Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Jul 03 2018

Newsletter July 2018

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July 3 2018-07 Newsletter (1)

Hello Sea of Faith Friends

Just because we are not physically meeting, doesn’t mean that we have stopped thinking and reflecting, meditating, praying and it always seems that there is much to think about.

Some of the more traditional community thought the sermon at the recent Royal Wedding was too long. At first I thought – “Hey, seven minutes is enough” but thinking later and reading the text, it was a different story. It is idealistic but then so was Martin Luther King when he shared his “I have a Dream” and we know that the violence of that era has translated into the unthinkable, a “man of colour” as President of USA – and one highly regarded for his intelligence and rhetoric. I think it was Ray Charles who was initially banned in his home state as a performer but his smash hit song “Georgia on my mind” has become the official anthem of the state now.

In 2010 there was the germ of an idea that there should be a memorial to Conscientious Objectors built. It was stimulated by the treatment of Dunedin farmer Archie Baxter (father of James K) during WWI. Well at the end of last week planning permission was granted for an inner city site to build the memorial.

Keep the faith.

Keep warm.

Very best wishes.
Appreciatively
Alan
……………………………………..
Alan Jackson
Newsletter Editor
Dunedin Local Group of the Sea of Faith Network
New Zealand

55 Evans Street
Opoho
DUNEDIN 9010
New Zealand

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Jun 15 2018

Newsletter June 2018

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2018-06 Newsletter (1)

Alan Jackson

Tue, Jun 5, 1:27 PM (10 days ago)

Hello Sea of Faith Friends

The Newsletter will continue during our recess for the winter – I’d love to hear from anyone with suggestions or articles – and I know that folk DO intend to send things in – but we all get side-tracked… (there is a proverb about the paving of the road to hell I think).

Our numbers, like every other organisation I belong to (apart from U3A) are shrinking and with winter holidays for a few of the leaders, a recess is the best solution. I hope that we will all keep warm, keep reading something new and difficult and challenging to exercise brains, create new brain cells and surprise ourselves.

I’m reading some of WB Yeats’ poetry just now – some is easy enough and some pretty obscure, so I’m reading (on the web) some analyses of his work to shed light. I discover that he had a patron, Lady Augusta Gregory, who ran the “big house” at Coole Park. I decided to read a bit more about her in a book called “Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush” by Colm Toibin. Towards the end of the book I discovered that Lady G regarded the Irish as being in two groups – those that had toothbrushes and those that didn’t. Towards the end of her lifetime, more Irish owned toothbrushes, and Ireland became more self-governing.

Yeats and Lady G started The Abbey Theatre in Dublin – they were criticised for the plays they put on including JM Synge’s Playboy of the Western World – well I had heard of that but hadn’t read or watched it and discovered that a theatre group had recorded a production (free on YouTube). The script is free on the Gutenberg Project website and there are reviews of the reception of the play from The Guardian (of the day) and the Irish Times.

All without leaving home during a wet week.

I hope you find a topic of interest and can share via the Newsletter. Drop a line to say what you are reading and how it is stimulating your thinking.

Keep warm.
Appreciatively
Alan
……………………………………..
Alan Jackson
Newsletter Editor
Dunedin Local Group of the Sea of Faith Network
New Zealand

55 Evans Street
Opoho
DUNEDIN 9010

 

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May 08 2018

Newsletter May 2018

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May 8 2018-05 Newsletter

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Apr 03 2018

Newsletter April 2018

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Hello Sea of Faith Friends

 

Next meeting:

Limits to Growth

Alan Jackson

REMEMBER

THIRD THURSDAY

 

Thursday, 19th APRIL

 

St John’s Church Hall,

Cnr Wright Street

& Highgate

 

Tea and Coffee

will be available from 5.30pm

The programme will start at 6.00pm

 Contribution – $5

 

Gretchen mentions a radio programme about having conversations about dying. Some of you will have heard it – for those who haven’t – <ctrl> <click> on this link.

 

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018637230/kathryn-mannix-we-need-to-talk-about-dying

 

Kathryn Mannix is one of Britain’s foremost palliative care doctors. After 30 years at the deathbeds of thousands of patients, she believes that dying has turned from an everyday experience to an overly medicalised procedure, and that we’ve lost the familiarity previous generations had with the process of dying. Her bestselling book With The End in Mind, is her attempt to break the “conspiracy of silence” around mortality.

 

It is VERY well worth the effort whatever age you happen to be, and maybe you might include some younger people in the listening.

 

It is linked, indirectly, to our topic for April “Limits to Growth”.

 

There are just over two weeks before the meeting  so keep your eyes on the papers and please collect any related articles – we can look at them at the meeting and see how they further our conversation.

Appreciatively

Alan

We Start With…

A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.

From the Chair

Over many years our Sea of Faith group has discussed a range of issues to do with death and dying, including euthanasia (several times, as we keep up with recent thinking and proposed changes to the law); Advanced Directives; the book ‘Being Mortal’ by Atul Gawande.

I’ve just been listening to Kathryn Mannix, a palliative care doctor in Britain, talk to Kathryn Ryan about her approach ‘We need to talk about dying’, which I found to be profoundly interesting.  Congruent with Atul Gawande, she opens up important issues, for example “there are situations where medical treatments that were helping to keep someone alive are now prolonging their dying”.  This was a distressing issue within my family about 15 years ago, and I’m so pleased to know how thinking has moved on since then. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018637230/kathryn-mannix-we-need-to-talk-about-dying

Gretchen

gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz    (03) 473 0031

Our Next Meeting

There have been many letters in the papers recently about overcrowded tourist sites and the littering of the countryside. Lack of facilities at freedom camp sites is an issue too. Some people in the cities (food, accommodation, vehicle hire etc) benefit from increased tourism but is there a limit to the growth? Is tourism simply a different form of mining of the environment as logging, coal mining and mineral extraction once were?

