St Paul’s - opportunities for learning throughtout the year

St Paul’s - opportunities for learning throughtout the year

Wide ranging education programme

Start Date:
Saturday 19th January 2019
Start Time:
St Paul's London
full programme available for download
some are free others have a charge - see the programme


Events in St Paul’s Cathedral

Jesus Christ:

the Unanswered Questions

Rowan Williams

Wednesday 27 March

6.30 – 8.00pm

Admission Free – register at

Who do you say I am? Jesus asked

his disciples this question and for 2,000 years

Christians have wrestled with this, the defining question of our faith. Jesus led a

completely familiar and recognisable life, but also one that was utterly

radical and unrecognisable: a unique divine moment in the history of our world.

How on earth can we

speak about this, the great mystery at the heart of Christianity?

Rowan Williams says

that how we understand Jesus Christ is

central to how we understand everything: creation, our faith, our world and

ourselves. He says that if we grasp the mysterious reality that Christ is the

heart of creation itself, not just an extraordinary human life, it will open a

deeply affirmative approach to creation, and offer radical, transformative

insights into ethics and politics. He

says it will do nothing less than make a new place for us to live - in hope,

imagination and action.

and author, his numerous academic and popular books include Christ: The Heart of Creation

(Bloomsbury 2018) and God With Us: The Meaning Of The Cross And Resurrection - Then And Now (SPCK 2017).

Dr Rowan Williams is the Master of Magdalene

College Cambridge and was formerly Archbishop of Canterbury. A poet, theologian

The evening will be chaired by Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London,

and include plenty of time for questions and answers.


interpretation will be provided at this event: please let us know if you

require seats in the area reserved for this.



Barbara Brown Taylor

Thursday 30 May

6.30 – 8.00pm

Admission Free – register at

Christians are taught

that God is everywhere, and many of us experience the sacred in unexpected

places: in nature, in friends and

strangers, in music and the arts. But

can we also encounter God in the faith of other people?

Barbara Brown Taylor

left parish ministry to teach world religion at a college in rural

Georgia. To her surprise, what she

learnt from decades of living with the truth claims of the world’s great faiths

is not – contrary to popular opinion – that all religions are alike, but something

subtler, more mysterious and more life-giving: a ‘holy envy’ of the riches of

other traditions, and the chance to be born afresh and more deeply within her

own tradition.

She will explore some

of the gifts, questions and paradoxes that she found along the way. If there is

only one God, why are there so many religions? Can our faith be improved by the

faith of others, even those we fundamentally disagree with? And is the Holy

Spirit at work in all this?

The Revd Barbara Brown

Taylor is an

American Episcopal priest, theologian, Professor of Religion, and New York

Times best-selling author. In 2014 TIME

magazine named her as one if its 100 most influential people in the world. Her best-selling guides to the spiritual life include An Altar on the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark. Her new

book is Holy Envy: Finding God in the

Faith of Others (Canterbury Press 2019).


evening will be chaired by Tricia Hillas, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral,

and include plenty of time for questions and answers.


interpretation will be provided at this event: please let us know if you

require seats in the area reserved for this.

Sunday Forum

A series

of free lunchtime talks on the first Sunday of the month exploring Christian spirituality,

life and ethics with some of the best Christian thinkers and writers of our

time. Each event includes plenty of time

for questions and answers. Sunday Forum

is in the Wren Suite in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. Admission is free and unticketed. Seating is

first-come, first-served: please come early to ensure your place.


by Christ: Modern Writers and the Struggle for Faith

Richard Harries

Sunday 3 February

1.00 - 2.00pm

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

1.00 - 2.00pm


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



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.


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

1.00 - 2.00pm


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.


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.


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

1pm - 2.00pm

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.


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


Joan Taylor

Sunday 2 June

1.00 - 2.00pm

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.


Tribe: Diverse Saints in a Diverse World

Sharon Prentis

Sunday 7 July

1.00 - 2.00pm

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


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).

Saturday workshops and study


A Beginners’ Guide to Christian Spirituality

Carys Walsh

Saturday 9 February

2.00 – 4.30pm

Admission £15 – buy tickets at

What is Christian Spirituality? Carys Walsh says that it is

nothing less than experiencing the transformative power of God’s love, and

living this out. She also says that Christian Spirituality is immensely rich

and varied, made new by God in every generation.

In this afternoon we take an introductory look at the dynamic

nature of Christian spirituality. We will explore some of its contours and

touch on just a few of its many and varied expressions, from the 6th century

Rule of St Benedict, a model of how to live a life of faith, balance and

harmony which continues to enrich lives inside and outside monasteries today,

to the Franciscan vision of freedom in poverty and joy in creation. We will

also explore the Anglican tradition, deeply rooted in the sense of place, the beauty

of language and the poetic tradition.

