Invitations from Stephanie Dowrick


Auckland sacred service 10 April. Sydney sacred service 17 April.  One-day writing course, Sydney, 11 June.

Dear Universal Heart Network friends

If you are in or near either Auckland or Sydney, I would love to see you at one of the above services. The service in Auckland is usually led by my wonderful friend and sister minister Hilary Star, and we have felt very happy preparing this service together. We have jointly prepared the liturgy and I will give a talk, plus a guided meditation, with the gorgeous theme of Re-finding Joy.  I wrote this sentence to introduce the service:

Joy is vital to our spiritual and emotional wellbeing and while it may sometimes feel far from us, it’s the patient reclaiming of joy that lets us heal most honestly, growing always in appreciation and trust.

In her skilled and deeply thoughtful way, Hilary found these lines from Seeking the Sacred – which may also be of support to those who can’t be with us:

Learning and learning again from what goes well, from what heals, what lifts spirits, what effectively lights actual or metaphorical candles in the darkness, what restores hope, trust, delight, compassion, consolation, and joy.  This is not, I think, best discovered through dogma, “belief” or instructions from others: it is learned through daily, personal experience…through open-minded, committed reflection on those experiences – and through your open-heartedness, humility and courage. It is learned through seeing with clear eyes what works and what does not; what lifts spirits and what lowers them: what harms and what benefits; what adds to the world’s joy and what takes joy away.

(Seeking the Sacred is widely available as a book, e-book, and as an audio book; the audio is available as MP3 or CDs from Bolinda Publishers.) My feeling is strong that “joy” – or openness, hope, at least some lightness of spirit – is a choice that has to be made repeatedly. And with determined courage in times of adversity. It also doesn’t shut out vulnerability and sorrow. In fact, when joy is at least a possibility, we can bring greater self-compassion to those other real feelings, plus we can more genuinely receive from others (or from inner inspiration) what we most need.

I don’t think that I have shared with you yet the link for a talk I gave some weeks ago on the “Right View”, the first of Buddhism’s Eightfold Path (path to enlightenment…or “waking up”…as distant as that usually feels!!). There are now many different talks available via InterfaithinSydney YouTube. This one is not directly about joy, but it does open up some ideas about choice, and what we are doing and could be doing with our minds. I so hope it’s helpful. 

Details follow for the services. Here, too, is a link for the only writing course for new students that I have planned for this year. It’s one day on fluency and insight, offered through the delightful Faber Academy. Fine for committed writers at all levels prepared to be adventurous (what writer isn’t?!). That’s on 11 June. Numbers strictly limited to allow for maximum individual attention. Again, Sydney. (Sorry!!)   I will be in Bendigo for some pretty exciting events in August. (Does that cover Victoria?!)  More later. Plus we have our radiant retreat at Mana in New Zealand end Sept/early October and bookings for that cannot be left to the last minute. I missed the Easter Retreat so much and long to be at Mana again later in the year. (Easter Retreat at Mana will return, of course, in 2017.) Booking and retreat details:

Auckland service: 10 April, 6pm, Subud Hall, 19 Formby Avenue, Point Chevalier, Auckland. Starts at 6pm but please come earlier if possible. (Hilary leads these spiritually inclusive services each 2nd Sunday of the month.)

Sydney service: 17 April, 3pm. Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney. Nearest cross street is Park. Please come earlier if possible as we must start promptly. Always profoundly inclusive teachings, music, friendship.

Prayers with all. Loving wishes with all. Peace in your hearts. Deep and lasting peace in our troubled world.  Stephanie Dowrick