The Sarum lectures have a long and distinguished history in the life of the Cathedral Close. They are a partnership between Sarum College and the Cathedral and this year we are looking forward to four lectures from our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Rev Nicholas Holtham. Here is an outline of the lectures.
Renewing Hope – Pray, Serve, Grow.
The one thing the bishop cannot delegate is the ethos and culture of the diocese. My concern in the Diocese of Salisbury is to Renew Hope through the core activities of prayer and service so that people grow as individuals and communities in the way of Jesus Christ. These 4 Sarum Lectures draw on my experience as a parish priest as well as a bishop and explore aspects of this central concern: ‘Renewing Hope – Pray, Serve, Grow’.
Lecture One : Being Human: The Renewal of Pastoral Theology
The Church of England is seeking to re-imagine Christian ministry for the 21st Century. A hundred years ago during the First World War, Dick Sheppard was the Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and “the most influential parish priest the Church of England has ever known”. He could be said to have re-imagined Christian ministry for a substantial part of the Church in the 20th Century. His concern was for the love of Christ and his care was of people, not statistics. His approach to ministry and mission gives insight into the task facing the contemporary Church.
Lecture Two: Engaging Arts and Minds: A Sort of Christian Apologetics
There has been a renaissance in the relationship between Christianity and the arts. There is an enormous willingness on the part of artists to explore meaning and faith creatively and with imagination. Whilst there might be safety for the Church in accepting only the work of Christian artists, the more important engagement is with good art that respects its Christian context. It makes us bigger people and deepens both our cultural life and the life of faith.
Lecture Three: A Changing Climate: On Care For Our Common Home
Among Christians there has been an ecumenical convergence about the environment and what Pope Francis called ‘the care for our common home’. This is an urgent task that all people need to address. It is so critical an existential problem as to overwhelm our traditional divisions and relativize them almost to the point of extinction. Following the Paris Climate Change agreement, how are we to respond to the care of God’s creation?
Lecture Four: Renewing Hope: The Profligate Generosity of God
The Church mis-describes itself when we focus too much on statistics. God’s ‘Easter people’ live with the hope of the resurrection in which life and love are of eternal significance. This matters for the world, not just for the Church. A message chalked on the ground in the Place de la Bourse in Brussels after the recent terrorism said, ‘Hope is our resistance’. We Christians are a people alive to the hope of heaven. We are called to live as we pray, that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. God renews our hope.
We much look forward to the opening up of all of these areas of our imagination and practice and I hope that you will join us in this adventure.