 We know that we have over-fished species such as Orange Roughy and we know that seals and whales were endangered before our attitudes changed.

We will look at issues surrounding limits to growth, including tourism both here and in other hot spots.

We will touch on the question – is the establishment of life on Mars a solution?

Limits to Growth

Alan Jackson

REMEMBER

THIRD THURSDAY

 

Thursday, 19th APRIL

 

St John’s Church Hall,

Cnr Wright Street

& Highgate

 

Tea and Coffee

will be available from 5.30pm

The programme will start at 6.00pm

 Contribution – $5

…………………..

Frances Smithson: on Robin Smith

“His great strength was his gentleness”.

…………………..

Fred Fastier

Fred attended our Local Group meetings until the start of this year when hearing became too great a problem – despite hearing aids and our sound system.

This article appeared in the University of Otago Alumni News – you will all be interested and inspired by it.

The University of Otago wished former Pharmacology faculty member and long-time Otago supporter Emeritus Professor Fred Fastier a happy 98th birthday on Tuesday, 13th March.

Fred taught pharmacology at Otago between 1949 and 1980 and was the inaugural professor of Pharmacology.

Since the mid-1990s Fred has supported the Fastier Prestigious Summer Studentship, which funds BSc, BSc (Hons) and MSc Pharmacology and Toxicology students over a 10-week summer research project.

Fred was made the first honorary member of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand in 1969 for his significant contribution to the development of pharmacy education.

He remained academically active for many years after leaving his post, eventually gaining a master’s degree in philosophy. In recent years he has often attended lectures on campus on a wide range of topics and has written and self-published a number of books, limericks and other entertainment.

Thanks to Sheila Clarke for drawing our attention to this item.

Mornington Methodist Open Education Series

 

April 18th: Jimmy McLaughlan on the new Dunedin Methodist Mission hostel for young transients.

May 16th: Prof Paul Morris on the Revision of the National Statement on Religious Diversity’.

June 20th: Prof Peter Lineham on Sunday Best, his book on the impact of NZ culture on the Christian Church (and vice versa).

July 8th: A film on Environmental Issues (probably Richard Attenborough on the Great Barrier Reef).

August 15th: Paul Gourlie on Contemporary Islam in Dunedin.

September 19th: Prof Colin Gibson on Mr Bach’s Magnificat.

October 17th: Students from the OU Centre for Theology and Public Issues.

Last Meeting

After the AGM we looked at our future given our declining numbers. We brainstormed many ideas – one which appealed is to consider the winter meetings and either move them to mid-day or postpone them. This could mean a gap of two or three months when we don’t meet and that may mean that some folk would find it easier not to attend on resumption.

Meeting at Summerset, in the library and paying the same fee as our present hall hire, has advantages in that we currently have several members resident there and our meeting might encourage some new folk to come along. Meeting in private homes is awkward as there are accessibility issues at most places.

Marjorie and Bruce generously offered to host a BBQ in the good weather at year end.

It was suggested that since most of us will not be so active in another ten years, we ought to consider what has been achieved by our Sea of Faith Local Group by way of preparing to “wind down”. Someone suggested that the folk who are still resident in Dunedin who no longer attend, might be invited to a BBQ to contribute to such a process – what did they get out of it when they were active members.

Meanwhile… in the words of the song we… keep right on to the end of the road.

Hello Sea of Faith Friends

 

Gretchen mentions a radio programme about having conversations about dying. Some of you will have heard it – for those who haven’t – <ctrl> <click> on this link.

 

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018637230/kathryn-mannix-we-need-to-talk-about-dying

 

Kathryn Mannix is one of Britain’s foremost palliative care doctors. After 30 years at the deathbeds of thousands of patients, she believes that dying has turned from an everyday experience to an overly medicalised procedure, and that we’ve lost the familiarity previous generations had with the process of dying. Her bestselling book With The End in Mind, is her attempt to break the “conspiracy of silence” around mortality.

 

It is VERY well worth the effort whatever age you happen to be, and maybe you might include some younger people in the listening.

 

It is linked, indirectly, to our topic for April “Limits to Growth”.

 

There are just over two weeks before the meeting  so keep your eyes on the papers and please collect any related articles – we can look at them at the meeting and see how they further our conversation.

