The Latest Issue

The latest issue of Faith and Freedom (Autumn and Winter 2023, Number 197) is now available.

Our cover picture contains a cartoon from the Manchester Evening Chronicle of 26 January 1911 and features Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust, shown here trying to save some oaks on the bank of Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District. It links to Graham Murphy's review article of a new biography by Michael Allen and Rosalind Rawnsley - Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, An Extraordinary Life, 1851-1920, (The New Beaver Press, 2023, pp 476. ISBN 978-1-7392194-1-3, £20 pbk.) The cartoon is strangely appropriate for the present moment because it is also being used by campaigners trying to keep the public road open to walkers, cyclists and motorists. The Canon was not successful in his attempts in 1911 and the conifers which replaced the oaks now regularly blow down and block the road.

This issue opens with Sandra Gilpin's pen portrait on the Rev William Hugh Doherty (c.1810-1890). His career began as the first minister of the Unitarian/Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Comber county Down. He moved to the United States and embarked upon an unusual career firstly as a Unitarian minister in Rochester NY then moving to a denomination known as the 'Christian Church' where he became quite a prominent educator. But the suggestion of some scandal was never far away and he managed to serve on both sides of the Civil War as well as hold views at different times that were both pro and anti slavery. His career ended with him becoming an assistant in the US Patent Office.

Other articles include Imran Usmani's fascinating discussion of 'The Crucifixion of Jesus in Islam'. Looking afresh at the traditional Muslim view of the Crucifixion the author presents 'novel textual and contextual analysis of the Crucifixion Verse based on the Quran and traditional Muslim sources' and concludes that the traditional view is actually a misunderstanding of the original intention. I conclude that the Quran does not deny the historical fact of the Crucifixion of Jesus, rather the Quran denies that the Crucifixion was rightful. The author believes that 'Crucifixion denial in the Muslim tradition created a chasm between Muslims and Christians because it made both parties sceptical of the other's scriptures.' His aim is to help bridge this chasm that divides the two religions.

Other articles include Dan C. West's encouragement to Christians to turn from 'preoccupation with the past to focus instead on the future is a courageous act of faith and hope', in 'With Courage and With Hope'; and a sermon by the editor, 'Telling Our Stories', which asks whether those of us in a liberal theological tradition fully understand and articulate our identities.

There is also a good number of reviews including:

Maria Curtis (ed.), Cherishing the Earth – Nourishing the Spirit, Lindsey Press, 2023, pp 264. ISBN: 978-0-85319-098-1, £12.00 pbk. Reviewed by Oscar Sinclair.

Stephen Hart, James Chuter Ede: Humane Reformer and Politician, Pen and Sword History, 2021, pp 352. ISBN 978-1-52678-372-1, £25.00, hbk. Reviewed by Derek McAuley.

George D. Chryssides and Dan Cohn-Sherbok (eds.), The Covid Pandemic and the World's Religions. Bloomsbury Academic, 2023, pp 256. ISBN 978-1-3503-4963-6, £19.95 pbk, £65.00 hbk. Reviewed by Marcus Braybrooke.

Marcus Braybrooke, Interfaith Pioneers 1893-1939. The Legacy of the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, Braybrooke Press, 2023, pp 118. ISBN 9798392406180, £9.95 pbk.
Marcus Braybrooke, Jewish Friends and Neighbours. An Introduction for Christians, Braybrooke Press, 2023, pp 367. ISBN 979-8397750776, £19.95, pbk. Both reviewed by the Editor.

Faith and Freedom (Spring and Summer 2023, Number 196).

The cover picture features a collection of shackles used on slaves in Elmina Castle, Ghana, a photograph taken by Aidan McQuade who contributes our first article – Ireland – slavery and anti-slavery.

Aidan McQuade is a former director of Anti-Slavery International and has worked extensively in development and humanitarian operations, including leading Oxfam GB's emergency responses to the civil war in Angola from 1996 to 2001. He writes of the horrors of the slave trade looking through the lens of Irish involvement and noting also those individuals who contributed to anti-slavery activism in the eighteenth century.

He writes:

"Over hundreds of years slavery devastated the African interior as wars and raids, encouraged by the European powers, kidnapped millions of people, many of them children, to feed the demand from the Americas for human beings who could and would be worked to death to produce cash crops, mostly for European markets.

As with today, it is easy to ignore the exploitation that occurs within the political economy – the systems that govern business, trade and employment – when the are concealed far away from us.

So, when it was first brought to public attention by Thomas Clarkson, the image of the Brookes ship shocked the world. It presented in stark detail a visceral reality of the slave trade: how slaves would be packed like sardines into the holds of the slave ships. Clarkson's friend and comrade in the anti-slavery struggle Olaudah Equiano had direct personal experience of being treated as this sort of cargo and he described it in his auto-biography":

...we were all put under deck …The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome, … but now that the whole ship's cargo were confined together, it became absolutely pestilential. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, … almost suffocated us. … many died, …. This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the [latrine buckets], into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable… Every circumstance I met with served only to render my state more painful, and heighten my apprehensions, and my opinion of the cruelty of the whites.

