A Community with
living and loving
that engages both the
Heart and the Mind
IN THE EAST MIDLANDS – ON SATURDAY AUGUST 19TH
ALL ROADS LEAD TO BELPER!
DISTRICT FAMILY DAY FROM 10.30 AM
More details on Pages 2-3
EAST MIDLAND UNITARIANS DISTRICT FAMILY DAY
After a period of some twenty years the Belper Chapel
Congregation will be hosting this years District Family Day –
You will see on page 3 our outlined Program for Saturday August
19th from 10.30am onwards.
The Family Day is open to all Members & Friends of our Chapel
providing you with the opportunity to meet other Unitarians from
our eight constituent congregations which currently makes up our
District Association, “ East Midland Unitarians “
The Belper Congregational Church has kindly given us permission
to use on this occasion their Car Park accessed from Church Walk,
off Green Lane.
Happy News of our Chapel Family
Saturday 17th June – Holly Jackson and Nick Allott
Saturday 1st July – Liz Gallear and Paul Radcliffe
On both days, as the sun shone, the Chapel was filled with the
family and friends of the happy couples.
I was lucky enough to be at both ceremonies which were joyous,
meaningful and very personal with amazing music and well chosen
words – the services being taken by Rev Patrick Timperley and
Rev Maria Pap respectively.
There was also lots of laughter and a few tears(the best possible
kind!) and I hope I can speak for everyone when I say these were
two perfect days!
We offer Holly and Nick, Liz and Paul our heartfelt congratulations
and all good wishes.
“ To love and be loved is the greatest happiness of all”
EAST MIDLANDS UNITARIANS FAMILY DAY
SATURDAY 19TH AUGUST 2023
Field Row Unitarian Chapel, Belper. DE56 1 DG
10.30am – 11.30am Arrivals with tea and coffee
11.30am Welcome from David Burton, Chairperson of Belper Unitarians
11.35am Devotions led by Rev. Maria Pap
11.55am Introduction to Programme Activities
12 noon – 12.30pm Lunch (please bring a packed lunch)
and viewing of chapel
Visitors will be able to choose from the following activities: 12.30pm – 1.00pm The Story of our Chapel Garden and Biodiversity led
by Alison and Helen
1.00pm – 3.00pm Exploring Belper – A tour led by Adrian Farmer, Heritage
Co-ordinator for Derbyshire County Council and Chapel Trustee
1.00pm – 3.00pm Crafts led by Jan Barrett
1.00pm – 3.00pm Shopping on King Street, Belper
1.00pm – 3.00pm Walk to Belper River Gardens and Park
– Children’s play area and boats
3.00pm onwards Musicians in the garden
4.00pm onwards Tea – Sandwiches and cakes provided by the chapel
*Please note that car parking is not permitted on Field Row.
WORSHIP SERVICES – August – September 2023
Sunday 6th August Paul Newsham
11.00 am Influences to my spiritual journey
Sunday 13th August Revd Patrick Timperley
11.00 am District Secretary; Minister, Boston Chapel
Sunday 20th August Cllr David Burton
11.00 am “That which is sacred”
Sunday 27th August Revd Maria Pap
11.00 am Minister, The Old Meeting House, Mansfield
Sunday 3rd September Kath & Peter Faulkner
11.00 am “Memories”
Sunday 10th September Sir Peter Soulsby
11.00 am Member, Great Meeting Leicester & City Mayor
Sunday 17th September Revd Tony McNeile
11.00 am Chaplain, National Unitarian Fellowship
Sunday 24th September Ruth Beck & Alison Hemstock with Friends
11.00 am “Pilgrimage”
Sunday 1st October Cllr David Burton
11.00 am Visit of Stannington Unitarians, Sheffield
Sunday 8th October Harvest Festival
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 17th September if they are intended for
inclusion in the October – November edition.
WHAT PRICE DEMOCRACY?
” …… we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth”.
Abraham Lincoln, 1863
Reflecting upon the results of the Belper Town Council elections, when
the Conservatives received 7,100 votes and found that none of their
candidates was elected, I am reminded that, in the 2015 General Election,
the United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP] gained 3.9 million votes
and obtained one seat in a 650 member Parliament. There is no doubt
that the First Past the Post system we have traditionally used in the UK
can produce vastly unfair results to small political parties, and pretty
unfair results for any party other than Conservative, Labour and SNP.
Then, think about the strange systems which have enabled people like
Donald Trump, Liz Truss, Jeremy Corbyn to rise to the top of each of their
own political parties. How does this happen? Why does power in these
parties seem to migrate to political extremes? How do you feel about the
situation in the Likud Party in Israel? Well, the situation may change again
and the moderates may strike back. I hope so.
