Living God's Future Now - June 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

Regular – Weekly or Fortnightly

Tuesdays: Sermon Preparation Workshop, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/theHeartEdge/. Please note there will be no Sermon Preparation workshop on Tuesday 6 April.

Wednesdays: Community of Practitioners workshop, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email jonathan.evens@smitf.org to register.

Fortnightly on Mondays: Biblical Studies class, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrcOmgrTgsHt2ceY7LepLhQYqQxS1G1ix9 2021 dates - Gospels & Acts:

• 7 Jun: Lecture 11 Luke-Acts
• 14 Jun: Lecture 12 Luke-Acts

May

Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up Season 4:  Ableism, Faith & Church– Friday 28 May, 16:30-18:00 BST, Zoom. Register for a Zoom invite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shut-in-shut-out-shut-up-ableism-faith-church-tickets-152921752077. Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against disabled people. Like racism and sexism, it classifies entire groups of people as 'less than'. In this groundbreaking 4th series of Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up we explore the context, culture and practice of ableism in faith and church. Since 2012 the Living Edge conference has held space for disabled and neurodivergent people to gather, to resource each other and the church. These HeartEdge Shut In Shut Out Shut Up series shares some of this experience, providing new space to ask challenging questions. Come and join the conversation with Fiona MacMillan and Rev Dr Hannah Lewis and Dr Rachel Holdforth (Practice). Fiona MacMillan (she/her) is a disability advocate, practitioner, speaker and writer. Fiona chairs the Disability Advisory Group at St Martin in the Fields and is a trustee of Inclusive Church. She leads the planning team for their annual disability conference, now in its 10th year. 

Inspired to Follow: Sunday 30 May, 14:00 (GMT), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspired-to-follow-art-and-the-bible-story-tickets-148401610211. ‘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 springboard for exploring questions of faith. Session 20: Saint Peter. Text: Acts 10:30-48. Image: ‘Christ appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way (Domine, Quo Vadis?)’, Annibale Carracci, 1601-2, NG9.

Theology Group: Sunday, 30 May 2021, 19:00 – 20:00 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/theology-group-tickets-155514922319. The St Martin-in-the-Fields and HeartEdge Theology Group provides a monthly opportunity to reflect theologically on issues of today and questions of forever with Sam Wells. Each month Sam responds to questions from a member of the congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields who also chairs the session and encourages your comments and questions.

June

Pilgrimage post-Pandemic: Tuesday 1 June, 19:00 BST, zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pilgrimage-post-pandemic-tickets-154148118171.  How is Pilgrimage changed by pandemic? In this workshop we explore this question with those who organise Pilgrimages. How Pilgrimage organizers and hosts are building better, safe experiences for the present and future. How do virtual Pilgrimages work in practice? What will they feature outside of lockdown? Revd Dr Donald Fishburne regularly leads groups on faith pilgrimages and helps other Pilgrimage hosts plan and lead fruitful group travel and spiritual experiences, through www.EO.Travel/Episcopal. Rev. Heather Prince Doss is an owner of Progressive Pilgrimage and regularly leads spiritually-minded trips to the Holy Land, Ireland, Scotland, and Europe. Eugene Ling organises the annual Pilgrimage to Canterbury for The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Long-time Episcopal priest Donald Fishburne and his wife Sarah enjoy helping new Pilgrimage hosts design their group experience as part of the faith journeys of Christians and seekers. They also recruit hosts and speakers on a variety of Pilgrimages. Donald leads online spirituality small groups, such as “Our Lenten Journey through the Wilderness toward Resurrection,” which features virtual pilgrimage elements. Rev. Heather Prince Doss is the owner of Progressive Pilgrimage and pastor of Eliot Presbyterian Church, a multicultural congregation in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. As a child of military parents, she has been traveling since birth and loves to help people experience God and deepen their faith by encountering new places, peoples, and cultures through travel. Eugene Ling has been the Annual Pilgrimage Coordinator for the Connection at St Martin’s since 2014 and is also a member of St Martin-in-the-Fields. This 4-day, 74 miles pilgrimage, from St. Martin’s to Canterbury Cathedral, normally involves about 120 pilgrims and volunteers each year. In 2020 it was replaced by a virtual Pilgrimage which involved 44 virtual pilgrims all over the world, walking for 2,833 miles.  This Annual Pilgrimage is a fundraising event for the Connection at St Martin’s to support homeless people around London.

Poetry, Refuge, Exile: Voices of Migration - Thursday 3 June, 16:30-18:00 (BST), zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/poetry-refuge-exile-voices-of-migration-tickets-153707195359. This is the third of a 4-part series on the themes of Migration, Theology and Community. Four poets – Amir Darwish, Jennifer Langer, Alison Phipps, Tawona Sitholé – and Lia Shimada (chair) will explore how poetry emerges from, and gives voice to, diverse experiences of exile, flight, abuse, hope, refuge and belonging. They will be joined by representatives from the Helen Bamber Foundation – a pioneering human rights charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers who are the survivors of extreme human cruelty. 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. Alison Phipps holds the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow, where she is also Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convenor of the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network. Tawona Sitholé is Artist in Residence of the UNESCO Chair for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow. He co-founded Seeds for Thought, an arts organization based in Glasgow. Amir Darwish is a poet and writer of Kurdish origin, whose work has been widely translated. Born in Aleppo, he came to Britain as an asylum seeker in 2003. Amir holds advanced degrees in History, International Relations, and Creative and Life Writing. He is currently working on his doctorate. Jennifer Langer is a poet and the founding director of Exiled Writers Ink. She has edited four anthologies of exiled literature and is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Lia Shimada is a geographer and theologian based at the University of Roehampton, where she serves as Senior Researcher for the Susanna Wesley Foundation and Associate Chaplain of Whitelands College. She is the editor of Mapping Faith: Theologies of Migration and Community (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020).

Jesus Is Just Alright: What Pop Songs About Jesus Can Teach Christians Today (SESSION 1: Beer With Jesus) – Friday 4 June, 16:30 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jesus-is-just-alright-tickets-145857685263. For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways.  Through a combination of listening and discussion, this four-part series invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians. SESSION 1: Beer With Jesus - Cowboy, soldier, friend, mother, gangsta: Jesus has appeared in all these guises – and many more – in pop songs over the past 50 years. By exploring what these different incarnations say about the ways modern Christians have imagined Jesus, this session will challenge us to consider how our own assumptions affect the way we relate to him. Do they help us to follow him – or are they a hindrance?  And do we fall into the trap of recreating Jesus in our own image?

Inspired to Follow: Sunday 6 June, 14:00 (GMT), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspired-to-follow-art-and-the-bible-story-tickets-148401610211. ‘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 springboard for exploring questions of faith. Session 21: Saint Paul. Text: Acts 9:1-19. Image: ‘The Conversion of Saint Paul’, Karel Dujardin, 1662, NG6296.

God’s Unfailing Word: Sunday 6 June, 18:30 (BST), zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gods-unfailing-word-tickets-154549695299. A three-part series of conversations on the nature of Christian-Jewish relations in the 21st century. With Rabbi Daniel Epstein (Western Marble Arch Synagogue) and Revd Dr Sam Wells (St Martin-in-the-Fields). Based on the recently (2019) published God’s Unfailing Word (https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/godsunfailingwordweb.pdf).

Book Launch - A Theology of Disagreement: New Testament Ethics for Ecclesial Conflicts – Tuesday 8 June, 19:00 BST, zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-theology-of-disagreement-tickets-154468153405. A Theology of Disagreement examines how New Testament texts inform Christian approaches to disagreement. Even the most casual contemporary observer of Christianity must recognise that the notion of Christian community being identifiable through the mutual love of its members (John 13:35) is difficult to reconcile with the schismatic reality of current ecclesial life. Nonetheless, disagreement remains an ethical subject neglected by theologians. Join author Revd Dr Christopher Landau and his guests, Revd Canon Dr Joanna Collicutt, Professor David Ford, Revd Selina Stone, and Dr Elaine Storkey, to explore the nature of an ethic of disagreement, and its practical implications for the church's public theological witness, as well as its liturgy.

Living God’s Future Now conversation – Lucy Winkett: Thursday 10 June, 6.00 pm, Zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/living-gods-future-now-conversation-lucy-winkett-tickets-154136828403. ‘Living God’s Future Now’ describes a series of online seminars, discussions and presentations hosted by HeartEdge. They are designed to equip, encourage and energise church leaders, laypeople and enquirers alike, in areas such as preaching, growing a church, shifting online, deepening spirituality in a congregation and responding to social need. The focal event in 'Living God's future now' is a monthly conversation in which Sam Wells explores what it means to improvise on God’s kingdom with a leading theologian or practitioner. Earlier conversations have included Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight, Chine McDonald, +Rachel Treweek, Stanley Hauerwas, Barbara Brown Taylor, Kelly Brown Douglas, Steve Chalke, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, among others. At 6.10 pm (GMT) on Thursday 13 May 2021, Sam Wells and Lucy Winkett will be in conversation to discuss how to improvise on the kingdom. Lucy Winkett was ordained in 1995, having worked previously as a professional soprano. One of the first generation of women to be ordained in the Church of England, she served her title in Manor Park, Newham before becoming the first woman priest appointed at St Paul’s Cathedral, later becoming Canon Precentor. She has been Rector of St James’s Church, Piccadilly since 2010. With degrees in history and theology, she broadcasts regularly on religion, gender and contemporary culture and is a long-standing contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

