Blessing of the Animals

Sunday, November 12, 2017

10am

Learning Centre, CERES

 

Bring your pet (or animal photo) for a blessing.  The blessing ceremony will take place outside the Learning Centre at CERES and will start at 10am. Barbara Allen, first Chaplain of the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, author and current Creation & Spirituality Project Worker for the Synod of VicTas will be our guest for the day.

After the animal blessing there will be a service during which Barbara will share with us her first prize winning reflection, “Animals have a biography as well as a biology”.  Pets and their owners may stay for this, or go for a walk around CERES, returning at 11am for morning tea.

All animals and humans welcome!

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Earth Hour – Saturday, March 25 8.30-9.30pm (local time)

Earth Hour launched in Sydney in 2007, with 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses participating in the ‘lights off’ event. Just one year later, Earth Hour became a global phenomenon with over 35 countries, and an estimated 50-100 million people participating.

2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour as a global phenomenon. What started as an Aussie idea has grown into a global force of nature, that is now celebrated in over 172 countries and over 7,000 cities and towns worldwide. The symbolic hour has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, with beyond-the-hour projects and initiatives happening throughout the year.

Earth Hour is a great home-grown success story: an Aussie campaign designed to draw attention to tackling global warming and get people talking about what we can do to help.

In Australia, Earth Hour is something that really brings communities together, with 1 in every 4 Aussies taking part. In 2016, millions of Australians took part in Earth Hour to show their support for a low pollution, clean energy future, one in which we can continue to enjoy the best of nature and our great Aussie outdoor lifestyle.

Switch off to #JoinTheFuture.  8.30pm – 9.30pm Saturday, March 25.

for more information, ideas and events http://earthhour.org.au

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World Poetry Day

Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling,
recharge desire. ~ Adrienne Rich

Held every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

UNESCO  first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.  As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.

Director General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, in her Message on World Poetry Day 2017,
speaks of the power of poetry to ‘shake us from everyday life, to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us and the resilience of the shared human spirit.’

In writing about the importance of poetry, poet Adrienne Rich wrote:

Poetry has the capacity to remind us of something we are forbidden to see. A forgotten future: a still uncreated site whose moral architecture is founded not on ownership and dispossession, the subjection of women, outcast and tribe, but on continuous redefining of freedom….

There is always that in poetry which will not be grasped, which cannot be described, which survives our ardent attention, our critical theories, our late-night arguments.  (whole article here)

And perhaps it is this part of poetry that puts some people off.  Because they can not discern ‘the’ meaning, or make rational sense of it,  the poem is discarded. That’s a mistake:  not to recognise that some of the magic of poetry is that it speaks to the part of our brain that does not deal in analytics, does not stand on solid ground and is not linear. When I was a young woman I read TS Eliot everyday – like some people might read their Bible.  One day I was asked to host a visiting scholar and to take this man and his wife to see the sights of the beautiful coastal region in which I lived.  In the course of the day’s conversation, he told me about being a student at a lecture given by TS Eliot in which Eliot said something about other people understanding his poetry more than he himself did; that he didn’t always know exactly what he meant.  This cheered me greatly and the remembrance of it allows me to give myself permission just to ‘sit with a poem’, to listen to it, feel it, see it and allow it to speak to me – to move me – and to take from it what resonates – without judgement – much like I would a painting.  The poems I like best have layers and layers. They could say something different to me each time I come to them – and yet, at another level remain mysterious.  Poetry comes from and connects mostly with the right side of the brain – our Western culture mostly privileges the left side of the brain. Jill Bolte-Taylor does an amazing job in talking and demonstrating (with a real brain) the difference in the way the two sides of the brain function in her TED talk  (here  if video below missing)

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/UyyjU8fzEYU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Anyway, Happy World Poetry Day!

