1st February, Ginna Hastings: “Growing Old”
8th February, Morandir Armson: “The Esoteric World of Walter Burley Griffin”.
Walter Burley Griffin, was an important American architect and landscape designer, who invented several important architectural innovations, including the L-shaped house and the carport. Burley Griffin won the Federal Capital Design Competition in 1912 and was thereby given the task of producing the first town design for Canberra. Griffin was strongly associated with an esoteric movement, Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy Society, which influenced his architectural and town plan concepts and designs throughout his later life, which included the time he spent in designing the new city of Canberra.
15th February, Helen Whatmough: “Astrology”
22nd February, Martin Horlacher: “You’re Gonna Carry That Weight”
1 March, Robert Woog: “Conversational ethics may be more useful than global ethics.”
Ethical and moral dilemas are arguments about good and evil but at other times they are clashes between preferred philosophical positions. I will argue that ethics must come about by each individual determining their moral history and through collaborating, co-determine the history of human kind. Based on evidence from history and on current social trends, I am hopeful but not confident that this will turn out well.
8 March, Susan Patterson: “Living as an Introvert in an Extroverted World”
Our lives are shaped as profoundly by personality as by gender or race. The single most important aspect of personality is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. One’s place on this continuum influences our choice of friends and marriage mates, how we make conversation, resolve differences, and show love. It affects the careers we choose and whether or not we succeed at them – and, very possibly, the way we choose to worship and express our spirituality.
15 March, Martin Horlacher: “Omega Point: The Life and Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.”
A French philosopher and Jesuit priest who was also trained as a paleontologist and geologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin took part in several important discoveries regarding human evolution, and developed a very complex cosmology. This talk will examine his theories and life, as well as why he was originally censored by the Catholic Church during his lifetime.
22 March, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Perspective on Failure.”
There is a lot to be learned from failure. It can open doors to new options by forcing us to consider new opportunities. It helps us to discover what works. We learn from mistakes and setbacks, perhaps more than we learn from success. Learning early in life that we can survive setbacks and defeat makes us tougher and more resilient for the rest of our lives.
29 March, Neil Inall: “A Cauldron of Cuisine”.
Covering the questions about GM food cropping, production and marketing; also interpreting food labelling.
5th April, Morandir Armson: “The Greatest Story Ever Told?”
The story of the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central narrative of Christianity. But to what extent is this narrative based on a historic reality? This talk will focus on the Biblical narrative of Easter, the historical situation of 1st Century Palestine, and the many Pagan traditions which echo the story of Easter.
12th April, Martin Horlacher: “Sins of the Fathers.”
The Christian doctrine of original sin has had a lasting and profound impact upon humanity, and not always for the better. But does this need to continue to be the case?
19th April, Susan Patterson and Robert Woog: “A Coherent Conversation on War.”
Framed by the Celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC Landing on Gallipoli, Susan Patterson and Robert Woog will lead the congregation in a Coherent Conversation about war. Is war avoidable? Is it unavoidable? Is it part of our human nature? Our DNA? We will establish the foundation of the conversation by examining four necessities of human life: Resources, Identity, Power, and Hope. Then we will include our audience in this self-referential, permissive conversation, discovering and exploring and seeking an emergent understanding of our theme. Given whatever end point we arrive at, we will conclude with possible warnings and personal commitments toward our topic.
26th April, John Cusack: “The Soldier Settler Scheme”.
3th May, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Worship, World and Wonder.”
We Unitarians have been taught to emphasise the reasonable, the provable, the rational, the functional. Albert Einstein wrote: “He who can no longer stand rapt in wonder and awe is as good as dead. His eyes are closed.” And William Blake wrote: ”If the doors of perception are opened, then everything will appear as it is, infinite.” In life, in nature, in worship: there are insights to be had, but they cannot always be had by trying to go and get them. Sometimes they come from quiet waiting. Meister Eckhart is said to have observed that nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
10th May, Mothers’ Day. Morandir Armson: “The Pagan Trinity – Thoughts on the Triple-Goddess”.
