February and March 2016

Welcome to our news page.

Ups and Downs!

Let’s start with the downs! Our lovely brick wall, which must have sat in the rear corner of our plot for many, many  years fell down recently. About a six metre stretch fell foul to the passing of time, the stormy weather and the pressure of the roots of an adjacent holly tree. Repairs to the wall have been on our ‘wish list’ for quite some time but sadly, we were not able initiate them in time. Thankfully, a good stretch of the wall remains intact and Libby is currently exploring the options available to us in rebuilding the length that has fallen, or finding a suitable alternative whilst preserving what’s left.

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On the ‘ups,’ we have started work on re-laying our stone path. The path was in desperate need of attention, being very uneven in places and in need of re-pointing. The work will continue for a few days in February and we are hoping that we can re-use pretty much all of the existing stones. The area around the side-door will be raised slightly so as to create a flat area over the elm tree roots which have, over the years, made that area especially uneven.We are grateful to Duncan Ragabliati for the generous donation which has allowed this work to take place and to Paul Juniper for giving up time and energy to manage this project. Thank you both.

Progressive Christianity Group

The new PCN group was well attended and we were especially pleased to welcome others from denominations other than Unitarian. Participants  discussed some of their experiences of Christianity and what had brought them to a ‘progressive’ faith position. It was agreed that future meetings would focus on some of the ‘language’ of Christianity and how some are interpreting this for contemporary times. The forthcoming meetings are outlined here.  The next meeting is at 8.00 p.m. on Thursday March 3rd.

Healing and Support Circle 

Marion’s and Sarah’s Healing and Support Circle begins on Thursday, February 26th at 7.00 p.m. All are welcome. Find out more here. Don’t forget that Duncan’s Monthly Meditation sessions take place on the 3rd Monday of the month.

FUSE

The Festival of Unitarians in the South East takes place over the weekend of February 19-21st at The Chatswotth Hotel in Worthing.

Folk Club

We enjoyed a lovely relaxed folk session in February with great sets from Greg Harper and Ian Chisholm. Thanks go to them for performing for the benefit of The Chapel and to the floor singers who braved a wet and windy evening to help make it a great session. Photos are courtesy of Anthony Dilley.

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Occasionally, we hear music that touches us so deeply that we can but cry. Here is one of Canada’s great songwriters, Tom Wilson performing ‘Beautiful Scars.’ He wrote this after reading a work by writer Miriam Toews and had the opportunity to perform it in her presence. These are wonderful, fragile, moments capturing the power of music to touch our hearts.

Enjoy and be touched.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOPrXQYEL4w

See you at The Chapel again soon.

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January 2016

Happy New Year!

We drew 2015 to a close with a wonderful Carol Service. Over 50 people packed the Chapel to its rafters to join in celebrating Christmas. It was delightful to see so many people who have supported the Chapel over recent times. Stephen Crowther led a wonderful service which captured both the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of our lovely little community.

Here’s the news for 2016

Duncan Voice to begin ministerial training

Duncan Voice, who has been supporting the work of The Chapel for the past couple of years, has been accepted for full ministerial training. Duncan and his wife Dawn have been integral to the growth of The Chapel, leading meditation classes, our Community Café and taking services both here and at other chapels in the region. He has worked tirelessly on the committee, especially in organising the Worship Leader rota.

Duncan will begin his training in September and we wish him and Dawn well in this exciting new chapter of their lives. Congratulations Duncan- you can be rightly proud of your work with us and on your successful application for training.

Stuart hits the airwaves

Stuart recently sent his new CD off to BBC Radio Sussex in the hope that they might play a few songs. He has been invited into the Brighton Studio on January 24th for the ‘Sunday Breakfast’ show to talk about his music and about the work of The Chapel. He is scheduled to be on air between 8.00 and 9.00 am.  Listen in if you get the opportunity.

Healing and Support Circle

2016 will see Marion and Sarah offering a Healing and Support Circle. This will run at 7pm on the fourth Thursday of each month commencing February 2016 and will last up to an hour. The aim is to offer healing through prayer and meditation to individuals (present or absent), for local and world-wide communities and to our planet. There will be a prayer board where requests for prayer and healing can be placed and will be read out during the session. There is no charge but a modest donation towards the Chapel upkeep is appreciated. Contact Marion France: marion@intuitivetouch.co.uk 07949 039367 Sara Nicholl: sara280@sky.com 07522 895892

Progressive Christianity Network

This new group will be coordinated by Chapel secretary, Stuart, on the first Thursday of each month, beginning in February with sessions starting at 8.00 pm and end between 9.00 and 9.30 pm.

