Will there be another Martin Luther?
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the events which led to the Reformation of Western Christianity. Recollections
of the protest by the German Catholic monk, Martin Luther, on 31 October 1517 invite us to remember how events have
unfolded since then, and how religion and spirituality are evolving in our time. One of the questions being asked is
whether such an event might, or ought to happen again. Another question is “what are today’s reforming imperatives?”
The future of the Christian community of faith in the West does not look good – shrinking congregations, closing
churches, money and sex scandals, declining knowledge of what Christianity invites its members to do – in contrast with
what they are required to believe.
The non-sectarian religious discussion group “Sea of Faith” was founded in the UK in the late 1980s and has flourished
also in New Zealand since then. This year’s annual Conference bearing the theme ‘Reformation 2.0’ is to be held at
Silverstream, near Wellington from 6 to 8 November. It will consider what new spiritual reformations are needed in our
time which might enable us to face cultural and ethical issues that were simply not present in previous centuries. In
short, “What needs to be discarded, challenged, or radically renewed?”
Because the focus is on Reformation, our Conference is focussed on Christianity, a specific path of faith, in contrast
with our usual generic approach to matters of faith. The Conference offers a dialogue which invites thoughts not so much
of mere re-furbishment of Christianity but of the potential for wholesale renovation.
Major speakers at the Conference will include New Zealand’s premier theologian, Professor Sir Lloyd Geering; Hal
Taussig, author and member of the American religious scholarship group ‘Westar Institute’; Rachael Kohn, an
award-winning presenter of religious programmes for the ABC in Australia; and Sue Bradford, a social and economic
activist and former Green Party politician.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Conference (in full or in part), and can expect to listen to stimulating lectures and
are invited to take part in invigorating discussions. Full details, including the Registration Form, are available on
the website at www.sof.org.nz
Noel Cheer (firstname.lastname@example.org
), for Sea of Faith New Zealand.