Who’s who at Park Lane Chapel?

Minister:  Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon
07986 826601

Chairman:  Mr John Barker
01744 882790

Treasurer: Mrs Marian Knowles,
01695 623676

Children’s Group and Magazine:
Mrs Pat Halsall,
01942 703552

Weddings, Christenings, Child Naming:
Mrs Susan Naylor
01942 711106


June/July 2017

BUILT - 1697

Park Lane Unitarian Chapel,
629, Wigan Road, Bryn, Ashton-in-Makerfield.

(A Unitarian & Free Christian Church)
Sunday Services at 11am
                                 Children’s Group  at 11am
Weddings, Funerals, Child Dedication & Naming
by arrangement.

Our Object

We, the congregation of Park Lane Chapel
uniting in a spirit of co-operation,

and respect
and recognising the worth and dignity of all people
and their freedom to believe as their consciences dictate;
and believing that the truth is best served where the mind and conscience are free,

acknowledge      that      the      object       of        our
congregation     is     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,
we   encourage    each    other    and    unite    in    a
fellowship       which       upholds      the      religious
liberty of its members

unconstrained by the imposition of creeds:
and affirm the liberal religious heritage
and learn from the spiritual, cultural and intellectual
insights of all humanity.

Alan Jones
Funeral Directors Limited
Independent Family Business
Local People Caring for Local People.
24 Hours
Funeral Homes and Chapels of Rest
Ashland House, 87 Old Road,    Danesbrook House, 21 Ladies Lane,
Ashton-in-Makerfield,                Hindley,
01942 271824                             01942 525504

Dove Cottage, 51 Johns Ave.,    Millbrook House, 56 High Street,
Haydock,                                    Golborne,
01942 724777                             01942 272027

We also offer our own “Eternal Peace”
Pre Paid Funeral Plans for Peace of Mind
New Memorials and Inscriptions on Existing Memorials

Now that the weather has turned warmer, the grounds are once again full of colour, daffodils followed by bluebells along all the borders.
The urns have been replanted and the Lych Gate made good and the gates repainted.
Inside a plaque in memory of the opening of the school building has been removed from the Gym wall and placed facing the entrance as you go into school – a much more fitting place for it.
Thanks to everyone who gives up their time to make the Chapel and grounds and the school building looking so well cared for – it does not go without comment.




Roofing & Property Repairs
UPVC Windows & Fascias
Plastering & Tiling

Tel:  01942 711848

Do you say, woe is me, and give up?   Do you pray and wait for God to come to your rescue, or do you think you have to do something yourself?
It is a brave person who keeps strong when everything seems to be going pear shaped.
Stay positive to overcome life's setbacks, believe in yourself.  You will survive

I am tony MCNEILE a Unitarian.

Dates for your diary
15th                  Committee Meeting following Coffee Morning at 12                        o’clock

Sunday 2nd      We have visitors from Summit in America attending                        our morning service. They are touring around the                                     Merseyside District and visiting as many chapels and                       meeting as many congregations as possible.. We                              always love having visitors and hope as many people as                      possible will be here to make them feel welcome.

 ide any sorrow thereH 
Minister’s Report

Report from General Assembly
In April I attended the annual General Assembly for British Unitarianism, held this year in Birmingham. I thought I should use this column to report back on the state of Unitarianism in the United Kingdom today. A few of you may have read my similar column in our sister congregation at Cairo Street, Warrington – if so, sorry for the repeat of the material, but most haven’t read this.
The state of Unitarianism is, to put it bluntly, troubling. Every year, there are fewer Unitarian chapels, as well as fewer individuals who are members of the chapels that remain. Unitarianism never boasted enormous numbers of adherents in this country, but in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries there were chapels dotted throughout England. And Unitarianism’s influence belied its size: from women’s rights to prison reform, from better working conditions to national parks to the international peace movement, we have been amongst the core group of radical innovators lobbying for a better world. Many of the rights and conditions we now take for granted came about through the efforts of Unitarians, amongst others.
But these are different days. Now, we wonder how long our religion might keep its doors open. This problem is not unique to Unitarianism: in the UK, church attendance has fallen dramatically in the Church of England, and the Catholic church, and in Presbyterian and Methodist congregations. Families that formerly attended church for countless generations in the past have now stopped coming.
So as you can imagine, much of the conversation at our Unitarian General Assemblies revolves around the question, “what is to be done?”
There are many different opinions about this, and sometimes Unitarians will disagree vociferously with each other – because we all care about this faith so much and we want the best for it. Some argue that old-fashioned religion is irrelevant to today’s times, and what is needed is more inclusive gathering places for spirituality,

