Saturday, 5 February 2011

‘The Challenge of a Secular Age’

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware and Patrick Comerford at the 11th IOCS Summer School in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, last summer

Patrick Comerford

The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) is finalising plans for its 12th Summer School on the theme, ‘The Challenge of a Secular Age.’

This year’s summer school runs from 4.30 p.m. on Sunday 24 July until 3 p.m. on Friday 29 July, and takes place once again at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

I have enjoyed attending this summer school each year since 2008, and am looking forward to my fourth summer school this year.

This year’s Summer School looks at the genesis and nature of secularism and reflects on the role of the Christian faith in the contemporary world.

Recent debates have shown that secularism is a complex and multi-layered phenomenon that defies easy analysis. An undifferentiated rejection of secularism is thus as unconvincing as its uncritical embrace.

The following questions will be addressed at this year’s Summer School:

When and why did modern secularism come into being?
In what way does secular thought influence our way of perceiving the world?
How is this influence manifest in the different spheres of public and private life?
How are Christians to meet the ‘Challenge of a Secular Age’?

The lecturers and speakers will include: Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia; Dr Jonathan Chaplin, Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, Tyndale House, Cambridge; Dr Andreas Andreopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Winchester; and Dr Mihail Neamtu, the Romanian historian of idea.

Meanwhile, the latest newsletter of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies is available at: http://www.iocs.cam.ac.uk/resources/texts/Newsletter_Jan_2011.pdf

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin