Faith and Freedom latest issue and Calendar

FAITH AND FREEDOM, Autumn and Winter issue, (Volume 68, Part 2, Number 181) will be on its way to subscribers very soon. In it you will find:

Finding God in Strangers

John Navone

On Reading the Gospel of Mark with Two Eyes

George Kimmich Beach

Grace and Disgrace: a Social Pilgrimage

Yvonne Joan Craig

The Unitarians of the West and the Brahmo Samajees of the East

at Manchester College, Oxford 1896 –1948 Part II

Victor Lal

Six Months in a Prisoner of War Camp

David Steers

Manchester College, Oxford during the First World War

Evelyn Taylor

A Bible for Neo-Liberals

Barrie Needham

Bridging the Years in Marriage

Sue Norton

As well as reviews by Pat Frankish, Ernest Baker, Peter B. Godfrey, Lena Cockroft and the editor, and a review article by Graham Murphy on Sarah Shaw, The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation, The Sacred Literature Series, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2014.

Other books reviewed include

Charles Marsh, Strange Glory: a Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, SPCK, London, 2014.

Sam Harris, Waking Up: Searching for spirituality without religion, Bantam Press, London, 2014.

Mária Pap, Hungarian Unitarians in Transylvania, 2015.

Zoltán Fülöp, Emőd Farkas (eds.), Humble in Front of God, Words for Worship from Transylvanian Unitarians, International Council of Unitarians and Universalists/Hungarian Unitarian Ministers’ Association, Kolozsvár 2014

Emma Percy,”What Clergy Do”: especially when it looks like nothing, SPCK, London, 2014.

Marcus Braybrooke, Peace in Our Hearts Peace in Our World a meditation for everyday, Braybrooke Press, 2015.

John Pritchard, The Second Intercessions Handbook, SPCK, London, 2015.

Individual subscribers will also receive a copy of our Faith and Freedom 2016 Calendar. These are free to personal subscribers but extra copies can be ordered at a cost of £5 each, all of which goes to the charity the Send a Child to Hucklow Fund.

If you would like a sneak preview of the Calendar it can be downloaded on the Faith and Freedom website.

If you haven’t taken out a subscription and would like to do so you can also do that from the Faith and Freedom website:

http://www.faithandfreedom.org.uk/

The photograph at the top of this page is a picture by Transylvanian photographer Márkó László who has kindly contributed a number of pictures to the 2016 Calendar.

 

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Fr John Navone’s ‘Theology of Failure’

In the Spring and Summer 2014 issue of Faith and Freedom we were very pleased to have something of a scoop with two articles by Fr John Navone SJ, the leading Italian American theologian whose theology has been acknowledged as a major influence on Pope Francis.

 

In that issue we were delighted to have John Navone write exclusively about the challenges and priorities of Francis’ papacy. In his first article on the subject for a British or European audience Professor Navone explained the Pope’s interest in his thinking and gave a resumé of his own ‘Theology of Failure’.

 

Professor John Navone SJ
Professor John Navone SJ

 

 

Just prior to the Pope’s visit to the USA in September 2015 Fr Navone was interviewed by CNN and featured in a long and thoughtful online article on the CNN website by Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor. The author discusses Fr Navone’s theological influence on the Pope and carries part of the interview with him. In the piece he quotes Fr Navone as saying:

“There was a blessed juncture between my theology and his crisis…It was a kind of light in the darkness to him.”

 

And among other things himself says:

As it happened, Navone and I spoke on the day Francis made it easier for Catholics to annul their marriages, and about a week after he encouraged priests to forgive women who have had abortions.

Navone and I talked about mercy, and how it’s hard to forgive others if you aren’t intimately acquainted with your own failures. We talked about a Pope who travels to the peripheries because he himself was sent there. And we talked about Francis’ apparent internal freedom, his refusal to resign himself to others’ expectations.