The aims of the group are to: explore how progressive Christian thinking, values, living and practice might fully manifest themselves in our lives; to share in Christian- based contemplative and meditative practices, to support each other in regular reading, including but not exclusive to Biblical scripture and to share in discussion about the interpretation and implications of such reading; to explore some of the progressive academic approaches, historical and scientific discoveries, personal experiences and ideas that fall within the broad framework of the Christian tradition; to contemplate and enjoy how progressive Christian ideas are expressed through artistic expression and to provide a loving, respectful community that functions as part of the inclusive nature  of The Chapel and which sits in line with the national Progressive Christianity Network of Britain remit.

Folk Club

That’s it for now other to report that we had a wonderful Folk Club last time around with Alex Bondonno and Trevor Clawson playing extended sets. Trevor has a new album out which is fabulous and which is available to download here. …

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…..and here’s a track from Trevor Clawson’s new album for us to enjoy.

See you at The Chapel soon.

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December 2015

So here it is; our last posting of 2015. It’s been quite a year all told. We began the year closed, worked hard in the first few months to get the chapel back into shape, enjoyed re-openings, weddings, community cafes some wonderfully inspiring services, peaceful meditation sessions and the joy of a community of like-minded folk enjoying music together.

Here’s hoping that 2016 holds just as much in store.

Carol Service

Our Candle-lit Carol Service takes place on Sunday December 20th at 4.00pm. Led by Stephen Crowther, our festive service will include favourite carols for all the family. We have a Christmas tree all ready – except for baubles – because  we are hoping that everybody will contribute one so that they can visit it on the tree year after year. Bring the whole family along for this special time together.

Winter Solstice Service

Duncan will lead a ‘Winter Solstice’ service on Tuesday December 22nd at 7.30 pm. All are welcome to attend this unique event to mark the season.

Community Cafe Nativity Making

Our cafe had fun in November preparing a little nativity scene for the chapel. Doesn’t it look super? See the calendar above for the next Saturday Community Cafe.

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Claude Bourbon Concert 

The Claude Bourbon concert held at the beginning of December was a huge success. Claude clearly enjoyed playing in our lovely setting and looks forward to returning soon. Thanks to everybody who supported this event; without an audience, we are nothing!

Service Prayer

At a recent service, Duncan reported on his visit to Sheffield where the future vision of the movement was discussed. He submitted this prayer for us to enjoy.

In one direction by Rev. Cliff Reed

Our lives move in one direction, but we need not fear the destination.  There are worse things than journey’s end, if end it be…

Worse things, like living without purpose, living without love, living without ever having seen the gossamer in autumn.

Spirit of Life, we are grateful for the things we need for our existence – our food and drink, our shelter from the storm, the clothes on our backs; the basics that everyone on earth should have.

But, as Jesus said, “life is more than food”. Help us to receive with gratitude the things we need to live: the loving touch, the word of comfort, the vision of earth’s glory, the sense of your presence in all Creation.

Above all, help us to know you in ourselves and in those we meet – though sometimes we make it hard.

Our lives move in one direction, there is no going back.  May joy be ours on the journey; joy in sharing it with those who share the Way.  However long the road, however hard, help us, amid the tears, always to find reasons for laughter, song, and praise as we travel together.

Amen

The Chapel Youtube 3

Peter Mayer reminds us of what to really appreciate at Christmas time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX_9A5hvGWk

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November 2015

Welcome to November. Enjoy the last vestiges of Autumn…..winter will soon be upon us.

Martin Whitell Service

A lovely service this morning at Billingshurst Unitarian Chapel. The simple beauty of this chapel and the skilled attention to its decoration never ceases to amaze me.
We started by lighting candles for the people of Paris with the flame from our chalice. The theme of put service was ‘Tagore – A voice for winter’. This explored finding joy and meaning even when things are difficult on life. For our meditation the pianist ‘Nori’ played John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, reminiscent if the impromptu ‘anonymous’ performance of the same by the (now known as tweeter ‘KlavierKuntz’) on Friday on Paris – Rev Martin Whitell

Up-Coming Concert

Claude Bourbon visits The Chapel on Saturday December 5th to give a guitar concert. Claude is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading players and we are fortunate to be able to host the warm hearted Frenchman for a second time. He will be supported by local singer Les Elvin and there will be time for a few floor spots too. The Chapel asks for a donation of about £7.00 to cover the costs and the show starts at 8.00pm. Scroll down to see Claude on this months YouTube slot.

