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A Community with living
and loving spirituality
that engages both the
Heart and the Mind


Speak Gently
David Bates

Speak gently! – It is better far
To rule by love, than fear –
Speak gently – let not harsh words mar
The good we might do here!

Speak gently! – Love doth whisper low
The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship’s accents flow;
Affection’s voice is kind.

Speak gently to the little child!
Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild: –
It may not long remain.

Speak gently to the young, for they
Will have enough to bear –
Pass through this life as best they may,
‘T is full of anxious care!

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the care-worn heart;
The sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart!

Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
Let no harsh tone be heard;
They have enough they must endure,
Without an unkind word!

Speak gently to the erring – know,
They may have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
Oh, win them back again!

Speak gently! – He who gave his life
To bend man’s stubborn will,
When elements were in fierce strife,
Said to them, ‘Peace, be still.’

Speak gently! – ‘t is a little thing
Dropped in the heart’s deep well;
The good, the joy, which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.

This poem is in the public domain.

WORSHIP SERVICES – April – May 2024
Sunday 7th April Mike & Christine Everton  11.00 am Great Meeting Hinckley
Sunday 14th April Revd Maud Robinson  11.00 am Minister of Stannington Unitarian Chapel
Sunday 21st April Revd Patrick Timperley  11.00am Minister, Boston Unitarians
Sunday 25th April Revd Maria Pap  11.00 am Minister, Mansfield Unitarians
Sunday 5th May Alison Scrowston & Helen James  11.00 am Hymns & Readings which bring delight
Sunday 12th May Fred Barrett  11.00 am
Sunday 19th May Cllr David Burton  11.00 am Generosity of Spirit Part 2
Sunday 26th May Kieran Mardle Moss  11.00 am Unitarian Ministry Student

Sadly, we are no longer opening the Chapel, each alternate Saturday, for
meditation and prayer about the state of people in the world, in particular
those areas subject to war, famine, disorder, or mass migration. This does
not mean we are no longer concerned. We still include these people in our
private prayers and thoughts, and in our public worship.
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 19th May if they are
intended for inclusion in the June – July edition.
Saturday 1st June 2 pm
The next quarterly meeting of East Midlands Unitarians (EMU) will take place at The  Great Meeting House, Leicester.
Sunday 9th June
Belper visit to Underbank Chapel, Stannington for their 11 am service.
Please note there will be no service at Belper Chapel on this day.
A minibus has been booked which will be leaving Belper Chapel at 9.20am -returning  at approximately 1.30pm.  A sign up sheet for this will be in Chapel soon and you will need to take a packed lunch please.
Sunday 16th June
This is the date of our EMU Annual District service which will take place in Hinckley Chapel at 3 pm.
Travel arrangements will need to be made by car and offering of lifts on this occasion please. We will still have a service at Belper Chapel 11am as usual. All are welcome to these events.
Please ask Frances St Lawrence if you need any more details.

Rowan Beton, our representative at this important gathering from almost all the
Unitarian Chapels and Churches in the British Isles is anxious to use his vote to
reflect the views of all the Belper Congregation. Please read his remarks on page 8,
then the resolutions on pages 4 and 5, and then tell him what you think.

