South Creake Lectures

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The Very Reverend Victor Stock: Force Feeding - Is Religion Bad for You (2 September 2016)


Charles Saumarez Smith - The Sacred and the Secular in Contemporary Art (7 October 2016)

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell - Behold the Man (8 September 2017)

Dame Fiona Reynolds - The Fight for Beauty (22 September 2017)

Dr Giles Waller - Luther and the Theology of the Cross (31 October 2017)

Professor Nick Hardwick - What’s Going on Behind Prison Walls? (26 October 2018)

The South Creake Lectures - food for the mind and soul

This lectures series was launched in autumn 2015. The idea is very simple: free lectures, one on a religious topic and one on a secular theme, given by speakers of national renown. It’s the church giving something of intellectual interest to the community in South Creake and beyond. They are deliberately not positioned as fund raising events although people can make a donation towards expenses as they leave.

The lectures have been a success from the start attracting audiences of between 140 - 180 from all over Norfolk and they return again in 2017 with three


2017 South Creake Lectures

Entry to all lectures is free and unticketed. For more information send an email.


Friday 8 September 7.00pm
The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chemlsmford: Behold the Man

Bishop Stephen will examine images of Christ in contemporary art and what they tell us about faith today.

'Your face, Lord, will I seek', says the Psalmist (Psalm 27. 10). Throughout history the way that Christ has been represented in art speaks of the human search for God and the way God is seen and known in different cultures. More of a personal response than an art history lecture, this talk will explore a number of contemporary representations of Christ and lead us to meditate on how we seek Jesus in our own lives and in our own culture and the different ways we see him.

As the Bishop of Chelmsford, Bishop Stephen serves Essex and East London. He is a well-known writer and speaker on evangelism, spirituality and catechesis. He is one of the authors of the popular and widely used Emmaus and Pilgrim courses. Among his recent books are Do Nothing to Change your Life: Discovering What Happens When You StopHit the Ground Kneeling: Seeing Leadership Differently; Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting On The Paintings By Stanley Spencer; and The Things He Did: The Story of Holy Week. He is married to Rebecca and they have three boys.

Friday 22 September 7.00pm
Dame Fiona Reynold, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge: The Fight for Beauty

In her lecture Fiona Reynolds will draw on her book The Fight for Beauty.

We live in a world where the drive for economic growth is crowding out everything that can’t be given a monetary value. Dame Fiona proposes a solution that is at once radical and simple – to inspire us through the beauty of the world around us. Delving into our past, examining landscapes, nature, farming and urbanisation, she will show how ideas about beauty have arisen and evolved, been shaped by public policy, been knocked back and inched forward until they arrived lost in the economically-driven spirit of today. A passionate, polemical call to arms, The Fight for Beauty presents an alternative path forward: one that could take us all to a better future.

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE became Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2012. She came to the college from the National Trust, of which she was Director-General from 2001-2012. During her time at the National Trust she made it warmer and more welcoming, bringing the houses to life and raising the profile of the Trust’s work in the countryside.

Before becoming DG of the Trust, she was Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office (1998-2000), Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England, 1987-98) and Secretary to the Council for National Parks (now Campaign to Protect National Parks, 1980-87).

Fiona is the Senior Non-Executive Director on the Executive Board of the BBC, a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water, and Chair of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, the Green Alliance, the International National Trusts Organisation and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. Fiona was appointed CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998 and DBE in 2008.

She is married with three daughters and lives near Cirencester when not in Cambridge. She loves walking, reading, classical music and opera.

Tuesday 31 October 7.00pm
Giles Waller, Research Associate, Faculty of Divinity, and Cambridge Inter-faith Programme: Luther 

Exceptionally in 2017 we are putting on a third lecture to commemorate one of the most important events in Christian history, the five hundreth anniversary of the start of the Reformation when on 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg.

Giles Waller, tipped by Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, "as a star of the rising generation of theologians", will give his lecture on the exact anniversary day. He will look afresh at the intellectual and spiritual currents behind Luther’s so-called ‘theology of the cross’. How did this astonishing theology of God on the cross ‘hidden in suffering’ relate to Luther’s break with the church of Rome? And in this anniversary year, how might we rediscover Luther’s spiritual insights for our own time?

Giles read Theology and Religious Studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he also completed an MPhil. His doctoral research, also at Peterhouse, focused on the borderlands of Christian doctrine, literature, and philosophy, looking at the theological reception of Greek tragedy, with a particular comparative interest in Martin Luther’s theology of the cross.

In 2011, along with Kevin Taylor, Giles edited a collection that brought together theologians and literary scholars, Christian Theology and Tragedy: Theologians, Tragic Literature and Tragic Theory (Ashgate), to which he contributed an essay on the role of tragedy in the work of Cambridge philosopher and theologian Donald MacKinnon.

He teaches widely in Cambridge, crossing between theology and literary studies. From 2014, he was research associate to Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, and in 2015 he took up a post-doctoral research associateship in the Divinity Faculty, working with the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme.


2016 Lectures

Victor Stock: Force Feeding - Is Religion Bad for You

Victor Stock, Dean of Guildford until his retirement, got the 2016 series off to a tremendous start with a witty and highly amusing performance but with a serious message about the dangers of prejudice, lack of imagination, and over-literalism in Christian belief. You can download a recording of Victor's lecture here.

Charles Saumarez Smith: The Sacred and the Secular in Contemporary Art

Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, gave a challenging talk summarized in his own blog as follows: "I was asked to give a lecture last night in South Creake church, a surprisingly large rural church in a village south of Burnham Market. I had decided to talk about the twin phenomena of the post-war period: the gradual loss of religious faith and documented decline in church-going (now less than 2% of the population go to church); and the corresponding rise of museum-going (in May alone, 3.6 million people went to one of the national museums). So, the question is whether or not these two phenomena are in some way connected and that, as a consequence of radical secularisation, people are, to some extent at least, seeking meaning in art. As often happens on such occasions, there was good, and rightly sceptical, discussion afterwards." You can download a recording of Charles's lecture here.


2015 Lectures

Dr Juliet Barker: Agincourt Revisited

We launched the series in September 2015 with a lecture by Dr Juliet Barker, the leading mediaeval historian and author, about Henry V’s famous victory at Agincourt. 2015 marked the 600th anniversary of Henry V’s victory at the battle of Agincourt in celebration of which it is said that South Creake’s wonderful angel roof was raised. An audience of around 160 were gripped by Juliet's talk. 

Dr Jeffrey John: Making Sense of the Bible

Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, delivered an entertaining and stimulating lecture on the Bible that would have sent fundamentalists running from the church in dismay. To an audience of around 140 people, Dr John explained that the Bible, far from being a text whose every word and sentence should be believed as the literal truth, was in effect an argument over time amongst its various contributors. Just as the Church nowadays is characterised by debate and differences of opinion amongst fellow Christians, so the Bible reflects the political and doctrinal views of its writers in their time.

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