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33rd Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lecture - Beating the Bounds: Parish Ministry and Spirituality Today

33rd Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lecture - Beating the Bounds: Parish Ministry and Spirituality Today

Thursday, 24th May 2018 | 6.30pm | The Abbey


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Priest and broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles gives the annual Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture at Westminster Abbey.

In ‘Beating the Bounds: Parish Ministry and Spirituality Today’, he explores the shape of parish priesthood today from the perspective of an incumbent of a small semi-rural parish with a much larger emerging digital and broadcasting ministry; and asks how spirituality sustains that ministry, and is, in return, shaped by it.

The Reverend Richard Coles FKC is a priest of the Church of England and Vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire, where two of his ancestors were vicars in the seventeenth century (the latter sequestered for malignancy). He has a parallel career as a writer and broadcaster. A quarter of a century ago he was in the pop band The Communards, after which he read theology at King’s College London. He is the author of four books, including the best-selling memoir, ‘Fathomless Riches'.  His academic thesis, on the Greek text of the Epistle to the Ephesians, rests unread in Leeds University Library. With a particular interest in housing matters, he is Patron of Wellingborough Homes, and is Chancellor of the University of Northampton. He lives in the Vicarage in Finedon with his civil partner David, also ordained, and four dachshunds. 

The Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lectures are given in memory of Dean Eric Symes Abbott (1906-1983), who was at various times Dean of King's College London, Warden of Lincoln Theological College, Warden of Keble College Oxford, and Dean of Westminster. The Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Fund was endowed after his death by his friends to provide for an annual lecture on spirituality and pastoral theology. Past lecturers include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Rt Hon Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, and the playwright David Hare.

Event information

Start Date:24th May 2018
Start Time:6.30pm
Location: The Abbey
Price: Free

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The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.


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