Jesus Is Just Alright: What Pop Songs About Jesus Can Teach Christians Today (SESSION 2:  Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?) – Friday 11 June, 16:30 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jesus-is-just-alright-tickets-145857685263. For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways.  Through a combination of listening and discussion, this four-part series invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians. SESSION 2:  Would Jesus Wear a Rolex? What would Jesus think if he came back today? That’s a question posed by artists working in genres as diverse as folk, hip-hop, punk, country, and heavy metal. Though written by non-Christians, most of these songs have no problem with Jesus, but instead with his followers, accusing them of sins including hypocrisy, judgmentalism, intolerance, and greed.  Listening to these “prophetic” songs will challenge participants to consider how they can better follow Christ in their own lives and as representatives of the Church.

Inspired to Follow: Sunday 13 June, 14:00 (GMT), zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspired-to-follow-art-and-the-bible-story-tickets-148401610211. ‘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 springboard for exploring questions of faith. Session 22: The New Jerusalem. Text: Revelation 21:1-5, 9-11, 22-27, & 22:1-5. Image: ‘Christ Glorified in the Court of Heaven’; central predella panel, probably by Fra Angelico, about 1423-4, NG663.1.

Creation Care Course: Thursday 17 June, 16:30-18:00 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/4-week-creation-care-course-tickets-145829458837?fbclid=IwAR0GX9eziBXIu-maafuP_nAMtoHRdbBthqoV9J-PI83mpQ_Yq46SftYMfb4. The environment is God’s gift to everyone. We have a responsibility towards each other to look after God’s Creation. Tackling climate change is a vital part of this responsibility. In a recent address to faith leaders on 4th February, ahead of the Glasgow conference on climate change in November 2021, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “To think climate change is a problem of the future rather than a scourge of the present is the blind perspective of the privileged. We look around and see that Mozambique has been hit again by tropical storms. In Nigeria, desertification has contributed indirectly to conflict between people competing for dwindling resources. Floods and cyclones have devastated crops in Melanesia, risking poverty and food insecurity.” In this 4-week Creation Care Course, we will provide you with vital information about climate change, its impacts on people, and reflect on our role as Christians in taking practical climate action. Week 1: Caring for Creation, we will take a theological perspective on creation care and tackling climate change, using bible studies and a wide range of theological resources.'

Serving God and Mammon? Thursday 17 June, 17.30 pm (BST), zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/serving-god-and-mammon-tickets-154144948691.  Commerce affects culture, congregation and compassion in many ways. One is when business executives are brought into a faith or not-for-profit context in leadership roles. Sometimes these skills arrive as a bonus: for example the person specification for Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t ask for a business background. When and how should we ask for those skills? What pitfalls should we avoid? Joanna Moriarty has worked in two very competitive marketplaces, first as a religious publisher and currently as a partner in the charities and social enterprise practice of the recruiter Green Park. Her trustee experience includes Feed the Minds, a charity focused on women’s literacy and social inclusion in the developing world, and she was a member of the Church of England Archbishops’ Anti-racism Task Force. She is designated a National Leader of Governance by the National College of Teaching and Leadership and works with boards to raise their effectiveness and impact. Joanna has recruited many business leaders for both executive and non-executive roles in faith and not-for-profit contexts. At 5.30pm on Thursday 17 June Douglas Board, who has many years’ experience of his own as a senior recruiter, will engage in conversation with Joanna to bring out many fascinating and practical insights which can help any values-driven organisation looking to add commercial skills. Then they will respond to your questions. Douglas initiated the HeartEdge discussion on 22 April on the human purpose of business; his current book ‘Elites: can you rise to the top without losing your soul?’ has been called ‘profound’ by the Financial Times. He is the external adviser to the Church of England’s renewal of its process of discernment for ordained ministry.

