Speakers announced for next Festival of Faith and Literature

Stephen CottrellNot one but two Archbishops will be speaking at the next Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature coming from Christ Church Cathedral in September.

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell (right), will be talking about his recent book Dear England: Finding Hope, Taking Heart and Changing the World which was inspired by a conversation with a barista who asked him why he became a priest. He will be in conversation with the Cathedral Precentor, Philippa White, about the book he describes as ‘the letter he'd like to write to a divided country that no longer sees the relevance or value of the Christian narrative’.

This part of the programme was postponed from earlier in the year because the April Festival fell on the date of the funeral of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.

Earlier in the day the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams (below) will be discussing his book Looking East in Winter: Contemporary Thought and the Eastern Christian Tradition, in which he considers the Eastern tradition of Christianity and the lessons it may have to offer for the Western Church and society. A former Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Dr Williams is also a former member of the Cathedral Chapter.

Rowan WilliamsThe other speakers that day are Chine McDonald, Lucy Winkett and Peter Stanford. Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Piccadilly, will be speaking about Reading the Bible with your Feet, her first book for more than a decade. In it she explores the lived reality of faith through fifty reflections on scripture that span the Christian year. Her writing reflects a ‘head, heart and feet’ approach to understanding the Bible.

Chine McDonald will be talking about her book God Is Not A White Man and Other Revelations which poses the questions, ‘What does it mean when God is presented as male? What does it mean when God is presented as white?’ Part memoir, part social and theological commentary, she reflects on her experience as a Black woman in a white-majority Church.

Finally, Peter Stanford, a former editor of the Catholic Herald and a writer of several biographies, travelogues and books on religion, will be speaking about his new title Pilgrimage: Journeys of Meaning in which he explores the phenomenal rise in the popularity of pilgrimage. Why is that the case when formal religious affiliation is in steep decline and much of the world is determinedly sceptical, secular and scientific?

The one-day Festival – which is online only – takes place on Saturday 25 September from 10am until 3.30pm. Tickets are available from the Festival website. Ticket-holders are invited to watch in real time and participate through the Live Chat, or to watch on catch-up after the event. It is the third one-day Festival since the highly popular Bloxham Festival of Faith and Literature found a new home at Christ Church at the start of the year as part of the Cathedral’s public engagement. The organisers plan to move to an ‘in person’ residential event in 2022.