I’m going to finish this post with a fun poem, that is not too hard to grasp,  written by my beautiful friend John Pfitzner (1942-2013)

Pointless

for Graham, who is mad on sport
but sees no use for poetry

You’re right, there’s no point
to poetry. It’s as useless

as a Michael Clarke cover drive
with dancing footwork,
body balanced, head steady,
weight gliding to the front foot,
the almost lazy sweep of the bat,
the perfect timing and rhythm,
the flow of the follow-through,
the seemingly effortless elegance,

which changes nothing, adds nothing
to the sum of human knowledge,
rights no wrongs, cures no diseases,
provides no food for the starving,

as pointless as a poem
with language that dances down the pitch,
gives itself room and launches
its outrageous idea, its subtle
observation high over midwicket
and into the members stand
with perfect timing, rhythm and
seemingly effortless eloquence.

 

 

 

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International Women’s Day – March 8

While International Women’s Day is often seen as a day to celebrate women, and their achievements, it is important not to lose sight of the political edge that this day has always had. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York. It was organized by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the 1908 garment workers’ strike, where women protested against working conditions.  More about the history of International Women’s Day can be found  here and more about the history and relevance of IWD here

Also connected to the Garment Industry and the history of International Women’s Day, was the 1911 women’s ‘Bread and Roses’ campaign. The term ‘Bread and Roses’ comes from a poem by Robert Oppenheimer written in 1911.  But the idea of “Bread and Roses” speaks of the deep human desire, not merely for the necessities of life, but for the creation of, and participation in, a world, community, and society of beauty.  We need bread, we need shelter, we need clothes to keep us warm. But we also need to satisfy the deeper part of our human nature that longs for nourishment.  The desire for leisure, meaningful friendship, music, art, and the time to pursue the particular interests and hobbies that fulfill us and lead us down a course of wholeness lie at the heart of “Roses”.  These are legitimate desires that need satisfaction and the working class must fight, not only for the right to the necessities of life, but also for the right to enjoy the things that often only the rich have the time and money for.

I enjoyed reading NITV’s list of 20 trailblazing Indigenous women who have changed Australia.  Like me, you can probably think of names you could add to this list. And there are many Indigenous women who will never make a list like this but are doing the hard yards, tackling hard issues, making a difference in the lives of their communities.  Let us remember them, too.

The IWD 2017 campaign theme is  #BeBoldForChange and are challenging us all to work towards a more gender inclusive world.  There is a list of events – to find ones near you search the drop down box for your city/suberb.  Here

There will be an IWD march in Melbourne, 5.30-7.30 at Parliament House, Spring Street
details here, particularly worth checking out are the 10 areas listed where change and  justice are being called for.

And the IWDA blog has a piece  5 reasons to march on IWD, and another on other ways to protest gender inequality and to stand up for women’s rights if you cant attend the march. In fact, the International Women’s Development Agency Blog has lots worth reading. I recommend it.

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the January 2017 Women’s March, in cities all over the world, women are again joining together in a campaign to make March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to  socio-economic systems–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labour
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

    social media #DayWithoutAWoman   more information about this campaign on www.womensmarch.com

And if you would like to donate to a charity that works towards improving the lives of women and girls in countries less well off than ours, the UN Women’s website offers an opportunity for this here

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midsumma celebration

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Coming soon – Animal Blessing

animal-blessing-flyer

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Coming up at Sophia’s Spring

wattle yellow

Two more Sundays of our Winter Fling …

August 21 – Rev Dr Coralie Ling will be taking the service

August 28 – campfire service with communion, followed by billy tea and morning tea (weather permitting)

During September we will be celebrating Seasons of Creation

September 4  – Climate

September 11 – Solar

September 18  – Atmosphere

September 25  – Rainbow

October 2 – Blessing of the animals
with a reflection from Adele Mapperson,  Chaplain at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital

We will meet at the Learning Centre   (CERES map here) for all services, which begin at 10am.

Visitors to any of our services will be very welcome.

