STOCKTON ?· STOCKTON UNITARIANS ... Yesterday my favourite band, Coldplay, ... have performed many…

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<ul><li><p>1 </p><p>CALENDAR FOR </p><p>OCTOBER AND </p><p>NOVEMBER 2013 </p><p>STOCKTON </p><p>UNITARIANS </p><p>Celebrating Pat and Alan Wilkinsons Golden Wedding </p><p>Anniversary on August 17th - more pictures inside. </p></li><li><p>2 </p><p>Special Places, Music and Spirituality a personal revelation </p><p>I was all set to write a piece about my special, spiritual place </p><p>following June Pettitts service a few weeks ago. Whenever I feel </p><p>troubled or stressed, I guide myself to my special place in my </p><p>head: Saltburn beach, autumn time, coming up to dusk, a few dark </p><p>clouds hiding the sun and a cool refreshing, breeze coming off the </p><p>North Sea. When I go there, physically or mentally, I relax and let </p><p>that breeze go through me. </p><p>Yesterday my favourite band, Coldplay, released a new song and I </p><p>heard it for the first time this morning. Atlas is a slow paced, </p><p>atmospheric tune with poetic, fantasy type lyrics. I love it; I look </p><p>forward to hearing it live one day. </p><p>What does this have to do with my special, spiritual place? Upon </p><p>my third listening of the song, I closed my eyes and I was </p><p>effortlessly taken to my beach. Moreover, as I relaxed, I became </p><p>aware that I wasnt just sitting on the beach but floating above it; </p><p>not just feeling the breeze on my face but being uplifted by it; the </p><p>sea breeze intertwining with the sweeping chords of the song, </p><p>making me feel at peace. After four minutes of sheer relaxation, I </p><p>was back in the room and feeling not only refreshed but also that I </p><p>had just had a spiritual experience. It felt wonderful but at the </p><p>same time perplexing. It wasnt a hymn praising God or the </p><p>wonders of life, but a pop song written for an upcoming film. Was it </p><p>really spiritual or am I just becoming a bit too fanatical about my </p><p>favourite band? </p><p>Music has always played a massive role in my life. My Mum was a </p><p>singer, songwriter and musician. My Dad is a bass player and I </p><p>grew up listening to music every single day. My taste in music has </p><p>always been pop and rock based, as thats what I grew up with, </p><p>Queen and Coldplay being my absolute favourite bands. I became a </p><p>fan of Classical music only a year or so ago and am currently </p><p>enjoying learning about different composers, instrumentation, </p><p>periods and so on. Music has shaped who I am and what I do, but I </p><p>had never linked my love of music to my spirituality before. I </p><p>always ignorantly assumed the only link music had with spiritual </p><p>practice was in singing hymns; something I had no interest in when </p><p>I was younger. </p><p>As I develop my personal link with spirituality, I recognise the </p></li><li><p>3 </p><p>importance of hymns from the </p><p>meanings of the words to the </p><p>sense of togetherness and worship </p><p>that comes from singing with the </p><p>whole congregation. I also </p><p>recognise the link between my </p><p>favourite music and the </p><p>development of spirituality. </p><p>Theres a real power in music. I </p><p>can think of songs that transport </p><p>me back to a happy event or </p><p>memory; songs that take me back </p><p>to times so sad that even in the </p><p>present day I will shed fresh tears; </p><p>songs that make me feel like people I have lost are right there with </p><p>me. </p><p>Theres been many a time, usually when something is worrying me, </p><p>that Ill pick one of my favourite songs and listen to it two or three </p><p>times, each time concentrating on a different aspect; the lyrics, the </p><p>rhythm, the bass line, etc. Ill do this until the fog in my mind has </p><p>lifted, I have organised my thoughts, I am calmer and I generally </p><p>feel more able to face the world. What are these experiences if not </p><p>spiritual? Or at least meditational which can go hand in hand with </p><p>self development and discovery? </p><p>All of a sudden, music feels even more