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Beach Lectures

The Annual Beach Lectureship in Bridgebuilding

Annual Beach Lectures at the Diversity Centre

Dr Bert and Mrs Eliane Beach


The W. R. and B. B. Beach Lectureship was initiated and endowed by Dr Bert and Mrs Eliane Beach to commemorate Bert’s father, Walter R. Beach (1902-93) and the work of both Walter R. and Bert B. Beach in education, church leadership and inter-church relations.

Walter R. Beach’s valued career in the Seventh-day Adventist Church included the leadership of the Belgian Conference, Franco-Belgian Union, and Southern European Division. For approximately twenty years he served first as Secretary and then as General Vice-President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Walter was also an inspiring preacher and author of several books in both French and English.

Both before and since his retirement, Bert Beach’s career has always been dedicated to education and public affairs, serving both the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Christian Church more generally. He served the church as a teacher and school principal; as Director of Education and Secretary of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division (today the Trans-European Division) of Seventh-day Adventists; and as Director of the General Conference’s Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty. In addition, he has had a distinguished career as an ecumenist and advocate for religious toleration, serving as President of the International Religious Liberty Association, and as Secretary of the Conference of Christian World Communions. Widely respected in international ecumenical circles, he has published many books and articles in several languages, including Ecumenism: Boon or Bane? (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing, 1974).

The 2021 Beach Lecture in Bridgebuilding

12 October 2021, 19:30 (BST)

2021 Beach Lecture

The Beach Lecture in Bridgebuilding was endowed in 1997 to commemorate the work of father and son, Drs Walter and Bert Beach, in education, church leadership and inter-church relations.

Thank you so much for attending the 2021 Beach Lecture. We so look forward to sharing details of the 2022 evening with you once available. 

2021 Beach Lecture

Lecture Biographies

Dr Lia Dong Shimada is a Senior Researcher for the Susanna Wesley Foundation and Associate Chaplain of Whitelands College, University of Roehampton. Her edited book Mapping Faith: Theologies of Migration and Community was published by Jessica Kingsley (2020).

Lia is an accredited community practitioner based in London. She holds a Doctorate in Geography from University College London and a Masters of Arts degree in Theology and Religious Studies from King’s College London. She chairs the working group responsible for Diversity and Inclusive Practice in Mediation for the National College of Mediators.

Lia has worked in the peacebuilding sector in Northern Ireland, facilitating dialogue about racism, regeneration and conflict transformation in former paramilitary communities. For three years, she implemented the national strategy for diversity and inclusion for the British Methodist Church.

Hassan Rabbani, a Scottish Muslim scholar, is the Muslim Chaplain at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He combines chaplaincy with his work as a freelance Imam, religious consultant and relationship counsellor.

Hassan completed his undergraduate degree at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. After returning to the UK, Hassan completed a Masters degree in Islamic studies at the University of Aberdeen. Hassan’s interests broadly lie in Islamic History, Sufism, and contemporary Middle East history. His thesis explored the idea of temporary marriage in Shi’i & Sunni traditions. He then completed a diploma in Diploma in Contextual Islamic Studies and Leadership at the Cambridge Muslim College. Hassan also holds a Masters degree in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow and is a trained counsellor and therapist. He is passionate about interfaith work.