Friday, 16 June 2017

June meeting: Saturday 24 June 2017

Midsummer musings

Reflections from within

This month we wander from the path of a fixed theme and meander freely into one of our open sessions. We’ll be thinking, listening and exploring, as always. Conversations will emerge from whatever’s currently on our minds.

Feel free to bring material you’d like to share—a quotation, an article or extracts from book, radio programme or video. We can continue explorations from previous talks, such as the challenges facing Muslims in Britain or the implications of post-truth society. Or we can engage with something new and different—anything that’s interesting.

Here’s a picture to reflect on. Cool.



Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 24 June 2017 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Photo credit: Kalen Emsley, licensed Creative Commons CC0

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

May meeting: Saturday 20 May 2017

Challenges facing Muslims in Britain

Dilwar Hussain

  • 55% of the general public agree that there is a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society.
  • 46% of British Muslims feel that being a Muslim in Britain is difficult due to prejudice against Islam. 
(Source: The Casey Review: a review into opportunity and integration)

We are delighted to be offering a very warm welcome to Dilwar Hussain to speak on these and other challenges facing Muslims in Britain.

As chair of New Horizons in British Islam, Dilwar is very well placed to do so. He argues eloquently and persuasively for a society where relations between Muslims and their fellow citizens are strong and healthy and where Islam feels at home, rooted in its British context. This is a vision of British Islam as a naturalised and ‘embedded’ interpretation of the values and principles of Islam that takes the local context into account. He points out that this process of adaptation has occurred wherever Islam has travelled to throughout Muslim history. More broadly, New Horizons engages in critical discussions around Muslim identity, tradition and reform, challenging narrow and closed attitudes and countering prejudice wherever it is found.

As well as chairing New Horizons, Dilwar is Research Fellow, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University. For a foretaste of his interests and approach, see his online blog.

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 20 May 2017 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Monday, 13 February 2017

March meeting: Saturday 18 March 2017

Think globally, act locally


We are delighted to welcome our very own David Paterson as the main speaker and stimulus for our next meeting. He’ll be introducing thoughts from his experience in Loughborough for 40 years and then Oxford for 12, as he invites us to think about our potential influence and share experiences.

David will be asking:

Can the presence of Sea of Faith members in religious congregations help churches live up to their declared task of working for a better world? Can we bring greater integrity to faith, prayer and action—particularly in the Church of England where many faithful and devout people are so bogged down in the official near-fundamentalism?

David has specific ideas about how the established church might respond, but of course these are broad and ecumencial questions too. As he says, “I've been a naturally committed ecumaniac since 1951 and equally committed to interfaith since the 1960s.”

It promises to be an insightful exploration, rooted in direct practical experience.

Meanwhile, here's how the Loughborough Echo profiled David last year.

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 18 March 2017 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Monday, 9 January 2017

January meeting: Saturday 21 January 2017

Post-truth and fact-free zones

People are truth seekers. At least, some of us like to think we are. But what is our relationship to truth? Might it be more complicated than we admit?

  • Do we select facts to suit what we have already decided?
  • Do we resist evidence that is contrary to our instincts and feelings?
  • If we are exposed to factual data contradicting our opinions, are we more likely to become even more entrenched in our mistaken view?

Cognitive scientists suggest a quick answer to all those is yes. And it’s not just a characteristic other people have. Chances are, you do it too.

So where does that leave our pursuit of truth? Much of the current debate centres on political opinion and global affairs. Can we tease out what significance it has for religious journeys and exploration?

In our next meeting Peter White will lead a discussion on truth and post-truth, aided by extracts from a thought-provoking Radio 4 programme, Nothing but the truth. Listen to it in advance, or just come along to enjoy a self-contained introduction to the whacky world of post-truth thinking.

True or false—post-truth was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year? Come and find out. 

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 21 January 2017 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

December meeting: Saturday 3 December 2016

In conversation with David Lambourn

We are delighted to be welcoming David Lambourn to our December meeting. What will we be discussing?

That depends, David says, on what we’re interested in on the day that matches things he's been involved in. As the list below shows, there will be no shortage of options.

Earlier this year David spoke on ‘Worship’ at a Progressive Christianity Network day conference. He has presented workshops on ‘…as-if…” at the Sea of Faith national conference and elsewhere.

His doctoral thesis (Warwick, 2001) was a critique of the uses of metaphor in social thought. 

David served as curate and youth worker in Camberwell and Greenwich during the time that John Robinson was Bishop of Woolwich.

David has been the host of the Birmingham group of Sea of Faith network for ten years or more, and is currently the national network membership secretary.
 
Get in the mood, and read a short glimpse of his own quest as published the Sift Column in Sofia (110, Christmas 2013).

It should be a merry and festive occasion.

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 3 December 2016 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

November meeting: Saturday 5 November 2016

Taking an honest look at ourselves

Penny Mawdsley

There's no doubt where members of Sea of Faith Network stand on fundamentalism. Opposed. But what about supernatural claims? Must they be abandoned, as a matter of creed? But if that position is adopted as a creed, what's left of the network's claim to reject all religious creeds?  Hmmm.

But maybe this kind of thinking is part of the network's problem. It's all too intellectual and nebulous. So it's perhaps not surprising that the number of members isn't growing.

We are delighted and honoured to welcome Penny Mawdsley to lead an exploration of these topics. Penny is a long-standing network member and active organiser. She's currently the editor of Portholes, and a Sea of Faith Network trustee. She's also a spirited, informed and entertaining speaker.

Penny will be responding to a critique of the Sea of Faith Network by Mark Dyer in "Christianity: Where next?", in Sofia, 120 (June 2016). It promises to be an unmissable session. Expect fireworks.

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.
 
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 5 November 2016 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.

Friday, 26 August 2016

September meeting: Saturday 24 September 2016

Note the change in date - we’re now meeting on 24 September. Apologies to those inconvenienced by this, and thanks to all for understanding.

Religion—whatever next!

What exactly is religion? Do we think of it as a cultural, social or psychological creation? What drives it and sustains it? Why does it continue to maintain its hold?

If these questions sound familiar, it’s likely that you went to the Sea of Faith network annual conference in July—where they were the main focus.

These and similar questions throw up fundamental and fascinating areas for exploration. So we thought we’d discuss them some more. Those who went to the conference will be able to draw on their recollections of the speakers’ contributions. So will those who didn’t go, as transcripts of the presentations are to be printed in the next issue of Sofia magazine in September.

Even if you didn’t go and don’t manage to read the articles, do come along. The discussion is likely to be stimulating, and will require no prior knowledge. It will certainly be topical, as there are a multitude of relevant questions around religion—why, for instance, some people live for it, some die for it and some, apparently, kill for it.

Everyone welcome - existing fans, newcomers and the simply curious.  
The Garden Room at Great Meeting Chapel on Saturday 24 September 2016 2.30 - 4.30 pm

Doors open, with drinks available, from 2.00. 

The chapel is at 5 East Bond Street, Leicester, LE1 4SX (just across the road from John Lewis). There is a small (free) car park. A donation of £4 per person covers room hire and other costs.

For more information, use the contact details on the right. We're very friendly.