that jettison religious language like “sermon” and “atonement” for more welcoming terms like “reflection” and “community”. Others argue that in today’s uncertain times many are in fact looking for a return to faith and to faith language, but we need to dig deep into our Unitarian tradition to remind the public that faith does not need to be intolerant and regressive, but can be, and has been, a voice for inclusion, reason and justice. Running parallel to this argument are conversations about where we invest what resources we have left – our money, time, human talent and energy. Do we invest these in new congregations, trying things in new ways? In rejuvenated programming? In publicity? In centralized denominational staff, or in some modern-day model of Unitarian missionaries, who go out into our communities and see how they can help?
If you have an opinion on all this, I’d be very interested to hear it – let me know! As for myself, I’ll point out that Unitarian chapels that are doing relatively well in this difficult terrain all have one thing in common. Do we invest these in new congregations, trying things in new ways? In rejuvenated programming? In publicity? In centralized denominational staff, or in some modern-day model of Unitarian missionaries, who go out into our communities and see how they can help?
If you have an opinion on all this, I’d be very interested to hear it – let me know! As for myself, I’ll point out that Unitarian chapels that are doing relatively well in this difficult terrain all have one thing in common. It isn’t a particular theological outlook: are most successful congregations include a couple of thoroughly Christian, more traditional chapels in the Midlands; an openly non-theist multisite congregation in London; and a new congregation in Derby that eschews traditional religious language but embraces spirituality. No, instead of one particular theology what thriving congregations have in common is an outward focus. They ask the community what is needed, and try to make a difference in the neighbourhood around them. Research by the Alban Institute suggests that this outward focus is a key marker of growth for congregations across a range of theologies and denominations.
 Here at Park Lane, I think it’s fair to say the amazing sense of community fosters this congregation much more than any particular theology. 

Rev. Tony McNeile’s Article
Why do you think  the world has to revolve around you?   This was the question asked of Job in the Hebrew Bible.
Poor job.  He was a devout man, rich, settled with his family.   Is he faithful enough to overcome everything going wrong in his life, the devil asked God?   Test him and see, said the God.  
From then on, what could go wrong for Job, did.  He lost everything, family, wealth, status.
He had good friends and they all came up with different reasons for Job's misfortune. 
They said he must have committed a wrong without realising it, another said he obviously wasn't devout enough and the last said “ You have to accept misfortune.   It's life.”   When all was over and lost, Job asked why God had upset his life.
That is when God appears in a whirlwind and says to Job, what makes you think the world revolves around you?
Job  realised  that he wasn't the centre of everything. 
He realised that Bad stuff happens and it can happen to anyone, religious or not.  It is not always our fault, but sometimes it is.    
And if you describe nothing
What are you thinking about?
But to have the thought in your mind
Is something?
So therefore how can
Nothing be nothing?
We say oh I meant nothing
When an unwanted remark is heard
But that nothing sometimes
Means everything
So nothing can be helpful
When one receives a compliment
We say “Oh it’s nothing
Are you doing anything tomorrow?
No nothing in particular
What are you whispering about?
Nothing important
Just think how many times
Has been used in this poem about nothing
But the only true saying of nothing is
You came into this world
With nothing
And you will leave
With nothing

