Spirituality in the Pub (SIP) commenced in 1995 and is one of the forums for conversation instituted by Catalyst for Renewal Inc. SIP is one modest but potentially very life-giving attempt to provide a contemporary forum – what better place than in a pub! – where conversation can emerge as a transforming force. It is not “just talk”!
The idea is as simple as it is effective: Two competent speakers – usually a man and a woman – lead the conversation on a topic that is of some significance – often a social justice issue – each sharing their thoughts for a total of approximately thirty minutes. This is followed by approximately one hour when those present are invited to share in the conversation by asking questions or making comments to which the speakers and those others present are invited to respond.
The first SIP event was held at the Bellevue Hotel, Hargrave St, Paddington (Sydney) in May 1995. The number of SIP venues across NSW, Victoria and Queensland grew to over 30 by 2008 and in 2017 there are 15 groups meeting regularly.
Those who attend SIP come from a wide range of backgrounds – those who are ‘church shy’, or see themselves on the fringe of conventional religious experience; those from within the mainstream Catholic Church and those from other faith traditions; and some with no particular religious affiliations at all. Some do not believe in God. All are welcome.
Competent, articulate people who have something worthwhile to say, both from the ranks of the well known and those less known, give their time voluntarily and generously to help lead us in good, probing conversation. The number of speakers is now in the thousands across Australia.
In an era of declining involvement with and attendance at formal institutional religious events and services, SPIRITUALITY IN THE PUB seems to be tapping into a real need in our society. We seem to find in SIP something much richer and more transforming than mere intellectual debate or discussion.
Enquiries from groups interested to start SIP at a new venue are welcome. We encourage you to attend a SIP 3D Day to gain insight into the ways other SIPs work. In any event, please contact us to discuss your proposal.