Sarum Welcomes Andrew Todd in Spirituality Role

andrew-toddThe Revd Canon Dr Andrew Todd begins his new role as Programme Leader in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College on 1 February.

Dr Todd will oversee Sarum College’s thriving ecumenical MA in Christian Spirituality programme and support the development of learning opportunities within its Centre for Contemporary Spirituality.

Sarum is widely known for its excellence in the area of Christian Spirituality.

The MA programme occupies a high-profile position within the Centre for Contemporary Spirituality. It is the College’s longest running MA programme and has the largest enrolment of its postgraduate programmes. With nine optional and three co-validated modules, it offers a breadth of study in the field of Christian Spirituality unrivalled in the UK.

“Andrew brings a national and international reputation for teaching and research excellence,” says The Revd Canon Dr James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College. “I am looking forward to working and learning alongside him.”

Dr Todd’s former roles were as Director of Research & Postgraduate Programmes at St. Padarn’s Institute, and Director of the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies. He has 20 years’ experience of developing, delivering and managing postgraduate programmes in theology.

“I am delighted to be joining Sarum College,” says Dr Todd. “I look forward to further exploring the interaction between Christian spirituality and contemporary popular and public spirituality, with colleagues, students on the MA and the wider learning community that Sarum is gathering and enabling.”

Visit Andrew Todd’s Staff Profile

Lectionary Reading Blog for 12th February: 3rd Sunday Before Lent

LiturgyandSpiritualityThis is a very hard text: as if death and life are choices, as if it is always your own fault when life is short, as if your choices will be able to safeguard your children.

Reality is so much more complex and so much more ambiguous than that. In verse fifteen there is acknowledgement of the given-ness of life and death. The NRSV translates “set before” but the Hebrew has nathan which means “to give”. The text does explain what the choice is. Either you love & you walk (I love walking!) or your heart turns away. It is not so much about certain behaviours (although they follow suit) but about attention and direction. Where is your attention? What do you hear? Which direction are you going? Who do you serve?

It is interesting to read Matthew 5 with this in mind: again a very difficult text. It seems to me that Jesus is uncovering the attention and direction underneath certain behaviours. There is more to choosing life than good behaviour. Even though life and death are a gift rather than a choice and even though victim blaming is not a good thing, even so: it is worthwhile to consider both where our attention is and in which direction we are walking. Which way is your heart faced?

12 February 2017
Deut. 30: 15-end

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Coordinator for the Centre for Encountering the Bible and Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Learning for Leadership

Becky-Roberts“Real leadership is about getting alongside people and helping them achieve things themselves.”

The Revd Becky Roberts grew up in a church family in the Diocese, at St Mary’s, West Moors. She is now the vicar of Harnham in Salisbury.

“I was an altar server from the age of 11. Before the service began, we had to spend 20 minutes in silent prayer. That’s where I learned to listen for God. I knew by the time I was 17 I wanted to be a priest, but in those days it was still impossible for women to be ordained. At university in Pontypridd, I attended a very charismatic Baptist Church. It was spiritually very important to me, but I couldn’t sign up to all of it. I wouldn’t be baptised twice or accept male headship! I trained as a teacher, and worked in East London and then in Tanzania with CMS. On coming back to London, the call to ordination resurfaced quickly. ”

“Since ordination, I’ve worked both in parish ministry and as a teacher. “I came to Harnham four years ago. There is a great sense of community and school links. The people are prayerful and faithful to the Church. Because I’m a teacher, I have a passion for learning and helping other people learn. When I came to Harnham, I had been out of theological learning for over a decade and I missed it.”

“With Sarum College on my doorstep, I decided to study for their MA in Christian Leadership. To me, leadership is finding your authentic voice, whilst listening and responding to the voice of the community and God. One thing I value about the course is that it gives me the chance to study younger women leaders, in a world where leadership is felt to be something done by older men. Ordination can be seen that way too. But I’d encourage anyone at any stage sensing a call to ordination to explore it with their vicar and the Diocese.”

To find out more about Sarum College’s postgraduate courses, join us for a free taster taster day. The next one takes place on Saturday 11 March.

Might you have a call to ministry, ordained or lay? The Diocese of Salisbury’s vocations website,, is a great place to explore further.