John Maxwell Kerr, is a founder member of the Society of Ordained Scientists. His paper, originally given at Harris Manchester College, examines The Search for Meaning in Nature. It is a wide-ranging and deep study using the author's knowledge of science and religion, incorporating all the riches of literature and poetry, and reaching a surprising conclusion.

Barrie Needham's article on 'De-churching' or To the church no more looks at patterns of belief and church attendance in the twenty-first century. What can churches do to overcome these tendencies, what to they need to offer?

We have an inspiring sermon by Frank Walker, Outlooks on life that still challenge and encourage us, and Graham Murphy provides a review article and essay on Matthew Teller's valuable book Nine Quarters of Jerusalem, A new Biography of the Old City, which gives such insight to this troubled city, he writes:

In his book about the Old City he describes a place we can visualise, though we may never have been there. We see in our minds eye a golden Dome set within castellated walls as if true to the plans in history books and illustrated bibles. How we imagine Jerusalem is freighted with biblical notions which Teller's book tends to undermine with doses of reality. He draws our attention to lesser-known aspects of the city's past and finds himself fascinated by the religious rituals. He interviews the people who live and work beside the pilgrim routes and sacred sites. He shows us how they regard their city, how they cope with its recurrent crises and the lack of rights for the majority who live there.

And as ever we are blessed by some wonderful reviews. In this issue we feature:

Facing up to Climate Change Mike Berners-Lee, There Is No Planet B - A Handbook for the Make or Break Years. Cambridge University Press, 2021 (updated edition) pp 316. ISBN 9781108821575, £9.99 pbk. Gaia Vince, Nomad Century - How to Survive the Climate Upheaval. Allen Lane, 2022, pp 260. ISBN 9780241522318, £20.00 hbk. Greta Thunberg, The Climate Book. Allen Lane, 2022, pp 446. ISBN 9780241547472, £25.00 hbk. Reviewed by Professor David A. Williams

A 'warts and all' attention to church history John W. Nelson, A Short History of the Non-Subscribing Church of Ireland including sketches of individual congregations and a Fasti of ministers who served in them, published by The Rev Dr J.W. Nelson, 2022, pp 420, ISBN 9781739978501, £15 hbk. Reviewed by Philip Blair

Praying to an 'unknowable God' Bert Hoedemaker, Never-Ending Prayer – A Case for the Christian Tradition. The Lutterworth Press, 2022, pp 136. ISBN: 978 07188 96027, pbk £20. Reviewed by Jim Corrigall


Eavesdropping on fascinating conversations Philip Allott, The Music of Time: Twenty-Four Fables for Today, Matador, 2022, pp 408. ISBN 9781803132228, £7.99 pbk. Reviewed by Frank Walker

Faith and Freedom Volume 75, Part 1, Spring and Summer 2022, Number 194

Our lead article is Howard Oliver's examination of the remarkable career of John Tyndall and his influence on the relationship between science and religion. An outstanding physicist and an excellent lecturer he was also a glaciologist and an experienced mountaineer. Howard Oliver shows that by the 1840s he was a religious freethinker who had explored the role of faith in society in some depth. In 1847 his address in Belfast as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science caused a furore and opened up the debate about the relationship between religion and science, especially in the light of Darwin's theory of evolution. Our cover picture depicts his portrait from the cover of Vanity Fair in 1872.

We are delighted too to be able include articles by:

Paul Richards, on the spiritual dimension of the works of Richard Wagner which looks at Wagner and anti-Semitism, myth and religious symbolism, Tristran & Isolde, the Ring Cycle, and Parsifal.

Ann Peart, on the response of Unitarians to ministering during the pandemic, an examination of the imaginative and creative ways in which Unitarian ministers have developed new forms of worship and activity during the Covid-19 crisis.

Feargus O'Connor, on the Unitarian contribution to Animal Welfare, by a well-known advocate for human rights who leads the only annual interfaith celebration of animals in the UK.

And Robert Oulton, on the theology and works of Cynthia Bourgeault, an intriguing Episcopalian theologian and priest who is also an expert in mysticism.

We continue to carry some fine reviews including:

Religious Experience its nature, validity, forms and problems by Principal J. Ernest Davey MA DD, with a Foreword by John, Lord Alderdice.

Author and playwright Philip Orr on a new book of writings by Principal J. Ernest Davey (the leading Irish Presbyterian scholar of the twentieth century, Principal of the main Irish Presbyterian theological college, who was accused of heresy) edited by Lord Alderdice, now Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College.

Mona Siddiqui, Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, one of the leaders of the inter-faith movement in Britain, on Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, the 2016 Gifford Lectures by Mona Siddiqui published last year.

Steven Pinker, Rationality: what it is, why it seems scarce, why it matters.

Professor David Williams on the place of rationality in human life according to Steven Pinker's new book.