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Meditation Series and Healing

Marion France continues throughout November with her successful Sunday Meditation Series and her Tuesday Healing Sessions. Both groups have flourished under her stewardship and we thank her for all her time and effort into making these valuable for her participants and an important facet of our work in the community. Visit her pages above if you are interested in getting involved.

Unitarian TV

Unitarian TV is a project that aims to broadcast live and recorded events about our movement across the web. Recently, Rev. Dr. Richard Boeke was interviewed by Stuart at The Chapel about his varied and interesting life. A few days later, Stuart was also involved in a ‘Uni-Coms’ webcast where he spoke about the progress that Billingshurst is making in fulfilling its vision. This was preceded by a short film that he made with Duncan about The Chapel’s work. Unitarian TV can be found here.

Catherine Andrews Takes Steps into Leading Worship

Catherine Andrews of our sister congregation in Horsham shared in leading a service recently. She built the worship around the theme of connectedness and we look forward to her being involved in worship both here and at Horsham in the future. Congratulations and thanks to Catherine for her continued support at Billingshurst.

Folk Club

Thanks to Dick Streeter who treated us to a night of musical fun when he rounded off the evening at our November Folk Club. Many thanks to all who come along to make these evenings successful.

Forthcoming Services and Other Activities

Please investigate the tabs above to explore all that we do at The Chapel and join us whenever you can.

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October 2015

Harvest

Moving into October, it feels as though The Chapel is back into a something of a rhythm.  We celebrated Harvest in the middle of September. Late in the afternoon, the low light seeps through the chapel windows and illuminates the space wonderfully. Having our 17th century communion table communion strewn with the bounty of the earth – the colours, textures and smells – always serves as a poignant reminder that there are so many aspects of life that, without mindful reverence can seem ‘ordinary.’ The reality is that there is little if anything in life that is ordinary.

It was fitting that the monies collected from our celebration were sent to support refugees in crisis.

Thanks to Duncan who stepped in to take the service.

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Community Café, Meditation, Meditation Series and Art Sessions

Thanks to everybody who attends and helps to run all of our regular events. Much time and energy is given in helping to develop The Chapel and we are grateful to everybody who contributes to make us such a warm and inclusive little community. Explore the tabs at the top of the page to find out more about what we do.

Folk Club

Our first Folk Club of the season was held on Saturday evening and a healthy turn out ensured a wonderful night of music. A special thanks to ‘Shipwrecked’ who performed a wonderful set of songs to round off what proved to be a lovely night.

Forthcoming Peace Service – 18th October, 11.00am.

On October 18th we are holding a congregational service to mark Peace Day. Attendees are invited to make a contribution of a prayer, reading, poem or a piece of music if they so wish. We have people happy to present the offerings if contributors would prefer this. Contact Duncan (dvoice420@gmail.com   07771 609347) if you would like to bring something along. Of course, everybody is most welcome to come along and simply enjoy the worship.

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This week’s clip is dedicated to our good friend Stephen Crowther. Stephen delivered a beautiful service recently where we were contemplating the conjecture that the origin of the Hebrew written representation for God, YHWH, may be linked to draw and exhalation of the breath. The Hebrew ‘ruach’ is translated as ‘spirit,’ ‘wind,’ or ‘breath’ adding further to these connections. Little wonder that many meditation techniques from many traditions emphasise the breath as a point of centring.

Stephen also spoke about the importance of spiritual experience sitting above spiritual intellect and with this in mind, here is Bruce Cockburn from 1974 at arguably his best, reinforcing Stephen’s other point that religious experience happens more often than not, outside of Church. The images in the slideshow are not great, but you’ll get the idea, even if you close your eyes and just absorb it. Hope you enjoy the song Stephen and thanks again. (PS Bruce Cockburn plays at the Komedia, Brighton, October 14th)!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li5Vpnde5do

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September 2015

Welcome to the beauty of Autumn!

But before we launch ourselves into that most beautifully of melancholic seasons, let’s take a look at what’s happened at The Chapel over the summer months.

Wedding of Annie- Rose Tate-Harte and Nick Bayliss

On Saturday September 5th we celebrated the wedding of Annie-Rose and Nick. Annie-Rose has connections going back with us for four generations and has been a life-long member of The Chapel. With her now-husband Nick, Annie currently lives in Manchester, popping back to West Sussex whenever she can.

Stuart led the ceremony which included words and music selected by the couple. After the service, the 80-strong congregation made their way back to Libby’s for a lovely time of socialising, great food and dancing. It was surely The Chapel’s ‘Event of the Year’ and we wish the happy couple a long lifetime of love together.

