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Launching ANVIL – Something rather different UPDATED

Thursday 23 January 2014, 15:51
By John Baxter

ANVIL, a new discussion group in Wincanton

November 2013 saw the successful launch of something rather different for our area.

ANVIL is a structured discussion group which aims to hammer away at some of the serious issues, (ethical, political, religious, cultural, social, environmental) that face us and keep on resurfacing. Anyone is free to join the group, but places at each session are limited to 12 to keep it as a discussion and so need to be booked.

We want to "think the unthinkable" in an open, positive and considered way by investigating the work of a speaker and then discussing the points raised. The aim of each session is not to achieve consensus, but to understand, explore and test opinions.

A summary of planned topics and speakers for 2014:

  1. Wednesday 12th February
    Our Theory of Economics and our Practice in Financial Markets have Unsustainability Built Into Them.
    Speaker Dr Steve Mandel. Current: member at Quaker Peace and Social Witness subcommittee on Economics, Sustainability and Peace. Past: Senior Researcher at New Economics Foundation. See Steve’s paper at
  2. Wed 2nd April
    Freedom of Expression. Where do we draw the line?
    Speaker Gillian Cleverley. Gill has been a member of Amnesty for over 30 years and has spoken at school, adult and university groups about Human Rights all over the country.
  3. Wednesday 18th June
    A Mystery Theological Topic What makes something a fact? The construction of scientific meaning from a theological perspective.
    The Revd Joanna Penberthy. Jo is Vicar of Cucklington and currently working on her Ph.D. in Theology
  4. Wednesday 10th 3rd September
    Wither Israel and Palestine?
    Dr Derek Hudson. Derek retired as Deputy Director of the Bank of Botswana after 35 years working there and time at Cerne and in the US
  5. Wednesday in November 15th October
    Consciousness. Could a Computer Become Conscious?
    Julie Arliss. Lecturer, Founder and Organiser of Academy Conferences
    will explore the case being made that Artifical Intelligence is nearly here.

Don’t forget to open the lecture or precis notes for each session and after the session see what is put on the website. Do send in any comment you would like to make.

Meetings: Around one every two months in the Wincanton Quakers "Barn" (Meeting House, High Street), from 7.15pm - 10.00pm.

Speakers: Either members or invited speakers.

Active Participation: If you book a place for a session you will be expected to have read an article or précis provided by the speaker. This will be on our website or sent to you by email.

Format: The speaker will present a paper (approximately 40 minutes).

Break: 5 minutes to fill your glass and think.

Have Your Say: The Chair invites everyone to respond to what the speaker has said. A discussion follows once everyone has done this (the aim being to encourage active participation and avoid one or two dominating the scene).

Conclusion: The speaker responds.

Socialise from 9.30pm. Drinks, cheese and informal chat. The meeting will end no later than 10.00pm.

Booking Your Place: Members are not expected to come to every session, but to keep sessions at discussion group size those at a meeting will be able to book a place for the next session, and other members who have joined will be emailed so they can then book a place on a first come basis up to a maximum of 12.

Follow Up: The paper or a revised version of it will then be placed on our website and anyone will be able to make a comment on it. See the paper from our first trial session The Right to Choose a Safe, Painless Death on our website.

To join and receive emails send your name, email and telephone number to Joining is free, attending a session £4.00 to cover room hire and refreshments.

Derek and Hazel Hudson and John Baxter enquiries 01963 34537.


Posts: 1
Updated Programme for 2014
Reply #1 on : Tue January 28, 2014, 22:07:44
Thanks to Dave for updating our programme which now covers the whole year.
Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 20:26:33 by johnbaxter  
The Animal
Posts: 1
sounds great
Reply #2 on : Sat February 15, 2014, 12:15:57
This sounds like a great thing.

I am sorry to say that Wednesdays are impossible for me due to work commitments.

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