Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Biblical justice and the urban church is the theme of a special day event to be held in London this coming Saturday, to honour the remarkable contribution of a little known radical evangelical theologian and urban worker. Roger Dowley, a Baptist who died in 2004, influenced several generations of Christians involved in urban issues, including the late Bishop David Sheppard.

His book ‘The Recovery of a Lost Bequest’ is a detailed study of justice-making as the pattern for biblical community and Christian action. The study day will run from 10.00 – 15.30 on Saturday 16 April 2005. The venue is Brandon Baptist Church, Redcar Street, Camberwell, London SE5 ONA.

The speakers will include Chris Rowland (Professor of New Testament at the University of Oxford, and a specialist in liberation theology), Simon Barrow (Ekklesia associate, currently General Secretary of the ecumenical Churches’ Commission on Mission) and Chris Andre-Watson (Baptist pastor in Brixton, area coordinator for BMS World Mission, and anti-drugs campaigner).

‘Dowley Day’ is free and open to all. A hot lunch will be provided. The event has been organised by Roy Dorey who teaches at Heythrop College and is founder of the Philemon Group, and by Bruce Stokes, both of Brandon Baptist Church. It is being co-sponsored by the Christian think tank, Ekklesia.

Roger Dowley’s detailed work-notes on biblical patterns for a just community, ‘Towards the Recovery of a Lost Bequest’, re-awakened the radical evangelical conscience in the mid 1980s. His work helped shape the Evangelical Coalition on Urban Mission. It was rooted in the faith and thought of a lay person deeply engaged in the tough realities of inner city issues.

Roger Dowley is one of those unsung giants of the faith whose contribution to Christian thought and action is as inestimable as it is (sadly) forgotten. He represents a tradition which badly needs to be recovered again, as the evangelical section of the church sinks further into insularity and vituperation over issues of sexuality.

Brandon Baptist Church has done a great service to the whole Christian community – evangelical, ecumenical and Catholic - by putting on this day. The speakers (we hope!) represent a broad slice of Christian opinion committed to social justice and the radical Gospel.

Dowley Day will also ensure that the struggles of urban life are properly highlighted at a time when General Election spin is in danger of obliterating the faces of those who suffer injustice - people on sink estates, refugees and asylum seekers, victims of violence and abuse.

Those intending to come to ‘Dowley Day’, or wanting any more information, should drop an email to info@philemon.co.uk.

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