Daniel Costley, Life's Journey Creating Unitarian Rites of Passage

The editor's discussion of Daniel Costley's Lindsey Press book on constructing special services.

Faith and Freedom (Volume 24 Part 2, Autumn and Winter 2021, Number 193)

Articles include:

Pandita Ramabai: Herald of Liberty by Margot Stevenson
Margot Stevenson gives fascinating examination of the life and achievements of Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922): 'Hindu reformer, scholar and educator, feminist and Christian'. Her religious affiliation changed during her lifetime, but while she became a Christian she was far from being an advocate for proselytism. Both a scholar and an activist she taught in the United States and United Kingdom and also set up schools in India. Although a convert she did not abandon her Hindu culture and Indian forms. Within Christianity she changed direction a few times and was linked to Unitarians for a time. Most of all she was defined by an ardent desire to ameliorate the lot of women, girls and widows in Indian society and would go to great lengths to personally rescue young girls who had been married as children were subsequently widowed and faced a life of misery as a result. Her article also includes a number of illustrations of Ramabai and her work, a person who, in the words of Margot Stevenson, still 'exudes a mysterious charisma', almost a century after her death.

The Idea of Progress in Religion by Barrie Needham
Barrie Needham asks about the idea of progress in religion (a very pertinent question for our journal since Faith and Freedom has described itself as 'a journal of progressive religion' since it was instituted in 1947). Truth, discovery about God, moral norms, a fulfilling life - how do we define a progressive religion?

How Do We Become Human? By Esther R. Suter
Esther Suter is a journalist and ordained pastor in the Swiss Evangelical Church. She writes about 'How do we become human?' in the context of Fritz Buri (1907-1995) one of the most prominent liberal theologians in Europe in the twentieth century. An active member of the IARF with many close associations with Unitarians, Fritz Buri was a disciple of Albert Schweitzer who developed and extended his theology om his long career.

The ethics of transition. Crisis of identity and authority in Central and Eastern Europe by Csaba Tódor
Csaba Tódor, a Unitarian minister and educator in Transylvania, looks at the difficulties experiences by churches behind what was once the 'iron curtain' as they transition and their societies transition from the centrally planned, authoritarian system of the Communist era to the market-led liberal democracies of the present era.

Christ's fury in the Jerusalem Temple at Passover, and the problem of vicarious sacrifice by Helena Fyfe Thonemann
Helena Fyfe Thonemann gives us her exegesis of 'Christ's fury in the Jerusalem Temple at Passover, and the problem of vicarious sacrifice' which looks at the meaning of communion in the context of replacing the covenant of the Old Testament.

Books Reviewed

Andy Bannister, Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?, Inter-Varsity Press, 2021, pp. 188, ISBN 978-1-78974-229-9, £9.99.

Brian Holley, The God I Left Behind. A journey from fundamentalism to faith, petitvergerpublications@gmail.com, 2020, pp 187, ISBN979- 8674965299, Amazon £8 plus postage.

David Steers, The Rev Samuel Haliday (1685-1739): scholar, army chaplain, court lobbyist and Presbyterian minister, Belfast, Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, Mini Biography Series No 22, 2021, pp 40, ISBN 978-1-9996893-2-2, £3.

Mary Stewart A guide to the notable grave inscriptions in the First Presbyterian (NS) Church, Downpatrick (2021) ISBN 978-1-9993154- 1-2, £3.

Faith and Freedom Spring and Summer 2021, (Volume 74, Part 1) Number 192

Articles include:

Unitarianism in New Zealand: Essay and Review by GRAHAM MURPHY
An extended essay and review of the second edition of Wayne Facer's book A Vision Splendid: The Influential Life of William Jellie, A British Unitarian in New Zealand.

The commemoration of three Ulster Unitarians who died at the Somme by COLIN WALKER
Three young Ulstermen, all the sons of the influential local businessmen. Dr Walker looks at their faith, their backgrounds and their legacy.

Incarnation: the Supernaturalist Story and the Humanitarian Story by FRANK WALKER
How do we discern the Divine in human life so often characterized by violence and hatred?

An Appearance of William Ellery Channing: A Chautauqua Performance by F. KEVIN MURPHY
William Ellery Channing looks back on his life

Books Reviewed:

Martin Camroux (foreword by David R. Peel), Keeping Alive the Rumor of God: When Most People are Looking the Other Way, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 2020, pp 204, ISBN 978-1-7252-6241-6, £20 pbk. Reviewed by BOB JANIS DILLON

Bert Clough, Dancing with Mortality: Reflections of a Lapsed Atheist, Bert Clough, Newbury, England, 2020, pp 111, ISBN 978-1-8381695- 0-3, £10 pbk. Reviewed by JIM CORRIGALL

Marcus Braybrooke, Meeting Jewish Friends and Neighbours, Marcus Braybrooke, 17 Courtiers Green, Abingdon, OX14 3EN, marcusbraybrooke4@gmail.com, 2020, pp 225, ISBN 9798564270243, £12.50 post free. Reviewed by PETER GODFREY

Faith and Freedom, Autumn and Winter 2020, (Volume 73, Part 2) Number 191, is now available.