Appreciatively

Alan

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Mar 02 2018

Financial report 2018

Published by under Uncategorized

2018-03-15 AGM Finances

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Mar 02 2018

Newsletter March 2018

Published by under Uncategorized

We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.
From the Chair
I so enjoyed our February meeting, run by Alan Jackson, in which he gently and rapidly reviewed the changes in religion and faith since Victorian times, then asked the big question What do you believe now?
Members of my discussion group had many and varied answers, as is usual for Sea of Faith. I found myself talking about the things that grounded me – some of which I’d never realised before. I so enjoy being with folks who are open and accepting, it renews and challenges your thinking.
Our March meeting will start with our AGM, which will be very short, then there will be more opportunity to renew and challenge thinking as we talk about ‘whither and how’ for Dunedin Sea of Faith’s future. Do come along, you will be very welcome.
Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031
Our Next Meeting
Unlike many AGMs, this one will not be asking for volunteers to do things (but no-one will refuse offers either).
Our local active group is now around a dozen good folk and our finances are such that we cover the cost of the meetings and draw on a little of the reserve for the refreshments.
The financial details are attached to this mail.
Faith Thinking
When the church was a socially influential part of lives we were told what the ethical positions were on issues such as marriage, divorce, adultery etc.
With the secularisation of society here and elsewhere the individuals in the society have to work out those positions from an ethical point of view.
It means that we have to stay well-informed by reading, discussing, listening to expert opinion and then weighing up all the evidence to reach our opinion.
Sea of Faith is a good place to hold many of those discussions.
Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Nourishing our Spirituality
Newsletter MARCH 2018
Annual General Meeting
REMEMBER
THIRD THURSDAY
Thursday, 15th MARCH
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5
Happy birthday Sir Lloyd Geering
Otago Daily Times
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Theologian regards century of change
By KAY SINCLAIR
As he approaches his 100th birthday, former Dunedin Presbyterian minister and controversial theologian Sir Lloyd Geering is writing another book.
But this one is not a theological treatise.
“Rather, it’s a small volume about how so many things changed during the 20th century,” the 99-year-old told the Otago Daily Times from his Wellington home yesterday.
He thinks he will call the book “How Times Have Changed”.
Because, as Sir Lloyd says, the past 100 years have certainly seen “such a lot of change”, including the way we communicate and the way we travel.
For example, today’s cell- phones and the internet are a far cry from the limitations of 100 years ago.
“My parents never really came to grips with the ordinary old telephone,” Sir Lloyd says.
As a child living in Southland, he saw electricity reticulated through much of the province. And for the first 25 years of his life, his family did not have electricity.
But today’s technology seems to pose few problems for the almost 100-year-old who spends a lot of time using his computer, communicates regularly with family members by Skype and also uses Skype to play Scrabble with nine other people in various parts of the world.
Writing about the extent of changes in the past 100 years or so recalls how the former Knox Theological Hall principal’s radical thinking so shocked and outraged conservative Christians 50 years ago, he was accused of heresy, although ultimately acquitted.
Now, he says, the matters raised at that time had all become very familiar and seemed “old hat”.
Through most of the 20th century, almost everyone believed in an afterlife.
“But by 2000, very few did.”
That was why funerals had changed so much. Rather than a ritual to celebrate someone’s passing from this world to a better life in the next, funeral services were now more a celebration of a person’s life and achievements and what the person meant to family and friends.
Sir Lloyd has very strong links to Dunedin and Otago, with two years at St Clair Primary School, five years at Otago Boys’ High School and seven at Otago University and Knox Theological College. And, after his ordination, he served in parishes in Kurow and Dunedin and was also Knox College principal for some time.
“I spent almost half of my life in Dunedin and enjoyed it,” he said.
While he is not 100 years old until Monday, Sir Lloyd has already received greetings from the Queen, the Governor General and the Prime Minister.
And he is looking forward to a celebration tomorrow with 80 family members and friends, some coming from Australia, Germany and Singapore.
His son and two daughters and their families, including a great grandson, will be there — “the first time all of the family will have been together”.
Sir Lloyd says his health is good, he is “pretty fit”, keeps his brain active with puzzles and games, and walks for 30 minutes every day.
And he has good genes. His father lived to be 100.
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

No responses yet

Mar 02 2018

Letter from Alan and newsletter March 2018

Published by under Uncategorized

Alan Jackson

4:26 PM (15 hours ago)

Hello Sea of Faith Friends On the day of last meeting there was a funeral for our friend Robin Smith and most of our group was able to attend the service. At the meeting we all spoke about the things we remembered about Robin – he was a stalwart of our group until failing health sapped his vitality. The Labour Party made him a Life Member in recognition of his sterling services there and he was a founder-member of the Dunedin Chapter of the Howard League for Prison Reform. He was very often to be seen at University Club on Fridays and at the open lectures at University – he certainly did keep himself thoroughly busy in making social justice happen here in the city – an example to be admired and followed Robin. It seems that most groups to which I belong; Royal Dunedin Male Choir, Freemasons, University Club etc have ageing memberships and our Sea of Faith group is no exception. It seems no time at all since we had 25 at our regular meetings at Highgate. OK I know all groups are ageing but you know what I mean. As our group gets smaller we have to look at how we continue – and continue we do plan to do – but in what form, where, how often and so on. That conversation your committee had at the January meeting but the membership must have a say as well and that discussion will follow the AGM – and if we have any spare time we’ll continue to tease out “What we Believe”. Is it possible to have a Creed and say “I believe” (Credo = I believe) in these things… (as in The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed)? There is never any shortage of issues to think about. Appreciatively Alan……………………………………..Alan JacksonNewsletter EditorDunedin Local Group of the Sea of Faith NetworkNew Zealand 55 Evans StreetOpohoDUNEDIN 9010New Zealand Ph: 473 6947 http://dsof.blogtown.co.nz/The Sea of Faith Network: Exploring Meaning in Life

