‘Bonhoeffer for Future’ – Bonhoeffer Day 2020 (February, 1st) – London SE23 2NR


Over the past two years, pupils and students have taken to the streets and demonstrated for climate justice. They call these events “Fridays for Future”, marking the day of the event as well as its purpose, i.e. a perspective to the future inhabited by the young who see their lives undermined by actions of the Boomers. At the same time, their demands are underlined by melting ice caps, floods in the north of England, and wildfires in Brazil’s Amazonas area, Australia, and the United States. With the 9th Bonhoeffer Day we hope to explore the relationship between these events and young’s people’s calls for climate justice and Bonhoeffer’s discussions of ‘wellbeing’, ‘bioethics’, and the role ‘confession’ plays in our society. Three talks by Guido de Graaff, Nicola Wilkes, and Jacob Phillips will make up the formal programme, while we also will have music and food.

For this year’s Bonhoeffer Day, we will explore the theme of ‘Bonhoeffer for Future’ through talks, music and discussion. As in previous years we will have music and plenty of time for informal discussion and fellowship over coffee, cake and food.


Guido De Graaff (St. Augustine’s College of Theology): ‘Each Becoming a Christ to the Other’: Vicarious Representation in Bonhoeffer’s Account of Christian Formation’

That Christ is to ‘take form’ in us is a key biblical and doctrinal notion (cf. Gal. 4:19). And Bonhoeffer is not alone in highlighting this notion in the areas of ecclesiology and Christian ethics. More distinctive is his emphasis that Christ’s form taking shape in us includes Christ’s work of ‘vicarious representation’ (Stellvertretung): we are to stand in each other’s place just as Christ has stood – and died and risen – in our place. This paper will explore what Bonhoeffer’s radical take on Christian formation might imply for Christian living today, in particular in the area of bioethics.

Nicola Wilkes (University of Cambridge): ‘Confession in Bonhoeffer’s theology: an encounter with the present Christ’

Private confession is a topic to which Bonhoeffer constantly turned in his writings as both a pivotal point for theological discussion and as an opportunity to appeal for the reinvigoration of the practice. Bonhoeffer repeatedly makes confession the turning point of histheological discussions regardless of the topic in hand or mode of expression and in so doing makes confession indispensable to his theological position. In this paper I will briefly explore Bonhoeffer’s conception of confession from his earliest to his latest writings. I’ll seek to draw out the way in which he sets private confession of sin as a moment of concrete encounter with the present Christ in which the one who confesses comes out of self and into Christ and so into the church-community.

Jacob Phillips (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) ‘Bonhoeffer on Wellbeing and Literature’

It is well-known that Western societies in the 21st Century are experiencing new levels of concern around mental health and wellbeing, and that these concerns are receiving more attention than ever before in the public square. This talk will discuss Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s own experiences of internal turmoil, and seek to cast light on points within his writing where he draws on his reading of literature to navigate the human condition. Some points of similarity and difference will then be drawn, between contemporary investigations of literature as therapy (or ‘bibliotherapy’), and Bonhoeffer’s own explorations.


For Dietrich Bonhoeffer, performing and listening to German art song was a source of joy and inspiration. Norbert Meyn, who teaches German Lieder at the Royal College of Music, will present a programme of songs by Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert and others, exploring the themes of human wellbeing, empathy and love of nature. He will be accompanied by pianist Alisdair Kitchen.

www.norbertmeyn.com,  www.alisdairkitchen.com

DB Day 2


13:10    Welcome

13:15  Guido De Graaff (St. Augustine’s College of Theology):

            ‘Each Becoming a Christ to the Other’: Vicarious Representation in Bonhoeffer’s    

            Account of Christian Formation’

14:15  Short Break

14.30  Jacob Phillips, St Mary’s University Twickenham:

          ‘Bonhoeffer on Wellbeing and Literature’

15:30 Music: Norbert Meyn & Alisdair Kitchen

16:00    Coffee break

16:30 Nicola Wilkes (University of Cambridge):

Confession in Bonhoeffer’s theology: an encounter with the present Christ’

17:30    Music: Norbert Meyn & Alisdair Kitchen

18.15    Dinner



There is no charge. Everybody is invited to join the talks, music and fellowship!

To attend please register at:


The Bonhoeffer Day is hosted by the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Centre London (DBCL) at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Church.

Find us under:



Bonhoeffer Day 2020  – February 1, 2020

13:30pm – 20:00pm

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Church

Dacres Road, Forest Hill

SE23 2NR
















About Dirk vom Lehn

I am a Reader in Organisational Sociology at King’s Business School (King’s College London). My research is primarily concerned with people’s experience of exhibits and exhibitions in museums, with occupational practice of optometrists and with people learning to dance. It draws on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (EMCA) as well as on recent developments in the analysis of video-recordings. At KCL I am teaching courses on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The courses primarily explore the interweaving of technology with the organisation of market interaction.
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