If “first past the post” [FPTP] is clearly unsatisfactory, what should we put
in its place? Most of us forget that, in 2011, we had a referendum, to
decide whether it might be replaced by the Single Transferable Vote [STV}.
The result was that 68% of voters said “no” to STV and 32% said “yes”.
Or, to put it another way, 29% of the electorate said “no”; 13% said
“yes”, and 58% didn’t vote..My impression at the time, which I cannot
prove, was that most of the non-voters and many of the voters did not
fully understand what the vote was all about.
We have a long tradition in the Unitarian Faith that our members think for
themselves and strive to keep themselves informed. Those who feel
moved to do so are active in local government, or even in national
political parties, rejecting the plethora of alarmist rumours and fake news,
spreading common sense and, as WS Gilbert advocated “Quiet, calm
deliberation disentangles every knot”. David Burton and Sir Peter Soulsby
are good examples – we should salute them and welcome their
The Belper Poet Hannah Kirk was a Quaker. It was around 1990 that Hannah with
her husband Bill wandered into our chapel for an afternoon service.
They both returned eventually joining our then small congregation. Bill later became
our Congregational Chairman with Hannah establishing the mid week devotional
meeting called “ The Quiet Hour “
Below we produce two of Hannah’s beautiful Poems –
THE ASPEN TREE :
The morning tide stirs the breeze,
that comes to play with the aspen trees.
First one leaf flutters on slender stem,
then another, and another, and another,
until the whole tree shimmers with glimmering light and
A long lost memory stirs a thought,
and then another, and another, and another,
until my whole mind, like the aspen tree,
trembles with life’s complexity.
Angels guard me, angels guard me
through the lonely night.
Wrap your soft white wings around me
Lead me to the light.
Where I shall see those other angels;
who are earthward bound.
They will nurture and protect me
With both feet on the ground.
DAVID’S NEW ROLE CAPS FRESH ERA AT COUNCIL
Derbyshire Dales District Council has chosen a familiar face to represent its new
political era by naming this year’s ceremonial civic chairman as a councillor who last
wore the chain of office 28 years ago.
Councillor David Burton, a Liberal Democrat from the Darley Dale ward, was elected
successor to Councillor Graham Elliott on Thursday, May 25, at the first full meeting
of the council since the elections handed power to a ‘progressive alliance’ of Lib
Dem, Labour and Green members. He will also co-chair the planning committee.
He can expect to represent the authority at more than 50 official engagements over
the next 12 months and spearhead fundraising efforts for his chosen charity,
the Send A Child To Hucklow Fund, which gives disadvantaged children their first
experience of the countryside on holidays at the Nightingale Centre in Great
Coun Burton, whose support for the fund has brought two groups a year to the
centre for the past 25 years, said:
“These children come from some of the most deprived areas within the U K,
selected by local school heads with social services.”
His election to the role caps a remarkable return to public life for Coun Burton, who
first won a seat on the council in 1979. He was last elected to serve as civic chairman
in 1995. and continued serving the community until standing down for family
reasons in 2015.
Extracted from the Matlock Mercury
Editorial Note – This article makes no mention of the tremendous work David has
done [and continues today] for the Unitarian Faith over the years when he served
on the Council, nor does it mention the Nightingale connections with the Unitarian
Chapels. Many prominent Unitarians have been active and influential in local and
national communities and charities for hundreds of years. David is a living example
of our traditions in these fields.
MY SERVICES AT ELDER YARD
When thinking about writing this article about my having led
some services at Elder Yard Chapel, I have been very unsure
about what to call it. I’ve been leading occasional services at
Elder Yard over the last two and a half years. In that time, we
have all been through such a lot, what with Covid, the cost of
living crisis and the effects of an unstable series of governments.
So I have found my Unitarian faith to be essential in sustaining
me. The opportunity to continue to lead services during these
difficult times has been something that is a part of my sustaining,
The 9th of May 2021, saw me leading my first service at Elder
Yard. I was struck by how “Cheek by Jowl” everything is in the
centre of Chesterfield. The Reverend Andi Phillips had
recommended me to the secretary at Elder Yard Chapel. It was
the first time that I had ever been there and I was feeling
distinctly nervous about leading a service for a group of people
whom I had never met before. I was met at the Railway Station
by Ann Shutt and her husband. They immediately put me at my
ease, made me feel welcome and drove me to the chapel. When
I got there, I was immediately struck by the simple architectural
beauty of the building. Once inside, I was given a warm,
Unitarian welcome. When you get inside, there is a real feeling of
peaceful reverence – much like our own chapel in Belper. The first
service I led there was on “Hope and Renewal”. One of the
hymns that I had chosen was “Morning Has Broken”. There’s a
large organ in the chapel, usually played by Andrew Marples.