 You see that spirit of community every Thursday morning at coffee mornings; and we certainly experience it on Sundays. It’s not inward-looking either: welcoming the stranger is, hopefully, the heart of what we’re about when we gather together. We extend a warm welcome to those who are here for the first time.
Looking at the vibrancy of our community today, it’s hard to believe the congregation dwindled to only a half-dozen people a few years ago. Park Lane came back become of a determination, made by many, that we were to be a community which was there for each other and there for the world. So many people around us today don’t have a place to go where they are truly welcomed and inspired – sad to say, but true. So when we are simply present to one another, and actively welcoming to outsiders, we are offering something of great value in today’s rapidly shifting world. We may not have all the answers. But we have a commitment to the common good – and that, in itself, is an answer worth sharing.
On the service on the 28th of May we held a celebration in honour of all the children who were christened in the chapel five years previously. At the time of writing the service hasn’t been held yet, but as a result of the letter invited people to attend we know there at least one family is planning on attending – and two more would like more christenings for a brother or sister who has been born since! It’s lovely to reflect on all the life happening everywhere at Chapel. To any of the many families who have come here for a wedding, a funeral, or a Christening, we here at Park Lane Chapel say: we are honoured to have played a role in your lives, and we consider you very much a part of the chapel, whether we see you on Sundays, Thursdays or once or twice a decade. Let us know if we can be of service. And here’s to the children, let’s take good care of them! 
The Park Hotel, next to the chapel, is holding an Americana festival the weekend of 19th-20th of August. Our American minister, thoughtlessly, is planning to be away visiting family that weekend. No doubt, had he been there, you could have enjoyed his estimable skills on the banjo, which all Americans are born proficient in (note: sadly, this is not true). However, if any congregants want to come support our neighbours, I am sure they will be warmly welcomed.

These words, written by the Welsh poet and author John Cowper Powys, were inscribed in a book of poetry Amy Latham kept by her bedside, presumably by Amy herself. We miss you, Amy. Lots of love to Amy’s family and all who are grieving this month – including the families of Roy Chorlton, Anthony Keating, John Porter and Ronald Peet, all memorialised at our chapel in recent weeks. Rest in peace, we love you.
“Until I’m dust I’ll enjoy my hour,
I’ll gather my harvest and grind my flour
with Holy Rood I’ll have enough to do
Adam am I and Eve are you,
And Eden’s wherever we are, we two.”

THANK YOU to those who showed up for pub theology…there were only a select few of us each month, but we shared some truly wonderful conversation on good, love, God, and shandy. I expect we’ll definitely try something similar in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, if you’d ever like to meet for a pint or a brew, let me know, my arm can be twisted. As I expect could be said for most of our congregation, I’m sure... yours faithfully, Rev. Bob

Coffee & Conversation – Park Lane Hotel!
Visitors welcome: come by for a chat!  Any questions, as ever feel free to call me at 07986 826601. Thanks and blessings!

School Reunion
We are still collecting names and spreading the word about our school reunion on the 2nd September.  We have had quite a lot of interest and we hope that when we start advertising it more nearer the time this will grow.  If anyone who intends to attend has any photographs they would be willing to lend us to copy then we hope they will bring them with them on the day or let us see them before the event so that we can put them on view with the ones we already have.  The school registers that were being held at Leigh Archives have all been photocopied and will also be on show.
Here is a poem written by one of our congregation.                                                 


Nothing is the absence of everything
So therefore if I have nothing
Is nothing envy
For if others have and I have nothing
To have nothing is to be wanting
And wanting is envy
Not devious envy but I wish envy
It has no light, or air
Nor can we smell it
But nothing is there
It exists
Nothing is used in numerous ways
There’s a play
Much to do about
A song I who have
So nothing is used in many forms

But I like nothing, just to be alone
With nothing to bother me
Nothing to think on
But even alone, in the peace and quiet
Nothing to be heard
I say shush listen, nothing
But that nothing has made a sentence
So nothing is useful
And in doing nothing but sitting quiet
Nothing to be heard
There is still sound
There’s a buzz or hum in your ears
So the nothingness there is sound.

