It is a great pleasure to publish the programme for this year’s Westcott Foundation.
As ever, there is a range of study days to resource church leaders in worship and mission, preaching and pastoral ministry, drawing on the riches of the church’s tradition to enable engagement with the contemporary context. You can download study day programme here: Westcott Foundation Study Days 2016-17
The annual retreats (for Deacons, and for established clergy) make the most of Westcott House as an oasis in the heart of Cambridge, perfect for taking time out to reflect and recharge. You can download the retreat programme here: Westcott Foundation Retreats 2016-17
You can read more about our first event this year (5th October) here, timed to resource planning and thinking in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday, and in the wider context of current conflict and the centenary commemorations of WW1.
The Bible, the Great War, and Remembrance Wednesday 5th October 2016, 10am-4pm Led by Andrew Mein, Nathan Macdonald, and Ally Barrett
Remembrancetide is challenging. How do we meet so many diverse needs and expectations? How do we both remember the past fallen and speak into the complexity of contemporary conflicts? 100 years ago, as the world faced the horrors of total war, the Bible was crucial in enabling Christians to make sense of their experience. Introduced by the leaders of a Cambridge University research project on the use of the Bible during WW1, and by Westcott’s Director of Pastoral Studies, we will reflect on current practice of remembrance, and draw on the use of the Bible during 1914-18 to find new resources for theology and preaching.
The centenary of the First World War has provided an important opportunity to re-evaluate its impact on religious faith and life. Westcott House is one of a number of partners participating in a new project examining the influence of the Bible during World War I, as well as how views of the Bible changed as a result of the conflict.
The Bible’s significance for people who lived through World War I may seem, superficially, an unlikely subject, but its influence was considerable. Many of the generation who fought in the First World War had studied the Bible at school and were more familiar with its contents than most people now. As a result, Christian nations on both sides were able to use it as a source of inspiration, motivation and propaganda. At the same time, conscientious objectors could use its message of peace to defend their refusal to fight. Wherever people stood in relation to the war, the scriptures offered a fundamental resource that could help them make sense of what they were going through.
The research project, entitled “The Book And The Sword: The Bible In The Experience and Legacy of the Great War”, is drawing together theologians and historians from around the world to look at this understudied area and for the first time attempt to pull together many potentially fascinating threads into a coherent narrative. From the controversial sermons of Arthur Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London; to General Allenby’s entry on foot into Jerusalem in 1917 in self-conscious imitation of Jesus; to the earnest debate among German theologians about whether or not the Old Testament really was bloodthirsty enough reading matter for the heroic German people; the project will aim to show how the Bible was a potent force that shaped many people’s wartime experience.
This Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project is being led by Andrew Mein, Senior Research Fellow in Biblical Studies at Westcott House, and by Nathan MacDonald, Lecturer in Hebrew Bible in the Divinity Faculty. You can see Nathan and Andrew interviewed about the project for our local TV channel, Cambridge TV, by following the link below.
A project like this is not only about the past. The First World War still looms large in our national self-consciousness, and is called to mind every year at Remembrancetide. To look back at the way that faith and scripture worked for people a hundred years ago can help us reflect on our current practice: how did they hold together the seemingly impossible demands of national civic religion and the Christian witness for peace?
How might we draw on their experience to refresh our worship and preaching in a season that clergy often find challenging? The Westcott Foundation will be offering an opportunity to explore these themes in a study on ‘Bible, War and Remembrance’ on Wednesday 5th October 2016, led by Andrew Mein, Nathan MacDonald, and Ally Barrett. Remembrancetide is challenging for those who lead worship and preach. How do we meet so many diverse needs and expectations? How do we both remember the past fallen and speak into the complexity of contemporary conflicts? In this study day we will reflect on current practice of remembrance, and draw on the use of the Bible during 1914-18 to find new resources for theology and preaching. Click here to email us and reserve a place at this study day or to find out more.
In the mean time you can read more about the project here:
Thank you to everyone who attended the popular ‘Preaching Luke’ seminar on 11th November, and enormous thanks to The Revd Canon Professor Loveday Alexander, for presenting such an inspiring and fascinating day on Luke. Click here to read more about the day, and to download the wonderfully detailed handouts and book list.
You can see the full programme for the Foundation and book online for future seminars, here. Please do also get in touch with us if there is a topic you would like us to cover in future programmes.