26 July 2015 – Louise van der Hoeven and the Animal Service

Louise van der Hoeven led us in a service focussed on celebrating the non-human animals we share our world with. Readings by Rev. Gary Kowalski and Marian van Eyk McCain helped us to contemplate the similarities and differences between ourselves and other living beings, with Marian van Eyk McCain’s account of an encounter with a wild dolphin off the Australian coast being a particular highlight.  Donations of pet food, toys and other supplies were collected for Bryson’s Animal Refuge in Gateshead.

5 July 2015 – Dr Barry Thomas and the interconnectedness of things

At a service shortly after the summer solstice, Dr Barry Thomas led us in a contemplation of the human capacity to be awestruck by the natural world, from the complexity of a single flower to the grandeur of the sea. He discussed the importance of accepting nature as it is, not only the aspects of nature we find pleasing; as he comments: “Cancer is just as natural as the nightingale”. Ultimately, we must accept ourselves as a part of the world, not separate from it.