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.  Details for the 2018 series will be listed here, once finalised, normally in early September.

The title for the series of lectures for 2017 was 'Luther’s Heritage'

A Film Night and three lectures to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 1517 and interpret its significance for today


Film Night: Luther (2003), with Joseph Fiennes as Martin Luther

Tuesday 31st October 2017

The evening, on the exact 500th anniversary of the public proclamation of Luther’s 95 theses, will start with a short introduction discussing a variety of films that have been made over the past century about Martin Luther and the start of the Reformation.

The 2003 film, with Joseph Fiennes in the title role, received many plaudits. It portrays Luther as a man full of psychological turmoil—emotional, charismatic, and often filled with self-doubt. The main events of Luther’s life are all incorporated. The film is just under two hours long, and the evening will end around 10.00pm.



Wednesday 8th November 2017

Dr Duncan Morrow

Causing suffering for righteousness sake? Religious division and political violence in Ulster since the Reformation

Duncan Morrow is a Lecturer in Politics and Director of Community Engagement at Ulster University, where he has published widely in the fields of conflict resolution, Northern Ireland politics and the relationship between religion and politics.

For ten years, Duncan was Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council where he championed the concept of a shared future and peace-building by developing the Council’s role in policy, in research and active learning, in organisations and work on key issues such as interfaces, parading and regeneration, and in work with victims and survivors of conflict.



Wednesday 15th November 2017

Dr Judith Champ

History as Propaganda? Catholics and Protestants rewrite the Reformation

Professor Judith Champ is Director of Studies at St Mary’s College, Oscott, the Catholic seminary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, where she has taught Church History for over twenty years. Her appointment, as a lay woman, to a professorship is unique in the history of the institution. Known widely as a speaker on historical topics, she is also a former lecturer at King’s College, London.

She has published widely on the history of English Catholicism, including The Secular Priesthood in England and Wales: History, Mission and Identity, in which she explores some of the ways in which post-Reformation history has shaped the contemporary identity of the priesthood.



Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Dr Sarah Perry

“The Women and the Common Men”: A Gothic Novelist’s take on The English Reformation and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. She has a PhD in creative writing from Royal Holloway, and has been a writer-in-residence at the Gladstone Library. During January and February 2016 she was the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague.

Her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood, won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. Her second novel, The Essex Serpent, was Waterstones Book of the Year 2016 and won the British Book of the Year Award earlier this year. It was also shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Prize 2016 and the International Dylan Thomas Prize 2017, and longlisted for the Baileys and Wellcome Book Prizes. She lives in Norwich.

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