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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Diocesan Clergy Conference set for 21 - 25 September

Cologne Cathedral at SunsetImage via Wikipedia

Priests and deacons from Madeira to Moscow, Tangier to Trondheim, will gather at Kardinal Schulte Haus near Cologne from 21 to 25 September for the pastoral conference for the clergy - only the 2nd in the 30 year history of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. "Entertaining Angels: Hospitality as Mission" is the theme for the gathering which will be a time of worship, bible study, teaching and continuing education as well as for support from peers for the challenging work of ministry and mission in this vast diocese.

We will be privileged to have two keynote speakers: Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP and Professor Brian Thorne. Fr Radcliffe is the former Master of the Dominicans, a widely-read author on pastoral Christianity with a prophetic edge, whose latest book, entitled Why Go to Church? was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for 2009. Professor Thorne is Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of East Anglia, founder of Norwich Centre for Counselling Studies, and an expert in mediation and person-centred counselling. His most recent book is called Infinitely Beloved. Dr Musa Dube, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Botswana and a New Testament scholar, will challenge us in Bible study. Professor Dube is highly sought in ecumenical and academic circles for the fresh and challenging readings of the scriptures she brings from outside the traditional North Atlantic viewpoint. The conference chaplain is Fr Timothy Bavin OSB, an Anglican Benedictine monk and spiritual director. Bishop Joachim Vobbe of the Old Catholic Church in Germany will be the preacher at the opening service.

10 workshops will cover a wide range of topics: liturgy, reconciliation, welcoming different cultures, Godly Play, expatriate ministry, ecumenical ministry, interfaith dialogue, leading bible study in a multicultural context, ministry with the marginalized, and environmental and ecological concerns in ministry.

I am indebted to a creative team of priests from across the diocese who have worked with me for over a year in the design and preparation of the conference: Ulla Monberg (Diocesan Director of Training, Copenhagen), Mark Collinson (Amsterdam), John Wilkinson (Fontainebleau), Ian Hutchinson-Cervantes (Madrid), Sammy Mpole Masemola (Oslo), Joan Lyon (Luxembourg) and Ken Letts (Archdeacon of France, Nice).

147 of the 152 licensed clergy of the diocese have confirmed their attendance. The conference is being funded by Continuing Ministerial Education funds, as well as support from the Diocesan Board of Finance.

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