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Sunday Forum Videos

Watch videos of Sunday Forums from the past months and years, led by some of the most exciting theologians and Christian thinkers in the UK and around the world.

      

Sunday 4 June 2017
Is God Colour-Blind? |  Anthony Reddie

We live in a time when the language around immigration has become more vociferous, and the Black Lives Matter movement, originating in America, has sharpened debate about race, ethnicity and justice.  Anthony Reddie says that while God is universal, all our theology is contextual and we need to hear each other’s experiences in order to have a fuller picture of God, and most of all we need to listen to voices which bring news of God beyond the traditional power structures of the church and Christendom. Dr Anthony Reddie is Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systemic Theology at the University of South Africa and the author of 16 books including Is God Colour-Blind? (SPCK 2009).

      

Sunday 7 May 2017
Inventing the Universe |  Alister McGrath

We’re often told that faith and science are at war with one another, and we have to choose one or the other. Alister McGrath says it’s time to consider another way looking at these two great cultural forces: what if science and faith might actually enrich each other? What if, together, they give us a deeper and more satisfying understanding of life?Alister McGrath is Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University and the author of numerous academic and theological works including the best selling The Dawkins Delusion (SPCK 2007).

      
Sunday 2 April 2017
Construing the Cross  |  Frances Young

The Cross is at the very centre of our faith. For the earliest Christians, Passover was essential to their understanding of the Passion, but  there are other biblical images which created imaginative traditions: sacrifice and scapegoat, the Tree of Life and other surprising links with to the Garden of Eden, and rich resources of paintings and poetry. On Passion Sunday, as we turn our thoughts towards Holy Week, she introduced her profound and far-reaching thinking about the Cross.
Frances Young is Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham and a Methodist Minister. Her many books include Construing the Cross (SPCK 2016).
      
Sunday 5 March 2017
The Dark Side of the Soul  |  Stephen Cherry 

Sin is out of fashion while fascination with our own inner workings is everywhere. But in his new book Stephen Cherry says that the concept of sin is an essential, and healthy, tool for self understanding. Stephen Cherry is the Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, and the author of many books including Healing Agony: Re imagining Forgiveness and The Dark Side of the Soul: An Insider’s Guide to the Web of Sin (Bloomsbury 2012 and 2016).

      
Sunday 5 February 2017
A Good Year  |  Canon Mark Oakley

The church year tells the story of Christ’s life slowly, in tune with nature’s seasons, allowing us to explore all the seasons of our spiritual lives and the Gospel in all its mysterious richness. Mark Oakley, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, explores what it offers our spiritual lives.

      
Sunday 4 December 2016
Advent: Light in the Darkness  |  Barbara Mosse

Although we tend to associate darkness with the absence of God, Advent is a season when we are called to contemplate the unseen workings of God in preparation for new life and new hope as we wait for the explosion of joy at the birth of Christ. Barbara Mosse explores the many gifts of God that can be found during this season, and also the wisdom to be  found in the seasons of the church year as we begin them once again.

             
Sunday 6 November 2016
Soulfulness: Deepening the Mindful Life  |  Brian Draper

Mindfulness is the practice of living intentionally in the present moment. Brian Draper discusses the profound benefits of mindfulness and how much they have in common with the ancient treasures of contemplative Christian practice, and can lead to us to a renewed understanding of our faith and the ‘life more abundant’ that Christ calls us to. 

             
Sunday 2 October 2016
Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love  |  Robert Fruehwirth

Julian of Norwich was a 14th century woman whose mystical experiences led her to believe in a God of unconditional love, of merciful compassion and honesty, and a radical belief in the goodness of creation and humanity, deeply challenging to medieval ideas of a God of wrath. Robert Fruehwirth explores faith’s consolations and challenges, using the wisdom and insight of Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love as a guide.

 
Sunday 4 September 2016
Listening to Your Life, Finding Your Calling  |  Julia Mourant
Each of us has a vocation: a particular calling from God to contribute our gifts to the world and to each other, and in doing so to live our lives to the full. It can be hard however to find our sense of calling in all the busyness of everyday life. Julia Mourant says that when it comes to finding our own path in life, paying attention to how God speaks to us through our imaginations, hopes, dreams, doubts and desires can be as essential as a logical list of pros and cons.
 
 
Sunday 3 July 2016
Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed  |   Patrick Woodhouse
Etty Hillesum was a 27 year old Jewish student living under occupation in 1940s Amsterdam. Throughout that time she wrote a diary of her daily life recounting her spiritual transformation. Patrick Woodhouse will explore her life and writing including what her profound reflections on the nature of evil can teach us today. 
 
