Newsletter Autumn 2013

From the Desk
This year has seen yet more great achievements by both chapels, more members and new faces appearing all the time. It has been worth the hard work that goes into all we do. The huge efforts that go into social events, fundraising, celebrating, reaching out, listening and so much more, and the great services we get from visitors.
Every service and experience is new, and good as a learning curve, and I as a service taker learn from what I research. I look forward to seeing the up and coming wealth of  new education as we look forward to new ministry students, as they come to see us, as all of these things belong to us.
Thank you to all at UMB and Frenchay who continue making both chapels what they are and what they can be, as we enjoy the fruits of our rightful harvest.

‘I am a Unitarian. I know I am a Unitarian because I find affinity with you. I am here, now, in fellowship with you, be with me as we teach each other to be Unitarian’. (An extract from The Unitarian Life - words by Kay Millard)

Yours with best wishes and regards, K. Stewart.

Message from your minister.......

New beginnings......
Many people will have recently been experiencing new beginnings. It is just that time of year! New school, new University, possibly a new job. All this seems a strange time of year to think of the new when we are entering a time of withdrawal, ready to protect ourselves from the vagaries of the winter.
But it is because of the harvest that educational establishments spring to life at this time. Farming families needed to have their children at home in those late summer months to help gather in the crops and prepare the farms for the winter. A sense of looking forward and preparation.
So once the harvest is “safely in 'ere the winter storms begin” children can return to school for their New Year. New beginnings.
And so hopefully it is for many of us – after some activity over the summer – we can look forward to a time of gathering in, renewal and reflection.
I recently came across a book of short stories about trees. One was entitled “Why the Ash has black buds”. Trees apparently have always had an idea of what happens to them when they die. Would they turn into wood or coal, chairs or tables, wheels, boat masts, ladders, or fire in a cottage grate – maybe a musical instrument.......
But the ash tree was particularly excited by the thought of how people change and discovered new regions in themselves when they were sitting under its branches and reading a good book. An old fashioned paper book!
Now the ash trees knew they were too valuable to be turned into paper – so they dreamed of becoming pens for the writing of such books. This is why at the end of their finger like branches you will see the black ink tips on the ash tree.
This made me reflect on what it is that each of us will leave as a legacy if you like – what particular quality do you have to pass on? We all have something important and special to offer.
Love and blessings.Lindy

Exciting courses to look forward to!
Those of you who have been thinking about leading worship for the first time – and for those of you who already do, the Western Union will be running the Foundation Steps of the Worship Studies Course on three Saturdays next year at Bridgwater Unitarian Church March 15th: April 26th: May 24th.
Book these dates now! Further details below.

Worship Studies Course - Foundation Step
Want to lead a service? But you’re not sure how? Let the Western Union of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches show you the way.

We are offering a three-part course, leading to a GA-recognised qualification – the Worship Studies Course Foundation Step. (You will also need to do two assessed services).
Session 1:
Session 2:
Session 3:
So you’re going to take a service?
What is worship?
Practicalities and precautions
Choosing Readings
Elements of a service (1)
The Sermon / Address
Prayer / Meditation

Elements of a service (2)
Speech and Communication
Hymns and Music

Where: Christ Church Unitarian Chapel, Bridgwater TA6 3LZ
Dates: Saturdays 15th March, 26th April and 24th May 2014 
Times: 10.00 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. (coffee/tea from 9.30 a.m.)
Total Cost: £39 (to Western Union participants) £48 (to others). This includes a £5 registration fee,  and the £10 fee for the two assessed services. You must attend all three parts to get your District certificate. Refreshments will be provided during the day, but please bring your own lunch.
To register please send your cheque for £39 / £48 (made payable to ‘The Western Union' to Sue Woolley, District Minister, The Midland Unitarian Association, 5 Martins Road, Piddington, Northampton NN7 2DN, by Friday 28th February 2014. Please include a covering note with your name, congregation and your address.

Unitarian: What’s That?
Where do we come from?

Mark Gartside and Lindy Latham will be leading a six week course on the history of the Unitarian movement.

If you would like to explore with us some of our history and the Unitarians who have shaped our theology, please join us at:

Unitarian Meeting, Brunswick Square on the following Tuesdays 7-9pm:
October 29th:November 5th and 12th November 26th; Dec 3rd and 10th

Please contact Lindy or Mark if you would like to come. (0117 950 7906,  / 0117 2398464,


The historic and beautiful Grade II* listed Circa 1691 
We invite you to renew your Friends Membership and consider becoming a Lifetime Friend or ‘Sponsor a Pane’.

A message from our Minister, the Reverend Lindy Latham
As a Unitarian, I firmly believe that our community must be a place of welcome to all those from many walks of life – believers from other faiths – seekers and doubters as well as those who want refuge and company in times of both need and celebration.

We here in Frenchay are the custodians of a most beautiful place of worship which has been a sanctuary for many over the centuries. Increasingly in this world of rapid change, the timeless beauty and simplicity of Frenchay Chapel has been a source of comfort, challenge, inspiration and peace to those who visit.

We are fortunate to have a congregation committed to the care of the chapel, wanting to pass it on as a legacy – but we cannot do this alone.