The sound of the Congregation singing such a simple hymn
underscored by the incredible power and resonance of the
organ was something that took my breath away. The service
seemed to go very quickly and I enjoyed leading it, though I was
told that it had gone on for an hour and ten minutes – well over
the usual hour. I put that down to my joyful inexperience as a
The second time that I led a service at Elder Yard, I became
slightly more aware of the history of Elder Yard Chapel. The Congregation was
founded in 1662 by Reverend John Billingsley. The Chapel was first established in
1694 and was originally shared between Congregationalists and Presbyterians. In
1721, a Congregational church was established at Bolsover, and most of the
Congregationalists left to become members there. The few remaining
Congregationalists left when the Reverend Thomas Astley – a man with a
profoundly “Arian” theology – was appointed in 1771. By 1985, the Chapel had
fallen into a state of extreme disrepair. Congregation numbers had dwindled
significantly, the roof was leaking and there was a large amount of rubble in the
Chapel grounds left over from the redevelopment of the town centre. Put simply,
the Chapel was on the point of closure. Indeed it would have closed were it not
for the herculean effort put into making an eleventh hour appeal by the then
Chapel Secretary, Alan Rave.
Since then, I have led the service at Elder Yard on three other occasions. Each
time I lead a service there, there is something different that I get from leading it.
The latest service that I led there was indeed on Sunday the 7th of July. The theme
was on the “Flowers of Summer”. I felt that even though the congregation was
small in number, that there was such a strong feeling of love that we collectively
created. That is something that is so common amongst our congregations, a
feeling of accepting and unconditional love and peace.
I am intending to go back to Elder Yard soon, not to lead a service, but to be a
member of the Congregation – to drink in the feeling of unconditional love and
connection that I feel there. Or I might go to one of the Saturday morning Organ
concerts there. I am thinking that – because Elder Yard is not so far away from us at
Belper, that we might think about organising a trip there. I’d be interested to know
what other people think of the idea.
And I haven’t even mentioned the beautiful stained glass windows there!
THE HUMAN CONDITION AND THE RESPONSE OF FAITH
The following words are from the late Rev. Bruce Findlow Unitarian Minister and a
former Principal of Manchester College Oxford.
“ We all need the help of a church or something like a church; The strength to
be got from a community of faith, the presence of like-minded, like-hearted
people to share the journey, to renew the vision, to hold up one another when
the going is difficult and faith burns low.
We each need a theology or mythology or story in which to express our faith.
It maybe Christian, Unitarian, Buddhist, Humanist or something else – We will
each know the story which works best for us when we find it – some of us may
make our own story to understand the world, the divine mystery; and the
uncertainties, tensions, failures and possibilities which confront us.
We all need our own inner resources of faith, hope, love, courage and
understanding. We all need the fruits of the spirit or the grace of God – – – that
added something of light, love and strength which comes to us from beyond
ourselves, or from the hidden depths of ourselves, or from the process of life
around them us; which comes when we are in need, and whether we are
deserving or not !
“Intensely mindful of the world in which we are and the future which faces us. I
have spoken as one drawn by understanding and experience into a dark valley of
pessimism but also as one called by God long ago to live in faith, to follow a light
where ever it leads, no matter how small, how distant, how dim.
May that one, Light and Love above, beneath and around us all, be in each of us;
and go with us, and stay with us , and keep us loving, brave and true. “
Words found by David Burton
THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE
At a recent morning service enƟtled “ UpliŌing Words & Readings “ David Burton
shared these words from a poem written by William Blake –
“ Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair “
“ So sang a little Clod of Clay
Trodden with the cattle’s feet;
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet : “
“ Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to Its delight;
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite. “
Copies are available on the Chapel Bookstall of the “ Spring Summer “ EdiƟon of
Faith & Freedom.
This Unitarian Journal of “ Progressive Religion “ has some splendid articles to
discover and indeed ponder – such as, “ The Search for Meaning in Nature “ by John
Maxwell Kerr, “ De-churching “ or To the church no more by Barrie Needham with
“ Outlooks on life that still challenge and encourage us “ from retired Unitarian
Minister Frank Walker.
The journal contains a superb selection of “ Book Reviews “ keeping the reader fully
abreast of contemporary religious publicaƟons !
Chairman and Safeguarding Officer
Cllr 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 or 07410 699931
Asst. Treasurer Matt St Lawrence contact details as above
Communications/Publicity Jan Barrett
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01773 827831
email@example.com Tel: 07846 020153
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.