Sunday Forum

Adult Learning
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7:30am Morning Prayer
8:00am Eucharist
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong

Sunday Forum

A Sunday lunchtime series where some of the liveliest contemporary theologians and spiritual teachers speak about the challenges, contradictions and joys of being a Christian in the world today.

First Sunday in every month (except January & August) 1 - 2pm
Wren Suite, Cathedral crypt Free and unticketed
Seating is on a first come first served basis so please arrive early. Latecomers may not be able to be seated.
Disabled access is via the south churchyard entrance.  If for any reason the south churchyard entrance is closed a telephone number is displayed. 

See films of past Sunday Forums

 
The Merciful Humility of God  |  Jane Williams Sunday 3 March 2019

In fourth century North Africa, a young man called Augustine spent years searching for a way to satisfy his intellectual and spiritual curiosity. When Augustine finally ‘converted’ to the Christian faith, he wrote that what he found there, and nowhere else, was the ‘humble God’. Nowhere else had he found a God who comes to live with human beings, sharing their lives and even their death. In Christianity he found a transforming faith, centred on love, that invited rather than demanded or judged.

And it is not only Augustine who has encountered the merciful humility of God as the most powerful force imaginable. Jane Williams will explore how God works for our salvation in ways so gentle, so subtle and so apparently vulnerable that it is easy to overlook their force, calling us to walk in the paths of humility for our own sake and for the sake of the world.

Dr Jane Williams is Director of Studies at St Mellitus College in London. She is the author of academic and popular works of theology including Faces of Christ: Jesus in Art and Approaching Easter. Her latest book, The Merciful Humility of God, is the Bloomsbury Lent Book for 2019.

 
God Made Strange  |  Lucy Winkett Sunday 7 April 2019

God comes to us in the person of Jesus, and we can feel more connected to God through his humanity: he lives a human life, full of sorrow, joy, relationships and events. But in the cross, God is also revealed to us to be utterly different from our inevitably anthropomorphised pictures.

Lucy Winkett says that the cross is essential for a living faith but it is also genuinely scandalous, and just as importantly, ultimately beyond our comprehending. God died in the midst of shouting and chaos, executed as a criminal, and this is both a political, historical death and a cosmic event. In preparation for Holy Week, she will explore some of what we can and can’t say about the cross, and some of what it might mean for our faith, prayer and actions.

The Revd Lucy Winkett is Rector of St James’s Piccadilly, and was formerly Precentor at St Paul’s Cathedral. She writes and broadcasts regularly on religion, music and contemporary culture, and her book, Our Sound is Our Wound was commissioned by Rowan Williams as his recommended Lent Book for 2011.

 
The Paradox of Freedom   |  Graham Tomlin Sunday 5 May 2019

Jesus says that the truth will set us free. But it turns out freedom is a surprisingly complex idea. What does it really mean to be free? What kind of freedom do we need in the modern world? How can Christian visions of freedom engage with contrasting ideologies and traditions?

Graham Tomlin will explore a distinctively Christian vision of freedom set against a backdrop of rising polarisation, division and competing views of what makes for good social and personal liberties in our times. He will offer a vision of how and why Christian understandings of freedom work for personal flourishing and build stronger communities than many popular secular versions of the idea.

The Rt Revd Graham Tomlin is the Bishop of Kensington and the President of St Mellitus College for training clergy in the Diocese of London. He has taught theology at Oxford University and his latest book is Bound to be Free: The Paradox of Freedom (Bloomsbury 2017).

 
What Did Jesus Look Like?  |  Joan Taylor Sunday 2 June 2019

Everyone can conjure up the traditional image of Jesus: a handsome, white man with flowing locks and pristine linen robes, and most people know that isn’t what he really looked like. Does that matter?

Joan Taylor says that the historical evidence suggests he would have had dark skin and short hair, and would have worn rough, even scruffy, clothes. She says it matters how we picture Jesus because it cuts to the heart of his message: he aligned himself with the poor and this would have been obvious from how he looked.

She will explore both the historical evidence for redrawing our image of what Jesus looked like, and what effect it might have on our understanding of his teaching if he were depicted more accurately, as one of the have-nots.

Professor Joan Taylor is Professor of Christian Origins at King’s College, London. She is the author of What Did Jesus Look Like? (Bloomsbury 2018), has edited The Body in Biblical, Christian and Jewish Texts and was historical consultant for the 2018 film Mary Magdalene.

 
Every Tribe Saints in a Diverse World  |  Sharon Prentis Sunday 7 July 2019

The Bible visualises a new heaven and a new earth with people of every language and nation, so why are all the saints in our paintings and stained glass windows white? The bias in the church’s storytelling means that many are surprised to discover that St Augustine is North African and St George is an immigrant with Turkish and Palestinian parents.

A new book of essays edited by Sharon Prentis uncovers stories of holy, inspired and inspiring lives from all over the world. It celebrates the true diversity of the saints and challenges the church to become what it is meant to be: a rainbow people of God serving the diverse needs of a diverse world.

The Revd Dr Sharon Prentis is Dean of Black and Minority Ethnic Affairs and Intercultural Mission Enabler at the Church of England in Birmingham. She is an honorary research fellow in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham and the editor of Every Tribe: Stories of Diverse Saints Serving a Diverse World (SPCK 2019).