Religious faith has been used both to perpetrate war and to bring peace. In the year that our nation remembers the centenary of the outbreak of the War to End All Wars, what are we really remembering?
Our lecture series reflects on what we have learnt from war and how those who believe in a God of Justice and Love can respond. Does God have enemies? Is a person an enemy because they say they are, or only if we make them so? Can we ever live without enemies? A group of inspirational speakers, many of whom have experienced conflict and violence first hand, or have searched for a political or ethical response to it, reflect from different perspectives on the nature of war and peace.
The series is free and open to all. Questions and answers will follow each talk, and a retiring collection will be taken to help cover costs.
Monday 22 September 7.00pm
Sam Wells, Can there ever be a ‘just war’?
Sam Wells has served as a parish priest in the Church of England for more than 15 years – ten of those in urban priority areas. He spent seven years in North Carolina as Dean of Duke University Chapel. He is also Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London. Sam has published over 20 books, including works on Christian ethics, local mission, Christian discipleship and what Anglicans believe. He became vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2012.
Monday 6 October 7.00pm
Duncan Morrow, Living without enemies in Northern Ireland
Duncan Morrow lectures in politics and is responsible for developing community linkages at the University of Ulster. Deeply involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, he has worked with police and politicians, with youth, social workers, and the survivors of violence, to promote equity, diversity, and interdependence. In 1998, he was tasked with arranging the early release of prisoners following the Good Friday Agreement. He has also worked with the EU Peace Fund, and as chairman of the Scottish Government’s Committee on Tackling Sectarianism.
Monday 20 October 7.30pm
Shirley Williams, What has our nation learnt from war?
Shirley Williams, journalist, broadcaster, and former Cabinet minister, is a co-founder of both the Social Democrats and the Liberal Democrats. Testament of Youth (1933) by her mother Vera Brittain remains one of the most powerful reflections on the effects of World War I. Baroness Williams, an active Life Peer, has worked on school reform, nuclear non-proliferation, and EU social policy, and helped draft the constitution of South Africa. She taught public policy at Harvard University and was director of Project Liberty, fostering democracy in post-Communist Europe.
Monday 3 November 7.00pm
Andrew White, Living without enemies in Baghdad
Andrew White is President of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East, and Chaplain to the International Zone and to St George’s Church, the largest church in Iraq with an extensive food relief programme and free clinic. Canon White strives to bring peace in Iraq and the wider region through dialogue. He brokered the 2002 Alexandria Declaration of religious leaders from the Holy Land, and the 2008 Copenhagen accords, a joint Shia-Sunni fatwa against violence towards religious minorities. He facilitates the High Council for Religious Leaders in Iraq.
Monday 10 November 7.30pm
Mike Wooldridge and Foreign Correspondents, What have we learnt from war? A view from the front line
Mike Wooldridge has been with BBC News since 1970, as world affairs correspondent since 2001. He has covered Europe, the UN, and religion in modern society; the Ethiopian famine of the mid 1980’s; civil wars and refugee crises across Africa; the conflict between India and Pakistan; the night-club bombings in Bali; Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. He was awarded an OBE in 2002. Together with other foreign correspondents he will be discussing the realities of modern war.
Monday 24 November 7.00pm
Richard Harries The Christian concept of peace
Richard Harries was Bishop of Oxford (1987-2006), and is currently an active Life Peer. He is the award-winning author of numerous books on the interface of Christian faith and wider culture, including the ethics of war. He has lectured widely, and his voice is well known from the BBC’s programme Today. Recent books include After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust (2003); Faith in Politics? Rediscovering the Christian Roots of Our Political Values (2010); and The Image of Christ in Modern Art (2013).
The Autumn Education Programme is a lecture series which takes place on Monday evening from September-November each year. There are usually six or seven lectures in this series.
Lectures are given by speakers who are highly regarded and experienced in their field and are followed by the opportunity for questions and answers. The lectures are FREE and open to all. Donations to help finance the programme are welcome.
In the last few years our speakers have included Neil MacGregor, Helen Bamber, Terry Eagleton, Robert Beckford, Francis Young, Jeffrey John, Richard Burridge, and Clare Herbert who is St Martin’s lecturer in Inclusive Theology.
The themes for this programme in recent years have been:
2012 His Story Our Story: Jesus and the Story Teller’s Art
2011 Radical Compassion: The Gospel and Social Justice
2010 The Alpha and the Omega- The Bible Opened for All
2009 Inspiring Community
2008 Voices from the Edge