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Summer events

It has been well publicised that 2009 is the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his On the Origin of Species. Less well known is the fact that this year is also the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge. The three things come together with the Darwin Festival 2009 in July.

The event is billed as a celebration of the science, society, literature, history, philosophy, theology, art and music arising from the writings, life and times of Charles Darwin, presented through talks, discussions, performances, workshops, exhibitions and tours.

The university has attracted a number of high profile speakers, including Terry Pratchett and the ever-present Richard Dawkins, but Third Way readers may be most interested in July 6 afternoon session entitled 'Theology in a Darwinian context', which is chaired by Sarah Coakley (the Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity. Speakers include Philip Clayton (Claremont School of Theology, California), Denis Alexander (University of Cambridge), Fraser Watts (University of Cambridge) and Wentzel van Huyssteen (Princeton Seminary).

The organisers want to attract  'everybody 16 years and over who is interested in innovation and progress. For more information, and to book, see


The Third Way Summer would be incomplete without the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival, which runs over the August bank holiday weekend.  We'll be onsite as usual, this year sponsoring the new Festival Bowl.

This year's music line up includes a number of old favourites like Duke Special and the always-welcome Martyn Joseph, and if you've ever wondered what that groovy background music was then it was probably Royksopp, who make their first festival appearance.

Church leaders who have never been to the festival before (where have you been?) can get a free ticket by calling 020 7374 2760. Third Way also has a few tickets for readers who are willing to help us staff our onsite stand. If you can spare six hours, write to us at and we'll see what we can do - but do it quickly, since there's usually some competition for spots.

For everyone else, advance tickets cost from £44 for a child to £88 for a waged adult. See for details.
Following the BBC's season and the appointment of a new laureate, poetry seems to be very fashionable this summer. Third Way columnist (and one of the best stand-up poets around) Jude Simpson is touring. See for info.