Derby Unitarians
We asked people what led them to start coming to the Derby Chapel, what they thought were the benefits of coming, and whether they had previously attended other churches.
George:

My very dear friend, Ken, (now deceased) was having some difficulty with the position (theologically!) of the church he was attending. I had read of Unitarianism and so thought Ken might be more comfortable there. So we both visited the church for the first time together and although my background was agnosticism, Marxism and Communism, we both became regular attenders.

I like the encouragement to think things out for yourself as well as the tolerance of other religious views and the non-reluctance to quote from other holy books. The friendship of like-minded persons - I think of us a s being seekers after understanding and truth.

Before attending this chapel, I attended the Baptist Church and Quakers services on rare occasions.




Kate:

The reason why I came to Derby Chapel in the first place was because my dear friend invited me to a service because he knew I wanted to go back to church/chapel and thought that it may be right for me - and I am pleased to say that it is.

Yes, I had been to churches before but not for such a long time and to be honest, I never thought I would do again - but I am so glad and honoured to be part of the Chapel in Derby. It is such a special place to me.

My Little Chapel

My little chapel hidden away
Amongst all the buildings
Were it cannot be seen so easily.

My little Chapel so friendly and nice
So, perfect for me.
How I love my little Chapel somewhere for me to be myself and grow spiritually.

A place for me to share in fellowship
But nothing to over the top
My little chapel is so perfect for me.

Once inside it is small and friendly place
To be yourself and to join in fellowship
A friendly little chapel were friendships and spirit grows.

I would be lost without my little Chapel
I am so glad a friend shared this with me.
My little Chapel is so right for me.





Roy:

My mother made me and her other children attend the Friar Gate Unitarian Chapel Sunday school, where we were taught by Mrs Pratt. When my brother and I were strong enough, we were encouraged to pump the chapel organ at services, until the money was found to fit an electric motor to power it. I do not remember attending the chapel again until my mother's funeral service there, a number of years ago. My mother was a devout member all her life.

The Chapel suits me because of its liberalism. I cannot accept a lot of the Bible and its dogma. I balance religion with science. I lean towards Intelligent Design in religion.

Before I returned to the Unitarian Chapel, I was a choir boy at St. John's church, Bridge St., Derby from age 9 to 11 years old., and since then, for weddings, funerals, etc. - never as a member of the congregation.




Chris:

I spent years trying to find a church that felt right. As a young boy I tried all my local churches but after a few weeks left; I just couldn't, in all conscience, buy the package they were offering. In my mid twenties I even put myself through Anglican Confirmation thinking this would sort me out, but of course it didn't. I discovered Unitarianism whilst searching my family tree and then probably two years later found Friar Gate Unitarian Chapel. I paid my first visit some 20 yaers ago and I can only describe it as 'coming home.'

Chapel life gives me a sense of fellowship with like minded peope. Somewhere I can be me, broaden my view, have my assumptions challenged, but ultimately, make up my own mind. I am not offered eternal salvation in return for agreement with a set of doctrines but allowed to grow into a belief that is mine. Having attended a 'Building your own theology' course it was great to hear and learn the thoughts of others and at the completion of the course have numerous Credo (I believe) statements, rather, as in other course that I have attended, been forced into a 'we' believe statement.

I have been to Methodist and Anglican Churches prior to my attendence at a Unitarian Congregation.




John

I came to Derby as I am too far away to attend my own congregation in Rochdale on a regular basis. I had tried Leicester some time ago but the traditional service hadn't appealed. I immediately warmed to Chris's approach and liked the friendliness and informality of Friargate where I felt welcome and 'at home'. Although I am also a member of Charnwood Fellowship, it complements my attendance at Friargate.

Although I am, to a large degree self sufficient and have my own beliefs and values, I do enjoy and gain much inspiration from participating in a church service. No man (or woman) is an island and it is good to contribute as well as to benefit from this shared religious experience.