Update 11th April 20 Easter Saturday


Dear Members and Friends of Godalming Unitarians

I hope you remain physically well and in good spirits as we come near the end of our 3rd week in lock-down. With no sign of things being relaxed, this will be for all of us an Easter like no other. It may feel hard to celebrate new life and find meaning in ‘resurrection’ with so many deaths and disruption in the news, but still nature blooms around us, and amidst the gloom are many heart-warming stories of kindness and generosity.

Sunday Service

On Palm Sunday 30 of us met online for our 2nd Zoom service – this time with no technical hitches. We were joined by a fellow Unitarian Zooming in from France – one of the advantages of online services!

We’ll be meeting again by Zoom for our Easter service. I’ll be online from 10.50 to welcome you – please arrive in good time for a prompt 11 am start.

Sheena Gabriel is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Easter Sunday Service
Time: Apr 12, 2020 11:00 AM London
contact webadmin@unitariangodalming.org.uk for invite

Click here for the service script, for those of you who’d rather read it through, than join us online.

Community Chat

On Tuesday, we had our 2nd Zoom Community Chat. Once more it was good to hear how people are managing in these times.
Pam Cookney has kindly offered to host this coming Tuesday’s online sharing:

Pam Cookney is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Time of sharing / Community Chat
Time: Apr 14, 2020 04:00 PM London
contact webadmin@unitariangodalming.org.uk for invite

If you have any problems accessing this meeting, please contact Pam on pamcookney@gmail.com or 07790 893622


On Wednesday our 2nd meditation via Zoom, focussed on compassion for ourselves and our world.
All our welcome to join the next online meditation, details as follows:

Topic: Meditation
Time: Apr 15, 2020 07:00 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
contact webadmin@unitariangodalming.org.uk for invite

Meditation scripts via email, are also available on request. Please contact Rob robert.oulton@btinternet.com

‘Being Together’ – National Unitarians Online Gathering 7th-9th April

This week, with our General Assembly meeting in Birmingham cancelled, I joined several online sessions. Whilst not the same as meeting in person, it helped me to feel connected and gain spiritual nourishment from the wider Unitarian Community. I  was struck by how quickly people have risen to the challenge of using online technology, and no doubt this will continue after this crisis is over. Recordings of some of the sessions, including the key note speech by Quaker author, broadcaster and activist, Dr Alastair Mckintosh – ‘The Revolution will be Spiritual’ – can be found at: https://www.unitarian.org.uk/beingtogether

The Inquirer (Unitarian journal) continues to be published and there are recent copies languishing in the chapel unread. If you’d like some extra reading material to while away the hours, please let me know and I will post to you. You can visit the website to see sample copies at http://www.inquirer.org.uk


Yesterday on Good Friday, Rob and I spent time down at the Chapel. The sun shone brightly and the warm Spring air blew through the open window, as we read through a past Good Friday service, listened to Taize chants, and lit candles for those who are suffering at this time.

As we reflected on Jesus’ struggle to carry his cross towards Golgotha, we remembered those who struggle today, carrying burdens too heavy for them – and read aloud this poem:

‘A poem for those who Carry’ by Anna Kamienska:
Those who carry pianos to the tenth floor, wardrobes and coffins,
an old man with a bundle of wood limps beyond the horizon,
a woman with a hump of nettles
a mad woman pushing a pram full of vodka bottles

They will all be lifted
like a gull’s feather, like a dry leaf
like an eggshell, a scrap of newspaper
Blessed are those who carry – for they shall be lifted.

And we ended our service with these words:

Rev. Cliff Reed (based on words from ‘The Burial of the Dead’ in ‘The Wasteland’ by T.S Eliot)

‘It was a cruel month when Jesus died in mockery of Spring
And was laid in the stony tomb, his body broken – the image of God.
But lilacs breed out of dead land, roots stir with April rain,
spirits rise mixing memory and hope.

Son of Man, we remember you on the cruellest day
and we await your rising
from beneath that heap of broken images that has buried you too long.’

In this strange time, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – where pandemic and fear, meets with bright sunshine and soft Spring growth – I felt prompted to set up two displays in the Chapel, reflecting these contrasting moods – as shown in these photos.

The Good Friday table, has an ‘Amnesty’ barbed wire candle holder in the middle, representing all those who are persecuted or facing human rights abuses. On the brown leaves are written prayers, for people known to us and people in our world.
The photo of the window (taken in a street in Farncombe) shows a rainbow ‘candle’ – one of many home-made creations which have sprung up as symbols of solidarity and hope. For me, it symbolises the bitter-sweet’ time we are living through – the limbo state of Easter Saturday.

The Easter Sunday display includes the Chapel’s ‘Prayer Tree’ – the green leaves (and eggs) ‘growing’ messages of hope, peace and new beginnings for our world.

After an extra busy few weeks (during which I’ve Zoomed into more meetings than I ever thought possible!) from 13th-20th April I’ll be taking leave to catch up on studies and have some quiet moments away from the computer screen. Edie Campbell will take the service on 19th April via Zoom – details will be sent out a day or two before. During this time, for urgent pastoral matters or general Chapel enquiries, contact the Chapel trustees via office@unitariangodalming.org.uk

Amidst the current uncertainty, anxiety and disruption, I hope you are each able to experience moments of peace and contentment this Easter, and draw strength from friendships forged within and beyond our Chapel community.
In Faith and Hope, Sheena


Rev. Sheena Gabriel