The Triple-Goddess is one of the most enduring deity figures in modern Paganism; an amalgamated, three-faced goddess, comprising Maiden, Mother, and Crone. To many Pagans, this figure is the essential Goddess, whose existence is unquestioned. But where did this goddess-figure come from, and what is its cultic function? This talk will focus on the figure of the Triple Goddess and seek to answer the question; whose Mother are we talking
17th May, Colin Whatmough: “ Rich Land, Wasteland : how Coal is killing Australia”.
24th May, Helen Whatmough: “Astrology”.
31th May, Dr Max Lawson: ”Walden Pond and Thoreau “.
Looking at Thoreau’s writings about living for two years in isolation beside Walden Pond, the reflections made and its influence on Transcendentalism, something very big in our Unitarian tradition.
7th June, Jan Tendys: “Frans de Waal: ‘The Bonobo and the Atheist’ ”
The Bonobo is our closest ape cousin. What advice might it give to an atheist?
14th June, Morandir Armson: “Modern Shintoism”
Shinto, also called kami-no-michi, is an indigenous religion of Japan. It is focused on ritual practices, which must be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. These ancient rituals are of an almost Shamanic character, and centre on the Emperor of Japan, who is automatically the High Priest of Shinto.
This presentation will seek to answer the question; how does an ancient, Shamanic religion survive in the nation of Japan, which is a particularly fast-paced, almost futurist culture?
21st June, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Spiritual Economy”
Just as music is much more than the efficient arrangement of sounds, so living well, being present to the moment, is much more than the efficient arrangement of time. As is living faithfully, living spiritually, living as if life mattered far more than wasting our powers through getting and spending.
28th June, Martin Horlacher: “Golden Ages: Gilding the Lily or Living our Lives?”
It’s fairly common to hear someone complaining that things just aren’t how they used to be, back in the “good old days”. Chances are, we’ve all done it at some point. But, were there ever any “good old days” to begin with? Or, is learning from the past and making a better future what really counts?
5 July, Laurence Gormley: “Endgame”.
Life has various phases. The final one is of course old age. Are we prepared for it? Will it be rewarding? What new life experiences and opportunities does it offer? And then how do we execute our exit strategy? Some thoughts, hopefully not all serious.
12 July, Morandir Armson: “ The Religions of the Indian Sub-Continent.”
The Indian sub-continent is the birthplace of three of the major world religions; Buddhism, Hinduism or San tan Dharma, and Sikhism. In addition to these three, the Jain religion, an ancient faith that is probably the ancestor of Buddhism, also exists in India. These four faiths are all connected; but how, and in what manner? As Indian spiritual practices, such as yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic medicine enter the mainstream of Western culture, it behoves us to ask these questions; what are the religions of India? How do they relate to each other, and to spiritual practices such as yoga? This presentation will seek to look at these questions and possibly present some answers.
19 July, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Francis David and the Edict of Torda.”
Francis David (David Ferencz) is often called “the first Unitarian”. He became the leader and first bishop of what became the Unitarian Church of Transylvania. His inspiring advocacy led to the Edict of Torda by Prince John Sigismund in 1568, which confirmed earlier decrees affirming the freedom of the various religious groups in the country.
26 July, Marie Hensley, Guest Speaker: “ Building Community”.
Marie is a Community Practitioner with Landcare. She does socially innovative projects and affordable programs to assist communities become more sustainable. Her topic will relate to how they can become self reliant.
2 August, Helen Whatmough: “Social Enterprise – a new business model?”
A business model to build up the earning potential (of Australians) who are least fortunate, which also complements the private sector.
9 August, Colin Whatmough: “What I Believe.”
Colin will examine Peter Andrews ideas to replenish the Australian landscape through his research at Tarwyn Park. This relates to the present time with regard to large coal mines to be permitted on the fertile Liverpool Plains.
16 August, Rev Geoff Usher: “Jan Hus and the Flaming Chalice: Our Symbol and Its Story – Part 1”
The symbol of the Chalice and Flame—commonly known as the flaming chalice—has become recognised internationally as the symbol for Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist congregations. This and a second service trace its history and development.
