Living Theology - Llandudno


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Llandudno Living Theology 2020

God Who Speaks - the Year of The Word - a summer school in Christian faith.

Loretox Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno LL30 2EL. See map

Friday 10th - Sunday 12th July 2020

What is Living Theology?

The Living Theology Summer School has been organised by Jesuits and their associates in venues across the country for over 50 years. The courses continue to provide opportunities for Christians of all denominations to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith, and develop their personal reflection on Christian living and belief. No prior theological knowledge is required, just an open mind and willingness to engage.

This year the Church invites us to turn our minds and hearts to The God who Speaks, through prayer and study of the Scriptures. We hope that our programme helps us to respond to this call.


For general information and details of arrangements, please click.

The Courses

All participants follow the three lectures given by Sean Ryan, the key note speaker. His Friday evening lecture is also a Public Lecture, so everyone is welcome, even if not attending the rest of the weekend. Participants then choose two other courses, one for Saturday and another for Sunday. Each course will consist of three presentations throughout the day. This makes it possible for those who are only able to attend on one day to complete a full course.

Sean Ryan’s first lecture (at 7.30pm on Friday June 7th) is a public lecture, open to all even if not attending the rest of the weekend.

Reading the Bible as the Inspired Word of God

Lecturer: Sean Ryan

This course will reflect on the Bible as the ‘inspired’ Word of God and discuss how such an understanding might affect the ways we read Scripture and are transformed by it. We will engage with scriptural texts, ancient and modern theologians, notably St Augustine, and some aspects of the teaching of the Catholic Church (Dei Verbum).

Talk 1: What might it mean to say that Scripture is the ‘inspired’ Word of God? In this initial talk we will discuss what it might mean to say that Scripture is ‘inspired’. We will reflect on what Scripture says about itself, as being “God-breathed” (2 Tim 3:16), and engage with different understandings of this rich and multifaceted topic down the ages.

Talk 2: If the Bible is an ‘inspired’ text how does that affect the ways we read it? If Scripture is an ‘inspired’ text, how does this affect the ways in which we might read and interpret it? In session two we will focus on multiple layers of meaning within scripture, and reflect upon ways in which ancient and modern interpreters have sought to tease out both the letter and the spirit of the text.

Talk 3: How might the Bible as the ‘inspired’ Word of God transform those who read it? If Scripture is ‘inspired’ by the Spirit, and its interpretation is to be guided, at least in part, by that same Spirit, how are believers to live in accordance with Scripture, to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:25)? In this final session we will reflect on how we might be transformed by Scripture, delving deeper into the riches of its multiple layers of meaning to draw nearer to the presence of God. We will consider some scriptural passages together, notably from the New Testament and Psalms, assisted by ancient and modern interpreters.

Sean is a lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Roehampton, and previously studied and taught at Heythrop College, University of London. He has a particular research interest in prophetic and apocalyptic literature of the Old and New Testaments, and is currently working on a book on the heavenly liturgy in the Apocalypse.

Courses on Saturday July 11th - please choose one of these:

Course A: The Last Supper Today. Lecturer: Mike Smith SJ

Course B: Reading Galatians. Lecturer: Josette Zammit-Mangion IBVM

Course C: Who do you say I am? Lecturer: Mike Barnes SJ

Courses on Sunday 12th July Choose one of the following:

Course B: (Repeat of Saturday’s Course)

Course C: (Repeat of Saturday’s Course)

Course D: Hope for the Future: Lecturer: Mike Smith SJ

Course descriptions

Course A:The Last Supper Today (Saturday only)

This course will explore what we can learn about the Eucharist as it is today from the writings in the Old and New Testaments. When we take part in the Eucharist we are taking part in a tradition that stretches back thousands of years. The course includes an examination of the Old Testament understanding of sacrifice, the New Testament writing about the Passover, and references to the way Eucharist was understood and celebrated in the very early church.

