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Programme title: Westminster Abbey Institute lecture: Strengthening moral courage in public life: Moral Feeling

02 Apr 2014

Speaker: Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director, Westminster Abbey Institute. Why should we be moral? What motivates public servants to keep serving the common good? Claire Foster-Gilbert argues that our moral sensibilities arise from the way we perceive the world around us. She suggests perceptions that can refresh our vison and evoke a will to be good, describing the spheres of interdependent life in which all participate; the sacredness of creation; the priesthood of all humanity; and the Sabbath principle. Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 40.8 KB)

Duration: 38:45 mins

Programme title: Westminster Abbey Institute lecture: Strengthening moral courage in public life: Moral Thinking

02 Apr 2014

Speaker: Claire Foster-Gilbert, Director, Westminster Abbey Institute. A robust moral decision is one that clearly identifies the moral issues at stake and takes them into account. For those in public office, being able to explain how they came to make such decisions is also critical. In this lecture, Claire Foster-Gilbert offers a framework for making comprehensive and comprehendable moral decisions by describing goal-based, duty-based and right-based thinking processes. Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 36.6 KB)

Duration: 41:26 mins

Programme title: Gore Lecture 2014: The Faithfulness of God

06 Mar 2014

Speaker: The Right Reverend Professor NT Wright, University of St Andrews. 

The faithfulness of God is a controlling theme of Pauls’ writings. Divine faithfulness, both to covenant and to creation, raises questions of considerable contemporary urgency: the new challenge to unity, a vision of ecological stewardship, the quest for holiness, and the renewal of mission, particularly in relation to social and political moods and structures. In these areas Paul cuts across the lines of fashionable thinking now, as he did in his own day: this lecture will explore the key current debates, and expound a fresh way of reading Paul (as in the author’s recent book). Read the transcript (PDF, 80.8 KB)

Duration: 67:23 mins

Programme title: The Dean of Westminster's Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Ash Wednesday 2014

06 Mar 2014

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.

We commit ourselves to living this Lent self-sacrificially, giving up ourselves to the service and love of God and spreading the gift and spirit of reconciliation. Read the sermon.

Duration: 12:14 mins

Programme title: Desmond Tutu's Address given at a Service to Celebrate the Life and Work of Nelson Mandela

06 Mar 2014

The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales represented Her Majesty The Queen at a Service to Celebrate the Life and Work of Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa, at Westminster Abbey on Monday 3rd March 2014. The service was also attended by the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, and the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe. Read the sermon.

Duration: 11:15 mins

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Epiphany of Our Lord 2014

07 Jan 2014

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Read the sermon

Duration: 11:50 mins

Programme title: Sermon given at the Sung Eucharist on Christmas Day 2013

25 Dec 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Read the sermon

Duration: 7:07 mins

Programme title: Sermon given at the First Eucharist of Christmas 2013

25 Dec 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Read the sermon

Duration: 7:45 mins

Programme title: C S Lewis Symposium: Panel discussion: What can 21st century apologetics learn from CS Lewis

02 Dec 2013

Michael Ward chairing a panel discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Lewis's various endeavours and taking questions from the audience. On the panel are novelist Jeanette Sears, theologian Judith Wolfe, and apologists William Lane Craig, Peter S. Williams, and Michael Ramsden.

Duration: 01:07:03 mins

Programme title: C S Lewis Symposium: Telling the Truth through Imaginative Fiction

02 Dec 2013

Dr Malcolm Guite addresses the subject of Lewis’s Christian imagination. In works such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and The Great Divorce, and in his poetry, Lewis presented a narrative, symbolic, and imaginatively resonant perspective on the life of faith. This lecture discusses the place of imagination in modern-day Christian communication.

Duration: 59:59 mins

Programme title: C S Lewis Symposium: Telling the Truth through Rational Argument

02 Dec 2013

Professor Alister McGrath addresses the subject of Lewis’s nonfiction Christian apologetics. In works such as Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain and Miracles, Lewis gave defences of Christianity using reason, logic, and philosophy. This lecture assesses the value of such approaches in the 21st century. 

Duration: 59:04 mins

Programme title: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Address at a Service to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the National Churches Trust

28 Nov 2013

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended a Service to Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the National Churches Trust at Westminster Abbey on Thursday 28th November 2013. Read the news story.

