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Bible Study and Worship

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Thinking Zone

The Cathedral’s International Study Centre becomes The Gathering’s Thinking Zone. Admission to talks is on a first come first served basis, so please be sure to turn up in good time to avoid disappointment.

Bible Study - Genesis 18
Dr Meg Warner

Reflecting on the story of the hospitality offered by Abraham and Sarah to three passing strangers who turn out to be God, how does this passage help us explore ideas around 'food for the journey...'?

Meg Warner is a teacher, preacher and biblical scholar with a focus on the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Her work combines rigorous scholarship with a passion for making the biblical text accessible to people of all backgrounds. Meg's particular area of interest and expertise is the Abraham story in Genesis and its relationship with other Biblical narratives. Read Outlook article.

A lawyer by training, Meg has taught at Trinity College Theological School (Melbourne), worked as Assistant to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, and has been licensed as a Lay Minister in the Diocese of Melbourne. Recently relocated to the UK, Meg is Visiting Lecturer at King's College, London.

We can see a person's behaviour but not the journey
Pip Wilson

Author, facilitator, creator of the Blob Tree tools and inspirational figure, his work has ranged from urban street gangs, Hell Angels, special needs, and group work with people with drug and alcohol issues and more.

His presence at The Gathering, in his own words, "Instead of just listening we will have a workshop with lots of small groups - learning from each other, moving around, having fun, doing things, mini clips from movies, Blob Tree Materials, meeting each other, and discovering the beautiful in others - 'beyond their behaviour'".

The Circus and The Desert - Christian Ministry in a Changing World
Revd Lucy Winkett

Drawing on the particular context of a central London parish, Lucy will explore the wider challenges that face the church in a century that is arguably increasingly paradoxical. What does it mean to preach the gospel of Christ “in season and out of season” in a context where destitution and unimaginable luxury exist side by side in a multi faith society? Stories of the Circus and the Desert are ways to explore what Christian discipleship might look like in 2015.

One of the first generation of women to be ordained in the Church of England, Lucy served her title in Manor Park, Newham before moving to St Paul’s Cathedral where she later became Canon Precentor, the first woman priest to be appointed there. She became Rector of St James’s Church in 2010 and combines parish ministry with chairing the governors of St Mary Magdalene Educational Trust and is Chair of the Amos Trust, a small creative human rights charity that works with street children in South Africa and funds community projects in Israel/Palestine, Nicaragua and India.

She is regularly asked to contribute to broadcasts on religion, gender and contemporary culture and is a long-standing contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. She was a founding advisor for the public theology think tank Theos and the co-founder of Leading Women, a national development programme for women clergy.

Water in the Desert: Traditional Pilgrimage in Modern Britain
Hayward and Parsons

A crash-course in how and why to make traditional pilgrimage in Britain.Traditional pilgrimage is a long walk among nature and strangers on the footpath to holy places. Hayward and Parsons will explore the modern practice (and theory) of such sacred journeys as physical acts of faith and prayer, and will consider the opportunity that pilgrimage today presents to Britain, the Church and you.

Hayward and Parsons are founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust. As frequent pilgrims, they walk lost pathways seeking holy places - river sources, hilltops, holy wells and churches - while foraging for wild food, drinking from streams and sleeping in woods. As singers, they take traditional songs back to their sources in the land, to re-wild the native song-scape. (

Eating Curry for Jesus: keeping faith in multicultural communities
Barbara Glasson, Bread Church

How do we manage to live creatively within diversity? How can we be confident Christians, tolerant neighbours, prophetic communities and still live with integrity? This talk will explore the territory, give some insights and stories and also some practical steps towards positive engagement - oh, and there will be curry too!

Barbara Glasson is a Methodist Minister working at Touchstone, an interfaith community project in the centre of Bradford. She is the founder of Somewhere Else – the ‘bread church’ in Liverpool and has worked alongside many small communities on the edge of conventional church; especially LGBT congregations and survivor networks. In her most recent book, The Exuberant Church, Barbara explores what it means to weave a listening community and how hearing stories of transformation gives clues to the transformational mission of the church. Barbara trained in Agricultural Science before studying Theology at Nottingham and Hull.

Canterbury Cathedral Walking Tour
Very Revd Dr Robert Willis

The ever popular Cathedral walking tour makes a welcome return. Throughout the ages, Canterbury has been an aspiration for many pilgrims. As the start of the mediaeval pilgrim route across Europe to Rome known as the Via Francigena, the historic stories of pilgrims have been well catalogued, but over the last 30 years, the numbers of pilgrims walking the ancient routes have grown and grown. To walk around the Cathedral exploring what this means, is to re-imagine in our own times, the spiritual value and excitement of pilgrimage and the way lives are renewed and transformed by such journeys.

The Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis became Dean of Canterbury in 2001 following nine years as Dean of Hereford. He is a keen musician, pianist and hymn writer.

Faith, young people and discipleship: A Journey together
Ian Macdonald

Mining the contemplative tradition, theology, experience … oh and the difference between Spiderman and Batman, Ian will be re-looking at our call to discipleship. He believes this involves key questions for all of us BUT is essential if we are serious about engaging young people in the dangerous adventure of following Jesus.

Ian Macdonald is a youthful middle-aged geek who seeks to serve his twin passions of Stand Up Comedy and Youth Ministry usefully (one of which he pays to do, the other he gets paid for). Ian Macdonald is a Contemplative Christian Activist seeking to redefine Orthodoxy (partly because he doesn't fit easily into any particular category). He works within the mission department of the Diocese of Oxford focused on youth ministry, emerging culture and discipleship. When he is not enabling Youth Ministry or Mission he can be found out in THE cathedral, either cycling, hiking or kayaking.

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: A Musician’s Journey
David Macdonald

From a musical and Christian family background, David Macdonald’s first career was in International business, living and working in Europe, Africa and China. He then went to Music College and had a second career in music as a cellist and conductor.

David’s talk offers reflections in words, pictures and music of his pilgrimage walking and worshipping across the Camino of northern Spain, with his beloved cello on his back. His aim was to play the Bach suites in churches and monasteries along the way – not as performances, but as meditations – and he will share with us the experience of journeying through inspiring and contrasting regions, while informally joining a unique pilgrim community. His talk will be accompanied by a musical ensemble to evoke a sense of the musical and spiritual dimension of his pilgrimage.

Faith in Later Life: Sustaining the Journey
Joanna Walker
Slideshow | Handout | Reading list

What nourishment do we need to sustain our journey of faith in later life? What resources, including the experience of our walk with God so far, can we draw on? In this session we will also consider ideas about adult faith stages (from mid-life to end of life) and the joys and challenges of the journey - both as individuals and in fellowship with others.

Jo is currently a post-graduate researcher on spirituality and ageing at the University of Southampton and was until the end of 2014 the Advisor for Adult Education in Guildford Diocese, covering adult discipleship and running a successful annual summer school.

‘Passing through’ – What has the Bible to tell us about our treatment of ‘the stranger’ today?
Dr Meg Warner

Biblical Canaan, like modern-day Kent, was an important ‘passing through’ place, and so questions about who is ‘alien’ and who belongs, and what kind of ‘food’ should be offered to whom, are important for the Hebrew Bible. This talk will explore what light the biblical text can shed on our own more contemporary questions about journeying, migration, strangers and land.

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