This article featured in the Diocese of Salisbury’s newsletter, Grapevine. Reproduced with kind permission.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 5th February: 4th Sunday Before Lent

LiturgyandSpiritualityThere are two Hebrew words in this reading I would like to draw attention to.

The first is in verse 8 arukah translated as “healing”. This word is about the healing of a wound; properly the new flesh that grows at the wounded spot. It seems as if Isaiah is here drawing attention to this image as he uses a verb “spring up quickly” or “grow” that relates immediately to skin growing back. I wonder: What are the wounds the healing of which we are praying for? And what does new skin on them look like? Isaiah makes a direct connection between this healing and “breaking the yoke” and “feeding the hungry”. I wonder: how can we “loose the bonds of injustice” and “let the oppressed go free”?

The second Hebrew word that caught my attention is in verse 11 kazab translated as “fail”. Literally kazab is “to lie”. This is a spring whose water does not ‘lie’, whose water does not disappoint. I have always interpreted this not only to mean that the spring does not dry up but also that the water is sweet, satisfying and properly quenches desire. This water is like the water in John 4: 14. The prayers we should offer according to Isaiah are: not pointing with the finger, not speaking evil and removing the yoke from among us. How can we do that?

5 February 2017
Isaiah 58: 1-12

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Coordinator for the Centre for Encountering the Bible and Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Resourcing a Good Lent

Lent-books-photoLent can be a confusing time. Should we run a Lent course? If so, how do we go about it and what resources are available? What are the practicalities? Should we consider a Lent book to read each day?

Come along to Sarum College on Thursday 9 February at 3pm for a relaxed afternoon when we’ll offer support for a range of ideas.

Over a cup of tea we will consider available resources and practicalities, with imput from our expert speakers and a chance to learn from each other.

There will be input from:

  • Sarum College Principal James Woodward who has been looking at a good selection of this year’s publications for Lent;
  • James Steven, Academic Dean and Programme Leader for Christian Litrugy at Sarum who will explore ways of celebrating the Lent liturgy;
  • Debbie Orriss, Discipleship Co-Ordinator for the Diocese of Salisbury who will talk about running a Lent course;
  • Author Amy Boucher-Pye who will talk about the benefits and joys of reading a book during Lent – and about her own Lent book, The Living Cross.

Jenny Monds, Manager of the bookshop, will have plenty of resources to look at and compare, and there will be the opportunity for discussion and the sharing of ‘best practice’.

Whether you have many years experience of running a Lent course or are just thinking of the possibility, we’d love to hear your views.

I do hope you will be able to join us and make this a fruitful afternoon – do bring others from your church!

This event is free and open to all, refreshments provided
RSVP to or 01722 326899

Author Talk and Book Launch with Simon Parke

simon_parke_portraitA return visit by popular author Simon Parke, this time to launch his first historical novel about Charles 1, The Soldier, The Gaoler, The Spy and her Lover.

Monday 20 February at 6.30pm

January 30th 1649. England is not a country that wishes to execute its divinely-appointed king. Yet Charles 1 finds himself shivering on a cold scaffold in Whitehall, with the axe man by his side. The huge crowd is silent. The king is kneeling. The axe is raised…

In this brilliantly atmospheric novel, Simon Parke explores one of the most gripping tales in English history by weaving together four coinciding stories: those of Charles, including his extraordinary year-long imprisonment on the Isle of Wight; Robert Hammond, the poor man who found himself the king’s gaoler; Charles’s remarkable mistress (written out of the records), the super-spy Jane Whorwood; and, of course, the brilliant and depressed Oliver Cromwell, working through his own demons of religion, politics, love and death.

It was an impossible killing. So how did that happen?

Simon Parke is the creator of the Abbot Peter mysteries, a former script writer for Spitting Image, was a vicar in the Church of England and is the CEO OF The Mind Clinic.

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
For tickets visit Eventbrite, email or telephone 01722 326899

Watch Simon Park talk about his new book in this short video below.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 29 January: The Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

LiturgyandSpiritualityZarephath is in Phoenician territory just north of the border with Israel. When Elijah invokes “the God of Israel” he is talking of a foreign deity.

In his question to the widow he is asking her to put trust in this alien God. Ironically Ahab the king of Israel does not trust his own God (see chapters around) but this foreign widow does.

