy. Her mischievous observations, spiritual wisdom, grounded in a fundamental belief in the goodness of creation always uplifts and attracts me to her ! The following words are taken from her “ Forward “ to “ In Pleasant Places “ “ I believe the reason I enjoy such things as music, words, flowers, colour and above all friendship, even more than I did in the beginning, is that experience brings with greater awareness and more appreciation. And every new time is a first time. I once had the temerity to say to Walter de la
Mare that I thought his line “ Look thy last on all things lovely every hour “ should read “ Look thy first – – – “ He said he had written the poem when he was young; had he written it later it might have been different. The happiest – no, the most fulfilled – people I have met have all had one thing in common: An unending sense of discovery and wonder, and enthusiasm.
Thank God for zest ! “
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PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
“ The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is very often tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top, there is no limit to oppression. “
H. L. Mencken
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“Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”
WE LOOK WITH UNCERTAINTY
“ We look with uncertainty beyond the old choices for clear cut- answers to a softer, more permeable aliveness which is every moment at the brink of death; for something new is being born in us if we but let it. We stand at a new doorway, awaiting that which comes – – – daring to be human creatures, vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love. “ Anne Hillman
BOOK REVIEW – “ UNITARIAN WHATS THAT ? “
Cliff Reed has given us a concise and readable book that should have general appeal to those who know little of the Unitarian Faith, as well as to others who may wish to explore other perspectives no matter how long they have had connections with the movement.
This is a book that gets the message across in a clear readable style with no less than 41 subject headings all within the space of 60 pages.
Those new to the Unitarian Faith will find a rich mixture of question and answer style topics which should wet the appetite for further study and reading. Others may find they wish to pursue or consider in a new light points of belief and practice that have not been to the fore in their Unitarian journey.
Cliff Reed takes us only so far down the road and leaves us in no doubt that much more can be explored. He attempts this especially so in the sections on “ Do Unitarians mix religion and politics ? “ “ How do Unitarians view sexuality ? “ and “ Do Unitarians see environmental issues as religious ? “ This compact little book is surely a must for a display area in any chapel or for that matter, is useful to have in one’s home to give out freely to any interested friends !
A limited number of copies are available on the Chapel Bookstall.
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
Treasurer Frances St Lawrence fmstlawrence@gmaiLcom Tel: 01773 824548 or 07410 699931
Asst. Treasurer Matt St Lawrence contact details as above
Communications/Publicity Jan Barrett firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01773 827831
Organist John Hodson email@example.com Tel: 07846 020153
Trustees’ Secretary Ruth Beck firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07790 656350
Trustees’ Treasurer Joan Blackham email@example.com Tel: 01629 733841
Newsletter Editor Ted Roadhouse firstname.lastname@example.org 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.