“The trials of our times”

In 1939, as his country went to war, Dietrich Bonhoeffer returned to Germany saying he couldn’t leave his compatriots to face the ‘trials of the time’ alone. It was a fateful decision, one which would ultimately end in his ignominious death.

At the time fascist populism was on the rise, countries around the world had faced years of financial pressures and fear of the other was turning into hatred and violence, demagogic leaders were exerting authoritarian rule. It was, in other words, a lot like today.

It was in this social and political crucible that Bonhoeffer developed a deep and complex theology, leaving a wealth of material that scholars have scrutinised and debated over the last several decades.

So what does Bonhoeffer’s theology, born and tested in the face of Nazism, have to say to us in the 21st century? His extraordinary output, collected in the form of books, sermons, essays and letters, includes thoughts on themes as diverse as “religionless Christianity” and “new monasticism”. What does his work have to say to us, as we undergo the trials of our times?

We are holding a special day conference to give space for the exploration of some of these themes, and will include PCN Britain’s Marcus Borg Memorial Lecture.

Location: Oasis Academy Mediacityuk

Date/time: 9/11/19 – 10am – 4pm

Price: £25 (inc refreshments and lunch) – click here to book.


David Benjamin Blower is an ‘apocalyptic folk musician’, a ‘six string theologian’ or a ‘theological agitator’. He’s also a podcaster and writer. His music and writing touches on themes of humanity and its relationship to the earth, as well as the divine. Among his many notable works is his “Sympathy for Jonah: Reflections on Humiliation, Terror and the Politics of Enemy-Love.” He regularly co-presents the Nomad Podcast.

Sally Mann is a Sociologist with a PhD in Philosophy and Theology. She is a minister at Bonny Downs Baptist Church where she is the 4th of 5 generations of her family to live and serve in that East-End community, she is also the spokesperson for the Red Letter Christians UK network, a web of subversive Christians seeking to live out the words of Jesus’ teachings, sometimes highlighted in the Bible in red letters, across the UK.

Noel Irwin is a Methodist minister and theological educator, he works at Luther King House in Manchester. When he’s not teaching he can be found running mountain trails or training in the dojo. Noel was brought up in Northern Ireland, and his formative experiences there have informed his life and ministry. Noel is delivering the Marcus Borg Memorial Lecture for PCN Britain.

Rachel Mann is an Anglican Priest, poet, and theologian. Her theological work touches on themes of feminism and LGBT experience – drawing upon her own lived experiences. Rachel’s broad range of interests include music, poetry and the practicalities of ordained ministry. Her book Fierce Imaginings: The Great War, Ritual, Memory & God was shortlisted for the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing.

Steve Chalke is the founder of Oasis, an international network of charities which is involved in a host of different projects all over the world. Steve is a visionary and an initiator, he always has something new on the go. Steve’s projects always have one thing in common though, because he has dedicated his life to projects which serve those from challenging backgrounds, or to whom society (and the church) has been far from kind.