Newsletter June / July 2014

From the Desk

Dear All,

It would seem we are just nearly half way through the year, with a lot done already. What stands out to me is the sharing that takes place not only on a Sunday, but all through the week. It really does matter, as well as all the things we do in our Bristol community, in keeping both chapels running. And there is plenty to look forward to as the year continues.

We give thanks for all the all good works, as we remember our friends who have passed in recent times, it has also been greatly appreciated by us; for Lindy coming back to conduct some especially well thought services. Best wishes for the future, for another friend Audrey Cooke as she has gone to live near her family. Audrey was a very long standing member within Bristol, a Unitarian very early on in her life, her loyalty, work and legacy will be fondly remembered along with all who have given so much to the movement.

There’s learning afoot, several of us from Bristol are participating in the Worship Studies course: the learning from this is building on the experience we have and will better enable us in our ministries, as with all the attributes we bring to the rich tapestry we already have. It’s good to know that all these things belong to us, and those we share with.

Yours with kind regards.

Karl Stewart

Ray Raitt

On Thursday 8th May we said goodbye to Ray Raitt who has been a long standing member of UMB and before that Oakfield Road. Ray was well loved and respected by everybody who knew her. I know she will be sadly missed by myself and my family. We will always remember how kind and thoughtful she was to all of us. Goodbye Ray, you will never be forgotten.

Jean - Group President

Women’s League

Sally, Jane and Susan worked with others to raise money for UMB - Sally made a lot of cakes. Thanks to those of you who attended Eunice Pullen's memorial service. Eunice was a member of Lewin's Mead UMB until she moved to Weymouth and was still a Fellowship member.


Bristol Interfaith

Bristol Inter Faith Group. With great sadness we announce the death of June Ridd whose funeral Service will take place at Westerleigh Crematorium this Thursday at 1.30 pm. June was a founder member of BIFG over twenty years ago. Extremely knowledgeable on all matters of world religions she forged strong bonds with leaders of the major world faiths in Bristol. On the national scene she was a supporter of the Inter-Faith Network UK which, strengthened by the large membership from local inter faith groups throughout the UK was able to inform Government on inter faith issues.

June, a Christian, had a number of friends within the Unitarian Movement and was no stranger when meetings were held at UMB. Although June had been unwell for several years and unable to be active, her legacy has been the annual Lord Mayor's Civic Inter Faith Celebrations which she did so much to promote with successive Lord Mayors who greatly valued the opportunity to give Civic recognition to the presence of ethnic minorities within the city.

Bernard Omar.

The G.A

May 3, 2014 – Sarah's writing for the Foy AGM:

“GA was fun this year. I was in the teen group for the first time (I'm 13.) On the second day we took advantage of the hotel's spa facilities and went swimming in a roman bath-like pool. On the third day we went to a safari park where we saw lions and bears as well as baby monkeys. Afterwards we went on swan boats. Every day of GA the little kids and us got to eat fried chicken and burgers with chips and cake for tea, whilst the adults had to eat 'posh' cuisine. We gave an interactive presentation on communities for the adults. Everyone thought we were unbelievably phenomenal. Overall I enjoyed the experience and thank you for helping me go to GA this year." 
Sarah Sherman lighting the chalice at GA

Susan Wildman talking to national youth coordinator John Harley


The programmes for the Annual Summer Festival on Saturday the 26th July next are now completed and available to buy. It’s going to be an amazing event. The soloists’ choice of music is exceptional and you will be charmed, enthralled and captivated by their performances. You are in for a real treat!

Here is a very small selection of the programme to whet your appetite. Bob will be playing musical compositions on the beautiful Frenchay Chapel organ such as Sunrise by Richard Strauss, J. S. Bach’s Liebster Jesu, and others. Delydd, Laura and Natalie will be singing solos, duets and a trio of such wonderful works as the very poignant In Paradisum (Requiem), Herbert Howells’s King David, George Gershwin’s Summertime, the incomparable Flower Duet (Lakmé) and many more. You will also be enchanted by Natalie’s delightful playing of pieces on her beautiful harp including a traditional Welsh Lullaby, Suo Gân

During the interval Liz Ferguson’s refreshments will be on sale. These can be enjoyed with Pimms and other drinks outside in the charming and peaceful Chapel Gardens as it’s bound to be a wonderfully warm summer evening, it’s the tradition.

Please spread the word, tell all your friends and family. There is truly something for everyone at this tremendous event. You can only be part of it if you purchase entry programmes which are £10 per person by contacting Pauline Furnivall, Fundraising Secretary email: OR Liz Ferguson 0117 9568007 Email



Audrey Cook 

Audrey Cook, since 1980 a weekly attender at Frenchay, a member and a Building Trustee for over thirty years has moved into an Abbeyfield complex at Whitstable in Kent where she is very near to her daughter and five grandchildren. Audrey, a lifelong Bristolian with a business in Stapleton Road, was a member at Lewin's Mead Meeting from her teens onwards and knew the members there very well, and liaised with them and those of the Oakfield Congregation . She continued her contacts with them when they closed in 1985 as they worshipped in the Frenchay Chapel until Unitarian Meeting Bristol -UMB- opened in 1992. Audrey was a very active member of the Frenchay Women's League as Secretary, organising meals and other activities often in association with UMB members.

Annual Bank Holiday Fund Raising Events were then a feature. Audrey could be relied upon to carefully mount a display of jewellery, which make an attraction which was helpful to raise much needed income. She will be much missed at Frenchay. BFO

Transylvanian Link Visit

This summer the Western Union chapels will be playing host to Rev. Maria Pap from the Transylvanian Unitarian Church, who will be leading worship and giving talks across the region.

Maria will be accompanied on the visit by her husband Laszlo and her 17-year old daughter Abigail, who will be attending the youth event ‘5 Days Away’ at Hucklow, during their stay. Maria will be speaking on a different topic at every service she leads in the Western Union, as well as at the various speaking events which are currently being lined up. Themes for her addresses will include the role of women in the Church; the structure of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania; the history and future of the relationship between British and Transylvanian Unitarians; forms of worship in the Transylvanian Unitarian Church; and the theology of Transylvanian Unitarianism. There are plans to publish Maria’s addresses in a booklet to commemorate her visit.

Highlights of Maria’s Visit 
  • Sat 19th July noon-4pm Western Union Welcome event at Sidmouth 
  • Sun 20th July 11am Service at Taunton 
  • Sun 27th July 11am Service at Plymouth 
  • Sun 3rd Aug 10.30am Service at Trowbridge 
  • 6pm Service at Unitarian Meeting Bristol 
  • Sun 10th Aug 11am Service at Bridport 
In addition to Maria taking the service at UMB on 3rd August, we are also hoping to provide accommodation for her and her family for a few nights in Bristol, as well as lining up publicity opportunities with local news and radio outlets, in order to promote this cultural and religious exchange. If you’re interested in helping to set some of this up, please contact Mark at

A tribute to Maya Angelou

Mark Stewart

Karl and I would like to pay tribute to American writer, civil-rights activist and humanitarian Maya Angelou, who passed away on 28th May aged 86.

I have continued to be inspired by Maya Angelou’s writings since I first discovered them aged 15.

She was an American hero, possibly best known for writing and delivering the poem ‘On the pulse of morning’ at President Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.One of her most inspiring poems to me has been ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All’, which I have used in services on several occasions:

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all

Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild

Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.

Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.

I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all, 
Not at all.

Life doesn't frighten me at all.