2020's Freedom & Tolerance Forum

Saturday 7th March 2020, 10am – 1pm – free admission, all welcome

The Well, Hospital Road, Retford, DN22 7BD

Freedom and Tolerance is as important today as it was 400 years ago – in the anniversary year of the Mayflower Pilgrims, let’s see what history can teach us about journeys, rebellion, and things we take for granted.

Speakers include:

Lord Beith – Member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee and the Lord Speaker’s Committee on the size of the House. MP for Berwick upon Tweed, 1973-2015

Lord Beith

Subject: Methodist Heritage and its significance today

Lord Beith will refer to the heritage of one of the three elements that make up the Methodist church, the United Methodists, who were the most independent-minded and authority-challenging of Methodists, relating this to the significance of religious freedom and toleration.

Professor Elizabeth Tingle – Professor of Early Modern European History at De Montfort University, Leicester. Previously she taught at Plymouth University and the University of Northampton.

Elizabeth Tingle

Subject: Irish Catholic Refugees in Europe in the early 1600s

Professor Tingle specialises in the history of the French Wars of Religion and in the European Catholic/Counter Reformations. She has just completed a project on long-distance pilgrimage in north-west Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Professor Tingle is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the Royal Archaeological Institute and an officer of the Ecclesiastical History Society of Great Britain.

Rev’d Dr Stuart Jennings – Certificate coordinator for Historical Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick, where he had also served across the university as a chaplain from 2006-2017. Specialist in Nottinghamshire history, Warwick University

Stuart Jennings

Subject: Faith and Fighting in Nottinghamshire during the Civil War

Rev’d Dr Jennings received his doctorate from Nottingham Trent University for his work on Puritanism and Protestant Nonconformity in Nottinghamshire, 1600-1700. His book on Newark in the Civil War won the Alan Ball national prize for Local history and he is also the author of 2 books, 17 academic articles and a chapter in three collaborative volumes. He continues to serve as an academic advisor to the National Civil War centre at Newark.

Mr John Pontiflex – Head of Press & Information for Aid to the Church in Need (UK).

John Pontiflex

Subject: Has Religious Freedom become an Orphaned Right?

In his 17 years with the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, John has travelled widely in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He has investigated human rights violations relating to Christians and other faith minorities. He has visited locations where persecution has taken place, interviewing survivors and Church leaders.

John has acted as Editor-in-Chief of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World, (latest report launched in the House of Lords in November 2018). The report examines the degree to which religious freedom is upheld in 196 countries around the globe. John is a regular media contributor, internationally, on the topic of persecuted Christians.

The first Retford Religious Tolerance Forum was held in 2016 to commemorate the death, in 1616, of Thomas Helwys, the first Baptist martyr, and co-founder, and original advocate of religious tolerance between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and those with no faith. Thomas Helwys was born in Gainsborough, but his family moved to Broxtowe Hall in Bilborough parish, which later became a centre for radical dissenting activism.

This event has been renamed “Freedom & Tolerance” to broaden the scope and better reflect issues of today. This will be the fifth annual Tolerance Forum to be held in Retford. It provides a unique opportunity for the subject to be discussed in an open forum.

Previous speakers have included Baroness Elizabeth Berridge (International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief), John Mann MP, Prof. John Coffey (University of Leicester), Rev Tony Peck (General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation), Imam Bakhtyar Pirzada (Eaton Hall), Dr David Appleby (University of Nottingham), Mr Phil Lyons (CEO National Holocaust Centre) Prof. Larry Kreitzer (Oxford University), Dr Martin Parsons (Barnabas Fund), and Dr Calum Miller (Oxford University).

Focuses on the people and their stories based on faith heritage, with their roots established in and around Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire. The region covered is centred on Retford, with a radius of around 30 miles, including parts of Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire.

Religious Tolerance Forum 2019

Is Free Speech at risk? – Find out here

This year’s Retford Religious Tolerance Forum is on Saturday 9th March 2019, 10am-1pm at The Well, Hospital Road, Retford, DN22 7BD.

George Washington, First President of the United States, said:

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter”

The first Retford Religious Tolerance Forum was held in 2016 to commemorate the death of Thomas Helwys in 1616, the first Baptist martyr and original advocate of religious tolerance between Christians, Jews, Muslims, and those with no faith.

This year’s speakers include:

  • Dr Larry Kreitzer – “Pioneer of Freedom: New Light on Thomas Helwys of Nottinghamshire”

Dr Kreitzer is from Regent’s Park College at the University of Oxford and holds a Research Lectureship in the Faculty of Theology. He is a member of the Society of New Testament Studies and has served on the Editorial Board for several academic journals. He will provide new insights into the life of Thomas Helwys.

