12 January , Ginna Hastings will introduce a group discussion of what we are about, hopes, plans etc.
19 January, Martin Horlacher: “The History of the Devil”
26 January, Laurence Gormley: “Time Flies.”
2 February, Jan Tendys: “How I became a Patriot.”
For my generation of lefties “patriotism” was a suspect word. Over my lifetime, I have become a rather fierce patriot—but still able to see the difference between Australia’s cultural ideals and our actual performance.
9 February, Morandir Armson: “A Mere Bagatelle”
On the 12th of February 1692, a massacre took place took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident, referred to in Gaelic as the ‘Mort Ghlinne’, was efficiently planned, and carried out with cold and mechanical skill. What allows human beings to carry out such fearful acts? How is planned mass-murder even possible? What does this say about the human moral framework? This talk will examine this subject and seek to find answers to this most horrible question.
16 February, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Memorial Service for Arthur de Munitiz”
Arthur was a Unitarian in the tradition of valuing Reason, Freedom and Tolerance in religion and in life. Like Thomas Paine, his religion was in doing good.
2 March, Dr Max Lawson: “Elizabeth Gaskell and Unitarianism.”
Prolific Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell (today best known for her novels Cranford (1853) and North and South (1855) was the wife of a prominent Unitarian minister who encouraged the writing of his wife’s “social protest” novels. This legacy and the continuing implications for Unitarian Universalism are explored.
9 March, Jan Tendys: “Learning To Be Ourselves”
Not always easy; not always accomplished in adolescence.
16 March, Helen Whatmough: “Thoughts about Class in Australia”
Social distinctions? The C word? Class warfare? Egalitarian tradition in Australia – ˜fair go” – classless Australia: a myth? Changes over time. Thoughts to discuss.
23 March, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Do It Now”
Did you make any New Year Resolutions? Do you remember what they were? Have you kept these resolutions? Have you done all you decided – or thought – you would do? At the beginning of every year, it can seem as though there is endless time stretching out in front. For all the important things – and perhaps the less important things – it can seem as though there are plenty of days to fit everything in. And what happens?
30 March, Morandir Armson: “The Religion of the Incas.”
“In the Tawantinsuyu, the vast and heterogeneous Inca Empire, a number of polytheistic religions were practiced by its different peoples. Most of these were connected only by the veneration of Pachamama, the Earth goddess, and Viracocha, the great creator god . This presentation will examine the subtleties of the Inca religion, and seek to paint a portrait of this vanished faith. ”
6 April, Martin Horlacher: “Ethical Culture: A Philosophy for Humanity.”
Ethical Culture is an ethical, educational and religious movement begun by Felix Adler in 1877. But, what are its core tenets? And just how might it compare with Unitarianism?
13 April, Dr Max Lawson: “The Spiritual Quest of Emily Bronte.”
Although Emily Bronte’s father, Patrick, was a member of the Evangelical wing of the Church of England to which her sisters Charlotte and Anne subscribed, Emily broke the mould. Not a Sunday-School teacher or a regular churchgoer like her sisters, Emily Bronte struck out on her own spiritual path as revealed in her poetry, and her novel Wuthering Heights. (1847)
20 April, Rev. Geoff Usher: ” Easter Sunday: A Unitarian Perspective”
The idea of a literal re-awakening from the dead makes many liberal religious people ignore or reject the idea of resurrection entirely. Perhaps we are asking the wrong question if we ask it in those terms: Was the resurrection real? For us, as Unitarians, Easter can mean confronting the deep wounds and the hurts and scars we have suffered, and then allowing ourselves to be transformed anew.
27 April, Alice Oppen: “Family Planning for Disadvantaged Women Overseas.”
Women’s Plans Foundation is focussed on providing family planning as a component of overseas aid programs. Family planning can accomplish much for women in areas of poverty and disadvantage.
4 May, Ginna Hastings: “Capt. James Cook and George Washington – Leaders of Their Times, Inspiration for Our Times.”
Both these leaders of British birth who didn’t know one another but who achieved great things in the late 18th C demonstrated amazing skills and wisdom in their leadership in their times, and teach us something about how to be forward thinkers in these times.
