17th January, Rev Geoff Usher, “Inscribed in the Book of Life”
Sometimes our New Year resolutions produce little successes along the way, but all too often we return to being the same as we were; we slide back to being very much like the character we used to be. We yearn for transformation;wewant a better and more fulfilling life; we pray for serenity, strength and compassion, but nothing seems to happen.
24th January, Gabrielle Donovan, “The History of Early Colonial Music”
When the First Fleet arrived on Australian shores the people landing heard an entirely new sound world from this ancient land. Australia’s First People watched from afar to the regimental music played when Captain Phillip and his regiment came ashore, followed later by the free settlers and convicts. The new arrivals brought with them music and songs from their homeland that soon leaked out across the landscape.
31st January, Colin Whatmough, “The US – World Power in the Balance -Part 2”
7th February, Rev Geoff Usher, ” Points of Contact”
It is interesting that most poems related to jazz tend to be about what the poet Ira Sadoff called “the dearth of air… between our ribs and lungs”: the unfair feeling that separates us from whatever it is that grounds and makes us whole. Our religious life is – or should be , can be – about that: about filling that dearth of air between the ribs and lungs that results from religious isolation.
21st February, Martin Horlacher, “The Culture of Victimhood”
We all feel put upon and persecuted from time to time – some of us a lot more than others. But what happens when a victim mentality becomes a pathological condition…not only individually, but culturally?
28th February, Rev. Daniel Jantos, “A Religion That Matters”
Its about time that religion began to stand for something that mattered to contemporaries and especially those yearning for relief from inequity, lack of purpose and meaningfully addressing the real issues of our time. Martin Hagglund, and others like him, are getting bolder in describing what that could look like. This reflection will give some attention to the way Martin Luther King Junior’s focus shifted towards to end of his short life; things he would only speak about in secret. Well, its not a secret anymore.
7th March, martin Horlacher, “A Reasonable Lunatic?: The “Intellectual” We Might Just Deserve”
Ever heard of Jordan Peterson? A Canadian clinical psychologist and YouTube personality, he has received widespread attention in the last decade for his outspoken – and controversial – views on political and cultural issues. And yet, his popularity may in fact be the sign of a deeply impoverished intellectual landscape.
28th March, Rev. Geoff Usher, “Of Sheep and Fishing”
Church leaders must challenge the moral values of those who want to build their own empires of greed, wealth and power by exploiting the poor or flouting the law. It is part of a minister’s job to head out into deep water, to explore new areas, to extend boundaries, to speak up on matters of public/moral/spiritual concern, to face the storms that may arise, and to help steer his or her congregation through turbulent waters.
18th April, Gabrielle Donovan, “Music and the First World War”
The outbreak of war in 1914 was an inspiration for many songwriters, lyricists, professional singers and musicians and resulted in a huge body of works devoted to wartime themes. Music was found to be a very useful means to encourage men to enlist, with uplifting music of bands farewelling troops. Music was a comfort for families left at home, and for troops on their way and during long hours of training before being sent to the front lines. When morale was low either on long marches or in the heat of action, troops were spurred by song, lifting men’s hearts out of all the sense of death, then honouring the sacrifice of fellow men fallen in the line of duty.
2nd May, Rev. Geoff Usher, “Ethical Habits”
The Decalogue ( The Ten Commandments) stands as a great monument in ethical history. Although most of them are negative, we can also understand that every moral “thou shalt not” echoes a moral affirmation. The admonition against killing reflects the sanctitiy of human life. Although we no longer execute adulterers, the marriage covenant is still to be taken seriously. While we are not supposed to steal, the larger value is justice.
16th May, Rev Rex Hunt, “Beginnings… While Dancing Among the Wild Lilies”
Most religious traditions, past and present, have a story, or a collection of stories they tell regarding the nature of the universe, the evolution of the Earth and of life, and the destiny of humans in this context.
In this Address I very briefly introduce three ‘creation’ stories from various traditions: A Maori Creation myth, Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, and the Hebrew Creation myth. All have attempted to say something about the origin and evolution of the universe as a whole as they wrestled with the question: ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’
Then suggest the modern story of ‘beginnings’ sparks a sense of wonder with time tracing back almost 14 billion-years, and distances beyond what we can imagine.
23rd May, Colin Whatmough, “Population, Climate Change and World Hunger”
With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarianism has enlarged its spiritual scope over the years. It is a liberal religion — that is, a religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We also try to fathom the political and social problems of our age.
6th June, Martin Horlacher,“Justice as Fairness: An Analysis of the Ideas of John Rawls”
An American moral and political philosopher in the liberal tradition, John Rawls wrote many important dissertations, and is still regarded by many as one of the most influential political thinkers of the 20th century. His theory of “justice as fairness” recommends basic equal rights, equality of opportunity, and promotion of the interests of the least advantaged members of society.
27th June, Rev Geoff. Usher, “In the Wake of Waco”
The Waco siege, also known as the Waco massacre, was the law enforcement siege of the compound that belonged to the religious sect Branch Davidians. It was carried out by the U.S. federal government, Texas state law enforcement, and the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993.
( Lockdown in NSW)
28th November, Rev Geoff Usher, “Unitarians and Dying with Dignity”
All other Australian states have legislated for Voluntary Assisted Dying, but the New South Wales Parliament continues to prevaricate because of religious extremists, and despite the support of more than 80% of the population for it. As Unitarians, we understand death within a spiritual context. What that means in terms of belief will vary from person to person, but Unitarians generally have a pretty open and realistic attitude to death. We accept its reality and its inevitability. and we generally support freedom of choice in secular matters as well as in religious matters, so there is a general lot of support for the individual’s right to make choices about the manner of dying and to reject unnecessary medical intervention in cases of terminal illness.