Looking at Life

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Address by Rev. Geoff Usher :

I suspect that most people pause now and then to look at l i f e . And I suspect that
at least some people think that, on the whole, l i f e is pretty grim.

To continue reading click here.

Celebrating Earth and Wonder in Early Spring

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A talk given by the Rev. Rex Hunt on the 17th of September, 2017.

 

In 2005 when I was on a Study Tour in England I was fortunate enough to have a side-visit to ‘Down House’, the country home of naturalist Charles Darwin and his family. Few properties can claim to have been as central to the life  and work of its owner as this house.
I remember very well standing in his old studyand being engulfed by its history and its significance. For it was in that house and in that room that Darwin wrote  his most famous book, On the Origin of Species…, published in November 1859.A book which stands as a wellspring for what we now call ‘evolutionary biology’.
In the last paragraph of the book, Darwin wrote: “It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (Darwin 2008:362)
Interesting indeed… For the debate it ignited not only led to the denial of the creation stories of the western religious tradition, it gave us the beginnings of an immensely richer, longer, more complex ‘story’,  rooted not in “the history of a single tribe or a particular people”,  but one “rooted in the sum of our knowledge of the universe itself”.
A scientific ‘doctrine of incarnation’ as one person has described it, which suggests “that the universe itself is continually incarnating itself in microbes and maples, in humming birds and human beings, constantly inviting us to tease out the revelation contained in stars and atoms and every living thing.”  (Bumbaugh 2003)
Yes, a ‘religious’ story…   that invites us to awe and wonder;       that demands a vocabulary of reverence.

The complete talk can be found here.

The Perfume of the Trampled Flower

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A sermon by the Rev. Geoff Usher given on the 20th August, 2017.

A puzzle. Within congregations that are supposed to be loving, caring, mutually supportive communities of like-minded people – especially in our liberal, tolerant Unitarian tradition – why is it that so often people remain unforgiving about some long past event, or remain unforgiving of the way that other members of the congregation reacted to that event?
Why is it that the health of the whole congregation – the health and well-being of the whole church community – can become lost in petty arguing, lost in what seems to be a stubborn unwillingness to mend the rips in the fabric of community?

The whole talk can found here.

Nostalgia

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“NOSTALGIA”

by Geoffrey R Usher
Sermon delivered to Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship
on 22 January 2017
Ten years ago my son Andrew and his then girlfriend Stephanie returned to England after a holiday of nearly three months in Australia, which included Christmas in Sydney with my wife Ann. As the weather in Sheffield got colder and darker, and I-thought of them enjoying the late spring and then early summer in Australia’s warmth — meals outside, long days of sunlight, swimming at the beach — I tried to persuade myself that I was not jealous. I have to confess: I was not very successful in that attempt to persuade myself that I was not jealous, and I kept finding myself remembering, remembering.. .

The sermon can be found here.

Two Travel Stories

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Rev. Geoff Usher asks us to think about what impression we make on on other people as we travel life’s journey.

To read this talk click here.

Fungi, Rabbits and Sheep

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She was born on 28 July 1866, at 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London. Both her parents were descended from wealthy families who had made their fortunes in the Lancashire cotton industry. Her brother, born five years later , was sent off to boarding school, so her childhood was essentially solitary , dull and leisured. She never went to school, but spent most of her time in the nursery of the large, dark, stuffy house – once described by a cousin as “a dark Victorian mausoleum, complete with aspidistras”.

Can you guess about whom Rev. Geoff Usher is speaking?

The full address can viewed here.

How do we deal with evil in our world?

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Tragedies abound, world peace seems a lost cause, selfish aggression is rampant. What do we do?

Ginna Hastings gives us some good advice. The full address can be found here.

Our Symbol and Its Story, Part 2: 20th Century

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This is the second of two talks given by Rev. Geoff Usher on our flaming chalice, bringing the story up to  modern times. You  can read the complete sermon here here

THE STORY OF OUR SYMBOL PART 1 : Jan Hus”

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This is the first of two talks given by the Rev. Geoff Usher about our symbol, the flaming chalice.

The Unitarian symbol is usually referred to as the “Flaming Chalice”. Some people prefer the name “The Chalice and Flame”.
It comes in many sizes and shapes. In Britain, what is often called the “chunky chalice” was adopted by the person who was in charge of General Assembly publications in the 1960s. It is the one with which I was most familiar, and it was the one which I used on my own stationery and for the Sydney Unitarian Church and the Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Association.

The complete sermon can be found here.

Twenty Characteristics Of Religious Maturity

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This article is adapted from the sermons which the Rev. Geoff Usher gave at the Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship, Kirribilli, on Sundays 29 February and 13 March 2016. They were based on an article by Waldemar Argow, who was a long-serving, distinguished and influential 20 th century American Unitarian Universalist Minister. Dr Argow’s article was itself based on a sermon which he preached in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1983.

The complete article can be viewed here.

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