This issue includes:

Geography, History, and the Inner Light: Decorating a Unitarian Church in Central Pennsylvania, 1899 – 1932 by EMILY KLENIN

Professor Emily Klenin shares her research into a unique Unitarian Universalist Church building in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Blending theological knowledge with artistic appreciation and considerable technical knowledge she gives a brilliant account of this remarkable building.

Is anybody out there? by DAVID A. WILLIAMS

Distinguished astronomer Professor David Williams examines the most recent research into the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe.

Coronavirus, conspiracy theories and paranoia by CHARLES STEWART

Dr Stewart looks at how the current outbreak of Covid-19 began and ties this in with various conspiracies and fears.

Sebastian Castellio, the Pioneer of Toleration by FRANK WALKER

Including a discussion of the role played by Michael Servetus.

'A Sincere Communion of Souls': Unitarians in Oxford 130 years ago by CATHERINE ROBINSON

The story of how the Unitarian congregation was founded in Oxford, a place then viewed by some Unitarians as 'a bastion of conformity and orthodoxy'.

Books Reviewed:

Alastair McIntosh, Riders on the Storm: The Climate Crisis and the Survival of Being, Birlinn, Edinburgh, 2020, pp 209, ISBN 978-1-78027-639-7, £9.99 pbk. Reviewed by JIM CORRIGALL

Guy Shrubsole, Who Owns England? How We Lost Our Green & Pleasant Land & How to Take it Back, William Collins, London 2019, pp 364, ISBN 978-0-00832167-3, £20 hbk. Reviewed by JIM CORRIGALL

John Barton, A History of the Bible: A Book and its Faiths, Allen Lane, London, 2019, pp xvii+613, ISBN 978-0-241-00391-6, £25 hbk, £12.99 pbk. Reviewed by ALAN DEACON

Gladys Ganiel and Jamie Yohanis, Considering Grace. Presbyterians and the Troubles, Merrion Press, Newbridge, 2019, pp 264, ISBN 9781785372896. £15.99 pbk. Reviewed by DAVID STEERS

Spring and Summer issue 2020 of Faith and Freedom,(Volume 73, Part 1) issue 190

Articles include:

Sacred Stories by MARGOT STEVENSON
Exploring the intersection between individual stories of the sacred and the canonical stories of religious traditions.

Civility in Public Life – can it be restored? by Rabbi Baroness JULIA NEUBERGER
The Vincent Strudwick lecture on Religion in Public Life delivered in Oxford in November 2019.

The Sovereignty of Good and the Kingdom of God – a view from the hospital waiting-room by FRANK WALKER
The Rev Frank Walker gives a very personal and moving account of his response to his late wife's cancer diagnosis and ties that in to Iris Murdoch and 'The Sovereignty of Good'.

Spiritual modelling with the Findhorn Foundation by RALPH CATTS
Ralph Catts considers spirituality as the means of making meaning in life and providing the framework for social action and finds synergy within the practices of the Findhorn Foundation and Unitarian communities.

Images of Gertrude von Petzold by DAVID STEERS
The editor looks at images of the Rev Gertrude von Petzold, the first woman minister of an organised denomination in Britain who began her ministry in Leicester in 1904.

Books reviewed:

Both Here, and Beyond

Stephen Lingwood, Seeking Paradise: A Unitarian Mission For Our Times, Lindsey Press, London 2020, pp 142, ISBN 978-085319-094-3. £10.00 pbk. Reviewed by JIM CORRIGALL. [The full text of this review can be read in the Archives section of this website].

The fountain of sweet and bitter water

Ann Peart (ed.), Unitarian Women. A Legacy of Dissent, Lindsey Press, London, 2019, pp 241. ISBN number is: 978-0-85319-092-9. £10 pbk. Reviewed by MÁRIA PAP.

'A time when new life will break through'

Marjorie Dobson, Unravelling the Mysteries, Stainer & Bell, London, 2019, pp 165. ISBN 978-0-85249-959-7. £15.95 ppk. Reviewed by STEPHANIE BISBY.

The Dean of the Interfaith Movement

Helen Hobbin, Afternoon Tea with Mary and Marcus, Braybrooke Press, Abingdon, OX14 3EN, www.lulu.com, 2019, pp 154, ISBN 978-0-244-96888-5, £12.95. Reviewed by PETER B. GODFREY.

The Gospels, spirituality and photography

Peter Brain, The Knowable God, Circle Books, Alresford, 2019, pp 143. ISBN 978 1 78904 1057. £12.99 pbk. Reviewed by LENA COCKROFT.

N. Micklem, On the Lookout, Matador, Kibworth Beauchamp, 2019 (9, Priory Business Park, Wistow Road, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire LE8 0RX), pp.45. ISBN. 978 1789017 519. £7.99. Reviewed by LENA COCKROFT.

