Media Release: Looking to a future beyond ‘organised religion’?


A CHURCH in the heart of Edinburgh will be the venue tomorrow evening (9 August 2012) for an intriguing public conversation about the future of religion beyond its inherited institutional forms.

The event runs from 5.45 – 7pm at St John’s (Venue 127) on the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road. It is part of a series of discussion events within the Festival of Spirituality and Peace 2012.

Speakers include Dr Michael Marten, co-founder of the Critical Religion project at the University of Stirling, Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, and Dr Ian Milligan, a social work lecturer who also helps run Exploring Anabaptism in Scotland and is involved in the Bert Christian community in Glasgow.

The session is also being supported by the Iona Community.

Begins a spokesperson: “The premise of the conversation is that we live in an era in the West where people are often inquisitive about spirituality, but hugely distrustful or even hostile towards ‘organised religion’, especially in its Christian forms.

“But there are strong anti-institutional and non-hierarchical traditions in Christianity and other religious traditions. To what extent are they dependant on, intermingling with or renewing of existing and historic structures. What is the relationship between ‘inherited’ and ‘emergent’ forms of faith?

“In a Christian context, for example, can Anabaptists, Quakers, Nonconformists and loyal dissenters from within the major streams of Christianity offer a new vision of faith and an alternative to top-down religion?

“These and other issues will be explored in relation to the wider demography of religious and belief-based change in a globalising world.”

Ekklesia is a think-tank that collaborates widely with both faith and secular organisations to promote fresh yet historically rooted understandings of Christianity as a movement for radical change,

The Critical Religion Research Group at the University of Stirling is “pioneering intellectual engagement with questions of religion” by taking high quality scholarship about religion and belief into the arenas of media and public discourse.

Exploring Anabaptism in Scotland is a small network of people interested in the continuing impact of the ‘radical reformation’ in Europe – what has been called ‘God’s left-wing’.

The Iona Community is a dispersed Christian ecumenical community, with its heart in Scotland, working for peace and social justice, the rebuilding of community and the renewal of worship.

‘Disorganised Religion – a Conversation’ takes place on Thursday 9 August, from 5.45pm – 7pm, at St John’s (Venue 127), corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road, Edinburgh. £6.50 (£4.50 concessions). Tickets from the Hub or on the door.

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Contact: Simon Barrow
Phone: 07850120413