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Spectacular stained glass panels contained within York Minster’s Great East Window – the renowned medieval masterpiece created by John Thornton in the 15th century – will be the focus of a new webinar series of Advent Reflections to be hosted by York Minster in November and December.
Four outstanding speakers will each take one panel of the medieval window to explore the traditional Advent themes of Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – known as The Four Last Things – challenging contemporary views of the Advent and Christmas season.
Commenting on the webinar series, Maggie McLean, York Minster’s Canon Missioner said:
“In its history, York has known turbulent times. Not long after plague ravaged the city, John Thornton began his work on the Great East Window, depicting its themes of creation and apocalypse in exquisite stained glass.
“Our speakers will reflect on the theology depicted in the Great East Window – Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – themes which resonate as much today as they did when this window was made.”
Broadcast live via webinar across four weeks, each speaker will give a short presentation, followed by discussion and Q&A online. The dates and speakers are:
Thursday 26th November at 3pm – Death
Professor John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology & Pastoral Care; Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen.
Thursday 3rd December at 7.30pm – Judgement
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
Thursday 10th December at 7.30pm – Heaven
Dr Paula Gooder.
Thursday 17th December at 3pm – Hell
The Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Alison White.
Meet the speakers
Professor John Swinton
Professor in Practical Theology & Pastoral Care; Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen
John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. For more than a decade John worked as a registered mental health nurse. He also worked for a number of years as a hospital and community mental health Chaplain alongside of people with severe mental health challenges who were moving from the hospital into the community. In 2004, he founded the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. The Centre aims to enable academics, researchers, practitioners and educators to work together to develop innovative and creative research projects and teaching initiatives within the areas of spirituality, health and healing, the significance of the spiritual dimension for contemporary healthcare practices and the theology of disability. He has published widely within the area of mental health, dementia, disability theology, spirituality and healthcare, qualitative research and pastoral care. John is the author of a number of monographs including Dementia: Living in the memories of God for which he won the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ramsey Prize for excellence in theological writing.
The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York
Stephen Cottrell is the Archbishop of York, and has previously served as the Bishop of Chelmsford, Bishop of Reading, Canon Pastor at Peterborough Cathedral and Diocesan Missioner for the Diocese of Wakefield. He served in parishes in South London and Chichester. He is a member of the Church of England’s Committee for Minority Ethnic Concerns, and Chair of Church Army, an Anglican society for evangelism and social outreach. He is a member of the House of Lords. He is a well-known writer and speaker on evangelism, spirituality and catechesis. His latest book, On Priesthood, is based on addresses given to ordinands on the night before ordination. He is married to Rebecca who is a potter, and they have three sons and one grandson.
Dr Paula Gooder
Paula Gooder is a speaker and writer on the Bible, particularly on the New Testament. She began her working life, teaching for twelve years in ministerial formation first at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford and then at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. Following this she spent around eight years as a speaker and writer in biblical studies travelling the country and seeking to communicate the best of biblical scholarship in as accessible a way as possible, after that she spent six years working for the Bible Society as their Theologian in Residence and then for the Birmingham Diocese as their Director of Mission Learning and Development. She is currently the Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The Right Reverend Alison White, Bishop of Hull
Alison White was brought up in London before pursuing her love of English literature which she studied as an undergraduate in Durham. She subsequently went on to explore theology both in Durham and Leeds Universities. She was ordained in 1986 and then worked in the Diocese of Durham in parishes, then as Adviser in Local Mission, Director of Mission and Pastoral Studies at Cranmer Hall, and as Director of Ordinands. She was subsequently a member of the national Archbishops’ Springboard Team. Then in the Diocese of Peterborough, where she moved when her husband Frank was made Bishop of Brixworth in 2002, she served as Co-ordinator of Curates’ training and was an honorary Canon of the Cathedral. Alison has served in a variety of roles on national Boards and committees, with a focus on vocation, spirituality and mission. She has combined work widely in teaching, spiritual direction, retreats and theological consultancy. In 2010 she and Frank moved to the Diocese of Newcastle where Alison served as Priest in Charge of St James’, Riding Mill and Diocesan Adviser in Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. She was concurrently honorary Canon Theologian of Sheffield Cathedral. In 2015 she was appointed as Bishop of Hull. Alison has a fondness for time with friends, walking and bookshops.
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