18 October 2015 – Elizabeth Faiers and “Conflict, controversy, balance and harm”

Elizabeth Faiers asked us to look at conflict not in the context of war, but in the context of interpersonal conflict between individuals in everyday life, and how we can resolve it; through techniques such as the ‘speaking stick’ to ensure everyone gets a turn, to changing our own attitudes and ways of speaking. She suggested that we could think about how this linked to the future of our church in the form of the Vision Document, in the light of the upcoming one-day workshop on this document, and whether we can (or should) change as a movement. Change involves some conflict – but conflict can be resolved.

4 October 2015 – Rob Whiteman and the Fellowship Meal

Rob Whiteman joined us again, this time for his first service whilst undertaking a student pastorate with the Newcastle Unitarian Church. His service coincided with the Annual Fellowship meal, and we were joined by several members of the Stockton congregation. Rob spoke on the theme of ‘Blessings’. He asked us to think about “who can bless, and who is blessed?”, and included readings from “To recover the lost blessing”, and Anthony Trollope’s classic piece from “Barchester Towers” on the pains of listening through sermons! Fellowship is a blessing, in which matters of mutual concern are addressed, and blessings travel from soul to soul.

 

11 October 2015 – Rob Whiteman

Rob Whiteman joined us once more, alas, your loyal service highlight writer was on holiday! Thanks Rob for what I’m sure was another great service.

25 October 2015 – Rev. David Garrett and Bible Sunday

Inspired by the Anglican Church’s celebration of the impact of the Bible on society on “Bible Sunday”, the final Sunday of October,  Rev. David Garrett led us through a fascinating consideration of how the historical context the Gospels were written in influenced their portrayal of Biblical events (with apologies to John’s gospel). We considered how the persecution of the early Christian church may have led the writer of Mark’s gospel to present Jesus as the ‘suffering messiah’, whereas the writer of Matthew’s gospel (the only one to contain the Sermon on the Mount) saw him as the Lord of a community and a divine being. The later designation of Christianity as a separate religion, not a Jewish sect, led the writer of Luke’s gospel to portray Christianity as a more inclusive church, including accounts of the role of women and non-Jews in Jesus’s ministry.