We are pleased to announce that all services are now back in the Chapel on Sundays at 11am, with Covid precautions including the need to wear a mask. The services are also transmitted by Zoom. Click the link below and join with us. Services start at 11.00am, but you can open the Zoom link from 10.30am onwards. The Meeting ID is: 871 7727 9915 Click here to open Zoom
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 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.
(Click photo right to enlarge)
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 was a tutor to the Ministry Students at Harris Manchester College, Oxford until 2018.
Saturday & Sunday
September 11 & 12
10.00am – 5.00pm
As part of Heritage Open Days we invite everyone to visit our historic non-conformist chapel. Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, built in1708 with its intact graveyard, is a Grade II listed building with historic walls containing Roman tiles. The Interior Octagonal ceiling is also separately listed. Structure and hipped roof built 1708, remodelled 1859 but some original features remain such as box pews. Many monuments to local dignitaries prominent in the Industrial revolution. The original schoolhouse building is still in use. Tours are organised; maximum 20 people per tour/session. Everyone welcome.
Could visitors please be aware that there will be scaffolding inside the chapel due to essential repair work. Our guides will explain the significant roofing problems we confront and how we are planning to rectify them.
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).
Great Meeting Chapel Roof Repair Fund
Our Grade II listed Great Meeting Chapel is under threat from a leaking roof and rusting gutters. Failure to act soon
could render the Chapel and its meeting rooms unusable. We are asking for help and support to protect this unique
city centre ‘gem’ and its fascinating history for future generations. Work is now underway – click here to learn more…
We thank the many people who have already started donating to the Roof Repair Fund. We are also very grateful for generous donations from The Gregson Trust of £3,000 and from East Midland Unitarians of £5,750.
National Lottery Heritage Fund Award
We are delighted to announce that the Chapel has been awarded a grant of £78,700 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for essential repairs to the Chapel’s fabric and for a Heritage Outreach programme. The title of the project is ‘Great Meeting Chapel: an inner-city gem restored and revealed’.
We are also grateful for an award of £6000 from Leicester City Council, £5000 from the Gregson Trust and £1000 from the Leche Fund. Work will commence in early August with the erection of a birdcage scaffold inside the Chapel to repair the ceiling which had been damaged by the recently repaired ceiling leak.
(photo shows damage to Chapel corniche, click to enlarge)
The Pilgrim Trust – Grant Award
We have been awarded a grant of £4,900 from The Pilgrims Trust. The grant will go towards the expense of cleaning a good selection of our excellent internal wall memorials. We appreciate the help given to us by The Pilgrim Trust and express our sincere thanks.
The Pilgrim Trust gives grants totalling over £3 million each year to charities and other public bodies. Sixty percent of funding is directed towards projects aimed at preserving the fabric of architecturally or historically important buildings, or projects working to preserve historically significant artifacts or documents.
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.
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)
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 and are now archived and available to everyone to read.
Four seasons in the gardens near the Garden Room and school.
Springtime with bluebells, summer sunshine, autumn with falling leaves, and winter, with snow covering the Chapel garden. CLICK photos to enlarge.
More photos, showing unique tiles in the chapel, chapel interiors, garden areas, three generations of members, and stained-glass window.
CLICK photos to enlarge.
Join with Leicester Unitarians at the Great Meeting Unitarian Chapel, Leicester
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Updated Wednesday September 1 2021