Philip J. Richter, Spirituality in Photography, Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 2017, pp. 120. ISBN 978-0-232-53293-7. £9.99 pbk. Reviewed by LENA COCKROFT.

Christianismi Restitutio

L. Goldstone, N. Goldstone, Out of the flames, Broadway Books, New York, 2002, pp 368. ISBN: 978-0-7679-0837-5. $24.95. Reviewed by BARRIE NEEDHAM.

Interfaith worship and prayer

Christopher Lewis and Dan Cohn-Sherbok (eds.), Interfaith Worship and Prayer. We Must Pray Together. With a Foreword by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London and Philadelphia, 2019, pp.296. ISBN 978 1 78592 120 9. £19.99 pbk. Reviewed by DAVID STEERS

Autumn and Winter issue 2019 of Faith and Freedom,(Volume 72, Part 2) issue 189

Articles include:

T.E. Lawrence and God by Howard Oliver

An engrossing study of the evolution of the religious thought of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), of one of the most enigmatic and complicated public figures of the twentieth century.

The Story of Silent Night by Andrew Page
The true story of the transmission and translation of the famous carol Silent Night, uncovering its three 'lost' verses and giving an entirely new and faithful translation of the hymn first sung at the bicentenary service held last year in Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel Warrington.

Romantic Religion by Tim Clancy
What do we mean by God and how do we understand God. "In so far as we recognize God's loving recognition of us, we come to participate ever more intimately and ever more fully in God's own power, the power of being itself. In this way God can be said to actively relate to us without determining us."

Barbara Ward and this Journal: 'Faith and Freedom' by Dan C. West
The writings of the late Barbara Ward which share similarities of ethos as well as of name with the journal.

In the Interim by Sue Norton
Exploring being in the interim.

Books reviewed:

Liberal faith beyond Utopian dreams

Nancy McDonald Ladd, After the Good News: Progressive Faith Beyond Optimism, Skinner House Books, Boston 2019, pp 159, ISBN 978-1-55896-828-8. $16.00 pbk.
Reviewed by Jim Corrigall

The 1960s - a new spirituality for a new world

Sam Brewitt-Taylor, Christian Radicalism in the Church of England and the Invention of the British Sixties, 1957-1970; The Hope of a World Transformed, Oxford University Press, 2018 pp 272, ISBN 978-0-19-882700-9, £65, hbk.
Reviewed by Marcus Braybrooke

Climate Crisis - essential reading

Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin, The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene, Pelican (2018), pp 465, ISBN: 978-0-241-28088-1, £8.99
David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future, Allen Lane (2019), pp 310, ISBN: 978-0-241-35521-3, £20.00
James Lovelock with Bryan Appleyard, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence, Allen Lane (2019), pp 139, ISBN: 978-0-241-39936-1, £14.99
Reviewed by David A. Williams

Unitarians and Biblical revision

Alan H. Cadwallader The politics of the Revised Version: a tale of two New Testament revision companies, T & T Clark, 2019, pp. 224, ISBN: 978-0567673466, £85 hbk.

Reviewed by Andrew M. Hill

Clerical corruption in the Vatican
Frederic Martel trans. Shaun Whiteside, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, Bloomsbury, London, 2019, pp.570. ISBN 978-1472966148, £25, hbk.
Reviewed by Frank Walker

Autumn and Winter issue 2018 of Faith and Freedom, Volume 71 Part 2, Number 187.

The front cover has a self-portrait of Edward Lear as the 'Archbishoprick of Canterbury' with his cat Foss which relates to Howard Oliver's article Beyond the Nonsense:Edward Lear and his Writings on Religion and Faith, a rare examination of the religious thought of this unique artist. Other articles include Barrie Needham's exploration of language, reason and faith in Mysteries Too Deep for Words; Dan C. West's For Fear of the New, Missing the God of Surprises looks at how we respond religiously to the destructive contemporary challenges that are emerging in society on both sides of the Atlantic; Frank Walker makes a distinction between 'official' and 'unofficial' Christianity in What has Christianity ever done for us?; and Peter B. Godfrey recounts his experiences and memories of A Theological Student at Oxford 1953 to 1956.

As always the journal is richly supplied with reviews, including two review articles:

Alastair McIntosh, Poacher's Pilgrimage - An Island Journey, Birlinn, Edinburgh, reviewed by Jim Corrigall.

Unitarian Theology II. Papers given at the Unitarian Theology Conference, Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds October 2017. Edited by David Steers. Reviewed by Bob Janis-Dillon.

Derek Guiton A Man that Looks on Glass: Standing up for God in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FeedARead Publishing, 2015, reviewed by Stephen Lingwood.

Rachel Hewitt, A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind, Granta, 2017, reviewed by Ernest Baker.

Jane Shaw, Pioneers of Modern Spirituality: The Neglected Anglican Innovators of a 'Spiritual but not Religious' Age, Darton, Longman and Todd, London 2018, reviewed by Jim Corrigall.

Mike Aquilina and Grace Aquilina, A History of the Church in 100 Objects, Ave Maria Press/Alban Books. Notre Dame/Edinburgh, 2017, reviewed by David Steers.

