Living God's Future Now: February 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



Regular – Weekly

Tuesdays: Sermon Preparation Workshop, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at

Wednesdays: Community of Practitioners workshop, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email to register.


Lent Books: Discussion and Readings - Monday, February 1, 2021 at 6 PM UTC – 7:15 PM UTC. A live discussion with host Mark Oakley, joined by authors: Stephen Cherry 'Thy Will be Done', Hannah Steele 'Living His Story', Sheila Upjohn 'The Way of Julian Norwich', and Samuel Wells 'A Cross in the Heart of God'. Livestream link at    

Animals and the Church: Preaching in the Age of Factory Farming - Tuesday 2 February, 10:30 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada) / 3.30 pm GMT. Register at A conversation with Ellen Davis and Sam Wells. The conversation will run for roughly 30 minutes and will include a Q&A time. The event is free and open to faculty, students, clergy, and interested lay people. Registration is required but free.

Nazareth Community Online Workshop: Monday 8th February 2021, 2.00 – 3.30pm, Zoom - All welcome. An experiment in being with: with Silence; with Scripture; with Service; with Sacrament; with Sharing; with Sabbath; and Staying with. The Nazareth Community was established at St Martin’s in March 2018, now with over seventy five members.  The workshop will be led by Revd Richard Carter and Revd Catherine Duce, and is an opportunity to learn about the life of the community, and to consider how it could be applied in your own contexts. Richard is the leader of the Nazareth Community and author of The City is My Monastery: a Contemporary Rule of Life; published by Canterbury Press in 2019. The afternoon will mirror the Saturday morning sharing time.  The session will include: An introduction to the Nazareth Community’s simple way of life; Prayer & silence; A shared lectio divina; Q&A; and time for your own reflections.

Biblical Studies class: Monday 8 February, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: Gospels & Acts - Lecture 03 The Synoptic Problem.

Preaching in Lent, Holy Week and Easter: Tuesday 9 February 2021, 10.30am - 5.30pm. Book at Join us for a one-day, online festival including worship, lectures and reflection. Tickets are £20, or £10 for subscribers to either the Church Times or The Preacher.


  • 10.30am            Welcome
  • 10.35am             Sam Wells: Things Too Wonderful for Me - a sermon on Job 42: 1-6, 10-17
  • 11.00am             Jane Williams: What’s the point of a sermon? A view from the pew
  • 11.30am             Break
  • 11.45am              Luigi Gioia: The Victory of God’s Humour - a sermon on Matthew 25.31-46
  • 12.15pm             Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani: Father, Forgive
  • 12.45pm             Lunch break - including Great Sacred Music on the theme of Holiness with the St Martin’s Singers
  • 2.00pm              David Hoyle: Preaching after Emmaus – Losing your voice to find another
  • 2.30pm               Mark Oakley: Lady Lent, pork pies and Bruegel: preaching with art
  • 4.30pm               Live sermon preparation with HeartEdge

God in Exile: Interfaith perspectives on welcoming refugees - Thursday 11 February, 16:00-17:30 (GMT), zoom -  This is the second of a 4-part series that explores the themes of Migration, Theology and Community. In this interactive session, panelists Pádraig Ó Tuama, Sofia Rehman, Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen, and Lia Shimada (chair) will discuss ways in which sacred religious texts shape, and are shaped by, migration and community. Mapping Faith: Theologies of Migration and Community (published by Jessica Kingsley, 2020) brings together over 35 writers, poets, artists and practitioners, from primarily Jewish, Muslim and Christian backgrounds. Royalties from book sales will be donated to the Helen Bamber Foundation, with whom HeartEdge has a longstanding relationship. This event is co-sponsored by the Susanna Wesley Foundation, which facilitated the production of the book.

‘Living God’s Future Now’ - HeartEdge monthly dialogue: Thursday 11 February, 18:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting - Sam Wells and Sarah Coakley will be in conversation to discuss how to improvise on the kingdom. Sarah Coakley has retired from the Norris-Hulse Professorship at Cambridge University, in which role she served from 2007 to 2018. From 2018 to 2020 she is an Honorary Professor at the Logos Institute, St Andrews University, and from 2019 she is Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Australian Catholic University (Melbourne and Rome). She is a Life Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the British Academy (2019), and a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Lund, St Andrews, Toronto (St Michael’s College), and London (Heythrop College).

