Covid 19 restrictions have impacted our regular Services. Our Sunday Morning Service continues, but is shorter than usual and requires pre-registration. We hope to trial the return of our 30 Minute Mindfulness sessions in July and return to Evening Gatherings in the autumn. Read more about our response to Covid 19.
About Us > Sunday Services
Sundays at Chapel
Worship in our tradition is a time to celebrate the gift of life, to renew our hope, and to explore how we can live more fully. Services are intended to help us deepen our relationships, our service to others and our ability to love ourselves. We get to share our sense of gratitude and our spiritual faith. Worship leaders in our tradition are granted full ‘freedom of the pulpit’ to speak the truth in Love so you will find something to challenge and something to comfort you as well as a wide range of views. Unitarians hold dear the freedom to believe and act as their conscience dictates. We explore injustice in the larger world and our responsibility to act with kindness and compassion.We draw wisdom from the world's great religions as well as secular sources, music, philosophy, poetry and science.
Sunday morning service
Even if you’ve never set foot in a church before, we think you’ll find something soothing and inspiring in our Unitarian service. The Morning Service begins at 11am and is led by our minister or other guest speakers. In our tradition, you don’t have to be a minister to lead a service so we have a wide variety of voices taking part. The service typically follows a traditional format of spoken words and music and lasts about 40 minutes. It includes readings, hymns, meditation, music and a sermon or reflection from the worship leader. The morning service also includes a story for the younger children before they leave us for Bright Lights, our Children’s Chapel programme and crèche which takes place in the Chapel Hall.
Music is an important part of our morning services. We have a splendid pipe organ and a Steinway concert piano, and our Director of Music regularly arranges for other professional musicians and singers to contribute to the musical parts of the service. We also have a choir that meets regularly and is open to both Members and non-members of the Chapel. Following the service, we have refreshments and social time which we feel is just as important as experiencing the service together!
30 Minute Mindfulness
The 30 Minute Mindfulness sessions are due to resume at 6pm in July on a trial basis.
Based on mindfulness meditation practices in the Buddhist tradition, you will be led through three guided meditations which focus on being present in the body, being aware of the breath and calming the busy mind. These short meditations are aimed at those who want to deepen their meditation practice before attending the Evening Gathering, and those who are not available to attend the Evening Gathering. Do join us for a peaceful pause at the end of the weekend. Open to all – people of all beliefs are welcome.
Sunday Evening Gathering
The Evening Gathering is due to begin again in the autumn at 7pm each Sunday.
This gathering is a smaller, more intimate, contemplative circle of around ten adults who share reflections on the topic presented by the minister or guest speaker. We gather to share our ‘joys and concerns’, listen to soothing recorded music and poetry before entering a time of meditation and reflection. Once a month, our Music and Meditation features live piano music and a variety of different forms of meditation.
The evening service also hosts our regular Wheel of the Year ceremonies which celebrate the eight pagan festivals which mark the changing seasons each year. Our Evening Gathering is also host to intriguing monthly meditation sessions: Sound Bath Meditations use gongs and percussion to create a wave of sound which is best experienced lying down. Our regular Labyrinth Walking Meditations, which are facilitated by guest Interfaith ministers, offer an opportunity to slowly walk on a replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth in silence with gentle music for inner contemplation.
Bright Lights: Children’s Chapel
On Sunday mornings, we provide a lively and open-minded children’s programme session and crèche for the children of those attending the main service. The children stay in the Chapel with their parents/carers for the first part of the service which includes a children’s story. They then leave for their separate activities in the Chapel Hall. Bright Lights is open to children aged 5-12 years and there is a creche for children aged 2-5. Babies under the age of two years can join the creche but must be accompanied by an adult.
The session is led by our dedicated staff, the Children’s Programme Co-ordinator and Crèche Leader. Children aged 5+ follow the Tapestry of Life curriculum from the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each week, a theme linked to Unitarian principles is explored using discussion, art and craft, singing and music or drama. In the crèche, children under the age of five are looked after in a room adjacent to the main hall. They have fun with a range of toys to play with. At the end of the session, the children join the adults in the Chapel and can enjoy a drink and snack.
For more information contact the Bright Lights team.