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The Sea of Faith Network (NZ)

The Sea of Faith Network is an association of people who have a common interest in exploring religious thought and expression from a non-dogmatic and human-oriented standpoint

About The Sea of Faith Network

Why "Sea of Faith"?

The name comes from a phrase in Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach":

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore,
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

The phrase was used in 1984 as the title of a BBC television documentary series and book by the English theologian Don Cupitt. The book and the television series trace pivotal changes in western science, philosophy and religion over the past 350 years which together call for a radical re-thinking of our faith traditions.

Our Brochure, Ready To Print

Here is a printable pdf copy of the current version of our brochure.

What Does The Sea of Faith Believe?

The Sea of Faith Network itself has no creed. It draws its members from people of all faiths and also from those with no attachment to religious institutions. It publishes a regular Newsletter, assists in setting up discussion groups, and holds an annual conference.

In New Zealand The Sea of Faith Network bears a striking resemblance to a group called "Ephesus". You can study the similarities and differences here.

If you are curious as to the content of Sea of Faith discussions and papers then you might like to take a tour around our archives.

The Sea of Faith Network (NZ) therefore ...

  • AFFIRMS the continuing importance of religious thought and practice as a vehicle for awe and wonder and for the celebration of key social and spiritual values;
  • DRAWS freely upon our spiritual heritage without being bound by it;
  • PROMOTES the quest for meaning and fulfilment as a human activity;
  • PROVIDES encouragement, stimulation and support in fellowship with others engaged in the quest.

The Sea of Faith Network In New Zealand

The Sea of Faith Network began in 1992 when a newsletter was sent to people who had shown some interest in exploring issues of faith along these lines. It followed the formation of a Sea of Faith Network in Britain in 1989.

These are the major activities undertaken by the national Steering Committee.

Local Groups

Encouragement and practical assistance in setting up Local Sea of Faith groups around the country to continue the exploration of faith. Under appropriate conditions, the Steering Committee can subsidise travel expenses for visiting speakers.


The annual three-day Conference is a major responsibility of the Steering Committee.

The first New Zealand Conference was held in Hamilton in 1993 and at various locations annually since. Papers from Conferences can be accessed here.


The purpose of the 5-times-a-year Newsletter is to keep Local Groups informed about the activities of other Groups and to provide stimulating articles — book reviews, papers etc.

Local Groups Bulletin

A monthly one-page flyer sent to Local Groups containing ephemeral but otherwise important information.

Resource Centre

The Resource Centre contains audio and video tapes, papers and books which are made available to current members of the New Zealand Sea of Faith Network.

Sea of Faith, Worldwide

While there is no formal affiliation between the SOF Networks in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and the United States, these country networks make up an informal worldwide "network of networks" regularly exchanging newsletter material and, on occasions, guest speakers. In addition, members of an internet discussion group of up to about 100 Sea of Faith members from many countries exchange points of view.

Frequently Asked Questions

This item "Frequently Asked Questions" was prepared by the UK Sea of Faith Network. If provides interesting background information.