Chelmsford Cathedral
The Keene Lectures


The Keene Lectures discuss matters of contemporary theological interest and are delivered annually in Chelmsford Cathedral. They take their name from John Henry Keene, a prominent citizen of Chelmsford, in whose memory a fund was established to bring distinguished speakers to Chelmsford for this purpose. Recent past speakers have included Lord Dannatt, former Chief of Staff, Lord Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury between 2002 and 2012 and Dame Mary Tanner, former President of the World Council of Churches.  The lectures are offered free of charge and all are welcome. There is a retiring collection for those who would like to sustain the Keene Fund for the future.

Lectures take place in November on Wednesday evenings at 8pm in the Cathedral.

The title for the series of lectures for 2016 is 'Distinctive Christianity in Society Today'

- Three lectures about faith, the church, politics and virtuous living


Wednesday 9 November

Rt Revd Graham Tomlin - The Widening Circle

Graham Tomlin was born into a Christian family— his father was a Baptist minister—and studied at Bristol Grammar School and then Oxford University. He worked in insurance before training for ordination. He was a curate in Exeter, Chaplain of Jesus College Oxford, and then tutor in Historical Theology at Wycliffe Hall, where he eventually became Vice Principal. In 2005 he helped found St Paul’s Theological Centre, which is now part of St Mellitus College, of which he was the first Dean and Principal  In 2015 he was consecrated as Bishop of Kensington, and continues as President of St Mellitus College. He is the author of many articles and several books, including The Provocative Church, Spiritual Fitness: Christian Character in a Consumer Culture, and The Widening Circle – Priesthood as God’s way of blessing the world. Graham is married to Janet and has two grown-up children. He is a keen follower of various kinds of sport, mainly football and cricket.


Wednesday 16 November

Dr Simon Heffer - Should Politicians Do God?

Simon Heffer was born in Chelmsford in 1960 and attended the King Edward VI Grammar School in the town. He took a degree in English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and then was awarded a PhD in History by that university. He has worked as a national newspaper journalist since 1985, and has been deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator. He is currently a columnist for the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, and a regular broadcaster. He has written a number of books on history and on English grammar, the most recent of which is High Minds: The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain, published by Random House. He is married with two children and lives in Essex.


Wednesday 23 November

Revd Dr Emma Percy

Being Good Enough - Living Virtuously

Emma Percy was born in Chelmsford hospital and spent her early years in Great Dunmow before the family moved to Ilford. Educated at Woodford County High School and Jesus College Cambridge, she was selected for Deaconess training in her early 20s. She studied for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham and was ordained deacon in 1990 serving a curacy at St. Andrew's Bedford. She was ordained priest in 1994. From 1994 to 1997 she established the Chaplaincy at the Cambridge campus of Anglia Ruskin University. In 1997 she moved with her husband and two young children to Sheffield to become vicar of Holy Trinity, Millhouses. After 7 years in Sheffield the family moved to Cuddesdon, just outside Oxford and Emma became Chaplain of Trinity College whilst working part time on a PhD through Nottingham University. The PhD led to two books Mothering as a Metaphor for Ministry and What clergy do especially when it looks like nothing. Emma continues to write and speak on the theology of ministry, pastoral care and mothering and is still Chaplain of Trinity and Dean of student Welfare.


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