Lent Talks


The word Lent comes from the Old English word for Spring, which points us towards a way of understanding Lent as a Springtime with God, a time of awakening, emerging and transformation in response to the warmth of God’s love.

This series of four Lent talks will pick up on strands of this theme. Each talk will be held on Zoom and will include time for reflection and conversation. Speakers and topics as follows:

20th Feb: Christopher Chapman – With Open Hands: Etty Hillesum and the way of dialogue

Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman, set out in search of a more integrated and productive life in the context of the Nazi occupation of her homeland. Her inner search challenged her to find a way of meeting uncertainty and aggression without being driven into hostility and fear. She was led by God into the way of dialogue – the way of open hands rather than clenched fists. We will explore the relevance of her insights for our own challenging times. How might dialogue inform the way we relate to our experiences, to those who are different from us, and to God?

27th Feb: Donna Worthington – An invitation to reflect on the beautiful Gospel text of  ‘The Woman at the Well’ …

At Jacob’s well, Jesus broke strict rules of his time in order to reach a woman who was struggling with past relationships, exclusion and isolation; he listened to her in a non-judgmental way, saw her huge potential and she was transformed, finding her own voice; she was awakened, renewed and experienced ‘Spring’ through the love of Christ. We will explore the spirituality and theology of this intriguing Gospel passage, which helps to illuminate our inner soul journeys.

12th Mar: Lynn Nausner – Discretio: an invitation to ponder on the wisdom of living a balanced life

Through the lens of Hildegard of Bingen, we will focus on a virtue that she held very high – discretio (the right measure/balance/moderation). Hildegard encourages us to ‘learn moderation; for moderation is the mother of all the virtues for everything heavenly and earthly. For it is through moderation that the body is nourished with proper discipline’.

As we move into spring, a time when greening energy (viriditas) is at its fullest, we will ponder on how we can tend to our own inner greening and allow discretio to guide us.

19th Mar: Liz Hoare – Mary Oliver: saved by poetry and the beauty of the world

Mary Oliver’s poetry is known for its clear and revealing observations and its evocative use of the natural world. Without necessarily naming God, she has an acute sense of the transcendence that is in the world for those who learn to pay attention. It is almost as if nature is for her a springboard to the sacred and poetry its expression. Having survived a difficult upbringing she said that she had been saved by poetry and by the natural beauty of the world. We will read some of her poems, mostly from her own personal selection, Devotions, and take time to reflect on what she is saying to us through her writing.


Dates and Bookings

Online, four Tuesday in Lent 2023, from 7pm to 8pm – £20 inclusive of all four talks. Please contact us to pay for individual events at £5 each.

  • 20 February 2024
  • 27 February 2024
  • 12 March 2024
  • 19 March 2024