A Summer of Learning
As was announced in the previous Newsletter, this Summer saw both the second annual Lesslie Newbigin Summer Institute, and the launch of Ridley’s Newbigin Centre.
This summer saw the second annual ‘Lesslie Newbigin Summer Institute’ at Trinity Hall Cambridge (13 – 16 July).
The ‘Institute’ is a transatlantic brainchild of Anglican seminary Ridley Hall’s Lecturer in Mission Studies, Revd Dr Paul Weston, and Revd Dr Scot Sherman, founder of the Newbigin House of Studies (NHS) based in San Francisco.
On the fourth day they launched the new ‘Newbigin Centre for Gospel and Western Culture’ to be based at Ridley and directed by Paul Weston. There were wine and canapés before a service of thanksgiving and a banquet in Queens’ College, Newbigin’s alma mater.
Leaders from the worlds of church and academia – including Thought for the Day’s Elaine Storkey, and Professor Janet Soskice representing the Cambridge Divinity Faculty– drank a toast to ‘careful missional thinking about Western culture.’
The urgent need for the Centre was outlined in graphic terms by Ms Claire Foster-Gilbert, an expert in ethics who is the Founder Director of the Westminster Abbey Institute in London.
She said there was ‘a tremendous hunger for depth’ at Westminster, like a ‘brittle sponge before being filled with water’.
She also spoke of the joy of her work, and of its newness. ‘We are discovering our path as we walk it… It is the shout of joy at having found something irresistible. My work feels like a shout of joy’ she added.
Scott Sherman said the California-based Newbigin House of Studies he founded had been ‘struck by the quality of Newbigin scholarship’ he had encountered in Cambridge. ‘We are committed to being your partners’ he said.
Revd Dr John Proctor, General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, Newbigin’s own denomination, and of which he had been moderator in the 1970s, spoke of the ‘scandal of one particularity in a world of diversity’ and how ‘the cross of Jesus Christ stands tall enough to beckon every nation.’
[Edited for length by Robert Smith. Read the complete article on the Lapidomedia website.]