Leicester Unitarians Past Events
Covid-19 Lockdown meant many of our normal events were cancelled. However, this page contains a record of just some of the events that were organised by the Leicester Unitarians throughout the year. These are events that are open to members of the general public who are very welcome to join us. We usually highlight forthcoming events on our Home page and the Services page.
Light in the Darkness
Great Meeting successfully hosted the evocative installation ‘Light in the Darkness’ created by Leicester based Greek born artist George Sfougaras, as a response to the fragments of the triptych ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ by Johannes Matthaeus Koelz, part of Leicester Museums & Galleries German Expressionism collection. It linked the plight of refugees, past and present, to the horror and destruction of war.
Photographs, projected against the inside of a tent which was a replica of those used in refugee camps, showed displaced people, many of whom who lost their lives. Amongst the loved ones shown are African, Jewish, Armenian and Greek people from Turkey, the latter being members of the artist’s own family. A sound track in the background added to the atmosphere.
The comments book showed how much the installation had moved and stimulated the visitors: moving, thought provoking, haunting, evocative, beautiful and enriching were amongst the words written down.
Huge thanks to George Sfougaras and his team for putting on such a remarkable and immersive event. (Click photos to enlarge). Click on this YouTube link for more about the exhibition with interview with George Sfougaras by BBC Radio Leicester’s Ben Jackson. (Click here for poster of event).
Tea in the Garden, Ride and Stride, Heritage Open Day
Over 80 visitors enjoyed the Open Day on Saturday September 11 and were able to enjoy tea and cakes, guided tours, and relaxation with live music in our shady garden. The ongoing restoration and scaffolding did not impede the event and visitors expressed considerable interest in the works, part funded by Heritage Lottery. (Click photos to enlarge)
Leicester Unitarians are hosting two groups in the Chapel garden during the Covid restrictions. ‘City of Sanctuary’ are holding a session for the distribution of essential items such as toiletries once per week for asylum seekers and refugees, and ‘After 18’ are holding small group, open air, social and activity meet-ups for their young clients three times per week. We are pleased to have been of help to these organisations who have had difficulty finding a suitable space for their activities during the lockdown. (Click photo to enlarge)
Chapel Garden Events – Soccersize Exercise Classes
Coach Sarah from Leicester City Football Club’s Community Department is holding ‘Soccersize’ exercise classes for the clients of ‘City of Sanctuary’ in the garden at Great Meeting. Drills, skills and relays, much enjoyed by all.
(Click photo to enlarge)
Activities in the garden, planting herbs and making bunting and much else, for refugee week.
(Click photo to enlarge)
Mobile Covid Vaccination Centre
Covid jabs have been given to more than 100 homeless people in the city, thanks to a GP practice working with ‘harder to reach’ communities. We were very pleased to host a weekend Covid vaccination programme in our car park, run by Inclusion Healthcare, for asylum seekers, refugees and the homeless. Photos show the mobile vaccination centre. – click photo to enlarge.
Click to read full report in Leicester Live.
During the 2020/2021 Covid pandemic there were many months when, due to Lockdown restrictions, normal services could not be held in the chapel. As an alternative, services were conducted at a distance with Zoom. Despite initial doubts, the Zoom services were very enjoyable and engaging events, with readings, prayers, music and a homily from our minister. This ‘at-a-distance’ service helped members keep connected with the chapel and each other. Each week, after the service, the homily was placed on the website. In addition, the homilies were published in a booklet, adding new homilies week by week. The updated booklet was then published weekly on the website. The booklet is now archived and available to everyone to read.
The annual Burns Lunch took place after service on Sunday January 26 2020 and, as the photos show (Click image above to view…) it was a convivial occasion that greatly cheered up a dull winter day.
Thanks to Mike and Nicky Drucquer, for organising and cooking the delicious food, and to Diane, Roy, David, Julie, Shirley and everyone else who helped on the day. Stuart’s stirring “address to the haggis “ was also much appreciated. Congratulations to Annabel for winning the Burns quiz.
After covering costs the lunch raised £186.18 which will be put towards the Roof Renovation appeal.
Our annual Carol Concert, followed by afternoon tea, was again a great success. The chapel was candle lit, and the decorations as splendid as ever, with the added attraction of an ingenious, mobile Christmas tree on wheels. Huw Edwards provided piano accompaniment to the Great Meeting Singers who performed several lovely Christmas themed songs.
This year, volunteers for the readings were in full supply and our minister even had to place some on the waiting list for next year… Many thanks to all who helped at every stage… in particular to our decorations supremo, Tony, who knows better than anyone that what goes up, must come down!
The Knighton Community Choir entertained a sizeable audience in the chapel on December 12 2019 with their annual Christmas Concert. Not deterred by a sudden breakdown of the heating system on the same morning [now repaired] we had rapidly hired portable heaters for emergency heating such that an urgent appeal to the choir to bring woolly jumpers proved unnecessary!
The well rehearsed 35 strong choir, under the musical direction of Simon Lubkowski, took full advantage of the chapel’s renowned acoustics to entertain us with a Christmas medley of songs ranging from O come, O come Emmanuel and O holy night, to popular favourites Last Christmas and A Spaceman Came Travelling. The audience were glad to join in singing the carols such as Silent Night and The Christmas Song. After the concert we all repaired to the Garden Room for hot drinks and a delicious array of cakes. An exit collection for the roof appeal raised a fantastic £113.