Duration: 10:45 mins

Programme title: A Service to Dedicate a Memorial to C S Lewis, writer, scholar and apologist

25 Nov 2013

Audio includes: C S Lewis in the sole surviving recording of his broadcasts for BBC Radio, Douglas Gresham, younger stepson of C S Lewis reading from The Last Battle and the Address given by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Williams of Oystermouth. Read the news story.

Duration: 20:44 mins

Programme title: Personal testimonies given at a Service of Solemn Remembrance and Hope to mark the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

11 Nov 2013

John Izbicki, Lilian Levy and Victor Greenberg

Duration: 18:34 mins

Programme title: Address given at a Service of solemn remembrance and hope on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht

11 Nov 2013

Rabbi The Baroness Neuberger DBE, Senior Rabbi, West London Synagogue. As we remember the terror, the death and destruction, the loss of parents, family and friends, let us use today, Jews and Christians together, to remember that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Read the Address

Duration: 09:38 mins

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Souls 2013

11 Nov 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Today we remember with love and thanksgiving those who have died; a solemn and communal remembrance. We ask God in his great mercy to forgive them their sins and to give them a place of light and peace and happiness in his presence. Read the sermon.

Duration: 10:16 mins

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Saints' Day 2013

11 Nov 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Today, All Saints’ Day, the Church remembers and celebrates countless acts of heroism and heroic lives. The stories of the saints remind us of people without number willing to dedicate their lives to the service of God and of their fellow human beings. Read the sermon.

Duration: 9:54 mins

Programme title: A Disturbing Truth: the Church, the poor, and Oscar Romero

11 Nov 2013

Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated on March 24th 1980. His statue stands on the facade of Westminster Abbey, in recognition of this modern martyr. The disturbing truth of his words was rooted in a deep attention to the Word of God and a proximity to the poorest of his country. Timothy Radcliffe will discuss how our Churches can witness such a courageous truth in contemporary Britain.

Duration: 48:07 mins

Programme title: An Anatomy of Truth: conversations on truth telling with a politician, a journalist, a scientist and a poet

22 Oct 2013

The debate was part of the Institute’s inaugural events season, Telling the Truth. Speakers Wendy Cope, Sir Max Hastings, the Right Honourable Jack Straw MP and Lord Winston addressed the joys, limits and liabilities of truthfulness, in a discussion chaired by the Institute’s Director, Claire Foster-Gilbert.

Duration: 1:39:15 mins | File size 56.7 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at an Evensong to celebrate the Feast of the Dedication 2013

22 Oct 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. This afternoon, I wish to conclude this short series of sermons with remarks about the space the Established Church, and in particular this holy place, creates at the heart of our national life for other denominations and other faith traditions. Read the sermon.

Duration: 9:41 mins | File size 8.87 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist to celebrate the Feast of the Dedication 2013

22 Oct 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Today I reflect on the meaning of Establishment in terms of the service the Church is able to offer to the people of this land. Read the sermon.

Duration: 11:50 mins | File size 10.8 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist celebrating St Edward’s life on the day of the national pilgrimage to his shrine

22 Oct 2013

The Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich.  A pilgrimage to a holy place brings us to our knees. We come today not in our strength, nor because we are proud of our service to God. We come to be renewed, to be anointed, to soak ourselves in prayer. Read the sermon.

Duration: 11:37 mins | File size 10.6 MB

Programme title: Damian Lewis reads The Harvest by Henry Birtles at a Service to Celebrate the Harvest for British Food Fortnight

16 Oct 2013

The Poem was written especially for the service.

