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Hakuna Matata

An address by John Hall, a member of the congregation - recorded on Sunday,18th August, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
Just days after returning from Africa, John shares his observations about the natural wonders of the vast "game reserves" and wildlife Parks and the animals to be found there. He also suggests that we can also learn from the attitudes of Africans in times of trial and challenge and other unexpected events that life inevitably brings - captured by the Swahili phrase "Hakuna Matata", and made famous in the film - The Lion King. Roughly translated - it means "no trouble" or "no problems".

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,4th August, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
In today's service, Rob dispensed with pews and arranged us in 'round-table discussion groups of half-a-dozen, with tea or coffee to loosen our tongues/inhibitions. The service begins with a reading of Louis MacNeice's poem, "Prayer Before Birth". Rob invites each group to undertake a little thought experiment. Imagine that each of us - like the yet to be born foetus of the MacNeice poem - is in a conscious, intelligent state before birth - but knowing nothing about race, sex, gender, social class, health system, abilities or disabilities, the wealth of the family we will be born into, our religion, our personal preferences. What sort of society would we like our infant selves to be born into? If we had to decide the principles that underpin that society - what would they be?
Rob ends his introduction with an aphorism - perhaps "caveat" - to guide group discussion - "Pride wants to know who is right; humility wants to know what is right". Each group reported back one idea about the ideal world for the young to be born into.

Rob then draws the threads together with some concluding remarks relating to our Unitarian principles and leaves us with a challenge to take us out of our Sunday morning comfort zone.

In this third address of Rob's - on the "Things that make you go Hmmm..." Rob focusses today on our attitudes to "Success and Failure". He asks: "How can our church cast its seeds of free and loving spirituality out into a world so in need of the nourishment such seeds can provide?" As a church we have made - and can make - a difference! It was farming at Wistow that taught Rob that we might measure our success less by our immediate return than by the possibilities we engender. We need to continue sow our best seeds lavishly - notwithstanding a devastating failure rate.

An address by John Hall - recorded on Sunday,21st July, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
In this address, John raises a fundamental question about our individually unique - even idiosyncratic - perceptions about the nature of reality - about the "real" world that surrounds us and with which we are continually interacting.
Is seeing - believing? Or am I really only "seeing" my individually unique constructions of that reality - revealing more about me than the nature of reality itself? It raises the question that as social beings, how much consensus must there be about our shared sense of "reality" for each of us to be able to remove the "perceptual blocks" to our spiritual growth and live happily and cooperatively together in socially, spiritually-cohesive, and loving communities, within which diversity is valued and celebrated?

NB Some of the interaction between John and his audience has been edited out owing to its reliance on PowerPoint images that this audio-podcast is unable to include.

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,14th July, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
A very chilly and wet Adelaide winter morning provided an appropriate backdrop for the second address by Rob on the "Things that make you go Hmmm". So it's fitting that we celebrated our Unitarian Ruggers making their 400th rug for the charity "Wrap With Love".
Val, a member of our Unitarian community - and organiser of our Ruggers Group outlined the history of the Church Ruggers Group who, for a decade - have sent their rugs to the Charity, Wrap With Love - whose motto is "providing warmth for cold humanity" and who distribute rugs to over 75 countries.
Rob used the work of our Ruggers to show how we might build a community that supports each other's free, individual, spiritual paths…each other's free individuality without resorting to dogma.
He distinguishes between promoting -
- individuality, a healthy personality trait and part of the process of maturing - a growth stage but not an end in itself - and -
- individualism - where individuals focus on getting what they, themselves want.
Rob warns that Individualism may easily morph into dogma - despite Unitarians priding themselves in being free of it.
The answer for churches, Rob suggests - is exemplified by our Ruggers growing in connectedness and mission and collectively engaging in service to needy others.
Listen on!

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 7th July, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Rob's address today is all about canvassing members on the hard questions of Life and is using the July newsletter to identify issues that make us go "Hmmm..." - questions we get stuck on - that "bug us" - that keep us awake in the wee small hours and which we never seem to get resolved. Rob is not suggesting that he can provide neat and ready answers to perennial and intractable problems but is seeking direction from us on those relevant and important issues we might want looked at through the lens of our Unitarian Principles.
Rob asks "How do we move forward as a church in changing and challenging times?". He suggests that part of the answer lies in a story - "The Stone Soup" - first told to him by his Grandmother and carried down through the generations from his Great-Great-Grandmother. It is set during the Irish Potato Famine.
At least some of the answer lies in the development of a "We Consciousness" which is the very essence of the Kingdom of God - here on earth. Rob closes with a benediction of some new and relevant beatitudes for a Unitarian Church like ours, seeking to stay and grow together during times of challenge and change.

The Leaf Meditation

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 30th June, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
As a prelude to today's address, Rob's uses a meditation "Looking at a leaf" from the Play - Mnemonic, with the express permission of its writer, Simon McBurney of The UK-based Theatre Complicite. The music in the meditation is by local musician and composer, Stewart Day and is also used with his express permission.
Rob explains that the branching, dendritic pattern of the leaf, is referred to as the "Constructal Law" of Flow Systems and is repeated in its many forms throughout animate and inanimate nature and in the structure of the Universe. Rob then uses this leaf analogy and some simple mathematics to show the interrelatedness of all people and to expose the mythology of Race and its invention by racists.

The Holding Place

An address by the Rev. Nicholas Rundle - recorded on Sunday, 23rd June, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Nicholas is the Uniting Church Chaplain in the high tech, robotised Royal Adelaide Hospital. In the context of the Winter Solstice as marking a turning point in the seasonal calendar, Nicholas uses an unpublished poem, "Breathing Underwater" and the analogy of the sea and its ambivalence as a place of solace and of storms to describe the hospital as a "holding place" where the human hand - despite all the technology - is still paramount in healing. Hands are used to "hold" and to heal - in surgery and in nursing - and also in providing spiritual support to patients and their families, and where - in the adversity which comes to us all, we are helped to "breath underwater".

An address by the Jenny Dyster - recorded on Sunday, 16th June, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.

Drawing on the Taoist principle of Wu Wei, an extract from A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Poo" - today's Story for all Ages and Benjamin Hoff's "The Dao of Poo", Jennie provides some good, practical advice - in her own inimitable way, to guide us whenever we are faced with human conflict and angst.

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 2nd June, 2019 at The Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
In his third address in our Unitarian Month of Discernment, Rob reflects on the third UU Principle: "acceptance of one another" and "encouragement to spiritual growth". Rob briefly recaps the previous two weeks and reminds us that we are already half way into the time neuroscientists say it takes to embed new habits of mind - to effect neurological change through neuroplasticity which will lead to lasting spiritual growth. Rob then examines the nature of the human "spirit", "soul" or "essence"- "who you truly are in yourself". He outlines the traditional (religious) notion of the human soul as something "ab initio" - separate from the human body and somehow transcending it when we die - as well as a more "nuanced", Unitarian understanding of "soul" as a seed with the potential to grow spiritually. To help in our of spiritual growth, Rob introduces us to the concept of "Metacognition" - "thinking about thinking" - a conceptual tool that that helps us reach beyond ourselves and into the "quiet centre" within each of us where spiritual growth takes root, grows and thrives!

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