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Sunday, 14 July 2019

Windows on the world (504)

London, 2019


WITHin (with God, in the world)

Within (with God, in the world)
Church of the Servant King, Dulverton Drive, Furzton, Milton Keynes, MK4 1NA

A day exploring a breadth of different approaches to spirituality which will:
  • Promote the Oxford Diocesan priority of deepening spirituality via #EveryDayFaith
  • Harness and promote the approach to mission of HeartEdge, an international ecumenical movement for renewal
  • Encourage confidence amongst God’s people, as we live out our faith in the world
A day for: clergy and lay; leadership or personal development; in Milton Keynes and beyond. Hosted by the Watling Valley Partnership and organised with the Diocese of Oxford and HeartEdge. A programme that runs through the day and into the evening with scope to come during the day or evening or throughout.

  • We are called to be a Christ-like church for the sake of God’s world
  • We are called to be disciples and ‘make a difference in the world’
  • We seek to ‘be with’ God, (alone and corporately), our neighbours (near and far), and creation
Presentations, workshops and worship including:
  • Sam Wells (Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields); St Martin’s Voices; TesTamenT; Tina Molyneux (Discipleship Enabler, Diocese of Oxford); Sharon Grenham-Thompson (Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership); Ruth Maxey (Forest Church); Jonathan Evens (HeartEdge); Catherine Duce (HeartEdge), among others.
  • Being With; Great Sacred Music; Art Oasis; Personal Discipleship Plans; Contemplative Toolkit; Listening Groups; Faith in Work; ‘The Christ We Share’; Forest Church, among others.


Will Todd - God So Loved The World.

Srebrenica Memorial Week Erev Shabbat Service

It was a privilege to mark Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week at West London Synagogue by lighting a memorial candle at the beginning of their special Srebrenica Memorial Week Erev Shabbat Service. 'Srebrenica Mother' Fudila Effendic was guest of honour, sharing about the unspeakable loss of her husband and son and her resolve not to harbour hate or revenge.

West London Synagogue aims to keep awareness alive, despite the lessons of the Shoah, of the threat of race hate and genocide. Over the past few years, they have actively and proudly participated in Srebrenica Memorial Week, honouring the memory of the 8,372 mainly men and boys who were murdered in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995, purely because they were Muslims. Unbelievably, this horror took place on European soil just 50 years after the end of World War ll and the cry of 'Never Again!'

We also saw 'tito's picnic' - an exhibition by Lejla Kevric, reflecting hope for a shared society - “This is a vision of optimism. It is an invitation to an idea. Thinking about the future. Ordinary people talking together.” 


Aida Čorbadžić and Elvir Solak.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Book Review - Church and Patronage in 20th Century Britain: Walter Hussey and the Arts

Oxford Academic Journals has just published my latest book review in The Journal of Theological Studies:

Church and Patronage in 20th Century Britain: Walter Hussey and the Arts. By Peter Webster.

Peter Webster is an historian based in London and Chichester, with interests in the history of Christianity in twentieth century Britain, particularly the relation of church, law and state, the religious arts, and evangelicalism.

"In this book Peter Webster reviews Hussey's work as a patron between 1943 and 1978, seeking to place Hussey in his theological, cultural and aesthetic context. As such, Hussey is a lens through which Webster views relationships between patrons and artists in the twentieth century and explores ways in which the Church of England met, resisted and negotiated with forces of cultural change in the arts and in the religious life of the nation."

My earlier book reviews for the Journal of Theological Studies are:

Malcolm Guite - Singing Bowl.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

HeartEdge conference - On earth as it is in heaven

‘How do we reach out with compassion to those on the edges of faith and life, and what do we learn from them when we get alongside them? What does our faith and our experience of life challenge us to explore and to share? How do we take our faith and put it into practice so that it might make a difference for good? HeartEdge asks all of these questions, and suggests, in context, some of the possible answers.’ The Very Reverend Dr Derek Browning, Minister, Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh

This October HeartEdge welcomes US theologian Winnie Varghese, asset-based community worker Cormac Russell, and many other exciting contributors for a two-day conference 'On earth as it is in heaven' – a gathering of the HeartEdge community in Edinburgh (2 & 3 October 2019).

Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar HeartEdge, St Martin-in-the-Fields says, ‘We are thrilled that Winnie Varghese has accepted our invitation to speak at the 2019 HeartEdge conference. Her experience in and focus on issues of social justice and reconciliation is now gaining an international dimension through her role at Trinity Wall Street in relation to Global Initiatives. Church meeting world and what the Church can become are just some of the themes she has explored which are of real contemporary relevance in relation to our theme of ‘On earth as it is in heaven’.’