Duration: 2:51 mins | File size 2.6 MB

Programme title: Address given at a Service to Celebrate the Harvest for British Food Fortnight

16 Oct 2013

This is a day to sing a hymn to food, glorious food and to lift our harvest mugs full of scrumpy or delicious Ribena to salute the British farmer and to thank God in particular for these harvest boxes for your work and the fruit of the good earth. Read the Address

Duration: 7:21 mins | File size 6.9 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Translation of St Edward the Confessor 2013

13 Oct 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. You join the community of Westminster Abbey for worship this morning on one of the greatest and happiest days of the Abbey year. We give thanks to God today for a good man who reigned as king of England almost a thousand years ago. Read the sermon

Duration: 2:51 mins | File size 2.6 MB

Programme title: Vivat Regina! A public lecture in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Coronation

11 Jun 2013

The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, KCVO, Bishop of London. This Lecture looked at the spiritual significance of the Coronation from ancient times through the reigns of King Edgar to the Coronation 60 years ago of Queen Elizabeth II. Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 92KB)

Duration: 54:12 mins | File size 37.2 MB

Programme title: Sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Service to celebrate the Sixtieth Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation, 1953

04 Jun 2013

In his sermon at the anniversary service at Westminster Abbey this morning, the Archbishop reflected on the moment 60 years ago when the Queen knelt before the altar at Westminster Abbey in silent prayer, before taking the throne. Read the sermon

Duration: 7:48 mins | File size 7.1 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Ascension Day 2013

10 May 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Human beings are capable of the most amazing acts of heroism, of courage and of fortitude. The heroic achievements of others challenge us and can encourage us to believe that we might be capable of more than we had ever imagined. Read the sermon.

Duration: 10:45 mins | File size 9.4 MB

Programme title: 28th Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture: Constantine's Vision and the Church Today

07 May 2013

Professor Dame Averil Cameron FSA FKC, Former Warden of Keble College, Oxford. From the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (AD 312) to the twenty-first century.

Duration: 47:42 mins | File size 43.6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Easter Day 2013

03 Apr 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Thank God for the raggedy and fearful band; may God bless us and empower us too, however raggedy and fearful we each may feel, to believe and trust in the love of God that conquers everything. Read the sermon.

Duration: 13:35 mins | File size 12.7 MB

Programme title: Westminster Abbey Institute lecture: Mystery and Play, God in Mysticism and Post-Modernity

19 Mar 2013

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. To hold together experiences of a personal God with concepts of an infinite and eternal God can lead to intellectual and imaginative paralysis. The puzzling and fragmented life we experience in late-modernity can do the same. Christian tradition has always acknowledged this as a necessary mystery. This final lecture explored how understanding of God, and our experience of God, must embrace such mystery. 

Duration: 52:02 mins | File size 49.2 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 187 KB)

Programme title: Westminster Abbey Institute lecture: Transcendence and Perfection, God in classical orthodoxy

12 Mar 2013

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. What happens when personal experiences of God displayed in the scriptures are subjected to philosophical scrutiny? Philosophical theology has tried to relate these experiences to other demands of the religious and intellectual life: notions of infinity, eternity, and perfection. Must these concepts also belong to our picture of God? This second lecture explored these wider themes. 

Duration: 53:15 mins | File size 48.7 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 38 KB)

Programme title: Westminster Abbey Institute lecture: Drama and Dialogue, God in scriptural narrative

04 Mar 2013

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. What sort of reality is God in the Christian tradition? The drama and dialogues of the scriptures present a picture of God as a communicative, personal, moral, agent: that is, a reality who addresses us, who causes things to happen in our world, and who give value to things in the world. This first lecture explored the plausibility and credibility of this sort of picture of God.

Duration: 51:15 mins | File size 46.9 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 38 KB)

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Ash Wednesday 2013

15 Feb 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Enjoy Lent! This holy and beautiful season allows us to focus better on what really matters: the love of God above all and in all and through all. Read the sermon.

Duration: 10:55 mins | File size 10.2 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Epiphany 2013

08 Jan 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. We, like the Wise Men, in St Paul’s words from this morning’s second lesson, must come to see ‘what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.' Read the sermon.

Duration: 12:02 mins | File size 8.4 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Christmas Day 2012

04 Jan 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. ‘But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.' That is God’s gift to us, if only we will receive it. May the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of the whole Abbey community be to you and yours for a very happy Christmas. Read the sermon.

Duration: 11:49 mins | File size 8.3 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at First Eucharist of Christmas 2012

04 Jan 2013

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. The Bible Society recently conducted a survey. You may have seen a report in some of the newspapers. The survey wanted to find out how well the British public knew the story we celebrate tonight, the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The researchers ICM asked more than 1,000 children under 12 and 1,000 parents ten questions about their knowledge of the Christmas story. Most scored six out of ten; almost a quarter got eight or more answers right. Read the sermon.

