On-line Conversation: Facebook Sea of Faith Network Group

If you would like to be part of our virtual forum, we have been operating a private Facebook Group for a few years, now. To join in:

1. Join Facebook.

2. Then request to join the Sea of Faith Network Group.

3. Scroll down the page until you find a 'thread' you would like to contribute to.

4. If you would like to start a new topic, just make a new OP (Opening Post) and wait for replies (some appear many weeks later!)

Sea of Faith London Conference 2020

In the Beginning was Music?

Music and Religion

Saturday 28th March 2020

St John's Church, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8TY


Patti Whaley, BA, MA Musicology

A chartered accountant, IT specialist and Charity manager (formerly Chair, ActionAid UK; Treasurer, Food Ethics Council; Deputy Secretary General, Amnesty International), Patti is a local church organist. She has a B.A. & M.A. in Musicology and an ABRSM Diploma in organ performance (distinction).
She is a former Chair of the Sea of Faith Network.

The Revd Stephen Mitchell

Published author (including "God in the Bath" and "Past Perfect") and former Rural Dean & Canon, Stephen has always been a musical vicar. He has a degree in Music and taught music in a secondary school before reading Theology at Cambridge.
Stephen is also a former Chair of the Sea of Faith Network.

Elaine Henson

Elaine is a music graduate of the Universities of Exeter and Durham and a singing licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Katie Hainbach, Head of Music and Arts, Alyth Synagogue

A mezzo-soprano, Katie is an experienced opera singer, teacher and choral conductor.
She has a BA (hons) in Music Studies (including a distinction in Music Pedagogy) and a MMus in Vocal Performance.
Katie has performed on radio and television in the UK and Ireland.
She has travelled around the country doing music for people with dementia and other community music.
At the Alyth Synagogue, Katie is responsible for the choirs, musical and acting groups.

Alyth Synagogue website:

(For more details and a booking form, download this PDF brochure)

Click this link to pay by Credit Card or PayPal

Sea of Faith National Conference 2020

The University of Leicester

Tuesday 21 - Thursday 23 July 2020

"Thinking Aloud"

Speakers include:

Professor Laurie Taylor and the Rev Tony Windross

Further details following soon.

New Zealand Sea of Faith National Conference 2019

This conference was held 1 November to 2 November 2019

All Souls Church Complex, 30 Church Lane, Merivale, Christchurch

"Transforming Communities:
Finding meaning in a consumption-driven world"

Speakers were:

Bronwyn Hayward, Lloyd Geering Lecture

David Hanna, Hana Olds & Merv Dickinson

Click this link for more details.

Sea of Faith National Conference 2019

This took place from Tuesday to Thursday, 23 - 25 July, 2019 at Leicester University

"Is That All There is?"

Speakers included:

Guest speaker: the rev. Ernie Rea, presenter of Radio 4's discussion series "Beyond Belief".

A transcript of his talk: "From Exclusive to Inclusive: a Journey of Faith".

Guest speaker: Avril Robarts. Her presentation was entitled "This and That: A life of perplexed practice with emphasis on Indian tradition".

In-house speaker: A past SOFN Chairman and current Treasurer, Stephen Williams, former Deputy Chief Probation Officer for the West Midlands.

A transcript of his talk: "Justice Through the Looking Glass".

Click on this link for further details

New Zealand Sea of Faith National Conference 2018

This was Friday 2nd November to Sunday 4th November 2018, Silverstream Retreat

"Religion for a Sustainable Future"

Speakers were: Sir Lloyd Geering
(two months short of his 101st birthday, this was his last scheduled public speaking occasion),

Charles Waldegrave, Byron Rangiwai, Barbara Peddle

Click this link for more details.

Sea of Faith National Conference 2018

The last UK National Sea of Faith Conference was on 24 - 26 July 2018 at Leicester University

"The Necessity of Hope"

Speakers included:

1. Professor Richard Norman
2. Doctor Anthony Carroll.

The title of their talk was "Hope, Faith and Redemption"

They are co-editors of "Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide", a book described as "all about dialogue".

Richard Norman is Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Kent, UK

His publications include On Humanism (2nd edition 2012). He is a founder-member of the Humanist Philosophers' Group and a Vice-President of Humanists UK

Anthony Carroll was (until recently) Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, UK

His publications include Protestant Modernity: Weber, Secularization, and Protestantism (2007), and he is an Anglican priest.

3. Dinah Livingstone's talk was entitled "Hope for Humanity - A Theology of Liberation and the Beautiful City".

Dinah is a poet, translator and editor of Sofia.

Her most recent publication is "The Making of Humanity - Poetic Vision and Kindness".

Click on this link for further details

Transcripts of these presentations are now available in the September 2018 issue no 129, of 'Sofia', our network magazine.

101 on Monday 26 Feb 2019. So, happy 101st birthday to our Worldwide Network's oldest member!

