Perfect Freedom: Liberal Faith Today and Tomorrow

Tuesday 14th to Friday 17th July 2009 at High Leigh Conference Centre.
Chair: Rt Revd Dr John Saxbee
Secretary: Pat Boyd
Chaplain: Ven Jane Sinclair assisted by Rosemary Field

The conference will consider liberal faith from several perspectives:

  • How is it related to liberty, to liberality?
  • Is religious freedom an oxymoron?
  • What of the authority of Scripture?
  • How liberal can a theology be?
  • Does the church need liberating for tomorrow?
Conference photos: Joan Dorrell

Papers from the conference were published in the Jan 2010 edition of Modern Believing.


Speakers (with audio recordings)


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Geoffrey Rowell
For what we have received...
Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell is Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. He is the author of several books including Hell and the Victorians and a biography of John Keble. From a traditionalist perspective, Bishop Rowell will challenge the conference on key issues.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (54 mins)

k ward2
Keith Ward
Liberalism in science and religion
Keith Ward is a philosopher and theologian, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University Emeritus, and an ordained priest in the Church of England.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (55 mins)

b smith
Brian Smith
Liberating the Church for today and tomorrow
Rt Revd Brian Smith is the Bishop of Edinburgh. He studied theology in Cambridge, focusing on the philosophy of religion, and held a number of posts in the Diocese of Oxford, including that of Senior Tutor at Ripon College Cuddesdon.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (56 mins)

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Helen-Ann Hartley
Liberating Scripture: holding on to fundamentals without being fundamentalist
Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley is New Testament Tutor at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. She also acts as a consultant  to BBC television in development of programme ideas in Religion and Ethics.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (51 mins)

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Gary Dorrien
The crisis and necessity of liberal theology
Gary Dorrien is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and an Episcopal priest. His trilogy The Making of American Liberal Theology has been described as the definitive work in the field.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (61 mins)

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Lucy Winkett
Liberalism: theological and economic
Lucy Winkett is Precentor and Canon of St Paul's Cathedral with responsibility for music and liturgy at the Cathedral. She is a founder adviser to Theos, a think tank launched in 2006.
Talk:  audio Listen / download mp3 (44 mins)

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Jonathan Clatworthy
Liberal theology - to bring peace or a sword?
Jonathan Clatworthy is General Secretary of the Modern Churchpeople's Union. He has worked as a parish priest, university chaplain and lecturer in Ethics. His latest book is Liberal Faith in a Divided Church.
Talk: audio Listen / download mp3 (40 mins)