30 March 2014, Women in Churches and Religion

David Venus gave us a very unique service for Mother’s Day, looking at how women have been disenfranchised within society and especially religion, through the patriarchal, controlling nature of monotheist religions, compared to earlier polytheist ones.  He grabbed our attention with some inflammatory statements from history about the role of women in religion.  He then pointed out that although women make up the majority of congregations in conservative religions, this does not confer power.  Rather it denotes how dangerous it can be for women to leave and live outside the confines of the accepted religion, and that at the very least they and their children would lose status and friendship by doing so.  The question therefore being posed in some forums is not how do we integrate women more, but how do we make it easier for women to leave male dominated religions?

23 March 2014, “On Meditation”, by Rev. Gordon Smith

Rev Gordon Smith reminded us through readings that worship may be a quest for meaning and an expression of the worth of life that may be found in love and social purpose. Gordon went on to give a service on how we may connect to our human Source; to the origins of everything, through the regular practice of meditation. The form of the service was more informal than usual, with a shared discussion that involved the whole congregation.

16 March 2014, Spirituality and Social Justice

This was Dr Barry Thomas’ theme and after discussing the difficulties for those living with scarcity, even when they have work, he posed the question: “What does our spirituality have to say?”

He described spirituality as a common good and a collective experience, involving a search for connection that takes us beyond the mere duty of philosophical moral and ethical decisions. By taking a holistic view of society, we acknowledge the inter-dependence of all parts of the whole, moving us towards the Biblical ideal of a community of love. He proposed that coming together as Unitarians in worship gives us the chance to pause; to consider our desire for a more just society and to remind ourselves that we are more than selfish individuals, more than just “..animals sharing the same pasture.”  So loving our neighbour, even those we have difficulty relating to, leads us to aspire to the pure aim of spiritual love.