University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry

8 pm Tuesday March 13, 2018

Lindisfarne House, 4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS


Mental health problems (mood swings, depression, dementia, bipolar disorder, etc)  used to be kept secret; and some people felt ashamed of themselves or of their affected relatives.  Nowadays we know that such conditions are simply diseases, and can be treated by doctors with varying degrees of success, although the causes of dementia are not yet sufficiently understood.

These conditions can alter our perceptions of the ability, rationality, morality and even the spirituality of sufferers. How to cope? Is research winning? And does faith in God help when you or your spouse no longer recognises anyone?

Professor Gallacher is Professor of Cognitive Health at Oxford, and Director of Dementia Platform UK. His interests are wider than dementia though; he studies ageing (something none of us can escape!), having reported recently on the prediction of cardiovascular disease, and he advises the Avon study of Parents and Children.

. John will say something about most of the issues mentioned above.He is a Christian, and his son Owen happens to be a Church of England minister here in Worcester.

Come along, bring a friend or neighbour, ask Prof Gallacher some questions!

No booking needed. No charge, but collection taken for costs. Coffee afterwards, about 9.30 -ish.. Free parking on site (Lindisfarne House is the first house in Barbourne Terrace, on the right as you leave the main road out of Worcester city centre, i.e. almost opposite St George’s Square).




Friday 2nd February


St. George’s C of E Church

St. George’s Square, Barbourne, Worcester WR1 1HX

We are delighted to have Riding Lights Theatre Company with us on Friday 2nd February.  They are touring with their new production, “Faith In The Questions”, which is a dynamic blend of theatre and discussion. The first half of the evening is a specially commissioned one act play, Counting the Clouds, written by Nigel Forde and produced by Riding Lights Theatre Company.

Based in the book of Job from the Old Testament, Job is depicted as a respected scientist whose work is wrestling with the unpredictable as well as predictable structures of the universe.  Is God really in control and what does it mean when his personal world is shaken to the core?

A brief interval follows the performance, for refreshments and to allow the audience to write and submit their questions arising from the play or other related issues.  Then there will be a 30 – 45 minute Q and A session, with a panel of leading scientists/theologians who share a Christian faith.

There is no charge, but booking is essential.  You can book your tickets either on line via Riding Lights’ website, www.ridinglights.org/fitq, or by phoning 01904 613000 or 01905 726662.

P.S.  Please note that this replaces our January and February Tuesday evening talks, but we will be back at Lindisfarne House in March, on Tuesday 13th March, when John Gallagher, Professor of Cognitive Health at Oxford University and Director of Dementia Platform UK, will be with us.  His title is “When the mind malfunctions”, and he will devote a part of his talk to mental health problems her than dementia, which is his main research interest.


Rev. Dr. Paul Beetham

8pm at Lindisfarne House, 4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS


Rev. Dr. Paul Beetham

According to Genesis, God gave Humankind dominion over all other living things. How do we regard other creatures with whom we share planet Earth and how is our fate entwined with theirs? We raise animals as pets and for food. Some we regard as only fit for extermination and other species are to be protected from extinction. How do our faith and beliefs influence all this and what status will  animals be given in God’s kingdom?

Rev Dr Paul Beetham is a Methodist minister and currently Superintendent Minister of the Birmingham (West) & Oldbury Circuit. He studied Botany and Zoology at London University, completed a Doctorate at the University of Wales in Microbiology, and in Systematic Theology at Durham University. He is a member of the Society for Biology and a Chartered Biologist.  He was formerly editor of Christ & The Cosmos publications and is currently a trustee of the Science & Religion Forum.



The sexual revolution as a case study

Rev. Dr. Mathew Clark

Tuesday 17th October

8pm at Lindisfarne House

4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS

Dr Mathew Clark

A popular book once argued that men and women come from different planets – Mars and Venus. This useful metaphor can be invoked in understanding differences in the basic understanding that each of us brings to any discussion of issues such as human sexuality, science and religion, and the value of human life. In 1945 both religious and public morality affirmed (yes, often hypocritically) that legitimate sexual intimacy should occur solely within the bounds of a permanent hetero-sexual marriage covenant. For a sixteen-year old in 2017 UK, 1945 sounds like an alien planet. This talk focuses on the philosophical and cultural transition underlying the change, and reflects on the dynamics of two opposing world-views in conflict: Judaeo-Christian and secular humanist.

Rev. Dr. Clark is the Dean of Doctoral Studies at Regent’s Theological College, Malvern.

All welcome – entry and refreshments free (coffee and cake) – optional  donation – free parking.  For more information, please call 01905 641987.  


Designer Babies

8 pm Tuesday 26 September 2017

Lindisfarne House, Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS

(Lindisfarne House is the first house in Barbourne Terrace when coming from the A38, and is almost opposite St George’s Square). All welcome; no pre-booking necessary. Parking. Coffee at about 9.30 pm

Will doctors one day determine our health and our abilities before we are born?

A discussion involving contributions from Mrs Poov Wood, Dr Carla Laverack, Revd Dr Stephen May, Prof. Geoff Pritchard, and a short video contribution by an American scientist.

Animal characteristics (such as colour and temperament) are usually inherited. A dog can be trained, but the character of an animal does not simply emerge in a newborn animal at random. Modern  evolutionary science indicates that the same applies to humans too. A nation could try therefore to gain an edge over its neighbours by “improving” its gene pool, and genetic medicine could one day eliminate some inherited diseases.Determining any human or animal’s DNA has become almost routine for police investigations. It will soon become even more important for medicine.