 
Sunday 5 June 2016
Struggling to be Holy  |  Judy Hirst
Holiness can sound like something lofty and abstract, beyond the reach of ordinary people. Judy Hirst says that in reality ‘holiness is about learning to entrust yourself to the God who loves you. It is about taking the risk of allowing God to interact with the truth of ourselves, no strings attached’. 
 
Sunday 1 May 2016
The Holy Spirit  |  Jane Williams
St Augustine described the Holy Spirit as ‘the bond of love’. In anticipation of the great feast of Pentecost, Jane Williams will explore the Spirit’s loving action in our lives and world, while also exploring how we can understand the Spirit’s presence in places and times of damage, difficulty, and grief. 
 
 
Sunday 3 April 2016
Living Easter  |  John Pritchard
John Pritchard calls Easter ‘the most astonishing day in the history of the world, shattering our closed minds and throwing open the windows of eternity’. But while we keep – or attempt to keep – Lent fastidiously, for many of us the fifty-day season of Easter is, curiously, harder to sustain. But he says that at the very ground of our being we are ‘an Easter people, and alleluia is our song’ and asks, what would it mean to let the glory of Easter illumine our everyday lives? 
 
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. 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.
 
 
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.
    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 offers a seasonal reflection on this.
    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. 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.
    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 means. Familiar from every sort of liturgy, blessing is one of the most commonly used Christian terms, but 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, blessing the disciples as he ascends to heaven.
    Sunday 5 July 2015
The Bad Christian's Manifesto: Reinventing God | Dave Tomlinson
Dave Tomlinson's 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’.
  
    Sunday 7 June 2015
Dorothy L Sayers and 'The Man Born to be King' | Canon Michael Hampel

Michael Hampel talks about detective novelist Dorothy Sayers and the enduring resonance of her controversial radio play about the life of Christ, The Man Born to be King, exploring her fascinating theology of creativity, which connects the doctrine of the Trinity with the process of creating, making and sharing new things. 
 
    Sunday 1 March 2015
The Drama of Living | David Ford

How can we learn to live wisely? The renowned theologian David Ford draws deeply on a lifetime of faith and study to explore the ways of wisdom, focusing particularly on ‘the dramatic and mysterious’ Gospel of John. In this talk he will offer reflective and practical insights into living wisely and well, rooted in the Spirit, and drawing also on contemporary poetry and music. David Ford is Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.
 
    Sunday 7 December 2014
Walking Backwards to Christmas |
Stephen Cottrell

Can we ever encounter the Christmas stories as if for the first time? Stephen Cottrell tells the story backwards and from the perspective of some of the characters we don’t usually hear from or think of as Christmas people - the prophets Anna and Moses, the Innkeeper’s wife, Rachel who weeps for her children, as well as Isaiah, the shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary. Stephen Cottrell is the Bishop of Chelmsford.

 

    Sunday 2 November 2014
What is Faith?  |  Margaret Silf

It’s all too easy to get the impression that faith is about creeds, doctrine, and knowledge - about mastering the ‘facts’ and having the ‘right’ answers. But Margaret Silf believes that faith is much more about mystery than mastery, and that living in the mystery allows us to shift our focus from religion to relationship – relationship with the Divine. Margaret Silf is a retreat leader and the author of bestselling guides to the spiritual journey.

 

    Sunday 5 October 2014
The Compassion Quest  |  Trystan Owain Hughes

Compassion is love-in-action, and it’s also been said that the best name for God is Compassion. Trystan Owain Hughes,Diocesan Director of Ordinands for the Diocese of Llandaff, draws on contemporary scientific thought, ancient wisdom, poetry, literature and film to explore compassion’s place at the heart of humanity, and what it might mean for our public, church and spiritual lives if we were to put it at the centre of our lives. 

 

    Sunday 7 September 2014
Places of Enchantment: Meeting God in Landscapes  |  Graham Usher

There is a great tradition of finding God in the natural world, and many people who have given up on church appreciate the spiritual benefits of climbing a mountain or walking in the countryside. Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley, encourages us to look at the world with fresh eyes – and so be enchanted by the wonder of God all around us. 

 

    Sunday 6 July 2014
Unwrapping the Sacred: Seeing God in the Everyday  |  Rosemary Lain-Priestley

‘In our search for God we are our own starting point.’ Rosemary Lain-Priestley, Dean of Women’s Ministry in the Two Cities area of the London Diocese, explores the spiritual necessity of looking our own experience in the face without glossing over the difficult bits, and how we can learn to see and be changed by the ordinary miracles we miss if we don’t pay attention to the daily.