  • Dr Martin Parsons – “Religious Freedom in Britain since 1700 – and what it tells us about the World today”

Dr Parsons comes from the Barnabas Fund, the main ministry of which is to send financial support to projects which help Christians where they suffer discrimination, oppression and persecution as a consequence of their faith.

  • Dr Calum Miller – “Is Free Speech really under threat?”

Dr Miller is a medical doctor, philosopher, and ethicist who graduated from the University of Oxford in 2015 with degrees in Medical Sciences (Neuroscience) and Medicine & Surgery. Calum currently teaches Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Oxford.

  • Ben Huxtable of Release International

This event originated in 2016, commemorating the death of Nottinghamshire tolerance campaigner, Thomas Helwys, who was part of the English Puritan and Separatist movement that produced the Mayflower Pilgrims and led to the creation of the Congregational and Baptist Churches.

This will be the fourth annual Religious Tolerance Forum to be held in Retford. It provides a unique opportunity for the subject to be discussed in an open forum.

Previous speakers have included Baroness Elizabeth Berridge (member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief), John Mann MP, Professor John Coffey (University of Leicester), Rev Tony Peck (General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation), Imam Bakhtyar Pirzada (Eaton Hall), Dr David Appleby (University of Nottingham), and Mr Phil Lyons (CEO National Holocaust Centre).

The event is free and open to all, and everyone is welcome.

Christian Heritage Conference & Religious Tolerance Forum

Coming up in March 2019:

CHRISTIAN HERITAGE CONFERENCE – Retford, Friday 8th March 2019

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE FORUM – Retford, Saturday 9th March 2019

Following the success of previous events attended by those involved in Christian heritage from across the UK, we are holding our fourth free conference on 8th March 2019 in Retford at The Well. This year we plan to have a mixed programme covering themes and issues from our work, and we hope to have some overseas guests as well. A detailed programme will follow.

Call for topics and presentations:

It would be great if you could let us know if you can speak on a specific topic or development that would be of interest to other group members, for example holding public lectures, events for children/families, marketing, lottery and grant applications etc. Please also let me know if you know of others who might be interested in attending.

Please also feel free to suggest topics for wider discussion or that you would like help with.

Religious Tolerance Forum

On the following morning, a Saturday, we will hold the fourth event marking the contribution of Christians to the development of religious tolerance worldwide. Speakers already booked include Prof Larry Kreitzer talking about the early Baptists and their contribution to religious freedom and Masoud Abadi, an Iranian refugee and campaigner. We are also in discussion with the US Embassy about a speaker from Washington which would be very exciting.

As before, there is NO CHARGE for either of these events but you are asked to pay for lunch on the Friday. Retford has good rail and road links, and we are also arranging low price B & B at Mattersey Bible College.

For further information or to book please contact:

adriangray@pilgrimsandprophets.co.uk

If you want to stay at Mattersey, please let us know soon as space is limited. Please advise on what accommodation you would like and for which nights. Please also indicate if you will be using your own transport or not.

Costs to stay at Mattersey are approximately:

  • Cooked Breakfast £3.00
  • Bed & Breakfast single room £20.00 per night
  • Bed & Breakfast double en-suite room £40.00 for 2 people. £30.00 for 1 person (only 3 rooms available)
  • Bed & Breakfast twin en-suite room £40.00 for 2 people. £30.00 for 1 person (only 1 room available)

Religious Tolerance Forum: coming up in March

This year’s Religious Tolerance Forum will take place on Saturday 10th March 2018, 10am-1pm at The Well in Retford (DN22 7BD). BCH are grateful to Bassetlaw District Council for their continued support for this event.

This year’s speakers include Dr David Appleby, Lecturer in Early Modern British History at the University of Nottingham, and adviser to the National Civil War Museum. David will be speaking about freedom and persecution in the post civil war era. Masoud Ahmadi from the International Liberty Association will talk about his escape from persecution, and Phil Lyons, CEO of the National Holocaust Centre, will describe the work done at the Centre and discuss the use of survivor testimony and recent innovations, including the Forever project.

We are also pleased to welcome Ben Huxtable of Release International and Andrew Smith of Open Doors. This year’s event will feature a video of an interview with Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury.

For more information, please contact us at contact@bassetlawchristianheritage.com or Adrian Gray at adriangray@pilgrimsandprophets.co.uk

Religious Tolerance Forum poster v2 10th March 2018