We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.
From the Chair
I so enjoyed our February meeting, run by Alan Jackson, in which he gently and rapidly reviewed the changes in religion and faith since Victorian times, then asked the big question What do you believe now?
Members of my discussion group had many and varied answers, as is usual for Sea of Faith. I found myself talking about the things that grounded me – some of which I’d never realised before. I so enjoy being with folks who are open and accepting, it renews and challenges your thinking.
Our March meeting will start with our AGM, which will be very short, then there will be more opportunity to renew and challenge thinking as we talk about ‘whither and how’ for Dunedin Sea of Faith’s future. Do come along, you will be very welcome.
Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031
Our Next Meeting
Unlike many AGMs, this one will not be asking for volunteers to do things (but no-one will refuse offers either).
Our local active group is now around a dozen good folk and our finances are such that we cover the cost of the meetings and draw on a little of the reserve for the refreshments.
The financial details are attached to this mail.
Faith Thinking
When the church was a socially influential part of lives we were told what the ethical positions were on issues such as marriage, divorce, adultery etc.
With the secularisation of society here and elsewhere the individuals in the society have to work out those positions from an ethical point of view.
It means that we have to stay well-informed by reading, discussing, listening to expert opinion and then weighing up all the evidence to reach our opinion.
Sea of Faith is a good place to hold many of those discussions.
Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Nourishing our Spirituality
Newsletter MARCH 2018
Annual General Meeting
REMEMBER
THIRD THURSDAY
Thursday, 15th MARCH
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5

Happy birthday Sir Lloyd Geering
Otago Daily Times
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Theologian regards century of change
By KAY SINCLAIR
As he approaches his 100th birthday, former Dunedin Presbyterian minister and controversial theologian Sir Lloyd Geering is writing another book.
But this one is not a theological treatise.
“Rather, it’s a small volume about how so many things changed during the 20th century,” the 99-year-old told the Otago Daily Times from his Wellington home yesterday.
He thinks he will call the book “How Times Have Changed”.
Because, as Sir Lloyd says, the past 100 years have certainly seen “such a lot of change”, including the way we communicate and the way we travel.
For example, today’s cell- phones and the internet are a far cry from the limitations of 100 years ago.
“My parents never really came to grips with the ordinary old telephone,” Sir Lloyd says.
As a child living in Southland, he saw electricity reticulated through much of the province. And for the first 25 years of his life, his family did not have electricity.
But today’s technology seems to pose few problems for the almost 100-year-old who spends a lot of time using his computer, communicates regularly with family members by Skype and also uses Skype to play Scrabble with nine other people in various parts of the world.
Writing about the extent of changes in the past 100 years or so recalls how the former Knox Theological Hall principal’s radical thinking so shocked and outraged conservative Christians 50 years ago, he was accused of heresy, although ultimately acquitted.
Now, he says, the matters raised at that time had all become very familiar and seemed “old hat”.
Through most of the 20th century, almost everyone believed in an afterlife.
“But by 2000, very few did.”
That was why funerals had changed so much. Rather than a ritual to celebrate someone’s passing from this world to a better life in the next, funeral services were now more a celebration of a person’s life and achievements and what the person meant to family and friends.
Sir Lloyd has very strong links to Dunedin and Otago, with two years at St Clair Primary School, five years at Otago Boys’ High School and seven at Otago University and Knox Theological College. And, after his ordination, he served in parishes in Kurow and Dunedin and was also Knox College principal for some time.
“I spent almost half of my life in Dunedin and enjoyed it,” he said.
While he is not 100 years old until Monday, Sir Lloyd has already received greetings from the Queen, the Governor General and the Prime Minister.
And he is looking forward to a celebration tomorrow with 80 family members and friends, some coming from Australia, Germany and Singapore.
His son and two daughters and their families, including a great grandson, will be there — “the first time all of the family will have been together”.
Sir Lloyd says his health is good, he is “pretty fit”, keeps his brain active with puzzles and games, and walks for 30 minutes every day.
And he has good genes. His father lived to be 100.
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

