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.
On Wednesday 6th June, the CSCS Theological Educators’ team met at Ripon College, Oxfordshire, where Professor Martyn Percy shared some useful information on the current shift to “common awards” in training for religious ordination.
Before the start of the meeting, Professor Percy led the group on a short tour of the college and its facilities, of which a highlight was the spanking new chapel (so new, that the first formal use of it was scheduled for the following day, and while we were there, workmen were busily engaged in last minute completion.
One of the other topics under discussion by the theological educators’ group is the viability of arranging a residential conference for a much wider group, on sexuality and theological education. If this idea goes ahead, Ripon College could well be a potential venue.