Theologians in Conversation 2011: Crime, Custody, Punishment, Forgiveness

There are few topics as prominent in political debate in our society as crime and punishment. Less often noticed, but perhaps even more significant, there are very few topics which offer as fertile a ground for theological reflection, as fundamental issues of Christian Doctrine – the created order, the fall, sin and forgiveness, the justice of God and the mercy of God – are exposed to the reality of social disorder and the responses of those whose task is to maintain order and enforce the law.

This conversation will be led by two theologians both committed to examining the connections and the dissonances between life in society and the fundamentals of Christian believing. Significant for this dialogue is that they occupy diverse and significant secular roles in the criminal justice system: Al is a Special Constable in the West Yorkshire Constabulary regularly giving time to act as an officer of the law; Peter is President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards, which are appointed under statute to monitor fairness and respect for those in custody, whether as remanded or convicted prisoners or immigration detainees. From these divergent perspectives and with a shared passion for theological discovery they intend that all who participate will have a more profound understanding of the social reality summed up in ‘crime and punishment’ and the Christian conviction that the universe is in the hands of a God who is both Justice and Mercy.

Cost: £155 standard room; £175 ensuite room