HeartEdge/CEEP transatlantic conversation – Big Tech, the Church & society: Thursday 17 June, 20.00 (GMT). Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/156567514651. The pandemic forced the Church to move online to a greater extent than ever before. Suddenly worship was moved from in-person to online. Fellowship, community-building, and Christian education all became hybrid experiences. Much was good in this forced evolution. Positivity and creativity emerged as experiments found success or failed to capture the needs of the moment. With the end of our current health pandemic in sight, questions remain about the relationship between the Church and technology (and, not just the technology tools but the companies that run these platforms as money-generating enterprises). During this panel, our participants will tackle questions like: Is ‘online church’ simply about accessing the tech needed for online services or are we baptizing Facebook, Instagram, whatever, and calling it 'church’? How do we avoid re-creating Christian subcultures online while imagining different and better futures in which all can contribute towards a new understanding? How can attention to relationship and a ‘beyond in the midst’ when online encourage us to pause and reflect? Underlying these questions are societal and ethical issues raised by the actions of Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. As we think about using these platforms for the Church, how do we account for the business models of friendship platforms, the platforms’ monetization of data, and discerning approaches to free speech and taxation. Finally, with all this complexity, how can the Church be a counterpoint to the neglect that comes from both instant responses and an assumption of human control? Join our panel for this important discussion. Panelists include: Genelle Aldred - Head of Communications, The Pipeline, Owner, GA/C; London, United Kingdom; Stacy Williams Duncan - Founder, Learning & Change Strategist at Learning ForTE, Rector, Little Fork Episcopal Church; Charlottesville, Virginia; Mark Howe - CEO, MVH Solutions; Avignon, France; John Reader - Associate Researcher, William Temple Foundation, United Kingdom.

Jesus Is Just Alright: What Pop Songs About Jesus Can Teach Christians Today (SESSION 3: Jesus, Forgive Me for the Things I’m About to Do) – Friday 18 June, 16:30 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jesus-is-just-alright-tickets-145857685263. For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways.  Through a combination of listening and discussion, this four-part series invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians. SESSION 3: Jesus, Forgive Me for the Things I’m About to Do. Pop songs are full of prayers. But rather than relying on familiar words, musicians lift their voices to Jesus in ways that are often highly personal and heartbreakingly honest. This session explores what we can learn about prayer – and faith – from the pleas and tears of a wide variety of artists.  What to do they pray for? Why and how? How do we see ourselves in these songs, and how might it affect the way we think about prayer?

God’s Unfailing Word: Sunday 20 June, 18:30 (BST), zoom. Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gods-unfailing-word-tickets-154549695299. A three-part series of conversations on the nature of Christian-Jewish relations in the 21st century. With Rabbi Daniel Epstein (Western Marble Arch Synagogue) and Revd Dr Sam Wells (St Martin-in-the-Fields). Based on the recently (2019) published God’s Unfailing Word (https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/godsunfailingwordweb.pdf).

Creation Care Course: Thursday 24 June, 16:30-18:00 BST, zoom- https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/4-week-creation-care-course-tickets-145829458837?fbclid=IwAR0GX9eziBXIu-maafuP_nAMtoHRdbBthqoV9J-PI83mpQ_Yq46SftYMfb4. The environment is God’s gift to everyone. We have a responsibility towards each other to look after God’s Creation. Tackling climate change is a vital part of this responsibility. In a recent address to faith leaders on 4th February, ahead of the Glasgow conference on climate change in November 2021, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “To think climate change is a problem of the future rather than a scourge of the present is the blind perspective of the privileged. We look around and see that Mozambique has been hit again by tropical storms. In Nigeria, desertification has contributed indirectly to conflict between people competing for dwindling resources. Floods and cyclones have devastated crops in Melanesia, risking poverty and food insecurity.” In this 4-week Creation Care Course, we will provide you with vital information about climate change, its impacts on people, and reflect on our role as Christians in taking practical climate action. Week 2: Understanding Climate Change, we will look at climate change, its drivers and impacts from a scientific perspective.

Jesus Is Just Alright: What Pop Songs About Jesus Can Teach Christians Today (SESSION 4: If I Believe You) – Friday 25 June, 16:30 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jesus-is-just-alright-tickets-145857685263. For over fifty years, pop musicians in all genres have explored the meaning and significance of Jesus in their music. The result is a rich collection of songs that consider important spiritual questions like faith, doubt, and prayer in unique and often provocative ways.  Through a combination of listening and discussion, this four-part series invites participants to explore a different spiritual topic each week. Join us to listen to great music that asks tough questions about our faith and our lives as Christians. SESSION 4: If I Believe You. Pop songs include some of the most honest and powerful examples of spiritual searching that you can find. Whether they are doubting believers, faithful doubters, unwilling atheists, or simple humans hungering for meaning, pop musicians bring to life approaches to faith that rival the psalms in their depth and nuance. This session will use these songs to help us understand and articulate the various ways we consider “belief”, and how that relates to our identities as modern Christians.

Theology Group: Sunday, 27 June 2021, 19:00 – 20:00 BST, zoom - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/theology-group-tickets-155515644479. The St Martin-in-the-Fields and HeartEdge Theology Group provides a monthly opportunity to reflect theologically on issues of today and questions of forever with Sam Wells. Each month Sam responds to questions from a member of the congregation of St Martin-in-the-Fields who also chairs the session and encourages your comments and questions.

See www.heartedge.org to join HeartEdge and for more information.

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Published by

Jonathan

Date published

28th May 2021

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