Readers & Speakers
Pictured: Festival readers and speakers after the second night (from left): Gillian Peel, Jim Corrigall, Theresa Sowerby and David Rushton. Photo: John Hewerdine.


A festival of English poetry during war-time attracted lively audiences to Padiham Unitarian Chapel (in Lancashire) on the first three Saturdays of June 2017, with numbers averaging around 50 each evening.   This third annual poetry festival at the Padiham Chapel was entitled ‘Edward Thomas and the English War Poets’, and marked the centenary of the death of Edward Thomas at the Front in April 1917. 

In the first lecture (on 3rd June), the poet Theresa Sowerby explored First World War poetry, particularly that of Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg, against the wider culture of the time.   She was supported by readings from David Rushton. 

Then on 10th June, Rev Jim Corrigall, minister at Padiham, concentrated on Edward Thomas, asking whether he is best described as a nature poet or war poet, with support from Rev Gillian Peel as reader.    Finally (17th June), the poet Edmund Prestwich examined the brutally-honest writings of the Second World War poet Keith Douglas, who was killed in the Normandy landings at the early age of 24.  

Lively discussion followed the lectures.   Several audience members said afterwards they’d greatly enjoyed the festival, which they described as ‘brilliant’.   The Festival was organised by the Lancashire Collaborative Ministry.

Jim Corrigall

Padiham Unitarian Chapel has become the first church in the Padiham-Burnley-Pendle area to gain approval to hold same-sex weddings.  

Readers and lecturers at the WB Yeats Festival at Padiham, (from left): David Rushton, Theresa Sowerby, Jim Corrigall and Gillian Peel

The WB Yeats ‘Festival of the North’ – held at Padiham Unitarian Chapel in June – ended on a high note, with praise for the ‘excellence’ of the lectures and readings throughout. 

The poetry festival took place on the first three Saturday evenings of June, with lectures, readings, music, slides and drama.   Each evening drew an enthusiastic audience of around 35 people.   


Padiham Unitarian Chapel received a Community Award for its Inter-Faith work from (the interfaith group) Building Bridges in Burnley at a ceremony at St Peter’s Church, Burnley, on Sunday 10th July – as did Sufi Muslims from the Free Spiritual Centre in Nelson.   

The awards cited the joint Nativity Service held at Padiham Unitarian Chapel with the Sufis last December (2015).   Collecting the awards – which were presented by the Bishop of Burnley – were Rev Jim Corrigall of Padiham Unitarian Chapel and Arif Khan of the Free Spiritual Centre.



Shaykh Mehmet addresses the large audience

A visit by a worldwide Sufi leader, Shaykh Mehmet Adil, to our Unitarian Chapel in Padiham, Lancashire, on Friday evening, 11th March 2016, attracted a crowd of 250 people of different faiths, but overwhelmingly Sufi Muslim. 

In his talk, Shaykh Mehmet paid tribute to the Unitarian community in Padiham for its role in promoting inter-faith understanding.    He said the growing relationship between the Chapel and local Sufis of the Free Spiritual Centre in Nelson, was an example of how trust and unity could be built between faiths.