Greetings. I hope that all is as well as can be with you, your family and your friends and neighbours.
This week I’ve managed to speak to about half the UK-based congregation by telephone and I hope to have contacted the other half by the end of the week. If you have not heard from me by then, and would like to be on the telephone list, please do call and/or send me an email to make sure I have your telephone number. I am leaving messages of greeting if you are not in and will try again but please don’t hesitate to ring back to have a natter at any time (my landline and mobile numbers are below).
Thinking about how best to continue to encourage, if not quite corporate worship/prayer/meditation etc. then at least something genuinely shared, it struck me that our evening service of mindful meditation might be the most appropriate thing to make available online at this particularly challenging and undoubtedly stressful time. To this end, this afternoon, I recorded the whole service in a single, forty-six minute take, exactly as I would usually conduct it on a Sunday evening and below you will find links to both the order of service and an mp3 file. Not ‘cinéma vérité’ but ‘méditation de pleine conscience vérité’!
Before you begin you need to have the order of service printed up (your bits are in bold type), to be seated on a comfortable chair in a quiet (enough) room, a single candle to light at the same time as I light one at the beginning of the recording and, lastly, a nightlight (or two) if you wish to light a candle of joy and concern of your own after I have lit two on the recording: one for all of you, your family and friends and also one for all the essential key workers upon whom we are always are so dependent and grateful.
I hope that this service may prove of some help over the next few weeks, not only to the regular attenders of the evening service, but also those who usually attend the morning service.
If anyone fancies it I would also be happy to host a weekly, 45 minute Zoom version of the Epicurean Gatherings that we have occasionally held at the church over the past seven years (link here for more information on those). I suggest we do this on Wednesdays between 7.30 and 8.15pm.
Current events convince me more than ever that Epicurus’ naturalistic philosophy (in a modern, retro-fitted form as suggested by Luke Slattery: Epicurus: Taking Pleasure Seriously), along with a modern reading of his greatest follower, the poet Lucretius, is the best, truest and most reasonable and relevant and philosophy available to us in our own times. Anyway, here is a link to the Epicurean Gathering that I’ll be using to frame what I hope will be some very relaxed, convivial and helpful philosophical conversations. If you are interested in giving this a go then please email me via the contact tab above right or email address below). I’ll send out a Zoom invitation with a very short introductory reading next Wednesday morning (1st April) to all those who get in touch.
For a brief, very general introduction to Epicurus’ thought from my own pen, below is a link to the texts of five, very brief, talks I gave for the Sunday, ‘Thought for the Day’ spot on BBC Radio Cambridgshire a year-and-a-half ago.
That’s all for now. Please be in touch if you need to speak. Until we speak and/or meet again, go well one and all.