Magna Carta & The Putney Debates

Faith perspectives on good government - three free events


St Mary’s is on Putney High Street by the river at the south end of Putney Bridge. Many buses pass the building. District Line underground to Putney Bridge or overground trains to Putney station. There is no parking available at the church but parking is available in side-streets from 6.30pm.
St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, SW15 1SN

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To mark the anniversary of Magna Carta St Mary’s Putney, scene of the historic Putney Debates in 1647, is to host a ground-breaking series of lectures of leading women of faith on governance in the 21st century.

In 1215 at Runnymede the King put his seal on Magna Carta promising government by the rule of law. Centuries later, in 1647, during another pivotal confrontation between monarch and subject, the idea of democracy was debated for the first time in England in the church of St Mary Putney.

Now, more centuries later, how should we be governed in our multi-cultural, 21st century society?

The Parish of Putney, in association with the Putney Society, and sponsored by a generous grant from the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee, is holding a series of 3 lectures in the autumn each devoted to the perspective of one of the great world faiths on government and the shaping of democracy for the future of this nation.

Women’s voices were excluded from Magna Carta and the Putney Debates and the voice of religious faith is no longer exclusively Christian in this country, so we have invited 3 eminent women of faith to articulate what good government might look like from the perspective of their faith.

Commenting on the debates, Ailsa Newby Team Rector of the Parish of Putney, said: ‘In their time, the Putney Debates proposed a dramatic new approach to the creation of a fairer system of governance. These lectures offer three of today’s leading women of faith and opportunity to set out and debate their vision for a better society. Today’s challenges are as profound as those facing the country in 1215 and 1647. Our speakers will give a unique perspective as to how they should be met.’

1st October 2015 Baroness Rabbi Neuberger DBE, on Judaism - educated at Cambridge and Leo Baeck College. She served the South London Liberal Synagogue 1977-89, chaired Camden & Islington Community Health Services+ NHS Trust 1993–1997, was CEO of the King’s Fund until 2004, Chancellor of the University of Ulster 1994-2000 and Bloomberg Professor of Divinity at Harvard University 2006.

She was a Trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation, and a founding trustee of the Schwab Charitable Trust, in memory of her parents. Created a life peer in 2004 (Liberal Democrat, but now a Cross Bencher) she was Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Champion for Volunteering 2007-2009 and chaired One Housing Group and the Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity for the Lord Chancellor 2009-2010. Rabbi Julia is a Trustee of the Van Leer Group Foundation and Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and
has been Senior Rabbi of West London Synagogue since March 2011.

In 2013 she was appointed by the Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb to chair a Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway for Dying Patients, which was published in July of that year. Among her books is ‘Not Dead Yet – a Manifesto for old age’ (2008 Harper Collins), and ‘Is that all there is?’(June 2011 Rider).

Rabbi Julia is a social commentator and writes and broadcasts regularly on a variety of social and religious issues.

8th October 2015 The Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, on Christianity - a Northerner and a lifelong supporter of Manchester City. After graduating in Social Sciences from Manchester University she went on to train for the Church’s ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. In 1980 she served her curacy as a Deaconess at St Martin-in-the-Bullring in Birmingham and was also Chaplain of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, moving on to the Old Ford parishes in Tower Hamlets in 1984. At that time she was on General Synod and was a member of its Standing Committee and panel of Chairmen.

June moved to Salisbury in 1995 as one of the Cathedral’s four Residentiary Canons and became Dean in 2004. June has led a delegation of the Church of England to an Anglican Communion conference in South Africa addressing the issues of global poverty and the Millennium Development goals and recently helped Christian Aid pilot Immersion Training for women leaders in India. Through the Salisbury diocesan link with South Sudan she trains the Deans of that province. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire, helps select new Deans, has a barrister husband and two adult children.

26th November 215 Sughra Ahmed, on Islam - is Programmes Manager at the Woolf Institute in the Centre for Policy and Public Education, where she has responsibility for the design and delivery of research and training on issues such as faith, belief, communities, and integration.

She has published a number of papers and key reports: Seen and Not Heard: Voices of Young British Muslims (2009) and British by Dissent (2014). Sughra is a Trustee of the Inter Faith Network UK, the Chair of the Islamic Society of Britain and a Specialist for the Christian Muslim Forum.

Sughra has a BA (Hons) English Language and Literature and an MA Islamic Studies; she is a qualified Chaplain and holds a Diploma in Islamic Jurisprudence. She regularly contributes to debates in the media and is also a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. She was awarded the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Award for Muslim Woman of the Year at the British Muslim Awards.

All the lectures start at 8pm in St Mary’s church, Putney High Street, will last around 45 minutes and be followed by debate, chaired by the broadcaster, Roger Bolton. Admission free.

September 25, 2015

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