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Early Methodists and Other Animals: Animal Welfare as an Evangelical Issue

Wednesday 14th October - 7:30pm, Hollybank House, University of Chester

2015 Fernley Hartley Lecture

Professor David Clough - University of Chester

In modern debates about animal welfare, such as those in relation to fox-hunting, we are apt to forget that the UK led the way in legislating against cruelty towards animals, and it was evangelical Christians, concerned for God’s creatures, who were active in the first initiatives for legislation.  This lecture will explore the contribution of John Wesley, other early Methodists, and other evangelicals to such initiatives.  Prof. Clough will argue that the collective amnesia about the history of Christian moral concern about animals has not served the animals or the churches well.  In an era in which the farming of animals has been dramatically intensified, he will suggest that it is time for the churches to recall the plight of animals as a fundamental Christian concern.

David Clough is Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester, and a Methodist Local Preacher.  He has published widely on the ethics of Karl Barth, Christian attitudes to war and peace, and the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. The second of 2 volumes: On Animals (T&T Clark) is forthcoming (2016).  He is a member of the Methodist Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment.

Admission FREE This lecture is sponsored by the Fernley-Hartley Trust - Wine and Refreshments.

A New Apologetics: Speaking of God in a World Troubled by Religion

Saturday 23rd January 2016 - 2:00pm, The Nave, Chester Cathedral

Professor Elaine Graham - Canon Theologian at Chester Cathedraland and Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology, University of Chester)

Annual Cathedral Lecture:

What do we think of when we hear the term ‘Christian apologetics’?  In some circles, it has become synonymous with the defence of Christian doctrine in the face of unbelief or heresy, but often this has been narrowed down into arguments drawn from proof-texts or adversarial exposition of propositional belief.  The challenge of apologetics today is to speak across a ‘post-secular divide’ in the face of a culture ‘troubled’ by religious movements perceived to be toxic, hypocritical or divisive.  In a world which, as Terry Eagleton has put it, appears ‘divided between those who believe too much and those who believe too little’, can the Church justify its place amidst the crowded and fractious spaces of public life; and how can ordinary Christians bear witness to their faith with integrity?

Elaine Graham is the Grosvenor Research Professor at the University of Chester and Canon Theologian of Chester Cathedral.    Her most recent book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in a Post-Secular Age (SCM, 2013) examines the relationship between public theology and Christian apologetics.  It has been greeted by critics as ‘the most significant volume of its kind in the last two decades’.

Admission Free

Mosques, Women and Ritual Purity

Thursday 17th March 2016 - 7:30pm, Hollybank House, University of Chester

Dr Shuruq Naguib – University of Lancaster

Are mosques for men only?  Are the recent plans in Bradford to establish a women-managed mosque justifiable in light of the Islamic tradition?  In this lecture, Dr Naguib will trace some of the key debates in Islamic law and theology about women’s presence and role in the mosque.  She will also examine how these debates intersect with broader questions about religious authority and gender morality in Islam.  In drawing further comparisons between texts and contexts, and between historical and contemporary gender practices in the mosque, she will go on to examine the changing function of the mosque and the impact of such change on women from the time of Prophet Muhammad to the women’s mosque movement in the 1990s and the very recent efforts to establish women-friendly and women-managed mosques in the West. 

Born in Egypt, Dr Naguib’s research has focused on Muslim responses to modernity and on how contemporary female Muslim scholars read the tradition to develop their religious authority as knowers of that tradition.  Developing her interest in Islam in Britain, she co-authored a study of change in perceptions of God: Religion and Change in Modern Britain(Routledge).  She is Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Lancaster University.

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00)

Keeping Faith with the Military: Armed Forces Chaplaincy as Lived Public Theology

Anniversary of the attack on HMS Chester, May 1916

Tuesday 3rd May 2016 – 7:30pm, Hollybank House, University of Chester

The Revd Canon Andrew Todd - St Michael’s College, University of Cardiff

This lecture will explore the different dimensions of the role of Armed Forces chaplains, especially their pastoral, moral and ritual roles, particularly to show how chaplains engage with critical issues, including the part they play in relation to: military effectiveness, the identity and ethos of the Armed Forces, and the relationship between the Armed Forces and wider society.  Reflection will be offered on Armed Forces chaplaincy as lived public theology, showing how chaplains provide insight for others who are concerned to engage theologically with military life and operations.  Particular attention will be paid to whether the churches’ theological response to issues of security and defence has been fully informed by chaplains’ insight, or whether it might learn from them in this respect.

The Revd Canon Dr Andrew Todd is Director of the Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies, a partnership between the University and St Michael’s College, studying chaplaincy research and education.  He has led research into military chaplaincy and is the author of Religion, security, rights, the individual and rates of exchange: Religion in negotiation with British public policy in prisons and the military, (International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 2015).

Admission at the door: £3.00 (Students: £1.00) Wine and Refreshments