Oct 13 2013

Newsletter October 2013

Published by under Uncategorized

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

Next Meeting

Thursday, 24th October

Ideas from the 2013 Conference

Highgate Church buildings,
Maori Hill
Tea and Coffee will be available
between 5.00 and 5.40 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

For our September meeting Ian Fleming ran a very interesting session on Prayer. Did you find yourself saying something you’d never said before? I did. Did you hear things you’d never known or thought about before? I did. These are hallmarks of a good conversation. I hope you enjoyed your conversation as I did mine.

Thanks Ian


Next Meeting

Nigel Leaves was a keynote speaker at the 2013 Sea of Faith conference in Hastings, 4th to 6th October. Nigel is based in Brisbane, on the staff of St Francis Theological College and as a Canon of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, where he is responsible for adult theological education. His address

Too many stories! Which one should we tell?

was very well received by the 100+ members at the conference. The paper provides an interesting framework for SoFers to understand where Christianity and post-Christianity is today, at least in the Western world.
At the October Dunedin SoF meeting Marjorie and Gretchen will present Nigel Leaves’ seven ‘stories’, with plenty of time for discussion and contribution.


Dunedin Group News

It’s always good to welcome a new member to our group and this month Mick Chagger (you’ll recognise his London accent) enjoyed our company and we hope will be back next meeting. We missed Wilson Daniel’s company but it is good to hear that he has had both knees fixed and his convalescence is going well.
Bruce Spittle does an expert job of serving out the food each month and later ensuring none is wasted. If the food is eaten by 5.30 p.m. then the kitchen volunteers have a better chance to be all clear for the start of the meeting. Tea and coffee can still be enjoyed after that but can we try to hand in all dishes by 5.45 p.m. please?
We have some newly-printed brochures which publicise the work of the Sea of Faith nationally and at a Dunedin level. If you would like to take one of these to give to a “prospective member” or an enquiring member of the public, please pick one up at any meeting. They are in colour and a bit too expensive to spread around with gay abandon.

Maryan Street has withdrawn her “euthanasia bill”, as she is aware that 2014 is election year and she wishes any discussion of it to be removed from any electioneering. She will resubmit her bill in the new Parliament and hope it is again drawn for debate.

With great sadness I record the passing of a great friend and a dignified lady who was a long term member of our group. Pen Whitaker slipped away peacefully at the Otago Hospice on 3rd October. Pen worked out her arrangements well before the end came and there will be an opportunity to celebrate her life and friendship on Saturday 16th November at 11.30 at Holy Name Church.

Last Meeting

18 folk joined in with Ian Fleming who led an extremely lively discussion on the very personal subject of prayer. He posed three questions which we went into groups to tease out our responses and then shared our thoughts.

  • How or when did you first begin to pray?
  • Are you aware of a time, or times, when your praying, or your attitude to prayer, changed? Can you say what that change was?
  • Some of us might still pray in some places, or at some times. Some mightn’t. Some might even miss it. What process has brought you to where you are now?

The wide variety of responses showed the range of thinking amongst members and also the journeys that we have taken, from (in some cases) being taught what and how to pray in a home of Christian and regularly-worshipping parents to others who have discovered the power of prayer for themselves as they have grown and faced life’s challenges. Prayer takes all forms, and for some the ritual of clasped hands, closed eyes in a silent setting has been replaced with an acute awareness of the inter-connectedness of life whilst looking at the beauty of a garden or talking to a friend.


There is a “Happiness Index” used to measure the well-being of society, and the World Happiness Report 2013 was released in September following a world-wide survey of governments to measure the well-being of their societies. Here is a paragraph from the introduction…
“There is now a rising worldwide demand that (government) policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves characterize their well-being, More and more world leaders are talking about the importance of well-being as a guide for their nations and the world. The World Happiness Report 2013 offers rich evidence that the systematic measurement and analysis of happiness can teach us a lot about ways to improve the world’s well-being and sustainable development.”

So wrote Professor Jeffery Sachs (Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General).
Virtue Ethics (of the days when Christian Values held sway) have been replaced by a doctrine of utility once economists came on the scene.
They developed a “utility theory” in which each individual’s utility (or well-being) is determined by the possession and consumption of material goods, mainly through market purchases. By the 20th century, utility theory is marked by an unrestrained consumerism, where advertising and PR fill the public space, even the pulpits in many churches.

Ring any bells?


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

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply