What is the point of poetry? And why with our poetic genius do we create a whole imaginary supernatural realm? Isn't it enough for humankind to be rational animals, or try to be? Why are we also poetic animals, and need to be? Looking closely at various poems, this book explores poetry and theology as sister arts. It believes that poetic vision and kindness are the making of humanity.
The next UK National Sea of Faith Conference will be on 24 - 26 July 2018 at Leicester University
Speakers and topics will appear here when confirmed
Monday 6th November to Wednesday 8th November 2017, Silverstream
Speakers: Lloyd Geering, Rachel Kohn, Sue Bradford and Hal Taussig
It is 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg.
What are the reforming initiatives today?
What needs to be discarded, challenged, or radically renewed?
Tuesday 25th July to Thursday 27th July 2017, Leicester University
The speakers were: Abby Day, Dilwar Hussain and Richy Thompson
Can our feelings of compassion, empathy, ethics, mortality, survive in the face of the increasing and seemingly dehumanising pressures and demands of the IT age?
Transcripts of the main talks have been published in the September issue of our 'sofia' magazine
'In the Beginning was the Word' - Religion as Poetry and Story?
Saturday 25th March 2017
St John's Church, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TY
Main Speakers were:
Mark Oakley: Canon-Chancellor, St Paul's Cathedral
"Believing in Poetry"
Dinah Livingstone: editor, 'sofia' magazine
"Shining - Poetry and Theology as Sister Arts"
Salley Vickers: novelist and poet
"Connections between Art, Literature, Psychology and Religion."
Salley Vicker's talk was repeated at Westminster Abbey, Thursday 11 May 6.30pm as the 32nd Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lecture: "Faith and Imagination"
Transcripts of Mark Oakley's and Dinah Livingstone's talks were published in the last issue (no. 124) of 'sofia' magazine
Salley Vicker's talk will be published in 'sofia' issue no 126
Thursday 21st July - 23rd July 2016, Leicester University
'Religion - Where Next?'
Doctor John Breadon, Assistant Chaplain at Eton College
"I was religious but now I'm..."
Professor Denise Cush, Professor of Religion and Education, Bath Spa University
"I'm not religious but..."
"The freedom to be tomorrow what we are not today"
The 'Sea of Faith Network', (SOFN), arose out of the response to the 1984 BBC documentary series "Sea of Faith" written and presented by Don Cupitt, and produced by Peter Armstrong. (for more detail, click this link).
It is still available from our DVD supplier, Chris Avis (click this link).
Don Cupitt looks back on a lifetime grappling with the understanding of Christian faith. He is in conversation with Peter Armstrong, the producer of the original BBC series The Sea of Faith. (click this link).
28th ANNUAL UK CONFERENCE 2015: 'Out of Our Minds. What Can We Offer Towards a Healthier World?'
A Reasonable Faithre-issued
David Boulton's original 'Sea of Faith' booklet,
'A Reasonable Faith: Introducing the Sea of Faith Network',
has been re-issued as a free e-book in PDF format.
Sea of Faith was featured on BBCs‘s The Big Questions in Jan 2011. The question was “Can you be a Christian but not believe in God?”. Sea of Faith members David Paterson and Dinah Livingstone tackle the question.
by Dominic Kirkham
was published by SOF and launched on July 24th 2015 at the SOF Annual Conference.
Copies can be ordered for £10 post-free from :
28 Frederick Road,
Birmingham B15 1JN.
After spending many years in a religious order, Dominic Kirkham describes how he was driven to meet the challenge of modern thinking, an exercise which has proved both freeing and frightening.
He says this has been 'something of a personal odyssey, which now spans a life¨time of over six decades and is still ongoing.'
And he adds: 'The presumption of the book is that this is of more than personal interest because the subject affects everyone; my personal journey will no doubt reflect that of many others.'
In a broad sweep from Neolithic times to the twenty-first century, he considers our human quest for meaning and a good life, and how we can engage in it today.
Our own online resource for RE teachers and Leaders of Religion and Philosophy Clubs, Sea of Faith 'Solarity' Resources, can be found on the following link:
Another excellent online resource for RE teachers, RE Online, can be found on the following link:
As a registered religious education charity, the 'Sea of Faith Network UK' has a keen interest in the teaching of RE. The Network is a new member of the RE Council:
Agenda for Faithre-issued
Stephen Mitchell's original 'Sea of Faith' book, Agenda for Faith, has been re-issued as a free e-book with a new introduction.
Being Quaker Now
'Sea of Faith' fellow-traveller, Michael Wright, is Clerk of the Steering Committee of the 'Nontheist Friends Network', a network of Quakers who regard religion as a human creation.
He has written a response to a Theist Quaker academic, Ben Pink Dandelion's lecture and book 'Open for transformation: being Quaker'.
This response, 'Being Quaker now', is available on the following link:
Sea of Faith in the Churches (SoFiC) is a special interest group within the Sea of Faith Network that explores the interface between church and SoF, and is open to anyone who is interested.
It provides a meeting place for those SOF members (and their friends) who find themselves in the midst, or hovering on the edge, of the Christian Church
This was held on Saturday 10 October 10 2015 Kensington Unitarians' Essex Church, London W8 4RT.
'Church Going Forward'
Speakers included Revd Meg Burton
(Hospital chaplaincy has changed beyond recognition since last century. Revd Meg Burton, long-time hospital chaplain and co-editor of the international Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy has been in the vanguard of these developments and will describe for us the current model. Meg was the chaplain member of the working group that, in response to concerns about the Liverpool Care Pathway, devised new protocols for end-of-life care, and she told us about the considerations underlying these.)
THURSDAY 23RD JULY - SATURDAY 25TH JULY 2015
Venue: the University of Leicester
Subject: 'Out of Our Minds. What Can We Offer Towards a Healthier World?'
Speakers included (click the following link for more detail):
David Boulton, author, journalist and broadcaster; and Andy Pakula, non-theistic Unitarian minister.
FRIDAY 18TH JULY - SUNDAY 21ST JULY 2014
Venue: the University of Leicester
Subject: MAKING CONNECTIONS
The keynote speakers were:
Derek McAuley, Chief Officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.
He takes the view that "Unitarianism and Free Christianity, from its position on the boundary, can be a bridge between people of different faiths and none"
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society (NSS).
Keith has been described as "a radical activist in a business suit". He has raised the campaigning profile of the NSS both nationally and internationally. Keith has a great deal to contribute on "making connections" because he moves on a daily basis from intervening against the Christian Institute in the European Court of Human Rights to campaigning with them against measures restricting free speech.
Pippa Evans, comedian and co-founder of the Sunday Assemblies.
Pippa worked with us to develop a "Sunday Assembly" to conclude the 2014 Conference.
Saturday 21st September 2013
Main Speakers were: Stephen Batchelor; Don Cupitt; Richard Holloway
4 DVD Video Recordings of this Conference are now available: £12 by PayPal, credit card or cheque (payable to Chris Avis, not Sea of Faith).
Transcripts of all talks from this sell-out Conference
A personal view from Dinah Livingstone, our Sofia magazine editor (Christmas no.110); see her editorial
SOF's latest publication is Not as the Crow Flies: Journal and Selected Poems by Anne Ashworth, which was launched at the SOF Conference in Leicester this year. The book can be ordered from bookshops, online or by post from:
157 Russell Road, Moseley,
BIRMINGHAM B13 8RR
If we regard God or gods and the whole supernatural realm as the rich product of the human imagination, what value can such 'poetic tales' still have for us, once we have discarded the supernatural? The surprising answer is as much as ever. Not only does everyone, atheist or otherwise, need some theology, without which so much of our history and culture remains baffling, but when taken and sifted with what Coleridge called poetic faith, those tales are found to contain treasures of wisdom.
Poetic Tales is subtitled 'Logosofia Down to Earth'. For more than twenty years Coleridge planned a huge work to be called Logosophia but never actually got round to it. This book is not, of course, the one Coleridge would have written. Although its scope has a dash of Coleridgean ambition, it is more a train of thought than a treatise, combining a defence of poetry, a natural theology (with nothing supernatural about it) and a quest for kindness. More...
Read editorial and articles from the latest edition of Sofia magazine.
Sofia is the magazine of the Sea of Faith Network (UK) and is published quarterly. It is free to all members of the UK network but non-members can also subscribe to the magazine. Further details...
The new SOF book This Life on Earth, edited by Dinah Livingstone, was published at the SOF Conference in Leicester 2009 (21st-23rd July, 2009).
The book contains 176 pages with 38 contributors, 19 women and 19 men. It costs £9.50. Orders by post may be sent to:
Sea of Faith, 3 Belle Grove Place, Spital Tongues, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4LH.
Please send a cheque for £11 (to include postage) made out to 'Sea of Faith'.
This Life on Earth is also available online from Amazon.co.uk
Sea of Faith has a network of local groups throughout the UK. Everyone is welcome to attend a local group - you don't have to be a member of the national network. Click HERE to see various groups' activities.
Please contact the webmaster if you have any comments. Contact details of other SoF officers can be found on the Trustees page
Sea of Faith
See the Film!
The Film of the TV series of the book is available as a DVD set at a cost of £12.50 (inc p&p) More...