special and important upon </p><p>discovering this link, which was hidden from me in plain sight, the </p><p>clues were all around me. I can really understand now how people </p><p>can feel more in touch with their beliefs and grateful for life by </p><p>partaking in things that they enjoy and feel a connection with. Its </p><p>been a wonderful revelation for me. </p><p>Melody Dixon-Oliver </p><p>Saltburn Beach </p><p>Photo taken on August 7th </p><p>looking towards Redcar </p><p>Quotation:Quotation:Quotation:Quotation: </p><p>. . . That is why . . . That is why . . . That is why . . . That is why ---- I keep returning, thirsty, to this place I keep returning, thirsty, to this place I keep returning, thirsty, to this place I keep returning, thirsty, to this place that is older than my understanding, younger than my that is older than my understanding, younger than my that is older than my understanding, younger than my that is older than my understanding, younger than my broken spirit.broken spirit.broken spirit.broken spirit. </p><p>Kenneth C Steven, from a poem about IonaKenneth C Steven, from a poem about IonaKenneth C Steven, from a poem about IonaKenneth C Steven, from a poem about Iona (included by June Pettitt in her service on August 18th)(included by June Pettitt in her service on August 18th)(included by June Pettitt in her service on August 18th)(included by June Pettitt in her service on August 18th) </p></li><li><p>4 </p><p>Mikes Musings </p><p>Sponsored Walk </p><p>As I reported in our last Calendar we had at that time raised over </p><p>100. I am delighted to now report that we have raised 246. Is </p><p>there anyone out there who has any sponsor money please? If so I </p><p>would love to receive it. </p><p>May I say a special thank you to the young people who raised at </p><p>least 100 between them. Thank you very much. </p><p>Donations </p><p>We have had two most generous donations recently and I would like </p><p>to thank the donors for them. It is good to know we still have good </p><p>friends. </p><p>Holidays </p><p>This is the month when everyone is recounting their holiday tales - </p><p>unless of course the holidays happened so long ago youve </p><p>forgotten about them and are looking forward to the next lot. </p><p>Our trip abroad this year was via Eurostar and SNCF to the </p><p>Dordogne district of Southern France. </p><p>The countryside from the French coast to mid France is not very </p><p>interesting - huge fields of wheat which, by the time we saw them </p><p>in early September, were already harvested. Going further South </p><p>the land became much more interesting - hills , huge forests and </p><p>smaller fields - so the countryside had more of a British look. </p><p>We eventually reached our destination - a tiny village named </p><p>Rocamador. Its name comes from the fact that the village is built on </p><p>the side of a 500 foot cliff dedicated to Saint Amador who is said to </p><p>have performed many miracles. The chapels built there were the </p><p>site of the third most visited shrine of a black Madonna in Western </p><p>Europe during the Middle Ages and only fell into decline following </p><p>the 100 Years War. </p><p>Certainly the setting was awe inspiring with a castle at the top of </p><p>the cliff dropping precipitously down to the village below. Just how </p><p>many men were killed building the castle is not revealed in the </p><p>official history! </p><p>Like most Continental rivers the Dordogne was hugely wide . At </p><p>least twice the width of the Tees at Middlesbrough and subject to </p></li><li><p>5 </p><p>flooding when the snows melt in the </p><p>Massif Centrale which is where the </p><p>Dordogne rises. </p><p>It was an interesting holiday - and </p><p>we still like train holidays even with </p><p>the journey times. </p><p>The Lindisfarne Gospels </p><p>I dont know if any of our readers </p><p>managed to get to Durham this </p><p>summer to see the exhibition </p><p>containing the Lindisfarne Gospels. </p><p>Jane and I went with our </p><p>granddaughter and were fascinated </p><p>by the exhibits. </p><p>The exhibition told of the history of </p><p>the gospels copied out by dozens of </p><p>monks in the North East in the </p><p>period from the 6th to the 9th </p><p>Century. There was almost an </p><p>industry of the copying of the gospels - some quite plain and others </p><p>much more elaborate and beautifully decorated. </p><p>The exhibition culminated with a view of the most celebrated gospel </p><p>and the colours, for a book copied out in the 9th Century and using </p><p>only natural materials for the coloured inks, were lovely and so fresh </p><p>looking. </p><p>It has been a most successful exhibition. The Gospels now go back </p><p>to the British Museum and will not be on show for at least eight </p><p>years and the page we saw will not be shown for another 100 years, </p><p>such is the fragility of the colours. </p><p>Another memory to be stored in the mind. </p><p>Mike Tomlin </p><p>SUNDAY NOVEMBER 17th:- </p><p>Material for the December 2013/January 2014 Calendar </p><p>to be in the hands of the Editor, David Warhurst, please. </p><p>My email address is: </p><p> </p><p>Our hard working Treasurer, </p><p>snapped in a less familiar </p><p>role on 15th September! </p></li><li><p>6 </p><p>News of Members and Friends </p><p>Congratulations </p><p>To Pat and Alan Wilkinson who </p><p>celebrated their Golden Wedding </p><p>Anniversary on Saturday 17th </p><p>August. We were all invited to join </p><p>them at the church Coffee Morning </p><p>for which Pat and Alan provided </p><p>delicious refreshments. During that </p><p>morning it was, in fact, 50 years to </p><p>the minute since Pat and Alan had </p><p>been married in our previous </p><p>church building. </p><p>They spoke movingly of the important </p><p>part which Stockton Unitarian Church had </p><p>played in bringing them together and of </p><p>how much they valued the many friends </p><p>and family who had helped them along </p><p>the way to this wonderful moment. We </p><p>raised glasses of champagne to toast Pat </p><p>and Alan and enjoyed pieces of their </p><p>celebration wedding anniversary cake. </p><p>To Glenis and Billy Beech who celebrated their Golden Wedding </p><p>Anniversary on 5th October. Glenis met Billy at the Stockton </p><p>Unitarian Youth Club which he joined with Terry Hopkins (Pat </p><p>Wilkinsons brother) in the early 60s. They were married in the </p><p>Church on the 5th October 1963. Glenis and Billy will be celebrating </p><p>at their local football club on the Isle of Man, where they live - see </p><p>also Gleniss letter on page 14. </p><p>We are sorry to report that David Sickling is in North Tees </p><p>Hospital while some heart problems are having attention. We send </p><p>him our love and best wishes and look forward to having him back </p><p>Pat and Alan check the </p><p>time exactly 50 years </p><p>after their wedding </p><p>Pat and Alan cut the Cake </p></li><li><p>7 </p><p>with us on Sundays before long. </p><p>Hospital treatment also dominates the news of our friends at </p><p>Newcastle Unitarian church. Eleanor Broad has had a few spells in </p><p>hospital but is happily back home with things in place to make life a </p><p>little easier for her. </p><p>Maurice Large spent a few days in hospital recently but is home </p><p>once again although undergoing treatment for a heart condition. </p><p>Ruth Healey is in North Tyneside hospital at present but hopes to be </p><p>returning to her new sheltered housing accommodation in North </p><p>Shields as soon as possible. </p><p>We wish them all better health in the coming weeks. </p><p>Hazel and David Warhurst </p><p>Obituary </p><p>Don Squires, husband of Josie, died on 3rd of </p><p>August. He was born in Stockton on 1st of April </p><p>1929. He was a well travelled and well educated </p><p>man, never talking about himself and his interests </p><p>unless he was asked. He was open and honest with </p><p>a certainty about his opinions - no greys with Don, </p><p>only blacks and whites. His funeral, conducted by </p><p>Peter Whitham, was held in St Bede's Chapel at </p><p>Teesside Crematorium on the 19th of August. </p><p>Our thoughts go out to Josie at this time of </p><p>bereavement. </p><p>Margaret Whitham </p><p>New Engagement Group </p><p>All are welcome to attend the