Rev Dr Sam Wells to examine renewal in the Church during Chalmers Lectures

UPDATE: View the 2019 Chalmers lectures delivered by Rev Dr Sam Wells at Greyfriars Kirk.

Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and inspirational founder of the HeartEdge movement, will deliver the 2019 Chalmers Lectures this autumn. Entitled ‘A Future that's Bigger than the Past', the six lectures will focus on the theology and methods of HeartEdge as a vision for renewal in the Church.

Rev Dr Sam Wells
Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and inspirational founder of the HeartEdge movement, will deliver the 2019 Chalmers Lectures this autumn

Launched at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2017, HeartEdge is a membership-based organisation, an ecumenical network of partners and a movement for renewal.

The name HeartEdge reflects the group's purpose - for those working at the heart of commerce, culture and community, with those at the margins and on the edge.

Through joining the network, churches are supported in finding their stories, share resources and connect with others developing their church and community.

Dr Wells said he was looking forward to visiting Greyfriars Kirk and discussing the future direction of the church.

"What kind of church do we need to become if we are to face the challenges and take the opportunities of the years ahead?" he asked.

"I'm going to be looking at what it means to see culture, commerce and compassion as out-workings of congregational life, and sources of growth for the church in faithfulness as well as numbers.

"The lectures are called ‘A Future Bigger than the Past' because I want listeners to rediscover a sense that this is a great time to be the Church and God is sending us everything we need to do the work of the Holy Spirit."

A Future that's Bigger than the Past

The six Chalmers Lectures being delivered by Dr Wells throughout the autumn at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh from 6pm-8pm are:

  1. For Such a Time as This: Locating the UK Church in a global and gospel story – Tuesday 17 September
  2. Investing in the Kingdom: Taking money beyond the benefactor and the steward – Wednesday 18 September
  3. Minding God's Business: Realigning commerce and Church – Thursday 19 September
  4. Entertaining Angels Unawares: How God renews the Church through the stones that the builders reject – Tuesday 1 October
  5. Let All the People Praise Thee: How the Church may be part of a cultural renaissance – Wednesday 2 October
  6. On Earth as it is in Heaven: Towards a vision for the renewal of congregational life – Thursday 3 October

The final three lectures in the series will be heard during the HeartEdge Annual Conference.

Coinciding with the lectures, Dr Wells will publish a book where each lecture will be covered in separate chapters.

The book will be released on Monday 30 September and is available to pre-order now through Canterbury Press and CLC Bookshop.

HeartEdge Annual Conference in Edinburgh

Noting that the HeartEdge conference will overlap with the October Chalmers lectures, Dr Wells said: "I'm especially thrilled that the invitation to explore the theology and significance of HeartEdge has coincided with the second annual HeartEdge conference in Edinburgh.

"It feels like in the evenings we'll be proposing the theory and during the days we'll be exploring the practice. What a wonderful model of Church."

The conference offers a practical, two-day intensive of ideas, theology and connecting, which is being jointly hosted this year by St Cuthbert's Parish Church and St John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh.

It includes workshops on enterprise and commerce, launching cultural projects, developing congregations and sustaining community response, plus time to make connections and find encouragements.

Alongside Dr Wells, contributors will include Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Rev Rosie Addis, David Bradwell, Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, I.D. Campbell, Rev Peter Sutton, Rev Scott Rennie, Rev Fiona Smith, amongst many more.

"How do we reach out with compassion to those on the edges of faith and life, and what do we learn from them when we get alongside them?" asks Very Rev Dr Derek Browning.

"What does our faith and our experience of life challenge us to explore and to share?

"How do we take our faith and put it into practice so that it might make a difference for good?

"HeartEdge asks all of these questions, and suggests, in context, some of the possible answers."

You're invited

The Chalmers Lectures at Greyfriars Kirk are open to the public, free to attend and will be held each evening between Tuesday 17 September-Thursday 19 September and Tuesday 1 October-Thursday 3 October at 6-8pm.

For those who are unable to attend in person, the lectures will also be live-streamed through the Church of Scotland website and available in audio format.

For access to the full programme of events at the HeartEdge conference, book your place here.

A one-day ticket starts from £40 and a two-day ticket starts from £80.

Your ticket includes lunch and refreshments across the course of the day.

For more information, please get in touch with Rev Jonathan Evens, HeartEdge organiser and Associate Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, by email or by telephoning: 020 7766 1127.