Living God's Future Now - September 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

Regular – Weekly or Fortnightly

Tuesdays: Sermon Preparation Workshop, 16:30 (GMT), livestreamed at Please note the Sermon Preparation workshop begins again on Tuesday 7 September.

Wednesdays: Community of Practitioners workshop, 16:30 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Email to register. Please note the Community of Practitioners workshop begins again on Wednesday 8 September.

Biblical Studies class: Two Mondays each month, 19:30-21:00 (GMT), Zoom meeting. Register in advance: 2021 dates - Gospels & Acts:

  • 6 Sep: Lecture 17 The what, why and where of the Fourth Gospel
  • 27 Sep: Lecture 18 The purpose of the Fourth Gospel


Out of the Depths: Hymn, Psalm and Song Creating Workshop - Friday 3 September, 16:30-18:00, zoom. Register at This is an advance music workshop for (Still) Calling from the Edge, the 10th annual conference on Disability and Church. It will explore the theme of calling from the edge in song and sound. Using Psalm 130, a psalm of lament, as the basis for musical creation in various shapes – chant, hymn or poem ready for musical setting. Participants will be helped with hymn metre and the repetition of chanting traditions. This pre-conference workshop will help create a set of musical pieces that will be recorded for playing in a workshop at the conference itself. These can take any form, guided by the leaders. They can focus on any aspect of lamenting and calling, using Psalm 130 as a stimulus, interpreted in their own way and drawing on their experiences or those close to their heart.

Theology Group: Sunday 5 September, 19:00 (BST). Register at A monthly opportunity to reflect on issues of today and questions of tomorrow together with Sam Wells. Revd Dr Sam Wells will be responding to your questions and reflections on the Universality of Christ chaired by St Martin-in-the-Fields congregation member Steve Adams. We look forward to welcoming all who want to join us, and to hearing your questions. This is an ideal chance for community, sharing, and reflection. These sessions on zoom have been well attended and full of moments of confirmation, challenge and enlightenment.

Living God's Future Now conversation – Ben Quash: Thursday 9 September, 18:10 – 19:10 BST. Register for a Zoom invite at ‘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 were with Walter Brueggemann, John McKnight, Chine McDonald, +Rachel Treweek, Stanley Hauerwas, Barbara Brown Taylor, Kelly Brown Douglas, Steve Chalke, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Sarah Coakley, and Jonathan Tran. At 6.10 pm (GMT) on Thursday 13 May 2021, Sam Wells and Ben Quash will be in conversation to discuss how to improvise on the kingdom. Ben Quash came to King’s College London as its first Professor of Christianity and the Arts in 2007. Prior to that, he was a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College and then of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He is fascinated by how the arts can renew people’s engagement with the Bible and Christian tradition, and is directing a major 7-year project to create an online Visual Commentary on Scripture. He runs an MA in Christianity and the Arts in association with the National Gallery, London, and broadcasts frequently on BBC radio. He is a Trustee of Art and Christianity Enquiry, and Canon Theologian of both Coventry and Bradford Cathedrals. His publications include Abiding: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2013 (Bloomsbury, 2012) and Found Theology: History, Imagination and the Holy Spirit (T&T Clark, 2014), and he has written catalogue essays for exhibitions at Ben Uri Gallery, London, the Inigo Rooms in Somerset House, and the Vatican Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015.

Called to the Feast art workshop: Friday 10 September, 16:30-18:00, zoom. Register at The art workshop for (Still) Calling from the Edge, the 10th annual conference on disability and Church in partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church, will use the theme of Called to the Feast. This draws on the image of feasting in Jesus’ parables and teaching combined with the way he included those experiencing exclusion among his disciples and restored others to worship at the Temple. The idea is that this pre-conference workshop will help create an exhibition of images and words for an inclusive Last Supper. These can be in any media (drawing, paintings, photographs, poetry, prose etc etc) and can focus on any aspect of the Last Supper i.e. the feast, the gtable, the guests, Jesus etc. Participants will be encouraged to interpret this brief in their own way and as makes sense to them. The images and words shared will then be shown in an online exhibition during the conference.

