This Sunday morning, we were delighted to welcome our friend, Rev. Gillian Peel, who presented this beautiful wall-hanging to the congregation. Gillian is a gifted quilter, and had taken the trouble to incorporate a boot into the design, to represent the town. It will hang in pride of place in our sanctuary. The top two photos, of Gillian presenting the wall-hanging, with our Chairman, Jon Small, looking on, are by Sue Woolley; the bottom photo, of the wall-hanging alone, is by Gillian Peel.
Soul Haven – 3rd Sundays, 10.30 am, led by Simon Hall
Your time for guided reflection through music, poetry, readings and song.
Join us for drinks and pastries followed by readings from diverse sources and traditions, earth-centred prayer, meditative practice and some singing.
Breaking free from the limitations of conventional religion, these gatherings provide a safe, calm space, in which to explore and appreciate your individual spirituality.
Come once, come monthly (3rd Sundays) or simply whenever you feel like it – no sign-up needed!
Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Rumi (Sufi poet and mystic)
A goodly number of Unitarians and other friends gathered in our Meeting House on a beautiful sunny afternoon, to witness the dedication of our new building. The pictures below tell the story …
The inside of the building had been thoroughly cleaned and tidied, the chairs were set out and the flowers in their vases.
The Dedication Service itself started at 2.00 pm, and was led by our minister, Rev. Sue Woolley. The congregation sang beautifully, and we were happy to start with hymn no. 172 All Are Welcome Here, written by our former minister, Peter Galbraith.
Greetings were brought by Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches, and Jane Couper, President of the Midland Unitarian Association. Gavin Lloyd read out some encouraging words from Rev. Peter Hewis, who was unable to attend.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a splendid buffet, provided by the staff of Elsie’s Café, including a special fruit cake decorated with our Unitarian chalice symbol. It was a memorable occasion.
An exciting decision was made at our Annual General Meeting on 13th March. From Sunday 8th May, Northampton Unitarians are going to be holding a Sunday service for worship every week, rather than just on 2nd and 4th Sundays, as at present.
Rev. Sue Woolley will continue to lead one service a month, on 2nd Sundays, and Simon Hall has volunteered to lead a Café Church service on 3rd Sundays, starting on Sunday 17th May. It will be called “Soul Searchers: A relaxed yet uplifting spiritual encounter.”
We hope that this move to weekly services will encourage new people to join us on our Unitarian journey.
At our service on Sunday 10th January, we were delighted to welcome Elizabeth Faiers, from York Unitarians. Elizabeth is a talented craftswoman, and has made us a beautiful stained glass chalice for the Manfield Room, our principal worship space. It was dedicated during our service by our Minister, with these words:
Spirit of Life and Love, We give thanks for this beautiful chalice, carefully crafted by loving hands. May it be a light to us in our new home; may it be a light to us in this year, and in years to come. May it remind us of the wider Unitarian community, of which we are a part. Amen
Today, Northampton Unitarians left their old building at 31, Hazelwood Road, and moved into their wonderful new home, Northampton Unitarians Meeting House. This red brick, detached building is on St. Katherine’s Terrace, off Horse Market, and opposite Sol Central.
Our website is going to be updated over the coming Christmas break – look out for lots of new, exciting activites.
We are also pleased to report that from 1st January 2016, Rev. Sue Woolley will be our quarter-time minister.
We are pleased to report that Sue Woolley was valedicted from Harris Manchester College Oxford at a special service on 28th June, and has completed most of her ministry training. For now she will be continuing in her role as District Facilitator of the Midland Unitarian Association.
We did it! As reported last month, Northampton Unitarians submitted a motion about the Charter for Compassion to the General Assembly’s Annual Meetings, which were held in Swansea this year. Sue Woolley seconded the motion on our behalf, and I am delighted to report that it was passed unanimously by all present. Sue is hoping to be a member of the working group which will be formed to implement the recommendations.
Four of us gathered for a trial run for this course, run by Fiona Boyle. The objectives of the course were to acquire a broader view of religion and spirituality in England today by looking at the traditional churches (particularly the Church of England); at world religions; at spirituality; and at the mind, body, spirit phenomenon.
In the first session, Fiona took us on a whirlwind tour of the history of Christianity in England, from the earliest times right up to the present day. Current issues were touched on, such as the right of bishops to sit in the House of Lords, the Sunday trading laws and faith schools. After a quick coffee, session 2 looked at what we knew about different religions, which included a deliberately fiendish quiz, which Fiona intends to make easier when the course is offered to a wider audience! We also looked at the different perceptions of religion and spirituality; religion is sometimes perceived as out-of-date, irrelevant, too structured and constricting; whereas spirituality is perceived as more intuitive, freer, less prescriptive and based on personal experience.
After lunch, we filled out a personal experience questionnaire, which covered experience of both traditional religion and what Fiona called the “holistic milieu”. We were invited to think about how we identified ourselves, about the significant changes in our religious / spiritual lives so far, about our key values, and about anything in the questionnaire that we felt uncomfortable about, and why. The final (shorter) session dealt with our views of the religious / spiritual future; for ourselves, for the UK and for the world.
It was a fascinating and mind-stretching day. We are hoping to offer it to a wider audience some time in 2010.