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National Tree Day

tree 3

Last Sunday, July 31, was National Tree Day. While some groups planted 100’s of trees, we planted just one: a carefully chosen Eucalyptus crenulataWe will be able to see it from the windows in the Learning Centre and when it grows it will have beautiful decorative foliage, which enjoys being pruned.  This was our tree planting liturgy:

tree 4

Tools:
tree to be planted, in a bucket of water
spade for digging hole
gardening gloves
watering can with water in it

Digging the Hole

Person 1 puts spade into soil and removes some and holds aloft soil on spade

Person 2 says:

We cherish the secret life of the soil wherein does dwell all the elements to nourish life on earth.  We bless this soil that will support and feed the tree we plant today.
Person 1 digs the hole.

tree 1

Planting the tree

the tree is soaking in a bucket of water
Person 3 picks up tree (in pot), wearing gardening gloves, tips the water in the bucket into the hole and then holds the tree while

Person 4 says:
We celebrate and give thanks for all trees.  On this National Tree Day we are glad to plant this little tree: processor of light and carbon; bringer of clean fresh air. May you grow strong and tall to be habitat and haven, shade and shelter for many.
Person 3 removes tree from pot.  People invited to come forward and ‘tickle the roots’. Person 3 plants the tree.

tree photo

Watering in the tree

Person 5 holds watering can of water

Person 6 says
We celebrate and give thanks for water – source and sustainer of life.
We bless the rain, and all the water that was once rain. May it fall upon this tree as it is needed, helping this tree grow to be a thing of beauty and a joy to behold.
Person 5 waters in the tree

Blessing those gathered

Holy Sophia,
we ask a blessing on ourselves and on all who walk, work, play and learn in this place.
May we be like a tree:
deeply rooted in that which nourishes and sustains;
strong and resilient enough to weather life’s storms;
and as generous to others as a canopy of shade.
May it be so!

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Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies: Inaugural Gathering

green plant spiral

You are invited

Join in a network of engagement on feminist concerns that will facilitate collaborative work on questions within and beyond theology. Attend the launch of this new network. Rev Dr Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, New York, will be the guest for the day.  She comes to discuss collaboration in research and contemporary engagement with this newly formed network of scholars: ‘Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies’. This network comprises women and men who are concerned to work together to bring issues of inclusion and liberation to theological study.

When
Friday, 8 Jul 2016
9:00am – 4:00pm

Where
Centre for Theology & Ministry
29 College Cres, Parkville 3052
(map and contact information)

Cost $40

Register here

Download event flyer  Australian-Feminist-Theology-8th-July

Join Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies via Facebook

serenejonespress1

More about Rev Dr Serene Jones here      and here

For more details about the launch or the network
Contact
Cath McKinney cath1466@gmail.com;
Katharine Massam katharine.massam@ctm.uca.edu.au;
Fotini Toso research@pilgrim.edu.au

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Prayer for the Earth

sunflower

Saturday, March 19 is Harvest Festival at CERES – when everyone is invited to come and join in celebrating and giving thanks to the good earth, our farmers and the cycle of the seasons. 

On this day all who hold a sacred or spiritual practice regularly at CERES are being invited to participate in a time of prayer for the Earth.  CERES Communication Manager, Sieta Beckwith writes in her letter of invitation:

At harvest time when we are thanking the earth for her generous bounty, I feel it’s important to recognise and address the spiritual dynamics at the root of environmental degradation… In recent years CERES has not taken so much of an overt role in looking after the spiritual ecology of the land we are on, and I’m strongly drawn to try and shift that by uniting all of the groups who do look after the sacredness of this place on a regular basis.

This little bit of earth for which we are currently the guardians has been quarried, polluted, turned into a tip site and then begun on the slow path of regeneration. For me, there is a clear interrelationship between our outer, physical ecological situation, our awareness of the sacred in creation, and our inner relationship to the divine which also affects the soul of the world.

This opportunity to share in a simple meditation and  prayer for the Earth will be held in the
Learning Centre from 1.30 – 2.30pm,
and will include the opportunity to walk the labyrinth.  Jan will be present to represent Sophia’s Spring but others, and all, are welcome to join this.  It will be advertised and included in the days program.

More information about CERES Harvest Festival can be found here: http://ceres.org.au/harvest-festival/

harvest festival image

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