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Today's service was the final service of our Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson after nearly 10 years of service to the Unitarians of South Australia. It was a celebration of thanksgiving for Rob's outstanding service, ministry and leadership within our Unitarian community in South Australia and to the wider Unitarian Universalist movement. But it was also a 'Ritual of Departure' as Rob leaves our Church to commence full-time chaplaincy at nearby Pembroke School. Today's service included contributions from Rob's Spiritual Director during his ministry at our church - Rev. Nicholas Rundle, the Principal of Pembroke School - Mr Luke Thomson, the Director of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, Rev. Sara Ascher, and Church leaders - our President, Jennie Dyster and our Sunday Club Coordinator - David Freesmith.
If you missed today's service because of Covid restrictions, now's your chance - to listen on!

On Laziness

Our service today, Sunday, 17th January 2021 was conducted by our President, Jennie Dyster. Jennie reflects on traditional attitudes to laziness and gives some biblical, psychological, philosophical, cross-cultural insights and anecdotes into the state of mind and body that we are so often tempted to ascribe to "laziness" and its causes.

Jennie questions whether laziness really exists at all. Aren't there better understandings, insights and explanations that are less judgemental and more forgiving and accepting of "laziness" in others and in ourselves?

Today's three musical offerings by Brendan are included as they were especially evocative and integral to today's theme.

This service is not to be missed so listen on!

Summertime

Jennie's address today is about "Summer"... or in the context of the George Gershwin music featured by Margaret, our pianist, today - "Summertime" might be a more appropriate title?
The words that follow the Gershwin songline "…and the Livin' is easy" are taking on a less carefree tone when seen in the context of severe summer droughts and flooding rains as global warming brings extreme Summer weather to the planet. Jenny maintains that "Summertime" has always been less well-regarded in English poetry than Autumn, Winter and Spring and she uses some well-chosen anecdotes to show that our summers never quite live up to our expectations. That is never more apparent than now. Listen on!

Our service on Sunday,3rd January, 2020 was the first service for the 2021 New Year. It was conducted by our President, Jennie Dyster. In her address "The Face of Janus: Looking Back and Looking Forward", Jennie encourages us to reflect back on what has been a difficult year.  With the understandings, knowledge and wisdoms gained from the insights of 2020, we were then encouraged to suggest what issues may dominate in 2021, to express some fresh hopes and aspirations in the New Year and to suggest how we might set about achieving them. Listen on!

Our service on Sunday, 27th December, 2020 was conducted by members, Janet and Peter Whitham. In her address, Janet talks about the life of Adelaide woman pioneer and community leader, Margaret Davey, the subject of a biography Janet has written about an amazing woman and her forbears. Listen on!

The Children of our Sunday Club lead us into our service today by using our 7 Unitarian Universalist Principles as their framework to reflect on this 2020, Covid19-affected year. And in her address today, our President, Jennie Dyster compares our approaching Australian Christmas to the somewhat bleaker Christmas in the country that invented it  - as Germans face the prospect of another Covid19 lockdown. Jennie also finds other examples of not-so-merry Christmases  - in times of war, political dissent, rebellion and social change  - in early 17th Century US Puritan history and in recent European reactions to lockdowns and the impact on civil liberties and freedoms. Hopefully, Australians and New Zealanders will face a less bleak Christmas in 2020. With wiser leadership and informed decision-making, better communication and community cooperation, we are also lucky to have our land borders clearly defined by our World's widest and deepest "moats". Listen on!

Today Rob considers the positive effects of exposure to religious pluralism on young children as they move from concrete to abstract thinking. Early exposure of adolescents to a diversity of religious beliefs and religious pluralism - within schools and communities that embrace and celebrate religious diversity will have positive benefits. Secularism vis-a-vis religious belief is not an either/or proposition.
Today's reading illustrates how Secularism and Religious pluralism operate harmoniously within a hospital, where secularism provides "the shared vocabulary" within a pluralist faith context; Secularism and Religion are therefore complementary.

Religious Pluralism is not "no faith" - is not "bad faith" but "Good Faith".

Listen on!

Loose Ends

In the Covid-induced frenzy and uncertainty we sometimes find ourselves in and when pressing tasks are left unfinished, Nicholas offers some timely and practical advice on tying up all those "loose ends" by reflecting on past and present wisdoms. Listen on!

God and Nature

On Sunday 22nd November, 2020 the Unitarian Church in Adelaide was in lockdown, so I gave this address  from my study. It was prepared on PowerPoint and converted to an Mp4 and link will be sent to church members soon. Today, it's about God and Nature.
Modern Scientific understandings are causing many of us to question traditional notions of God - whilst not discarding many of the other wisdoms -- both ancient and modern - that have served us well for millennia. There is a growing recognition of the inadequacies of traditional Church theologies and dogma about an omnipotent and omniscient deity that transcends nature. More of us are recognising the primacy of Nature, the importance of biodiversity and our responsibilities to our Planet. This is reflected in a shift away from traditional theism towards a more global, scientific neo-pantheism (World Pantheism). There is a growing recognition of the importance of aboriginal, natural wisdoms in song-lines and stories about Nature. These wisdoms were being applied at Shady Grove in our "cool burn" in early April - the first fire at Shady Grove for over 164 years and, with the careful management by our bush-carers, we are already seeing the benefits to the biodiversity of our eucalyptus obliqua woodland as it rapidly regenerates.
Listen on!

Boxes and Labels

Jennie's address today is called "Boxes and Labels". She challenges us to consider the following  - that we are born  - not with a purpose  - but with potential. Let the true person unfold as freely as a flower.
This service is the second of our annual LGBTQIA+ services. The acronym has expanded from the traditionally binary  - male/female  - model. Jennie calls into question why there is this need by some to label others according to judgements made about their sexuality or sexual preferences. Being forced into a "box" or given a label that doesn't fit a person's understanding of themselves is, to quote Søren Kirkegaard "the deepest form of despair ". Jennie offers some practical wisdoms and insights formed and shaped from her own life experiences. Listen on.

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