Simenon Honore, Education for Humanity, Spirit of the Rainbow, 2018, reviewed by Peter B. Godfrey.

Spring and Summer issue 2018 of Faith and Freedom, Volume 71 Part 1, Number 186.

This issue includes the address delivered by David Gyero, deputy Bishop of the Hungarian Unitarian Church, at the dedication of the Religious Freedom Memorial at Torda in Transylvania, Romania, on 13th January, 2018, that is the 450th anniversary of the promulgation of the Edict of Torda, one of the first expressions of religous toleration in European history.

It also includes the full text of Faith Without Certainty in Uncertain Times the Keynote Address given at the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches in April by Paul Rasor. This is a highly pertinent examination of the place of liberal religious thought in the current climate. Among his arguments Dr Rasor stresses reason:

We live in postmodern times where the idea of freedom of conscience might be twisted in a way that supports not the search for truth, but rather denies the possibility of shared truth. Have we liberals, with our emphasis on freedom of conscience, unwittingly contributed to the problem? How do we respond to this?...I think the answer lies in our emphasis on reason. Reason has always been a central feature of our liberal religious faith. At times we may have over-emphasized reason, but that doesn't deny its importance. Historically it was the basis on which our forebears challenged outdated dogmas that did not fit with modern science, for example. Reason also plays an important role in our emphasis on the search for truth and meaning in our lives. In the post-truth society, in contrast, there is no room for reason. Instead of supporting our beliefs, reason now becomes a hindrance to them. This development is a threat not only to liberal faith, but to liberal democracy.

Dr Rasor presents his suggestion of ideals and visions for religious liberals as a way towards progress in society.

Other articles include Helena Fyfe Thonemann's examination of David Hume's essay 'Of Miracles' and Professor James C. Coomer's reflection on Jesus of Nazareth: A Quintessential Humanist:

What do we in the twenty-first century know about Jesus of Nazareth? We only know what his friends said about him. There is no Jesus to know apart from his friends. He comes to us through his friends, or he does not come to us at all. His friends stand between us and him as barriers to the truth, or bearers of the truth. Jesus of Nazareth is quoted as having said that if one wanted to find contentment, one must look within oneself. The existential Jesus is, perhaps, the quintessential humanist.

Faith and Freedom is especially noted for the quality of its reviews of the latest books and this issue contains the following reviews:
Vincent Strudwick (with Jane Shaw), The Naked God: Wrestling for a grace-ful humanity. Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd, London, 2017
Rachel Mann, Fierce Imaginings: The Great War, Ritual, Memory and God, Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, London 2017
both by Jim Corrigall.
Marianne Moyaert and Joris Geldhof, Ritual Participation and Interreligious Dialogue: Boundaries, transgressions and Innovations, Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2016
by Marcus Brabrooke.
Hans le Grand and Tina Geels, It is all about your search for truth and meaning, not about our belief system: a new perspective for religious liberalism, privately published,
Netherlands, 2016. Mark D. Thompson, Colin Bale and Edward Loane, eds., Celebrating the Reformation: its legacy and continuing relevance, Apollos/Inter-Varsity Press, 2017
Wayne Facer, A Vision Splendid: the influential life of William Jellie: a British Unitarian in New Zealand, Blackstone Editions, Toronto, 2017
all by Andrew Hill
A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism, Volume 1 From the Beginning to 1899, Volume 2 From 1900 to the Present, Edited by Dan McKanan, Skinner House Books, Boston, USA, 2017
Gleanings from the Writing of Nicholas Teape, edited by June Teape, privately published, 2013
both by David Steers

Autumn and Winter issue 2017 of Faith and Freedom. Volume 70 Part 2. Number 185.
In the latest issue of Faith and Freedom Professor Emily Klenin breaks new ground with an exploration of the writings of David Delta Evans, the Flintshire-born son of a miner who went on to become a Unitarian minister, printer, editor of the Christian Life, novelist and poet in English and Welsh. Emily looks in detail at his 1913 novel Daniel Evelyn, Heretic, which is both a fictionalized account of his childhood and youth and a confession of faith. She draws out the importance of this long-forgotten novel in the religious and social landscape of England and Wales at the time. It's a fascinating account of a remarkable man who has been long neglected.

Stephen Lingwood develops 'A Unitarian Theology of Tradition'. He asks "in what sense do we claim religious continuity in a non-creedal tradition that allows the freedom of religious evolution? In what sense is the Unitarianism of the past the same thing as the Unitarianism of the present?" These are important questions for Unitarians to grapple with and drawing on sources such as James Luther Adams, Susan B. Anthony, George Lindbeck and Alasdair MacIntyre and taking scientific method as an analogy he gives a compelling explanation of the way Unitarians can understand their own tradition.