Duration: 10:08 mins | File size 7.1 MB

Programme title: FAITH & SECULARISM: THE MORAL RESOURCING OF THE NATION - DIALOGUE AND DEBATE

19 Nov 2012

How can morality best be shaped in a plural society which is constantly under pressure from multiple strands of opinion and a variety of social forces?  What shared historic and contemporary moral and religious resources can be brought to bear on issues such as the quest for wealth, fame, competition, self-esteem? Can faith and secular work together to renew our moral resources?  An agnostic professor of philosophy and a radical orthodox professor of theology debated the issues.

Duration: 1:16:15 mins | File size 52.6 MB

Programme title: FAITH & SECULARISM IN CHRISTIAN BELIEF

08 Nov 2012

Professor Keith Ward. This lecture argued for the irrationality of a purely science-based belief system, and for the importance of cultivating a spirituality which can unite scientific, moral, liberal, and humane attitudes, and in which faith and critical enquiry overlap and complement one another.

Duration: 50:23 mins | File size 34.6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Saints Day 2012

02 Nov 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. The Saints can inspire and encourage us in our own Christian pilgrimage. They enable us to become what we are, the saints, the 'plebs sancta Dei', the holy common people of God. Read the sermon.

Duration: 10:10 mins | File size 7.1 MB

Programme title: FAITH & SECULARISM IN EDUCATION

24 Oct 2012

Professor Alister McGrath. This lecture explored educational approaches that encourage respect and critical dialogue between religious and secular positions.

Duration: 57:02 mins | File size 39.1 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 59 KB)

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Dedication of Westminster Abbey, 1269: Sunday 14 October 2012

16 Oct 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Today we thank God for the energy and commitment of so many people to the renewal of this building and the vigorous life of this Abbey community. Read the sermon

Duration: 12:24 mins | File size 8.5 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Eve of the Translation of St Edward the Confessor: Friday 12 October 2012

16 Oct 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. I pray on this great feast of St Edward the Confessor that our lives and the life of our nation and Commonwealth, indeed the life of our world, might be inspired by the saint’s example, who rebuilt the Church as his centre and foundation and was able to ‘press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Read the sermon

Duration: 11:12 mins | File size 7.7 MB

Programme title: Sermon for a Service in Celebration of the London Olympic Games

16 Jul 2012

The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford. May the great joy that will grip our nation and our world as these London Olympic and Paralympic Games begin, remind us of lasting values of victorious peace, something that is available and given to all of us because of what God has done in Christ, and awaken in us a hope for peace; may we run well, but also, recognising our failings, humbly seek the forgiveness that only God can bring, and then receive the prize that he has secured for everyone; “and may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing”

Duration: 11:28 mins | File size 8.7 MB

Programme title: Address given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama at A Moment of Prayer and Reflection

27 Jun 2012

His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama visited Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 20th June 2012 for A Moment of Prayer and Reflection in the Nave. The gathering included representatives from 17 other faiths and Christian denominations.

Duration: 7:37 mins | File size 5.3 MB


Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Day of Pentecost: Sunday 27 May 2012

28 May 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. A taxi driver said to me the other day that he quite liked religious buildings. They gave you something. He found it hard to describe it. Something numinous, he might have said; a sense of awe; a moment of peace. He did say it didn’t really affect him; he wasn’t religious. I was waiting for him to make the next claim, one I’ve heard so often, though in this case it never came: I may not be religious but I am spiritual.

Duration: 11:10 mins | File size 7.8 MB


Programme title: 27th Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture: Mis-establishment

15 May 2012

The Right Reverend Dr Peter Selby. The well-rehearsed arguments about the establishment of the Church of England require revisiting at a time when the nature of sovereignty and location of power have substantially shifted. Unless the issues arising from those shifts are examined the established church may find itself, while imagining it occupies a place close to the levers of power, is actually remote from them, while at the same time alienated from those who lack power.

Duration: 1:14:13 mins | File size 52 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 59 KB)

Programme title: Address given at a Service to Commemorate the Life of Florence Nightingale 2012

15 May 2012

The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Carey of Clifton PC, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002. We gather to honour a great lady who became a legend in her own time, reminding us that nursing is a calling from God, a vocation, to serve others sacrificially and devotedly.

Duration: 11:01 mins | File size 10.3 MB

Programme title: Christian Faith and Public Policy: Faith, Gender and Equality

26 Apr 2012

Lord Plant. Exploring issues of faith and public policy. This second lecture looked at the highly contentious area of approaches to gender, sexuality and equality and the attitudes of faith communities to issues of this sort and whether any specific attention should be paid to them.

Duration: 50:41 mins | File size 23.7 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 59 KB)

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Easter Day 2012

11 Apr 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. Praise be to God! 'This is the day that the Lord has made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it.'

Duration: 11:01 mins | File size 12.9 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist with the Washing of the feet, Maundy Thursday 2012

11 Apr 2012

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. On the night when Jesus was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

Duration: 9:31 mins | File size 11.2 MB

Programme title: Lent Lecture 2012: History and Eternity: Transforming the present: future hope in the here & now

13 Mar 2012

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. The final lecture on the possibilities of believing in life beyond death examined both the intellectual and moral integrity of the belief. It asked how such a belief can be held without intellectual compromise, and without succumbing to merely wishful thinking. It went on to argue that, properly understood, this hope and belief does not detract from our commitment to living fully in the here and now, but strengthens and transforms it.

Duration: 1:14:52 mins | File size 51 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 40 KB)

Programme title: Lent Lecture 2012: History and Eternity: Images of resurrection: time, space and bodies in eternity

06 Mar 2012

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. The second lecture on the possibilities of believing in life beyond death presented some key images of eternity from christian theology. It sketched out how life beyond death had been imagined in scriptural narrative and imagery, and then asked whether these images are credible in a contemporary world view of space, time, and material reality. It considered whether the idea of 'soul' can and should be rehabilitated, in spite of its currently unfashionable status.

Duration: 53:18 mins | File size 48.8 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 42 KB)

Programme title: Lent Lecture 2012: History and Eternity: Signs of transcendence: the beyond in the ordinary

28 Feb 2012

Vernon White, Canon Theologian. This first lecture on the possibilities of believing in life beyond death first set out to make the case why it matters to 'put heaven on the agenda'; why it is important to think about what may lie beyond this life. It then considered how signs of this 'beyond' are woven into the fabric of life in the here and now. It drew on the experiences of ordinary life, as well as on literature and the explorations of science, to sketch out a context in which belief in the beyond becomes possible for us all.

Duration: 53:58 mins | File size 49.4 MB

Read the lecture transcript (PDF, 41 KB)

Programme title: A wreathlaying ceremony to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens

07 Feb 2012

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 7th February 2012 at 11.15 am to celebrate the life and work of Charles Dickens on the 200th anniversary of his birth. The great Victorian writer was buried in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey on 14th June 1870. Excerpts of Dickens' writings were read during the ceremony. Claire Tomalin, Dickens' biographer, read from a letter that Dickens wrote to his sister. Mark Charles Dickens, Great Great Grandson and Head of the Dickens Family, read from The Life of Our Lord, which Dickens wrote for his children. Actor and director Ralph Fiennes read 'Jo's Will' from Bleak House. The Right Reverend Michael Dickens Whinney, Great Great Grandson, read Luke 14: 7-14. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, gave the address.

Duration: 36:15 mins | File size 17.4 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist for Candlemas 2012

03 Feb 2012

The Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Canon in Residence.In this Sermon for Candlemas, the Christian aspiration to ‘a good death’, dying prepared is considered in the light of Simeon’s response: 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace'.

Duration: 10:01 mins | File size 4.8 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at a service of celebration to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible

16 Nov 2011

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. What is a good translation? Not one that just allows me to say, when I pick it up, ‘Now I understand’. Of course, if I’m faced with a text in a strange language, I need to be able simply to read it; but a good translation will be an invitation to read again, and to probe, and reflect, and imagine with the text. Rather than letting me say, ‘Now I understand’, it prompts the response, ‘Now the work begins.’

Duration: 13:33 mins | File size 6.5 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist for All Souls' Day 2011

04 Nov 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. In our minds and hearts, this afternoon, as we come to receive the bread and wine, which are the Body and Blood of Christ, the fruits of Christ’s sacrifice, we bring as it were to stand beside us the souls of all those we love and see no longer.

