By: Ellen Teague
The National Justice and Peace Network is taking bookings for its 2018 annual conference 20-22 July. The theme is: 'In the shelter of each other the people live', taken from an Irish proverb, and the venue is the Hayes Conference Centre, at Swanwick in Derbyshire. Around 300 Justice and Peace activists from the dioceses of England and Wales normally attend.
How do we build a church and a society with the marginalised, the excluded and the most vulnerable at its heart? What does 'home' mean for those who are homeless or struggling to keep a roof over their heads, for those who have fled their homes, for those who are rejected or don't 'fit in'? And for the comfortable and secure, is it a space to defend or to open in welcome? Can we recognise that it is only in relationship with each other and with Planet Earth that we share that we can all be truly 'at home'? These are some of the themes which will be developed at the conference through speaker sessions and workshops.
Rev Al Barrett is Rector of Hodge Hill Church, a CofE-URC ecumenical partnership in east Birmingham. He lives on a diverse outer estate on the edge of the city, and has been involved in a journey of community-building there, with friends and neighbours, for the last 7 years. He writes and teaches a bit, blogs irregularly at www.thisestate.blogspot.com, and recently finished a PhD, seeking to develop 'a radically receptive political theology in the urban margins'.
David McLoughlin teaches at Newman University. He is a theological resource person for Caritas Europe, Cafod, Pax Christi, the J&P network and various groups of Religious. He is a founder member of the Movement of Christian Workers and an active member of their Birmingham revue of life group for 30 years. He explores the relationship between theology and everyday life and offers radical readings of the Bible for Christian activists.
Sarah Teather has been Director of Jesuit Refugee Service UK since January 2016. She served for 12 years as MP in north west London. She stood down in 2015 and worked with JRS International, visiting refugee projects around the world, before taking up her present post.
John Grogan MP, a Catholic, was elected in 2017 as Labour MP for Keighley and Ilkley, previously been MP for Selby before boundary changes abolished the seat. He is committed to issues of social justice and peace, voting against Trident renewal.
The Conference will be chaired by Housing Justice
MASS CELEBRANT: Fr Colum Kelly, Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain for Immingham.
There will be a programme of activities for children and young people, and a Just Fair with information and resources from many organisations.
Booking details at: www.justice-and-peace.org.uk/conference/