The Moot

The Moot explores a wide range of topics, from science and religion to faith and politics, and offers an hour of group discussion.

The original Moot was established in 1938 by J. H. Oldham, following an international ecumenical conference on 'Church, Community and State' which had met in Oxford in July 1937. Oldham sought to mobilise a movement of both thought and action engaging with society on the basis of Christian faith. He was joined by a group of distinguished intellectuals, including T.S. Eliot, John Baillie, Donald Mackinnon,  Alec Vidler, Michael Polanyi and Karl Mannheim. They continued meeting until 1947, seeking to discern ways of countering the threat of totalitarianism and cultivating a profound Christian humanism. As Michael Polanyi said, these discussions 'changed our lives'.

All meetings take place in the Old Library. Access is through the Radcliffe Square entrance.

The God of Evolution? Animal suffering in nature

Monday 15 October

Dr Bethany Sollereder, University of Oxford

In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed a radical new idea for how life evolves as a result of natural selection. This natural world is competitive, violent and careless of the amount of suffering it produces, apparently at odds with the Christian idea of an omnipotent, good God. In this group discussion, Bethany Sollereder will explore the problem of animal suffering in nature and how the implications of evolution can be reconciled with a theological understanding of God as creator.

This event is part of IF Oxford: the Science and Ideas Festival.

Bethany Sollereder is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Science and Religion. She specialises in theology concerning evolution and the problem of suffering. Bethany received her PhD in theology from the University of Exeter and an MCS in interdisciplinary studies from Regent College, Vancouver. 

Notes on a Scandal: Reflections on Oxfam's learning from the events in Haiti, 2011

Monday 12 November


Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, Oxfam

In 1942, the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief met in the Old Library for the first time. Chaired by the Revd Canon Dick Milford, the Vicar of St Mary's, the committee eventually became Oxfam. In recent months, this major charity has been engulfed in controversy. Mark Goldring, Chief Executive, offers his reflections on the allegations of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding issues which still shape the organisation. He will also open up discussion about questions of responsibility, trust, integrity, and transparency in public life.

Mark Goldring is a graduate of Keble College, Oxford, where he read Law, and a master's degree in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics. He has worked for VSO, the United Nations' Development Programme, and MENCAP. He was appointed Chief Executive of Oxfam in 2013.