Most religious faiths have been extremely wary of experiments in this field. Using the information mentioned above soon becomes a moral minefield even for nonbelievers, as the patient (i.e the embryo) is not in a position to be consulted about its own extinction or modification. More important for some Christians may be the realisation that the gifts we traditionally regard as imparted by God could one day be enhanced or reduced by clinicians.

The discussion will consist of contributions by five people with different perspectives.


Evolution – A Cruel Process?

8pm Tuesday 21st March 2017

Dr Chris Southgate University of Exeter

Animals often become extinct, sometimes because their habitat has become housing

Dr Chris Southgate

estates, or because a predator (man, possibly?) has killed them, as is happening with elephants at the moment. Sometimes disease strikes. There is a great deal of dying going on, and a great deal of struggle for survival.  It has been happening ever since life began. Evolution assumes that some creatures will be phased out because they can’t cope. (It’s not just a few, either; 99.9% of all species are already extinct).

We have asked Dr Southgate to consider what this situation says about the kindness and mercy of God. Here he introduces his talk:-

“The poet Tennyson memorably called nature ‘red in tooth and claw’. The struggle and suffering in nature was put into context by Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. But this seems to constitute a challenge to the Christian claim that a loving God created the world ‘very good’.

Tennyson also called nature ‘careless of the type’. Over 99% of all the species that have ever existed are extinct. Again, this seems like a challenge to the goodness of God as creator. I will explore what explanations Christian thinkers offer, and what is the least-worst option for understanding God as the creator of the evolutionary process”.

All are welcome to come and join in the discussion. The meeting is scheduled to end with coffee etc at 9.40 pm. No charge. Free parking. Collection for meeting costs. 

‘Rise of the Intelligent Machines -Future Battleground’ Re:think Lecture

Bees are a blast and brighter than you might think, so bright that people have started modelling them for the design of autonomous drones that exploit artificial intelligence…. to swarm ‘like bees’. And what do developments in AI mean for the doctors of tomorrow, or for factory workers? Does Artificial Intelligence threaten the foundations of our society, or help solve some of society’s thorniest problems? Finally, how does a faith in a loving God fit into this picture? There’s one way to find out what this busy bee thinks, join me, Dr Kim Stansfield on the 10th Feb at 7:00 pm at the ‘The Hive’!!!!


Rise of the Intelligent Machines – Future Battleground? 10 Feb 2017

The talk is the 2nd in the Re:Think Worcester series of talks aimed at 16-25 year olds, but open to all ages of 13 and above. Entry is free and there will be Re:Freshments. It is presented by Dr Kim Stansfield, Senior Teaching Fellow in Systems Engineering at Warwick University.


8.00 pm Tuesday January 17, 2017

Lindisfarne House, 4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS

Dr Ian Holyer, Bristol University

Dr Ian Holyer, Bristol University

Not everyone who uses a computer simply to consult Google or read an email wants to know the fine details of computer science and technology, but there are aspects of the subject that would reward anyone trying to understand changes taking place in our society today. Dr Holyer will give a fascinating overview of how computers developed from the earliest stage, with some live demos of Turing machines and a discussion of the Game of Life – culminating in a great discussion of robots, free will in humans, and the positive or negative influence of God on free will.

There will be opportunity for questions and discussion. No previous knowledge of computers is required, and no prior booking. The meeting is expected to end about 9.40 pm. Coffee afterwards. Collection to meet costs.

8.00 pm Tuesday January 17, 2017

Lindisfarne House, 4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS

(Barbourne Terrace is the street almost opposite St George’s Square, on the left as you leave central Worcester.  Lindisfarne House is the first building on the right, and you can park off-road in front of the building). 


Lizzie Henderson will be speaking to us on Tuesday 22nd November, 8pm at Lindisfarne House, 4 Barbourne Terrace, Worcester WR1 3JS.

(Barbourne Terrace is the street almost opposite St George’s Square, on the left as you leave central Worcester.  Lindisfarne House is the first building on the right, and you can park off-road in front of the building). 

lizzie-hendersonThere is an overwhelming narrative in today’s culture that science and faith are in conflict – that one cannot take both seriously. But what do today’s children and young people think about science and religious faith? What is the place of education in the discussion? What will the future look like if things continue as they are? Come along to hear about some of the research exploring the thinking of young people on these topics and some of the projects working to communicate a positive message about the interactions of science and religious faith to young people.

Lizzie is the Youth and Schools Outreach Officer and Children’s Media Project Coordinator at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge. Lizzie holds a degree from Cambridge University in Evolutionary and Behavioural Biology, Geology and the History and Philosophy of Science. She is passionate about the communication and public understanding of the interactions of science and faith and regularly participates in formal and informal discussion of the science and faith dialogue with all age groups. Lizzie has worked with children and young people for many years and regularly provides lessons, workshops and talks on science and faith for children, young people and students.

All are welcome, and there will be coffee, cake and the chance for further discussion, after the talk.

To download a flyer, please click here. b-s-flyer-lizzie-henderson-november-2016.


Has science killed God?

Friday 18th November, 7-9 pm at The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester.


Lizzie Henderson, a Christian and an evolutionary biologist, who works with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge, will explore questions such as: Can science explain everything? Is religion still relevant? Can science prove or disprove God’s existence.

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 25 (ish), or would like to come along, and bring some young people with you, do join us at the Hive.
No charge, but you need to book, through the Re:think website, www.rethinkworcester.co.uk.