The programme also includes The Right Rev Colin Sinclair (Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland), The Most Reverend Mark Strange (The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church) and Dr Sara Parvis (Senior Lecturer in Patristics, University of Edinburgh) in conversation with Sheena McDonald on the theme of Renewing the Church.

This year Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, is delivering the Chalmers Lectures. Entitled ‘A Future that’s Bigger than the Past’, these lectures are concerned with the theology and methods of HeartEdge as a movement for renewal in the Church. The conference includes the opportunity to hear the final three lectures in the series; the first three in the series being held in September.

Revd Dr Sam Wells says, ‘I’m especially thrilled that the invitation to explore the theology and significance of HeartEdge has coincided with the second annual HeartEdge conference in Edinburgh. It feels like in the evenings we’ll be proposing the theory and during the days we’ll all be exploring the practice. What a wonderful model of church.’

The HeartEdge Conference is a practical, two-day intensive of ideas, theology and connecting. It includes workshops on enterprise and commerce, launching cultural projects, developing congregations and sustaining community response, plus time to make connections and find encouragements. This two-day intensive will pack in lots and prioritise practical input and resources.

Among others taking part are: Rosie Addis; David Bradwell; Derek Browning; ID Campbell; Jonathan Evens, Sally Hitchiner; Simon Jay; Jonny Kinross; Tania Kovats, Deborah Lewer; Suzanne Lofthus; Maxwell Reay; Scott Rennie; Fiona Smith; Peter Sutton; Bev Thomas; and Adrian Wiszniewski.

The conference venues are The Parish Church of St Cuthbert and St John's Church, with the Chalmers Lectures held at Greyfriars Kirk.

Register at


Arvo Pärt - Vater Unser.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Maciej Hoffman: Be Free For Art

Maciej Hoffman was born in Wroclaw, Poland. In his third year at the Theological Academy in Wroclaw, his craving for philosophy was no longer as powerful as the vocation to become an artist. In 1988 Hoffman enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, having graduated with a dual diploma in sculpture and painting. Hoffman went on to pursue a career in advertising and marketing. In 2003 he began exploring web art and became passionate for it. 

Today Hoffman has returned to exhibiting his artwork. His existential and expressionist work is concerned with the trauma of all individuals and peoples who have suffered - and continue to suffer - worldwide. Hoffman ‘views his art as both a means of self-expression and a way of engaging in public discourse, depicting contrasts, emotions and powerful human experiences.’ He has said that the subjects which interest him are those ‘issues that puzzle us throughout the years, forming our way of looking at the world, changing us.’ Maciej is a Polish Jew. He has frequently organised and contributed to inter-faith exhibitions/events. For more, see

He says:

'Our creativity, instead of being used to create more freedom, is used to build a more perfect and "magnificent" system of control and manipulation.

The space for what is irrational, imperfect or disordered becomes increasingly narrow. The room for trials and mistakes, for searching and for research, for listening to others and observing what happens around is gone.

Being inquisitive, asking questions is no longer valued in the world of simple and ready-to-go manifestations. Freedom is leaving us, step by step.

What is free of supervision, beyond statistics and classification, is the only real margin of freedom we can exercise – that is creation, that is art.'

Maciej Hoffman paints huge expressionist canvases depicting scenes of trauma. His paintings depict the distress caused through conflict and he seeks to use his art to generate discussion among people of all faiths and none about the causes of conflict. Hoffman has said that the subjects which interest him are those "issues that puzzle us throughout the years, forming our way of looking at the world, changing us."

There is great freedom and improvisation in his gestural brushstrokes overlaid with flecks and drips of paint creating the sensation that the artist has almost physically attacked the canvas, yet concept and composition also clearly underpin his expressionism. The images which emerge from this maelstrom of paint, although often founded in the darkness of existential angst, also exhibit a dynamism and energy which moves towards freedom. 

Be Free for Art: Maciej Hoffman, 9th - 27th July 2019, Willesden Gallery.


Leonard Cohen - Amen.

Citizens of Heaven: Identity, Inclusion and the Church

Inclusive Church AGM and Annual Lecture, Tuesday 9 July 2019, 7pm, Southwark Cathedral

St Martin-in-the-Fields has worked in partnership with Inclusive Church since 1998. This year Sam Wells is giving the annual lecture - 'Citizens of Heaven: Identity, Inclusion and the Church'. All are welcome – you don't have to register but it really helps if you do. The AGM is very short, the annual lecture will be brilliant, and the refreshments as good as our own Cafe. Full details and access information can be found here.


Mavis Staples - Touch A Hand, Make A Friend.