November and December 2016

Welcome To Winter

The frosts are beginning to bite now and the sense that Christmas is in the air seems to be all- pervading. The Chapel always provides  warm relief from the cold weather and the feeling that Christmas can sometimes become a little too frenetic. Come and find some peace with us!

Services Over Christmas

Our regular twice monthly services take place throughout the winter. Our Christmas Carols and Readings service will be led by Duncan Voice this year and is on Sunday December 18th at 4.00 pm. Come and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the chapel as we sing together and enjoy time afterwards with non-alcoholic punch and mince pies.

Car Park

The Committee are currently investigating ways in which we can up grade our car park. We hope to rejuvenate it as best as we can within our given budget sometime before the summer.

Interfaith Event

Both our Billingshurst and Horsham congregations have close links with the Horsham Interfaith Forum. On Saturday November 26th there is an arts event which celebrates religious diversity and has the life of Tim Firth, a former convener, at its centre; 1pm. Unitarian Church Hall, Worthing Road, RH12 1SL, Horsham.

Yoga

We are pleased to welcome Alison Stoker who leads yoga in the hall weekly. You can find out more about it here and check the calendar for dates and times.

Seasonal greetings to one and all.

 

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August and September 2016

The ‘Sometimes Unseen.’ 

August can seem to be a time when The Chapel steps back for a month and takes things a little slower. Some of the organisers of our activities take a bit of a breather and allow themselves a time to relax and refresh. After all, there are not many places of worship where you’ll find the person preparing worship on a weekday evening after work, leading a workshop on the Saturday, delivering the worship on the Sunday before then finding themselves tending the garden or cleaning the eaves in the following days.

So during August, some of us restrict ourselves to doing a few of the more practical things. And this month, a gentle stroll through the gardens would have found Libby, Vanessa, Marion and Sam at work on the beds, grasses and hedges (we wait until August to do the hedges lest we upset the nesting birds) and Stuart and Duncan fixing the chapel spotlights, cleaning the algae from the walls and hosing down the valley in the roof (Duncan has just retired from the fire brigade and did comment that his first job at the chapel still involved ‘ladders and hoses!’). There are probably countless other hours put in by others whose voluntary work for us is often the ‘sometimes unseen.’

We are grateful to everybody who lends a helping hand to keep the chapel active and in good material order. It takes time, money and most importantly tender loving care – the first two of which we have some of at varying degrees of across the year – the latter of which we have in spades (and forks and hedge clippers).

Refugee Support 

As part of our social action enterprises, Libby and Marion have been supporting with the settlement of the first two refugee families into Horsham district. This involves buying and delivering food and offering practical help where needed. It is coordinated by the Horsham Refugee Support Group and we thank Libby and Marion for their time in representing us out there in the needy community.

Meditation Workshop

Duncan offers some reflections on our recent meditation workshop.

‘On Saturday 30th July we welcomed Richard Bober from The Meditation Fellowship to lead a meditation workshop for us at The Chapel.  Our group of 8 consisted of regulars from our monthly meditation group and some new faces.

Richard said right from the outset that he intended to take things slowly, which is precisely what he did.  Through his gentle guidance we explored the basics of meditation.  A series of short meditations enabled us to consider our posture, to be comfortable and yet aware and open.  We then worked on our breath, considering how each of us can connect and what works best for us as individuals.  We also considered our attitude or approach to meditation and Richard emphasised three important aspects, or skills, namely: non-judgement, patience and acceptance.

The two hour session was punctuated by some walking meditation in the churchyard.  I think one local couple walking back from the high street wondered if the dead had risen when they encountered 8 people slowly walking around different parts of the site.  But all was well.

I found the workshop offered me the opportunity to re-connect and review my own practice, which was very helpful.  And from our conversations afterwards I think others found Richard’s session accessible and benefited in different ways.  I hope we will be able to tempt Richard back in the future to run another workshop.  Some leaflets about The Meditation Fellowship are available in the chapel, and their next retreat is November (Nov 4th 5th 6th) at Salisbury.’

Thank you for organising and reflecting on this event Duncan.

