Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Windows on the world (522)

Merville, 2019


Peter Sheppard Skaerved - B-Minor Fantasie.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Thinking Differently About God

Thinking Differently About God was a weekend of events to mark the 8th annual conference on Disability and Church, a partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church.

Videos, texts and more from the speakers at the conference can now be found on the Inclusive Church website. These include:

Fiona MacMillan: Introduction to the conference (video)

Fiona is chair of the Disability Advisory Group at St Martin-in-the-Fields and a trustee of Inclusive Church. After ten years managing innovative health projects Fiona studied at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, becoming one its first fellows. She has been collecting health and neurodivergent labels for the last 20 years, and combines these experiences in her writing and work on disability, lived experience and questions of social justice. Fiona coedited the booklets Calling from the Edge and Something Worth Sharing. She is a member of the Nazareth Community.

Dan Barnes-Davies: Storyteller (video)

Dan was born and raised in rural north Essex, but is also a Londoner by adoption. He started to help with these conferences as an Inclusive Church trustee years ago. He has pursued and received diagnoses of dyspraxia and ADHD in those years, deepening his self-understanding. Among these insights is a new perspective on his otherwise very privileged experiences, and to encounter (some) institutional discrimination.

Ann Memmott: Talk on autism and church (video) and Powerpoint presentation.

Ann is autistic and faceblind, lives with arthritis and has nerve damage from chemotherapy for past cancer. Having been unable to use spoken language to communicate for the first ten years of life, Ann sometimes uses technology to assist. Her experiences of encountering anxiety around autistic people in church contexts have led her to pioneer work in this field. The autism guidelines for the Church of England were written by Ann & her team. In her wider work Ann is a Director of an international autism advisory group and a Trustee of Autistic Pride Reading.

Sam Wells: Talk on the parable of the persistent widow - part 1 and part 2. Notes from Sam's talk are here and here.

Sam is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and a widely known preacher, pastor, writer, broadcaster, and theologian. He has served as a Church of England parish priest for 21 years. He also spent 7 years in North Carolina, where he was Dean of Duke University Chapel. Sam is also Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College London, and a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Council that advises the G20 meetings. He has published 33 books, including studies in Christian ethics and explorations of liturgy, preaching, faith and mission. His most recent book is Walk Humbly (Canterbury 2019).

Rachel Noel: Storyteller (video) and text.

Rachel is affectionately known by the local press as the Pink Vicar. She had a particularly formational journey through curacy during which she was diagnosed with Bipolar, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder, with strong autistic traits; she is currently awaiting ASC assessment. Rachel lives and works openly with these conditions, and has been licensed as Priest in Charge of St Mark’s Church, Pennington. Her gifts and symptoms include high energy, enthusiasm, creativity and love of colour - especially pink! Rachel loves exploring her faith and spirituality through creativity, stitch, paint and contemplation, and is a member of the Community of Hopeweavers.

Bingo Allison, Sue Hartley, Krysia Waldock and Philip Hickman: Panel (video) and notes/ pdf presentations: Bingo, Sue(powerpoint), Sue (pdf), Krysia and Philip.

Bingo (they/them) is a genderqueer, autistic, dyspraxic person working as a curate to The Order of the Black Sheep, a fresh expression of church in Chesterfield in Derby Diocese. They have been involved in disability activism for the last fourteen years and have contributed to various secular and religious discourse around neurodiversity and liberation, including as a storyteller in the Inclusive Church resource book, Disability. Bingo is also a performance poet who uses their poetry to reflect on their own experiences as an autistic and transgender person in the church.

Sue is a retired GP and a self-supporting priest in the Chelmsford Diocese. She is an Ignatian trained spiritual director with experience of leading individuals through the Spiritual Exercises. Other ministries include hospital chaplaincy and providing chaplaincy support to an independent secondary school for students with autism. Early in 2017, she received a diagnosis of autism. Since then she has been passionate about raising awareness in churches, and reflecting on the interface between autism and spirituality.

Krysia is an autistic PhD student at the University of Kent exploring autism within different beliefs, including religious and humanist systems. She also is a rotational panelist on BBC Radio Kent's Sunday Breakfast and writes a blog 'Musings of an autistic researching spirituality'. She has been campaigning for a more 'inclusive church' in her local Methodist circuit for the last 3 years. @krysiawally. Read Krysia's recent posts and report here, here and here.

Philip writes: 'As someone who has been identified as dyslexic I have had trouble with expressing myself with words. As a “Visual Theologian”, my aim is to minster to the effectiveness of the Christian Contemplative practice of photography and thus come to understand a deeper realisation of the divine nature of God. As someone who is identified with cerebral palsy, my work as a photographer helps me question my own identity and its implication to the wider world. Working closely with photography, contemplation and my identity, my research questions the less fortunate understanding of my identity and questions my own true self; that is to help me answer the question; “Who am I?”.

2019 Conference Eucharist: Liturgy and Poem

Workshop: Descriptions

Sunday morning: liturgy (pdf) and Ann Memmott's address (audio)

Sunday afternoon: report.

