An invite to discover a living theology
Living Theology is a series of summer courses organized by the Jesuits and their associates across the country for over 50 years. The original impetus was to help Catholics study the outcomes from Vatican II. The programmes, which are informative but informal, are for everyone interested in deepening their knowledge of the Christian faith and in developing their personal reflection on Christian living and belief. They will be a guidance to consider today’s important issues for believers and learn more about spirituality. No prior expertise in theology is required: all the participants of all denominations need to be equipped with is just an open mind and willingness to engage.
John Merrigan, member of the Ammerdown Living Theology Committee, said: "So many people over the years have enjoyed and benefited from Living Theology, as can be seen form the high proportion of those who return each year! Living Theology truly does offer a very special and memorable approach to the growth of one's personal faith."
The first 2019 Living Theology will take place in the peaceful Loreto Centre, just few minutes away from the coast in Wales. The weekend will focus on the theme ‘understanding your everyday beliefs’, with lectures given by keynote speaker Dr Theodora Hawksley CJ. Her Friday talk will be public, so everyone is welcome to join for this specific session. All the other participants will be able to choose to attend other extra courses over the weekend. These consist of three presentations throughout the day, which will make it possible for those who are only able to attend on one day, to complete a full course.
Living Theology Birmingham will offer the possibility to look at several aspects of how God is active in our world. Dr Theodora Hawksley CJ will explore popular and scholarly ideas about the connections between religion, violence and peacebuilding. Michael Smith SJ, who now specialises in adult education and has a special interest in the links between science and faith, will give lectures on various problems we face around the world and how they are seen in Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’. David McLoughlin, theologian and founder member of the Movement of Christian Workers, will help reflecting on Jesus’s challenging teachings and where we find Hope today.
Later in the month of June, another summer school will start at Ammerdown, near Bath. The weekend will try to answer the question ‘Where do we see the Spirit blowing in the modern world?’ The purpose is for the participants to seek a closer relationship with and receptivity to the Holy Spirit, and to give attention to what Pope Francis has been saying through prayer and study. Bishop Crispian Hollis has kindly agreed to join the group to give the keynote lecture, introducing the themes for the two days. The two main lecturers will be Brendan Callaghan SJ, well known to many Living Theologians, and Dr Anne Inman PhD, who joins Living Theology for the first time. They will each give three lectures, exploring aspects of our main topic. The residential weekend is a great opportunity to experience Living theology’s combination of Liturgy, Lectures, and Community.
Interfaith topics will be at the centre of York’s weekend, in the middle of July. This Living Theology course is organized with The Newman Association, a lay-led, national organization inspired by the work of J H Newman, to promote open discussion and greater understanding in today’s Church. The course leaders are: Fr Damian Howard SJ, the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, a specialist in Christian-Muslim relations; Dr George Herring, a Church historian with an interest in the Oxford Movement; and Mr Gabriel Webber, a trainee rabbi. The talks and seminars will rotate around the three major faiths, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, all related as ‘Children of Abaham’, with the purpose to bring more understanding.
For all the weekends, there is possibility to book accommodation, for the whole duration of the school of part of it. The invite is open to all to discover or rediscover a living theology this summer!