 

    Sunday 1 June 2014
Teresa of Avila: Doctor of the Soul  |  Peter Tyler

May God protect me from gloomy saints! said St Teresa of Avila, the least gloomy of saints. Peter Tyler, Reader in Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, brings refreshing new light to the life and work of this great mystic and considers how it is that Teresa’s ‘language of the soul’ finds such resonance in contemporary spiritual life, including the worlds of psychology, meditation, mindfulness and personal development.

 

   
Sunday 6 April 2014
Looking Through the Cross  |  Graham Tomlin
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. How can it possibly be that God dies, and what can it teach us about how to live? Graham Tomlin, Dean of St Mellitus College, London, explores how the mystery of the cross can shed new, life-giving light on the way we live today.

 

   
Sunday 2 March 2014
Four Gospels, One Jesus?  |  Richard Burridge
Professor Burridge, Dean and Professor of Biblical Interpretation of King’s College London, is one of the foremost Biblical scholars of our time, and this book grew out of ten years of academic research into the gospels, but also his desire ‘to bridge the gap between the prayer cell and the seminar debate’. For anyone intrigued or puzzled by the differences between the gospels, this is a revelatory reading of the four portraits of Jesus we are given in the New Testament. 

 

    Sunday 2 February 2014
An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality  |  Esther de Waal

An ancient Christian tradition which originates on fringes of the Christian world, ‘it is refreshing to discover the role that art, storytelling and poetry played in the religious faith of the Celts, and it is perhaps this which enables us to feel such resonance with the Celtic past and spirituality.’ Dr Esther de Waal has a worldwide reputation as a writer, speaker and retreat leader, particularly on Celtic and monastic spirituality. 

 

    Sunday 1 December 2013
Haphazard by Starlight: an Advent Pilgrimage  |  Janet Morley
Janet Morley calls the season of Advent ‘a pilgrimage of the heart’, a time for stillness and contemplation. She invites us to contemplate its themes of darkness and death, light and new life with some of our greatest poets, including George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, TS Eliot and William Blake, in the hope that when the great feast of Christmas comes, we too will have ‘walked haphazard by starlight straight into the kingdom of heaven.'

 

    Sunday 3 November 2013
Crossing: Reclaiming the Landscape of our Lives  |  Mark Barrett OSB

Mark Barrett, a Benedictine monk at Worth Abbey, opens up the life of a 21st century monk in the hope that ‘the reader would find that we monastics – so often the shadowy medieval figures of media-gothic – are in reality fellow-seekers, apprentices training among the tools of a spiritual workshop’. He explores the spiritual journey made each day in the cycle of the ancient monastic offices, from Vigils before dawn to the night office of Compline.

 

    Sunday 2 June 2013
At the Heart of Faith: the Trinity as the hope of humanity  |  Ian Mobsby

The Trinity is one of the most difficult ideas in Christianity to get to grips with - everyone from St Augustine onwards wrestles with it, and Trinity Sunday is notoriously many preachers’ least favourite day of the year. The Revd Ian Mobsby is Priest Missioner at the Moot Community in the Diocese of London.

 

    Sunday 5 May 2013
Seeking God, Seeking Life: the Way of St Benedict  |  Esther de Waal
St Benedict wrote his ‘rule of life’ – his practical and spiritual guide for living a good life – in the sixth century, and it has been a foundational document for Christian monasticism and spirituality ever since. Esther de Waal explores the ancient, gentle wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict in relation to the demands of modern living and the importance of balance between prayer, work and study. 

 

    Sunday 7 April 2013
C S Lewis: Reluctant Prophet  |  Alister McGrath
For more than half a century, C S Lewis' Narnia series has captured the imagination of millions. Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King's College London, tells us that behind the best-selling books and Hollywood movies lies the unlikely story of an Oxford don who spent his days teaching medieval English Literature, his nights writing a best-selling fantasy series for children, and who became an inspiring, though reluctant, prophet of modern Christianity. 

 

    Sunday 3 March 2013
The Collage of God  |  Mark Oakley

St Paul's Chancellor, Canon Mark Oakley, discusses the difficulty in reconciling the realities of life with easy and comfortable notions about faith. He reflects on faith as a collage of traditions, texts, and the myriad experiences of living, imagination, silence and prayer by which we respond to the grace of God.

 

    Sunday 3 February 2013
Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting on the paintings by Stanley Spencer  |  Stephen Cottrell

The remarkable English painter Stanley Spencer produced a series of works entitled Christ in the Wilderness, portraying the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness. Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, reflects on some of Spencer’s Christ in the Wilderness paintings, inviting us to slow down and enter into the stillness of Stanley Spencer’s vision as a rich source of spiritual wisdom and nourishment.