The Revd Dr Carys Walsh is in charge of training for

curates in the Diocese of Peterborough. She has a Phd in Christian

Spirituality, focussing on the Sacramental Vision of R S Thomas and was until

recently Tutor and Lecturer in Christian Spirituality at St Mellitus

College in the Diocese of London.


and Resurrection Living

Holy Week

James Milne

Saturday 13 April

2.00 – 4.30pm

Admission £15 – buy tickets at


Week and Easter are the heart of the Christian year. The unfolding services of

Holy Week offer us the opportunity to make our own pilgrimage through Jesus’

last week. It moves from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to the Last

Supper where he foretells his death and gives his disciples the last great

commandment, his anguished prayer in Gethsemane, the shocking events of his

betrayal, trial and execution, the desolation of his death, and finally to the

dawn of a new world on Easter Sunday.

But it’s

also true that these stories can become so familiar that we can be in danger of

losing our sense of their revolutionary message about the nature of God.

On the eve of Holy Week, James Milne will explore how this great cycle of

services evolved and how we can fully enter into them, allowing them to reach

our hearts and change our lives.

The Revd

James Milne is Sacrist at St Paul’s Cathedral, sharing responsibility for its

liturgy. He was previously Convenor of the Liturgy Committee of the

Scottish Episcopal Church.

Radical Discipleship Caring for the


Krish Kandiah

Saturday 18 May

2.00 - 4.30pm

Admission £15 – buy tickets at

Krish Kandiah says that hospitality

to the stranger is the key to intimacy with God, and when we answer his call to

compassionate action we will find it life-giving.

This revolutionary message runs

through the whole history of God’s relationship with humanity. He calls the people of the Promised Land to

provide for ‘the alien, the orphan and the widow’. Jesus teaches that in caring for prisoners,

the poor and the sick we are caring for him.

The people of the early church lived together, providing for each

other’s needs in ways that were radical then and now.

But in the 21st century

we can feel too busy, too overwhelmed, even to begin to find a way to live this

out in our own lives. The need seems enormous and what we can offer can

feel so small.

Krish Kandiah will explore why God

calls us to this radical discipleship and what happens when we answer the

call. He will also offer suggestions for

finding ways that are practical, joyful and sustainable in our own lives.

Dr Krish Kandiah is the Founder and

Director of the adoption and fostering charity Home for Good, an ambassador for Tearfund and the author

of numerous books including God is Stranger (Hodder 2017). He

lives in Oxfordshire with his wife and seven children, including fostered and adopted




Imagining Peace

Pádraig Ó Tuama

Saturday 30 March

10.00am – 5.00pm

Admission £45 – buy

tickets at

2018 was the centenary of the end of the First World War - ‘the

war to end all wars’. Since then, there has not been a single day when

the world has been at peace. Why is peace so hard, and conflict so


Jesus says that blessed – happy – are the peacemakers. But

he doesn’t say it’s easy. In this reflective day, we will look at peace

and conflict within ourselves, in our communities and in politics. We

will explore the obstacles and opportunities for transformation through Bible

stories, our own experiences, and the stories we tell about ourselves and

others, including Pádraig Ó Tuama’s experiences of peacemaking and conflict

resolution in Northern Ireland.

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian based in Belfast. He

teaches on religion, storytelling and conflict resolution, and is the leader of

the Corrymeela Community, the longest-established ecumenical peace and

reconciliation community in Northern Ireland. His books include In the

Shelter: Finding a Home in the World and Daily Prayer with the

Corrymeela Community.

The day

includes reflective worship, lunch and other refreshments and takes place at

the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in Limehouse, East London ( We are very grateful to St Katharine’s for their

hospitality in co-hosting our

reflective days.

Silence for Beginners

Richard Carter

Saturday 1 June

10.00am – 5.00pm

Admission £45 – buy

tickets at


is something we can long for or dread, but it’s often said that silence is the country

where the saints learn their language.

From the earliest years of Christianity to the present day, it’s where

men and women have sought, and found, God. But as many who have tried it

know, it is not always as simple as it sounds.

This day

will provide a ‘beginner’s guide’ to silence, with reflections on its nature,

joys, pitfalls and uses. It will also

include significant periods when we will keep silence.

The Revd

Richard Carter is an Associate Priest at St Martin in The Fields, one of the

busiest churches in London. For many

years he was a member of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Solomon Islands,

where silence was a daily part of the spiritual life of the community. In London he works with The Connection,

London’s busiest homelessness charity, and is the founder and leader of the

Nazareth Community, which aims to build a practice of silence into daily life

in the city.

This is

a joint day with our partners at The Royal Foundation

of St Katharine, and we are very grateful to them for their hospitality in co-hosting our reflective days. The

days take place at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in Limehouse, East

London and include reflective worship, lunch and other refreshments. (

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