Updated: Oct 28, 2022
This month we celebrate Chapel membership and hear from three members about what Chapel membership means to me to them, why they came to the Chapel and chose to stay...
I was raised as an Anglican and miss the sense of community and purpose, but can't honestly say the Nicene Creed and don't have a view of the good that lines up with the Church of England.
In the last couple of years here I have stewarded, served as a Board member, helped run zoom services and represented the chapel at the General Assembly. I do this because I want to be a part of a community and team that makes the world a better place.
The opulence of the chapel and our priorities still grates on my frugal self and I worry that liberal religion struggles to be demanding of people.
I don't know if a liberal, morally demanding religious movement can be effective, strong or stable. But I maintain a hope that it can be, a hope that I am willing to work for and that I hope you will be too.
I had been there before, some ten years previously, I was searching again and found, on that Remembrance Sunday 2018, a spiritual home. On that sombre Sunday of reflection I felt comfortable and at peace in an old familiar surrounding.
I slowly visited some more, getting comfortable, liking others who had found their home. Becoming a member, participating in the Winter Shelter…
Then came the great isolation, it made me realise I wanted to be more part of the community -steward, worship assistant, the social action group, a trustee.
With others I feel refreshed and invigorated on Sunday mornings, the chalice lighting giving hope for the new week ahead.
I wasn't looking for a spiritual home. I was brought up as a Catholic - that was enough to put me off religion completely. Until I was 16, I didn't even know that other religions existed.
Then, one day, a friend who was looking for a spiritual home told me that they wanted a place where they could have a spiritual identity without dogma. I said I knew a place…
So I came by accident. Lots of things made me stay.
First was the music and the opportunity to sing hymns with words that were actually meaningful.
Then there was the amount that I learnt about ideas, other religions, different ways of seeing the world, different ways of thinking.
Finally the sense of community and all the interesting people I have got to know over the years.
A serendipitous visit. Now I wouldn't be without it!