Photo of Michael Dadson

Rev Michael Dadson




Let's see now …

… what the future might bring. Because you never know, do you? I mean, you can't know, can you?

Certainly we never knew, when we began our journey together as congregation and Minister that we would only be together for this comparatively short time – 18 months in all.

While of course Julie and I are excited about the choice we have become able to make – to move down to Devon and embark upon a new life for the two of us, without any dependants – we do also feel genuine and deep regret about bringing an end to our connections with Great Hucklow.

For Julie the village has been a special place for some 14 years now, since she first moved up here from Worcestershire to be the Manager at the Nightingale Centre, and for me the village has become a special place since I have had the opportunity of being involved with the people of Great Hucklow as Minister at Old Chapel.

And of course the Chapel itself, and you the congregation, will always hold a unique and unforgettable place in my heart. From the very first you have given a warm and affectionate welcome, and you demonstrated yet deeper affection in the way you showed understanding and patience, first through my father's illness and death, and then through my self-inflicted injury on Boxing Day; just when I was getting on my feet metaphorically, I threw myself off them physically!

Yes, you have been gentle, and kind, and appreciative of what I have been able to offer, in between the clouds. And I want you to know that everything that Liz and David told me before becoming your Minister was true: there is something magical about being in and around Old Chapel, and Great Hucklow, in a ministerial capacity.

Something about the welcome and honesty of the people, yes. Something – of course! – about the beauty of the setting and the surroundings too. But something a little bit sacred as well, about being based … rooted … in that Chapel building.

I had visited it many times over the past 20 years or so, as have many active Unitarians, but I had never felt the depth of its peace and strength – yes, strength – until it was the Chapel and the congregation that I was there for, rather than a conference at the Centre.

It has done me the power of good, through some trying and emotional times these past months, to have the privilege of spending time in and around the Chapel. I thank it, and I thank you . . . and I ask you to take good care of it, and one another. The other day I was talking to a colleague about my sadness at leaving Great Hucklow, and particularly Old Chapel, and he pointed me towards a moment in Brideshead Revisited, which feels appropriate here:-

"Just the place to bury a crock of gold," said Sebastian.
"I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I was old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember."

Personally I would like to skip the 'old and ugly and miserable' bit, but I shall definitely take with me some golden memories, and I … we … hope to come back and do a bit of delighted digging on occasion.

With our thanks, and our love,

Michael and Julie