Professor David Catchpole to Retire

David Catchpole

David CatchpoleProfessor David Catchpole has announced his intention to retire at the end of this academic year as director of the hugely popular Theology Quest and Questions course (TQQ).

A New Testament specialist, David has also lectured on Biblical Study Breaks and has been a scholar in residence at Sarum College since 1998.

David established the precursor to Sarum’s TQQ course while at Exeter University, where he is Emeritus Professor of Theology. Over the years, hundreds of people have gathered in the Cavell Room on Tuesday evenings to explore the gospels and Christian doctrine, some travelling a great distance to do so. One former TQQ student was so devoted to the course she flew from Guernsey for an overnight stay each week during term time throughout the two-year course.

‘Working with those who have come to study at Sarum College, whether on TQQ or Biblical Study Breaks, has been a great delight’, said David Catchpole. ‘I am extremely grateful for the happy years that are now coming to an end, and especially for the many friendships that have enriched my life.’

‘This whole community salutes David as he steps down from TQQ’, said The Revd Canon Professor James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College. ‘We offer him our deep gratitude for all that he has done to contribute to nourishing our learning at Sarum College.

‘David’s diligence, intellectual integrity and skill as a teacher have enriched us all. Many are indebted to his commitment to rigour and the search for truth in the study of Scripture.

We are glad that he will keep in touch with Sarum and look forward to seeing him in College in the future.’

TQQ and Biblical Study Breaks will continue to occupy a significant place in Sarum’s educational programme, which is committed to offering a diverse range of academic and experiential courses on matters of faith in an environment of open exploration.

Professor David Catchpole is a prolific author, including the following books: The Trial of Jesus (1971), The Quest for Q (1993), Resurrection People (2000), Jesus People (2006). Upon his retirement as Saint Luke’s Foundation Professor of Theological Studies at the University of Exeter, colleagues published Christology, Controversy, and Community: New Testament Essays in Honour of David R. Catchpole (2000).

The collection by an international team of prominent New Testament scholars represents a range of approaches and topics, connected by a focus on Christological claims and their link to the controversial formation of the early Christian community. The collection includes a profile by the late Graham Stanton which includes a full account of his many professional accomplishments.

Dust That Dreams of Glory: Reflections on Lent and Holy Week

Join Sarum College Bookshop for the launch of Dust That Dreams of Glory, the latest book based on the previously unpublished work of Michael Mayne.

Thursday 8 February at 4pm

Michael Mayne was the former Dean of Westminster, and Head of Religious Programmes, BBC Radio.

The book is edited and introduced by Dr Joel Huffstetler, a leading scholar of Michael Mayne’s work. Joel will talk about his work in putting together this and the other two books of the recent trilogy.

He is the editor of To Trust and to Love: Sermons and Addresses; God’s Consoling Love: Sermons and Addresses; and Prayer as well as the critically acclaimed literary biography of Michael Mayne, Gratitude and Grace. He is rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
RSVP to or 01722 326899

Call For Short Papers: Iterations: Spirituality in post-Christian Times

Following the success of a day conference in May 2017 (entitled Interrelations: Spirituality and Theology), the Sarum Centre for Contemporary Spirituality is pleased to announce a second day conference in this series on Monday 14 May 2018.

We are also delighted to be welcoming leading US theologian of his generation, Professor David Tracy from the University of Chicago, for a Public Lecture on the preceding Sunday evening. Professor Tracy will also be participating in the Monday conference.

Conference Theme – Iterations: Spirituality in post-Christian Times

The current English usage of the word ‘spirituality’ seems to have arrived via French Catholicism in the mid-20th Century. Since then, the word has rapidly accrued a life of its own, beyond a Christianity in seeming terminal decline. At the same time, many spy opportunities in this new category for a wider and deeper reengagement of Christian traditions. Today, western ‘spirituality’ of all kinds must inhabit a culture where religious belief seems eccentric and yet the Christian past resurfaces everywhere. This day-conference will explore the contemporary iterations of spirituality in this fluid context.

The morning of the conference will host sessions with two plenary speakers from 10am, as well as a session of structured conversation with David Tracy around the conference theme.

After buffet lunch in college, the conference afternoon will then contain up to nine 40-minute short papers, running via parallel sessions.

Proposals are therefore requested for max. 25 min. (c. 3,000 word) short papers on subjects broadly connected to the conference theme (allowing 15 minutes for discussion).

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

  • Contemporary spiritualities which both resist and retrieve the Christian past
  • Music, novels, poetry, film etc. and spirituality in post-Christian times
  • Spirituality and nonbelief
  • Spirituality as a meeting point for pastoral practice
  • Pre-modern spiritual writing and us as readers today
  • Notions of subjectivity and/or experience in contemporary spirituality
  • Spirituality and interreligious dialogue
  • Women’s spirituality in a post-Christian age
  • The character and relevance of popular Christian spiritual writing today
  • Spirituality and psychology/psychoanalysis
  • The impact of the rise of “spirituality” on non-Christian traditions
  • The language of “soul” today
  • Spirituality in contemporary politics
  • Living by the Bible in post-Christian times

Please submit your proposal (max. 400 words) to Dr Barnabas Palfrey at Sarum College ( by Friday 2 March 2018. You will be informed whether your proposal has been accepted by Friday 9 March.