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Anniversary Service

Looking further back into July, we celebrated our annual anniversary service, with guests travelling from far and wide to join us in a time of worship led by District Minister Martin Whitell. Afterwards, all enjoyed a great spread as we filtered out into the sunshine filled garden.

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Shutters

Paul Juniper, our helpful neighbour and top quality carpenter, has been devoting hours of his time constructing our new oak shutters. In August, we were able to put them on the front windows and finally take down the wire grills that have served a purpose in protecting our windows after vandalism but which now, we are pleased to say, are consigned to storage. Thanks to the Sussex Antique Oak Company for supplying the wood and once again, to Paul for his time, care and skills.

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Looking Forward

We have lots of exciting things lined up for the Autumn and beyond. Shivani’s Art Classes, Duncan’s Meditation, Marion’s Healing mornings, her Meditation Series and of course, our Folk Club starts up again soon. Explore the tabs at the top of this page, including the calendar, to find out if there is something up your street: it would be great to see you soon.

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If you’ve ever felt that you needed a big cuddly friend who would provide you with comfort, warmth and the odd drop of Brandy, this song is for you. Ron Sexsmith is playing at The Komedia, Brighton, in October and Stuart and Jan have tickets because they just love him to bits.

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July and August 2015

The summer months will see us resting some activities whilst continuing and developing others.

Anniversary Service

Join us on Sunday 19th July for our anniversary service when we celebrate the founding of the chapel.  This is a tradition that goes back to the days when the chapel was a General Baptist place of worship.  Friends from nearby  churches would to travel to Billingshurst to join the celebrations and to catch up.  Today we still welcome friends from the old General Baptist group of churches as well people who have moved away from the area and can no longer attend regularly.  The service starts at 3pm and afterwards there will be some refreshments (the cakes are usually pretty good!).  This years service is led by our new district minister Rev. Martin Whitell.  So please come along if you can.  Everyone is most welcome.

Hicks and Goulbourn Concert

Our Hicks and Goulbourn Concert was well attended and exceeded our expectations. Thanks to Steve and Lynne and to all those who came along to play and listen.

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The Folk Club returns in October 2015.

Unitarian Services, Community Cafe, Meditation and Healing

All these activities will continue throughout the summer (no cafe in August). Check our calendar for details.

Art Classes

We are pleased to announce the commencement of a series of Art classes to be held at the Chapel and run by Shivani Patel. Check back soon for further details.

Chapel Open and Shutters

Throughout August, Stuart will be at the Chapel a fair bit, maintaining the garden, doing some external painting and generally being around. Drop by for a cup of tea and a natter if you see the doors open. On August 7th/8th, Stuart and Paul hope to hang our lovely new oak shutters, restoring our front to its former glory.

See you over the summer!

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June 2015

Another busy month for us all!

Up Coming Concert

First off, we have an exciting concert coming up on Saturday June 27th. Hicks and Goulbourn are a phenomenal acoustic duo playing a range of contemporary and traditional material. Steve Hicks is one of the finest guitarists in the country and has been involved in many recordings and publications of finger-style guitar based music. If this wasn’t accolade enough, he is also a fine luthier, producing a number of handcrafted instruments each year from his Leicestershire workshop. The Chapel wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford to book Hicks and Goulbourn, but the duo are friends with Stuart and Jan and have agreed to play for a fraction of their deserved fee in order to help The Chapel along, so please do support us with this event. Saturday June 27th, 8.00pm £8.00. Floor singers are welcome.

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Return of the clock

During refurbishments our ‘Inkpen’ Clock was in safe-keeping and was returned to us at the end of May. It took a good couple of hours to get the mechanism back – then the face – but it was soon up and running and keeping fine time too! Born around1700, John Inkpen married Elizabeth Muzzle (another clockmaking family) of Bolney in 1735 and it is believed that he had a workshop in the Carfax, Horsham. Another example of his clocks can be found in Horsham Museum. Inkpen died in 1759 so our clock would have been one of his later pieces. You can find a section of John and Elizabeth’s family tree here.

Shutters in progress

Paul and Stuart spent a morning putting together our new shutters for the front windows. The wood was generously donated by the Sussex Antique Oak Company.

After a few coats of oil and some research into finding some appropriate hinges, we are hoping that the grills will soon be down and the frontage of the building restored to something closer to its former glory.

New Healing Sessions

Marion France will be offering some healing sessions at The Chapel soon. More details can be found here. Many thanks to Marion for her continued and valued contribution to Chapel activities.

Healing

Folk Club

Colin Turton treated the Folk Club to a super session on Saturday. Combining some of his own unaccompanied songs with music from his City Folk Club friends, it proved to be an evening full of variety. A huge thanks to Colin, Lucy, Angela, Paul, Mick and Roger for putting so much effort into getting the evening together and thanks also to floor-singers Jean, Keith and Ted.

