Autumn Study Day: Justice! Retribution! Forgiveness! (December 5th, 2016)

Last Friday marked the North West Theology and Religious Studies Centre’s 3rd Autumn Study Day, held annually at Ashton Sixth Form College.

We were delighted to welcome students from Oldham Sixth Form College, Lymm High School, Salford City College and South Cheshire College, along with students from Ashton Sixth Form College itself, to explore this year’s themes: justice, retribution and forgiveness.

The morning began a lecture by Dr Anderson Jeremiah and Dr Shuruq Naguib from Lancaster University on forgiveness in Christianity and Islam. Following that excellent academic introduction to the day’s topics, Christian and Buddhist faith leaders from Tameside Faiths United participated in a panel discussion, chaired by our college chaplain, Jean Hurlston. The panel discussion gave students the opportunity to ask questions about how members of the local community interpret, approach and practice justice and forgiveness in their day-to-day faith.

For the second half of the morning, students researched questions relating to the morning’s content in small groups, guided by undergraduate tutors visiting from Lancaster University and the University of Manchester.

Some students took part, over the lunch break, in guided meditation and prayer sessions led by members of Tameside Faiths United.

In the afternoon, the groups finalised their research and translated it into presentations to deliver to their peers, and we welcomed Dr Peter Oakes from the University of Manchester to present on ‘Retribution, Justice and Forgiveness on the Streets of Ancient Rome and in the New Testament’ drawing on research he himself had conducted in Rome and Pompeii.

Despite a long and challenging day, the students worked extremely hard to produce some clear and considered presentations. Ultimately, the presentation prize went to a group who rapped their research, an entertaining end to the 2017 Autumn Study Day.