Duration: 11:39 mins | File size 5.6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist for All Saints' Day 2011

03 Nov 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. The way of the saints is a way we can tread as well as the saints. Our weak wilfulness is no barrier to God, whose love is made perfect in weakness.

Duration: 10:37 mins | File size 5.1 MB

Programme title: King James Bible Lecture: The Law, the Bible and Politics: Why the Bible is the Foundation of British Politics

20 Oct 2011

In the final of Westminster Abbey’s autumn series of King James Bible lectures Nick Spencer spoke on the political impact of the Bible, how the British commitment to equality, freedom, democracy and toleration emerge from the biblical roots of our political history.

Duration: 1:05:12 mins | File size 29.8 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Dedication of Westminster Abbey 2011

19 Oct 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. As we celebrate the dedication of this church, we whose lives are associated with this holy place - and all who join us in worship today - should dedicate ourselves anew to being the place of God’s glory on earth.

Duration: 11:33 mins | File size 5.6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist for the Translation of St Edward the Confessor 2011

17 Oct 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Our task on the feast of St Edward, in honour of our founder and benefactor, is to re-imagine, to conceive afresh in our minds, the influence and reach of our Christian faith within this nation and the nations of our world and to act and react accordingly.

Duration: 12:46 mins | File size 6.1 MB

Programme title: Address given at a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Bicentenary of the National Society

14 Oct 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams pays tribute to the work of the National Society.

Duration: 14:44 mins | File size 7.1 MB

Programme title: King James Bible Lecture: The Law, The Bible and Politics: The Impact of the King James Bible 1611-2011

13 Oct 2011

13 October 2011

In the second of Westminster Abbey’s autumn series of King James Bible lectures Lord Bragg, the author and broadcaster, covered the impact of the King James Bible on cultural life and literature in England between 1611 and now.

Duration: 1:13:29 mins | File size 35.3 MB

Programme title: King James Bible Lecture: The Law, The Bible and Politics: The Lawyer's Perspective

06 Oct 2011

06 October 2011

In the first of Westminster Abbey’s autumn series of King James Bible lectures Lord Judge lectured on the historic and legal context of the King James Bible and the relationship between the king, the rule of law and the church and our constitutional development.

Duration: 1:04:55 mins | File size 31.3 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Ascension Day 2011

06 Jun 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. It is the love of God revealed in our Lord’s life, death and resurrection that is able to transport us to heaven, God’s love alone, his self-giving love.

Duration: 8:48 mins | File size 4.3 MB

Programme title: Why God won’t go away: Lunchtime talk in St Margaret's Church with Prof. Alister McGrath

19 May 2011

Prof. Alister McGrath, one of the world’s leading authorities on Richard Dawkins and the New Atheism, speaks about the challenges of radical secularism. Beginning from the premise that New Atheism is the start of an important theological conversation, Prof McGrath moves on to discuss some of the major themes and a Christian critique of them. *Please note the last few minutes of the talk was not recorded*

Duration: 30:09 mins | File size 13 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving to mark ANZAC Day

10 May 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Yesterday, after six weeks of solemn penance during the Lenten fast, Westminster Abbey rang again with the sound of the Easter song Alleluia as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. On Good Friday, we remembered the death of Jesus on the Cross, the ultimate sacrifice of self-giving love. Yesterday, Easter Day, we celebrated the new life of the risen Jesus Christ, the vindication of that sacrifice, the guarantee that the triumph of generous service and self-giving love is the secret at the heart of the world, the touchstone for all that is true and good.

Duration: 8:20 mins | File size 4 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Easter Day 2011

10 May 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. ‘Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.’

Duration: 11:30 mins | File size 5.5 MB

Programme title: Addresses given at the Christchurch Earthquake Memorial Service

02 Apr 2011

A Christchurch Earthquake Memorial Service was held at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 27 March 2011. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall gave an address and The High Commissioner for New Zealand HE Derek Leask read an Address from the country’s Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key.