23 August, Morandir Armson : “The Religions of the Indian Sub-Continent.”
The Indian sub-continent is the birthplace of three of the major world religions; Buddhism, Hinduism or San tan Dharma, and Sikhism. In addition to these three, the Jain religion, an ancient faith that is probably the ancestor of Buddhism, also exists in India. These four faiths are all connected; but how, and in what manner? (This is the talk that was cancelled in July.)
30 August, Rev Geoff Usher: “The Flaming Chalice in the Twentieth Century: Our Symbol and Its Story – Part 2”
6 September, Ginna Hastings: ” Religion and Violence”
The violence today in the Middle East often causes many to conclude that religion itself is often a cause of wars and violence. After reading Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood – Religion and the History of Violence, I’ve developed another viewpoint on this matter. This talk will briefly explain Armstrong’s complex theories to which I’ll add some comments of my own and from a Unitarian perspective. Discussion to follow, so the actual worship part of the meeting will be smaller than usual. The book is not required reading for the talk, but it is certainly recommended reading to all!
13 September, Jan Tendys: “The First Humanist Manifesto Part 1”
Many Unitarians count themselves as humanists. What can we learn from a look at the founding document of modern humanism?
20 September, Jan Tendys: “The First Humanist Manifesto Part 2”
This will complete our examination of this historically important document.
27 September, Rev Geoff Usher: “Celebrating Spring”
This service will be an anthology of readings and reflections on the theme of the return of Spring after the cold, dark days of winter.
4 October, There will be no service this Sunday.
11 October, Rev. Geoff Usher: “The Unitarian Dance”
The Unitarian dance is the tension between individuality and community, between tolerance and conviction, between thinking and feeling, between the head and the heart. The success of the dance depends upon preserving the whole of the encircling sphere.
18 October, Rev. Eric Stevenson: “Who made the Golden Rule?”
Where did our sense of right and wrong come from? How reliable are the sources which combine to create my moral code? Reference: Lloyd Geering’s recent book “Re-imagining God”, chapter 11, on Ethics.
25 October, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Nothing to be Gained”
We live in a world where ridiculous errors abound. We try to contribute as few as we can to the total, but we make some too, and others just happen in ways past explaining. What can we say but we’re sorry? What can we do but move on?
1 November, Rev. Geoff Usher: “The Church and Social Justice: ANZUUA Conference Report”
This service will be an opportunity for a report on the Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association which took place at the Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church over the weekend 16-18 October. The Conference Theme was “The Church and Social Justice”.
8 November, Martin Horlacher: “Reason”
The capacity to consciously make sense of this thing we call real life is perhaps the single most important thing that makes us all human. But reason constantly finds itself under attack from those who argue that only religion can offer us a better way forward. Which is right…and who, ultimately, will win?
15 November, Ginna Hastings: “The festival of ‘American Thanksgiving’, Insights and background”
Thanksgiving is an American Holiday which most Americans acknowledge as their favourite. Ginna will discuss the history of this holiday, why it is important and what can we as Unitarians and Australians learn from it.
22 November, Steve Maxwell: “Living a Rational Life.”
This will be the second talk given to our Fellowship by Steve, who is the Secretary of the Rationalist Society.
29 November, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Love and Death—the Immortal Struggle”
We are aware not only of our own death, but of the possible end of human life on this planet. In the face of the inevitability of death, we look for ways to love, to say “Yes” to life. The desire to find ways to love is part of our human nature, even in the face of death and disaster.
6 December, Martin Horlacher: “Reason”
The capacity to consciously make sense of this thing we call real life is perhaps the single most important thing that makes us all human. But reason constantly finds itself under attack from those who argue that only religion can offer us a better way forward. Which is right…and who, ultimately, will win? (This talk was cancelled in November).
13 December, PARTY! We hope each of you will present a reading, poem, musical item or whatever you wish by way of contributing to the festivity of the season.