Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Leicester

We are a long-established congregation of, at present, thirty to forty individuals who share an enquiring outlook into non-dogmatic liberal religion.

The Chapel and its history

The Chapel was erected in 1708 as a “Meeting House of Protestant Dissenters” (read more) where with freedom from dogma we seek to affirm an open-ended faith in life, in humanity and in God.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel
The Minister, Rev. Dr. A. Stewart

Arthur Stewart was educated at St David’s College, Lampeter, where he completed his Ph.D. He trained for the ministry at Manchester College, Oxford, and has served congregations in Sheffield and the Cotswold Group before coming to Leicester in 1989.

Arthur is currently Tutor to the Ministry Students at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.

He is married with three children.

Photos below show part of the gardens near the Garden Room
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting garden summertime
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel gardens
Items to catch your interest…

A selection of photographs showing Leicester Unitarians Chapel and garden areas. Click any photo to enlarge.

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Website updated Thursday April 19 2018

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

SERVICES

Services

Our weekly Sunday services are at 11.00 am. Visitors are always welcome to our services and to join us afterwards for tea or coffee in our Garden Room.

Services consist of hymns from one of our three Unitarian hymn books with accompaniment from our magnificent and recently restored 1862 organ; prayers; readings (which might be from religious or secular sources) and an address from the Minister, on a wide-ranging and challenging series of topics, often relevant to the time of year, to a festival or to a day of commemoration or remembrance.  Some services are accompanied by a musical offering, either on the piano or from our singing group.

First time at a Unitarian Service? Click to read our helpful leaflet

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting first time at service
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting daffodils
MARCH 
Sunday 4 : 11.00am
The Minister
Sunday 11 : 11.00am
Mothering Sunday
Sunday 18 : 11.00am
Rev Patrick Timperley
Sunday 25 : 11.00am
Palm Sunday
Simon Hall
APRIL 20
Sunday 1 : 11.00amEaster Sunday
Sunday 8 : 11.00amThe Minister
Sunday 15 : 11.00amThe Minister
Sunday 22 : 11.00amThe Minister
Sunday 29 : 11.00amThe Minister
MAY
Sunday 6 : 11.00amThe Minister
Sunday 6 : 6.00pmEast Midlands Unitarian Joint Service at Mansfield
The Minister
Sunday 13 : 11.00amThe Minister
Sunday 20 : 11.00amWhitsun
Sunday 27 : 11.00amThe Minister
Leicester Unitarians – Forthcoming Events Spring 2018
MARCH 2018
Saturday March 3
2.30pm
EMU Quarterly Meeting at Derby
Sunday March 25
2.00am
Clocks go forward 1 hour
MAY 2018
Saturday May 5


Civic Society Guided Walk calling at GM
Sunday May 6
EMU Joint Service at Mansfield
Tea from 4.30pm, service at 6.00pm led by The Minister.
Saturday May 26
Wedding of Simon Hall and David Kent
at Great Meeting.

Further dates and times of the Vestry and ‘Making Things Happen Group’ meetings will be announced from the pulpit.

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

NEWSLETTERS

Newsletters

Keep up with news and events
We publish a regular newsletter that helps to keep our congregation informed about forthcoming events, plus articles and comments from contributors.
Click HERE to read the latest newsletter on-line, or right-click and in the drop-down menu select “Save Target As…” and download onto your computer to read later or print a copy.

In addition to being the newsletter compiler, Nicky Drucquer has the role of liaison with our ‘webmaster’. If you have any digital images of Great Meeting people, places or events since 2011 please forward them to her for inclusion in the photo gallery section of the site.

All members of GM are also cordially invited to contribute ideas or items for the newsletter. Please contact Nicky at nickydrucquer@gmail.com for more details. The closing date for contributions for the next edition is May 12 2018.  