Duration: 23:42 mins | File size 11.4 MB

Programme title: Addresses given at a Service of Blessing for the Benedictine Torch

03 Mar 2011

A Service of Blessing for the Benedictine Torch took place at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 2 March at 12 noon. The Addresses were given by the Right Reverend Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield and Chairman of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome; and the Archabbot of Montecassino. Westminster Abbey was the first non-Roman Catholic Church to host the lighting of the Benedictine Torch.

Duration: 20:43 mins | File size 10 MB

Programme title: Sermon given on the Feast of the Epiphany: Thursday 6 January 2011

07 Jan 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Today’s feast offers us an opportunity to renew our commitment to receive afresh the grace and power of God through his Word and in his Sacraments so that we can more effectively share his love with others.

Duration: 8:11 mins | File size 3.9 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Christmas Day Saturday 25 December 2010

04 Jan 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. In his Christmas day sermon, the Dean of Westminster speaks of the gentle love of God revealed in God’s Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

Duration: 10:07 mins | File size 4.6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at the First Eucharist of Christmas Friday 24 December 2010

04 Jan 2011

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. In his sermon at the Midnight Eucharist the Dean of Westminster reflected on the longing that we should see the mystery at the heart of the universe: God’s love.

Duration: 7:17 mins | File size 3.3 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Souls' Day: Tuesday 2 November 2010

03 Nov 2010

Most of us come to this service tonight with vivid memories of departed relatives and friends, with a sense of loss and with a degree of pain. We remember those we have loved and who have loved us, those we love still, but from whom we are now parted. For some, the sense of loss and pain is recent and sharp; others have come to terms with the loss and find the pain deadened by the years. We know that those from whom we are parted would not have wanted us to grieve – and yet, naturally, we do, even when we are thankful for a long life well lived, or for a period of acute suffering and privation ended. Where death has been sudden or tragic death, we can be left mystified, bewildered as to what happened and why – and what might have been.

Duration: 10:40 mins | File size 4.5 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Saints' Day: Monday 1 November 2010

02 Nov 2010

In the Dean’s All Saints’ Day sermon, he recognised the call for Christians, inevitably influenced by the world, to be positively engaged with the world for the sake of the Gospel.

Duration: 11:15 mins | File size 5.2 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Sunday 17 October 2010 for the Feast of the Dedication of Westminster Abbey

19 Oct 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. The Dean’s sermon for the feast of the dedication, celebrating the consecration of the Abbey Church (current building) on 13 October 1269.

Duration: 7:27 mins | File size 3.4 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Festival Eucharist on the Octave of the Translation of Edward the Confessor: Saturday 16 October 2010

19 Oct 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Saturday in the Octave of St Edward is set aside as a day when pilgrims are especially welcomed, as they have been since the 12th century, to St Edward’s Shrine. This Sung Eucharist celebrates St Edward’s life and holiness on the day of the national pilgrimage to his shrine.

Duration: 16:06 mins | File size 7.5 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on the Festival of St Peter the Apostle: Tuesday 29 June 2010

30 Jun 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. The life of Westminster Abbey is so rich in the anniversaries of the men and women who are buried or memorialised here and of the great events that have happened through the thousand years and more of our wonderful story that to say of any year that it is likely to go down in history as remarkable is to make a bold claim. And yet, it is I believe justifiable in relation to this year that we are all experiencing.

Duration: 11:24 mins | File size 5.2 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at a Service to Celebrate the 450th Anniversary of the Collegiate Foundation of St Peter

21 May 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.It is impossible for us to know what Queen Elizabeth I thought when she signed the Charter but it would not be surprising if she had thought of the turmoil the Abbey had undergone in the previous twenty years. The Charter makes it clear that she intended to end the turmoil. Of this renewed Collegiate Church, the Charter says that it is ‘in all future times to endure and to be inviolably observed.’ And so it has been for the past 450 years. There seems every reason to suppose it will continue as long as there is time on earth.

Duration: 7:00 mins | File size 8 MB

Programme title: Archbishop Tutu's Ascension Day sermon 2010

14 May 2010

Archbishop Tutu in his sermon on Ascension Day says that through worship we must 'open our eyes to the essential sacredness of life' and oppose injustice.