The full article, ‘The Pope’s Dark Night of the Soul’, can be read here:

http://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2015/09/specials/pope-dark-night-of-the-soul/

 

Faith and Freedom is also delighted to announce that the Autumn and Winter 2015 issue, due out this week, also carries another timely article by John Navone entitled ‘Finding God in Strangers’.

 

Faith and Freedom is a print journal but it can be ordered online here:

http://www.faithandfreedom.org.uk/subs.htm

 

 

Faith in the World 2016 Calendar

For the second year running Faith and Freedom is producing a full-colour Calendar in aid of the charity, the Send a Child to Hucklow Fund.

After the success of last year’s Calendar we invited readers to send in their own images celebrating the theme of ‘Faith in the World’. This produced an excellent response with many more pictures being sent than we could use. The Calendar is now ready and will be sent out free to all subscribers to Faith and Freedom. An annual subscription costs only £15 and can be done online here: http://www.faithandfreedom.org.uk/subs.htm

With the Calendar you not only get the images covering people, places and religious celebrations from all around the world but an extensive record of dates and events covering all major religions and for all sorts of religious occasions and anniversaries in 2016.

A big thank you to everyone who sent in pictures. The volume and quality of images we received was overwhelming, making the final selection a very difficult task. We will try to include a range of images which didn’t appear in the Calendar on our website: www.faithandfreedom.org.uk.We also hope to upload the full Calendar for all to see on that site.

One of the images that we weren’t able to use in the Calendar is this picture, taken by John Hewerdine, of the five mile walk undertaken by Unitarian children each week to get to their Sunday School in the Khasi Hills, India.

Walking to Sunday School, Khasi Hills (Photo: John Hewerdine)
Walking to Sunday School, Khasi Hills (Photo: John Hewerdine)

 

 

If you are not already a subscriber to Faith and Freedom you can purchase a copy of the Calendar for a suggested donation of £5, all of which will go to the Send a Child to Hucklow Fund to enable it to continue its invaluable work in giving disadvantaged children a much-needed holiday at the Nightingale Centre, Hucklow in the Peak District National Park.

If you would like to order a copy of the Calendar for yourself or for a friend email Nigel Clarke at faithandfreedom@btinternet.com

Animals and Faith and Freedom

In the latest issue of Faith and Freedom Clair Linzey contributes ‘Animal theology: a view from the periphery’. Clair is the Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the article is based on a sermon she delivered in the Chapel of Harris Manchester College. In it she takes her lead from Jesus’s concern for the poor and Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff’s theology of liberation which extends concern for the poor and marginalised to the planet itself and its non-human inhabitants. She makes a case for concern for animal welfare to be moved from the margins of our thought and discourse to a more central place in our consideration for the sake of our own spiritual and personal well-being. It is well worth reading.

Those who attended the Old Students Association at Harris Manchester College in June will also have seen Nigel Clarke’s excellent presentation on the journal over the past twelve months. This included our own modest foray into animal matters with the appointment last year of Billy as the custodian of the Faith and Freedom archive.

Billy and the journals
Billy and the journals

Billy had initially done an excellent job in minding the archive and expressed evident delight at being appointed to such an illustrious role.

All safely gathered in
All safely gathered in

However, in more recent times he seems to have grown bored with this position and hints of dissatisfaction, indolence even, have crept into his demeanour as this candid picture illustrates: Billy02

This has led to calls for the position to be offered to Caspian, the cat. Caspian, however, indicated that he had other things to consider and was not at all minded to be tied down to such a position. His friend Rosie, however, has given it consideration and seems at home in a bookish world.

Rosie01

Time will tell if Rosie will prove suitable for this job. Caspian, however, declined to be photographed for this report and appears only in silhouette. Caspian shadow 01

First editor of ‘Faith and Freedom’ honoured at Harris Manchester College

The Rev Eric Price, the founding editor of Faith and Freedom, was recalled and honoured at Harris Manchester College on Tuesday, 23rd June during the annual meeting of Friends and Governors.
Eric had significant ministries in Bolton and Liverpool, among other places, and was lay secretary of Manchester College for a great many years. In addition he founded and edited Faith and Freedom from its inception in 1947 to the year 1983.

