Rev. Cliff Reed and “The Lamp and the Chalice: Light in our Darkness”

Another first service at the Newcastle Unitarian Church, taken by Unitarian minister and writer Rev. Cliff Reed (author of “Carnival of Lamps” and “Unitarian? What’s That?”). Rev. Reed’s service on ‘The Lamp and the Chalice: Light in our Darkness’ focussed upon the origins of the Unitarian flaming chalice symbol, and its origins in World War 2. In a wide-ranging service covering everything from the ‘Twilight Zone’ to the songs of Merle Travis, Rev. Reed described how in the 19th & 20th centuries some north-east Unitarians in the north-east lit a Miner’s (or Davy) Lamp to begin their services. With the recent rediscovery of the Choppington Miner’s lamp at the Newcastle church, this was a service whose links to our own history and heritage were much appreciated by all.

Clare Lee and “Sacred Listening”

In her first service at the Newcastle Unitarian Church, Claire Lee from the York Unitarians led an inspiring service on sacred listening. Inspired by Buddhist philosophy, Claire invited us to consider the links between listening and mindfulness, and three ways to listen: as a gift, as a choice, and as an art. Readings were taken from “Deep Listening” and “The Cup in Your Hands” by Thich Nhat Hanh, and Walter De La Mare’s classic poem: “The Listeners.”

Rosemary Arthur and the Divine Feminie

Rosemary Arthur, from Wakefield, spoke on “The Divine Masculine, or Divine Feminine?” Why do humans think of the Divine as either masculine or feminine?  Do we prefer a God or a Goddess? And why? She explored how male deities have traditionally been associated with justice, firm rule and war, and female deities with caring, compassion and peace. Do we need elements of both in the modern world? Readings were taken from “Wisdom of the Idiots” by the Sufi writer Idries Shah, and “Revelations of Divine Love” by Julian of Norwich.