Living God's Future Now - January 2021

'Living God’s Future Now’ is our mini online festival of theology, ideas and practice. 

We’ve developed this in response to the pandemic and our changing world. The church is changing too, and - as we improvise and experiment - we can learn and support each other. 

This is 'Living God’s Future Now’ - talks, workshops and discussion - hosted by HeartEdge. Created to equip, encourage and energise churches - from leaders to volunteers and enquirers - at the heart and on the edge.

The focal event in ‘Living God’s Future Now’ is a monthly conversation where Sam Wells explores what it means to improvise on God’s kingdom with a leading theologian or practitioner.

The online programme includes:

  • Regular weekly workshops: Biblical Studies (Mondays - fortnightly), Sermon Preparation (Tuesdays) and Community of Practitioners (Wednesdays)
  • One-off workshops on topics relevant to lockdown such as ‘Growing online communities’ and ‘Grief, Loss & Remembering’
  • Monthly HeartEdge dialogue featuring Sam Wells in conversation with a noted theologian or practitioner

Find earlier Living God’s Future Now sessions at https://www.facebook.com/pg/theHeartEdge/videos/?ref=page_internal

'Thank you for all you are supporting and enabling - I absolutely love everything that comes out of HeartEdge.' The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester

January 2021

Theology Reading Group: Sunday 10 January, 19:00 GMT, zoom – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/st-martin-in-the-fields-heartedge-theology-reading-group-tickets-125865341625. The Reading Group will discuss 'Jack' by Marilynne Robinson. Marilynne Robinson is an American award winning novelist and essayist; Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, National Humanities Medal in 2012, and the 2016 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. Also in 2016, Robinson appeared on Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people. ‘Jack’ is Marilynne Robinson’s latest book, it is a love story set in postwar St. Louis. Love, shame, guilt, segregation, risk and redemption; are a just a few themes that follow the relationship between Jack and Della. 'Grace and intelligence . . . [her work] defines universal truths about what it means to be human' Barack Obama.

Biblical Studies class: Monday 11 January, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrcOmgrTgsHt2ceY7LepLhQYqQxS1G1ix9. Join Simon Woodman to explore the New Testament Epistles - Lecture 01 Mark’s Gospel.

The Tawney Dialogue - David Lammy MP, Rev Dr Sam Wells, Dawn Foster - Families or Factions? Monday 11 January, 19:30 PM (GMT). Register at https://www.facebook.com/events/zoom/the-tawney-dialogue-david-lammy-mp-rev-dr-sam-wells-dawn-foster-families-or-fact/902388756833003/. In this world of polar-opposites, divisions and binary choices, are we cultivating community or harming harmony? Chaired by journalist and writer Dawn Foster, our two speakers bring their perspectives on whether our groupings and allegiances look more like families or factions... and what can we do about it? Featuring David Lammy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Rev Dr Sam Wells of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Chaired by Dawn Foster (Guardian, Independent, Tribune, Jacobin Magazine).

Sermon Preparation Workshop: Tuesday 12 January, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/theHeartEdge/. Discussion of preaching and the  lectionary readings for the coming Sunday with Sam Wells and Sally Hitchiner.

Community of Practitioners workshop: Wednesday 13 January, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email jonathan.evens@smitf.org to register. A gathering for church leaders, lay and ordained, with opportunities for reflection on experience and theology.

Leadership skills for the next 10 years: Wednesday 13 January, 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT), zoom webinar – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/trytank-presents-leadership-skills-for-the-next-ten-years-registration-115755687377. For almost 20 years, beginning just after 9/11, futurist Bob Johansen has been wrestling with the question of leadership profiles that will be required to thrive in the VUCA World (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous). He wrote a trilogy of books that share the profile he's convinced will work to help us get ready for the next future shock. The profile includes: Ten skills (think competencies) introduced in Leaders Make the Future; Five literacies (think disciplines or practices) introduced in The New Leadership Literacies; and One mindset (think worldview) introduced in Full-Spectrum Thinking. Join for an impactful webinar with Dr. Johansen as he covers his leadership trilogy, with a special emphasis on the skills required to thrive in the coming decade.

‘Living God’s Future Now’ - HeartEdge monthly dialogue: Thursday 14 January, 18:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/living-gods-future-now-conversation-presiding-bishop-michael-curry-tickets-132832608909. Sam Wells and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will be in conversation to discuss how to improvise on the kingdom. The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry is Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church.  He is the Chief Pastor and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as Chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. The descendant of enslaved Africans brought to North America by way of the trans-Atlantic slave routes, his father was an Episcopal priest and his mother a devout Episcopalian. Presiding Bishop Curry maintains a national preaching and teaching ministry and has authored five books: Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Time (2020); The Power of Love (2018); Following the Way of Jesus: Church's Teachings in a Changing World (2017); Songs My Grandma Sang (2015); and Crazy Christians:  A Call to Follow Jesus (2013).

Book Launch: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Marriage – Friday 15 January, 16:30 (GMT), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-towards-a-theology-of-same-sex-marriage-tickets-131505206613. Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Marriage: Squaring the Circle is a transformative exploration of queer theology and the debate around same-sex marriage within the Church. In this book Clare Herbert draws on her experience as a priest within the Church of England in a committed same-sex relationship and considers the questions that have shaped religious debate for many years. Interweaving stories from Christians struggling to reconcile their faith with their sexuality alongside wider queer theology and the theology of marriage, Clare explores the unique understanding of God provided by the experience of committed same-sex love, and lays the groundwork for redefining the traditional definition of marriage. Joining her for this discussion are: Dr Philomena Cullen: Researcher working on domestic social justice issues with UK faith- based charities; Charlie Bell: Fellow in Medicine at Girton College Cambridge, and ordinand at St Augustine's College of Theology; and The Very Revd David Monteith (Doctor of Laws), Dean of Leicester.  