Duration: 19:06 mins | File size 22 MB

Programme title: Easter Day 2010

07 Apr 2010

The late and slow emergence of daffodils and tulips after our long cold winter and in our late spring has somehow seemed right this year. In previous years I have often found a worrying mismatch between a blazing spring full of colour and vibrancy and the penitential Lenten mood of self-denial and abstinence. This year, in London anyway, the emergence of spring has, almost if not quite, waited for Easter: as if now nature with the Church is ready to celebrate the arrival of the season of hope and joy and new life.

Duration: 10:41 mins | File size 4.9 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Maundy Thursday 1 April 2010

01 Apr 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. This evening the Lord Jesus Christ welcomes us to a meal, to supper with him and his closest friends. The occasion is unusual; this will be no ordinary supper. The circumstances are strange, a little disturbing: there are threats and rumours all around. We are in an odd place: the Lord of all has nowhere of his own, nowhere to lay his head, but a room has been found; preparations have been made.

Duration: 10:25 mins | File size 6 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at a service to mark the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero

29 Mar 2010

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Oscar Romero is commemorated as a martyr in the Church of England’s liturgical calendar on 24 March each year. His image is among ten statues of martyrs of the twentieth century placed over the Great West Doors of Westminster Abbey in 1998.

Duration: 15:29 mins | File size 9 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on The Annunciation of our Lord: Thursday 25 March 2010

29 Mar 2010

The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster. Celebrating the Annunciation in Passiontide helps us see both the beauty of God’s creation and the need for atonement between humanity and God.

Duration: 08:47 mins | File size 16 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes: Wednesday 17 February 2010

18 Feb 2010

‘Nothing less than Christ will do. We are to be imitators of Christ.’

Duration: 11:58 mins | File size 5.7 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on Epiphany: Wednesday 6 January 2010

07 Jan 2010

Lying behind the modern democratic political system is a shadow structure that acknowledges the Sovereignty of Christ. The Dean said it was an important question how far elected politicians and we personally acknowledge in practice God’s Sovereignty.

Duration: 9:36 mins | File size 4.4 MB

Programme title: Charles Gore Lecture 2009: Darwin and God

26 Nov 2009

To mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, Nick Spencer, author of Darwin and God, delivers the 2009 Gore lecture, tracing Darwin's religious biography and asking what we can learn from this most courteous and humane of scientists.

Duration: 48:52 mins | File size 22.4 MB

Programme title: Sermon given at Sung Eucharist on All Soul's Day: Monday 2 November 2009

04 Nov 2009

In his All Souls’ Day sermon, the Dean faces the inevitable truth that we shall all die and asks us to be prepared for our own death.

Duration: 8:58 mins | File size 4.2 MB

Programme title: Sermon on the Abbey’s Dedication Festival Sunday 18 October

19 Oct 2009

On the Abbey’s dedication festival, the Dean identified the ultimate purpose of the Abbey as to give greater glory to God. That test must be applied to the Abbey’s daily life and work and to any proposed changes.

Duration: 11:48 mins | File size 10.8 MB

Programme title: An evening of readings celebrating the 300th anniversary year of the birth of Dr Johnson

19 Oct 2009

A special evening of Samuel Johnson readings on the 300th anniversary year of the birth of Dr Johnson. In association with the Johnson Society of London. Readers: Lance Pierson, Karin Fernald, Michael Bundock and David Nokes. Introduced by: The Reverend Dr Nicholas Sagovsky

Duration: 56:51 mins | File size 26 MB

Programme title: Sermon on the Feast of the Translation of St Edward the Confessor

14 Oct 2009

Preaching on the 740th anniversary of the relics of St Edward the Confessor being enshrined behind the Abbey’s high altar, the Dean of Westminster spoke of the saint’s remains uniting Christians and pointing us to heaven.

Duration: 13:05 mins | File size 12 MB

Programme title: Abraham Lincoln and the Mission of America

08 Jul 2009

Professor Richard Carwardine gave a lecture in St Margaret's Church on Tuesday 7 July to mark the 200th anniversary year of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Duration: 39:52 mins | File size 18.6 MB

Programme title: Easter Day sermon 2009

14 Apr 2009

In his Easter 2009 sermon in Westminster Abbey, the Dean spoke of the contrast between the solemnity of Holy Week and the joy of Easter, between the reality of suffering and the joy of new life. Christians, he said, need to live and work on both sides of the contrast.

Duration: 11:18 mins | File size 5.2 MB