Apr 12 2012

April 2012 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Spirituality, Religion and Ethics
Newsletter April 2012



The Annual General Meeting held on 22nd March brought only one change in that the Newsletter has a new Editor following the death of our much-loved friend Donald Feist.

A motion to increase the charge for the hall hire from $2 to $3 was tied at 9-9 and so The Chair voted for the status quo, as is usual in these cases.

Most of the current Committee are in the middle year of their three-year term – there will need to be new volunteers next year.

After some discussion about a short time of silence before the meeting, it was decided to trial this for a time at the end of the year following a presentation on meditation.

We are aware that some of our members are hearing impaired. We will endeavour to have written material available for them whenever possible. When we go into small groups for discussion we will have more space between groups to decrease the amount of auditory interference.


 From the Chair 

Report of the Committee meeting held on 27th March.

We had a very positive meeting and I am pleased to say that we have been able to map out what I am sure will be an interesting and stimulating programme for the year. As some speakers have yet to be confirmed I cannot give a detailed programme but all will be revealed in the monthly newsletters. It was helpful to have the feedback from our March meeting.

We discussed advertising, and in particular how to reach students at the University. It was felt that the internet is the best source of information for students and Ian will try to find an appropriate place to advertise. I have contacted a person connected with the SCM group with information about our meetings, and am waiting to hear back.

We will continue to put advertisements in the Star What’s On column.

Alan will welcome articles for inclusion in the monthly newsletter. Please feel free to share ideas, opinions, book or movie reviews or anything else relevant to the Sea of Faith. Give, or e-mail your contributions to Alan.

Ian will add the minutes of the AGM and the annual reports to the website.



Our Last Meeting on 22nd March 

Following the AGM, our programme followed the challenge set by last year’s national Conference and asked where we are going? and how do we wish to travel to get there? Don Feist’s suggestions in the last National Newsletter were considered in some detail.


Geoff Neilson reminded us of the aims of The Sea of Faith, and took us through the Charter of Compassion which has the support of just about every major faith group on the planet. Working towards the goals of The Charter might be a direction forward but how far to go with activism is another matter.

Pen Whitaker provided food for thought with a suggestion of the value of silence in a busy world. There are several groups who use silence as part of their meetings, The Quakers being perhaps the best known. Silence can be associated with focussed thinking or not as the occasion suggests.

David Kitchingman provided yet another superb paper on the subject (I am sure it will be reproduced in full on our website) and suggested that we play on our strength as a clearing house for new thinking and this may be achieved with a national on-line forum to augment the National Newsletter.

After that we broke into four groups and considered the questions in the last Newsletter.



Sea of Faith Conferences have asked “Are we allowed to do anything we like on this earth or do we need to take a course of action that ensures the future of mankind?” This year’s Conference theme is The Revaluing of All Values – what values do we need, to survive? 

A British Government paper on future environmental development defines sustainable development as “ meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Sustainable and sustaining business (Hubbard’s Clipboard 120) 

Way, way back in the days of yore when Hubbard Foods was just a small company (we cheekily called ourselves Underdog Foods Ltd or Bottomshelf Foods Ltd in those days!) I started talking about a new concept called Businesses for Social Responsibility. The premise was simple. Through the Clipboard I proposed the argument that business was about more than just maximising profits. Business had a moral obligation to help protect and enhance the social and physical environment they operated in. I also believed that businesses choosing this path would find their decision good for business. 

From you in customerland I got a huge nod of support for this line of thinking. It was almost as if there was a hunger out there for such a message. 

However, enough of the history lesson. The point I wish to make is how times and thinking have changed over the last 20 years since we started talking about these concepts. Nowadays businesses are not asking why they should go down this path; they are asking how. Organisations have sprung up such as the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) and the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to help businesses with this (we are members of both!). Instead of Social Responsibility we have moved on to the word Sustainability. It is now an accepted and respected concept in business. 

Just how far things have moved in this area came home to me when I was recently a judge at the Auckland regional awards for the Sustainable Business Network. The quality of the submissions just blew me away. We had 10 candidates; reading about their initiatives and commitment in the area of Sustainable business practice was overwhelming. There was a passion in their detailed entries that I have never seen in business before. I was hugely uplifted and indeed humbled by reading what these companies (some of them amongst New Zealand’s biggest) were doing in this area. 

It goes without saying that we at Hubbards still remain totally committed to this cause. From the acorns of 20 years ago, now big oak trees are springing up. And I strongly believe that sustainable business practice is not a fad or a trend but now an irresistible force for change. And – ultimately – I still believe our future on the planet may depend on it. 

Dick Hubbard  

Newsletter Editor:
 Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street

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