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Events for May


May is a little early in the year to be thinking of going to Greenbelt. But this year the festival is running a little amuse bouche ahead of the main event over  the August bank holiday.

On Sunday May 20, at St James's Church, Piccadilly, London, the festival will be hosting an afternoon of thought-provoking mini-talks around the festival theme for 2012, Saving Paradise.

Ten speakers have been invited to give 'five clues about how to lose Paradise, and five clues about how to find it'. The confirmed speakers so far include: Ann Pettifor, Tamsin Omond (right), Rose Hudson-Wilkin and the Third Way columnist Lucy Winkett, who is the rector of the church in question.

There are limited tickets for this event - they should be available by the time you read this but keep at eye on the Greenbelt website ( for further details. That site has been updated recently and now includes a wide range of free talks from the great and the good, including perennial favourites like John Bell and occasional visitors like Rob Bell. There are also one or two gems from Third Way contributors and even our current editor, Simon Jones. Just click the 'media' button on the site and search away.

Also in London (sorry) is a day of teaching and discussion at the London Institute for Contemporary Chjristianity. Entitled Lyrics of Love: A day in Song of Songs, this is billed as an opportunity to dig deeper into the book, exploring how Scripture nurtures and sustains Christian identity and discipleship today.

Song of Songs begins with an expression of desire - 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth' -  and goes on to voice the delights of romantic and sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. It should come as no surprise that Christians through the ages have disagreed on the most appropriate way of understanding the meaning and significance of the book. Is it just a collection of love poems? If so, what is it doing in Scripture, and what is its abiding significance for today's church?

This all takes place on Monday May 28, 10am-4pm, at St Peter's Church, Vere Street, London. It costs £15 (£10 concession), which includes lunch and light refreshments throughout the day. To book, visit or call 020 7399 9555.

A quick mention for John Piper and the Church at Dorchester Abbey. 50 works by the modernist glass artist will be on display until June 10.