Universal Heart Network (invitations) & Book Club

Dear Universal Heart friends

Interfaith service, Sydney, THIS Sunday 21 April, 3pm  *Book Club news including Anne Deveson’s new book  * Retreat at Mana  * Links to supportive talks and articles  *  Bookstore support  * A beautiful prayer of appreciation for this day.


Welcome to this month’s Universal Heart Newsletter – and to Book Club news also. And if you are near or in Sydney this Sunday please also know how very welcome you would be at this month’s interfaith service. It’s special and rather sad because Ian Pearson, minister at Pitt Street, is leaving after 10 years, and after seven years committed involvement with our services there. We are celebrating those years with even more music than usual, and a hugely uplifting theme and readings. Everyone is welcome – and do take a minute to pass this invitation on to others.  (Details of the service at the end of this newsletter.) I notice people always leave feeling lighter and uplifted. And oh how badly we all need that.
It’s been my impression, from the news and from social media, that the painful, painful events at the Boston marathon have renewed for so many of us a determination to live appreciatively every day. That inspired my choice of prayer at the end of this newsletter. Just as crucially, it is a reminder how imperative it is to keep up our peace making efforts so that small as well as great acts of violence become a thing of the past. Is that a pipe-dream?  I don’t believe so. It does, though, take people committing individually as well as collectively to a life of peace, justice and care…the very values we promote, think about and share here at the Universal Heart Network. That confidence is also shared in Waging Peace, a new memoir from the wonderful Anne Deveson which is my choice for this month’s Universal Heart Book Club.
Anne covers some of the same themes that I wrote about in Seeking the Sacred, but of course her stories and many of her reference points are very different. She’s an absorbing story-teller and in a long life has much to reflect upon. She does it wonderfully well and I commend her book to you.  (My co-host Walter Mason has chosen such a different book: The Divinity of Dogs – which some of you will adore!)
I’d love you to visit the Book Club regularly. There are now many choices to guide you towards books worth reading – and for those of you keen to write there are articles that support that, including one this month from Sophie Masson on “Authors Unlimited” a new e-publishing initiative from the Australian Society of Authors. Through the Book Club or directly you can effectively support this Network by buying virtually any book through the “Stephanie Dowrick Bookstore” which is a far from glamorous website, but is well run by Collins/Seek. All books are discounted, and each book sold returns a small % which is our sole support for this Network. As always, I send heartfelt thanks to those of you who are choosing this way of buying your books – it really helps.
This year’s Easter Retreat which ended earlier this month was particularly lovely. If you had considered it but missed it know that I will be teaching again at the wonderful Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel, New Zealand, from 3-6, 6-9 October. The three additional days are for those who want extra time, silence, rest and reflection. I cannot begin to describe to you how effectively a retreat helps our inner peace-making – where outer peace-making must always start.  It is also a profoundly refreshing way to spend time with other people – and yourself.  Please enquire now, even though it is some months away. The retreats fill and I always want there to be places for Universal Heart Networkers.  Shuttles or ferry available from Auckland. Mana can help organise that.  Retreat details and booking at their website:  web address is http://www.manaretreat.com  Telephone: (NZ) 07 866 8972.

       A reminder, too, that if you can’t get to Sydney for the services, then at least catch up with the talks that are on the interfaithinsydney YouTube channel. The most recent talk was on the theme of inner riches and spiritual abundance. For more frequent support you an of course also visit my website or Facebook.  And you don’t need to have a Facebook page to visit and enjoy! Your thoughtfulness in using and sharing these resources makes the time they absorb so worthwhile. Some of you may be particularly interested in an article I have posted, sharing Buddhist nun Robina Courtin’s provocative, very useful words about anger.  Anger drives and justifies so much violence. We have to challenge the countless excuses we make for it…and watch for it closely in our own minds and hearts. (Yes, a flash of anger sometimes creates a necessary boundary or full-stop…as a way of living it is never helpful.)
Details follow in full for this Sunday’s interfaith service. Plus a most beautiful verse from the yogic tradition. I’d love you also to take a quiet moment to think who might benefit from your sharing of any part of this email.
And, to close, a quiet moment to wish you peace of mind, love and laughter in the month ahead.

Stephanie Dowrick

 Interfaith Service, this Sunday 21 April  2013, 3pm
 These services are genuinely inclusive and may meet your needs for a time of peace and renewal. We offer readings and reflections from different traditions, shared prayers and brief meditations, a short inspirational talk and always beautiful music. This Sunday we farewell dear Rev Ian Pearson, and will also host Reverend Hilary Star from Auckland Interfaith community.  Details: Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney 2000. Nearest cross Street is Park. Some street parking available. Excellent public transport (nr Town Hall). We do ask you to arrive a little before 3pm as we must start promptly. The service is about 75 minutes with tea and coffee afterwards for those who can stay. You can also join the community singing with Sydney Sings director Liz Lecoanet at 1.15-2.15pm (before the service). A lovely treat.

In New Zealand?  Similar services are offered at the Subud Centre, 19 Formby Ave, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, NZ, each 2nd Sunday at 5pm (new time), led by my dear colleague and friend, Reverend Hilary Star. To join the mailing list contact Patsy Sim psim@orcon.net.nz

Look to this day. For it is life.
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence.
The bliss of growth.
The splendor of action.
The glory of power.
For yesterday is now a dream.
Tomorrow is just a vision.
But today, when lived well, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness.
And every tomorrow, a vision of hope.