The Methodist Connexional Office is located at:

Weteriana House
50 Langdons Road
Christchurch 8053

Postal address

PO Box 931, Christchurch 8140

T. (03) 366 6049   I. 0800 266 639

Please phone our main line (as above) and at the prompt either dial '0' to speak to Reception or enter an extension number. FOR A LIST OF EXTENSIONS CLICK HERE

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Christchurch South Parish

St Marks Somerfield

Acceptance Caring
Creativity Outreach
Teamwork Worshipfulness

St Marks Church and Hall
CnrBarrington & Somerfield Streets, Somerfield, Christchurch 8024
See Map at the bottom of this web page.

C/- Parish Office, 27 Remuera Ave, Cashmere, Christchurch 8022
Phone:+64 (03) 980 5002


SUNDAY December   3rd   10 a.m. Geoff Trotter, Youth Service 

                                               7 p.m. Contemplative Service lead by Andrew Donaldson

SUNDAY December   10th  10 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson and Steadfast Band

SUNDAY December   17th  10 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson
                                                            Communion Service
                                                            Gillian Southley from C.W.S. 
                                                7 p.m.  Fr John Craddick
                                                            Combined Advent Ecumenical Service
                                                            Dutch Choir. Supper to follow. 

SUNDAY December  24th  10 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson
                                               6 p.m. Children's Christmas Service
                                                           Supper to follow

CHRISTMAS DAY                10 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson

SUNDAY January     7th     10 a.m.  Stephen Chambers - Favourite Carols
                                               7 p.m.  Cherryl  Brown  - Contemplative Service

SUNDAY January    14th     10 a.m.  Rev Andrew Donaldson

SUNDAY January     21st     10 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson

SUNDAY January     28th     10 a.m. Rev Andrew Donaldson
                                                              Annual Meeting after Service


I've been doing some more thinking about artificial intelligence and some of the theological implications for people of faith. In this brief document I have only questions and very few, if any answers. This time thinking about ethics and moral agency John Sullins in his paper "The Ambiguous Ethical Status of Autonomous Robots" argues that there are two distinct classes of robot technologies, telerobotics (machines operated by humans) and autonomous robotics (machines operating under their own programming.

Machines operated by humans are relatively simple to assign ethical behaviour and responsibility.  The moral agent is the person operating the robot.  Would some mechanised tasks ever be undertaken by anything other than a telerobitic machine?  For example,
should a war machine capable of killing and causing destruction be autonomous or should
they always be operated by a human with decision making clearly the responsibility of the operator?

Autonomous robotics are more complicated.  Initially the ethical or moral responsibility
would lie with the programmer of the robot.  But as machines learn and independently
develop the issue becomes a major concern.

At a recent meeting of the Durham Street Theology Group we discussed the issue of morality.

We also explored the question would an autonomous self-aware machine have a soul?  An interesting question and more so as human beings become mechanised themselves.  Does
a person with a new metallic hip somehow lessen the value of his or her soul?  As our technology develops and our machines become more biological in make up the question becomes more interesting.  When we create a self-aware, learning biological life form does that machine have a soul?  If so, would the Church's populist theology of atonement have any resonance with the biological machine?

Would they look to us or God for their salvation?

One final question. Do we imbue the self-aware, learning, autonomous biological machine with ethical parameters?

Interestingly some would argue that this would be a mistake.



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Updated 26 December, 2017