Musings on the Readings for the Thirty-Third Sunday of the Year – 15th November 2020

Musings on the Readings for the Thirty-Third Sunday of the Year - 15th November 2020 When I am working with parish groups exploring how the readings for each Sunday are put together, I have fun explaining how the First Reading is usually from the Old Testament, it's purpose being to point towards the Gospel. However, this Sunday's offering seems to be, at first glance, far removed from doing that. [...]

By |November 13th, 2020|Categories: News|

A very Medieval Pilgrimage and the Power of Relics

A very Medieval Pilgrimage and the Power of Relics Evelyn Nicholson - April 2020. Since my own conversion to the Catholic faith some years ago, I  accepted the idea of relics, but never really ‘got’ them,  rather enjoying the reports that St Teilo had his mortal remains divided into three portions, so that the three monasteries connected to him would each have a fair share! [1]This view changed in [...]

By |August 3rd, 2020|Categories: News|

A Tribute to Cambridge Professor Nicholas Lash

A Tribute to Cambridge Professor Nicholas Lash Nicholas Lash, Norris-Hulse Professor Emeritus of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, died aged 86 at home in the early hours of July 11. His funeral is to be held today at noon at the Cambridge Chaplaincy, Fisher House. Nicholas was involved in the formation of the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology. Janet, his widow, says he was honoured and proud to [...]

By |August 2nd, 2020|Categories: News|

Red Kite

After a bad morning, bad in every sense, It was good to walk again in fields of green, to take in dappled sunlight in the shaded lanes To be soothed by the glide of a brace of swans in a brook.   Then through a curved gate to a grassy plain flanked by horse chestnut trees,in flower, I was not prepared for the encounter. You dropped in altitude, majestically [...]

By |June 21st, 2020|Categories: News|

Surprise Training

Surprise Training When you say “Surprise!”, everyone reacts differently. For some, it is something nice to look forward to, for others it is an unpleasant experience, an uncontrollable element that breaks into your life. But one thing is always the same – it is not possible to train for it, because of the essence of its unpredictability. That is why we often find ourselves in situations where we [...]

By |May 30th, 2020|Categories: News|


Interconnectedness In my retirement, I have been blessed by the companionship of many people, mostly women who are finding creative ways of processing through this time of social distancing.  Some are introverts and find it a welcome gift of extra time to paint and to write; others are coordinating conference calls and numerous screen-time gatherings to combat the quiet.  One of these friends is a clinical social worker [...]

By |May 17th, 2020|Categories: News|

Bossy Angels

Bossy Angels Have you noticed how bossy angels are? In today’s reading from Acts 8, there is Philip minding his own business, when along comes an angel who imperiously demands that he gets up and goes, and so Philip does and look what happened next... In Scripture, all the angels greet with an instruction: ‘Go!’ ‘Get up!’ ‘Do not be afraid!’ even ‘Hail!’ They immediately get our attention. [...]

By |May 4th, 2020|Categories: News|

Sacrifice – God so loved the world

Sacrifice – God so loved the world I started writing this blog a while ago, following an excellent seminar by Professor Susan Docherty at the Margaret Beaufort Institute, looking at the rewritings of the Old Testament. This was an excellent introduction to the other literature that has been discovered that enriches and expands our understanding of the Old Testament. One of the texts we looked at tackled that [...]

By |April 7th, 2020|Categories: News|

Theology, Creativity and the Arts Postgraduate Study Day

Theology, Creativity and the Arts Postgraduate Study Day It can feel quite life affirming when a theme or themes evolve from a conference. The conference title 'Theology, Creativity and the Arts PG Study Day' told us something of the area but, being broad, you couldn't predict a direction. Margaret Beaufort Institute provided an ideal setting for friendly and informative  interaction with a stroll across their delightful garden between [...]

By |December 24th, 2019|Categories: News|

An Upside Down Weekend

An Upside Down Weekend This weekend’s readings for Christ the King seem to be upside down.  We don’t usually celebrate kingship by focusing on torture, crucifixion, mocking, jeering, offering vinegar or sour wine and abusing our King as detailed in today’s Gospel.  Usually kingship is associated with fine clothes, gold, rich wines, rich food and wealth.  So just what is going on here?  It is no accident that [...]

By |November 26th, 2019|Categories: News|

Why the Body Needs Plato (and Plato Needs the Body)

Why the Body Needs Plato (and Plato Needs the Body) It’s all Plato’s fault. Once he was the power behind the throne of Christian theology, with his heavenly world of ideas/perfect forms and a Father God creator. The medieval Scholastics started to pull away when they adopted more down-to-earth Aristotle. But Aquinas continued to make use of Platonism (such as for his doctrine of participation), as did later [...]

By |April 9th, 2019|Categories: News|

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God I’ve taken to using the Pray as you Go app – it helps to hear the Gospel rather than read it for oneself. The trouble is, as well as getting the reading aloud, questions are posed about it which can be more or less helpful. Today’s questions were not helpful, but they did inspire me to write this as a result, so maybe they [...]

By |December 20th, 2018|Categories: News|

Towards a Discerning Church: Responding to the Call of Pope Francis

Towards a Discerning Church: Responding to the Call of Pope Francis One of the key imperatives for today’s Church, according to Pope Francis, is ‘to grow in discernment, in the ability to discern’ (Address to Polish Jesuits, July 2016).’ In Evangelii Gaudium(EG) he says: ‘Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out’ (20). It is clear that his reforms are motivated by a [...]

By |September 25th, 2018|Categories: News|

The Symbolism of Evil

The Symbolism of Evil In late June, I was sitting in Paris, gazing at Soleil Couchant, a darker, yellower piece amongst Monet’s water lily series. It would be nice to pretend that I was doing so with artistic insight or with deep reflections on the nature of changing creation. But a significant motivation of my extended contemplation was that outside the Jardin des Tuilerieswas a crowded thirty degrees in [...]

By |September 25th, 2018|Categories: News|

Ageing: A Gift or a Burden?

Ageing: A Gift or a Burden? On March 7th, the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology hosted a Symposium, “Ageing: A Gift or a Burden?” Its express purpose was to examine the theological and spiritual implications of the current narratives of ageing. Our day began with a presentation from Kenneth Howse, a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and formerly of the Centre for Policy on Ageing. [...]

By |July 21st, 2018|Categories: News|

Sir Roger Scruton Seminar

Sir Roger Scruton Seminar On a pleasant afternoon over tea and cake, Sir Roger Scruton led a seminar of about a dozen students, tutors, and academics in the charming library of The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology. The seminar was organized by Dr. Férdia Stone-Davis, one of the theology tutors at the institute, who introduced Professor Scruton, and gently set the quiet and contemplative mood of the seminar. [...]

By |July 21st, 2018|Categories: News|

Giving Space to Silence

Giving Space to Silence It has become customary to use silence as a tool for remembering those who have suffered and perished during war and situations of conflict, as a result of acts of violence or terrorism, and through systemic failures, such as Grenfell Tower. The appropriateness of silence to such practices of commemoration is clear: words fail in such moments, and where words fail, silence falls. But [...]

By |July 21st, 2018|Categories: News|

Holding onto Hope

Holding onto Hope It is always interesting when the real world breaks through into the theoretical world. As a researcher, I can get lost in the academic ideas and need to be brought back down to earth with a bump. I need, especially as a Practical Theologian, to keep grounded. An important ‘grounding’ happened for me recently. I had been doing my homework for the Critical Reading Seminar [...]

By |July 21st, 2018|Categories: News|

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