25 September 2016 – Rev. Margaret Kirk and “Being Safe”

Rev. Margaret Kirk led us through a service reviewing how humans beings have sought safety throughout the ages. In a world where people both build walls (in Palestine) and try to overcome them (the young boy who wrote to President Obama offering to give a home to a refugee child), should we let go of the illusion that we can control our lives, and instead aim to live with generosity?

18 September 2016 – Joan Cook and “A Handbag?”

Joan Cook (from the Edinburgh Unitarians) introduced Vanessa Redgrave’s idea of a handbag as a metaphor for someone’s personality, even their soul (for those not carrying handbags, perhaps ‘coat pockets’ is an appropriate subsititute!). Can we see handbags a a metaphor for culture, in which some things are placed there for a purpose, and others are simply left through habit. Joan Cook invited us to consider Karen Armstrong’s view in this context: Belief is a red herring – practise, not doctrine, is what matters.

11 September 2016 – Stephen Jackson and “Life’s Journey: Rich Image or Cliché?”

On Great North Run Day, Stephen Jackson picked a very appropriate topic, looking at the number of times the idea of a journey appears in religious and literary writings. We took in a range of readings from “The Journey of the Magi” by T.S. Eliot, and the thoughts of astronauts who made the first journeys beyond Earth’s orbit. Does considering life as a journey actually help us move forward?

4 September 2016 – Diana Bebby & Ben MacCleod, and “Harvest Miscellany”

Ben and Diana led us through a Harvest Service with contributions from themselves and from other members of the congregation. We looked at the history of harvest festivals in the UK, the joy of allotments, how poets have seen the season, and how Aboriginal societies in Uluru in Australia harvested food from their land. With music from David Venus, it was a very enjoyable service, with donations of food going to the Newcastle Women’s Aid shelter.