Sometime around 56 AD, the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. The letter he sent was arguably his theological masterpiece, and has shaped Christianity ever since.
And he entrusted it to Phoebe, a deacon of the church. Paula Gooder’s new book imagines her journey to Rome and her encounter with the early church there, bringing their joyful, insecure, argumentative community vividly to life. In doing so she offers new insights into how we might engage afresh with Paul’s theology and in particular how it has affected the role of women in the church. She will explore why she thinks we’ve been wrong about Paul’s attitude to women, and how Phoebe might be a catalyst to new and liberating ways of engaging with the riches of his thought.
Dr Paula Gooder is Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, the first layperson to hold the role. One of the best-known New Testament scholars and teachers of our time, her latest book is Phoebe: A Story (Hodder 2018) and her previous books include Heaven and Body: Biblical Spirituality for the Whole Person (both SPCK).
The Bible speaks of an impartial God, a diverse body of believers and justice for all people. Yet, historically, the words of the Bible have been used to justify slavery, segregation and racial discrimination. And despite advances in law and in society, white privilege persists in all areas of life, including our churches.
Ben Lindsay describes how ‘being black in a white majority church can be a bit like the first day of a new school on repeat. Your natural insecurities come to the surface. Will I be included? Will I be noticed? How do I connect with the popular people? How do I fit in? Will my contributions be valued?’ These feelings come from a lifetime of slights and indignities based on skin colour and highlighted differences; of isolation and exclusion; and from the hostility and defensiveness of white people. And yet, not wanting to be defined by these experiences or be portrayed as a victim, Ben invites us to talk about race.
Join us to listen with open hearts to the wise and honest insights of our panel of speakers: the joys and sorrows, the grace and the pain of their individual and collective experience, and to explore together how we respond to each other as people of faith, see each other as God sees us and build inclusive and empowered communities.
Ben Lindsay is a pastor at Emmanuel Church London, the Founder and CEO of Power the Fight, a charity working to end youth violence and knife crime, and the author of We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches (SPCK 2019).
He will be joined by Guvna B, the first rapper to top the Christian and Gospel charts, the Revd Rosemarie Mallett, Vicar of St John’s Church, Brixton, and Lead Public Policy Advisor in the Diocese of Southwark and Chine McDonald, Media Content & PR Lead at Christian Aid.
The evening will be chaired by Canon Tricia Hillas, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral, and include plenty of time for questions and answers.
Why do so many people feel a spiritual connection with the sea? Edmund Newell’s research shows that throughout history, the sea has been associated with religious experience and that the sea is highly sacramental, speaking powerfully of God.
His new book explores the sea in Christian history, theology and spirituality. It moves from the Bible to the present day, via, among others, St Augustine, Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare and John Donne, the scientists of the Enlightenment and the great hymn-writers of the 19th century. In this talk, he will explore some of what the sea has meant spiritually over the centuries, and challenge us to see the current dangerous rises in sea-levels worldwide as not only an environmental crisis, but a spiritual one as well.
Canon Dr Edmund Newell is the Principal of Cumberland Lodge, and was formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and Research Fellow at Nuffield College Oxford. His latest book is The Sacramental Sea: A Spiritual Voyage though Christian History (DLT 2019).
The Christmas stories are some of the best-loved in the Bible but their familiarity can mask their real, mind-boggling message: God comes to the world in a human body, in obscurity and vulnerability, and nothing is ever the same again.
In this evening, Paula Gooder, the renowned New Testament scholar, will unravel some of what these revolutionary stories really tell us. What does it mean that the God who shaped the universe into existence was prepared to be born as a tiny, vulnerable baby in a dangerous time? Why did God chose this ludicrously risky way to redeem the world? And what does it mean that he trusted the whole plan to a young girl?
She will also explore what Jesus’ birth means for the powerful and the poor, then and now, and how we might come to these stories afresh, letting them reach our hearts and change our lives.
Dr Paula Gooder is one of the best-known New Testament scholars and teachers of our time, and Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, the first layperson to hold the role. She is the author of numerous academic and popular books of Biblical theology, including Journey to the Manger: Exploring the Birth of Jesus and The Meaning is in the Waiting: The Spirit of Advent (both Canterbury Press).
The evening will be chaired by Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, and include plenty of time for questions and answers.