Vincent Donovan, an American Roman Catholic priest, was working as a missionary in Tanzania. With one tribe, the Masai, traditional mission had made no headway, and he felt moved to try a new approach: simply to go on his own to talk to them about God. This brought results, but one of them was unforeseen; for his own vision of Christianity was revolutionised, as he described in his book Christianity Rediscovered in 1978. This truly prophetic challenge to our Western Church was republished in 2001 and 2004 – but will its message even now be heard?
Speaker: John Austin Baker
After forty years of ministry largely in South India, this Church of Scotland Minister, who became a Bishop in the fledgling Church of South India, published works of mission thinking which rocked the Christian world. As Secretary in the World Council of Churches he had challenged the Ecumenical movement to think widely. But it was in a series of books written when he was 69 that he will be most remembered. Lesslie was always accompanied by his wife Helen and after returning to England for retirement was minister of a United Reformed Church opposite the gates of Winston Green prison in Birmingham. He and Helen had started their retirement by travelling all the way from Madras to Winston Green using only local buses with their possessions in a rucksack and small suitcase! He had a quick analytical mind, a comprehension of theology, philosophy, and mission thinking that was way ahead of its time, and the series of books published from 1978 have changed the face of missionary endeavour worldwide.
Speaker: Howard Mellor
A priest who thought there were too many priests, a lifelong educator who argued for the end of schools and an intellectual sniper from a perch with a wide view. He argued that hospitals cause more sickness than health, that people would save time if transportation were limited to bicycles and that historians who rely on previously published material perpetuate falsehoods.
Speaker: Robert Hutchison
Invited to speak on Nelson Mandela as prophet, David Holgate demurred as he does not see Mandela as a prophet, but Alan Paton fits that label, and he will be sharing that interesting argument with us. A principal of a reformatory for young African offenders, an opponent of apartheid founding the South African Liberal party, and a man who communicated to the wider world through his writings, including Cry, The Beloved Country and Make me an Instrument of thy Peace.
Speaker: David Holgate
Why would a Christian pastor who is committed to peace and non violence join a group planning a coup d’état and the assassination of a head of state? What impulses led Dietrich Bonhoeffer on that path of discipleship to the gallows in a concentration camp in 1945? His inclusion among the Christian martyrs honoured on the west face of Westminster Abbey is well deserved. However, it does not address the profound and disturbing questions with which he wrestled. A lawyer imprisoned with him said, ‘His death robbed not only Germany but the whole of Christendom of a pioneer of Christianity.’ Yes, but the darkness cannot silence the truly prophetic voice.
Speaker: Gillian Court
Bishop of Chichester (1929-1958); a friend of Bonhoeffer who stood out for justice in war, church unity in peace, and social equality.
Speaker: Rachel Moriarty
“One of the most enlightening intellectual breakthroughs to come from the twentieth century.” That is how Robert Daly describes René Girard’s big idea. And it is big. His thinking offers a key to the origins of human society, the basis of conflict and violence, the formation of human identity and – most surprising of all – the vital significance of the Christian gospel. At the same time, his seminal ideas can be summarised quite simply. Too good to be true? Certainly, on this side of the pond/channel we tend to be suspicious of grand theories. But for a growing number of people, here and elsewhere, this Frenchman from the United States has shed a whole new light on life and faith.
Speaker: Peter Fisher
|The eighth talk in the series, scheduled for 25th November, is CANCELLED because the speaker is unwell.
Only two of those who attended the Second Vatican Council are still alive, Joseph Ratzinger who has become Pope Benedict XVI, and Hans Küng. Both taught together at Tübingen University during the student unrest of the late 1960s; Joseph Ratzinger was then groomed for high office; by choice Hans Küng has remained as a professor in Tübingen all his life while travelling the world, questioning the dogmas of his church, not least papal infallibility, and exploring the Christian tradition in new light from science and theology. So much so that in 1979 he was deprived of his licence from the church to teach as a Catholic theologian. Undeterred, he turned to the world religions and the possibility of a global ethic and has become the great Christian ambassador of his age, with much honour save in his own church. His story is spellbinding.
Speaker: John Bowden
Wednesdays 12:30 – 13:00
Admission is free, but we rely on donations to fund expenses.
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