Knowing your parish: Mapping relationships – Monday 15 February, 14:00-15:30, zoom - Join us as we look at ways to understand your local community and consider how you might work within it. Using examples and stories, we’ll think about how church communities have discovered new ways of partnership, re-connected with those around them and found God in ways they weren’t expecting. There will be a focus on case studies and ways people have built new and creative community partnerships. Come prepared to listen and contribute and maybe go away thinking about new ways of being a good neighbour in your local area. With Richard Jones, Parish Giving Advisor for the Diocese of Hereford, Sarah Rogers, Watermark Collective, and Jo Beacroft-Mitchell (Generous Giving and Stewardship Team Leader for the Diocese of York).

Into the margins: A reflective process on change and transformation - Friday 19 February 2-3.30pm, Zoom - Into the margins looks at what happens when we are in the margins – and how we can be transformed by those in the margins. This Zoom-based reflective process looks at different aspects of change and transformation. The process is introductory, lasting 60-90 minutes, and is concerned with the concept of spiritual journeying. The session will focus on our own lives, but can in principle be applied to our Churches, community groups or other organisations to which we belong. The session is designed and led by Chris Bemrose. Chris is a trained Social Sculptor: using the arts, broadly defined, to bring about social, ecological and spiritual change. He is a former General Secretary of L’Arche International, building communities around the needs and gifts of people with learning disabilities. He is also a hospice visitor and former management consultant.

Inspired to Follow: ‘Who is my Neighbour? – A journey through Lent’ - Sunday 21 February, 14:00 (GMT), zoom - ‘Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story’ helps people explore the Christian faith, using paintings and Biblical story as the starting points. The course uses fine art paintings in the National Gallery’s collection as a spring board for exploring questions of faith. Session 1 - Being Waited on by Angel Neighbours - 1 Kings 19:1-9 and ‘Landscape with Elijah and the Angel’, Gaspard Dughet, about 1663, NG1159.

Biblical Studies class: Monday 22 February, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: Gospels & Acts - Lecture 04 The Synoptic Problem.

‘Church, LGBTI+ equality and the priesthood of all believers’ - St Bride's Public Theology Lecture for LGBT+ History Month: Monday 22nd February, 18:00 (GMT), zoom - Savitri Hensman will explore the concept of the church as a movement or community rather than collection of institutions and its members’ part in the shifts in attitudes and practice in church and society. LGBT+ History Month is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. In the United Kingdom it is celebrated in February each year, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.  This year's theme is Body, Mind and Spirit. Savi Hensman is an activist and writer based in London and was one of the founders of the London's Black Lesbian and Gay Centre.  Savi is a regular contributor to Ekklesia, who published her first book "Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness: Same-Sex Love and the Church" . She has also written for The Guardian, The Church of England News, as well as writing poetry.

Creating a New Communion: Tuesday 23 February, 10:00-11:30 (GMT), zoom - Exploring how generosity, gratitude, giving and fundraising call us into communion with God and with one another. Suitable for clergy and lay leaders. Inspired by Henri Nouwen and his wonderful book The Spirituality of Fundraising join this five-session free online study and discussion series, hosted by HeartEdge, and facilitated by the Dioceses of Hereford and York. Through Lent we’ll explore together Nouwen’s deep conviction that the ground of our common humanity and our life’s work is to accept the “call to be deeply, deeply connected with unconditional love, with our own fragile humanity, and with brothers and sisters everywhere.” What does this mean for you? For your ministry? For the church of today? For generosity, gratitude, giving and fundraising? Booking your free ticket and Zoom access code via eventbrite at … Pre-session reading of ‘The Spirituality of Fundraising’, by Henri Nouwen although not essential, is recommended.

Inspired to Follow: ‘Who is my Neighbour? – A journey through Lent’ - Sunday 28 February, 14:00 (GMT), zoom - ‘Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story’ helps people explore the Christian faith, using paintings and Biblical story as the starting points. The course uses fine art paintings in the National Gallery’s collection as a spring board for exploring questions of faith. Session 2 - Being a Neighbour to Those Close to Us - Genesis 4:25 - 5:5 and ‘Adam and Eve’, Jan Gossaert (Jean Gossart), about 1520, L14 – on loan from The Royal Collection Trust.