To some an irrelevance, to others vital sustenance, Belief is a touchstone to the human predicament. An unquenched thirst for spirituality coexists with numbing materialism. Thinning congregations in some communities belie proliferation in others. In some ecstatic, in others vacuous, WHAT IS BELIEF? Why does it bind; why does it divide?

This New Series offers no pulpits, and we seek speakers whose subjects will interest no less the Unsure than the Believer - they should fascinate all. Eight speakers have so far been secured, others are sought to enrich the thematic shape of our programme. It will seek similarities and study weaknesses, experienced in different communities. We hope to conclude the Series with thoughts on Future Hope and Challenge.

Subjects may include:

Superstition. Mythology. Early Pagan rituals. Re-enchantment; awe in the ancients, spirituality today.

Belief and circumstance; comparisons of soil and seed. A "Sea of Faiths".

Early influences and their trace. Polytheism, Rg Veda, Zoroaster, Mani.

The early Christian church. Orthodoxy and Gnosticism.

Authority. Priests and Clerics. Mediation. The Inner Voice.

The Peoples of the Book. Monotheism; Judaism, Christianity, Islam. The battle for hope.

Schism; opportunity to reform or deviate. Same thing only different. Tolerance, dissent, exclusion. Blasphemy and retribution.

The search; Belief and Agnosticism. Convergence, conversion. Atheism.

Belief and Science; physical, neural.

Belief as a badge, political or intellectual cohesion. Zeal.

Beacons; celebrity the new deity; style and spin.

Gender Matters or Matters of Gender.

Hermits. Humility. Monasticism.

Dreams. Prophecy.

Despair and Succour. Confession, Compassion. Forgiveness, Hope.

Those interested to discuss or speak on any of these or related subjects, or with other suggestions, may reach Martin Sturge by email