Learning is central to the mission and outreach of Southwell Minster. The stunning Cathedral sits on a site which tells the story of our land from Roman times and, along with the Archbishop's Palace and Palace Gardens, make a rich resource for learning. We welcome all age groups to the Minster and would be happy to arrange tours and talks. Every September the education team organise an annual 'Discovery Day' for adults, where visitors are given the chance to choose workshops, tours or talks on a range of creative, historical or religious themes.
We aspire to offer learning for all – schools, community groups, adults and the interested visitor – keep an eye on the events calendar to see what’s on.
Justice Action Group
The Minster Justice Action Group was formed to raise awareness of justice, peace, poverty and persecution and meet six time a year. The group are committed to working for social justice in the local community and wider world and are pursuing a number of initiatives on behalf of the Minster Community, including:
- Foodbank support and canvassing our MP about food and fuel poverty;
- Support of Church Action against Poverty and Christians against Poverty;
- Provisions for refugees and asylum seekers;
- Human trafficking and support of the Christian charity Hope for Justice;
- Christian Aid and other campaigns against climate change;
- Jubilee Debt campaigns seeking to reduce the debt commitment of poorer countries;
- Work with Framework on homelessness and housing need.
Most of the initiatives are pursued in partnership with Churches Together in Southwell, the Diocese and other organisations. We are currently in discussion within the Minster and with these bodies about future directions for this work. There are huge opportunities through considering links with the international Community of the Cross of Nails, based in Coventry, and with the Southwell Leaves Project exploring, among other things, the justice and reconciliation symbolism of the Chapter House stone carvings and the significance of the assurance that ‘the leaves of the tree (of life) are for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22.2)’.
‘What we need is action’ is a frequent refrain of meetings. Action requires actors – all of us, to take part in the group, communicate concerns, support activities and, above all, to pray that God’s kingdom will come on earth. Social justice has been described as the collective equivalent of loving one’s neighbour. As Micah said ‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6.8)’.
There is always much more that we’d like to do than are able to. New members of the group will always be very welcome – please have a word with Vincent Ashwin (firstname.lastname@example.org/813975) or Patrick Sills (email@example.com/815173).
Patrick Sills, Chair of the Minster Justice Action Group
The Refugee Crisis – How can we help
There are over 4000 refugees and asylum seekers in Nottingham. Demand for the services of charities, in particular Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Refugee Forum, the Rainbow Project, Nottingham Arimathea Trust and Host Nottingham, is already growing and likely to rise significantly over the next few months. Many are fleeing persecution, traumatised by their experience, and often have complex needs in addition to shortage of money and other resources.
The Diocese asks us to pray, act and give.Refugee Notice
Mission Partnership Group
The Minster’s ‘Mission Partnership Group’ continues to give publicity, funds and prayer for mission projects outside the life of the congregation, both in this country and overseas.
We support overseas projects:
- in China, via the Bible Society
- in Tanzania, where Stewart Ayling - whose parents worship at the Minster - works with the Mission Aviation Fellowship; he came to Southwell twice in 2019
- in Uganda, where we support Keframa High School; church members visited last year
- and the Swaziland Schools Project in eSwatini; we receive monthly updates
Also we support local charities like Framework Housing for the homeless. There were regular articles in Southwell Leaves about all our partners, including in the Holy Land where church hospitals and schools serve Christian and Muslim Palestinians; we are delighted that our Jerusalem friend Dean Hosam Naoum has been made coadjutor bishop of that diocese.
The Minster gives away 10% of our planned giving; this year it is £11,000. As well as grants for overseas projects, we supported a specialist hospital for women in Ethiopia, and Framework Housing benefited from the collections at two special services held in the Minster. Lowdham Grange branch of The Prison Fellowship and Home Start Newark also received donations from us.
One of the ‘Marks of Mission’ is caring for creation, so our group has been delighted about the emphasis on protecting the planet among individuals and in the Minster. At Harvest Thanksgiving we welcomed as the preacher Andy Lester, the conservation director of A Rocha, a large Christian conservation campaign.
The group is always happy to hear of other charities, particularly church-based ones, with which the Minster could have a partnership.
Revd Canon Vincent Ashwin
The Theology Group
All are welcome to this lively group which meets twice monthly, usually on a Tuesday evening in Sacrista Prebend at 7.30pm. We explore all aspects of faith and belief and our discussions range far and wide. Recent books that have sparked our discussions include Angel Mendez, ’The Theology of Food’, J.R. R. Tolkien, ’Leaf by Niggle’ and ‘Preaching Radical and Orthodox’. The 2019 Autumn term’s programme will be particularly attractive to those who struggle with aspects of Christian belief, or are exploring it for the first time. We are working with Richard Harries, ‘God Outside the Box: Why Spiritual People Object to Christianity’ (SPCK), which takes all sorts of objections people have to faith, such as God as a male boss, the divisiveness of religion, Christianity is anti-life and why there is cruelty in nature. Email Alison Milbank, firstname.lastname@example.org, for the dates of meetings.
Southwell Minster Theology Group Autumn 2019 Programme
God Outside the Box
All welcome to join us to discuss the challenging issues raised by Richard Harries’s book, whether you have read the chapters or not. God Outside the Box is out of print, but available cheaply second-hand online.
Despot and Male Boss? (chapters 1 & 2 in Richard Harries): September 10th
Eternal Punishment and oddness of praise (chapters 3 & 4): September 24th
Does God have favourites? (chapters 6 & 7): October 15th
Religion is divisive and keeps people immature? (chapters 10 & 11): October 29th
Christianity is anti-life & is for wimps? (chapters 13 & 16): November 12th
Christians eat God? (chapter 15): November 26th
The Silence of God and Suffering (chapters 20 & 21): December 10th
Christmas Party at Burgage Hill Cottage: December 17th
Southwell Minster Theology Group Spring 2020 Programme
All welcome to our meetings to join us in discussing Rowan Williams’ book, Being Human, which is available from the Cathedral Shop or online.
What is consciousness? January 7th
What is a person? January 21st
Bodies, Minds and Thoughts February 11th
Faith and Human Flourishing/ Silence and human maturity February 18th
During Lent we will join with the Minster Tuesday evening programme.