SEI Lecture

The SEI offers an annual lecture at one of the ancient Scottish universities.

The seventh Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute is to be delivered by the Revd Professor Sarah Coakley on Thursday 20 October 2022, online.

(photo used with permission from Professor Coakley)

SEI is delighted to announce that this year’s SEI Lecture will be given by the Revd Professor Sarah Coakley FBA on the topic: ‘Worship and Desire in the Anglican Tradition: Why this Matters in Contemporary Church and Culture’.

Sarah Coakley is an Anglican priest, systematic theologian and philosopher of religion. She is Emeritus Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, and since 2018 has also been Honorary Professor at the Logos Institute, University of St Andrews. She is an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, a member of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Lund, St Andrews, Toronto (St Michael’s College), and London (Heythrop College).
The Lecture will open up a discussion about how ‘desire’ operates, often all-unnoticed, in the workings of Anglican prayer and worship, and how we should think of its enduring significance in the particular context of contemporary church and culture. It is argued that theological reflection on the ordering of desires is a spiritual and ascetic task of particular significance for contemporary Christians (in this era of intense conflicting political and economic desires, generally, and distressing divisions about sexual desire in the Church), and one that should not be dislocated from public worship and prayerful preparation for it. The question is pressed: how should our prayer and worship change the way(s) we desire and see the world? How can this help us see a spiritual way forward in this time of crisis – economically, politically, and ecclesiastically?

The Lecture will be delivered online on Thursday 20th October 2022 at 5pm (UK time) with Professor Coakley speaking from the States. Details of how to register will be published here in mid-September.


The sixth Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by the Revd Dr Michael Hull (SEI’s Director of Studies), To Filioque or Not to Filioque: The Warrant of Holy Scripture‘ at the University of Glasgow. Thursday 28 October 2021. The text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 5.4 Winter 2021, pp 105-117 here)

The fifth Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by Canon Dr Cathy Ross (CMS’s Pioneer Mission Leadership Team), ‘Mission and Formation in a Time of Lament and Hope: Reflections after Covid-19’, online (originally scheduled at the University of Edinburgh). Thursday 29 October 2020. The video of this lecture is available here, the text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 4.4 Winter 2020, pp 87-100 here)

The fourth Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by the Revd Canon Professor Paul Foster (University of Edinburgh), ‘Their Pattern and Their King: The Gospel of Matthew as a Model for Christian Formation’, at the University of Aberdeen. Thursday 17 October 2019. (The video of this lecture is available here, the text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 3.4 Winter 2019, pp 131-100 43 here)

The third Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by Canon Professor Elaine Graham (University of Chester), ‘Liberating the Laity: A Theology for a Learning Church’, at the University of St Andrews. Thursday 11 October 2018. (The video of this lecture is available on Facebook here, the text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 3.1 Spring 2019, pp 3-18 here)

The second Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by the Revd Canon Professor David Jasper (University of Glasgow), ‘The Role of the Arts in the Church of Tomorrow’, at the University of Glasgow. Thursday 26 October 2017. (The video of this lecture is available here, the text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 1.4 Winter 2017, pp 3-19 here)

The first Annual Lecture of the Scottish Episcopal Institute was given by Professor Mike Higton (Durham University), ‘Teaching and Witness in the Life of the Church’ at the University of Edinburgh. Thursday 20 October 2016. (The video of this lecture is available here, the text of this lecture can be found in the SEI Journal, Vol 1.2 Summer 2017, pp 6-20 here)