Saturday 12th September 2020
A LEAP OF FAITH
An evening curated by Marie-Elsa Bragg. Her guests are the distinguished theologian Professor Paul Fiddes, author Gary Lachman, writer, psychotherapist and writer Mark Vernon and the poet Amali Rodrigo. There will be music by Melanie Pappenheim. There's no charge for taking part in A Leap in the Dark, but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust. And please continue to do so!
1 The Pale Usher welcomes you
2 Marie-Elsa Bragg on ‘Process Theology’
3 A conversation with Paul Fiddes
4 Poetry from Amali Rodrigo Interval
5 Melanie Pappenheim sings ’O Virtus Sapientiae’ by Hildegard von Bingen
6 The Settee Salon: Marie-Elsa Bragg, Gary Lachman and Paul Vernon
7 Paul and Amali join the settee
8 The Pale Usher signs off
Marie-Elsa Roche Bragg is half French, half Cumbrian and was brought up in London. Her first novel Towards Mellbreak (2017) is about four generations of a Cumbrian hill farming family and her second, Sleeping Letters (2019) is the description of the ritual of the Eucharist alongside a compilation of poetry, memoir and fragments of un-sent letters. Both are published by Chatto & Windus. She writes for Radio 4, Church Times, Tablet and other papers. She is a Priest in the diocese of London. https://marie-elsabragg.com
Paul S. Fiddes is a British Baptist theologian and novelist. He is Professor of Systematic Theology in the University of Oxford and was formerly Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford and Chairman of the Theology Faculty. Professor Fiddes has been described as "one of the leading scholars of theology and literature writing today" and "one of the foremost theological thinkers of the modern age". Among 25 authored or edited books, his book The Creative Suffering of God is "considered to be one of the major contributions to theology in the last decades of the 20th century". His first novel, A Unicorn Dies. A Novel of Mystery and Ideas, was published in 2018.
Garry Lachman is the author of many books on consciousness, culture, and the Western esoteric tradition, including Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work, A Secret History of Consciousness, and Politics and the Occult. He writes for several journals in the US and UK and lectures on his work in the US and Europe. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he has appeared in several radio and television documentaries. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, Lachman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. https://garylachman.co.uk
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs for women choirs to sing and poems. She is one of the best-known composers of sacred monophony, as well as the most-recorded in modern history. She is the patron saint of creativity. Melanie Pappenheim is a singer, composer and performer.
Amali Rodrigo was born and grew up in Sri Lanka. She has lived in Mozambique, Kenya and India, and is now based in London, researching a PhD while working as an associate lecturer at Lancaster University. She won the Magma judge's prize and second prize in the Poetry London poetry competition, both in 2012, and has been highly commended in numerous others including the Bridport, Ballymalore International and Wasafiri poetry prizes. Her first collection, Lotus Gatherers, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016. https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/category/amali-rodrigo
Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. He writes for The Guardian, The Philosophers' Magazine, Financial Times and New Statesman. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time. Vernon was formerly a Church of England priest, but has since become an agnostic Christian, a position about which he now writes and speaks. He has a degree in theology from the University of Oxford and another theology degree and a physics degree from Durham University. He also has a PhD in philosophy from University of Warwick and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. https://www.markvernon.com
The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gatherings. The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality. (from Moby-Dick by Herman Melville)
Next Friday’s Leap is dedicated to W. H. Auden and we’ll be reading some of his most celebrated verses as well as some off-trail writing that reflects his tremendous range as a critic, essayist, critic, journalist and all-round literary hack. We’ll have readings from seasoned Leapers Kevin Boniface, Marie-Elsa Bragg, Susanna Crossman, Kevin Davey, Amy McCauley, J O Morgan, Dan O’Brien, Aea Varfis van-Warmelo and others. David Collard will introduce a rare screening of the remarkable and rarely-seen Britten/Auden collaboration The Way to the Sea (1936), and the poet himself will join us in some archive recordings. Stay well! The Pale Usher