On October 18th 2014, nearly 80 people gathered to commemorate Canon Harold Wilson, Principal of Salisbury and Salisbury and Wells Theological College 1965-1973 when he went on to become Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Unconventional in many ways, Harold Wilson understood experiential group work that changed much of the theological education in the country.
Wilson also edited the book, Women Priests – Yes, Now!, published in 1975 – nearly 20 years before the Church of England ordained the first female priests.
Bishop Nicholas Holtam blessed the plaque that was installed in the college’s Butterfield Chapel.
Photographs of the day can be found on Sarum College’s Flickr page.
A fund has been created in Harold’s name which will help us to preserve a legacy of theological learning and the environment in which it can thrive. Details here.
The book offers a useful toolkit for those who believe in God and science, and have a desire to hold them together with integrity.
Examining the history of the interaction between science and religion, Gillian Straine looks at biblical and theological ideas and the key areas of science, such as the origin of the universe, evolution and human consciousness.
“The science and religion debate is one of the most significant conversations going on in contemporary society. Gillian Straine has laid out the grammar of this conversation with remarkable clarity, enabling any of us to understand and engage with the issues at stake. We need interpreters of science and followers of religion who have good minds, a love of the language and an ability to speak fluently. Gillian Straine is all of these. We sit at the feet of a true linguist.”
John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford
In this way, she equips readers to decide which path they will take through these crucial debates. Such paths offer ways of balancing both a serious and nuanced understanding of science with a lively, rational and questioning faith in God that takes the Bible seriously.
Revd Dr Gillian Straine completed a bachelor of science in Physics at Imperial College London in 2000. Her doctoral research explored the radiative properties of the atmosphere and involved flying in planes around storm systems. Having worked in various roles in London churches, she trained for the priesthood, studying theology at Oxford University, before serving her curacy in the Oxford Diocese.
Gillian currently lives in London with her family, working as priest without portfolio, writing on science and theology. She is a speaker for The Faraday Institute of Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge.
Free entry, all welcome, wine and refreshments provided.
Copies of the book will be available to buy at a reduced price at the event.
The Trustees of Sarum College and those of the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme (STETS) have this week decided to seek to merge.
This step would integrate the ordination training of STETS and Sarum College’s Christian research and study programmes to offer a broad spectrum of innovative theological education and training.
“Our organisations have always worked alongside one another in a complementary way,” says Canon Keith Lamdin, Sarum College Principal. “We share an ecumenical history with roots in Anglican ministerial training. Together we offer programmes for lay and ordained people to learn together in a community that mirrors the nature of the emerging church where collaboration and welcome are fundamental.”
While a merger would give the opportunity to develop new educational programmes, throughout the discussions, STETS and Sarum courses will carry on in the same way as before, sharing library resources and accommodation in Sarum College.
“This is an exciting new chapter in our shared history,” says the Revd Dr Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, STETS Acting Principal. “We look forward to bringing together the excellent theological and educational resources of STETS and Sarum to serve the church in growing disciples, in mission, in ministerial training and in rural ministry.”
The news has been welcomed by the Bishops of Salisbury and Bath and Wells, who are foundation governors at Sarum and major sponsoring bishops for STETS.
“This is good news for all concerned,” says The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury. “Sarum College and STETS are unique in providing theological education set in a cathedral close with access to a cathedral’s daily life of worship as one of the bases for formation. Their combined expertise will bring to bear greater excellence in formation and discipleship at regional, national and international levels.”
His installation took place on Sunday 28 September at a special evensong service.
“It is a great honour to be invited to join the Cathedral community as its Canon Theologian. I will be working with the Dean and members of the Chapter in encouraging fresh theological conversation and thinking about the role of the Cathedral in the city of Gloucester and the Diocese of Gloucester. I am confident that representing Sarum College and its strong educational reputation will become a significant asset for this appointment.”
The role of Canon Theologian is an honorary one and so James continues at Sarum whilst developing his links with the Cathedral.
Advent must be approaching us as Paula Gooder and Paul Babington’s ‘Love Life Live Advent’ has reached our top ten bestsellers.
An all-age resource for children and families to celebrate the run up to Christmas, it suggests an activity for each day in Advent. Another new entry is Marcus J. Borg’s ‘Convictions’. Borg sets out his deepest convictions about God and the Bible, and reveals how a series of mystical experiences helped to make him a world champion of progressive, inclusive and politically engaged Christianity.
I knew I was going to enjoy this book when I looked at the Dramatis personae and saw that it was divided between Bishops, Priests & Deacons and People! But the clergy are very much real people too and we follow them all through a year, in which the chronological and liturgical form the background to the changing scenes of lives turned upside down, not just by the beautiful Freddy – willfully self-destructive and seemingly unaware of his capacity to destroy others – but also by “events, dear boy, events.”
Catherine Fox has a gift for capturing the essence of a personality in just a few words and for drawing the reader, not just into the story but into the hearts, minds and souls of her characters. Her asides are witty (noting how often giving up alcohol is balanced by taking up grumpiness); instructive (microwaving last year’s palm crosses makes it easier to prepare the ash for Ash Wednesday, apparently); thought provoking (as the number of foodbanks increase, how often will we see our Lord hungry and do nothing?) and at times infinitely wise and tender about human frailty.
Quite apart from being an excellent story teller, Catherine Fox clearly knows and loves the Church of England, from its cathedral spires to its parish holiday clubs: though that doesn’t prevent her being clear sighted about its idiosyncrasies and even its failings. I’m sure most readers will find themselves recognizing their clergy, fellow parishioners and even, perhaps, themselves.
I’d guess that most people will read this book three times: once for the joy of the story telling; once for the fun of identifying the quotations from hymns, psalms and poems which are threaded through the text and once as the person currently reading it regales them with “I must just read you this …”
I loved it – and I can’t wait for June 2015 to find out what happens next.
Reviewed by the Revd. Norma Fergusson
Special price of £8.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or £6.99 + postage online from www.sarumcollegebookshop.co.uk between 1st and 31st October 2014. RRP £9.99.