Mar 13 2014

Newsletter March 2014

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091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter FEBRUARY 2014

Next Meeting

AGM & “Black Elk”

with Gretchen Kivell & Wilson Daniel

Thursday, 27 March

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
The programme will start at 6 pm


We Start With…

A two minute period of silence.


From the Chair

I have recently been involved in an interesting discussion about whether the Sea of Faith should be inward-focussed (as at present) or more outward-focussed. Put very simply, the argument is that a more outward focus would allow the pool of wisdom and heft of the Sea of Faith to be brought to bear in national debates about the church, spirituality, and for example, the recent media discussion about religious instruction in an Auckland primary school. Against becoming involved in national and political debates is the view that Sea of Faith, being a ‘safe place to discuss unsafe things’, means that many different views are put forward and listened to with respect. Some will be directly contradictory. If the group needs to support a particular stance then that valued flexibility will be lost. What do you think?
Our Next Meeting
Gretchen will talk about the Sioux leader Black Elk (1863 – 1950) as recorded in the remarkable book ‘Black Elk Speaks’. We are particularly fortunate that Wilson Daniel, who has explored Sioux country and is familiar with this narrative, is able provide a context to this story of a spiritual leader of his nation.

Thoughts from a Member

Following the stimulating and thought-provoking summary of the 2013 Canberra Progressive Conference which Rod had attended, Wilson Daniel was moved to make these notes…
Frequently in discussions concerning the present state and possible future of the Christian Church in all its denominations we are reminded of the contrast between what we observe as static condition on the one hand and dynamic growth and expansion on the other. This is based largely on the distinction between what we experience as despair versus hope.
Often the trigger for much needed enthusiasm and passion, etc. arises from deep-seated dissatisfaction with the status quo. There is a basic desire and search for change, not merely for its own sake, but to avoid stuckness and crippling torpor. This applies to both individuals and to the collective (communities, nations, etc).
The history of human civilisation is replete with precedents for change instigated by prophets, rebels, innovators, reformers, iconoclasts, et al. in the face of oppression, injustice, corruption and all the types of intransigent rigidity which kill flexibility, spontaneity and essential creativity. Numbered among prominent figures in the struggle for freedom and justice are Marin Luther, religious reformer and father of the Protestant Reformation in opposition to the power and corrupt practices of the then Church of Rome – a spiritual giant; Vladimir Lenin, Russian revolutionary and charismatic leader of the 1917 Bolshevik rising against Tsarism and long revered founder of the Soviet Communist State; Mahatma Gandhi, champion of the civil disobedience campaign against racial discrimination and illustrious leader of the Home Rule Movement for Indian Independence; Martin Luther King, Jr., prominent leader of the non-violence movement against racial prejudice in the USA; Nelson Mandela, “Madiba”, potent leader of the ANC and anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, released from lengthy imprisonment to become the first black President, and several others.
These movements for change were not usually activated from outside. Most arose from within through individuals, and from small groups/cells which gradually gathered momentum and influence. Inevitably, opposition emerged from conservative forces and wielders of power, including the established Church and governments. Despite such obstacles the perseverance and indomitable spirit of the peoples affected will continue to prevail. (Compare the current tension between Russian and Ukraine over the Crimean crisis).

A Key Diary Date

Lloyd Geering at Mornington Methodist Church on Wednesday April 16th at 7.30pm $5 contribution.

Conference 2014

This will be held at Tolcarne House, the Boarding Hostel of St Hilda’s Collegiate, from October 3rd to 5th. Please mark your diaries..

New Faces

Last month there were 23 good souls present, amongst whom it was good to see Marjorie’s sister Noreen and Frances’ sister Beverley, both from Auckland. Rod Mitchell was our Speaker and I think we were all struck by the physical similarity of all three of these welcome visitors to their siblings.
We also welcomed two new Members, Marion Christie and Beverley Perry – we look forward to more of your company.

National Newsletter

Gretchen is on the National Steering Committee and promoted the National Newsletter. 23 of the Members of our Local Group are subscribers and there is still room for more of course. That Newsletter comes out six times per year, is in colour and has 16 pages per issue. There are all the usual items you’d expect to find in a good magazine from stimulating articles written by some of the 600 or so Members we have nationwide, book reviews, news and all the rest. If you are not on the mailing list, drop a line (or ring) me and I’ll take you through the process. $15 per year for the e-mail version, it just has to be one of the best bargains in the country.
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

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