An important part of our Christian vocation is growing in our understanding of the mystery of God. To that end, a series of study groups, lectures, and courses exploring the Christian faith are available throughout the year. Some of these happen each year at particular times, such as our Lent Discussion group. Other programmes of teaching run through the year and are offered in conjunction with neighbouring parishes.
The Scythians: a visit to the British Museum
Saturday 11th November 2017 – 11 am St Benet’s Church – and thereafter at the British Museum
We meet at 11 am at St Benet’s Church for a short lecture given by Fr Peter on a nomadic group of warriors called the Scythians. They were feared in the ancient world as a group of terrifying warriors, and are mentioned frequently in the scriptures. Fr Peter will look at these scriptural allusions before we head off to the British Museum to see the exhibition. Before heading home, we will have a pizza lunch somewhere near the Museum.
Theatre Trip: St George and the Dragon
Saturday 18th November 2017 – 2 pm, The National Theatre
This new play, by Rory Malarky, explores afresh the story of St George and the Dragon and reflects on the way this narrative has shaped English identity. We will meet at 2 pm at the National Theatre. After the performance we will have tea somewhere in town.
Advent Quiet Day
Saturday 2nd December 2017 – 12 noon-3.30 pm, St Benet’s Church.
Join us for a day of reflection, prayer and fellowship as we prepare for the beginning of Advent. Fr Bill Scott, a well know preacher, spiritual director, and retreat leader, will lead our quiet day. We begin with Mass at 12 noon. This will be followed by lunch, and then a further talk followed by holy hour and benediction. We hope to be finished by 3.30 pm.
The Venerable Bede and the formation of the English Nation: a lecture by Professor Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Oxford.
Friday 16th February 2018 – 7.30 pm, St Benet’s Church.
We consider it a great privilege that Professor Sarah Foot has agreed to give us a lecture on the Venerable Bede. Professor Foot will explore his place in the emergence of the Anglo-Saxon Church, a sense of English nationhood, and explore what we can learn from the Venerable Bede’s life. Professor Foot has written and taught prolifically on the English Church in the Angl0-Saxon period, and is a world renowned scholar in the field. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in church.
Visit to the Royal Academy: Charles I – King and Collector
Friday 2nd March 2018 – 6 pm at St Benet’s Church, and thereafter at the Royal Academy
The Royal Academy is organising a significant new exhibition focussed on the saintly Charles I, looking particularly at his role as collector and commissioner of sacred art. The exhibit will explore what his collection can tell us about the political and theological culture of the turbulent period he lived in. We will begin our evening at St Benet’s with a short lecture given by Fr Nigel, setting the scene for our evening, and then go en masse to the Royal Academy to see the exhibition. We will have supper together in the West End at the end of our visit.
The Rites of Holy Week – a lecture by The Revd Canon Jeremy Haselock
Sunday 4th March 2018 – 11 am Sung Mass; 1 pm parish lunch; 2 pm lecture
We are very grateful indeed to Fr Jeremy Haselock for coming to speak to us about the rites (i.e. the liturgical services we hold) of Holy Week. He will preach at our Parish Mass on Sunday 4th March, which will be followed by a parish lunch together. At 2 pm, he will then give his lecture exploring the liturgical and theological traditions which undergird our celebration of the Passover of the Lord through Holy Week and Easter.
Visit to the British Museum – Living with gods – peoples, places, and worlds beyond.
Friday 9th May 2018 – 6.00 pm, the British Museum
We will visit together the British Museum’s breathtaking new exhibition on the history of religious practice through objects.
From the British Museum’s website: “Beliefs in spiritual beings and worlds beyond nature are characteristic of all human societies. By looking at how people believe through everyday objects of faith, this exhibition provides a perspective on what makes believing a vital part of human behaviour. Seeing how people believe, rather than considering what they believe, suggests that humans might be naturally inclined to believe in transcendent worlds and beings. Stories, objects, images, prayers, meditation and rituals can provide ways for people to cope with anxieties about the world, and help form strong social bonds. This in turn helps to make our lives well-ordered and understandable. This exhibition is part of the fourth collaborative project between the British Museum, the BBC and Penguin Books. It builds on a Radio 4 series of 30 daily programmes over six weeks presented by former Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor.”
We will meet at 6 pm at the British Museum, and our visit will be followed by a pizza supper somewhere in the vicinity.
St Benedict’s Day Lecture
Friday 6th July 2018 – Vespers, 6.00 pm & Lecture 7.00 pm.
This year, we inaugurate a lecture to accompany our celebration of St Benedict’s Day. We are honoured that the Abbot of Farnborough Abbey, The Rt Revd Dom Cuthbert Brogan, had agreed to give the inaugural lecture on the life of St Benedict. The evening will begin with Vespers at 6 pm, and then the lecture at 7.00 pm.