Lectures in Radical Christian Faith


On Saturday 5 October 2019 we welcomed the Revd Canon Mark Oakley to The Church at Carrs Lane to lead a day of lectures on the theme Faith … the Art of Unease? Mark is a theologian, poet, author, broadcaster, campaigner and inspiring speaker.

Lectures included:

  • The collage of God: faith, doubt and guessing at God
  • Poetry: The native language of faith
  • Are you sitting comfortably? The art of unease and the spiritual life

A CD of the lectures should be available by the end of November. Details will appear here when it is ready.

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If you have a question, please call the Clerk to the Trustees, Lindsay Peniston, on 0121 643 6151 Extension 221 or email Clerk to the Trustees: clerk@carrslane.co.uk


It was with the greatest regret that we had to cancel the Carrs Lane Lectures’ day on Saturday 6 October 2018.  Sadly Richard Holloway had to clear his diary for the rest of the year on his doctor’s advice.  He apologised profusely for letting us down, hoping that we might be able to reorganise the day but, with only five weeks to go, that did not seem possible.  We were able to reimburse the cost of the tickets for Richard’s Lectures on the topic Believing, Forgiving and Dying: Our Walk Across the Stage.

About the Lectures

Carrs Lane has a long tradition of being on the ‘open’ wing of the Church, and in the past has played a prominent part in the development of the Civic Gospel. The Church has a continuing concern for social justice and dialogue between people of different faiths.

The lectures provide a platform for lively debate on liberal and unconventional views and an environment where awkward questions like these can be explored without embarrassment. The lectures have been presented annually since 2000.

Now held on a Saturday in October, from 10am-4pm, the lectures have become a significant ’fixture’ in the Birmingham scene, for people of religious faith and none, who are asking questions. The lectures are seen as an important contribution to the Church’s mission and ministry.


The 2017 Lectures’ weekend took place on October 13th, 14th and 15th with speaker Revd Gretta Vosper,United Church of Canada minister, a-theist and author of With or Without God and Amen, and her musician husband, Scott Kearns.

There were three events over the weekend: an informal evening on Friday:  ‘Atheist Ministry: we are where we are’; a full day on Saturday with two lectures from Gretta and a presentation by Scott: ‘Creating a World Beyond the Beliefs that Divide’; and a service led by Gretta and Scott on Sunday morning at the Unitarian New Meeting, Birmingham. It was an exciting weekend.

DVD recording

The DVD recording of the whole weekend is available from Chris Avis at 37 Clifton Road, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2BN, £15 including p&p.  Cheques payable to C. Avis, please.  Or order via Paypal using chris.avis2@hotmail.com for your payment (no Paypal account needed).

This visit was organised jointly by The Church at Carrs Lane and the Progressive Christianity Network and was supported by The Westhill Endowment.

Past events at Carrs Lane

Past speakers have included Bishops John Shelby Spong, Richard Holloway and Peter Selby; Professors John Hick, John Hull, Grace Jantzen, Michael Taylor, Keith Ward and Graham Ward; Karen Armstrong; Revd Inderjit Bhogal and Clare Short MP.

Recent programmes have included:


Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy

Revd Robert Reiss, Canon Emeritus of Westminster Abbey, Julie Grove and Bishop John Shelby Spong (electronically due to his illness)


Belonging without Believing: Canon Brian Mountford, Vicar of The University Church, Oxford

and Revd Dr Harriet Harris, Chaplain at The University of Edinburgh


Re-Imaging God: Revd Donald Horsfield and David Boulton


Towards a Theology that Liberates Theology: Alastair McIntosh

Independent scholar, activist, writer, speaker and broadcaster;


The Church as it could be…for Goodness’ Sake: Revd Adrian Alker

Director of Mission Resourcing in the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds;


Rethinking Christian Theology: Paul Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture at Union Theological Seminary New York and Roger Haight, Scholar in Residence at Union Theological Seminary, New York;

This is for you…

If you have questions like:

Does religion have anything relevant to say to modern society?

What do I really think about faith…what do I believe?

Do I have more questions than answers?

Do I own my own prejudices?

Can I say what I really think?

When (if) I go to church, do I feel I’m expected to leave my brains behind?

COME along!

For more information, contact Julie Grove

0121 643 6151 or email: office@carrslane.co.uk