Magna Carta & The Putney Debates

Faith perspectives on good government - the final free event


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 hosting 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, organised 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 they have invited 3 eminent women of faith to articulate what good government might look like from the perspective of their faith.

In October the audience heard from Baroness Rabbi Neuberger DBE, on Judaism and The Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, on Christianity.

On 26th November they hold last the last of the debates, on Islam. It will be given by Sughra Ahmed, of the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. Sughra, a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, has researched the attitudes of young British Muslims to government and democracy and authored a seminal paper British By Dissent funded by the Rowntree Trust.

The lecture starts 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.

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. It has been fascinating in this Magna Carta anniversary year to spend some time exploring the contribution of the great world faiths to our government and democracy. Today’s challenges are as profound as those facing the country in 1215 and 1647 and it is in my view vital that people of goodwill understand the perspective of Muslim citizens of our country. Sughra is passionate about the need for government to engage young Muslim people in the democratic process and will help deepen that understanding.’

November 13, 2015

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