Hickling’s Shoreline has continued to meet weekly, sometimes to discuss a specific topic or to view a dvd; at other times we find we can spend the entire afternoon just sharing cares, joys and concerns! However, we recently viewed the Gene Robinson dvd Love Free or Die and feel it is a presentation that everyone (not just PCN groups – we mean ideally everyone!) should watch (it is available from Jess Lee, the PCN librarian). Being a trailblazer is never easy, and for Gene Robinson, becoming the first openly gay bishop in the US Episcopal Church brought harsh denunciations, harassment, even death threats. But Robinson, looking back as he prepares to retire at the end of the year, says he was never deterred from his groundbreaking path. “There has never been a time when I didn’t feel this was worth it,” he says. “When you are pursuing God’s dream for a just society, that is worth dying for … it’s a noble thing to pursue.” And he takes great satisfaction from the progress his church and society as a whole have made on LGBT issues since he was elected bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Our group also attended a recent lecture by Karen Armstrong (ex-nun and prolific author of many thought-provoking books), about the need to establish empathy and altruism at the centre of our private and public lives. Her latest book takes an in-depth look at this concept and is highly recommended – Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (available via Amazon). She’s a magnificent public speaker - please go hear her if she ever is speaking near you. Here’s a final recommendation. As a group we read Gretta Vosper’s With or Without God several years ago and thought it was wonderful. She now explores prayer in her newest book, Amen: What Prayer Can Mean in a World Beyond Belief (again available via Amazon). She argues that prayer and the language used need to evolve. Gretta, a United Church minister in Canada, considers herself a religious non-realist who doesn’t believe in a “god” or supernatural being that intervenes in our lives. She believes that we have salvation within ourselves and if we want change, we have to make it happen ourselves. If you are in the area, Shoreline would be happy to welcome you as a visitor or as a regular participant in our journey together.

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