2021 Festival of Preaching: 13-14 September 2021 | Online and at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Find out more and book tickets - Over two days we'll explore preaching and interpretation in-depth, hear sermons from skilled preachers, and join together in worship. We are delighted to be welcoming some outstanding new speakers to the festival, as well as hearing afresh from some of those who have joined us in the past. For 2021, the full programme will be streamed online. Take part from wherever you are in the world. Watch live on your computer, phone or smart TV, or access the recorded sessions at a later time. The first day of the festival - Monday 13 September - will be broadcast live from St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. Book a seat to join us in the church. The Tuesday programme is online only.

Culture Clinic: Monday 20 September, 14:00-15:00, zoom. Register at Culture Clinic is for anyone and everyone looking to develop their church cultural activity. Stuck? Ideas? Check in for 1:1 support. Culture Clinic is the new monthly offer for anyone and everyone looking for support in developing their church cultural engagement - from setting up a gallery space, developing space gigs, hosting comedy or movie nights. The clinic offers 'how to'... helps. Space to share your stories, experience, ideas... Space to find support. Culture vulture - but stuck? Or have ideas to share? Or looking for a fellow conspirator? Why not check into the clinic? Always practical, useful, full of ideas and tactics. The clinic is monthly 1:1 support with Sarah Rogers - HeartEdge Culture Development coordinator.

HeartEdge SouthWest Day: Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 10:00 – 15:30 BST. St Mary's Church, 32 Chapel Street, Penzance TR18 4AQ. Register at A day with Sam Wells and guests on mission, developing cultural activity and commercial enterprise in rural and coastal communities across the Southwest. With space to share ideas, and find practical ideas and tips for developing enterprise and cultural activities this will be useful if you want to develop cultural activity or social enterprise, working with your congregation and the wider community. With input, practical ideas and workshops from: Dave Nicholson on food pantries and shifting to trading; Sarah Rogers on establishing audiences and growing cultural events; plus `Transformation Cornwall; and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. A day for church leaders and those active in their church and community. We'll look at sustaining and developing church and community involvement with tactics and approaches, helping to build a useful network.

Social Media: Saintly or Sinful (The Church’s People and Social Media Today) - Wed, September 22, 2021, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM BST. Register at In partnership with the CEEP Network, we are hosting a conversation on social media. Our panel of active social media users and those who study social media professionally will explore how Christians can use the various available platforms to share the Good News. They will also share personal experiences about some the joyful experiences they’ve had on the platforms as well as some examples of the ways they can be divisive and harmful. This is an important conversation and one you won’t want to miss. Over the last decade, social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter) has penetrated every aspect of our lives. Whether we are active on the platforms or remain ardently opposed to joining, the discussions and debates taking place with or without us are directing social discourse, influencing the news cycle, and, in many cases, driving decision making. Social media offers Christians an opportunity to live out our calling to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It helps us stay connected, share our joys and challenges, and learn more about the world around us. Indeed, one of its many joys is that it is immediate, interactive, conversational, and open-ended. And yet, there is also a dark side. Seemingly benign posts can result in painful reactions and vicious behaviour is not uncommon (and, indeed, the seeming anonymity of the internet can encourage such behaviour). Common sense, kindness, and sound judgement often used in face-to-face encounters can vanish when we are at the keyboard. Join us for a panel of social media users and those studying behaviours on the platform. This conversation will range from how we can engage in behaviours reflecting our values and how we might consider interacting with those online who don’t share our same values. Our panel will share their real-world experiences of navigating this new media ecosystem and how we might create personal approaches and church strategies and policies for utilizing them. We hope attendees will leave this session with some new practical and theological ideas to consider and with strategies to love our neighbours and practice civil discourse on social media. Panelists include: Daniel Brereton - Priest-in-Charge, St. John’s Dixie Church; Mississauga, Ontario; Heidi Campbell - Professor of Communications, Texas A&M University; Vice-President of the Society, Media, Religion & Culture; College Station, Texas; Amaris Cole - Head of Digital, The Church of England; London, United Kingdom; Jemonde Taylor - Rector, St. Ambrose Episcopal Church; Raleigh, North Carolina; Timothy Schenck - Rector, The Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist; Hingham, Massachusetts; and Alan Yarborough - Church Relations Officer, The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations; Washington, D.C.

Commerce Clinic: Monday 27 September, 14:00-15:00, zoom. Register at Commerce Clinic is for anyone and everyone looking to develop their church enterprise activity. Stuck? Ideas? Check in for 1:1 support. Commerce Clinic is the new monthly offer for anyone and everyone looking for support in developing their church commercial engagement - from setting up a cafe, developing your venue, running a Food Pantry or other social enterprises. The clinic offers 'how to'... helps. Space to share your stories, experience, ideas... Space to find support. Have ideas to share? Or looking for a fellow conspirator? Why not check into the clinic? Always practical, useful, full of ideas and tactics. The clinic is monthly 1:1 support with Dave Nicholson - HeartEdge Commercial Development coordinator.

Autumn Lecture Series – We Have a Dream: The Dream for the Church, Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York. Monday 27 September, 19:00 – 20:30 (GMT). Tickets: "After the ravages of the pandemic, it’s time for church and society to learn to dream again. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, had a dream of racial equality and social justice. Inspired by his dream, we’re gathering a chorus of dreamers from different walks of life to inform and shape our dreams for the years to come." (Revd Dr Sam Wells) We have a dream, the Autumn Lecture Series at St Martin-in-the-Fields for 2021 brings together an inspirational group of speakers. It invites them to dream again on the vital issues of our nation and planet, after a pandemic that has changed the way we live and relate to one another and the world. Drawing on Martin Luther King Jr’s famous words, we aim in this series to address for today some of the essential choices and needs and hopes facing our precious and yet wounded world. Who are the prophetic voices for our time, and how can the church answer that challenge? How do we respond to the crucial issues reshaping our world like migration and those seeking sanctuary and safety through their journeys? How does racialised justice and ‘Black Lives Matter’ confront our history, our present inequalities and the way we live our future? What is the threat to our planet and the danger of extinction, and what is so crucial at the COP26 Global Summit? What is the place of theatre and the creative arts in the way we learn to understand our world and live our dreams? What is the vision of St Martin’s, at the heart, on the edge, seeking a vision of faith that can find God’s abundance even in scarcity that can inspire people to dream again even in the face of adversity? These lectures will be live, in person, at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and will also be live-streamed online. There will be a chance for questions from the audience, and we hope to gather with the speakers afterwards at a reception. We ask those booking tickets to make a donation of £10 towards the cost of the series, but it is also our aim to make the lectures open to all, so limited free places are available. Those who can give more are invited to pay for a free place for someone else to make sure this programme is available for all.

What Future for Post-Pandemic Church? A HeartEdge Introductory day: Thursday, 28 September 2021, 10:00 – 15:30 BST. Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and Saint Nicholas). Register at An ecumenical day with Sam Wells and guests exploring theology and the future of the church in Liverpool and the North West. Join Sam Wells, Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, Kathy Versfeld, Kath Rogers, Jackie Belfield and many others. We'll look at the HeartEdge 4Cs and how they work across Liverpool and the North west - including: Congregation: Liturgy, worship & congregations; Commerce: Being entrepreneurial, rethinking church buildings, growing income via enterprise; Compassion: Growing participation to address social need; and Culture: Art, music and ideas connecting communities. We're excited to be planning this as a physical event in Liverpool Parish Church and are charging £5 which we hope (Covid advice at the time permitting) will include lunch. We'll send more details about lunch and the appropriate arrangements nearer the time.

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