In 'Manchester College Oxford Old Students Association – The Early Years' Alan Ruston uncovers the early history of the OSA and describes its birth pangs and early development, concluding with its creation of Faith and Freedom and the encouraging observation: "F&F has proved to be a successful long-lasting journal of mainly intellectual content representing the Unitarian position, which is now in its seventieth year. Its creation can be considered the single most important initiative to have been undertaken by MOSA."

Our review section is extensive and wide-ranging. Graham Murphy reviews Diarmaid MacCulloch's All Things Made New, Writings on the Reformation (Allen Lane/Penguin). It's an excellent review of a timely and important book, Graham writes: "MacCulloch guides us around rooms of the past, noting progress, noting dystopia, and here and there a glimmer of light: 'a Declaration in the parish church of a town called Torda, a place which should be more of a centre of pilgrimage than it is' – Toleration."

Stephen Lingwood's incisive review of Frederic Muir's edited collection Turning Point: essays on a new Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House) draws out the 'trinity of errors' identified there, including exceptionalism, an aversion to authority and, especially, individualism. This latter tendency is the root of the philosophy of Samuel Smiles and in his fascinating review of John Hunter's The Spirit of Self-Help. A Life of Samuel Smiles (Shepheard-Walwyn) Bob Janis-Dillon shows how the sometime attender at Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds adapted Emersonian individualism to his 'Self-Help' idea, "a mode of thinking we need to challenge if we are to advance as a species".

Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke, joint president of the World Congress of Faiths, looks at three books that inform on the place of Islam in modern Britain (James Ferguson, Al-Britainnia, My Country: A Journey Through Muslim Britain, Bantam Press; Richard Sudworth, Encountering Islam: Christian Muslim Relations in the Public Square, SCM Press; Rahim Snow, Remember Who You Are, 28 Spiritual Verses from the Holy Quran, Remembrance Studio), an essential starting point for those who wish to open up dialogue and debate in this area. Marcus also provides two reviews of works that deal with Jewish–Christian relations and pluralism – Tony Bayfield (ed.), Deep Calls to Deep: Transforming Conversations between Jews and Christians (SCM Press) and Hans Ucko (ed.), Thanking Together: On Pluralism, Violence, and the Other (Journal of Ecumenical Studies).

In his review of what may be Don Cupitt's "last and most important book" (Ethics in the Last Days of Humanity, Polebridge Press) Frank Walker lifts about fifteen random insights from the book. These all bear careful reflection. One takes up the theme of Muslim relations ("Western scholars should publish fully critical studies of the origins and the developing theology of the Qur'an and of the hadith"). In another Don Cupitt asserts: "Ordinary people will need a religious discipline like that of the Buddhist sangha to help people to calm their violent passions and to think rationally about how best to live." It's difficult not reflect on the plight of Muslims in Myanmar on reading this. But it is an important book concerned, as Frank says, "in the most down-to-earth way" with the end-times.

Faith, hope and healing are the themes of three reviews. Pat Frankish reviews The Enduring Melody (Darton, Longman Todd) by Michael Mayne about one man's struggle with cancer, "a powerful and painful book, with a thread of reality and hope". Christian Wiman's book My bright abyss: meditations of a modern believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is similarly a tale of a struggle with cancer, in this case that of a poet who tries to make sense of religion and God through his suffering. It is reviewed by Barrie Needham who draws out many profound insights from it. Barrie writes: "Faith which is self-centred does not, according to Wiman, recognise God impinging on this world through love. 'The only way to ascertain the truth of religious experience: it propels you back towards the world and other people, and not simply more deeply within yourself'." Andrew Hill also reviews a new book of hymns: Hymns of Hope and Healing: words and music to refresh the church's ministry of healing (Stainer & Bell), a modern, progressive collection of hymns which covers a subject index of more than 250 topics. Andrew mentions some of them but those listed alphabetically from A to D give an idea of the books radical emphases: "ageing, balance, birth, carers, dementia, DNA, drugs…"

So many of the reviews are about finding and connecting with the divine in one way or another and Jim Corrigall reviews Lorraine Cavanagh's new book Waiting on the Word: Preaching Sermons that connect people with God (Darton, Longman and Todd). Jim quotes the author "Sermon preparation is a matter of waiting in the pain of others, rather than worrying what we are going to say." Finally Peter Godfrey reviews Crocodiles do not swim here (Avian House) by John Smith Wilkinson who looks at doctrine, Biblical interpretation and religious understanding from fresh angles.

The Spring and Summer 2017 issue of Faith and Freedom (volume 70 Part 1, Number 184) is now available. It has a striking picture of an Eagle Owl taken from an engraving by Thomas Bewick's 1797 book Land Birds on the cover.

In this new issue we are again delighted to have some really fascinating articles. These include Phillip Hewett outlining his research in pre- and post-Communist Poland for his book Racovia. He compares his experiences in Poland with those of Earl Morse Wilbur decades earlier. We are delighted to have too Johnston McMaster's in-depth examination of Francis Hutcheson and the Social Vision of Eighteenth-Century Radical Presbyterians and Stephen Lingwood's timely consideration of a Theology of Unitarian Ministry. Dan C. West discusses the way faith can cross boundaries and make connections and Howard Oliver discusses The Art and Theology of Thomas Bewick.