Is it out of desperation or is it out of real faith? The story does not reveal this. Our reading does not include her later question in v. 18 “What is between you and me?” Jesus quotes this question literally (in Greek – the literalness is lost in translation) in John 2: 4. I wonder whether Jesus’ mother heard the quotation and realised Jesus reference to Zarephath and the miracles that happened there. Maybe that is why she acts positively from what might seem at first glance a rather off-hand reply from Jesus. Between Elijah and the widow is not only a shared faith in “the God of Israel” but also the strong bond that comes from eating together. Elijah has fed the widow in a time of need. Between Mary and Jesus it might be similar. They share faith and they share the bond of feeding and being fed. Mary must have fed Jesus as a baby and child.

I wonder what is between us and Jesus. Do we share a trust in God? Are we being fed by him? Bread from Zarephath and wine from Cana?

29 January 2017
1 Kings 17:8-16

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Coordinator for the Centre for Encountering the Bible and Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Call For Papers – Interrelations: Spirituality and Theology

pexels-photo-234938On Sunday 7 May 2017 at 5pm, David Tracy – perhaps the preeminent US theologian of his generation – will deliver a public lecture at Sarum College, Salisbury, entitled The Journey Within: Plotinus, Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine.1

The next day at Sarum, Professor Tracy will also participate in the conference Interrelations: Spirituality and Theology at Sarum College – in an area of very evident increasing interest within his work.

The morning of the Monday 8th conference will host plenary sessions from 9:30am, with papers by Prof. Peter Tyler (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) and Dr. Edward Howells (Heythrop College). A third session of the morning will then draw Professor Tracy into extended discussion on the conference theme.

The conference afternoon will then include up to nine 40-minute short papers, running in parallel sessions, prior to a concluding reception. Proposals are therefore requested for max. 25min. (c. 3,000 word) short papers on subjects relevant to the conference theme (allowing 15 minutes for discussion).

For example, papers might touch upon (N.B. this list is not intended as exhaustive):

  • the distinction and relation of Christian spirituality and theology
  • historical examples of configuring what we know today as ‘theology’ and ‘spirituality’
  • individuals or movements integrating spirituality and theology in interesting or exemplary ways
  • political, artistic or pastoral engagements as integrating foci for Christian spirituality and theology
  • the doctrine of the Holy Spirit
  • the role of ‘experience’ in Christian theology and/or spirituality
  • intellect and/or emotion in spirituality and/or theology
  • apophatic, visionary and/or apocalyptic discourse within theology and spirituality
  • the impacts of modernity and/or the 16th Century reformation(s) on Christian theology, spirituality and their interrelation

Please submit your proposal (max. 400 words) to Dr. Barnabas Palfrey at Sarum College ( by Friday 24 February 2017. You will learn whether or not your proposal has been accepted by Sunday 5th March.

More information about Professor David Tracy, his public lecture at Sarum on 7th May, and the May 8th conference ‘Interrelations: spirituality and theology’, can all be found via the conference website.

Conference booking, hospitality and payment enquiries should be directed to Alison Ogden (; academic conference enquiries should be directed to Barnabas Palfrey (

A few days earlier, on 3rd May 2017, Professor Tracy will have also be delivering a lecture in association with St Benet’s Hall, Oxford, on the relationship between Descartes and Fénelon and Pascal.

PDFsmallDownload the call for papers as a PDF

Bookshop Bestsellers: December 2016

  1. Stepping into Grace BestSellersby Paul Bradbury, BRF £7.99
  2. The Way of Christlikeness by Michael Perham, Canterbury Press Norwich £16.99
  3. Common Worship Lectionary 2016-2017, Church House Publishing £4.99
  4. Beneath A Travelling Star by Timothy Dudley-Smith, RSCM £9.95
  5. Dethroning Mammon by Justin Welby, Bloomsbury £9.99
  6. SPCK Common Worship and Book of Common Prayer Lectionary 2016-2017, SPCK  £4.99
  7. Enkindling Love by Gillian T.W. Ahlgren, Fortress Press £25.99
  8. Being Disciples by Rowan Williams, SPCK £8.99
  9. The Splash of Words by Mark Oakley, Canterbury Press Norwich £12.99
  10. The Divine Dance: Trinity & Transformation by Richard Rohr, SPCK £9.99