The following motions have been submitted for consideration at the GA Annual
Meetings 2024. Amendments may be submitted at any time prior to the final vote on a
motion. However, it is in the best interests of clarity for amendments to be advised as far
in advance as possible.
That this General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches recognises the
rapidly growing significance of automation, algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI) and
encourages a balanced response mindful of both substantial benefits and threats. In
particular it:
I)calls upon individuals and congregations to study AI, algorithms and their societal
impact, encourages Unitarian bodies to host and/or facilitate wider societal and
philosophical conversations, and instructs the Executive Committee to urgently launch
an AI Response Task Group to oversee this process and develop a study framework for it;
ii) recognises that injustices, often affecting the already disadvantaged, are occurring
through automation (AI based or otherwise), and calls upon Unitarians to challenge such
injustices either directly or through support of organisations like the Just Algorithms
Action Group.
This General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches:
a) Affirms its strong support for the NO MORE DEATHS campaign, promoted by the
charity Inquest, which urges HM Government to establish a National Oversight
Mechanism for England and Wales – a new independent public body responsible for
collating, analysing and following-up on recommendations arising from inquests,
inquiries, official reviews and investigations into state-related deaths.
b) Instructs the Executive Committee to add the Unitarian General Assembly to the list
of supporting bodies for this campaign.
c) Urges Unitarian churches, districts and individuals in England and Wales to support
this worthwhile campaign by writing to local Members of Parliament, sharing
information about it wherever possible and donating to the Inquest campaign appeal.
This General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches grieves and deplores the
recent events in Israel and Gaza, notably the actions of Hamas in killing and abducting
hundreds of people on 7 October 2023, and the subsequent responses by the Israeli
Government which have resulted in huge destruction in Gaza and great harm to
innocent civilians.
The Assembly resolves to:
* extend heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by occupation, terrorism, and
violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories and appeals to Unitarian congregations to
support the humanitarian relief efforts of medical and other charities (such as the
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Palestinian Red Crescent)
* call upon the UK Government to suspend all military cooperation with Israel
throughout the conflict, including the cessation of arms sales by UK companies.
* oppose the continuing establishment of illegal settlements in the Occupied
Territories, the institutionalised discrimination against Palestinians, and any attempt at
ethnic cleansing within the Territories.
* urge political leaders to pursue an immediate halt to the conflict and a peaceful
resolution based on principles of justice and the equal human rights of all the
inhabitants of Israel and the Palestinian territories and an end to the Israeli occupation
of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza in accordance with United Nations’
That Clause 10 of the Constitution of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free
Christian Churches be amended as follows:
Delete the following two paragraphs:
“There shall be a maximum of four ordinary motions accepted for debate by the
Assembly. There shall be a maximum of one Emergency Motion (except in exceptional
circumstances) accepted for debate by the Assembly.
“in the event that more than four ordinary motions and/or more than one emergency
motions are received a vote shall be taken at the beginning of the business meetings to
determine which four ordinary and one emergency motions shall be accepted for
debate.” What this means is that if the motion is adopted, if there are more than four
motions going forward for consideration, that delegates at the Assembly will be able to
choose which four motions to vote on – my italics!
There are some administrative motions that will be voted on. I have included two of
these motions that I think are relevant to us:
Motion 6. The GA Executive Committee, in it’s capacity as a Trustees of the General
Assembly, proposes a motion to the General Assembly meetings in 2024;
“That the Executive Committee and General Assembly Staff proactively develop a
matched-funding scheme to invest in local leadership.”
Motion 13. That Geoff Levermore be appointed President of the General Assembly of
Unitarian and Free Christian Churches for the year 2024-2025.

