Seminar 1

Lost in wonder, love and praise’: Prayer and the road from crime.

Dr Ruth Amstrong, Co-Director of ‘Learning Together’, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. (Click here for brief biography and abstract)


Ruth structured her talk around seven “take home messages” from her research and that of others. She linked each of these to a reflection on how we should pray and a line of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling“.

Love matters
      Pray in love
           “Love divine all loves excelling


We are all criminals
      Pray in humility
           “Fix in us they humble dwelling


Stigma and prejudice blight success
      Keep praying in humility
           “All thy faithful mercies crown


Most people move away from crime
      Pray in faith
           “Pure unbounded love thou art”


People change together (and changed people change institutions)
      Pray together
           “Serve thee as thy hosts above


Desistance often involves reoffending
      Keep praying in faith without ceasing
           “Take away our bent for sinning


De-railed desistance can re-rail
      Pray in wonder and praise
           “Lost in wonder, love and praise


The hymn that was written in response to the seminar by Andrew Pratt is entitled “Human searching started early” and can be found at this link.

Workshop 1: Recording

The questions Ruth is asked in this interview were those selected after a discussion at two workshops by those who had just listened to her keynote talk (interview by Philip Berry, our Minister).

Workshop 2: Reflecting

Four groups reflected on what Ruth had said and drew up a series of questions that might guide further discussion in a house group. These have been combined into a single series of questions which is available at this link.

Workshop 3: Responding

A selection of prayers written in response to the keynote talk available at this link.

Workshop 4: Resourcing

Links to relevant hymns, Bible passages, internet resources and books available at this link.