Services in May
We realise that some people are still nervous about attending services at present and so there are some worship videos on this website, and devotional services are also available on my YouTube channel, to keep them in touch.
Our services this month are on:
May 2 Rev Jean Bradley
May 9 Rev Alex Bradley
May 16 Rev Alex Bradley
May 23 Rev Alex Bradley
May 30 Rev Alex Bradley
For more details, please ring the Minister on 01565 754 465, or 07518 842 635 OR email him on
TUESDAY COFFEE MORNINGS from 10.00 to 11.30 in the HALL RE-START ON 18th MAY!
Come and join us for ‘the cheapest and friendliest coffee in town’!
(The entrance is on Adams Hill, by the bus stop)
The following open letter was sent to the denominational paper, ‘The Inquirer’, by the Chair of our congregation, Graham Birks. However, for whatever reason, it was not published. We therefore publish it here, so that our views on this important matter can be heard. The national website is putting out information in our name, and it should be a true reflection of who we are, as a liberal religious community of faith.
To the Editor:
Our chapel committee recently discussed the new national Unitarian
website. While we appreciate the hard work put in with the laudable intention
to attract more people to Unitarianism, unfortunately we think it will be more
likely to put people off from entering our doors. Our major reservations centre
on the impression given to people accessing it for the first time.
We are deeply concerned that the religious aspect of our
movement is greatly downplayed. The GA Object, which expresses the diversity of
our denomination is buried in the recesses of the website. The full title of
our denomination is put in tiny font at the bottom of the homepage. The page
under ‘radical roots’ gives an account of our history but gives the impression
that it is a part of our past rather than our present. It speaks of the
rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity, and then goes on to say: “Today, our
name points towards ideas of unity, the oneness of life, universalism- of being
together as one”. This sentence while unobjectionable in itself, is too vague. It
seems to imply that Unitarians have ‘gone beyond’ the oneness of God. Some may have
done so, but many, perhaps most, UK Unitarians have a dynamic and vibrant faith
in the ‘oneness’ of the spiritual reality that many call God, however broad their
definition of that reality might be. It might well have been better if the page
had stated clearly that Unitarians have huge divergencies of opinion on these
matters, ranging over a wide theological spectrum, rather than make a statement
that tries to conflate these diametrically opposing tendencies and so end up describing
The reference to ‘open minded, loving, spiritually grounded communities” is too vague to
convey any real sense of who we are. It might be describing self-help groups of some kind. Most
people reading it are unlikely to associate it with worshipping communities in
church buildings. People seeking a religious alternative to restrictive or
oppressive churches will look for words like ‘worship’, ‘religious’, and ‘God’:
sadly, they are unlikely to find them as
they are not easily accessible.
The use of the word ‘radical’ is potentially very misleading.
It is true that we were ‘radical’ in our origins and Unitarians have been
‘radical’ in being in the forefront of rights for various marginalised groups but
for most outsiders, the term radical will have a much broader connotation of a
counter-cultural movement, or one espousing alternative lifestyles. A first-time visitor to one
of our churches expecting something ‘alternative’ and finding instead, a group of people (quite possibly from
an older age range) singing hymns and listening to prayers and devotional readings
is unlikely to return.
The experience of our own congregation is that the vast
majority of our members came originally from other churches (one was even
refused a funeral for a family member by her previous church). They found our
open, very broad, liberal Christian, ethos just what they were looking for, an
outlook which allowed for and respected all shades of belief and opinion. Had
they seen the new website, they might not have enquired any further. Other Unitarian churches
have differenttheological stances, being perhaps more earth-centred or theistic, or
pan-religious but they are still recognisable as religious communities,
and thus we share some commonality with them, despite our theological
differences. We feel strongly that many other Unitarian and Free Christian chapels like ourselves
would wish to see this reflected more clearly in the web-site, so as to appeal to those Christians who
may be looking for a less dogmatic approach to their chosen faith.
Graham Birks (Chairman of Brook St. Unitarian and Free
Christian Chapel, Knutsford, Cheshire.)
Written and compiled by Brook St. Chapel committee, and sent
on their behalf.
In Memoriam: Roy Tootle
We received the sad news at the end of April that Roy Tootle has died, aged 90. He was a former tax inspector, and his investigative abilities were featured in an article in The Times, which described him as “The Sherlock Holmes of the Inland Revenue”. He was a great help to the chapel in his later years with the Gift Aid Scheme.
Roy married June (who was a life-long member of the chapel) in 1956. Sadly, June died in 2015, and Roy moved soon after to Ash Court. His independent streak continued right up to the end: he horrified his daughters the next year when he booked himself a two week holiday in Spain in the height of summer without telling them! He enjoyed his retirement and was often seen in Booths café, or sitting on a bench in the town watching the world go by.
Roy had a great love for his family, and also a pride in his Irish ancestry: he was descended from the McGreevy Clan, who also number the former Irish President, Mary McAleese, among their ranks. He once met her on a visit to Ireland. On hearing of his death, she sent a message of condolence to the family.
We send our love and sympathy to his daughters, Rose and Kate, and all his family.
May he rest in peace.