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 twice monthly Alternative Gathering is currently paused.: But it'll be back. More events
  • Upper Chapel Strollers (normally first Saturday): Next walk Saturday 4th November - a short local stroll before Christmas lunch at the Whitley Hall Hotel. More events
  • Upper Chapel Striders: Walks on an ad hoc basis. More events
  • Music Together (*normally* fourth Wednesday): Next meeting Wednesday 15th December 7pm for 7.15pm Christmas Party and film 'The Tailor of Gloucester' More events
  • Women's League (*normally* first Monday): Next meeting Monday 13th December (a second Monday) 11am for 11.30am. Christmas Crafts. More events