Sunday Forum

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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

There will be no Sunday Forum in April, as Easter Day falls on the first Sunday. 
 
Sunday 3 May
A Time to Laugh? A Theology of Joy and Laughter  |  Tricia Hillas and Andrew Corsie
Canon Tricia Hillas We know that laughter can help us deal with failure, build relationships and is great for our wellbeing, but does it have anything teach us about God?  Christianity has had a very mixed relationship with it:  the puritans condemned it and St John Crysostom said unequivocally that laughter leads to sin. But in the medieval church, clergy at the Easter service told uproarious jokes so that the congregation greeted the Resurrection with an outburst of joyful laughter, and the writer of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to laugh, as well as a time to weep. Tricia Hillas and Andrew Corsie say that laughter can lead us into a deeper understanding of God and what it means to be the children of God, and in this talk will explore its place in the spiritual life, as well as the place of delight, wonder and joy.  Tricia Hillas is Canon Pastor at St Paul’s Cathedral and Andrew Corsie is the Rector of St Nicolas, Perivale; old friends, they have worked and laughed together for many years.
 
Sunday 7 June
Dorothy L Sayers and ‘The Man Born to be King’  |  Michael Hampel
Canon Michael Hampel Dorothy L Sayers is best known for her detective novels, but she also wrote a controversial radio play about the life of Christ, broadcast on the BBC at the height of the Second World War. In The Man Born to be King listeners encountered Christ as never before, an immediate and real presence: it shocked and transfixed a generation, and C.S. Lewis used it as his Lent reading every year afterwards.  Michael Hampel will talk about Sayers’ life and the enduring resonance of the play, and also explore her fascinating theology of creativity, which connects the doctrine of the Trinity with the process of creating, making and sharing new things. Michael Hampel is the Canon Precentor at St Paul’s, responsible for music and liturgy at the cathedral. He has acted and directed amateur theatre most of his life, and has conducted extensive research into the life and works of Dorothy L Sayers.

 

Sunday 5 July
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.  We begin again on Sunday 6 September and continue on the first Sunday of the month throughout the year. For films of past events with speakers including Esther de Waal, Alister McGrath, Janet Morley and Paula Gooder, visit our videos page.