Portarit of Rev Eric Price
Portarit of Rev Eric Price

At the meeting Richard Price, Eric’s son presented a portrait to the College. This had originally been presented to his father by Bank Street Chapel, Bolton and was unveiled in its new location by the Principal, Rev Dr Ralph Waller.

The Principal unveils the portrait in its new location in the library
The Principal unveils the portrait in its new location in the library

While making the presentation, in the course of an amusing speech, Richard Price recalled that he had been involved with Faith and Freedom from the very start, having been drafted in to stick erratum sheets in all 600 copies of the first issue printed! Later, he recalled his mother, when pregnant with his brother, threatening to give birth to twins and call them ‘Faith’ and ‘Freedom’, so all-consuming had the journal become for his father at the time!

Richard Price addresses those present in the library. Emeritus Editor Rev Peter and Sheila Godfrey can be seen in the corner of the shot
Richard Price addresses those present in the library. Emeritus Editor Rev Peter and Sheila Godfrey can be seen in the corner of the shot

Happily both myself and Nigel Clarke were able to be there for the occasion and Nigel took the opportunity to present to Richard a bound copy of the very first issue which his father had signed.

 

Richard Price with Nigel Clarke and David Steers
Richard Price with Nigel Clarke and David Steers

The only Unitarian Cenotaph?

The Great War Project begun by Faith and Freedom is attracting a lot of positive interest and more material is being added, almost on a daily basis. Within the memorial section there soon will be added some pictures of the Cenotaph at Bury Unitarian Church which have been sent in by Neville Kenyon, many of which are reproduced here.

Cenotaph, Bury Unitarian Church
Cenotaph, Bury Unitarian Church

Neville suggests that this is the only Unitarian Cenotaph and I suspect that he must be right. Of course, Cenotaph means, literally, ‘empty tomb’ and in amongst the many old and quite extensive graveyards that exist around the country there must be a few tombs that fall into that category for one reason or another. But by Cenotaph we generally mean a freestanding public monument inspired by the Cenotaph in Whitehall, and repeated in many cities, towns and villages.

The Bury Cenotaph
The Bury Cenotaph

The idea for Cenotaphs came from the experience of the First World War when so many soldiers had no known grave. In such a situation there was a need for a focus of remembrance, something that could symbolise the sacrifice and loss that was felt by so many people. To this end the Whitehall Cenotaph and all those that came after it fulfilled a very special role in national consciousness. And how different such monuments are when we compare them with other memorials that were erected following wars such as the Arc de Triomphe or the Brandenburg Gate, to name just two. Unlike them there is no overt military symbolism in the Cenotaph. It is much more restrained, much more dignified.

In 1924 the author H.V. Morton described his feelings as he stood near the Cenotaph on an ordinary morning:

I look up at the Cenotaph. A parcels delivery boy riding a tricycle van takes off his worn cap. An omnibus goes by. The men lift their hats. Men passing with papers and documents under their arms, attache and despatch cases in their hands – all the business of life – bare their heads as they hurry by.
Six years have made no difference here. The Cenotaph – that mass of national emotion frozen in stone – is holy to this generation. Although I have seen it so many times on that day once a year when it comes alive to an accompaniment of pomp as simple and as beautiful as church ritual, I think that I like it best just standing here in a grey morning, with its feet in flowers and ordinary folk going by, remembering.

The Bury Cenotaph is very public and very similar to the memorials that are more often  municipal, regimental or governmental in origin. It commemorates the members of three congregations who served in the First World War, with the names of those who served in the Second World War being added later. These were three long-established local congregations, who amalgamated into one with a bold new meeting house in 1974.

