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The Quality of Mercy in Preaching

Wednesday 11 September 2019

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Part of the annual Autumn Lecture Series

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former pastor and teacher, he is the author of numerous hugely influential books, including the award-winning A New Kind of Christianity, We Make the Road by Walking and The Great Spiritual Migration. He is a passionate advocate for a Christianity that is just, generous, and committed to working with people of all faiths for the common good.

Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, Georgia, and one of America’s most gifted preachers. A minister in the Presbyterian Church and a former youth pastor, she is the author of Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community, based on her Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale Divinity School. Sam Wells describes it as a book that ‘will renew your practice and awaken your imagination’.

Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet and theologian from Ireland with interests in conflict, story and religion. Readings from the Book of Exile and Sorry for your Troubles are his collections of poetry and In the Shelter; Finding a Home in the World is a poetic prose book exploring the Irish proverb ‘it is in the shelter of each other that the people live’. From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation centre.


The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes…
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.

— Portia, in William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

‘There can be no future without forgiveness’ (Desmond Tutu). Against a cultural and political backdrop of division, hostility and blame, our autumn lecture series explores ‘the quality of mercy’. The series brings together brilliant and renowned writers, artists, and speakers to address an issue essential to our times. How can our preachers,
prophets, writers, actors and poets help us to see the world through others’ eyes? The spoken, written and embodied word often has the power to bring about catharsis and transformation. Image, narrative and metaphor often hold the secrets of deeper truths. Can a society rediscover an empathy, compassion and depth of understanding that crosses divides and prejudices and widens perspectives? Can mercy ‘season’ justice? Are
mercy and accountability compatible? Shakespeare’s Portia suggests mercy becomes a blessing to both the one who gives and the one who receives. Jesus said ‘Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.’ (Matt 5.7) In this exciting Autumn Lecture Series we will be exploring what that means for us.

*Cover image: Christ before the High Priest, Gerrit van Honthorst. With permission from The National Gallery

Dates, Times & Book

Wed 11 Sep 7:00 PM Free Book

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