THE Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature is to move to Christ Church, Oxford, when it is next held in person, from 11 to 13 September 2022. In the mean time, two one-day online events are planned for this spring, for which booking opened this week.
Since the festival was founded in October 2011 by Sir Tony Baldry, who was then MP for North Oxfordshire and Second Church Estates Commissioner, it has been held in the village of Bloxham, Oxfordshire (Features, 6 March 2020). The festival’s organisers have decided that the next festival to take place in person, assuming that the pandemic has subsided, should be in the heart of Oxford.
Christ Church is already home to the biennial Church Times Festival of Preaching (Features, 20 September 2019).
The cathedral’s public-engagement manager, Sarah Meyrick, said: “From Alice in Wonderland to Harry Potter, Christ Church is resonant with literary associations, which means that it’s the perfect location for an event that’s all about the wonder of books. We’re really pleased to be adding the festival to our public-engagement programme here at the cathedral, and very much look forward to this exciting new chapter.”
The festival will not take place in person this year because of the pandemic. Two one-day online events are planned, however.
The first, “Light in Darkness”, will take place on Saturday 20 February. Speakers include the writer Francis Spufford (Interview, 26 August 2016), who will speak about his new novel Light Perpetual; Canon Rachel Mann, who will speak about her debut novel The Gospel of Eve (Books, 27 November); and Canon Mark Oakley, who will reflect on books that have helped him during the pandemic.
The second online event, “Finding Meaning”, will take place on Saturday 17 April. Speakers include the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell; a former editor of The Sunday Telegraph and the Today programme on Radio 4, Sarah Sands (Interview, 13 November 2020); and the American theologian Brian McLaren, who spoke at the 2019 Festival of Preaching (Podcast, 13 September 2019).
Tickets for both online events are on sale now: churchtimes.co.uk/events
Listen to a talk by the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, from last week’s Church Times webinar on clergy well-being here.