Living Theology Ammerdown 2018

Views of Ammerdown

We would love to see you at the 2018 Living Theology weekend 22-24 June, to be held at Ammerdown.

Our theme for the 2018 weekend will be:

“This grace dissolved in place.”  Our parish as a place of divine encounter.

The quotation is from Shakespeare’s Pericles. Shakespeare attempts to capture the wonder and awe in Pericles’ gratitude after he is reunited with his daughter who he thought had drowned. It is an expression of encounter, of love in the reality of persons and place.
Should we not feel such wonder and awe in our parish life as we encounter our God?

For most of the Church’s history, the local parish has been the context and the means by which the faithful have been initiated and sustained in their Christian commitment. The parish is, and has been, a place of encounter with the living God. Today, this gift of ‘grace dissolved in place’ is under severe challenge. In the western church the sacramental handing-on of faith to new generations of Christians is in huge crisis. So the question is:

Can we still speak of the parish as the ‘place of encounter with the Triune God?’

Addressing this question our lecturers will be:

Dr Michael Kirwan SJ: In 2014 Michael was appointed Dean of Theology of the Bellarmine Institute, the Catholic ecclesial faculty attached to Heythrop College. In summer 2015 he took over as director of HIRS.  He is a member of the Catholic Theological Association (GB), and has also participated in its European meetings, as well as networks of Jesuit theologians and intellectuals. Michael has lectured in a number of Systematic and Pastoral Theology programmes at Heythrop, including sessions on Ecclesiology and Ecumenism, Theology of Ministry, Foundations of Pastoral Theology, as well as introductions to theology, political and liberation theologies, and soteriology. He has also been extensively involved in the pastoral and spiritual formation of Jesuits students for the priesthood.

Dr Clare Watkins:  Clare is a Roman Catholic lay woman theologian, committed to teaching and research in the areas of ecclesiology, sacramental theology and practical theology, and with a particular concern for working theologically in ways that contribute to ministerial formation and church life and mission. Having completed her doctorate under the supervision of Professor Stephen Sykes, in 1990, Clare juggled pastoral and theological work with raising her four children. During this time she was lucky enough to work pastorally as a lay assistant in parish and student chaplaincy ministries, and to develop teaching and research at Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, in the Cambridge Theological Federation, (Vice Principal and Director of Studies) and at Allen Hall, the Westminster Catholic seminary.
In addition to their consideration of this main question, Michael and Clare will also form a plenary ‘Brains Trust’, at which participants will be able to raise wider questions arising from the lectures, and other questions of relevance to Christian life today.

The Living Theology 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 has proved over the past four years to be an ideal location for Living Theology. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful and relaxing, Ammerdown offers everything that Living Theology needs. Full 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, plus 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 (with swimming pool) and, last but not least, friendly and very helpful staff.

The Cost:

From supper on the evening of Friday 22nd June 2018, to close on Sunday 24th June after lunch the residential cost £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 £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 File booking_form_2018_final.docx

Send it with a non-returnable deposit of £50 to Mrs Eilish Heath, 8 Castle Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 3NL.

Make your cheque payable to ‘Living Theology (Ammerdown)’.  Please email Eilish at or telephone 01284 752495 with any enquiries.

Download a timetable for the weekend  PDF icon living_theology_timetable_2018.pdf


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 Ammerdown postcode, BA3 5SW, entered into Google Maps or Satnav, should do the rest!

For further details of the Ammerdown Centre: or 01761 433709

Friday, June 22, 2018 - 17:00 to Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 15:30
Ammerdown Park,
Near Bath
United Kingdom