Much as we would wish otherwise, there is a real and practical price to pay
for this gem, and we are profoundly grateful for the love and support we have already received from many people. Not only in monetary terms, but through their acknowledgement of the important role we play in the local community, which is so encouraging.
We thank you all – and look forward to your continuing presence and support
Rev. Lindy Latham

       “Now open wide your hearts my friends, and I will open mine.....
        And let us share all that is fair, all that is true and fine”
                   [words from Unitarian hymn; words by Peter Galbraith]

Friends and Sponsors receive
  • Notice of all social and fundraising events
  • Newsletters
  • Invitation to annual tea party

A Windows Dedication Service was held in June 2013 to celebrate the completion of the work on the restoration and repairs of the windows.  Thirty-nine candles were lit for the people who have ‘Sponsored a Pane’ so far whilst two of the Plaques were unveiled.  Each plaque has sixteen Dedications and there are six plaques in total, one for each of the windows, and we are hoping to encourage more Sponsors.      
With £29,000 raised we are looking for help to get the other £6,000 to reach our target. It is imperative that the heritage is preserved and we have been entrusted with the task of handing this precious ‘jewel’ on to future generations to admire, enjoy and appreciate. 

If you have any queries or would like any further information about The Friends of Frenchay Chapel or to ‘Sponsor a Pane’ please contact: Pauline Furnivall, Friends Secretary, 20 Alexandra Place, Staple Hill, Bristol.  BS16.4QL.   Telephone: 0117 9568310


Diary For October
and November 2013
(UMB - Unitarian Meeting Bristol, Brunswick Square, WL - Women’s League)



Wed 16th Frenchay 6.00 pm Group meditation - Person Centred, Relax into peacefulness
Thur 24th Poetry group at the home of Grace Cooper, 10 am to 12 pm,
Theme: ‘Occupations’. Ring Diane Roberts for further details (0117 956 6963)
UMB 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm ‘BRIGHT LIGHTS
Tues 29th ‘Unitarian History’ course. First of 6 meetings.
Thur 31st Frenchay 7.00 pm Halloween - Purple hymn book quiz. Hot dogs and soup. Tickets £5.
Wed 6th UMB 2 pm - 4 pm. Women’s League Christmas card workshop led by Ann Butler of the Crewkerne chapel.
Frenchay 7.00 pm, Kundalini meditation
Wed 20th Frenchay 6.00 pm Group meditation  - Person Centred, Relax into peacefulness
SUN 24th FRENCHAY 10.30 am - Mr B OMAR
UMB 3.00 pm - 5.00 pm ‘BRIGHT LIGHTS
Thur 28th Poetry group at the home of Grace Cooper, 10 am to 12 pm, Theme: ‘Wild Animals’. Ring Diane Roberts for further details (0117 956 6963)
Sat 30th
Frenchay 1.30 pm. Flower arranging and Christmas decorations demonstration by Jean Drew. Tickets £5 at the door. Details from Diane Roberts or Pauline Furnivall.
SUN 1st Tree trimming service at both chapels.
SUN 8th ‘Festival of Lights’ at both chapels
SUN 15th Gift service at both chapels (tea at UMB )
SUN 22nd Winter Service at Frenchay. Group Carol service at UMB. 6.30 pm,
Wed 25th
SUN 29th
Lindy’s farewell services at both chapels

The next Catch upsheet, covering November and December 2013, will be ready on 3rd Nov. Please send details and dates of events and services to both Karl and myself by 31st October.
Lindy’s Retirement Party / Service

The proposed date for this is Saturday 4th January 2014 in the afternoon at UMB. Watch this space for further details.
Sharing the Dream
A pause for thought from a Bristol Unitarian
Here is my belief and dream:
"I believe that all are equal in the sight of God."
"I have a dream that this world's resources will be shared fairly amongst its people, so that none shall suffer for want of the necessities of life and all shall have the opportunity to fulfil their potential."
I am happy for these to be attributed to me. 
I BELIEVE: That everyone entitled to love or not love, to work or not work, according to their choice and talent and each culture and nation has its right to be different.
I HAVE A DREAM: That one day the tall, white able men will let the ladder down and lend a hand and stop punishing those nations they judge to have fallen short.
I BELIEVE: That I should help some or perhaps evenone person to step back from their worries and find a personal equiblibrium.
I HAVE A DREAM: Of people seeing that other people's fears and worries are like their own so that quieter voices amy be heard everywhere.
I BELIEVE: That all human beings should have access to clean drinking water.
I HAVE A DREAM: That governments have the courage to stop spending on technology to kill, but on technology to improve life in impoverished parts of the world and that we are not resentful of sharing our good fortune with others.