No responses yet

Feb 06 2018

Newsletter February 2018

Published by under Uncategorized

Feb 6 2018-02 Newsletter

We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.
From the Chair
Happy New Year to you all. I hope that Christmas and New Year has been a good time for you.
Your committee has met and, to meet some particular requirements, we are going to meet on the third Thursday of each month, beginning in February. I trust this is OK for you; you may need to alter your diary entries.
The committee had a fruitful discussion about the future of Dunedin Sea of Faith, as we get to be a smaller group. We’d like to open this discussion up to all who attend meetings, and will do so at our March meeting after the AGM.
Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031
Our Next Meeting
A rose by any other name
(Romeo and Juliet)
At last conference the old idea of our funny title Sea of Faith came up again. I think everyone knows that this topic has come up again and again at conferences but no-one has managed to give an alternative title that appeals or really describes what we do. The words were used by Professor Don Cupitt in a six-part 1984 BBC TV series about the history of Christianity in the modern world in response to advances in science, politics and secularisation.
We remember that it comes from the poem “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold in 1867
The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! You hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Nourishing our Spirituality
Newsletter FEBRUARY 2018
Expert Analysis
Here is an analysis from the web site The Victorian Web
http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/arnold/touche4.html
“Dover Beach” is a melancholic poem. Matthew Arnold uses the means of ‘pathetic fallacy’, when he attributes or rather projects the human feeling of sadness onto an inanimate object like the sea.
The first stanza opens with the description of a nightly scene at the seaside. The lyrical self calls his addressee to the window, to share the visual beauty of the scene. Then he calls her attention to the aural experience, which is somehow less beautiful. The lyrical self projects his own feelings of melancholy on to the sound of “the grating roar /Of pebbles, which the waves draw back, and fling/ At their return, up the high strand” This sound causes an emotion of “sadness” in him.
The second stanza introduces the Greek author Sophocles’ idea of “the turbid ebb and flow of human misery”. A contrast is formed to the scenery of the previous stanza. Sophocles apparently heard the similar sound at the “Aegean” sea and thus developed his ideas. Arnold then reconnects this idea to the present. Although there is a distance in time and space (from the Aegean in the Eastern Mediterranean to Dover Beach on the south coast of England — “northern sea”), the general feeling prevails.
In the third stanza, the sea is turned into the “Sea of Faith”, which is a metaphor for a time (probably the Middle Ages) when religion could still be experienced without the doubt that the modern (Victorian) age brought about through Darwinism, the Industrial revolution, Imperialism, a crisis in religion, etc.) Arnold illustrates this by using an image of clothes. When religion was still intact, the world was dressed (“like the folds of a bright girdle furled”). Now that this faith is gone, the world lies there stripped naked and bleak. (“the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world”).
The fourth and final stanza begins with a dramatic pledge by the lyrical self. He asks his love to be “true”, meaning faithful, to him. (“Ah, love, let us be true /To one another!”). For the beautiful scenery that presents itself to them (“for the world, which seems/ To lie before us like a land of dreams,/ So various, so beautiful, so new”) is really not what it seems to be. On the contrary, as he accentuates with a series of denials, this world does not contain any basic human values. These have disappeared, along with the light and religion and left humanity in darkness. “We” could just refer to the lyrical self and his love, but it could also be interpreted as the lyrical self-addressing humanity. The pleasant scenery turns into a “darkling plain”, where only hostile, frightening sounds of fighting armies can be heard:
And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.”
What’s In a Name?
Renaming Sea of Faith?
Alan Jackson
NEW TIME
THIRD THURSDAY
Thursday, 15th FEBRUARY
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5
According to Ian Hamilton, these lines refer to a passage in Thucydides, The Battle of Epipolae, where — in a night encounter — the two sides could not distinguish friend from foe”.
Comment for our Discussion
Could it be that in 1867 Arnold saw the faith of people as being in recess whereas now, whilst we may think that we are in a secular society (one where church and state is separate) we are in the midst of a time of great spiritual awareness (think of the care which goes into modern marriage vows, the choice of venue for marriages, the time spent preparing eulogies at funerals and not just be clergy either). There are dozens of “thoughts for the day” in newspapers and magazines and these are often from non-Christian faith traditions but do speak to us at a meaningful level.
There are many strongly held faith traditions in New Zealand – faith schools of all kinds as well as different places where people of faith meet.
Maybe we should call our organisation “Oceans of Faith” to reflect today’s widespread and deeply-held faiths.
Can you think of any other poem or popular song lyric perhaps, which conveys the idea of our search for meaning in life?
As we get older, we are less tied to routine work, perhaps chasing promotion, raising children, altering or painting the family home and we turn to thoughts of the spirit and meaning of it all.
Monty Python made a film The Meaning of Life in 1983, and Douglas Adams has written about it – the answer is 42 or is it?
I picked up on a comment of Lloyd’s at conference when he used the term Nourishing Our Spirituality and used that as the strapline in the November Newsletter – did you notice? What do you think?
We are a spiritual people whether we go to a church or not. We constantly look to make sense of our lives and our world amidst the major issues; Euthanasia, Youth Suicide, Climate Change, Population Growth, Resource use, Plastics Pollution, Species Extinction, Robotics, Universal Basic Income, Racial Tensions, Feminism, Regional Wars, Brexit, Borders in Northern Ireland, Home Rule for Scotland, Ireland, Wales, using Te Reo – the list goes on.
The issues confront us daily – where do we stand? Are we at peace with our decisions? Do we need to modify our viewpoint in the light of new research?
Coming together at meetings like ours, attending lectures at University, joining in with Mornington Methodist Open Education group, attending talks at the Hospital Chaplaincy, Discussions on Ethics at St Paul’s Cathedral and our Medical School, being part of the National Sea of Faith Organisation ($20 per year) and receiving the bi-monthly newsletter whether by paper ($30 extra) or e-mail (no further charge), watching some TED talks on YouTube, reading widely and then SHARING one’s discoveries – that makes us the spiritually rich and generous folk we try to be and make our place a slightly better one for our presence and for our neighbours. It is important to be informed about issues so that we can discuss without bigotry, it is important to keep an open mind when new information comes along.
The world doesn’t always have to be just as it is now – and we have the example of one great teacher who showed a way.
Euthanasia Submissions
Have your say by 20th February 2018
https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74307/end-of-life-choice-bill
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz
Gratitude Quotations
Alfred Painter:
Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.
Brother David Steindl-Rast:
Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.
Buddha:
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.
Cicero:
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
Denis Waitley:
Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
Eric Hoffer:
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
Jean Jacques Rousseau:
There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.
Johannes A. Gaertner:
To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.
John F. Kennedy:
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
Marcel Proust:
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Meister Eckhart:
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.
Seneca:
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it.
What’s In a Name?
Renaming Sea of Faith?
Alan Jackson
NEW TIME
THIRD THURSDAY
Thursday, 15th FEBRUARY
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5

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Nov 15 2017

Newsletter November 2017

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Oct 09 2017

Newsletter 9 October 2017

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Sep 12 2017

Newsletter September 2017

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September 2017 Newsletter

We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.

