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An address by our Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,20th October, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In today's address, Rob explores how work and the spiritual life have interacted historically; how human expectations about our working lives have changed in a post religious age - especially the relatively new freedom to choose the nature of our work, understanding work as spiritual practice and the even newer expectation that work is expected to be fulfilling - able to shape a person's soul and the need for patience and diligence - all the things that are good for the human soul. Rob asks: "How do you think your chosen work has shaped you? How might your work have helped or hindered your spiritual growth?" And as we begin our search for a new Minister, Rob also asks us to reflect on Ministry work, and to consider how it has shaped - or might shape - our spiritual life as a community. We need to think carefully, critically, wisely and informedly about the nature of Ministry-work - as Work - and how WE might all work together with a new Minister to Grow as a Spiritual Community.

Today's service was led by Rev. Nicholas Rundle, The Uniting Church Chaplain at the Royal Adelaide Hospital - recorded on Sunday, 6th October, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Nicholas's sermon was called "The Gift of Tears" which began with a reading - by Barbara Willow - of a poem: "An absolutely Ordinary Rainbow" from Les Murray's Anthology of poems - "The Weatherboard Cathedral" and a quote from Fr. Matta El Meskeen, a Coptic Orthodox Monk who led the revival of the Coptic Church in Egypt - "It is hard to speak of tears. Are not tears a sign of the limitation of speech, when in bewilderment, the tongue fails, the heart speaks and the eyes utter tears?". Nicholas contemplates the strength in expressing grief through weeping - in contrast to societal attitudes that so often see it as a weakness.

An address by our Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,29th September, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Rob's address today is all about gossip - its functions as well as its dangers and some useful strategies for dealing with it.

Today's address is about Church Membership and our need - as a church - to address the rapidly growing cohort of listeners who regularly subscribe to our weekly audio podcasts and regular Channel 44 telecasts of our services via Facebook. Our Facebook page has more than seven times as many regular subscribers than church attenders. Most churches haven't worked out how to respond to the cultural shifts enabled by telecommunication technology.

If so many have not formally joined this church as a members, Rob asks - Why have a formal membership structure at all? Why not just continue to be a permanent guest in this house - rather than one of the hosts? What advantages are there in belonging? - in becoming members? How may we become better versions of ourselves by making such commitment (to church membership)? Rob goes on to explain by using the analogy of the "world's worst house-guest" - Goldilocks. What we gain by committing to a collective such as ours is important; what we stand to lose is also important. Rob explains.... Listen on!

Schadenfreude

An address by Jennie Dyster - recorded on Sunday,15th September, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Jennie's sermon today was - in the absence of a succinct word for it in English - all about what the Germans call schadenfreude (schaden - "harm" ; freude - "joy") - that often fleeting, opportunistic mix of elation, pleasure, joy or self-satisfaction we may feel at another's misfortune, failure, or humiliation.

This service was recorded on Sunday, 8th September, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide and conducted by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - with guest speaker, Brother Martyn Paxton, of Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral, Adelaide - and the Moore Street Mission. Our church supports The Moore Street Mission via our a weekly food basket. Brother Martyn spoke on homelessness. He described how a capitalist-centred political ethos has led to increasing disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor and the privatisation of public housing. This has led to sharp increases in the cost of rental accommodation and the demise of public housing - traditionally provided by the States, resulting in the current crisis of homelessness amongst the poor.
It is common practice for many Australians to blame the poor for their homelessness. Brother Martyn dispels some commonly held myths about why people become homeless and argues that the real barrier to providing safe accommodation for all is the abrogation of responsibility by successive State and Federal governments for the current and growing crisis caused by the shortage of affordable accommodation.

The Goodfather

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,1st September, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Being Fathers Day, Rob's sermon was all about raising to worth the role of Fatherhood. Nothing prepares fathers for the role of fatherhood - other than just doing it. It's knowledge acquired "on the run"! As high-stakes improvisers, fathers are bound to get some things right and some things wrong and this relationship is crucial to our development - as children - into adulthood. Love is the key element. A mature, differentiated relationship is also a reciprocal one. Differentiating from one's own father as we mature also requires us to decide what to keep of him and what to leave behind. So there's a bit of sorting out to do!

An address by the Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday,25th August, 2019 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
Rob's address today is about religious freedom. In the context of the recent Israel Folau media controversy, Rob comments on recent claims by conservative Christians that they are being persecuted for their assertion that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/ transsexual, and asexual (LBTGA) folk are sinful and will "go to Hell". This is based on their "Christian" understanding of scripture (e.g. Leviticus 18). Today's reading suggested otherwise.

In contrast, Unitarianism was founded on religious freedom, originating from the 1568 Edict of Torda of Unitarian Transylvanian preacher, Francis David. It guaranteed "Freedom of the Pulpit" and "Freedom of the Pew".
Rob asserts that we Unitarians must proclaim and promote LBTGA and other (religious) freedoms. However we must first get our own house in order before being tempted to criticise others. While we may disagree from time to time, Unitarians must love those of us with whom we disagree and do this with mutual respect - and in celebratory, worshipful fellowship within loving communities.

While other churches may pore over the meaning of scripture before judging who is to be worthy of their love, we Unitarians must always put Love first before deciding the meaning of scripture.

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.

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