 Services

Last Sunday, Stephen Crowther delivered a beautiful service which centred on the theme of awe and wonder. Stephen invited us to retain the sense of childhood curiosity and amazement at the natural miracles that life presents to us every day (and night).

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Check the Calendar for our services throughout June and beyond.

Community Café

Dawn and Duncan opened up for another Community Café on May 23rd. It was well attended and the next one is scheduled for the third Saturday in June, so check the tabs above for more details and pop along to enjoy their hospitality and refreshments.

Meditation

Monday meditation returns on 15th June at 7.00pm. Do go along and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Chapel and the mindfulness that Duncan so skilfully helps to imbue.

All About Horsham Article

Our recent article for the local magazine can be found here.

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Here’s a taster for the Hicks and Goulborn concert. See you at The Chapel soon.

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May 2015

After our busy time through April, we are settling down in May into our steady rhythm of activities and events.

Unitarian Service

Stuart led May’s service which centred around the theme of humility: something that is inherent in all the world’s major religious systems. Drawing from a liberal Christian perspective, he built the service around these words from Trappist Monk William A. Meninger.

‘It is not surprising that humility is so little understood. I was once told by a so-called theologian that humility consisted in knowing where you were but acting as if you were a degree or two lower. This is absurd. According to this idea, humility consists basically in a deceit, in pretending you are less than you know yourself to be! No, dear friend, you are humble when you know yourself as you truly are and when you are willing to look this truth in the face and accept it.’

Meninger goes on to say that true humility is the fruit of self examination and that if we do not ask searching questions of ourselves and respond to them honestly and openly we can be drawn to self satisfaction, or the other extreme, we can judge ourselves as total failures, and ‘neither of these conclusions is the fruit of humility.’ (Meninger; The Loving Search for God. 1994).

Folk at The Chapel

A healthy audience turned out to enjoy the music of Andy Smythe. Following some great floor spots Andy treated us to his amazing singing range and compelling arrangements of his intelligent songs.

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Ted’s floor-spot                                Andy Smythe

Thanks to everybody who supported the Folk Club which returns in June. Check the tab above for more details.

Through May we continue with our Meditation Sessions and Community Cafe: again, explore the tabs above to find out more.

See you at The Chapel soon.

The Chapel Youtube 3

Here’s a video of one of Andy Smythe’s songs to enjoy.

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April 2015

It has been a busy and momentous time at The Chapel these past few days which culminated in our official re-launch.

RE-OPENING CEREMONY

On Saturday April 11th Stuart led a short ceremony officially re-opening The Chapel after a six month closure which saw English Heritage  complete renovation work to roofs, drainage and other structural improvements. Members of The Chapel have also worked hard during this period to improve many aspects of the building.

Over forty guests attended the event, during which Stuart thanked many people for their efforts in helping to create the vibrant community that The Chapel is becoming. Alison Pollard from the National Churches Trust congratulated the assembled group for the way in which their grant had been put to such effective use and Stuart was also able to welcome Sara and George Nicholl and Marion France as members. The occasion also marked the retirement of Susie Evershed from her lifelong work for the chapel, ending the 261 year association that the Evershed  family have in serving on the committee. Other notable mentions were the sterling work of treasurer John Carter who, since 1989 has served the committee and whose financial skills secured additional funding and the guiding of us through the recent English Heritage offer.

The proceedings were beautifully punctuated by music from Classical Folk and by folk club favourites Mike and Reina Reinstein.

The ceremony ended with these words which summarised the newly defined aspirations of The Chapel community:

In this place…

May the stillness of contemplation open our minds,

May the heart of compassion inspire us to love,

May the joy of creativity enliven our spirits,

And may the bonds of community draw us ever close.

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(Above, the attendees of the re-opening ceremony).

ALL ABOUT HORSHAM

On Friday 10th local magazine All About Horsham visited with the intention of running an article for their May issue about the rejuvenation of The Chapel. Members and friends turned out to be interviewed and photographed. Special thanks go to Roy Nash, Trevor Clawson and Mike Reinstein who represented the Folk Club and who provided an impromptu jamming session.

FOLK CLUB

Roy Nash was guesting at the Folk club with Brian Skinner. Despite it being Easter weekend, a strong crowd of audience and singers turned out to support another great evening of music. Thanks to all who played and listened.

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UPCOMING 

Check out our calendar for details of upcoming services, cafe and meditation sessions and thanks for your interest in The Chapel.

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