UPDATE: the final of the second Theology Slam has been cancelled. There are plans for the finalists to be given a chance to deliver their talks on a future date. More information to come.
THE final of the second Theology Slam competition is fast approaching: it will be held at St John’s, Hoxton, in east London, on 26 March, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The competition is organised jointly by the Church Times, SCM Press, the Community of St Anselm, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC). It is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The three finalists (profiled below) have been working with Samuel P. S. Williams, the founder and lead storyteller of Hodos Consultancy Co., a “narrative consultancy” that advises senior business leaders, among others, on presentation skills and storytelling.
The three talks will be judged on the night by a panel that consists of the Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley, the Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury; Selina Stone, a tutor and lecturer in Political Theology at St Mellitus College, London; the Executive Director of LICC, Mark Greene; and the Winner of Theology Slam 2019, Hannah Malcolm (News, 15 March 2019).
Tickets for the final are available to book at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/theology-slam-2020-live-final-tickets-80963870115.
Videos of the talks will be posted on the Church Times YouTube channel and on social media.
Augustine Tanner-Ihm, 29, is a Master’s-level student in theology and an ordinand at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham. He is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He will talk on theology and race, reflecting on the biblical theme of belonging.
While living in the UK for the past seven years, Mr Tanner-Ihm has noticed that British people “like to move from talking about race to talking about class, because class is something they can talk about, but race is seen as something they deal with in America”.
When he was recently turned down for a curacy, one of the reasons that he was given was that it was “a white area and they didn’t think I would feel very comfortable. . . I’d never experienced that, except in the American South.”
Molly BootMolly Boot, 22, is a Master’s-level student in medieval church history at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. She will be speaking on theology and #MeToo, considering how sexual harassment has changed her understanding of the Christian mystics.
“I love theology and I think the best theology is done in the public square,” she says. “I wanted to have a go at doing that.”
The #MeToo movement had come to mean much to Ms Boot after she experienced sexual harassment. “I have been amazed at how it has provided a platform for those of us who have suffered to tell stories and seek solidarity.
“As a theologian, I started thinking about what does that mean to be part of God’s story, a story about God becoming vulnerable.”
Sam HodsonSam Hodson, 23, works for L’Arche, a community with people who have learning disabilities. Speaking on theology and disability, he will reflect on what the people whom he encounters in his work have taught him about God.
“I am really keen that theology comes from the lived experience of faith day to day, and working in L’Arche has been a huge reminder of that for me,” he says. “Any ideas have come from the day-to-day experience of working alongside people with learning disabilities.”
He is nervous about the final, but believes that it will be a “fun experience”. The coaching that he has received from Mr Williams has encouraged him to “narrow down what the single point is that you want to make”.