Sir Lloyd delivered the opening Keynote Address at the 'New Zealand Sea of Faith Conference' just before his 100th birthday entitled: "500 years from the reformation of the church to the re-formulation of the (Christian) faith"

Click this link to listen to Sir Lloyd's presentation.

Click this link to download Sir Lloyd's talk in pdf form.

New Zealand Sea of Faith National Conference 2017

This was held Monday 6th November to Wednesday 8th November 2017, Silverstream

"Reformation 2.0, Luther lit a fuse, what happens next?"

Speakers were: 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?

Although now history, clicking on this link takes you to transcripts and podcasts of the Conference talks

Sea of Faith National Conference 2017

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 (no.125) of our 'sofia' magazine

Sea of Faith London Conference 2017

'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"

A Conference DVD recording is now available from Chris Avis. For details on how to purchase, click on this link.

Transcripts of Mark Oakley's and Dinah Livingstone's talks were published in issue no. 124 of 'sofia' magazine
Salley Vicker's talk was published in 'sofia' issue no 126

National UK Conference 2016

Thursday 21st July - 23rd July 2016, Leicester University

'Religion - Where Next?'

Speakers included:

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 Reverend Andrew Brown, Minister of the Unitarian Memorial Church, Cambridge

"The freedom to be tomorrow what we are not today"

Conference Transcripts Now Available

Professor Cush's and Doctor Breadon's transcripts are now available in the September 'Sofia' magazine

Andrew Brown's transcript is on his personal blog

Don Cupitt and the 'Sea of Faith Network'

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, meeting Peter Armstrong again in 2016, reflects on his religious journey

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).

Interview with Don Cupitt by John Shuck

On 15 August 2015, 'Religion For Life' broadcast John Shuck's interview with Don Cupitt: 'Creative Faith: Religion As a Way of Worldmaking'

John Shuck in his own words

'I'm a Presbyterian minister who doesn't believe in God'

More Don Cupitt interviews, talks and transcripts

Click this link for more on Don Cupitt

Conference Recordings

28th ANNUAL UK CONFERENCE 2015: 'Out of Our Minds. What Can We Offer Towards a Healthier World?'

A recording of this Conference (CDs and a DVD of highlights) is now available from Chris Avis. Chris's contact details.

A full list of other Conference Recordings now available from Chris Avis.

A Reasonable Faith re-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.

Download and read it now!

University Times Interview with the Reverend David Paterson

The editor of the University Times, the student newspaper of Trinity collge Dublin, interviews one of our Trustees, the Reverend David Paterson

Dinah Livingstone (editor of 'sofia' magazine) and David Paterson interviewed on 'The Big questions' in 2011

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.


New Book Launch

New book by Dinah Livingstone.

“The Making of Humanity: Poetic Vision and Kindness”

An essay in four chapters published on 19th July 2017

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.

Available now from the publisher KATABASIS.

Click this link for more details

From Monk to Modernity: The Challenge of Modern Thinking

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 :
SOF Admin,
24 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.

Solarity Learning Resources

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:

Solarity Learning Resources

Another excellent online resource for RE teachers, RE Online, can be found on the following link:

RE Online

Religious Education Council of England and Wales

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:

This link gives more detail:

Religious Education Council of England and Wales

Agenda for Faith re-issued

cover of Agenda For Faith

Stephen Mitchell's original 'Sea of Faith' book, Agenda for Faith, has been re-issued as a free e-book with a new introduction.

Download and read it now!

Being Quaker Now

'The Nontheist Friends Network' members are fellow-travellers with the Sea of Faith Network. (Click this link to explore their website).

'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:

Download and read it now!

SoFiC Day Conference 2015

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.)

Click this link for full Conference details



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.

A recording of this Conference (CDs and a DVD of highlights) is now available from Chris Avis. Chris's contact details.

Click this link for full Conference details



Venue: the University of Leicester


A recording of this Conference (CDs and a DVD of highlights) is now available from Chris Avis

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.

Click this link for full details of what was in the Conference

Sea of Faith London Conference 2013

“Secular Religion?”

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).

See ordering details

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

Click this link for full details of the London UK 2013: Secular Religion? Conference.

Anne Ashworth's book is still available.

“Not as the Crow Flies”

Journal and Selected Poems

Not as the Crow Flies: Journal and Selected Poems by Anne Ashworth. The book can be ordered from bookshops, online or by post from:

Stephen Williams
157 Russell Road, Moseley,

The book is £7.95 postfree. With your order please enclose a cheque for £7.95 made out to 'Sea of Faith' or 'SOF'.

Dinah Livingstone's book is still available.

“Poetic Tales”

an essay in four chapters

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...

Available now from the publisher KATABASIS. Download order form right now or get your copy at the conference!

Sofia - The Sea of Faith magazine

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...

SOF Book

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

Local Groups

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...

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