In conversation

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At the heart of the Sea of Faith network is an open, uninhibited conversation. It’s how it all began.

SOF: In Conversation is a monthly online event, open to all Sea of Faith Network members, and to friends and sympathisers beyond the Network.

It was inspired by two convictions. Firstly, the pandemic prevented us from meeting in person, but also taught us how to run successful online events, and a few of us felt that we should build on that.

And secondly, the SOF: In Conversation organising group share a commitment to Sea of Faith as a genuine network, in which ordinary members take initiatives, and we don’t leave everything to the poor old Trustees.

So, on the third Wednesday of each month, at 7 pm, SOF: In Conversation meets on Zoom to hear a speaker give an introductory talk or presentation as a catalyst for conversation. Once the introductory talk is over, the discussion goes where it will!

Here you will find details of our next speakers and their subjects, and links to recordings of talks we have already heard. 

To join the SOF: In Conversation mailing list, and receive information about and access to future events, email us at

inconversation@sofn.uk.

The Conversation so far . . .

Since we started in March 2023, we have had meetings every month, subjects have included history, theology, archaeology, philosophy, ethics, sociology and politics. Recordings of these presentations are listed below.

Our next meeeting wll be on:

21 February

A Passion for Churches

A talk by Martin Spence

Why is it that people who never worship in church, can still love church buildings?
Why is it that these Christian buildings can stir the imagination and emotions of people who do not regard themselves as Christian?
Drawing on his personal experience, and referring to churches he loves, Martin Spence will tackle these puzzling questions.

What do you think we should be talking about?

Do you know somebody who could give us an interesting and stimulating start to one of our discussions?

Email us at inconversation@sofn.uk.

Future Meetings

20 March

Imagining Secularisation and Modernity: some reflections on Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age

John Holroyd

In his book A Secular Age, Charles Taylor paints an unsettling picture of our times. The self, he claims, has been disembedded from community and the attention of individuals has come to focus on personalised goals and material acquisitions. Taylor is clearly persuaded, in part at least, by Nietzsche’s view that ‘the last of men live just for a pitiable comfort’. In the West we celebrate the hard fought victories that have given rise to individual freedom, and yet, Taylor also wants to suggest, we are simultaneously prey to consumerism and prone to lose our liberties as our desires are nudged around by market forces. By leading us away from the provisions and associations of community our individualistic culture has exposed us to the prospect of being primarily buyers and sellers; cogs in the mechanisms of the market.
In this talk, I will try and clarify the ‘problem situation’ that Taylor seeks to hold up to us as a mirror of much Western society. I will ask us to consider how accurate Taylor’s unsettling images are. I shall also examine what I believe to be the dangers of ‘oven ready’ religious solutions to the problems he outlines, and make some comments of my own about the interrelated character of spirituality and secularity.

2023 Recorded Presentations

2024 Recorded Presentations

Click on the title picture to play the recording

In April Andy Kemp spoke on:

 The New Straight Track
Religion under the Rails –
HS2 in Buckinghamshire

In May

David Lambourn spoke on:

Re-imagining the Gospel of Mark

In January

Caroline Pickard spoke on:

My Experience of Protective Presence in Palestine

In June

Peter Selby spoke on:

 John Robinson
– 60 years of Honest to God

In July

John Pearson spoke on:

An Eye for an Eye

Re-thinking the Death Penalty

In September

Elaine Graham and Graeme Smith spoke on:

 Sea of Faith: 40 Years On

In October

Denise Cush spoke on:

Paganism and the New Religiosity

In November

Dave Francis asked:

The Sea of Faith and the Turin Shroud: True? Fake? Does it matter?