Come, watch and be inspired by Jean Drew
who will demonstrate how to make beautiful floral arrangements and give tips for Christmas decorations

The Frenchay Chapel, Frenchay Common, Beckspool Road, Bristol.  BS16.1ND.
Saturday 30th November 2013, 1.30 p.m.
Tickets £5.00 for sale at door
The arrangements will be raffled In aid of the Frenchay Chapel Windows Appeal

For details contact Diane Roberts, Telephone  0117 9566963  Email: OR Pauline Furnivall, Fundraising Secretary Telephone 0117 9568310

SELF HEALING, MINDFULNESS & YOGA for wellbeing in daily life With Peter Bligh
Returning to Bristol for the fourth year, Peter Bligh is offering a day concentrating on the potential for self-healing that we all possess and mindfulness for wellbeing in our everyday life.
Through yoga and meditation the mind can be trained to greater spontaneous awareness, or mindfulness, as we go about our day to day life. This in turn reduces stress, improves health and opens up options and understandings to life’s events that had previously been hidden in reaction.
Suitable for all, this day is a unique opportunity to explore a number of uncomplicated practices drawn from ancient Tantric Yoga practices brought together in the light of modern day understanding.
To help us develop a more focused response to life that welcomes the richness and diversity of experience with joy, the day will include:
Gentle Yoga Asana & Breathing Practices - Mindful Meditation  - Yoga Nidra

Saturday 26th October : 10.00am - 4.00pm, FrenchayChapel
Fee: £54, £46  earlybird ( booked before October 19th )
For further information or to book, please contact Linda Hindley, e-mail:, tel: 0117 9109841

After more than twenty years of living, learning and teaching in Yoga ashrams and Buddhist centres in the UK, Greece, and India, Peter returned to New Zealand where he now lives, practices and teaches yoga and meditation.

During the past five years he has spent part of the year touring Europe, at the invitation of other teachers and yoga centres, co-teaching programmes that are suitable for anyone with an interest in yoga and meditation.
Peter is known for his ability to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where students can learn and develop personal practices that can significantly improve their own sense of well-being.
His clear and direct style, delivered with gentle humour and related anecdotes, make his programmes a genuinely unique experience – enjoyable, stimulating, highly informative and personally beneficial.
“Yoga and Meditation is for every one, every body and every mind.”

Commemoration of the Rajah Rammohun Roy, Sept. 2013 

It is exactly 180 years since the Rajh died in Bristol on 27th Sept. 1833. He called himself a Hindu Unitarian , and indeed the Unitarians in both London and Bristol have never forgotten him and his reforms in India, plus his visit to England from 1831-3.

The Commemoration of his life and work on 22nd sept. was a really happy occasion. The rain held off, the attendees were in cheerful form, the lunch was much appreciated,  and the speakers proved to be both excellent and interesting. People lingered long after the event to talk with old friends, and a tour of the cemetery was on offer. 

A dozen or more local Unitarians came , more British Indians arrived from Bristol and nearby, and a large party of Brahmo Samajis came up from London and elsewhere in UK. In all about 100 people attended , the Anglican chapel in the Cemetery was quite full, and the hot Indian meal had to be eaten in shifts to accommodate everyone! The BBC came up from London to film the proceedings and another video was made by Dr Suman Ghosh to be sent back to India. Various reporters clearly sent copy of the event back to India, where the English medium and local Bengali newspapers are apparently full of the day's happenings. 

Lindy Latham opened the Service as our Minister, with a reflection and prayers, and Bernard Omar concluded the event with the universal Prayer for Peace. In all 5 speakers gave talks on various aspects of the Rajah and his life in reform and his time in Britain. Yvonne Aburrow spoke on the Rajah's setting up a Unitarian Meeting in Calcutta in 1821 , and paying for the Meeting House and its Minister, William Adam, over the following decade. Swagata Ghosh, an academic from Bath Spar University, discussed the Rajah's attitude to immigration at a  time when many British were being encouraged to settle permanently in India. The Lord Mayor, Faruk Chaudhuri, revealed in his speech how he had felt welcomed to Bristol by the large bronze statue of the Rajah which sits on College Green. Carla Contractor, who had organised the event and day as usual, revealed that an exact copy of the Bristol chattri or Mausoleum of the Rajah in Arnos Vale had been erected recently in his home village of Radhanagar in West Bengal.

The keynote speech however was the most interesting of the day. Dr David Wilson, an art historian and academic, came from London to reveal and discuss an extra-ordinary art discovery. This is a tiny ivory bust - just 5" high- of the Rajah modeled by the famous  Benjamin Cheverton using a "pantograph" which he invented. This amazing Victorian machine may be seen today in the National Science Museum in London. It was  employed in 1844 to copy and enormously reduce in size the original large marble bust of the Rajah, made in probably 1832 by a leading sculptor, George Clarke. This bust is now lost, so its minute ivory copy is the only known three dimensional image of the Rajah, and is presumably a true likeness. The tiny ivory bust was unveiled by Carla in a very dramatic moment, and everyone later was invited to view it closely it in its new perspex case. Its owner, a friend of David Wilson, wishes to remain anonymous.

Flowers were laid by several visitors at the tomb accompanied by one of the Rajah's hymns sung by Roma Pal-Chaudhuri, and a short speech by the London President of the Brahmo Samajis. They have long met for worship at Golders Green Unitarian chapel in London under the leadership of Rev. Feargus O'Connor. The links between the Brahmos and the Unitarians are very much alive and well today.                                Carla Contractor.