planning </p><p>meeting of a new Engagement Group on </p><p>Wednesday 30th October 2013 at </p><p>7.15pm at church. </p><p>Refreshments will be provided. Please come along and bring </p><p>your ideas and suggestions of topics for consideration. </p></li><li><p>8 </p><p>Autumn Activities </p><p>Two Testaments - Two Gods </p><p>It was still really summer - and pretty hot as well - on August 4th </p><p>when we got off to a good start for this period with an interesting </p><p>service taken by Tony McNiele. Tony, accompanied by Marijka, </p><p>entitled his address Two Testaments - Two Gods. On his preaching </p><p>travels Tony, to his regret, had lost his much used copy of The Bible </p><p>complete with lots of notes and annotations which he had made. He </p><p>had replaced this with a copy of the New English Bible which was </p><p>based on new translations from the original texts. </p><p>Tony contrasted the Old Testament (692 pages) with the New </p><p>Testament (205 pages, only 90 of which comprise the four </p><p>Gospels). The Old Testament is very much concerned with the </p><p>Jewish faith - sometimes known as the Hebrew Bible - and Tony </p><p>reminded us of many of the fascinating stories it contains, very </p><p>much wrapped up in the mythology of the times with flawed </p><p>characters fearful of the wrath of God. The New Testament is, by </p><p>contrast, much more about personal spirituality - about a good man </p><p>teaching through stories and parables, recognising the worth of all. </p><p>There was much further discussion over tea! </p><p>Because of family commitments I missed the next service and I am </p><p>indebted to Jane Tomlin for the following notes: </p><p>Beloved Community </p><p>On 11 August we had our first visit from Rev Nicky Jenkins from </p><p>Chorlton Unitarian Church. This was a quiet reflective service, well </p><p>delivered in a soft voice, with all the hymns from Sing Your Faith. </p><p>Nicky said that the task of religion is the creation of a beloved </p><p>community embracing the web of all life. This is the vision and we </p><p>can only attempt to achieve it. </p><p>There was a ritual of joys and sorrows as we were invited to drop a </p><p>pebble into a bowl of water and remember those things for which </p><p>we are thankful as well as those where we have concerns. Nickys </p><p>own concern was for her son who had not been in touch since </p><p>dropping out of University. </p><p>Her address pointed out the dilemma of individualism - the constant </p><p>pressure in todays world for satisfying only ourselves. If we were </p><p>truly satisfied and if this really worked should we not be more </p><p>content? We need to build right relationships and remember that </p></li><li><p>9 </p><p>God is in the spaces between people and so we joined in the following </p><p>words of affirmation: </p><p>We affirm that love is our greatest purpose. </p><p>Accepting one another is the truest form of faithful living. </p><p>The search for truth is our constant star. </p><p>We pledge our hearts, minds and hands: </p><p>To challenge injustice with courage; </p><p>To find hope in times of fear; </p><p>And to live out our Unitarian values everyday as a beloved </p><p>community. </p><p>Thus do we convenant with each other and with all that is sacred </p><p>in life. </p><p> Revs Josh Snyder and Barbara Gadon </p><p> Jane Tomlin </p><p>Prayers in the Wind </p><p>August 18th was the occasion of Stockton churchs annual visit to our </p><p>friends at St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York. This time only a </p><p>small group of three of us were able to go, but the effort was amply </p><p>rewarded by a most interesting service about Tibet entitled Prayers in </p><p>the Wind. The service, conducted by Myrna Michel, included a talk by </p><p>Adrian Lovett and Rowena Field about their recent visit to Tibet. We </p><p>learned about the history of Tibet, the Chinese invasion in 1950 and </p><p>subsequent repression, and the importance of Buddhism to the </p><p>Tibetan community. 6,000 monasteries were destroyed but those </p><p>remaining are very well cared for despite continuing relentless attack...</p></li></ul>