Reconciling Mission: Joining in God’s Work - Monday 18 January, 16:00-17:30 GMT, Zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reconciling-mission-joining-in-gods-work-tickets-131913377463. How might we understand Christian mission as joining in with God’s reconciling work in the world? What are the implications of such an understanding for how local churches approach their missional outreach to a local neighbourhood? And how might this understanding envision and re-energise lay people for sharing God’s good news in their community? Speakers: Alastair McKay, director, Reconciliation Initiatives; Tricia Hillas, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and trustee of Reconciliation Initiatives; Martin Anderson, vicar of Norton, Stockton-on Tees, Diocese of Durham; and Sarah Hills, vicar of Holy Island, Diocese of Newcastle (and former Canon for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral, and former trustee of RI).

The Church and the Clitoris: Monday 18 January, 18:00-19:30 GMT, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-church-and-the-clitoris-tickets-133863987791.  Drawing on some nineteenth-century claims about the clitoris, this lecture shows how science and religion may interact not just to ignore female sexuality but also to damage women’s bodies. A lecture and Q&A with Helen King, a member of the History Working Group of the Living in Love and Faith project. Part of the St Brides, Liverpool series of occasional lectures, with HeartEdge and the 'Living God's Future Now' festival of theology, ideas and practice.

Sermon Preparation Workshop: Tuesday 19 January, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/theHeartEdge/. Discussion of preaching and the  lectionary readings for the coming Sunday with Sam Wells and Sally Hitchiner.

Community of Practitioners workshop: Wednesday 20 January, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email jonathan.evens@smitf.org to register. A gathering for church leaders, lay and ordained, with opportunities for reflection on experience and theology.

Theology Group: Sunday 24 January, 18:00 (GMT), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/st-martin-in-the-fields-heartedge-theology-group-tickets-130240413583. An opportunity to reflect theologically on issues of today and questions of forever with Sam Wells, who will be responding to questions from David Jones, a member of the congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields. David will also chair the session and encourage your comments and questions.

Biblical Studies class: Monday 25 January, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrcOmgrTgsHt2ceY7LepLhQYqQxS1G1ix9. Join Simon Woodman to explore the New Testament Epistles - Lecture 02 Mark’s Gospel.

Art and social impact: Tuesday 26 January, 14:30 GMT, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/art-and-social-impact-tickets-134763030853. This workshop is a conversation with artists whose work has a social impact dimension in order to explore the relationship between art and social change. There will be discussion of personal journeys in addressing issues of social concern, approaches used, and expectations in terms of impact. The session will also explore ways in which churches can engage with such art and use it for exploring issues with congregations and beyond. Jonathan Evens will be in conversation with André Daughtry (http://www.andredaughtrystudio.com/), Micah Purnell (https://micahpurnell.com/), Nicola Ravenscroft (https://nicolaravenscroft.com/) and Hannah Rose Thomas (http://hannahrosethomas.com/).

Sermon Preparation Workshop: Tuesday 26 January, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/theHeartEdge/. Discussion of preaching and the  lectionary readings for the coming Sunday with Sam Wells and Sally Hitchiner.

Community of Practitioners workshop: Wednesday 27 January, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email jonathan.evens@smitf.org to register. A gathering for church leaders, lay and ordained, with opportunities for reflection on experience and theology.

Homelessness and the Pandemic: Our Christian Commitment to the Community: Thursday, January 28, 3:00pm EST / 8.00pm GMT. Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/135419927649. In March of last year, our world was turned upside down. The worst pandemic in over a century began raging globally. With lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, national economies went into free fall and economic hardship quickly followed. Many who led otherwise secure lives, suddenly found themselves without the means to support themselves and their families. This precarious situation has led many finding themselves without a home or shelter for themselves or their family. This, in turn, has brought a renewed focus on the needs of those who find themselves without safe and adequate shelter. During this workshop, our panelists will discuss the current situation in the United States and the United Kingdom. Together, they will discuss our Christian responsibility to our sisters and brothers in these challenging times and offer ways that churches can most effectively support and engage. Panelists include: Kate Moorehead – Dean, St. John’s Cathedral; Jacksonville, Florida; Ginny Myrick – President and CEO, Cathedral District-Jax; Jacksonville, Florida; Pam Orchard – CEO, The Connection at St. Martin’s; London, United Kingdom; and Dominic Robinson SJ - Vice Chair, The Society for Ecumenical Studies; Parish Priest; Immaculate Conception (Farm Street Church); London, United Kingdom. Additional Panelists to be Named.

How to Rage: Saturday 30 January, 09:30 – 15:30 GMT, £10 full/£5 unwaged. Register at https://scmpress.hymnsam.co.uk/events. Think about the links between activism, theology and the church. With: Jione Havea - How to Rage against the Rage of God; Jarel Robinson-Brown: Prophetic Rage: Fire Shut Up in My Bones; Andrew Graystone: How to Rage (With a Smile); Samantha Lindo: Songs and Poems – Why we are Here & Naming the Water; Hannah Malcolm (and panel) – Raging with the Earth; Azariah France-Williams – Raging against Institutions; Ellen Loudon – Tools for Raging.