About

about us

learn about the cirencester unitarian fellowship by exploring our outlook, affirmations and history here.

our minister

Reverend Mark Hutchinson is our Minister, shared with other congregations in the Cotswald Group of Unitarians. Recently Reverend Wyn Thomas has been collaborating with Mark and services may be taken by either Mark or Wyn. Mark is passionate that connection with your spiritual path, as you see it, is a foundation of personal growth, calm and change. Seeking guidance and energy from our personal source is a driving force of how we can all be the difference the world needs us to be. Unitarianism’s unique place for voices of diversity, social justice and reason is a place Mark believes enables us all to strive to be the best we can be. A place where shared values sit alongside individual beliefs. A place seeking love, meaning and deep connection. Mark has experience in addiction and mental health support. Please note that pastoral support is not counselling, but a loving presence open to a spiritual context.

You can listen to Mark on the Facebook page, and in the link on the website where regular live reflections are posted, and also on his own YouTube account where a variety of styles of reflection & meditation are available. Mark writes extensive spiritual poetry which can be found on his Facebook page regular postings. Mark has a son & step-son.

Mark has spent the majority of his working life in the gritty world of the waste and recycling industry and retains an interest in a niche recycling company decontaminating hazardous packaging. He also remains a keen cricketer, lover of a variety of music, economic and social history, and the need for us all to take seriously the roads less travelled.

affirmations

These Affirmations express the principles we share as a Fellowship. We use them at our Membership Services.

our fellowship

For many years Unitarians in Cirencester met in their own chapel in Gosditch Street (now the Parish Centre). Regular services in the Gosditch Street chapel ceased in 1969 and today Cirencester Unitarians meet, as the Cirencester Unitarian Fellowship, in the Friends’ Meeting House in Thomas Street Cirencester.

The former Unitarian Chapel, approached by an arch from Gosditch Street, is the oldest chapel in the town, having been erected as a Presbyterian chapel in 1648, during Mr. Gregory’s second term of ministry as Vicar of Cirencester. Subsequently to his ejection from his living by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, Mr. Gregory is said to have ministered in it until forced to leave the town by the Five Mile Act.

Like many of the successors of 17th century English Presbyterianism, the faith of the Presbyterians of Cirencester gradually evolved into Unitarianism, and since the early 19th century the chapel has been Unitarian.

The houses immediately adjacent were formerly the property of the chapel. The graveyard has long been disused. A list of inscriptions is given in the little History of Cirencester published by the late Mr. Savory.

The building is now owned by the Church of England and used as their Parish Centre.

The Object of the British General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

Preamble

We, the constituent congregations, affiliated societies and individual members, uniting in a spirit of mutual sympathy, co-operation, tolerance and respect;  and recognising the worth and dignity of all people and their freedom to believe as their consciences dictate;  and believing that truth is best served where the mind and conscience are free, acknowledge that the Object of the Assembly is:    

Object

To promote a free and inquiring religion through the worship of God and the celebration of life; the service of humanity and respect for all creation; and the upholding of the liberal Christian tradition.

To this end, the Assembly may:

encourage and unite in fellowship bodies which uphold the religious liberty of their members unconstrained by the imposition of creeds;

affirm the liberal religious heritage and learn from the spiritual, cultural and intellectual insights of all humanity;

act, where necessary [as a residual trustee to various Unitarian bodies] being faithful to the spirit of their work and principles … provided always that this shall in no way limit the complete doctrinal freedom of the constituent churches and members of the Assembly.

Do all other such lawful things as are incidental to the attainment of the above Object.

chalice

During the second world war the flaming chalice became the symbol of the American Service Comittee, formed to help people in danger from the Nazis. Unitarians worldwide adopted the symbol and two versions are shown on our website. Most Unitarian services and some formal meetings involve lighting a chalice at the beginning and extinguishing at the end.