Unitarian History

Elizabeth GaskellThroughout our history Unitarians have stood for inclusivity, reason and social justice including gender equality (we’ve had women ministers for more than 100 years), gay rights (we’ve performed same-sex blessings for more than 30 years) and the abolition of slavery.

The earliest organised Unitarian movements were founded in the 16th century in Poland and Transylvania following a move away from the traditional ‘trinitarian’ doctrine of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit towards favouring the unity of one God.

In Britain, Unitarianism was damned as heresy and the death penalty imposed on anyone who denied the trinity. Several early radical reformers professed Unitarian beliefs in the 16th and 17th centuries, some suffering imprisonment and martyrdom. The first Unitarian church in the UK was opened in London in 1774 and there are now more than 170 congregations throughout the country.

Prominent Unitarians include Joseph PriestleyElizabeth Gaskell (pictured right), Charles DickensThomas Jefferson,Louisa May AlcottPaul NewmanKurt VonnegutSarah AdamsFrank Lloyd Wright and Tim Berners-Lee.   

Upcoming Events

  • Upper Chapel has now returned to a full programme of services, events and groups.: We do however still ask for caution under certain circumstances - please do not attend if you have Covid 19 symptoms. Please also bring a mask as we encourage them to be worn in certain circumstances (though mask wearing during services is optional). More events
  • Sunday services are in Chapel and one, normally the morning service, is Zoomed: Most Sundays we have services at 11am and 6.30pm but not all. Please check the Worship Calendar or contact the Minister if unsure. More events
  • Wednesday Lunchtime openings are in Chapel: 1130-1300 approx. with reflection at 1215 More events
  • Wednesday afternoon activities have now started.: From 1345, depending on which Wednesday of the month, we have Discussion, Life Spirit, Poetry and Sharing groups. More events
  • The Alternative Gathering is now back.: Now normally on the first Sunday of the month at 2.30pm More events
  • Upper Chapel Strollers (normally first Saturday): Next walk Saturday 7th May - Bluebell Woods, Stubbins Wood near Unstone More events
  • Upper Chapel Striders: Walks on an ad hoc basis. More events
  • Music Together (*normally* third Wednesday): Piano Recital by Jonathan Lazell Wednesday 18th May 7pm for 7.15pm 5 suggested charitable donation More events
  • Women's League (*normally* first Monday): Next meeting Monday 9th May 11am for 11.30am: Journeys by Rev Maud Robinson More events