National, Regional and Local Conferences organised by the Sea of Faith Network (UK)

Sea of Faith is a registered charity, no. 1113177

The Sea of Faith Network

SOF 2019

We alone create our religion and our faith

Ernie Rea is our first guest speaker. He is the presenter of Radio 4’s discussion series Beyond Belief, which examines the place of faith in today’s complex world.  Born in Belfast and obtaining a First Class Theology degree from Queen’s University, Ernie was ordained into the Presbyterian Ministry and served for 3 years on the Shankhill Road at the height of “The Troubles”.  He joined the BBC in 1978 as a producer in the Religious Broadcasting Department and for the next 23 years worked for the BBC in a variety of capacities, but his most significant and challenging role was as Head of Religious Broadcasting (later renamed Head of Religion and Ethics), where he was responsible for the whole religious output of the BBC - radio and television. In this post he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council of Christians and Jews for his outstanding contribution to interfaith understanding.  Since leaving full-time employment at the BBC in 2001 Ernie has been involved in a number of interesting projects and investigations.

Avril Robarts is our second guest speaker. After a first degree and post graduate diploma in Religious Studies, specialising in the Indian religious writings which she studied in the original Sanskrit, Avril qualified to teach yoga therapy and taught the acutely mentally ill in hospitals for many years.  Her whole life's work has been to apply the ancient teachings of Indian spirituality to the practical challenges of everyday life.  Her presentation is entitled “This and That: A life of perplexed practice with emphasis on Indian tradition.”

Stephen Williams is our in-house speaker.    Stephen has spent most of his working life as a probation officer, largely in London but ending his career as Deputy Chief Officer for the West Midlands.   He was also interested in medieval history and after retirement studied the subject formally.  In their different ways, these two concerns have led him to a suspicion of labels and generalisations, and it was this scepticism that brought him to SOF.  He has been a member for over 25 years, and has served our network as a Trustee Hon. Treasurer for most of the last ten. His talk is called “Justice Through the Looking Glass”.