Our Last Meeting:
At the August meeting Marjorie Spittle reminded us our Sea of Faith group has a long history of discussing euthanasia. She read a paragraph from a presentation by Roberta Higham, whose wisdom is as relevant now as it was nearly ten years ago, and David Kitchingman gave us a piece he had written in 2015.
Marjorie provided an overview of David Seymour’s bill, which will be debated next year if he is returned to parliament at the election. From our discussion, it seems there is a gulf between what we want for ourselves, and our loved ones, and what we’d wish to see in an Act of Parliament. The latter is a really vexed issue, and needs lots of debate between people such as ourselves, as well as in the Select Committee process. We will watch, and discuss, with interest.
The morning after Marjorie brought us up to date, the Opinion Page of the ODT carried a Faith and Reason piece by Ken Bragan which for me progressed the debate. He suggested that, in cases of extreme suffering, a person’s spirit can be broken and they long to die. A society-sanctioned way to end the suffering could be acceptable, even desirable. On the other hand, others can experience extreme suffering yet retain their strength of spirit. For them euthanasia, or assisted dying, may not be appropriate. While we could take such an important consideration into account for ourselves, or our loved ones, this would not be at
all easy to legislate for. Ken’s piece is at https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/loaded-words-must-not-be-used
Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031

Next Meeting:

Freedom of Speech
Discussion led by
Alan Jackson
Thursday, 28th SEPTEMBER
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5
On 7th January 2015, an attack was carried out at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was in response to cartoons published by the magazine which portrayed Allah in a way offensive to some Muslim radicals. They killed 12 and injured 11 others. A refusal to accept the violence and an expression of solidarity with all those around the world who prize freedom of expression came into our vocabulary “Je Suis Charlie”. World leaders and millions of others used the phrase, and marches were held around the world in support of freedom of speech.
This was not the first time extremists had reacted violently to cartoons. A Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons in 2005 – later demonstrations led to 200 deaths (according to an estimate in Wikipedia).
In May 2017 Stephen Fry and Radio Telefis Eireann were investigated by Irish police after an interview on a TV show in which he asked “Why should I respect a mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world so full of injustice and pain? Because the god who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of god would do that?”
The host of the programme, Gay Byrne, said that Stephen hadn’t wished to cause offence. But that’s what the internet is for, controversy, debate and people’s opinions.”
The police dropped the investigation because there were no injured parties.
In recent times, the visit to New Zealand by the Dalai Lama attracted opposition from China. The University of Otago and the Dunedin City Council came under huge pressure to prevent him from speaking, and the Mayor had to plead alternate engagements and deputise Counsellor Jinty McTavish to hold the interview which was held in a Town Hall packed with New Zealanders (including several of you and me) who were keen to hear what the Peacemaker had to say.
Very recently there has been a Palestinian Christian speaker whose visit to New Zealand has been opposed strongly by Zionists. He spoke about the possibilities of peace and the two-state solution for Palestine – Israel.
In a play Henrik Ibsen showed how a medical doctor with evidence which might harm the economic welfare of the community (but likely cause harm to visitors by drinking the polluted waters from the spa town) might be denied the right to bring his views to the attention of the community – and the doctor was labelled An Enemy of the People.
We have some famous whistle-blowers; Karen Silkwood who investigated problems at a nuclear power plant (immortalised in the film bearing her name), Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange are all well-known names. If you Google “Whistle-blower” you will see a huge list of people who have opposed cover-ups. They are vigorously opposed by those (mostly in power) who would wish their actions to remain secret.
The investigation into the US-Vietnam war by the US Department of Defense was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg and led to an accusation in 1971 by The New York Times that the Johnson administration had lied to Congress and the public.
Everyone remembers Watergate – the Democratic National Committee headquarters which was broken into in 1972 during the reign of President Richard Nixon. He resigned as a result of the revelations by The Washington Post.
Prof David Tombs highlighted the CIA lies to Senate over torture in a recent Archibald Baxter Memorial lecture.
Openness, the right to know – freedom to speak, where do we draw the line?
This is the topic for the month.

Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

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Aug 09 2017

Newsletter 2017-08

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We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.
From the ‘Chair’
Ethical questions are always appearing in new guises; this election period is providing some purlers.
I met one I had to resolve for myself early in my career as a leaflet-deliverer for a political party. Should I deliver to boxes with ‘no junk mail’ and similar? My letterbox has such a notice and I felt quite strongly about it. However, I decided (to my own satisfaction) that political leaflets are more likely than not to be welcome by householders, and were in fact important to the democratic process. So I felt ready for a debate with anyone on my route (and would of course never insist that anyone receive something they didn’t want).
Good wishes to everyone as you work your way to making your decisions on Election Day.
Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031
Next Meeting
With David Seymour’s End of Life Bill coming up in the near future it seems an opportune time for us to visit the euthanasia question again and look at any new developments that may aid us in making informed decisions. Whatever our persuasion on this matter it presents some complicated issues. As a past member, Roberta Highton, wrote: “The devil is in the detail”. It is one of those ‘new’ scenarios where we are not able to fall back on the wisdom of the past but
have to find ethical approaches for a contemporary challenge.
We will look at some of a power point presented at a recent U3A meeting by Dr Simon Walker from the Bioethics Centre of the University and have plenty of time for discussion.

Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter AUGUST 2017
Euthanasia Debate
Discussion led by
Marjorie Spittle
Thursday, 24th AUGUST
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5

Explaining the Bill: http://www.lifechoice.org.nz/

Opposing the Bill: http://euthanasiadebate.org.nz/resources-2/end-of-life-choice-bill/

 

The last moments of King George V
The Guardian Weekly 31st March 2017 by Sam Knight
“The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30pm on the night of 20th January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the king with 750mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine – enough to kill him twice over – in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing presses of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

Nuclear Destruction
It is 72 years this week since the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Kevin Clements noted at the Peace Vigil to commemorate the event, that it was a wholly unnecessary act. Japan had virtually capitulated and to waste so may lives at the point of explosion and then to destroy so many more with slow death from radiation-induced cancer was an outrageous decision.
At a public lecture on nuclear weapons this week the point was made that we are inclined to say “this new bomb is ten times more powerful than the one dropped on Nagasaki”. The presenter suggested a significant change in language “this new bomb is ten times more destructive than the one dropped on Nagasaki”.
We are peaceful people who value human life – the proliferation of nuclear weapons must be opposed with all our energies.

SPAM
I always thought this stood for Stupid Person’s Advertising Message and maybe in the beginning it was. Now we get so many e-mails attempting to persuade us to go to a web site and log in with our password to get a tax refund or certify our Pay Pal or Apple Store details that it is hard to know which are fake messages.
A talented friend advises me to let my mouse hover over the site the message wishes you to go to and look at the little window that opens up. If the address looks like a place you go to frequently, then it is fairly safe – but most often the link will take you to a fake site and intercept your details.
Someone knows I have an interest in religion and so is trying to get me to authorise the purchase of a Hebrew Bible from the Apple Store. To be even safer – keep an eye on your internet bank account and report anything suspicious to VISA or your bank immediately.
Caring for each other and helping to avoid these sort of pitfalls is what makes us the sort of people we are.

Homo Deus (Again)
Gretchen’s study of the book a couple of months ago couldn’t have been more timely. We learned that whilst we read books on the tablet, the inbuilt camera can read us; it can see which parts of the book make us sad or happy, and can measure how fast we turn the pages as well as when we gave up on a book. The idea is to find out more about us and to target advertising especially to us.
I thought that a bit fanciful until I read in the last fortnight that Facebook has patented that technology (although it doesn’t seem to be in use yet).
The author argued that as the computer learns more and more about us (like the sites we visit when we surf the net, the places we go using Google maps and so on) the machine will know us better than we know ourselves. What is the implication of that if you decided to use a dating site? As Marjorie has written, we cannot fall back on the wisdom of the past to solve this.

Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

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Jul 10 2017

Newsletter July 2017

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Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter JULY 2017

We Start With…
A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.
From the ‘Chair’
Our meeting time, from 5.30 to 7.30 pm, spans a meal time. From 5.30 to 6 pm we share some chat and catch-up time together, with a hot savoury, a sandwich and a cuppa. While not exactly a meal, it seems to meet the immediate needs! Please feel welcome to join us for this welcome and friendly time.
Our meetings usually start with a speaker, a book review, or a video piece on some topic of interest. This is followed by discussion and comment. By the end of the evening most people have contributed, and we have all heard things to take away and think about.
What happens between meetings – the thinking – is our valuable outcome. If you’d like to hear, talk about, and continue to think about something new and interesting, new folk are welcome to any of our meetings Gretchen
gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz (03) 473 0031
Next Meeting
Marion Christie will review the book “Leaving Alexandria: a memoir of faith and doubt”, by Richard Holloway, former Episcopalian Primus and Bishop of Edinburgh, whose doubts about the authority and certainties of organised religion led to him resigning from his role within the Church. He now describes himself as an “after-religionist”. It is a moving and thought-provoking account of his life and his struggles with some of the core beliefs of the Church.
Richard Holloway
In reviewing the book, The Independent newspaper asked “There’s one question about Leaving Alexandria – otherwise a quiet epic of a biography about faith, doubt, class, philosophy and social action – that won’t go away. How did such an innate dissimulator and self-dramatist as Richard Holloway, wracked with crippling, carnal doubts about the authority and certainties of organised religion, actually get to become the Episcopalian Primus and Bishop of Edinburgh?”
Sea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter JULY 2017
Leaving Alexandria
Book Review by
Marion Christie
Thursday, 27th JULY
St John’s Church Hall,
Cnr Wright Street
& Highgate
Tea and Coffee
will be available from 5.30pm
The programme will start at 6.00pm
Contribution – $5
Yuval Noah Harari
Last month Gretchen introduced us to two books written by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens and Homo Deus. I had never heard of either the writer or the books before the meeting and was pleased, as always, to come away from a Sea of Faith meeting with new ideas and stimulating thoughts. So when thinking about the newsletter for this month, I thought it would be a good idea to look further at Prof Harari and the two books, especially as they come highly recommended not only by Gretchen but also Barak Obama and Bill Gates.
I have such a great pile of books, which I have bought, awaiting attention that I resorted to listening to YouTube and IntelligenceSquared interviews on each book. The interviews are a bit like the Reith Lectures in which the speaker makes the case and then there is time for audience questions. I will say at the outset that I found both books quite riveting and can unreservedly recommend the two interviews (locations below) to anyone with an open mind.
I was on comfortable ground with most of Sapiens and the start of Homo Deus as Lloyd Geering has told us much of that material. Our success to date has been our ability to believe in shared fictions. Religions, nations and money, Harari argues, are all human fictions that have enabled collaboration and organisation on a massive scale. Harari tells much more about how the artificial intelligence and algorithms in such things as driverless cars and free e-mail software (g-mail for example) are affecting our lives. He sets the scene for a new stage in our evolution where many of us will have jobs replaced by automation (we covered some of that earlier in the year when we discussed Universal Basic Income) and thus will emerge a group of people who are largely without use or function. The elite (well Calvin had his elite group too) will become very rich (a process already happening) and will be at the front of the new developments – but they will not be actually steering the new society, it will steer itself in the same way as the growth of the internet and cell phone technology is not being steered by any one group but by a number of different forces (companies – think Microsoft, Google, FaceBook and the rest).

