All posts by Clay Nelson

Suspension of services

I am faced with a difficult decision. The government has mandated today that indoor events of more than 100 be cancelled, including weddings, funerals and religious services. Except for Christmas Eve we never exceed that number. But one hundred is not a magic number. I am interpreting this mandate to mean if gatherings are not essential, it would be best to err on the side of caution and cancel them. While I think the precautions we instituted last Sunday were responsible, I would not want one member to become ill because we continued meeting. I would not like to think that because we met we were responsible for introducing the virus into the wider community.

I know some of you will be disappointed or even disagree about the risk, but I am suspending in-person worship beginning this Sunday. We are in the process of planning for online services, which we hope to have up and running very soon. In the meantime, wash your hands, self-isolate if possible, wash your hands, maintain social distance and wash your hands.

Be safe,

Covid-19 Update

Dear members and friends of the Auckland Unitarian Church,

Yesterday (15th March 2020) our Management Committee met to consider how to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is much more we don’t know than we do know about how the pandemic will play out in New Zealand. Thanks to what I consider strong leadership from the government to contain the virus, we have had only eight reports of infected individuals as of this morning. There is no indication of a community outbreak at this time. However, that does not mean things could not change rapidly as they have in other countries. Therefore, we should be vigilant and take every precaution not to spread the contagion and to protect our most vulnerable members. Part of that means being aware of government advice and applying it to our situation where appropriate.

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“Everything you think is wrong” day…

A reflection on the Christchurch massacre

with Rev. Clay Nelson

“Everything you think is wrong” day… A reflection on the Christchurch massacre
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Clay Nelson © 15 March 2020

I’m sure that not long ago I thought there was no such day as “Everything you think is wrong” day to celebrate. I was wrong. I have no idea who comes up with these days, and no one knows who came up with this one or why on this date, March 15. My guess is the Ides of March was chosen because Julius Cæsar thought Brutus was his friend right up to the moment the knife entered his back.

So how does one celebrate this faux holiday? According to the anonymous founder this is a day to avoid making decisions, and by all means avoid saying “I think”. It is also a good day to spend time contemplating everything we don’t know or think we do, but don’t. We can take time to laugh at ourselves for things people used to think were true but aren’t.

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What is the appeal of Fascism?

with Rev. Clay Nelson

What is the appeal of fascism?
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Opening Words are by James Luther Adams

The Meditation is ‘Attic’ by Jill Sobule.

Closing words are by Assata Shakur

Clay Nelson © 1 March 2020

I’m not sure what inspired me to focus on today’s topic. It may have been spending too much time in the dystopian world of Gilead watching The Handmaid’s Tale or reading the news from my birth country just to cheer me up. Or it could be that fascism by any other name is finding new life around the world. We should not be oblivious.

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Curiosity may be harmful to cats, but how about to Unitarians?

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Curiosity may be harmful to cats, but how about to Unitarians?
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Clay Nelson © 23 February 2020

Being a curious sort, I wondered what the origin of “curiosity killed the cat” was. The reference is from a Ben Johnson play, Every Man in his Humours, only he said, “care’ll kill a cat.” In his use of care, he meant worry will kill the cat. The play is thought to have been performed in 1598 by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a troupe of actors including William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was no slouch when it came to appropriating a memorable line and it crops up the following year in Much Ado About Nothing: “What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”

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