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Lecture – Mark Oakley

March 9, 2024 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Mark Oakley

‘The curse of literalism’: poetic spirituality and the language of Christians (live lecture)

Mark Oakley will address the questions, ‘How should Christians use language? How should they express their belief and what language is needed for self-scrutiny? He will then argue that poetry is the native language of faith and that a crude literalism simmers down the richness and resonance that faith liberates in us. In this talk, Mark will use some poems explore his theme.

Speaker Bio

The Very Reverend Dr Mark Oakley was ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1993 and served his curacy at St John’s Wood Church. He was later appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of London and after four years was made Rector of the Actors’ church in Covent Garden.

He has subsequently served as an archdeacon in the Diocese in Europe, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge. Mark holds a PhD in English Literature and is an admired author of several books on poetry and spirituality. He has enjoyed success with his most recent book The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry, being described by Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, as “beautiful and wise.” He is well known as a speaker and preacher and has been awarded both the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing and the Lanfranc award, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for education and scholarship. Mark has a strong commitment to human rights and has served on the board of Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust, as well as being awarded one of the first ‘Upstander’ awards for his work with hate crime victims.

King’s College London awarded him a Fellowship in recognition of his work and ministry. Mark was installed as the Dean of Southwark in early December 2023.

Amongst his many roles, Mark is also Canon Theologian at Wakefield Cathedral.


March 9, 2024
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


St Mark’s Church
Leeds Road
Harrogate, HG2 8AY United Kingdom
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