SOFiA Newsletter 168 October 2023
Exploring Values, Meaning and SpiritualityImage of dover beach
Subscription Holiday
The national committee is proud to announce that there will be no charge for newsletter subscriptions between 1 July 2023 and 20 June 2024. The editor suggests that you use this holiday to encourage some new subscribers. Email with their names.
SOFiA AGM Talk on Bob Marley now on Website

John Thornley’s keynote talk on Bob Marley and Rastafari, opened the Zoom AGM held on 2 September 2023. The full text, including eleven pictures, can be downloaded from the SOFiA website. Go to
Lloyd Geering on Israeli-Palestinian Conflicts

The following quotation has new relevance, given the latest war in the Middle East.
As we move into the 21st century, within a process of rapid globalisation, the western world has to learn the hard lesson that, though domination by force may quell violence and appear to restore order, it does not bring peace. That point was made more than 2500 years ago by a prophetic voice that came out of Jerusalem. Jeremiah the prophet proclaimed: “They are saying peace, peace, when there is no peace“. It is not for nothing the Holy Land is regarded as the religious centre of the world by nearly half of humankind. Jerusalem remains to this day a powerful symbol for the world. In many ways, it is a microcosm of the world at large and of the international tensions within it. In particular, there runs through this city the major fault line between two of the earth’s “civilisation plates”, Islam and the West. When we have found a way of establishing peace in the Holy Land, we shall have some chance of creating a stable, global peace.”
Lloyd Geering “Who Owns the Holy Land?” concluding paragraph.
The Editor

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Theologian, Conspiritor, Martyr

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) exploded on to the English-speaking world with the publication of John Robinson’s book Honest to God in 1963. There it was the exploratory thoughts from his Letters and Papers from Prison that held centre stage. Religionless Christianity, man come of age, and the god of the gaps were key concepts. See more…

Merran Flemming

It is with sadness that we learn of the passing of Merran Flemming who suffered a severe stroke three weeks ago. Merran’s health issues have been a huge challenge for her over many years.
Merran joined SOFiA in 1998 and was the coordinator of the Wellington local group for most of this time until the local group went into recess.  She was a regular attender of conferences when her health permitted.
She is survived by her husband Hans Kuiper and three adult children.
Merran will be missed by many.

Inreoducing 'Wounded World and Broken Church' by Keith Rowe
Rev Dr Keith Rowe is a retired minister of the NZ Methodist church. He has served both as President of the national connexion, and Principal at Trinity College tertiary college for ministry training. He served the church in Sydney for some years, then briefly at St Lukes, Remuera, before retirement in Hawkes Bay. His book, published in 2022, is a collection of sermons, all based on the lectionary reading for Sunday.
On 23 July this year I led the service at Wesley Broadway, Palmerston North, taking the book title as my worship theme. John Thornley  See more...

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