Living Theology Ammerdown 2017

Chapel at Ammerdown
Chapel at Ammerdown

The Project: Living Theology was originally created just after Vatican II to offer opportunities to the laity to study and learn about the documents of that great Council from experts. Over the past half century the brief has widened, and now covers nearly all aspects of modern Christianity – scripture study, all branches of theology, canon law, conscience and other faiths have all played their part in opening up our understanding of Christian tradition. We also pray together and live together in community, where all are welcomed.

The Weekend: The theme for Living Theology 2017 is “I Was a Stranger…” (Matthew 25:43). This promises to be an extremely challenging theme, highly relevant to Christian life in today’s society. There will be two main courses, each of three lectures with discussion, and a ‘Brains Trust’. Participants are invited to attend all sessions.

• Nicholas King SJ: “Their Story is our story”. Again and again in the Bible we are invited to treat those on the margins as our brothers and sisters, to recognise them as children of the God who created them.  Sometimes this is deeply subversive (as in the story of the Good Samaritan), and often deeply uncomfortable. But it is also profoundly liberating to hear another’s story, and to realise that it is also our story. This has profound implications for us living in our society-in-transition.

• Michael Barnes SJ:  The advent of the stranger is a familiar theme in all cultures and civilisations, from the Old Testament and the Vedic scriptures to the novels of Thomas Hardy and the plays of Harold Pinter.  The inner cohesion of a close-knit community comes under threat from the guest who may turn out to be an enemy.  To keep ourselves safe, must the stranger always be regarded as an outsider?  How do we practise a generous hospitality without fear of exploitation?  Is there anything to be learned from the wisdom of the great world religions? Such questions are critical for life in multi-cultural post-Brexit Britain.  This series of lectures acts as a sort of interreligious counterpoint to the Christian focus of the first set, presenting a reading of texts that can support efforts to build a just and hospitable society. 

Our lecturers will also join together to form a plenary ‘Brains Trust’ at which participants will have an opportunity to raise questions arising from the lectures, as well as wider questions of relevance to Christian life today.

The Living Theology ‘way of life’ – a threefold combination of Liturgy, Study, Community - will, as always, pervade the weekend and we hope that as many as possible will respond to our invitation to be involved and to contribute to the programme. 

The Venue: Ammerdown is an ideal location for Living Theology and 2017 will be its fourth consecutive year. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful and relaxing, Ammerdown offers everything that Living Theology needs. Fully residential facilities include, a beautiful ecumenical chapel for our liturgies, well equipped modern ensuite bedrooms, first-class catering in a comfortable and friendly dining room, teaching and lecture rooms with excellent audio-visual equipment, a well-stocked library covering a wide range of relevant Christian (and other) literature, delightful grounds in which to walk and relax at leisure and, last but not least, friendly and very helpful staff who meet our every need.

The Cost: the weekend will start with supper on the evening of Friday 7th July 2017, and close at about 2.30 after Community Mass on Sunday afternoon. The residential cost of £210 covers bed and full board (two nights, Friday, Saturday) plus all lectures and plenaries, with access to Ammerdown’s extensive facilities as above.

Non-residential: The cost of £100 covers lectures, plenaries, liturgies, communal living during the day, lunch and evening meal, but does not include bed or breakfast. For those wishing to be non-residential, Ammerdown can provide details of various hotels and B&B locally.

Download a booking form here: File ammerdown_application_form_2017a.docx and send it with a non-returnable deposit of £50 to Mrs Eilish Heath, 8 Castle Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3NL. Telephone 01284 752495.

Make your cheque payable to Living Theology (Ammerdown). Please email Eilish with any enquiries about booking.

Download a timetable for the weekend here PDF icon 2017b_living_theology_timetable.pdf

Travel: The nearest railway station is Bath Spa. Bus and taxi services are available from Bath. Full details of travel will be sent to all participants after bookings have been reserved. For those travelling by car there is ample parking at the Ammerdown Centre. The postcode above, entered into Google Maps or Satnav, should do the rest!

Finally: For further details of the Ammerdown Centre, visit their website >>

Friday, July 7, 2017 - 16:00 to Sunday, July 9, 2017 - 14:30
Ammerdown Centre
United Kingdom