Since 2012 this annual conference has held space for disabled people- to gather, to resource each other and the church. It's a partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church, working #withnotfor disabled people.

At the 2019 conference a brand new booklet 'Something Worth Sharing' was launched. This is now available to download! In it are ideas, responses and resources from the 2018 conference. Exploring access and theology, language and structures, communication and participation. The booklet 'Calling From the Edge' celebrating the first 5 conferences is available here.


June Boyce Tillman - Hope Psalm.

A+C and Chaiya Art Awards

Great to be at the Bishopsgate Institute this evening for the Art and Christianity Awards. These awards celebrate the successes and diversity of artistic projects in religious buildings throughout Britain. There is also have an award for a book which explores the dialogue between the visual arts and religion.

I was there as Michael Takeo Magruder's 2016 installation at St Stephen Walbrook, Lamentation for the Forsaken, was among the shortlisted works. This piece is a new media installation that juxtaposes Christ’s suffering and journey to the cross with the anguish and plight of refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War. See the installation of the piece at St Stephen Walbrook here and read my interview with Michael Takeo Magruder here.

Congratulations to the winners of the Awards: 
I am privileged, too, to have been invited to join the Judges for the Chaiya Art Awards. The biennial Chaiya Art Awards has its roots in Christianity but this competition is open to people of all faiths, to those who have no belief in God, and to everyone in between. It’s about continuing an age old conversation in a modern setting with contemporary eyes. It’s about asking big questions and looking for inspiration from the wealth of the UK’s creatives. Artists entering have been encouraged to mine the depths of their imagination and creatively fly as they respond to the theme 'God is ...'

Read my interview with Katrina Moss, founder of Chaiya Art Awards, here and read my visual meditation of the winning piece from the inaugural Awards here.


 Thomas Tallis - Lamentations Of Jeremiah.

Monday, 11 November 2019

At the heart. On the edge. - East of England HeartEdge Day

We invite you to 'At the heart. On the edge', a day hosted by Rev Edward Carter, Vicar of St Peter Mancroft, and Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the- Fields, which includes theology, ideas, solutions and support for re-imagining Church. A programme has been developed jointly by the Diocese of Norwich, St Peter Mancroft and St Martin’s.

The day, to be held at St Peter Mancroft on Wednesday 12 February 10 am to 3.30 pm, will introduce: HeartEdge, which is a growing ecumenical network of churches and other organisations working across the UK and overseas, initiated by St Martin-in-the-Fields. HeartEdge aims to catalyse Kingdom Communities:
  • For those working at the heart of commerce, culture and community
  • With those at the margins and on the edge
  • Building association, learning, development and resource.
Learn more about HeartEdge

The day will also explore, with contributions from local churches, mission and ministry in relation to the four pillars of HeartEdge:
  • Congregation – Liturgy and worship for day-to-day communal life – gathered and local
  • Commerce – Starting and sustaining distinctive enterprise to generate finance for your church
  • Compassion – Growing participation and volunteering to address social need locally
  • Culture – Using art, music and performance to reimagine the Christian narrative in your context
We very much hope you can come to this exciting day of mutual learning and development. Register for your free ticket here.


Sunday, 10 November 2019

Chinese Art Talk: Picturing the Buddha

The Chinese and English speaking congregations of St Martin-in-the-Fields jointly organise an occasional series of art talks focusing on aspects of Chinese Art.

The fifth lecture in this series focusing discuss depictions of the Buddha in the British Library, where an exhibition ‘Buddhism’ is running from 25 October 2019 until 23 February 2020. The lecture will be given by Beth McKillop on Thursday 16 January 2020, 6.30pm in St Martin’s Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields. This will be an illustrated talk (in English).

Beth McKillop is a senior research fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has specialised in Chinese and Korean collections, and has published on the history of publishing in East Asia. Beth teaches book history at the Rare Book School, University of Virginia, and at SOAS, University of London.

The talk will be held in St Martin's Hall, within the Crypt of St Martin's, and will begin at 6.30pm for one hour. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception in the Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association and Community Centre.

All are very welcome – for further information contact Jonathan Evens – t: 020 7766 1127, e: There will be a retiring collection for St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Tickets for the event are free by registering at the Eventbrite page for this talk:


The Search Party - All But This.

Artlyst - Christopher Clack: Connecting The Material And Immaterial

My latest article for Artlyst is an interview with the artist Christopher Clack who says that for as long as he can remember there has always been an element of religious imagery or content in the work has has produced:

'Art is, above all a practice. It is ‘doing’ and ‘living’. Religion, too, is a practice and something to be lived. Both have less to do with what we believe, and more to do with what we discover. This, I think, is common ground. What, if anything, do you see being built on this common ground? A place where religion looks more like art and art, more like religion.'

My visual meditation on Christopher Clack's 'Descent II' can be found here.

My other Artlyst pieces are:



Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Question Of Faith.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Windows on the world (521)

Merville, 2019


Blondie - Call Me.