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News & Views

Why I came to the Chapel, and stayed...

One Saturday in 1999, I noticed a sandwich-board in Rosslyn Hill inviting people to meditate for Kosovo. I’d noticed the Unitarian chapel before, but thought it just another offshoot of Anglicanism (judging from the architecture). But thinking of the suffering of innocent Kosovans, and my own good life, I thought I could spare 20 minutes.

I found the interior much as expected, was ushered to a pew as expected and sent some light and love not at all confidently, as expected. Unexpected, however, was the New England warmth and wit of the minister when he spoke to me. I was impressed enough to attend his service that Sunday.

And I found it unexpectedly different - though echoing the kind of service I’d known (when a teenager’s way to meet girls was to attend local churches). Within the blend of freedom and formality, I enjoyed the singing, was impressed by the reading, and particularly by Rev Fred Lipp’s sermon on ‘making the most of one’s life’. And he always gave some ten minutes for meditation. This service was for me in ways that the Quaker meetings I had attended were not. A bonus was finding equally congenial people over tea after the service.

I have since attended more or less continuously.

Since discovering a spiritual dimension to my life, thanks to an appalling mid-life crisis and a spiritual healer whom I keep in touch with still, I’d been looking for something that I could turn to on an everyday basis for the kind of experience I’d found at the Findhorn Foundation, annually. Quaker meetings had been very useful but what made RHUC more special?

I particularly enjoy a good sing: for me, it’s a way of giving thanks. I often find the readings and sermons stimulating with ideas to mull over. However, I couldn’t explain why I need to attend once a week, if I can, until the Rev Patrick O’Neill said that people who go to church in search of god often find the god they are seeking within themselves. And that’s it! I need our formal setting to quieten my monkey mind and to try to attune to what my life is meant to be about.


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