Our cheerful frugal lunch in December together with contributions from the Swindon Fellowship raised £137 for Crisis at Christmas. The January Service stressed both the pressing realities of today’s world and the need to treat others, however different and wherever they are, with compassion. Mark’s Service raised more questions than could be answered. I should have liked more time to look at how our Unitarian tradition and values can help us to support one another as we face life’s demands. One suggestion that might help was that we should allow quarter of an hour for us to discuss together what Services have given us.
Miles Howarth gave a thoughtful opening Reflection for our January meeting in Swindon. The thread running through his readings was the value we could derive from togetherness. Richard Gilbert’s ‘When Life gets Messy’ acknowledges that it is not always easy to live by our values, but Miles’ New Year thoughts dwelt on ways in
which recognising our togetherness, in our Fellowship and in our society, brought mutual benefit. He quoted Michael A. Schuler “In our inner rooms full of doubt, inquiry and suspicion, let a corner be reserved for trust.” It is through trust that we connect – and re-connect – with each other. Jane Howarth then opened a discussion about changing ideas of the nature of God, and views such as Thomas Sheehan’s (Inquirer 6th October 2018) which change our view of Jesus’ role. We agreed that language, and especially words associated with traditional religion, could be a barrier to communication because we cannot know for sure what another person means by them. Religion is valuable in supporting individuals and communities but in exchanging ideas with others, whether or not they have a religious affiliation, it is more helpful to speak in everyday terms than use words that could confuse or alienate.