I know that I’m a Unitarian and that flexibility and change are an essential part of this.  I am ashamed to admit though that I find change difficult to accept although I can eventually change direction.  Take, for example, my baseball caps.  Being born and bred in Ashton I grew up with the idea that the only acceptable form of headgear was a flat cap;  hats were just for posh folk.  And then came baseball caps – these were just a part of the corrupting force sweeping across from America together with that abomination rock and roll.  What was wrong with Joseph Locke, Mario Lanza, David Whitfield and the others?  Anyway I was not going to accept baseball caps and I stuck it out for a long time until a few years ago I realised that they made sense with  their big peaks and they covered my developing bald spot very effectively.  I have even changed my tastes in music.
Change is hard to accept.  As someone who taught English I am fully aware that language changes – it evolves.  At the same time I find that I have my pet hates as these changes occur.  One of my real bugbears is the word “grow”. Those in the know say, for example, that they want to “grow” a business when they really mean that the want to expand it or develop it.  I know that eventually I will accept this and the word will fix itself in my vocabulary.
On the same theme of language I remember going off to college where “cool” took on a different meaning from that which as an Ashtonian I grew up within which it was a synonym of chilly.  I couldn’t accept it, never used it and never have done.  Cool people in college combined the word with “man”. “Cool, man” was a common expression, a combination which even now I find execrable.  But then again I was never “cool”.
Having admitted to this failure to easily accept change, my mind goes back to the time when I was putting a poster up in the wayside pulpit.  The message was “Only that which changes remains true”.  On reflection I have to agree with this.  Everything that we hear or read has some effect on us;  these things make us think and often slightly-or even greatly- change us.  Park Lane now is not what it was at any time in its earlier history and is probably none the worse for that.
On the whole change is a force for good and with this in mind I hope that the knowledge of what we are will eventually help to “grow” a congregation which embraces change.              Ian
If you attended Park Lane School or know anyone who did then please contact either Rev. Bob on or mobile no. 07986 826601 or Pat Halsall on e-mail  The time is from 2 pm to 6 pm to give everyone a chance to fit a visit into their day.

 Fund Raising for March and April

Thursday Café                                                274.15
Sunday Refreshments                                       68.00
Loose Change                                                   38.00
Sales                                                                  62.00
Books                                                                10.00
Raffle                                                              103.00
Easter Gifts                                                       48.00
Attic Sale                                                        850.00

Donations including funeral donations and those in memory of:
Doreen & Vince Glover          )
            Bill Catterall                           )                
            Jessie Derbyshire                    )       £1098.50         
            George Harrison                      )
            Bert Topping                           )

2nd April         . Isla Rae Beesley
16th.April        . Alex Joseph Webb

14th                              Georgia Phair
13th                              Amelia Kenny
18th                              Toby Kennedy

15th April 2017  -  Richard James Langton and Beverley Kinnaird               – Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon officiating.
13th March       Colin Keating - Rev Bob Janis-Dillon officiating
10th April         Amy Latham - Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon officiating
20th April         Roy Chorlton  - Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon officiating
20th April         John Porter  - Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon officiating

We were all very shocked by the death of Amy Latham which was very quick and unexpected. We all miss her a lot and send our best wishes to her family.
We were also saddened by the death of Roy Chorlton who had suffered ill-health for some considerable time and our thoughts are with Freda and the family.  It is good to have Freda back with us.
Pulpit Supply
4th        11 am              Rev. Tony McNeile
11th      11 am              Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon
18th      11 am              Chrissie Wilkie
25th      11 am              Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon
2nd      11 am              Rev. Tony McNeile
9th        11 am              Rev. Bob Janis-Dillon
16th      11 am              Jean Longworth
23rd      11 am              Rev. Chris Goacher
Flower Rota
4th                    John Lea (in memory of loved ones)
11th                  Ian & Jim Lowe (in memory of parents)
18th                  Norma Leigh (in memory of Brian)
25th                  Edward & Christine Painter (in memory of loved ones)
2nd                   Harriet Heaton (in memory of Ted)
9th                    Ros Connolly (in memory of Dave)
16th                  Sheila Halliwell (in memory of her granddaughter
23rd                  Harry (in memory of Julie and his mother)
30th                  Margaret Griffiths (in memory of loved ones)

Sunday Refreshments
March                          April
5th        12.00               2nd         8.00
12th        9.00               9th          5.00
19th        7.00               16th        9.00
26th        5.00               23rd      District Service
                                    30th      11.00
                                           +     2.00
           £33.00                        £35.00  
Thursday Café
   March 2017                         April 2017
2nd          31.75                     6th           36.64
9th           23.05                     13th         27.40
16th         34.45                     20th         29.20
23rd         25.05                     27th         32.26
30th         34.35                                 
             148.65                                    125.50

March                                                  April
5th        126.50   30 Adults                  2nd       100.50   28 Adults
                            1 Child                                                4 Children
12th      104.00   30 Adults                  9th        126.00   35 Adults
                            3 Children                                           3 Children
19th        76.00    20 Adults                 16th      105.00   33 Adults
                            5 Children                                           7 Children
26th      122.00   38 Adults                  23rd      NO SERVICE
                          11 Children              
                                                            30th      105.00   26 Adults
                                                                                        7 Children