Faith and Freedom is always particularly strong in its reviews section and we are delighted to once again welcome some important reviews by top writers.

With the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses in mind, Professor Ian Hazlett, leading Reformation scholar and former Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Glasgow, reviews Scott H. Hendrix's Yale University Press book Martin Luther Visionary Reformer. Professor David Williams reviews Yuval Noah Harari's newest book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow and Philippe Sands' East West Street: on the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity. Lena Cockroft reviews Dan Hotchkiss' Governance and Ministry: Rethinking Board Leadership, which is a major contribution to the theory of church administration. Marcus Braybrooke, Joint President of the World Congress of Faiths, looks at Main Religions of the Modern World and the Two Forms of any Religion by Antony Fernando, and Frank Walker reviews Emmanuel Carrere's extraordinary and controversial novel The Kingdom.

The Autumn and Winter 2016 issue of Faith and Freedom (Volume 69 part 2, Number 183) is now available.

It features a picture of a fourteenth-century carved figure of a pilgrim in Chester Cathedral on its cover. In it leading expert on Welsh poet-priest R.S. Thomas, Professor John McEllhenney, discusses the poet's annotations of Paul Tillich's Systematic Theology and Theology of Culture. Interpretation of Tillich also features in Plinio de Goes' examination of the theology of 'fashionable rebel pastor' Jay Bakker and his Revolution Church. Jay Bakker is the son of the notorious TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker but rejected their kind of style and developed a different type of church identified as 'hipster Christianity'. We also carry the full text of Tehmina Kazi's keynote address to the 2016 Unitarian GA, she is the former Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy and now works for the Cork Equal and Sustainable Communities Alliance. Yvonne Craig, a retired social worker and former JP, gives some careful thought to the question to false accusations of sexual abuse in 'Blaming, Naming, Shaming and Biblical Justice'. Katharine Parsons discusses 'God and the Problem of Language' and Barrie Needham unpacks the novels of Marilynne Robinson. There are also accounts from Alan Ruston and David Wykes of the events marking the 300th anniversary of the death of Dr Daniel Williams.

Faith and Freedom is always very strong in its reviews and this issue has Bob Janis-Dillon on refugees and asylum, Maud Robinson on Quaker views of assisted dying, Ernest Baker on Benjamin Franklin in London, Andrew Hill on Bryan Tully's humanist anthology, and Rosemary Arthur on Bishop John Shelby Spong as well as reviews of Marsilio Ficino, Sue Woolley's new book, Jennifer Kavanagh's Simplicity Made Easy and Alan Ruston's new collection of historical biographies.

The Spring and Summer 2016 issue of Faith and Freedom (Volume 69 Part 1, Number 182)

There's a great deal in it, including Rachel Muers' and Rhiannon Grant's examination of the subtle checks and balances of Quaker decision-making processes in 'At the Threshold of Community'. Ralph Catts discusses 'Child spiritual development and the role of a liberal church' and Victor Lal gives us the third part of his research on 'The Unitarians of the West and the Brahmo Samajees of the East at Manchester College, Oxford 1896 – 1948'. Indeed the cover picture on the latest issue includes an Indian 15P. stamp dating from 1967 and featuring Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who was Upton Lecturer in Comparative Religion, Manchester College, Oxford, from 1929 to 1930, later becoming President of India between 1962 and 1967. Dan C. West discusses 'The Emerging Church' and Susan Fogarty examines questions of 'Faith Tourism' in the context of poet and Welsh Anglican minister R.S. Thomas. Mark Adair's paper 'Once upon a time' takes as its starting point a line of dialogue from the 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles: "Everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate… Here's a good idea: have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener…"

With reviews by Martin Fitzpatrick, Marcus Braybrooke, Pat Frankish, Rosemary Arthur, Lena Cockroft, and Iain Brown there's much that will interest any reader on a whole range of subjects.

The Autumn and Winter 2015 issue of Faith and Freedom (Volume 68 Part 2, Number 181):

This issue contains a highly pertinent article by leading US Catholic theologian John Navone Finding God in Strangers, and an examination of the way we read Mark's gospel by author and UU minister George Kimmich Beach. Yvonne Craig give s personal reflection on Grace and Disgrace: A Social Pilgrimage and two articles are reflective of the centenary of the First World War with the editor's account of the Rev Percival Godding's experience as a prisoner of war and Evelyn Taylor's discussion of the impact of the war on Manchester College. The College also features in the second part of Victor Lal's research onto the Brahmo Samaj and Oxford, and short and illuminating articles are provided by Barrie Needham and Sue Norton. As well as this there are stimulating reviews by, among others, Pat Frankish, Ernest Baker, Peter B. Godfrey, and Lena Cockroft, and a review article on Sarah Shaw's The Spirit of Buddhist Meditation (Yale University Press) written by Graham Murphy.

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