BELPER UNITARIAN CHAPEL
A Community with living and loving spirituality that engages both the Heart and the Mind
NEWSLETTER February – March 2024
Old Kaspar talks to his grandchildren as they gaze across the site of……
THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM
With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
They said it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.
Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won,
And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay … nay … my little girl,” quoth he,
“It was a famous victory.”
And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why, that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory”
(Last four verses from a poem by Robert Southey)
The District Working Group will be held on Monday 5th February 2pm at The Old Meeting House Mansfield.
This meeting will be chaired by David Burton. One aspect of business will be to see how best East Midland Unitarians can help to support a Minister at Belper. Our District Association, (East Midland Unitarians) will hold its Quarterly Meeting on Saturday 2nd March at 2pm. This will be held at Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Baines Lane, Hinckley. Any member of the Belper Congregation will be most welcome to attend with Matt & Frances being our “Official “ voting representatives. If you would like to attend please have a word with David Burton who can
convey our numbers to those responsible for catering.
Back in December it was a delight that over 100 people attended our special Christmas Carol Service. Our sincere thanks to Ruth Beck & Harry for leading this service with the many excellent contributions with also, much enjoyed musical items !
To support our Chairman’s “Civic Charitable Appeal – ‘The Send A Child To Hucklow Fund’ Harry will be organising a Musical Evening on SATURDAY 20th APRIL 7:30pm in our Chapel. Full details will be given regarding this event mid March – Please keep the date free!
Chapel Membership is open to anyone who find themselves in sympathy with the ethos of Unitarianism, our manner of worship and spirit of fellowship. Members can and sometimes do belong to other denominations. If you would like to explore Membership of Belper Unitarian Chapel please speak to David Burton or Alison Hemstock.
From a recent service of worship led by Judith Pugsley these beautiful words from Walt Whitman were shared –
“ This is what you should do : Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone who asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labour to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
re-examine all you have been told in school or church
or any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem : –
Words from David Burton – Just before her death Mary Smedley a former active attender of our Chapel insisted on passing on to me what she called her “Treasures!” Mary was a lifelong Belper resident – a much respected local historian with her family roots in Central Methodist Chapel ( Mary did not approve of the word Church!) Her husband Peter was a former Belper Town Mayor & committed Freemason. This so called treasure from Mary’s collection of cuttings I used in a recent service:
When a ticket collector stopped beside Albert Einstein he rummaged through his pockets and briefcase without finding his ticket. The Conductor said, “We know who you are, Dr. Einstein. I’m sure you have a ticket, so don’t worry about it.” Just as the Conductor was about to move into the next carriage, he turned round. Dr. Einstein was on his hands and knees looking underneath the seat for his ticket. The Conductor then said quietly, “ Dr. Einstein, please don’t worry about the ticket, I know who you are “ Einstein looked up and replied, “I too know who I
am. But what I don’t know is where I am going!”
WORSHIP SERVICES – February – March 2024
Sunday 4th February Rev Andi Phillips 11.00 am Minister, Upper Chapel, Sheffield
Sunday 11th February Cllr David Burton 11.00 am Theme – Generosity
Sunday 18th February Rowan Beton 11.00am
Sunday 25th February Kevin Stone 11.00 am
Sunday 3rd March Rev Tony McNeile 11.00 am Chaplain, National Unitarian Fellowship
Sunday 10th March Judith Pugsley 11.00 am Books which are Special, Part 3
Sunday 17th March Peter and Kath Faulkner 11.00 am
Sunday 24th March Sir Peter Soulsby 11.00 am Interview about Religion and Politics
Sunday 31st March Rev Kevin Stone 11.00 am [Easter Sunday] Sunday 7th April Mike Everton 11.00am Great Meeting Hinckley
Sunday 14th April Rev Maud Robinson 11.00am Minister of Stannington Unitarian Chapel
The world news is full of headlines and images that are deeply disturbing and often frightening and overwhelming. There is a need to have spaces where we can experience healing which enables us not to feel overwhelmed by the constant barrage of news. Our Chapel will be open, from 4pm till 5pm, as a prayerful and meditative space on Saturday the 17th of February and every other Saturday from then on. All are welcome to bring readings and music that you wish to share. 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 March if they are intended for inclusion in the April – May edition.
OUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Belper Unitarian Chapel, like most other churches now, has a great online presence. We have a Facebook page with 484 Followers (meaning these people regularly get our updates), 57% female, 43% male. All age ranges are featured,
but particularly the over 45’s, the largest group being women over 65. 78% are from the UK, 19% of those from Belper itself, but there are followers from London, Sheffield, Mansfield, Leics, and also India (!), the US, Philippines and Italy who are listed in our data. Images with the posts are especially worthy of ‘clicks’ and in the last 90 days
alone, 1.2k views have been recorded. Especially of note was Rowan’s post about the launch of the meditation on Saturdays at 4pm, information about the passing of our friend Katie, and photos by Ruth. Find our page here:
https://www.facebook.com/belperunitarians If you click on ‘Like’ you will find around 2 posts per week will come up on your own page. You can ‘Unlike’ at any time, but still find us in a search. You can also message us on here and we’ll get back to you promptly. Please feel free to comment on any posts you see.
And don’t forget of course, our website https://www.belperunitarians.org/ for general information, but especially our virtual tour https://www.belperunitarians.org/tour/ You will find photos of our chapel
available for free download to use anywhere on our very popular Unsplash site. So far, we have had more than half a million global views and 3,049 downloads, using our images out in the world, since launch in March 2022. The most
popular images are those of the crypt! https://unsplash.com/s/photos/belperunitarian-chapel
Many thanks to our web designer Rick for all his hard work on this. https://www.weareambitious.com/
Please feel free to share any of these links far and wide and to engage with us there if you can’t make it to our Sunday services.