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting NEWSLETTER
Viewing our newsletters
Some web browsers use their own readers to view PDFs. However, our newsletter is best viewed by downloading to your computer and then reading with Adobe Reader (download here) as you can choose how you want to display the pages.
We suggest using Adobe Reader and selecting;  View>Page Display>Two Page view> Show Gaps Between Pages>Show Cover Page in Two Page View, as shown on the right. This way you can view more information, plus you can correctly view photo montages we sometimes use in the centre fold.
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting newsletter Adobe Reader inst.
Back issues
We have been publishing newsletters for many years and copies are kept in our archives. We publish a small selection below. Click on any image to read a newsletter or click below to visit the archives page for all other back issues. 
Winter 2017
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting newsletter
Autumn 2017
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting newsletter
Summer 2017
http://www.leicesterunitarians.co.uk/newsletters/
Spring 2017
http://www.leicesterunitarians.co.uk/newsletters/
Winter 2016
http://www.leicesterunitarians.co.uk/newsletters/
Autumn 2016
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel newsletters archives
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

ABOUT US

About us…

Leicester Unitarians welcome all ages to our services and our events. You don’t have to ‘sign up’ – just come along and try us out! Some of our events are listed in the Diary, and you can get more details by calling or e-mailing Arthur, our Minister.

Our People

We are a congregation of free-thinkers. We reject the imposition of a particular religious view on individuals or groups and encourage freedom of thought and tolerance of other peoples’ ideas.
Learn More

Our Beliefs

Our Chapel is a place of prayer; of hymn-singing and of reasoned religious reflection. It is a place in which to pause; to seek tranquillity, and for each to explore their own spiritual path in life.
Read more...

Our History

Leicester’s Unitarian Chapel, known as ‘The Great Meeting’, was built in 1708 and is the oldest complete brick building in Leicester, one of the most important historic buildings to survive in the city.
Read more...

Our Music

Music has always been important to the ministry and congregation at Great Meeting and musical contributions to our services are actively encouraged, with special social evenings and concerts
Read more...

Our people

We are a congregation of free-thinkers. We reject the imposition of a particular religious view on any individuals or groups and encourage freedom of thought and tolerance of other peoples’ ideas. We welcome everyone, irrespective of religion, to join with us.

Click any photo in the gallery right to enlarge…

Sir Peter Soulsby and Manjula Sood MBE

As we all remember, Great Meeting has long been affectionately known as the “Mayors’ Nest”, having historically spawned many of the city’s previous mayors. We are immensely proud that Sir Peter Soulsby, Chair of our congregation, became the first elected Mayor of the City of Leicester.

Peter is pictured here, during Great Meeting’s tercentenary celebration in 2008, with our member Manjula Sood MBE. Manjula was awarded an M.B.E. for ‘Services to the community in Leicester’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and also became the UK’s first Asian Lady Mayor.

 

Sir Peter Soulsby and Cllr. Manjula Sood
GM members – recent publications

David Wykes with a colleague, Isabel Rivers, has edited a volume of nine essays, Dissenting praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales.

Elizabeth Wykes under (under her professional name Elizabeth Clapp) also has a book coming out, Women, Dissent and Anti-slavery in Britain and America, 1790 – 1865, which she has edited with a colleague, Julie Roy Jeffrey.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting David Wykes
Dr Anthony Fletcher

Warmest congratulations to Dr Anthony Fletcher on the book launch of ‘The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland’ which he jointly edited. 

The launch took place on the 12th May at the Natural History Museum in London.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Dr Anthony Fletcher

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

Our Beliefs

  • In Leicester we continue the long-standing liberal tradition of Unitarian values and practices – and seek to share them with others in this diverse and successfully multicultural city.
  • We are a congregation of free-thinkers – unimpeded by creed or dogma. We reject the imposition of a particular religious view on any individuals or groups and encourage freedom of thought and tolerance of other peoples’ ideas. This refreshing approach means that our services are often attended by those who might identify primarily with a different faith or indeed with agnosticism or atheism.
  • Unitarians respect genuine advances in scientific knowledge and appreciate that science can and should challenge belief.
  • Drawing particularly on Judaeo-Christian and humanist traditions, we respect other faiths and beliefs and the wisdom that can be found in them.
  • Through our services of worship every Sunday and good social fellowship we meet to encourage one another along the way.
  • The term ‘Unitarian’ derives from our longstanding and previously heretical non-acceptance of the Trinity (Father-God, Son-Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Instead, we honour Jesus as a great human being and inspirational teacher but do not worship him as a god.
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting stained glass window

We warmly welcome visitors and friends to join with us. We are an inclusive congregation and set no boundaries according to race, religion, gender or sexuality

To learn more about Unitarianism please click on these leaflets

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Leaflet faith
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Leaflet
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Leaflet Weddings
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Leaflet Namings
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Leaflet Jesus

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

Our history

Leicester’s Unitarian Chapel, known historically as ‘The Great Meeting’ – was built in 1708. It is the oldest complete brick building in Leicester and one of the most important historic buildings to survive in the city.

