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)
LETTER FROM ALEX
Freedom is one of those things with which everyone agrees in principle but when it comes to the practical implications, things are not quite so simple. ‘Freedom Day’ finally came on July 19th, two days ago,
but it came with mixed feelings for very many people. There are mixed messages all round, from shops, public transport, which part of the UK you live in: the list goes on.
As with many things, the issues are more nuanced and complex than a simple right/wrong issue. While it may be perfectly safe to not wear a face covering (mask or visor) in many settings, it may be highly advisable to do so in others (e.g. overcrowded London underground trains), both for your own sake AND other people’s sake. I have been in two little corner shops since the 19th, and chose to wear my face visor on both occasions (much less claustrophobic than a mask, and without the problem of steamed up glasses). I hope to not wear one in shops in the near future, BUT, with infection rates currently rising, I intend to do so for the time being, for other people’s sake and my own.
Our chapel committee discussed the issue on the basis of protecting others and protecting ourselves, while maintaining a reasonable balance of safety and risk and evolved this policy:
When entering and leaving the chapel, please wear a face covering.
Once you are seated in your pew, you may choose whether or not to wear one.
It is most important that wecontinue to observe ‘social distancing’(1m/3ft)
There is a spiritual element to all this, in that we are “our brother (and sister) ‘s keepers”. St Paul had to mediate in a dispute in one of his churches, about whether Christians should eat meat that had previously been offered as part of temple worship to the pagan gods. Note his logic: the pagan gods, he says, have no objective existence, so there is no problem in eating the meat. However, some new fellow believers, whose faith may be a bit shaky, may be upset, if they still believe at some level that those gods do exist- in which case, Paul says, it is better not to eat the meat rather than risk destroying another person’s faith. It is not wrong to eat it, he says, but it may not be the kind thing to do. “All things are lawful [for me], but not all things are helpful” (I Corinthians 10. 23). Paul then says in the next breath: “Let no one seek his [or her] own good but the good of his[her] neighbour” (v24).
So, as a Unitarian and Free Christian, I may believe passionately in individual freedom, but ‘caritas’, love of neighbour must also inform my actions. We put the other person first. Some of our own members who are front line workers, are making a big sacrifice in choosing not to attend worship at present in order to care for, and protect, the rest of us. Whatever we decide is best in our own particular context and circumstances, and however we try to navigate these complex and turbulent times, let us practice “loving-kindness” and forbearance to each other.
Take care, enjoy the good weather while it lasts, give thanks for the rain when it comes (we need it as much as the sunshine) and most of all, stay safe, be well, and be happy!
Blessings and best wishes,
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
A Poem about the Chapel
A Very Special Place
Quiet little chapel on a hill patiently bides her time. A secret, dignified cosy little teapot with two doors. The stairs outside quietly outstretched To welcome Sunday visitors . She has time to spare for everyone.
A congregation who partakes of schoolroom tea, Rejoice and reflect and sing of seasons And listen to reasons in sensible sermons and ministers views, Observing each-other from opposite pews .
You stand firm, quiet, unassuming, Hidden from view, unobtrusive, always there, everybody’s mother, Smoothing sadness, sharing joy, Waiting, watching, accepting, hoping, thinking of the other.
What have you seen through those leaded latticed Multi-faceted lozenges of light? You were born amidst famine and fragile unrest Secretly hidden in the fields by Darkness Lane A bid for freedom out of dissent, generous courage, and pain For three hundred years you have watched over town – Who comes up the cobbles, who goes down – To sing “The Hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” Just how many blackbirds have rehearsed those songs?
Inside whitewashed plain walls NOTHING FANCY, The low Winter sun casts shadows And moving beams across the red carpet, Breathing living green energy in from the garden.
We see organist’s legs ascend the outside stair, A white cat is moving across the panes, hunting out there Look closer, there are trapped in the glass, bubbles of air. Did the glass maker sneeze or stir too fast? It is a very small signature from the ancient past.
NOTHING FANCY, VERY PLAIN. You are very welcome, Please come again.