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 2017

We alone create our religion and our faith

CONFERENCE 2017 FORUM SESSIONS

Listed below are descriptions of the workshops, seminars and discussion groups that are available at this year’s conference.

Attendees will be able to choose one for the second session after the ‘Speakers’ Corner’ on the Tuesday afternoon, but can submit choices for first session in advance. Those who have booked a place at the conference can tell us which they would like to attend by using the form found by clicking here.

Numbers are limited, usually to a maximum of about 16. Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so please be prepared to select three workshops in order of preference.


FORUM SESSION 1, WEDNESDAY, 9.20 - 10.30

1   READING MARK AS FICTION

David Lambourn

One technique of exploration, particularly of ideas, is to render the familiar as unfamiliar!

This workshop is for those who have attempted to read Mark as if it were a form of fiction and would like to share their experience, and their reflections upon it, with others who have attempted the same.

2   BUILDING HUMANITY

Allan Hayes

I shall be talking about some personal views, and what we are doing in Leicester to bring people together sharing humanity, a humanity that we all contribute to, that we enjoy together, that we bring up our children to take pride in – a humanity that we have built together and that we carry on into the future.

3   TAKING HUMANITY TO SCHOOL

Penny Mawdsley

My experiences of introducing and presenting Humanism to both primary and secondary [Year 9] students.  This is always as a 'one off'' as part of the Chester Interfaith Forum's regular educational outreach  'Harmony' visits, especially to rural schools, where I use the opportunity (1) to encourage critical thinking about religions generally ...and (2) to introduce the students to an understanding of God as a human creation.

4   LANGUAGE AND FAITH

Martin Spence

In March this year the Sea of Faith London Conference explored connections between poetry and story, and religion.  But poetry and story only represent a small fraction of our use of language. What about language itself? Is there a connection between speech as such, and religion? Between language as such, and faith?  The workshop will explore these questions.

5   INTERFAITH MONASTICISM

Neil Deuchar

This workshop aims to introduce people to an expression of participatory spirituality in which people connect with one another in a held group and become aware, through the spirit present within and between them, of their potential to make a difference in the world.  The focaliser, Neil Deuchar, is an Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor.

6   IS THERE ANYTHING WE  SHOULDN’T JOKE ABOUT?    

Andrew Teverson

In this world of political correctness there are many things which it is thought inappropriate to make jokes about. I propose that there should be nothing totally off limit to larph about and that humour can be a very effective way of unpacking and exploring difficult subjects. I wish to explore the boundaries of what is funny or offensive, to who, why and when.

*note, in this workshop there will be crude language and potentially offensive themes - you are welcome to come along if you think you will be offended but don’t be surprised!*


FORUM SESSION 2, WEDNESDAY, 11.00 -12.15









You can chose which of these workshops you want to attend after the ‘Speakers’ Corner’ at 4pm on Tuesday afternoon.


FORUM SESSION 3, FRIDAY, 5.00 - 6.15


7   THE PROS AND CONS OF 'REWILDING' SCHEMES

Penny Mawdsley

A 'Book Club' discussion of the concepts explored in Feral by George Monbiot and an assessment of how realistically they might apply/be applied to Britain.  It is strongly recommended to have read at least part of this challenging book before coming to conference in order to join in meaningful discussion.

8 WHAT SHOULD WE DO NOW?   

Oliver Essame

The Sea of Faith has always been a little reluctant to leave its discomfort zone. Finding that you are no longer sitting comfortably, it always tempting to keep re-plumping the cushions rather find somewhere new. If this conference points us in new directions, what are we going to do about it? How will we let people know that the kind of support and encouragement - and the kind of community - that they seek can found in our network and in our groups? In this workshop I would like to examine whether there are practical steps we should take, in this increasingly secular and uncertain society, to spread the word and expand the network.

9 WHERE NEXT ? FILLING THE VOID. A WRITTEN “ART WORKSHOP”

John Pearson

An invitation to do some “on the spot” writing, in poetry or prose, about fundamental truths arising from this year’s conference theme, reflecting upon ideas suggested by our Key speakers, on writings on the “graffiti wall”, or on some ideas of your own

10 THE RETURN OF POLYTHEISM ?

Trevor Davies

I will use the word priesthood as a collective noun for those who rise to prominence during times of change. The need to change can exist for a long time then suddenly, like London buses, several priests arrive in quick succession. I will speak briefly of the gospel writers and St Paul; Luther, Calvin and Knox; Graham Norton, Jonathan Ross and Caitlin Moran. David Paterson says he has no God and no television. Are all Sea of Faith members the same? If so, I’m in trouble. Who are these new idols? Their devotees call them celebrities.

11 ON KNITTING  

Judith Bore

Come spend some time knitting together so bring along some needles and yarn. Any size, any colour in shortish lengths (or maybe a crotchet hook or embroidery thread). Share your knitting stories and even bring along a treasured piece. Reflect together on this vital process. Identify the threads that have gone to make up the fabric of your life.

What makes the Sea of Faith Network?  What makes a Sea of Faith group? How do we add colour, texture and pattern?"

If you are not a knitter and don't want to knit, bring along your colouring book!

12   BREXIT - THE CONSEQUENCES AND WHERE TO GO.

John Gamlin

The run-up to and outcome of this event has shaken individuals, politicians and nations, particularly as there is no clear route from here and the long-term consequences are unknown. This is an opportunity to re-think the the place of nation states and individuals within them in a rapidly changing social, economic and technological world.

Ann Lockley Scott:  UK GOVERNMENT PREVENT STRATEGY

Oliver Essame:  ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY

Dave Francis:  SOLARITY@SEA OF FAITH FOR PRIMARY AGE CHILDREN

David Paterson:  GODS AND THE EVOLUTION OF KINDNESS

Helena Woddis & Bobbie Stephens Wright:  STAYING HUMAN INSIDE

John Gamlin:  FAKE NEWS, POST TRUTH AND HOW WE COPE WITH THEM