Significant contribution to the life of the town
The congregation was the most important and influential in Leicester during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and members made a significant contribution to the political, economic, and cultural life of the town out of all proportion to their size or numbers.

In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries its members played a leading part in the development of the Leicester hosiery trade. As the economy grew they made a similar contribution to the establishment of mechanised worsted spinning and banking in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Joseph Priestley (1733–1804)

The Rev. Dr Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)
Unitarian minister, scientist and political radical.

19th century work
In the nineteenth century Chapel members helped found the Mechanics Institute; the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society and the Leicestershire Archaeological Society.

Major benefactors
In the twentieth century Joseph Fielding Johnson, a member of the congregation, was a major benefactor of University College, now the University of Leicester, and the main administrative block (which had been the old ‘County Lunatic Asylum’!) is now named after him. The Gimson Committee Room at the University recognises the gift of Gimson furniture to the University by Christopher Gimson, also associated with the congregation. Another member, Edwin Clephan, has a building at De Montfort University named after him…

Distinguished peopleMinisters to the congregation included a number of distinguished men. Revd. Charles Berry, together with the leading members of his congregation, played a major part in the movement for political reform in the town during the early nineteenth century.

The first seven mayors of the town following municipal reform in 1835 were members of the Chapel and as a result it became known locally as ‘The Mayor’s Nest’.

Active in today’s worldToday a number of members of the congregation are very active in public and political life.

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

HIRE ROOMS

Hire Rooms

Our modern rooms and the chapel are available for hire at reasonable rates.

Garden Room
The light and very attractive Garden Room is perfect for receptions and informal meetings. It can easily accommodate seating for 40 or more.

Christopher Wykes Room
Downstairs, the Christopher Wykes Room, comfortably seating more than 50, is suitable for more formal presentations and meetings

The Chapel
The Chapel itself is available for concerts; organ recitals and meetings. It has a seating capacity considerably in excess of 200
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Room Hire

Facilities

Equipped kitchen
The small well equipped kitchen is capable of being used for light refreshments or as a base for caterers providing food prepared off site.

Audio Visual
Audio Visual equipment can be provided by arrangement.

Access
Both the Chapel and the Garden Room have good level access and disabled toilet facilities but, although access to the Chistopher Wykes Room is by broad and easy stairs, it does not yet have full disabled access.

Baby-changing facilities
Baby-changing facilities are installed.

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Car Parking and easy access
The Chapel and rooms have their own car-parking facilities – up to 18 cars – at weekends and in the evenings. During the working day public parking is available nearby on-street and in secure car-parks.

Trains and Coaches
Leicester Station is less than 20 minutes walk and St Margaret’s Bus and Coach station is less than 5 minutes away.


Full details of the facilities and rates can be obtained by email to;
The Secretary
Tel: 01509 812236   Mob: 07802 713215
lettings@LeicesterUnitarians.co.uk

Photographs below show the Garden Room and garden. In fine weather tables and chairs can be arranged outside to enjoy the garden. (click photos to enlarge)

The Christopher Wykes Room

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Room Hire
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Room Hire
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting children playing in garden
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Room Hire
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

WEDDINGS

Weddings and Celebrations at the Heart of Leicester


Whether you are single or divorced, of mixed faiths or no particular faith, gay or straight, you can be married or celebrate your civil partnership at our historic Unitarian chapel in the heart of Leicester with the service of your choice.

For many people a civil ceremony is too brief and impersonal, yet they are not at home with the traditional church wedding service. They may not be churchgoers, or even religious in the conventional sense, but they nevertheless feel a reverence for the vows they make at marriage and wish to express their faith in life, in one another and in their future together.