There will be a reduced charge for students and short-paper presenters at the conference, to cover costs, including buffet lunch and refreshments. Unfortunately, we cannot cover travel costs for presenters.

Registration and payment enquiries should be directed to Alison Ogden (; academic enquiries should be directed to Barnabas Palfrey (

The main conference webpage is

Things That Make for Peace: A Christian Peacemaker in a World of War

Join Sarum College Bookshop for an evening with Bishop Peter Price in Conversation with Major General Tim Cross CBE.

Thursday 22 February at 6.30pm

The former Bishop of Bath and Wells discusses his new book, based on his experience of over forty years working in reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East with the Army Adviser to the House of Commons.

Tim Cross has operational experience in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Kosovo, and was deployed to Washington, Kuwait and Baghdad as the International Deputy in the US led Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Affairs.

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
RSVP to or 01722 326899

Pamela Perry Proposes a Complementary Ministry

As a loyal Catholic, I have felt but not expressed a sense that women’s talents have been overlooked in ministry roles; that men and women working together naturally, supporting and complementing one another in ministry would allow all members of the church to use their god-given gifts.

How many “lapsed” Catholics would return if only they could witness women being taken seriously, in the roles for which they are best suited?

Many ordinary Catholics wish to be ministered to by women as well as by men. For some Catholics, sacramental confession to a women would be easier, more healing or more appropriate than confessing to a man. Women also bring a distinctive grace to presiding at weddings, funerals and baptisms, preaching and celebrating Holy Communion.

Various organisations express the wish many Catholic women have to respond to their call to ordained ministry. Parishioners’ Call is a local advocacy group which encourages an open-minded re-thinking of the role of women in the Catholic Church.

In leading and serving jointly in the Catholic Church as women and men do now in education, science, medicine, the law and politics, women men could together transform the Church as profoundly as did St Clare and St Francis.

— Pamela Perry

All those interested in continuing the discussion are welcome to come to the first meeting of Parishioners’ Call: Learning from Clare and Francis: Servant Leaders in a Transfigured Church. The meeting will be held on January 20th, from 13.30 – 17.00 in St Osmund’s Parish Hall, Exeter St. Salisbury SP1 2SF. Light refreshments available between 1pm and 1.30pm. Guest speakers are Fr Aloysius Beebwa, Missionary of Africa, in conversation with Canon Anne Long. This will be followed by discussion and a liturgy.

Bookshop Bestsellers: December 2017

Below is the list of the top ten bestsellers in Sarum College Bookshop in December.

  1. New Daylight January – April 2018, BRF £4.40
  2. Leading by Story by Vaughan S. Roberts, SCM Press £25
  3. Common Worship Lectionary 2018, Church House Publishing £4.99
  4. How to Avoid the Peace by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £8.99
  5. Love, Remember: 40 Poems of Loss, Lament and Hope by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press £12.99
  6. Daily Bread January – March 2018, Scripture Union £4.49
  7. Dave Walker Calendar 2018 by Dave Walker, Canterbury Press £6.99
  8. Reflections for Daily Prayer 2018, Church House Publishing £16.99
  9. Writes of the Church: Gripes and Grumbles of People in the Pews by Gary Alderson, BRF £6.88
  10. Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99

Book of the Month: January 2018

The Indecent Death of a Madam by Simon Parke

Stormhaven, the least Trip Advised bit of beach in Sussex, has another corpse; and the members of the Etiquette Society, who people the list of suspects, are down by one. One of those still alive is a retired Desert Father.

In this, the darkest of his Abbot Peter murder stories, Simon Parke appears almost, if not entirely, to disconnect his principal protagonist from whatever ties he previously had with God, who is only mentioned twice throughout the book and then not by Peter himself.

If Peter’s monastic past and presumed vocation are in retreat, if his outline is now more uncertain than in any of the preceding books, he is not alone.  Nowhere, nothing, is what they seemed at first.  Stormhaven is no haven against the storm, rather (Parke’s readers know by now) its very denial of them appears to attract them: who would suspect this deed, in this place? Indeed its worst detritus, the abandoned place of refuge – the asylum – ‘became a crime scene the moment they decided to close it down …’

Parke is, in his own words, an introvert: this is not a story written purely to entertain. The subtext is polemic and the choice of site for the murder is important. Explicitly or otherwise, most of Parke’s characters have points to make: through their fictional existence he makes his own point.  The feeling in each that the world needs him, her, to put it right has its roots in early years leaving variously poisoned sap in judge, editor, retired Army officer – even Peter, even Tamsin, his Detective Inspector niece.  Equally in the past is the root cause of the murder itself: it was called Care in the Community.

Not an easy book – none of this series is particularly easy – but if you prefer a who dunnit to have depth, to be more than a clever puzzle, this is for you.

Reviewed by Julia Taylor 

The Indecent Death of a Madam is just £8.49 until 31st January 2018 (RRP £9.99). Available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing