THE age of austerity is to come under the spotlight through a series of York lectures intended to spark fresh debate on the issue.

The 2013/14 series of the Ebor Lectures, which have established a reputation for attracting prestigious speakers, begins next week at York Minster and will provide a moral and theological examination of the state of the economy.

The series begins with a lecture from US speaker and author Dr Tony Campolo, a spiritual adviser to former US president Bill Clinton, who has laid down a challenge to millions of people to respond to issues of social justice.

The lectures are organised by York St John University, York Minster, York Institute for Community Theology, the Order of Carmelites, the Churches Regional Commission for Yorkshire and the Humber and the Methodist Church.

Dr Campolo is a founder of the Red Letter Christian movement, which believes social action and evangelism are aligned.

He is also professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education.

Dr Campolo said: “Economic forces exercise awesome influences on human behaviour and institutional structures, so it is no surprise Jesus addresses economic issues more than any other social issues in his preaching.”

His lecture is entitled Am I My Brother’s Keeper? and will be the first of six in the 2013/14 Ebor series.

Past speakers have included politicians Tony and Hilary Benn, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, BBC business editor Robert Peston, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and former Attorney General Baroness Scotland.

Admission to Dr Campolo’s lecture, which starts at 7pm next Thursday, is by ticket only. They are free and can be booked at, by phoning 01904 876474 or by emailing

Each lecture is followed by a short question-and-answer session.