Sunday Forum

St Paul's Forum
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7:30am Morning Prayer
8:00am Eucharist
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
11:30am Last entry for sightseeing
3:00pm Ordination of Deacons

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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  |  1 - 2pm
Wren Suite, Cathedral crypt  |  Free and unticketed 

Sunday 5 July 2015
The Bad Christian’s Manifesto:  Reinventing God (and other modest proposals)  |  Dave Tomlinson
The bad Christian's Manifesto book cover Dave Tomlinson is the author of the best-selling How to be a bad Christian... and a better human being.  His new book puts forward the modest proposal of ‘reinventing God’ - shaking up our settled ideas of what God is, and where we might find him or her. He writes ‘After a lifetime of seeking to know God better, the most important thing I have discovered is that we cannot find God. God was never lost. And we were never lost to God. God is everywhere, named or unnamed, recognised or unrecognised, bidden or unbidden’.  His manifesto for a bad Christian’s good life includes keeping faith with doubt, making a virtue of pleasure, and finding heaven in the ordinary things of life. 
Dave Tomlinson is the Vicar of the thriving parish of St Luke’s Holloway and the founder of Holy Joe’s, a church in a pub for disaffected churchgoers.  He is the author of the highly influential books The Post-Evangelical and Re-Enchanting Christianity as well as his two ‘Bad Christian’ books. 
 
There is no Sunday Forum in August. 
Sunday 6 September 2015
Blessing  |  Andrew Davison
We all want to be blessed and to be a blessing to others, but we rarely stop to consider what that really means. Familiar from every sort of liturgy, blessing is one of the most commonly used Christian terms, and one of the least understood. Andrew Davison suggests we begin to understand it through its place as a powerful theme running through the Bible, from the very beginning when God blesses Creation, to Jesus’s last act on earth when he blesses the disciples as he ascends to heaven.
Andrew Davison will explore the meaning and practice of Christian blessing, its role in scripture and our prayers, and the places, people and situations that we bless. The Revd Dr Andrew Davison is Starbridge Lecturer in Theology at the University of Cambridge, Canon Philosopher at St Alban’s Abbey, and the author of Blessing (Canterbury Press 2014).
 
Sunday 4 October 2015
Science and Religion  |  Gillian Straine
Science and religion are often portrayed as locked in intractable conflict – as opponents that offer competitive and mutually-exclusive ways of seeing the world. Gillian Straine says that this is a myth, and a dangerous one. From her own experience and expertise as both scientist and priest, she will offer us ways of understanding and negotiating the conflict with integrity and holding together belief in God with a rich understanding and respect for science.
The Revd Dr Gillian Straine has a PhD in experimental atmospheric physics, trained in science communication, and is a priest in the Church of England. She is the author of Introducing Science and Religion, A Path Through Polemic (SPCK 2014).
 
Sunday 1 November 2015
A Theology of Desire  |  Sarah Coakley
The contemporary church seems riven with controversies, particularly about sexuality, celibacy, and the role of women. Can we find a fresh vision which will draw both liberals and conservatives out of established positions into new territory? Drawing deeply on the Bible, the early Church Fathers and the writings of Freud and Jung, Sarah Coakley argues that desire can be freed from associations of promiscuity and disorder, and we can forge a new positive, ascetical vision, founded in the disciplines of prayer and attention.
The Revd Dr Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge and an honorary Canon of Ely Cathedral. In 2013 she published the first volume of her systematic theology: God, Sexuality and the Self (Cambridge University Press) and her latest book is The New Asceticism: Sexuality, Gender and the Quest for God (Bloomsbury 2015).
 
Sunday 6 December 2015
Waiting on the Word  |  Malcolm Guite
Advent is the season when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas – a season for slowing down and reflecting on the great spiritual themes of light and dark, life and death. But while all around us the world speeds up in pre-Christmas rush, it can be difficult to find a place for stillness and contemplation. Malcolm Guite suggests one way is to read a poem each day, and in his new book Waiting on the Word (Canterbury 2015), he chooses a favourite poem from across the Christian spiritual and English literary traditions for every day in Advent and Christmas, and offers a seasonal reflection on it.
The Revd Dr Malcolm Guite is Chaplain of Girton College Cambridge, and a scholar of poetry as well as being a renowned poet himself. 
 
There is no Sunday Forum in January.
Sunday 7 February 2016
In the Shelter  |  Pádraig Ó Tuama
There is an Irish saying that it is in the shelter of each other than we live, but in our fragmented, urban societies it can be difficult to find, or offer, shelter to each other. Pádraig Ó Tuama draws on everyday stories, poetry, gospel reflections and Celtic spirituality to open up ways we can make our lives a place of welcome, both for ourselves and others, and live well together in a troubled world.
Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian based in Belfast where he teaches religion, storytelling and conflict transformation, and is the leader of the ecumenical Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation (corrymeela.org). His latest book is In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World (Hodder 2015).
 
Sunday 6 March 2016
Just Living: Christianity in an Age of Consumerism  |  Ruth Valerio
Every Christian in every generation has to work out what it means to be a follower of the way of Christ in their particular culture; for us, that is our globalised, consumerist world. These powerful forces shape our lives, our thinking and our world view, and have serious impact on the global poor and the health of the planet. Ruth Valerio will reflect on the call to justice and wisdom, and how we can live both gently and joyfully on the planet and with each other in the 21st century.
Dr Valerio is the Theology and Churches Director for A Rocha UK, the Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world, and the Director of Cred Jewellery, the world’s first fair-trade jewellery company. Her book Just Living: Christianity in an Age of Consumerism will be published by Hodder in 2016.