From our archives




Bruce Wilson









The Power of Forgiveness.

Bishop Bruce Wilson 2002

Bishop Bruce Wilson throughout his adult life has made a creative and substantial contribution to our understanding of the spiritual dimensions of life and of Australian society. He has a very engaging speaking style. We invite you to listen to this talk, one from the very early days of Eremos, from its founder.

Bruce Wilson seeks to explore how Christians, or church goers, can overcome the negative image attached to people who are “very religious”. He asks, ‘how can Christians be both very religious and very human at the same time?’

He focuses on the story of the woman caught in adultery. Did she go and “sin no more” as Jesus commanded her? Many people get caught in a circle of receiving forgiveness and exerting will power over temptation, failing, receiving forgiveness, failing again, and so on. Wilson says this interpretation of forgiveness ignores its spiritual dynamics. He posits the significance of ‘relationship’ over ‘rules and will power’, stating that forgiveness in the light of relationship and the love of God will eventually begin an inner transformation of the soul, by release from self deceit and loathing and by personalizing morality.

New ideas and ways of living in relationship and communities can be tentative, fragile and vulnerable. The Eremos retreat team members invite you to join them for a day away for refreshment and renewal. We will consider what is the Spring – new life – that is coming to bear at this time? What limits this new life coming to fruition – our history, culture, politics, faith and spirituality?

Listen to the audio recording here: Power of Forgiveness.











My struggle for a Christianity of Inclusion, Love, and Equality.

Bishop John Spong 2003

Enjoy listening to this Eremos event with the very engaging address by Bishop John Shelby Spong recorded in the Greenhalgh Theatre at University of Technology in 2003. Host Julie McCrossin manages the question and answers from the audience in the latter half of the recording and Bishop Spong’s comprehensive replies are entertaining as well as and thoughtful.

Bishop Spong is challenging, passionate and compassionate as he deconstructs and reconstructs some of the basic Christian tenets. Reflecting on his own journey, he addresses the issues of the prejudices of segregation (when Afro-Americans were not welcome in US churches), prejudices against women, Jews, people of other faiths (other Christian denominations and other religions), and people who are homosexual. He highlights how the Bible is used to justify these prejudices, and explains how the biblical stories and their underlying assumptions (eg 3 tiered universe) should not be literalised into our modern world, likewise the creeds and church doctrines. Bishop Spong speaks of how the experience of the eternal God is a thing to be sought and cherished, whereas the interpretation of that experience is limited, unable to be grasped completely in words that satisfy for all time.  He encourages churches to portray a loving God and develop inclusive communities as well as to engage with the realities of the modern world.

The event concludes with Spong answering a question from McCrossin about why a faith which offers clear and simple answers so appealing to many. 

Listen to the audio recording here: My Struggle for a Christianity of Inclusion, Love and Equality

Please note that there is a very small break in recording in the middle.




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Rev Rod Pattenden on 'Seeing Well: Spirituality, Ethics and a little bit of delight'

We are delighted to share the video of ‘Seeing Well: Spirituality, ethics and a little bit of delight’ which is Rev Rod Pattenden’s Zoom presentation at the Eremos AGM in November.

Watch the video here: Seeing Well.

Rod shares his experience of concentrated looking during the 2020 periods of isolation. How can looking at images give us insight, bring joy, and help sustain our hearts and lives?  

Recording Zoom presentations is a new experience for us and we apologise that the first 4 minutes is not on presenter view which means you will see most of the participants as Rod begins his talk. Eremos has permission from all the members present in this clip to share this recording. The slide show with numerous artworks and images that Rod uses to illustrate his insights starts at 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the clip.

We are grateful to Rod for this wonderful address and providing a rich springboard for satisfying conversation in small groups (using Zoom breakout rooms) after the talk. We hope that you enjoy watching it.

Eremos hopes to offer more virtual events like this which connect our members from across Australia.


Rev Dr Rod Pattenden is an art curator and theologian, and minister of the Adamstown Uniting Church, Newcastle which describes itself as a welcoming community of faith, justice and creativity.

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Exploring religious conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

This video recording captures the key addresses by two speakers: Dr Julian Droogan and Imam Afroz Ali at the Eremos event in early April 2016. Over 100 people attended.

Watch the video here: Exploring religious conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Everyone had a keen desire to learn more about the ideological and theological underpinnings of extremism and its ramifications throughout the world.

Deep insights and possible faith based responses were shared by our two speakers: Dr Julian Droogan, a Senior lecturer at the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counterterrorism (PICT), Macquarie University  and Imam Afroz Ali, a highly esteemed Islamic scholar and founder of Sydney based Al-Ghazzali Centre.




















Life without borders.

“We need to turn things around so that we look for community … as human beings with different lived experiences.”

Australian theologian Dr Val Webb opened Eremos’ events for 2014 with “From ‘Insiders and Outsiders’ to a Life Without Borders”.

Her talk at Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sydney, on March 30, ranged over religion, politics, subjective and cultural biases, and dualistic assumptions such as good and evil, right and wrong, and spiritual and secular. She questioned the significance of simply ingrained beliefs.

The Eremos event is available here in two parts.

The first video begins with Dr Webb recalling her grandson’s efforts at colouring in and her observation that religions, and particularly the Christian religion that formed most of her audience’s backgrounds, had for centuries been about staying between the lines.

“And it seems when people have tried to colour outside the lines there is more energy expended rubbing out the wandering lines than seeing the new picture they might create.”

The second video begins with Dr Webb discussing women and embodiment. She says the message of embodiment is important to us all. “To be completely present in our bodies in relation to other sentient beings and to the planet; to experience ourselves as part of the universe, a product of the universe, joined to the universe in its beauty and pain; to be present in nature; to observe, stop and look; to wonder; to feel at home; and to return to the soil at death.”

She later says, “We need to turn things around so that we look for community as people without borders; not in beliefs that demand insider/outsider defence or in doctrines that must forever stay in place but as human beings with different lived experiences free of gradings of good, better, best.”

Dr Webb concluded quoting theologian Frederick Buechner: “Maybe it’s all utterly meaningless. Maybe it’s all unutterably meaningful. If you want to know which, pay attention to what it means to be truly human in a world that half the time we’re in love with and half the time scares the hell out of us. Any fiction that helps us pay attention to that is religious fiction. The unexpected sound of your name on somebody’s lips. The good dream. The strange coincidence. The moment that brings tears to your eyes. The person who brings life to your life. Even the smallest events hold the greatest clues.”

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