The Unitarian GA is a wonderful opportunity for people from all British Unitarian
Congregations to gather and to share ideas, to discuss and to debate. It is also a
really valuable time to develop ways of thinking in a way that broadens our
Unitarian Spiritual Faith. Part of the way that we do this is to engage in healthy,
heartfelt and informed debate about the issues that are raised as a result of the
motions that are put before the General Assembly – GA. The way in which the main
policy motions are debated is a beacon that highlights the very best way in which
democracy can be made to function.
Each motion has a proposer for the motion, and a seconder. This is followed by a
speaker against the motion supported by a “seconder”. Delegates can then also take
a turn to speak for or against a motion as they so choose. Then a vote is taken
amongst the delegates. For a motion to be successful, it has to pass with a simple
majority of delegates in the meeting to vote for. The debates are respectful,
sometimes a little heated, but always heartfelt and well intentioned. I just wish that
our Parliamentary debates were as well conducted and informed!
I have set out on pages 4 and 5, these motions out for your consideration. I
warmly invite you to respond to them. I will vote according to the general tone or
“drift” of the responses that I get back. I can’t guarantee to represent the views of
any one individual, but I will try to represent the views of our Congregation in the
best way that I can. If you need clarification on any of the motions, please do get in
touch with me, and I will try my best to answer your questions.
Please send your responses to me – Rowan Beton before the 4th April.
You can get in touch in the following ways
Email me at
Phone me on 07814437706.
Rowan Beton
Derbyshire Life Magazine – In the March Edition of The Derbyshire Life County
Magazine it was a delight for many of us to discover a substantial article by Roly
Smith pertaining Jedediah Strutt & our Belper Unitarian Chapel. This article
refreshingly acknowledged the importance of Unitarianism to the life of
Jedediah Strutt. Also, a superb exterior photograph of Field Row Unitarian
Chapel featured in the article which Jedediah Strutt financed & had built in
1788 !
To quote from this interesting article – “ By all accounts and despite his
enormous wealth Jedediah Strutt remained a plain- living man, faithfully
adhering to his firmly held Unitarian beliefs “
Crichton Porteous The Derbyshire Author Crichton Porteous published from
1938 until 1965 over 30 Books with endless national newspaper articles. With
Samuel J. Looker, Crichton Porteous produced in 1965 the most authoritative
biography of Richard Jeffries entitled, “ Man of The Fields “
Having personally known Leslie (he preferred to be called by that name ! ) he in
1950 introduced my wife’s parents together at a garden party here at his home
in Two Dales.
Recently, I acquired for a friend a nice copy with a perfect dust wrapper of
Leslie’s eighth book entitled “ Sons Of The Farm “. At the beginning of this book you encounter these words
from Walt Whitman –
“ The main thing is having people understand people – brothers brothers – “
On reading those words penned some 150 years ago it struck me how prophetic & relevant they are in terms of resolving our continued inhumanity with the living Hell of Gaza !
David Burton’s Reflections [Continued] Joyce Grenfell Which are the books you turn to when at your lowest ? For myself, it has to be “ In Pleasant Places “ by Joyce Grenfell. This is the second volume of her remarkable memoirs revealing a deeply spiritual human being.
Each springtime around Easter Joyce would take a holiday with her husband Reggie to the Lake District. The book reveals many amusing yet profound encounters Joyce had with all types of people.
Joyce after the death of her dear Mother penned the words :


What eye beholds the spring
No retina or lens
With signals to the brain
Could compass such a thing.

If on this earth we see
The green immensity
And hear the music’s ring.
Where can the real spring be?

From time to time the mind
Sees more than mortal’s range.
The universe made plain,
A seeing for the blind.

It is the eye of Mind
That sees and hears and knows
The law that holds intact
The man, the star, the rose.

Joyce Grenfell

Words from Marcel Proust –

A little knowledge separates us from God,
much knowledge brings us back.
One should never be afraid to go too far,
for the truth is beyond.

MY PREACHER’S GOWN – by Revd Derek Smith
This morning, I am wearing my Preacher’s Gown – It’s 64 years of age, and needed
repairs a couple of times – so not worth much, but then it’s not for sale because to
me it’s priceless !
It was given to me 64 years ago by the then Unitarian Congregation at Mosley in
I had just completed my four year study at the Unitarian College in Manchester and
at Manchester University. The last two of the four years I had also served as Lay
Pastor to the Mossley Congregation. So in 1959 I had qualified as a fully credited
Unitarian Minister.
The Mossley Congregation wished to hold a special service to mark this occasion. It
was at that special service they presented me with this Preachers Gown !
It has served me well over the past 64 years – for a further 3 years at Mossley, then 5
years at Glossop & Denton, followed by 8 years at Plymouth, and then almost 20
years at Mansfield with every Sunday afternoon at Belper Unitarian Chapel.
The gown was well used during my Presidential Year of The General Assembly
touring the British Isles. Even in my retirement years it went with me to lead
Services at many other Unitarian Churches.
It is now looking a little tired these days, and it’s not worth much, but I must repeat –
to me it’s Priceless !
[This reading was recently used at a morning service led by Kath & Peter Faulkner –
They are words from Rev. Derek Smith who was minister of Belper Unitarian Chapel
from September 1975 until his retirement in 1993.] 11
Chairman and Safeguarding Officer
Cllr David Burton, Ivy Cottage, 4 Wheatley Lane, Two Dales, Matlock DE42FF Tel:01629 734072
Secretary Ruth Beck 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 Tel: 01773 827831
Organist   John Hodson Tel: 07846 020153
Trustees’ Secretary     Ruth Beck Tel: 07790 656350
Trustees’ Treasurer    Joan Blackham Tel: 01629 733841
Newsletter Editor   Ted Roadhouse 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.


Author JaniceBarrett

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