Feb 15 2013

February 2013 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters


091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter FEBRUARY 2013


Next meeting

Richard Egan

Euthanasia and Spirituality


Thursday, 28th February

Highgate Church buildings,
Maori Hill

Tea and Coffee will be available

between 5.15 and 5.50 pm

Food will be available

$5 for as much as you want to eat plus rent
$2 if you come for the meeting only
Kitchen volunteers:
Marjorie and Bruce Spittle

The programme will start at 6 pm



We Start With…

A two minute period of silence.

From the Chair

 Welcome back everyone to Sea of Faith at the start of another year.

Warm congratulations go to Geoff Nielson who featured in the New Year Honours List, awarded an MNZM for his service to agriculture, particularly his work in the eradication of hydatids disease. We are delighted that Geoff has been recognised in this way for the success he has had in this very important area, and for his work on the Ovis committee.

I am confident we will have another series of stimulating meetings this year where we can share our ideas and support each other on our life journey. We start with the topical and complex issue of euthanasia, led by Richard Egan.

Richard has done substantial research in this area and it is timely for us to look at the pros and cons of euthanasia when it is shortly to be debated in Parliament.

I give advance notice of the AGM which will be held at the start of our March meeting. Three of our committee are completing their term of office. There is room for new members. If you would like to nominate someone or offer yourself for the committee please let me know.

The March meeting will be about books. Peter Wishart will guide us through new additions to our library. There will be time for members to share with us briefly books they would recommend for our reading.

I look forward to seeing you all on the 28th February.

Next Meeting 28th February

Sea of Faith Member Richard Egan on

Euthanasia and spirituality

Richard will present his perspectives on the NZ euthanasia landscape questions and then open it up for discussion. His perspectives are informed, obviously by his background in the Medical School at Otago, but also by recent attendance in Geneva at an international consensus conference on spirituality in healthcare.

Our Last Meeting

23 Members listened to Dr David Clark, Labour MP for Dunedin North. David reminded us that churches are not the focal point of daily life as they once were, people mainly choose a workplace (if they have the choice) which has a similar value system to their own and develop their relationships around there, very often finding a partner there as well.

A person may leave a workplace if they become disillusioned with the firm or if they feel that they are no longer needed there. Feeling valued and a part of the company is an important part of self-esteem and so unemployment is very alienating as there isn’t so much reason for “being”.

(I can echo that; when Ministry of Education contracts I had at age 63½ were not renewed as expected and I “retired” sooner than anticipated. It took me fully six months to get used to my new situation – when I did, I realised that “retirement” is the wrong word for this part of life).

In rural communities it is often the school which forms the focus and so there is terrific local opposition when a school is faced with closure. The school is the focus for the community, not just a place where children go to learn ABC. So, in a sense, to be human is to be in relationship with others.

The role of poverty in a child’s early years is not only linked to malnourishment, poor health, poor performance at school and later a higher likelihood of involvement with both welfare and judicial system (all at great cost to the state)… a far more compassionate and cost-effective intervention would be to reduce child poverty in the first place.

That may mean taxes. Many wealthy people work hard to avoid paying tax and to hide their wealth in tax havens – the newspapers have been full of such issues over the last two or three years – if paying tax is regarded as an opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of our society then we will move towards a more just society with a greater sense of community.

From our Librarian

Peter Wishart told us that as a result of a most generous donation of 60 books from our late good friend Don Feist’s library, we now have about 120 books. Peter feels it should be a condition of membership of Sea of Faith that we all take a book and read it.


I’m told that some years ago the meetings of Presbyterian Synod were reported fully in the ODT as it was felt that there was a wide community interest in what went on at those meetings. Today, the University happenings are well reported (and most interesting they are) but the news about the Church rarely features – unless it is something like the resignation of the Pope.

The appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Welby, rated about 6cm in the “News in Brief” column. Clearly he is not seen as being very significant despite being the head of a group of about 80 million people, the third largest Christian community worldwide. But what of his views? The views of church leaders, whether it be on gay marriage or women bishops do reverberate across a large slice of the globe.

Let’s hope that the new Archbishop and the new Pope can provide inspiring leadership not only on the contentious issues but also in our relations between all faiths. I’m sure that all those who were at St Margaret’s College recently and listened to Justin Duckworth, the new Bishop of Wellington, were impressed that he has a modernising vision as well as a terrific sense of humour.

Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

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