Up Coming

Come the autumn The Chapel will be back in full swing with our mission to offer the community events and activities centred around the themes of creativity, compassion, contemplation and community. Check our calendar and the tabs above for more details and we’ll see you there.

 

 

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June and July 2016

Anniversary Service

Our Anniversary Service will take place on Sunday July 17th 2016 at 3.00pm and will be led by Rev Sheena Gabriel. Traditionally, our Anniversary Service is a time when we renew acquaintances with those who are unable to visit us regularly and where we mark the ‘birthday’ of our congregation. Friends old and new are welcome to join us both for the service and for tea and cake and conversation afterwards.

Meditation Workshop

On Saturday 30th July we are pleased to offer a mediation workshop.  Arrive at 10.15 am for a 10.30 am start.  The workshop will be led by Richard Bober, from the Unitarian Meditation Fellowship and a member of Golders Green Unitarians.  We will explore a variety of different meditation techniques from walking meditation to the use of music.  The workshop will be suitable for those starting to explore meditation and those who wish to re-connect.  The workshop will be finished by 12.30 am and will be followed by a light lunch and the opportunity for discussion.  To book contact Duncan on 07771 609347 or email dvoice420@gmail.com.  Suggested donation £10.

Premises

Our boundary wall is now being rebuilt. We are able to rescue most of the original bricks and will circumvent the holly tree so as to (hopefully) avoid the problem of roots compromising its integrity again. During the Summer, we will investigate the possibility of improved disability access to the building and take this into consideration when we think about improving the carpark area. Also over the summer, we are to tackle the algae growth which is appearing on many of the external walls and also continue to manage the memorial grounds with an eye on attracting as much wildlife as we can. Volunteer gardeners are always welcome.

Folk Club

Our folk club will take a break through July and August and return in September. We thank all those who attend, both players and listeners. Not only do we have lots of fun but the financial contributions that are made form a healthy part of our monthly income. Thanks to all.

Progressive Christianity Network

The next session for this group will be Thursday July 7th. A period of contemplation will be followed by a discussion around the theme of ‘Salvation.’ Photocopies of the text that we will explore will be available on the evening or the book, Marcus Borg’s ‘Speaking Christian,’ can be purchased here. Participants are encouraged to bring other short texts that might contribute to the discussion.

Other events and activities

There is lots happening at The Chapel. Explore the tabs at the top of the page to find out about our meditation, healing and other activities.

 

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April and May 2016

 

Congratulations

Congratulations to Nick and Tracy who were married at The Chapel on Saturday April 2nd. During the same service, we also named daughter Freya. A great time was had by all and we wish the family best wishes for the future.

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Path Completion

In our last posting we reported that our path was well on the way to completion and we are pleased to say that it is now all finished.    We were able to re-use all of the existing Horsham stone and the path is now flatter and safer.

Here we all are after the AGM admiring it.

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AGM

The Annual General Meetings of the Committee and Trustee bodies were held in March. Personnel changes included the resignation of Susie Evershed from her post as Chair of the Trustees. We thank her for the lifelong commitment that she has given to the chapel in her various executive positions on both the committee and trustee body and look forward to her continued active advisory participation on both bodies from her home in new home Cambridgeshire.

We welcome Marion France to the committee. Since becoming a member last year, Marion has been very active in her valued contributions to our work and we very much look forward to her further involvement with us.

New Members  

Vanessa Harris and Sharon Jarret became members in March. Membership is an expression of a formal willingness to become part of our community and to contribute, however able, in the life of The Chapel. We thank them for this expression of commitment and look forward to a long and sustaining relationship with our lovely little spiritual home.

Calendar and e-newsletter

All of our events are posted on our calendar here. Please free to explore all the things that we do and come and pay us a visit in person whenever you can. In addition to this page and the calendar, Marion also produces a paper newsletter that highlights our events and which is distributed by post to all of our friends who are without the internet. If you are making an occasional visit to this page and would like Marion’s newletter emailed to you, then you can contact her at  marion@intuitivetouch.co.uk

See you at The Chapel sometime soon.

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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.

The Chapel Youtube 3

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. …

The Chapel Youtube 3

…..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.

harvest

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.

The Chapel Youtube 3

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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