Moral and Spiritual Dilemmas in Challenging Times, a new study guide that encourages groups to delve into divisive issues such as nationalism, populism and extremism from a faith perspective, is published this month by the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) and Cumberland Lodge, in time for Lent 2018.

Guest contributors include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, and the novelist and speaker, Salley Vickers.

Darkness over Germany 

The accessible guide consists of six short chapters and accompanies the new edition of Amy Buller’s groundbreaking 1943 book, Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History, which explores how young people were drawn into National Socialism in the 1930s and draws light on many of the most pressing social issues we face in current times.

It was this book that inspired King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to establish the educational foundation at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park in 1947, to try to avoid a repeat of the events of 1930s Germany.

Moral and Spiritual Dilemmas in Challenging Times draws on key conversations with Nazi Party members and public figures relayed in Darkness over Germany to highlight the challenges of addressing nationalism, populism and extremism in our own communities today. It offers six short reflections, each with questions for discussion, and is designed to be suitable for Lent courses in churches and other faith settings.

Contributors

Dr Rowan Williams, Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth, chose Darkness over Germany as one of his two books of the year for the New Statesman. Launching the new edition of the book at St Paul’s Cathedral in May 2017, he described Buller's work as, ‘a really remarkable book by a very remarkable woman, who was driven by her Christian faith’. He spoke of the spiritual vacuum that emerged in the inter-war period in Germany, the risks of a generation growing up without hope, seeking a magical 'problem-solver' to meet their needs, and the resonances of 1930s Germany for many of the issues we face today.

Canon Dr Edmund Newell, Principal of Cumberland Lodge in Windsor, co-edited Moral Dilemmas in Challenging Times and contributed a chapter. He said, ‘Both the CCJ and Cumberland Lodge firmly believe that open and honest discussions are essential in responding to issues that divide us as a society. This study guide will encourage church groups and others to engage in fruitful discussions about how best to respond.’

Rob Thompson, Programme Manager at CCJ and co-editor of Moral Dilemmas in Challenging Times said, ‘Two of the contributors to this resource are Christian clergy who have participated in CCJ’s annual seminars for church leaders at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The study guide is a meaningful and practical resource for those who engage with history to try and make a difference in our communities today and safeguard a better future. CCJ is proud to work alongside Cumberland Lodge in using Amy Buller’s legacy to help faith communities make positive change in our own challenging context.’

Study guide resource

The new guide can be downloaded free of charge from the CCJ website or the Cumberland Lodge Learning Resources page.

Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller (1943; 2017 edition) is published by Arcadia Books, ISBN 978-1-911350-19-4, RRP £15 and available from all good online book retailers and bookshops.