From Sapiens
“We did not domesticate wheat,” he wrote, “wheat domesticated us”; or “How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”
From Homo Deus
“Modernity is a deal,” Harari writes. “The entire contract can be summarised in a single phrase: humans agree to give up meaning in exchange for power.”
The new longevity and super-human qualities are likely to be the preserve of the techno super-rich, the masters of the data universe. Meanwhile, the redundancy of labour, supplanted by efficient machines, will create an enormous “useless class”, without economic or military purpose. In the absence of religion, overarching fictions will be required to make sense of the world.
Guardian review – by Andrew Anthony
Sapiens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOO5xrEiC0M
Homo Deus http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/yuval-noah-harari-on-the-rise-of-homo-deus/
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
DUNEDIN 9010
Ph: 473 6947
alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

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May 07 2017

Newsletter May 2017

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2017-05 Newsletter

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Apr 10 2017

April Newsletter

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We Start With…

A two minute period of silence – a moment of peace.

From the ‘Chair’

Our March meeting was a first for our group, we watched a TED talk, by Dan Dennett ‘Let’s teach religion – all religion – in schools’.  He introduced a topic important to New Zealand right now.  We had a good discussion, and interestingly decided we didn’t agree with Dennett’s particular approach – but that’s fine.  We’re all certainly more aware of the issues.

Martin Luther &

The Reformation

 

Alan Jackson

Thursday, 27th APRIL

 

St John’s Church Hall,

Cnr Wright Street

& Highgate

 

Tea and Coffee

will be available from 5.30pm

 

The programme will start at 6.00pm

 Contribution – $5

We hope to use this way of introducing a topic, using TED or other resources from the internet, at future meetings.  There is no limit of interesting speakers available to us, though it was the discussion led by Marion that followed that we found the more valuable last month.

Gretchen

gretchen.kivell@xtra.co.nz    (03) 473 0031

Next Meeting (April)

This year marks the generally accepted 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s “nailing of the 95 theses” on the church door at Wittenberg. Sea of Faith couldn’t let that anniversary pass without spending at least one meeting looking at Luther and the consequences. The National Conference in Wellington later in the year will take that theme too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b086nzhk

 

 

 

 

 

We plan to listen to this BBC (radio) podcast and hear the discussion on what led Luther to take his step, how his thought and personality affected the course of the Reformation and whether – were he to walk into the 21st century – he might actually find himself to be a good Catholic.

The podcast bears listening to more than once and if you can find 30 minutes to tune in to it ahead of time you will be in an even better position to discuss the topic.

At Otago we are lucky to have Prof Peter Mathieson, a world expert on The Reformation, as part of the team in the Theology Dept. There is a series of lectures and seminars on this subject during the semester.

http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/events/index.html?eventtype=lecture&days=30

Several of our Group’s members have been attending the lectures and we will all agree that they are fascinating. In addition there is a Special Collection of materials in the University Library (admission free) – first floor – de Beer gallery.

Luther was a monk and Professor of Theology at the University of Wittenberg and he posed some opinions (theses) to which he invited responses and argument (like any of our contemporary Professors who write a paper on climate change for example).

Luther didn’t set out to split the Catholic Church but to reform it. He objected to the selling of indulgences (a sort of “get out of hell free” card) which were used by the Pope and some others to raise funds for themselves and the rebuilding of St Peter’s in Rome and taught that the only true path to salvation lay through the faithfulness to Jesus and his teachings. He translated the bible into the local language that people could read (German) and some people were surprised to find “that Jesus could speak such good German”. His ideas spread widely and rapidly thanks to the printing press – a new technology then which we can equate with social media today. The church did split and it responded with a catholic reformation, an inquisition and the Council of Trent (held in Trento and Bologna, northern Italy from 1545-63, it lasted through three Popes). The destabilised states of Europe entered a period called the 30 Years’ War during which power amongst the controlling factions of Europe were more to the fore than religion.

John Calvin, a humanist French theologian, was a strong supporter of Luther’s Reforms but the Protestant French Reformed community (Huguenots – 10% of the French community) were harried by the Catholics especially at the siege of the township of La Rochelle, and many fled to England (my ancestors amongst them).

In amongst the characters of the Reformation we find the Borgias, Ignatius Loyola and the formation of the Jesuits, and the ancestors of Queen Elizabeth. It was a massively turbulent time in European history with consequences for all the countries that the Europeans later colonised. It accounts for much of the violent loss of life in Ireland, the two major sorts of Christian school that we find in Dunedin as well as much rivalry on the rugby fields here and elsewhere.

May Meeting

At our May meeting we are to hear from Derek McCullough, the minister with the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Christchurch.  Unitarian Universalism is found is seventeen countries, and is particularly strong in the USA and Canada; there are UU communities in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Blenheim.

I have found people who have belonged to a UU church before coming the New Zealand, and not living in one of the above cities, have found their local Sea of Faith to meet some of their beliefs and needs.

We extend a warm welcome to all who would be interested to know more about Unitarian Universalism to join us at our May meeting, to hear from Derek and join our discussion.

 

Newsletter Editor:

Alan Jackson

55 Evans Street

DUNEDIN 9010

Ph: 473 6947

alanjackson@xtra.co.nz

 

 

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