6 May 2018, Rev. Winnie Gordon and “Hospitality”

Rev. Winnie Gordon travelled from Birmingham to ask us to think about our churches as places of welcome (especially appropriate since we had a new visitor). We began our service with something new, offering each other a sign of welcome by saying hello or shaking hands. As part of our service we also asked each other three questions: 1. What are your names? 2. Can you describe your beliefs in 20 words or fewer? 3. What do you see on the walls of this building that says something to you about what sort of place it is? It was a fascinating and thought-provoking service.

29 April 2018 – Louise Reeve and “Introducing the Findhorn Community”

Louise Reeve discussed her experiences of her Experience Week at the Findhorn Community, a spiritual community near Inverness in Scotland. Organised by the Findhorn Unitarian Network, this week saw 17 Unitarians from across the UK visit this community to learn how people there live and put their spiritual beliefs into practice. Members of the church tried out aspects of these beliefs within our service, including the Findhorn practice of ‘attuning’ at the start and end of all group activities, and playing the Angel Game.

22 April 2018, Diana Bebby and Ben MacLeod and “Play”

Diana Bebby and Ben MacLeod took the inspiration for their service from Dr. Peter Gray’s essay, “Play is Foundation for Religion”, which states

“I have two main points to make in this essay. The first is that all of religion has its roots in play. The cognitive skills that make religion possible are the skills of play, the most central of which is make-believe. The second point is that religion functions best when it does not stray too far from its playful origins.” (Full text here: “Play Makes Us Human part III“.)

Building on this and from Rev. Tony McNeile’s recent writings in “Stirrings 2018”, they shared their own views on what play means and how we should include it in our religious and spiritual practices. We practised what we preached, playing several rounds of ‘Play Your Cards Right’, complete with the obligatory Sir Bruce Forsyth impressions!

25 February 2018 – Stephen Jackson and “A faith for the age of globalisation, or how not to destroy the world”

Stephen Jackson led us through a powerful and thought-provoking service on one of the most pressing issues of our age; how to meet the needs of the many people in the world seeking refuge and asylum. Mixing Biblical readings with his own poetry (and the classic Unitarian hyjmn “This IS My Song, O God Of All The Nations”), we thought about what our duty is to our fellow human beings, and how, as individuals, we can make a difference.