Wychwood Circle programme for 2018-19

Continuing our radical exploration of culture, philosophy, faith and ethics, Wychwood Circle this season takes the theme of ‘What matters most’. From aspects of our own and our society’s wellbeing to the profound divisions in our nation, the programme will include a bold look at whether a cause is ever worth dying for, a discussion of why we should be moral, a look at contemporary poetry, and issues around gender and theology (a live topic on current school curriculums).

‘Because you’re worth it’: the politics of wellbeing
As psychotherapist, former priest, and author of ‘Wellbeing’ and ‘How to be an agnostic’, Dr Mark Vernon was well suited to his theme of Psychotherapy and Spiritual Life as monthly events resumed in September. On 14 October in Wychwood Library we turn to the socio-politics of wellbeing with a talk by writer and social responsibility adviser Alison Webster entitled ‘Because you’re worth it’.

Is any cause worth dying for?
In December and January we welcome two speakers with experience of what matters most in countries remote from our own. Charlbury author Jonathan Luxmoore has had a career as a journalist in Poland and has published a study of martydom, ‘The God of the Gulag’ (2016). Canon Robin Howard worked in Communist China for some years and witnessed Christians, Buddhists and political parties actively ‘seeking the common ground’, his theme in January and not unrelated to later topics next year.

Truth, justice, and common ground
2019 is set to be a tumultuous year for our country and a highlight for the Wychwoods will be Angela Tilby’s visit. Formerly of Christ Church Oxford and well-known to Radio 4 listeners, she has bravely agreed to talk, on 12 May in the village hall, about ‘the two tribes’ into which the UK has become riven. This will be followed in June by South African retired academic Peter Silva, who was due to talk about Truth and Justice but will now take as his even more pertinent title ‘Truth and Reconciliation’. As always, all will be welcome to attend and to participate.
So what matters most and how should we live?

November and February’s meetings will look at thought-provoking books on the theme of ‘what matters most?’ which members will ‘bring and share’. Advance notice of the books will appear on the website so that anyone can do some preparatory reading of their own. April will see one of our popular poetry evenings led by a local poet, and we end in July with the fundamental question of ethics and of how (or whether) to be moral, guided by Shipton resident and philosopher Stephen Pickering. Dates and details can always be found here: www.wychwoodcircle.org

David Soward

October – November 2018