2017 Annual Conference of Modern Church

God: None, One, Three or Many?

10th-12th July 2017

- See photos of the event here.

- Read Jonathan Clatworthy's reflection on the event here.

- Audio / text of conference papers now available.

What do we mean by the word ‘God’? Or, for that matter, lower-case ‘god’ or ‘gods’?

A majority of people in Britain claim to believe in ‘God’, but is this ‘the Christian God’?
And what is ‘the Christian God’ anyway

There are plenty of definitions, including the doctrine of the Trinity, which for some has lost its potency with the death of the metaphysical systems in which it emerged, whilst for others it remains the best approach we have. But all the definitions can be and have been contested.

Theology cannot ignore the ideological currents and conflicts of our time. Scientific naturalism, new forms of nature mysticism, postmodernism and feminism all pose their own challenges. What remains of ‘God’ and how much can remain unchanged? Even the assumption that God must be ‘personal’, ‘One’ (or ‘Three in One’) is a matter for debate.

This conference will ask hard questions about Christian understandings of God, what they actually amount to, and whether they have been or need to be supplanted by other ways of thinking and relating to ‘God’.

We will review traditional and contemporary theologies and philosophies, and contributions from the human sciences and the arts. There will be plenty of room for honest discussion, probing questions, and exploring relationships between theology, liturgy, spirituality and everyday life.

Chairs: Prof Linda WoodheadRevd Prof Jane Shaw

Chaplain: Revd Dr Lorraine Cavanagh

Click here to download the full programme.

Speakers (with audio or text where available):


Chairs' Introduction
Prof Linda Woodhead & Revd Prof Jane Shaw

audio Listen / download mp3 (10 mins)

 Why the Trinity matters
Prof Adrian Thatcher

audio Listen / download mp3 (48 mins)

Divine harmony as a basis for ethics
Revd Jonathan Clatworthy

audio Listen / download mp3 (43 mins)

Imagination, liturgy & God
- Rt Revd David Stancliffe

audio Listen / download mp3 (47 mins)

Feminist persepctives on liturgy, prayer and God
-Dr Nicola Slee

pdf Download text as PDF

To serve a living and true God
Dr Rachel Muers

audio Listen / download mp3 (42 mins)

Book launches: 

Waiting on the word
by Revd Dr Lorraine Cavanagh

The naked God
by Canon Vincent Strudwick & Revd Prof Jane Shaw

audio Listen / download mp3 (76 mins)

An inward music - Christianity & the modern self
- Dr Dominic Erdozain

audio Listen / download mp3 (38 mins)

Unlearning God
- Prof Linda Woodhead

audio Listen / download mp3 (47 mins)