5 articles in this issue:
Upton on Severn, June 22nd 2014
Sermon by the Rt Revd John Gladwin
So Ruth went down to the threshing floor and did just what her mother-in-law had instructed her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and he was in a contented mood, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came stealthily and uncovered his feet and lay down. At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and there, lying at his feet, was a woman.
Shortly after CSCS’ highly successful Embodied Ministry conference at Cuddesdon in July, our sister organisation Modern Church (www.modernchurch.org.uk) held its own conference on Liberal Spirituality. Unsurprisingly, there was some read-across – certainly in the dramatis personae, with Martyn Percy facilitating both conferences, Emma Percy making a most significant contribution to both (including, at the latter, a memorable talk on breastfeeding as a model of spirituality and ministry), and yet more wise words from Carla Grosch-Miller. But for me one of the less expected links was the showing of an unusual Swedish film called As it is in Heaven. It showed how an ailing professional musician took a backwoods church choir to international fame, at the cost of his own life. There were quite a few (not very explicit) sexual awakenings in the film, including that of a pastor and his wife who came to be confronted by the role of Law in their own lives and the need to rediscover Love. But it was the moment of the conductor’s death which moved me greatly; as he lay stricken by his fatal heart attack, having just impregnated the girl who loved him, he listened to his choir bringing an international audience to their feet – and died with a smile on his face. Continue reading CSCS News, Autumn 2014: Editorial & Contents Guide
The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
The film, Spartacus (1960; directed by Stanley Kubrick) needs little introduction. Starring Kirk Douglas as the rebellious slave, it is based on a historical novel by Howard Fast – and inspired by the real life of a Thracian slave who led the revolt in the Third Servile War of 73-71 BCE. A small band of former gladiators and slaves, perhaps no more than eighty in number, and led by Spartacus, grew to an army of around 125,000, to challenge the might of the Roman Empire. Kubrick’s film starred Laurence Olivier as the Roman general-politician, Marcus Licinius Crassus. Peter Ustinov won an Academy Award for best supporting actor as Batiatus, a slave trader. Jean Simmonds and Tony Curtis also starred. The film won four Oscars.
The 14th Extraordinary Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops – October 2014
The 14th Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on Marriage & Family proved to be a barometer of climate-change in the Roman Catholic Church with more ice-breaking than earthquake tremors. It had started with a questionnaire circulated to garner Catholic opinion from around the world on broad family issues. Unthinkable in the immediately preceding papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the pastoral needs of same-sex couples, along with those of children in such families, figured in the Synod’s Working Document setting the agenda for this recent meeting. Continue reading Not so much an earthquake, more an ice-breaking!
An overview of Dr. Jack Dominian’s lifetime’s work, showing how experience of people’s real life problems challenged the very foundations of Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage, was published in 1995. Jack Dominian – Lay Prophet? by Jock Dalrymple, traced how Dominian’s radical work on marriage confronted official teaching and illuminated people’s lives. At Jack’s funeral in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, 28 August 2014, it was proposed that any future editions should now have the question-mark removed! Continue reading Dr. Jack Dominian MBE, 25 August 1929-11 August 2014
Our Annual Conference and AGM will be on Saturday, 14 March 2015
The theme will be, “When sex goes wrong – how do faith, conscience, and justice inform our decisions?” A keynote presentation from a notable expert will help us to look at some ‘hot’ topics such as abortion, IVF, contraception and other reproductive and women’s health issues from the perspective of Christian belief and practice. The conference will take place in London with a central venue yet to be confirmed. Please place this date in your diaries now. We look forward to seeing you there!
Hymn – Sing a new Church (Tune: Ode to Joy or Nettleton)
Words: Delores Dufner OSB
Summoned by the God who made us
rich in our diversity, gathered in the
name of Jesus, richer still in unity.
Refrain: Let us bring the gifts that differ and, in splendid, varied ways, sing a new church into being, one in faith and love and praise.
Radiant risen from the water, robed in
holiness and light, male and female in God’s image,
male and female, God’s delight.
Trust the goodness of creation; trust the Spirit
strong within. Dare to dream the vision
promised, sprung from seed of what has been.
Bring the hopes of every nation; bring the
art of every race.
Weave a song of peace and justice; let it sound
through time and space.
Draw together at one table, all
the human family;
shape a circle ever wider
and a people ever free.
From the Letter to the Galatians (3: 26-29)
For all of you are God’s people through faith in the Messiah, Jesus. Indeed, all of you who were baptised into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah.
Because all of you are one in the Messiah Jesus, a person is no longer a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a male or a female. And if you belong to the Messiah, then you are descendants of Abraham and Sarah indeed, and heirs according to the promise. (International Standard version 2012)
God of all the vast varieties of humankind, help us to move beyond the exclusiveness of an either / or mentality to the inclusiveness of an all and every way of thinking. Move us beyond binary definitions to the mystery and complexity of infinite creativity and creation.
We remember those senselessly murdered because of their all-encompassing humanity, those de-humanised by religious institutions who would prefer invisibility, yet who are prophets of true identity, parents and families confused and fearful yet holding firm to love.
Open hearts that need to hear, souls that need to know, and minds that need to see that there are no limits to You nor Your creation. In the name of the one who transcends divine and human labelling, who confounds our rigid definitions, and breaks down the walls that separate us, embraced in one Spirit of love. Amen