A view from the other side
A view from the other side

The Cenotaph is situated in front of the church in the centre of what was the graveyard but which is now a public space. This space was originally called Library Gardens but has recently been renamed by the council with what seems a much more satisfying designation of Church Gardens. Neville tells me that on Remembrance Sunday the congregation meets at 11.00 am at the Cenotaph for the one minute silence, the Last Post is played, before the congregation goes into the church for a service of remembrance, the names of those inscribed on the memorial being read.

There is a plaque to commemorate each of the three congregations represented by the modern congregation – Chesham, Heywood and Bank Street, Bury. The Bank Street plaque – beneath the title ‘Bank Street Presbyterian Chapel Unitarian’ – has the longest list of names (I counted 40 names from the First World War) but it is by far the most weathered.

Bank Street Presbyterian Chapel Unitarian
Bank Street Presbyterian Chapel Unitarian

There are 23 names from the First World War on the Heywood memorial and five on the Chesham memorial.

Britain Hill Unitarian Church Heywood
Britain Hill Unitarian Church Heywood
Chesham Unitarian Church Bury
Chesham Unitarian Church Bury

In my possession I have a medal struck to commemorate the centenary of the Bank Street Sunday School in 1905. The medal is inscribed ‘In Remembrance from Cuthbert C. Grundy’ and it must have been given to all the Sunday School scholars at the time. It is sad to think that so many of the children who received this medal in 1905 will be amongst the long list of volunteers whose names were inscribed on the Cenotaph just a few years later.

The Bury Sunday School medal
The Bury Sunday School medal

Is it the only Unitarian Cenotaph? If you know of any other please let me know and, best of all, send a picture. The only place that I know that comes near is Ullet Road Church in Liverpool which has a memorial set in its own large and well-kept grounds. But although it is a First World War Memorial that performs the same role as a Cenotaph the design is different to that of Bury, although not dissimilar to ones found in many places around the UK.

War Memorial Ullet Road Church Liverpool
War Memorial Ullet Road Church Liverpool

But it would be nice to hear if anywhere else possesses a memorial in any way similar to that of Bury. Or maybe Bury is unique?

BuryCenotaph04

Faith and Freedom Great War Project

The First World War cast an enormous shadow over the past century. It had a cataclysmic effect on all aspects of society, no one was left untouched by it – homes, families, schools, factories, businesses, and, of course, churches. There are many ways in which the centenary of the Great War is being marked and most churches are spending some time over the current period reflecting on the conflict, its impact and its legacy. Faith and Freedom is establishing a special section of its website to reflect upon the conflict from the point of view of the churches and other faith groups. The website will be developed in a number of different ways. It will contain scholarly and thoughtful articles on the Great War, particularly in relation to churches and their participation in the War. The first three articles to go online are Unitarian Attitudes to the First World War, by Alan Ruston, The Centenary of the First World War and the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, by David Steers; and ‘Their sister in both senses’. The memoirs of Emma Duffin V.A.D. nurse in the First World War by Trevor Parkhill. Trevor is editor of The First World War Diaries of Emma Duffin, Belfast Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2014) and his article gives an intensely moving account of the First World War experiences in hospitals at the front of Belfast-born Unitarian Emma Duffin (a direct descendant of William Drennan, the founder of the United Irishmen and a cousin of Thomas Andrews designer of the Titanic) who volunteered to serve as a nurse and spent three harrowing years tending the wounded.

Emma Duffin

The second section will contain accounts of commemorations and acts of remembrance made during the current centenary period and readers are very much encouraged to send in reports of their events. The first example is a thoughtful and intensely moving service held at Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the War. We are also seeking to record the names and details of church members who served in the First World War and we begin with a very full account of the contribution and service, with pictures, of members of the Great Meeting, Hinckley.

