Conference & AGM Programmes, Papers, Visuals and Audios


Future conferences are going to be based in the regions. Whilst physical gatherings are great to catch and enjoy conference together, they also have a heavy carbon footprint.  We will endeavour to electronicially disseminate the conference simultaneously (if possible).  Thus conferences will be "hybrid".

2022-2023 AGM was held on the 2nd September 2023 via Zoom
The format was two guest speakers and then the AGM
- Speaker 1: John Thornley gave a presentation on Bob Marley; poet and prophet in his song 'Redemption' and Rastafari. Click HERE to down load John's full presentation (HERE is a link to the video of Bob sining 'Redmption')
Bio: John joined the Sea of Faith in 1997, and is the current Secretary of the Management Committee. He has contributed articles to the Newsletter exploring spirituality in African-American music. From 1967 to 1969 John lived in the Eastern Caribbean, as General Secretary  for the Student Christian Movement (SCM), an experience that significantly shaped his lifelong interest in popular music and social/political developments, within a religious/spiritual context.  He has been a  Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church of New Zealand for over fifty years.  With his wife Gillian, he lives a busy life in ‘retirement’ in Palmerston North.  A nomination for John to become a Life Member in the SOFiA was passed at the AGM.

- Speaker 2: Margaret Gwynn held a Q & A session based on her April Newsletter article entitled De-growth.  This session was moderated by Mary Ellen Warren (member of the committee)

- Annual General Meeting.  The following documents were presented:
   1   Draft 2022 AGM minutes to ratify
   2   Report from the Chair
   3   Financial report
   4   Membership report
   5   Website report
   6   Local Groups report
   7   Newsletter report
   8   Resource centre: nothing came in or went out. 
2021/2022 Conference was held on the 7/8th October 2022
St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington
Theme: Spirituality for a sustainable future
Ian Harris gave the Sir Lloyd Geering Lecture entitled Spirituality for an eco-human future:
   Video, Powerpoint, Printable document

John Thornley on Black Theology in African-American Music – illustrated by blues, gospel, soul, reggae and soul tracks.
Rob McKay on Maori Spirituality and sustanability
Dr Puspha Wood on What role can spirituality play in securing a sustainable future for the next generation.

Younger speakers: Munsenser Qamar, Loo Connor

2021 AGM was held by Zoom meeting on 6 November.  Papers can be downloaded below:

2020 Conference

There will be no conference this year.  Planning for the 2021 conference will commence soon.

2019 "Transforming Communities: Finding meaning in a consumer-driven world

Keynote summaries

2018 "Religion for a sustainable future

Keynote addresses

2017 "Reformation 2.0, Luther lit a fuse, what happens next?"

Keynote Addresses
Annual General Meeting

2016 "With or Without God: Community in a Post-Theistic World"

Keynote ddresses

2015 "Micawber or Cassandra? Responding To An Increasingly Uncertain Future"

Keynote addresses

2014 "Exploring Inner Space: Can Spirit, Soul and Free-will Survive the Scrutiny?"

Keynote addresses

2013 "Tell Me the New, New Story"

Keynote addresses

2012 "The Revaluing of All Values: What Values Do We Need To Survive"

Keynote addresses

2011 "Pulling Us Back From The Brink: Economics? Science? Religion?"

Keynote addresses

2010 "Compassion and Crisis: Our Human Dilemma"

Keynote Addresses

2009 "Who Needs Jesus? Life in the 21st Century

Keynote addresses

2008 "The Ecological Imperative: Is Tomorrow's God Gaia?

Keynote addresses

Auckland Regional Conference on Religious Terrorism 19 July 2008

2007 "Retelling The Story"

Keynote addresses

2006 "After Religion, What? — Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?"

Keynote addresses

2005 "What Makes Us Human — Dialogues With Art, Religion and Science"

Keynote addresses

2004 "20 Years On — Faith Evolving"

Keynote addresses

2003 "Making War — Making Peace"

Keynote addresses

2002 "Creative Uncertainty"

Keynote addresses

2001 "You Make Community Makes You"

Keynote addresses

2000 "Beyond Belief"

1999 "Mother Earth v. Father God?"

1998 "Inventing Reality"

1997 "Faith on the Margins"




here has always been a tension between development, economic progress and spirituality. To further complicate this tension, religion and spirituality has often been used interchangeably. Thus, it is important to explore the relationship between spirituality and sustainable future whether it be an environmental, financial, political or social future.
While oberserving and participating in discussions amoung various groups, one thing is evident, that all faiths/religious traditions and spiritual belief systems have one thing in common - they assign the role of ‘guardianship’ to humans thus giving us the responsibility of maintenance and protection of this world. The role of interfaith dialogue has never been more important than now. The havoc created by COVID-19 in some ways has higghlighted the need for spiritual belief and religious practices in our day to day life.
Compared to religion, spirituality has more of an ‘individual’ flavour than a ‘communal loyalty’ flavour. It is important to note that one does not have to belong to a ‘religion’ to lead a spiritual life. Organised form of religion in some ways can inhibit one’s spiritual path and it is this belief that given rise to a "Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR), also known as "Spiritual but not affiliated" (SBNA), popular phrase.1
An individual and collective spiritual belief system is not and does not have to be at odds with the practice of ‘progress and the materialistic world’. Where it is at odds is with the ‘profit and benefit at the cost of stakeholders of this this world. Almost every religion and belief system in its essence teaches its followers to respect and live in harmony with the nature, look after those who cannot look after themselves and protect those who cannot protect themselves. We need to translate this into economic and environmental terms, making a profit from your investment is not forbidden but when profit becomes the sole focus of the progress and individual interests start to take over the wellbeing of society, and the interests of humanity and nature become secondary, that is when inequality, injustice, damage to environment and poverty start to rear its ugly head!! That is where spirituality can play a guiding role to move towards a sustainable future for all.



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