Jan Barrett (Communications)
I was pleasantly surprised when Frances asked me to write an article about Arran and Arran life. To start, people here have asked me “What brought you to Arran?” and that’s my partner. Since David was taken seriously ill in Belper in 2022 and in the Royal Derby, we have both had an extremely traumatic year. I was also in the Royal with infections and as we were recovering we decided we wanted to be together, His Over 60s bungalow was the most suitable of our homes, but when we came David was ill again, went to a mainland hospital, and was released on
23rd August. The biggest topic of conversation here is something Derbyshire doesn’t have – the boats!. Although mostly ships, ferries are called “the boats” and failures in sailings are usually due to boat breakdown or high winds. This winter we have had excessively windy (and wet) weather and even south of the border you may have seen TV news reports on the age of many of the boats. To some, you’re on an island now – it’s part of island life, those who
wanted to visit family for Christmas took a less even tempered view. It is a fact that everything that comes onto Arran comes on the boats, so no boats no mail, milk or newspapers and groceries soon run out on the Co-op shelves.
Arran’s road system hugs the coast except the String (think of the Snake Pass and it’s similar but narrower) and the Ross which cross from east to west. I’m grateful for my 4 x 4 because in a storm waves on the way to Corrie were coming over throwing up tree branches bricks and seaweed. Coastguard and Police were on the spot, held up traffic but saw me and signalled when I should pass: nothing followed me. Seaweed and pebbles can lie on the roads after high tides until the Council clears them.
The Island has a temperate climate as it is in the Gulf Stream surrounded by salt water so not as cold, bleak and desolate as people think. The mountains are majestic and I can’t help staring at them especially when they are topped with snow. We have had snow lower down this year, but that is rare and the children enjoyed building a snowman in the school playground. I wanted some musical activity and there is an open night where people go, take their instruments and play. It was my first time last night, and I was the only one with music. People played in
turn and others joined in. When it was my turn to play there was a lot of encouragement with people asking what music I had got. The Skye Boat Song would do, I played my treble recorder, people joined in and it fitted in with the other folk music performed. I’ll be back next week. Readers will not be surprised to know I am on the organ rota for Brodick Church of Scotland.
I’m now looking forward to spring and summer when I can get around to Arran’s pretty spots like Lochranza which has another ferry service besides the Ardrossan to Brodick run, so it’s busy there, but not too busy. It also has a romantic ruin of a castle, a golf course often with deer about and a distillery.. Round the coast seals rest on the rocks and I was amazed by the number of red squirrels I saw in autumn – there are no greys here.
Jean and David Hemming
2 Red Quarry Road, Corrie,
Isle of Arran,
North Ayrshire KA27 8FD
Editorial Note : Unitarians have no fixed creeds or compulsory beliefs, so I imagine that some readers will have reservations as to the capacity of Jesus to save us from the works of the devil or from hellfire, although they would accept that many of his teachings are sound. All of us, however, can press the “save” button more often, I think.
From poems by Lemn Sassay [Helen Brown] “How do you do it?’ Said night Where are my glasses?
‘How do you wake up and shine? ’My glasses are gone!
‘I keep it simple,’ said light I’ve lost my glasses! I’ve lost my
‘One day at a time’ ….I have got my glasses on!
The Belper Strutts
A talk in the Chapel on Friday 22nd March at 7pm You are invited to come along for another of Adrian Farmer’s fascinating and informative talks. This time the subject “The Belper Strutts” will cover those who came to the town as Unitarians, those who worshipped and were eventually laid to rest at the Chapel and the descendants who stayed in the town but came to conform to The Church of England. Free entry, donations welcome and refreshments will be available.
Hope to see you there!
Registration now open for Annual Meetings Dates: 4-6 April 2024
Venue: Staverton Park Hotel, Daventry NN11 6JT
Join your Unitarian friends and allies for an inspiring few days of workshops, lectures, shared worship, and togetherness. It is also the time for us to contemplate our collective future and make decisions to direct
Adult prices for the three days of activities range from £135 for newcomers and under-40s to £420 for patrons. A full explanation of the pricing is available on the website. In addition to our inspirational programming, this includes two nights at a country hotel with full board, so quite a value! Bookings close on 07 March 2024. Children’s bookings [costing £75] close on 15 February 2024, due to the need for additional Safeguarding planning and arrangements.
More information about all of the wonderful programming will be available soon. The organisers of this event are clearly worried that a number of people would wish to attend, but cannot afford to pay the £370 for full board
over two nights at a country hotel. If you are one of these people, register early and if possible you will be allowed to pay £180 or £135.
ANGELA TILBY’S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
How much better our lives would be if our communication with others more often contained these three short phrases “I don’t know” “I’m Sorry” “Thank You” Humility is not in fashion these days. Instead, we are told we must talk up our achievements and deny or skate over our failures.. Lack of humility leads to problems in our closest relationships, and it’s also a problem between Nations and within Societies. [Maybe this is a thought for future days, not just today. -Ed.] – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The secret pain, the heart oppressed,
The formless fears we cannot name,
The troubled dreams which haunt our rest,
The guilty thought, the sense of shame ;
All these we bring, with fragile trust,
In half- held faith’s uncertain mood,
Here may all anxious cares be lost
And courage found to tread life’s road
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Silence has been banished from the world today. All that is left is muteness and emptiness.
….the late Rev. Andrew Storey Unitarian Minister
Silence seems to survive only as a mere “ structural fault “ in the everlasting flow of noise. It is therefore all the more important that the silent images should be preserved in the soul.
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
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.