Following the service on Sunday September 29 2019, people were invited to move into the Garden Room for our annual Harvest Festival Lunch.
Over the course of the weekend September 14 and 15 2019 we welcomed just on 100 visitors to chapel. Thirty seven of these were participating in the annual ‘Ride’n’Stride’ cycle event. The remainder were drawn to chapel because it was one of a number of historic buildings in Leicester taking part in the national Heritage Open Weekend.
Thanks to Tony and everybody else who volunteered their time to give visitors a tour and share the history of Great Meet-ing with them. The many positive comments left in the guest book show how much our visitors enjoyed their experience.
We were delighted to open up the chapel garden to the general public for the ‘Tea in the Garden’. Numerous first time visitors were welcomed and commented on the beauty of the chapel and garden.
The event raised £202 net for the Roof Repair fund, so a big thank you to all who helped in the organisation. The sun was shining brightly so we were all grateful for the cool canopy of the Plane trees. ‘Chelsea and the King’ provided brilliant live music from a small stage in the garden, Robin Lister gave a short demonstration of our magnificent organ and David Wykes presented a talk on the history of the chapel.
Meanwhile the kitchen team worked flat out to keep us all suitably fed and refreshed with truly delicious homemade cakes, the book stall was erected outside and the Tombola drum spun non-stop. The remaining items from the Tombola were successfully auctioned off and left-over cakes were donated to a shelter for the homeless.
Click image for photos…
On Thursday May 9 2019 the Knighton Community Choir delighted us in the Chapel with a selection of songs from popular artists such as Adele, Fleetwood Mac and Bobby Darrin, as well as some more traditional offerings. A further concert is planned for December and all are welcome. It’s a fantastic value chance to hear some lovely live choir singing.
Click image to enlarge…
We had our first Bring & Share Lunch on May 5 2019 and a good time was had by all and there was a plentiful selection of dishes. This event was not designed to raise funds, but to spend time in each other’s company after the service, rather than scurrying off home. All the comments were favourable, so we will repeat the format later in the year. Click image for photos…
The talk with music on the topic of ‘Finding Leicester’s Mrs Austin’ organised by Rotary and presented by Professor Patrick Boylan on March 29 2019 attracted a large audience and raised over £1000 for Charity Link.
Nicky Bingham, accompanied by John Dilleigh, sang a selection of songs from the Austin repertoire and Professor Boylan told us the fascinating, scandalous and previously unknown tale of how this international prima donna reinvented herself to return to England. It was incredible to think that we were sitting in the same chapel where the famous Mrs Austin had first learnt to sing, under the tutelage of William Gardiner. Click image to enlarge…
Another successful Burns Lunch was held in chapel on Sunday January 20, at which £99 was raised for chapel funds. The pictures in the collage overleaf give a flavour of the Scottish-themed event which was enjoyed by 23 chapel members and two very well behaved dogs. Click for Burns’ Lunch page…
Many thanks to Nicky and Mike for preparing the food, Morag for guiding them on what to do, David Wykes for his stirling mashing of ‘tatties’ and ‘neeps’ and for everyone else who helped to set out the room, serve the dishes and clear up afterwards. Special thanks are due to Stuart Fraser who greatly added to the proceedings by addressing the haggis with a recitation of the famous Burns poem. Click image for photos…
Our traditional Carol Service with carols and readings takes place every year in the suitably lit and decorated chapel. It’s a lovely event with a great atmosphere and we are always pleased to welcome members of the public both to the service and to the delicious tea afterwards.
For anybody who wants to hear readings about the Christmas story and join in the carol singing, in an atmosphere which is traditional but not too formal, this is the perfect choice.
Click image to enlarge…
2018 Harvest Festival Service took place on Sunday October 7. Morag and her team of helpers organised a wonderful harvest lunch afterwards in the light-filled garden room. The photos show the participants happily tucking into a menu of quiche, ham, coleslaw, baked potato and salad, followed by homemade plum crumble and custard.
After the lunch a sale of the produce generously provided by the congregation to decorate the chapel took place. The proceeds have been donated to chapel funds. Click image for photos…
Photos: Tony Fletcher
As well as being the date of our theatre trip to London to see a matinee performance of David Kent’s new musical Liberty Rides Forth, Sunday October 14 2018 was the day of Leicester’s annual marathon. As we waited for our pick up after the service we cheered on the stragglers running up St. Peters Lane.
Over its 3 week run Liberty Rides Forth received praise from the critics for, amongst other things, its “fast-paced script” its numerous “toe-tapping tunes” and its “delicious comedy”. As a group we agreed that these accolades were well deserved. Click image to enlarge…
On August Bank Holiday Monday we enjoyed a successful ‘Tea in the Garden’ event which was attended by a larger number of the public than in previous years despite the weather being mostly cloudy. The temperature was fine for sitting out however, which helped to relieve any congestion in the Garden Room. Click to view photos on Tea in the Garden page.
Delicious cakes and items for the tombola were donated by the congregation and the many helpers were kept extremely busy, with the book stall a major attraction as always.
A special thanks must go to David Kent for his entertaining medley of songs, to Robin Lister for demonstrating the organ and to Tony Fletcher for his talk on the history of the Chapel. We raised £374 for Chapel funds, and had much fun doing it, so huge thanks again to all of you who gave of your time, helped and donated.
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