Private Stanley Jennings of Hinckley, of the 15th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Killed in France 3rd May 1917, aged 29
Private Stanley Jennings of Hinckley, of the 15th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Killed in France 3rd May 1917, aged 29

We also aim to build up a database of images of First World War memorials. Does your church have a memorial to its members who served in the First World War? If it does then please send a digital picture to go on the website. We are also actively seeking images and details of memorials that were placed in churches that are now closed, which may now be lost or which may have been put in a different location.

Memorial to Lieutenant R.L. Neill, Holywood co. Down.  Killed at the battle fo the Somme
Memorial to Lieutenant R.L. Neill, Holywood co. Down. Killed at the battle fo the Somme

We also hope to include material – including photographs, sermons, writings, printed ephemera etc that date from the time of the War which can then be studied on our site.

A postcard sent to members of Great George Street Congregational Chapel, Liverpool,  serving at the front. Featuring a picture of the minister and his wife and a written message. P.S.A. stands for Pleasant Sunday Afternoon, a popular form of church entertainment at the time
A postcard sent to members of Great George Street Congregational Chapel, Liverpool serving at the front. Featuring a picture of the minister and his wife and a written message. P.S.A. stands for Pleasant Sunday Afternoon, a popular form of church entertainment at the time

We might also eventually include complete Rolls of Honour – for individual congregations and denominations. The whereabouts of the Roll of Honour relating to the churches that are now part of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches has been a matter of some discussion recently. If we had the full list of names we could add it to the site. The Roll of Honour of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland also seems to have been begun but not completed. It would be good to see that completed and available online. With the co-operation of readers the site will be built up over time. If you would like to participate please contact the editor at editor@faithandfreedom.org.uk To view the website go to: http://www.faithandfreedom.org.uk/GWindex.htm

Faith in the World – next year’s Faith and Freedom Calendar

If you saw a copy of last year’s Faith and Freedom Calendar then you will recognise the three images on this page as from that publication. Last year’s Faith and Freedom Calendar was well received and helped to raise a good sum for the charity Send a Child to Hucklow Fund (SACH). The journal is planning to publish another Calendar for 2016 the proceeds from which will again go to the SACH.

 

Princes Road Synagogue Liverpool
Princes Road Synagogue Liverpool (January 2015)

 

 

Next year’s theme will be:
Faith in the World

The publishers invite anyone to submit photographs for consideration for inclusion in next year’s Calendar in accordance with this theme. Please interpret the theme as broadly as you like – an act of worship, a faithful community or individual at work, a symbol of faith, a place of worship, it is up to you. However, the photograph should be your own work and you must be happy to give permission for it to be used in the Calendar should it be selected for inclusion. Photographs can be in colour or black and white, they should be landscape in orientation, of high resolution and sent, by email, to n.clarke884@btinternet.com

 

Pet service at St Andrew's United Church, Kirton Lindsey, North Lincolnshire
Pet service at St Andrew’s United Church, Kirton Lindsey, North Lincolnshire (March 2015)

 

All successful entrants will be sent a free copy of the Calendar and have the satisfaction of being part of an interesting project that shares the diversity and vibrancy of faith and which will also help to raise money for SACH. We may be able to include a broader number of pictures submitted in the journal’s website.
If there is a seasonal element to your entry please state it in your accompanying email as well as when and where it was taken. Please remember also that parental permission is usually required if your picture includes children under the age of 18. The deadline for submissions will be 18th September 2015.

 

Buddhist Temple, Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Buddhist Temple, Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (August 2015)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

These words of the Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu seem appropriate for the beginning of any new enterprise, they also tie in, for me personally, with the picture of the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, a place which was very much a starting point for me. But the purpose of this blog will be to flag up things that interest me particularly in relation to the journals Faith and Freedom and the Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society, both of which I edit. Not that I intend to confine myself to either of those publications – anything that catches my eye will go in here – the blog will have a special remit towards faith, religious history and associated matters but it will by no means confine itself to matters of religion.