Sunday Forum

Adult Learning
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Half Term: Children go free
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 Gate of Heaven: Meeting God at the Crossing Place  |  Tricia Hillas Sunday 4 November 2018

We all have crossing places in our lives - moments on which our life turns. A new baby, leaving home, a bereavement, a new job or country, a medical diagnosis. These ‘liminal’ times – thresholds between one life and another – are often times of uncertainty, waiting and not knowing, but are also precious because they can open us up to a new closeness to God. Richard Rohr has called them ‘a unique spiritual place where human beings hate to be but where the Biblical God is always leading us’.

Tricia Hillas says crossing places are where we have to relinquish control and because of that they can be places of profound liberation. In this talk she will explore the challenges, lessons and joys that can come from meeting God at the crossing place.

Canon Tricia Hillas is the Canon Pastor at St Paul’s Cathedral, overseeing pastoral care, outreach and interfaith relationships. Prior to ordination she was a social worker, specialising in working with people with HIV/Aids, and has recently completed an MSc in conflict resolution and mediation.

What is Prayer?  |  Stephen Cottrell Sunday 2 December 2018

‘The will to pray is the essence of prayer’ wrote Thomas Merton, and ‘the secret of prayer is a hunger for God’. Stephen Cottrell describes himself as ‘an experienced beginner’ at prayer who has never got much beyond this, but says his long apprenticeship has taught him that the beginning and end of prayer is the longing to know God and to be known by God.

But for many people profound questions remain. Is God really listening? Does what we pray affect what God does? Also, why is it that everyone struggles with prayer; shouldn’t it be easy? Stephen Cottrell will reflect on what prayer is and how we might begin, or begin again, to pray more authentically.

The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell is the Bishop of Chelmsford. He has written widely on evangelism, spirituality and discipleship, and is the author of numerous books including How to Pray: Alone, with Others, at Any Time, in Any Place (Church House Publishing, 3rd edition 2010).

Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith  |  Richard Harries Sunday 3 February 2019

A good novel expands our sense of the complexity of human life. Richard Harries says that at a time when so much religious language has become either unbelievable or alien to many, it is often in works of literature that that we can begin to discover again the enchantment of the Christian faith and attempt to understand it in the texture of real life.

In his latest book, Haunted by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith (SPCK 2018), he explores some of the novelists, playwrights and poets who have meant most to him, including Dostoevsky, Emily Dickinson, Marilynne Robinson and Philip Pullman. He will explore why it is that literature can teach us so much about how to be a human being and a person of faith.

The Rt Revd Richard Harries was formerly the Bishop of Oxford and has been described by Rowan Williams as one of our greatest Christian intellectuals. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of numerous works of popular and academic theology.

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.