So how do you go about arranging a marriage at Great Meeting?Firstly contact our Minister, Dr Arthur Stewart, for a preliminary discussion. He will want to clarify the formal details of the intended marriage and will instruct you regarding the necessary notifications to the Register Office.

Then you can move onto the ceremony itself such as order of service, the wording of the declaration and promises, the music (with or without organ), and witnesses.

Please contact the Minister for more information on 01509 812236

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting weddings

Same sex blessings and weddingsWe are pleased to conduct blessings for couples of the same sex, either as a complement to a legal civil union or simply as a way to celebrate a relationship. We are also able to offer same sex couples a marriage ceremony at our chapel. For further details please contact the Minister.

leicester-unitarians-weddings-information-leaflet-download

We have excellent facilities

      • Seating in the chapel for more than 200 (+ 100 more on the balcony)
      • Our own parking for over 18 cars with lots of public parking nearby
      • A beautiful organ; an excellent piano; a modern speaker system or space for your own musicians
      • A wonderful garden for photos and for guests to meet
      • Light and spacious rooms which have been used for the reception (although the kitchen is quite small)
      • Accessible on foot from the Holiday Inn (about 10 minutes) the
      • Travelodge (less than 5 minutes) the Marriott (about 15 minutes)
      • Easy access on foot or by car to other City Centre venues for receptions (click here to see how to find us)

Schedule of fees

Hire of Chapel and Garden Room for the ceremony
£350
Minister’s fee
£150
Authorised person
£50
Organist Schedule of fees
Price on application

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

NAMINGS

Namings and Blessing Ceremonies

Celebrating new lifeYour child needs a name thoughtfully given – a welcome from the family and the blessing of your community. Your child needs the open expression of your love and your commitment to its future.

When a new life is celebrated in a Unitarian chapel, we affirm the inherent worth of that person and his or her potential for making a difference in the world.

Any notion of inherited sinfulness or institutional authority over this life is alien to our way of thinking and acting.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting namings

Photos of  Naming ceremonies at Leicester Unitarians. Click any photo for enlargement

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting namings
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting namings
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting namings
Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting namings

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

FUNERALS

Funerals and Memorial Services

Meeting the wishes of family and friends

Unitarians will offer funeral and memorial services that are designed to meet the needs and wishes of family and friends and that reflect the life and beliefs of the person who has died.

To discuss your needs, whether in the chapel; at the crematorium; at the graveside or at home – call or e-mail our Minister, Arthur Stewart.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting funerals

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

CONTACT US

Contact us…

Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel Leicester

Drawing particularly on Christian and humanist traditions, we respect other faiths and beliefs.Through our services of worship every Sunday and good social fellowship we meet to encourage one another along the way.

We warmly welcome visitors and friends to join with us at any time. Please come along to any of our services. Or, if you want further information, don’t hesitate to contact us, either by completing the form with details of your requirements, or by email or telephone as shown below.

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting flowers
Contact us using details below or complete the form opposite
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Weddings, Namings and Funerals


Revd Dr Arthur Stewart
01509 812 236
The.Minister@LeicesterUnitarians.co.uk

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Lettings and General Enquiries Secretary



Secretary: Nick Linnett
mobile: 07802 713 215
lettings@LeicesterUnitarians.co.uk
Fo1404

Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester

Great Meeting : Unitarian Chapel : 45 East Bond Street : Leicester LE1 4SX
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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page

FIND US

Find us…

We are in East Bond Street on the corner of Causeway Lane next to the very new Highcross Shopping. The chapel looks out onto the new Highcross Bus Station and is opposite the Tax Offices.

The Chapel has about 15 car parking spaces which can be full on special occasions. It is often much better to park in the new Highcross Car Park which is very near or in the Haymarket or Abbey Street Car Parks which are a short walk away.

DirectionsThe best way to get to us by car is from Vaughan Way into Church Gate – ‘then 2nd right onto St Peter’s Lane which leads you directly onto East Bond Street’. Don’t be deterred by the signs that say ‘No access to the City Centre via Church Gate’!

Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel directions

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Leicester Unitarians Great Meeting Chapel Page