11 May, Morandir Armson: “The Religion and Culture of the Vikings”
It is often stated that the ancient Norse religion was morbid, hopeless or cruel; a faith which promised happiness only to those who died in battle and left the rest of its people to face doom at Ragnarök, the final doom of gods and men. Yet, in reality, this view is far from complete. This presentation will focus on the more complex areas of Norse religion and culture, allowing a more nuanced picture of ancient Norse life and belief to be discerned.
18 May, Colin Whatmough: ˜James Lovelock’s Gaian Theory”
The Gaia hypothesis is “the first comprehensive, scientific expression of the ancient belief that the planet Earth itself, is in fact a living creature where its climate and surface environment are controlled by the plants, animals and the micro organisms that inhabit it” a revolutionary concept.
25 May, Rev. Geoff Usher: “The Man Who Moved the World”
Nicolaus Copernicus challenged the wisdom of antiquity: he challenged the common sense of humankind, by proclaiming that the earth was not the centre of the universe, but that the earth is an ordinary planet that revolves around the sun. His attack shattered the grip of ancient dogma which had stifled scientific thought; his thinking was a turning point in human intellectual history.
1 June, Martin Holacher: ” Sebastian Castellio: Apostle of Conscience”
Sebastian Castellio was one of the greatest thinkers of his age – a proponent of freedom of thought…and conscience. What can we learn from him today?
8 June, Morandir Armson: “Magickal Philosophy”
Various philosophers have sought to nail down the exact definition of ‘magick’ and to elaborate its various functions. Writers such as Eliphas Levi, Helena Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley, and Austin Osman Spare have all contributed to this field. So what is ‘magick’ and why, in this scientific age, do people still practice magick? This presentation will examine magickal philosophy and seek to explain this complex social phenomenon.
15 June, Matthew Dane: To be announced
22 June, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Little Women, Large Legacy”
In all ages, and in all places, those who have dared to be different, those who have dared to go against the expectations of society, have felt alone. And yet, these are often the people who have moved society forward. The story of Louisa May Alcott’s life can mean much for us today.
29 June, Dr Max Lawson: ” Herman Melville’s Quarrel with God”
Herman Melville (a wayward Unitarian) was obsessed with religious and metaphysical problems: How could a benevolent God be reconciled with the forces of evil in the world? Why do the demands of Law often clash with the claims of justice? These “quarrels with God” are respectively the driving power behind Melville’s novels, Moby Dick and Billy Budd.
6 July, Ginna Hastings: “The Four Agreements, A Toltec Wisdom Book, by Don Miguel Ruiz”
This self help book had some unusual ideas regarding how we frame our reality and our psyche. It claims to come from the Toltecs, in Mexico. The benefits of this book will be discussed from a personal perspective, but reasoned criticism will also be given.
13 July, Morandir Armson: “The Mayans and the 2012 ‘Mayan Apocalypse’ ”
In 2012 the whole world, it seemed, lost its collective mind over the Mayan Calendar and the coming apocalypse. As it turned out the world didn’t end, but why did this mania erupt? What is the Mayan Calendar anyway, and who created it? This talk will re-examine the 2012 phenomenon, and look at the Mayan civilisation, the Mayan Calendar, and the roots of millennial beliefs.
20 July, Jan Tendys: “Patience”
We live in anxious times. This talk will be an extended meditation on the value of patience.
27 July, Laurence Gormley: “India and Bhutan”.
3 August, Martin Horlacher: “Singularitanism: a true philosophy or the rapture of the nerds?”
The technological singularity is upon us – or is it? And is the movement to bring one about a true hope… or just another crazy cult?
10 August, Morandir Armson: “Darkness and Light: Zoroastrianism in World Religions”
The Zoroastrian religion flourished in the ancient Mid-East and was the religion of the great Persian Empire. There is evidence to show that this faith influenced many other religious traditions, which emerged from the Middle-East. This presentation will examine these influences and seek to to answer the question; what is the religious legacy of ancient Zoroastrianism
17 August, Carolyn Donnelly: “Beatrix Potter, Author and Illustrator”
Some lesser known facts of her achievements maybe influenced by an Unitarian upbringing.
