The Faith Forum for adults takes place in the Parish Centre Hall at St Helen's on the first Sunday of the month at 9.15am. Breakfast items are served from 9am. Illustrated talks are followed by the opportunity for discussion.  The Parish Centre is found at the bottom of the path through the churchyard opposite the North Porch of the church. The Centre is wheelchair accessible.

Spring-Summer 2019

First Sundays from February to July 2019


Personal Testimonies of Faith Seeking Understanding


Download Leaflet Here

It is sometimes said that Christian faith ‘is caught not taught’. In other words, faith is far more than a solitary acquisition of information. It is, rather, a person’s opening him- or herself up to a stream of collective insight about God, the world and oneself in a spirit of trust and obedience.

As much as we talk about the Church (whether as institution or as fellowship of believers) which progresses ‘the Faith’ through time and space, the fact is that all of us have learned our faith from other people. If we think hard about it, we can perhaps identify one particular person who, more than any other, has shaped our understanding of God, Jesus Christ and the Spirit.

The Faith Forum in the first half of 2019 explores that experience of handing on and receiving Christian faith – the basic meaning of the theological term ‘tradition’. Derived from the Latin word traditio, meaning a teaching or instruction that is handed down through time, ‘tradition’ is not so much “what we’ve always done” as the dynamic experience by which communities, and individuals within communities, ‘catch’ the faith through personal encounter with other believers. That’s why the sub-title of the series is personal testimonies of faith seeking understanding’.

The speakers in this series are all members of our parish, some clerical, some lay. They inhabit different places within the life of the church and were inspired by different Christian voices and perspectives as their faith took shape and found its voice.

Each presenter has been asked to identify one Christian thinker who had a decisive influence on his or her Christian faith.

While the aim of the series is to illustrate the dynamic way in which faith is handed on from generation to generation, it also will help us appreciate the rich threads of Christian perspective which makes up the fabric of our parish’s life, teaching and preaching. It will, I hope, also prompt listeners to consider the question put to each speaker: who played the biggest part in shaping your understanding as a Christian? To answer that question is an important step in a Christian’s self-knowledge and in Christians’ ability to give a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15)



Sunday, February 3rd

Dominik Chmielewski - St John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, theologian and one of the greatest preachers in history. I first 'met' John about twenty years ago when I read one of his Easter sermons. His homilies and commentaries, full of spiritual depth and richness, quickly took up an important part of my life. Very soon St John became a guide on the spiritual journey of my faith, playing a significant role when I was discerning my own vocation.

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Sunday, March 3rd

Professor Keith Ward - John Macquarrie

John MacQuarrie is, in my view, the leading Anglican theologian of the twentieth century. He was Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, and we were colleagues at Christ Church, Oxford and at the British Academy. His book, 'Principles of Christian Theology', is the best exposition of Anglican Theology I know. We were friends for many years, and his work is of great importance.


Sunday, April 7th

 Margaret Hoskins - John Hull

John M. Hull was a colleague and friend. He became Professor of Religious Education at Birmingham University and Honorary Professor of Practical Theology. You may know him as the author of many articles and books concerning Religious Education, Practical Theology and Disability. His incisive mind and ready wit meant he was much in demand as a lecturer and speaker.

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Sunday, May 5th

Professor John Barton - Austin Farrer

Austin Farrer was Warden of Keble College, Oxford, when I was a student there, and I had tutorials with him on the New Testament. He was an inspiring teacher and also well known as a great preacher - several volumes of his sermons are in print. His thinking influenced me more than anyone else I have known, and he was a truly saintly person. When he was chaplain of Trinity College he was Bowles Lecturer at St Nicolas, Abingdon.

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Sunday, June 2nd

Bishop Henry Scriven - John Stott

I was a student when I first met John Stott. He came to our university Christian Union to speak on Romans 9-11 and I was on the committee that invited him. Some time later went to All Souls, Langham Place, where he was Rector for many years and he greeted me by name! John Stott was probably the most influential evangelical Anglican of the 20th century. He wrote many books which were best sellers such as Basic Christianity and Your Confirmation as well as many Biblical commentaries and books on contemporary Christian life and ethics. I have most of his books and I am finding it hard to choose one on which to concentrate for the Faith Forum!


Sunday, July 7th 

Dr Roderick Smith - John Polkinghorne

I first encountered John Polkinghorne when he was a distinguished professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge in the early 1970s giving an inspiring lecture course to young undergraduates like me on the foundations of quantum physics. A decade later Polkinghorne had resigned his professorship, been ordained and had started writing about the relationship of science and Christianity. His clearly expressed thinking was just what I needed as I tried to deepen my understanding of my newly-found faith and relate it to all I had learnt in my scientific education and work.

download handout here



The Forum takes place on the first Sunday of each month  in the Parish Centre Hall. From 9 am a breakfast bar is open; the programme begins at 9.15 am and lasts for a half an hour, including opportunity for Q & A.

Please look out for a fuller programme brochure either in the Publicity Niche in church, or in the Parish Office vestibule, or download here.

breakfast foods 

Breakfast Bar opens at 9 am.

Talk begins at 9.15,  discussion follows,  done by 10 am.


All are welcome!