We're delighted that (Rev) Andy Pakula, from New Unity Unitarians has graciously agreed to do a talk for us this month, so we can find out more about Unitarianism and why some atheists are unitarians. Andy will be discussing "what is an 'atheist religion'. He'll ask what it is and whether there is a place for it in the 21st century. I'm sure we will give him a friendly LAAG welcome, as well as asking frank questions! Andy has an interesting background ...
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Andy Pakula is a Unitarian minister, a scientist, and an atheist.
Born in the US, Andy spent the first several decades of his life training to be a biologist and then working in the biotechnology industry.
Around midlife, with no less antipathy toward irrational belief, but with an increasing interest in the power of community, he found himself part of a Unitarian congregation - a place where questioning is almost a religious obligation. Feeling at home in that good-focused and god-optional environment, Andy became increasingly keen to use his talents in service of such communities. He began training to become a Unitarian minister and began his first ministry at New Unity in north London when he and his family moved to London in 2006. He continues to serve New Unity, which is now a thriving and diversity community of people intent on helping each other and working to make the world a better place.
£5 non members/ non RSVP'd members
£3 LAAG/CLHG members, £2 NUS (if RSVP'd)
People who are no shows more than twice in a year (from 10/9/13) will not be eligible for discount, so please update RSVP's ;-) RSVP facility will close automatically, at 17:00 on the day of the event.
★★★ If you have a genuine issue after that time, or are a 'maybe' for some reason etc., just please LET US KNOW in the comment boxes below & that'll be no problem ★★★
This is guide only & we won't be draconican in the case of occasional slip-ups, illness etc so don't worry!... but people just showing up or no shows makes organising difficult (& possibly denies others from attending fully booked events) so we do ask for this small courtesy, please.
19:00- 19:20 General arrival upstairs (please get drinks and order any food DOWNSTAIRS first)
19:30 Discussion /Talk starts PROMPTLY, till latest 21:30 (but flexible)
Social time, drinks & nibbles, till 22:30
From the New Unity website:
In the Western world, we expect religion to be defined by belief and by scripture. We are most familiar with a kind of religion that begins with “I believe” and then everything else flows from that.
Unitarians are different. We define our religion by the kind of people we want to be, by the work we do for others, and by the communities we create and sustain. When people of open heart and open mind unite in community to share their stories, their beliefs, their joys and their sorrows, what emerges is a spirituality that comes from deep within - a spirituality that is more felt and immediate and personally relevant than anything that can be written or taught.
Unitarianism nurtures each one of us to grow toward wholeness and connection and unites us to do the hard and essential work of creating a better world.
We affirm and promote:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;The goal of free, just, and peaceful world community;Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
QUESTIONS MAY INCLUDE:
- For atheist unitarians, why bother with religion at all?
- How does unitarianism differ from humanism, in essence?
- Feel free to add your own questions or comments in the comments boxes below (these comments boxes are for pre and post event discussion TO DO WITH THIS PARTICULAR MEETUP - please use the forum to start discussions about anything else)
Though these midweek events are usually structured talks/debates/discussions, they are nevertheless fairly informal; so the bar is usually open upstairs in the break and feel free to order food and have it during the event (simple but pretty good we've been told).
We start the discussion promptly at 19:30. As a courtesy to others, please try to turn up by 19:20 ... if at all possible :-) If a late arrival can't be helped, no worries, just come in quietly :-)
The usual end time for discussion is 21:30pm, but this is flexible if people want to continue with the discussion, and usually we have some social time afterwards until 10:30pm (or until the pub closes!)
The meetup fee either goes towards costs of running the group, including where applicable, equipment, room, prizes, nibbles etc, or towards specific campaigns and causes when we can cover other costs.