Brook Street members are a friendly group of people (and a few doggies as well!) who believe religion is about how you live your life, rather than fixed beliefs. “A tree is known by its fruits.” (Jesus – Luke 6.44)
Dear Friends, both old and new, those with familiar faces and those coming here for the first time:
We live in a world that is more interconnected than ever. The digital technology available to the ordinary man or woman in the street was the stuff of science fiction half a century ago, and mobile phones (which looked like bricks and weighed almost as much) were the preserve of rich ‘yuppies’ and bond salesmen in the city and the like. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (who incidentally, is a Unitarian) invented the internet in 1990 and in an amazing act of personal generosity did not patent it for his own profit but made it available to all. Now (almost- not quite!) everyone has a mobile phone and goes online as a matter of course, without even thinking about it. We are connected, as never before in human history.
It comes as a start, or a shock to the system then, when ‘the system’ ‘crashes’ or fails to work. The major ‘outage’ on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram (all owned by Facebook itself- how’s that for Monopoly capitalism in real life!) yesterday (4th October) caused shock waves around the world. Some social media addicts may have had withdrawal symptoms! I was personally affected when I couldn’t access it to find the link for the Unitarian Bible discussion group: luckily, I was able to email (there’s another technology) the super-efficient organiser, Francis, who sent us the link on email. It’s not just social media where we are so reliant on computer technology and software. I’ve lost count of the number of banks whose online and digital systems have gone down, sometimes for a few hours, but others for a few days, even in a few cases a few weeks! Apart from showing the danger of moving to a cashless society (if your bank cuts you off, you literally can’t even pay for your food at the supermarket) it shows how vulnerable we are to rely entirely on one form of communication.
Despite all the wonderful means of communication now at our disposal, it could be argued that we are more disconnected than ever in some ways at least. People exist in their own little media ‘bubbles’: angry words are exchanged in the culture wars, with a lack of compassion, understanding and any willingness to understand other points of view. In the personal sphere, many people are lonelier than ever before – not just older people and people with limited mobility but younger people and people in middle life as well. The isolation imposed by the pandemic restrictions and the move towards WFH (‘working from home) have served to exacerbate this sense of isolation.
Those of us who have a faith, either Unitarian and Free Christian or another spiritual pathway, while we, too, can be as lonely and isolated as anyone else, can practice the age -old meditation on the presence of God (depending on our religious standpoint, we may phrase it in different ways- but the spiritual reality is there). What all of us can do, whether we have a faith or not, is to connect: to make the first move, to take the initiative. and make contact: whether it be with a smile or a kind word, a phone call, email, text, or letter. Why not stretch out the hand of friendship to someone today, figuratively (or literally) speaking. In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “Give what you have; to someone else it may be better than you dare to think”.
Unitarian Chapel digital & contact information
The Chapel has a Facebook page: Brook Street Chapel and Heritage Exhibition Knutsford with various posts with news and views.
Minister Alex’s contact details:
Tel: 07518 842 635
Services at 11.00 every Sunday.