24 August, Rev Geoff Usher: “It Only Adds”
We can marvel over the scientific and technological changes which have taken place within our lifetime. And we can be prompted into speculating on what the world will be likein another 50-60 years from now. We can wonder whether artificial intelligence will ever become a reality, or whether the space-docking stations will ever evolve into settled space colonies.
31 August, Neil Inall: “Food, Food, Glorious Food”.
Most of us will remember these words from Lionel Bart’s wonderful musical “Oliver” sung by hungry boys in a poor house in London. None of us can escape the need to keep our bellies reasonably full. But many people in Australia do not have that luxury every day and for thousands of others around the world hunger is a constant state. With the global population forecast to grow by another 2 billion people by 2050 how well prepared are we to feed all those extra people? Neil will discuss the likely barriers to increased food production and what we ought to be doing about this situation.
7 September, Rev. Geoff Usher: “Father’s Day“
Father’s Day has value as an opportunity for focusing thoughts on fathers and their place in family life and in society. However, it seems rather a sad comment on family life – and on society in general – that such a day should be considered necessary. Wouldn’t it be nice if people felt able, and willing, to express appreciation and affection for fathers, for mothers and for each other every day of the year and not just one day out of 365.
14 September, Morandir Armson: “The Plight of the Yazidi”
The Yazidi practice a syncretic religion that combines Shi’i and Sufi Islam, with various indigenous folk traditions, beliefs and practices. These traditions include elements shared with the Christian and Mandaean communities of the Near East, as well as more ancient religions such as Zoroastrianism. The Yazidi have been persecuted on religious grounds, by the Ottoman Empire, by Saddam Hussein, and most recently by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. This presentation will seek to describe the Yazidi, and look at their history of persecution and massacre, seeking an answer to the question; why are the Yazidi sometimes hated by their neighbours?
21 September, Helen Whatmough: “Water, in Earth’s History and Human History”
‘Earth is water’s creation’; the place of water in human history; how water is perceived in today’s world.
28 September, Morandir Armson: “Animal Spirituality”
5 October, Colin Whatmough: “The Politics of Wealth”
Readings from Al Gore’s book The Assault on Reason relating to the Unitarian Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; leading to comments and discussion.
12 October, Morandir Armson: “Who were the Gnostics and did they leave a legacy?”
Gnostics, agnostics – there’s one or two stories there.
19 October, Rev. Geoff Usher: “The individual Search within Community”
Many people are looking seriously for a religious home that is right for them. One reason is that, in the middle of the most technologically advanced civilisation ever known, many people feel terribly lonely. This service will look at three principles which John H. Nichols described as “fundamental to the search for any religious understanding”.
26 October, Steve Maxwell: “The History of the Rationalist Associationin NSW.”
I believe that the origin of our association lies in the mid 19th century, a time of great social upheaval in Australia: the Gold Rush, the push for democracy and so called “Golden Age of Free Thought”. History winds a curious path as you will find, and the Unitarians played a role along that path.
2 November, Martin Horlacher: “Neoplatonism, Then and Now”
Neoplatonism was one of the leading Greek philosophies of the ancient world. But, just how much did it affect the course of history? And, does it still resonate today?
9 November, 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.
16 November, Colin Whatmough: “Outgrowth: The rapid growth of human civilisation “
– in the number of people, the power of technology and the size of the global economy, is colliding with approaching limits to the supply of key natural resources on which billions of lives depend eg topsoil and fresh water.
23 November, Helen Whatmough: “Worry, Fear, Terror”
– Understanding and coping with Terror, or thoughts of terror, in the past and in our world.
30 November, Martin Horlacher: ” Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”
In one of the greatest graphic novels ever written, Hayao Miyazaki explored not only environmental concerns, but also the notion of free will and the very meaning of life. What can we, in our own technologically advanced yet morally troubled modern age, learn from this brilliant piece of literature?
7th December, Laurence Gormley: ” Recollections of Christmases Past”
After the talk there will a Party.
14th December, Rev. Geoff Usher: “A Festive Service”
There will also be a baby naming ceremony during the service.