Summer School 2019

After many years of being home alone for a week in August I finally took the plunge and attended Unitarian Summer School.

Summer School is held at the Nightingale Centre at Great Hucklow in Derbyshire, just a stones throw from the Great Hucklow Chapel.


Just over 60 people attended the week.

The days are quite intense if you go to all the activities with the first one being the morning meditation at 7:30am and finishing with the Epilogue at 9:15pm. So pacing yourself is the first thing you learn if you want to last the week.

A set of themed talks each morning got the brains ticking over with:-

Winnie Gordon,
Eleanor Chiari,
Robin Hanford,
Jen Hazel,
Bob Janis-Dillon

The talks are available to listen to online at:-


Then we broke in to groups looking at the body and spirit.

There were 4 groups to choose from:-

‘Sex and the Spirit’ with John Harley and Mark Stewart
‘Let Your Body Call You Home’ with Sheena Gabriel and Catherine Coyne
‘The Beliefs that Ground Us’ with Celia Cartwright and Sue Woolley
‘Sacred the Body’ with Danny Crosby and Sarah Tinker

I chose Danny and Sarah’s group which looked at ways we can look after our bodies and keep them topped up spiritually.

In the afternoon and evening there were optional workshops from serious topics such as neurodiversity and hymn writing to fun events such as ten pin bowling and gentle sensory walks around the nearby woods.

The day’s theme was summarised at the end of day Epilogue held in the chapel and led by a different member each evening which was nice to see the different types of services and worship giving ideas of things that can be taken back and incorporated in people’s home chapels.


To keep the bodies fuelled the Nightingale Centre staff did a great job of feeding us cooked food 3 times a day and no meal was repeated so everyone got their favourite at least once during the week.

After all that if you had energy to spare there was happy hour giving a chance to share a glass of wine or juice and a natter in the sun lounge. Some people even multitasked and knitted at the same time as nattering and drinking.

The week was finished off with the silent auction where everyone brings a book or little knick-knack that can be sold. Each person is given a number to use to bid for the items so nobody knows who has bid. There was lots of gazumping before the final whistle. All the funds raised go back in to the Summer School Bursary fund which enables grants to be given the first time attendees to help cover costs of attending.

It was a good chance to put faces to names I had heard mentioned or whose articles I had read in the Inquirer and everyone was welcoming and supportive to old and new attendees alike.

If you are interested in going visit the Summer School website:- 

Review by Steve Bisby

The Digest - YUU Blog