Michael Smith SJ is a Jesuit priest currently involved in adult education and work with refugees, having spent most of his life in education. He is especially interested in science and in the links between science and Christian faith.

Course B: Reading Galatians (Saturday or Sunday)

One of the earliest writings of the New Testament, Paul’s letter to the Galatians provides us with a window into the life and troubles of an early Christian community. Paul’s dynamic response addresses the crisis raised by false teachers who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. Paul refutes the claims of his opponents and draws the members of the community back to the reality of their own religious experience and what this means in daily life. A close reading of the letter, one side of a conversation, will enable us to construct a picture of the situation in Galatia, follow the structure of Paul’s argument and engage with some of the wider themes of Pauline theology which the letter contains. If possible, please bring your own Bible.

Josette si a member of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, taught English at secondary school level for a number of years. Following theological studies, she joined the retreat team at Loyola Hall Spirituality Centre. She then returned to post-graduate study focussing on the Pauline correspondence. Josette is currently living in London where she teaches English to Speakers of other languages.

Course C: ‘Who do you say I am?’ (Saturday or Sunday)

Jesus's great question to his disciples is the heart of the Gospel and responses have reverberated throughout the history of Christianity.  The first were spelled out in Jewish terms - for the first disciples were all, of course, Jewish.  But Christian faith speaks not just Hebrew but Greek and Latin and has been translated into every language the world over, from ancient Syriac to the vernaculars of modern India.  Who is this Jesus in such a pluralist world and how do we speak of his significance for us today?

Michael Barnes SJ teaches theology and inter-religious relations at the University of Roehampton and the Margaret Beaufort Institute in the Cambridge Theological Federation.  His publications include Waiting on Grace: a Theology of Dialogue, (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Course D: Hope for the Future (Sunday only)

We have created a climate emergency: we are using up all the resources in the world, and while some people have grown very wealthy, many people are living in poverty.

Guided by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Sí, this course will examine the environmental and economic issues that have led to this situation, and explore what would be a strong Christian response. The course will include some ways in which each of us can work to implement a better and more hope-filled world.

Michael Smith SJ is a Jesuit priest currently involved in adult education and work with refugees, having spent most of his life in education. He is especially interested in science and in the links between science and Christian faith.

General Information

Suggested Donation

£80 for the whole weekend. £40 for Saturday or Sunday only. (But please see important note below). A non-refundable deposit of £10 is asked for when booking.

If attending the Public Lecture on Friday only, we ask for a donation of £5. If you are attending any other part of the weekend, this lecture is included in your donation.

Residential Places

Please enquire about availability and please note that all our rooms are now en suite. Suggested donation: £190 (this includes course fee). Please make it clear on your booking form if you require accommodation, and include a £50 non-refundable deposit to secure your room.


It is important to us that nobody is excluded from our programmed events for financial reason. Please speak to us if you would find difficulty in meeting the suggested offering. If on the other hand, you feel able to make an extra contribution towards a bursary fund, this would enable others to participate in our programme.


The suggested donation includes tea/coffee and a light lunch.


A large car park is available at the Centre.


A bookshop is available during the weekend.


Please fill in the booking form (download it here) and send to Loreto Centre with your deposit.

Contact details and other information

Please contactact Ewa Bem IBVM at Loreto Centre,Loreto Centre, Abbey Road, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2EL
Tel: 01492 878031 or email:

Registered Charity 250607


 Friday July 10th Saturday July 11thSunday July 12th
18.00Supper for residents08.00Breakfast for residentsBreakfast for residents
(new participants)
19.15Introduction to weekend.09.30Morning prayerMorning prayer
19.30First key–note lecture10:00Lecture 1Lecture 1
20:45Tea and coffee11.00Tea and coffeeTea and coffee
  11.30Lecture 2Lecture 2
  14.00Lecture 3Lecture 3
  15.00Tea and coffeeTea and coffee
  15.30Key–note lectureKey–note lecture
  16.45 Tea and coffee
  17.00Mass for Sunday
  18.00Supper for residents