The first national cathedrals conference is being held in Manchester this September and will see Andy Burnham talk about the challenge of context for faith, community and cathedral; Will Hutton, set the stage for the world in which we live, and South African priest and social justice campaigner, Fr Michael Lapsley, share his experience of hope and reconciliation in the face of violent division.
The conference, organised by the Association of English Cathedrals for cathedrals with generous funding from the Allchurches Trust, CCLA and Ecclesiastical Insurance, will take place over three days from Monday 17 September to Thursday 20 and will be based in Manchester Cathedral.
Each cathedral is encouraged to send between 5 and 12 key members of their clerical and senior lay staff together with representatives from the cathedrals’ governance structures.
The booking window is now open with an early bird rate of £395 per delegate available until the end of March.
The main conference speakers have now been confirmed and include Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham; Nick Spencer of think-tank, Theos; journalist and political economist, Will Hutton; First Estates Commissioner, Loretta Minghella; Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, Dame Fiona Reynolds; Professor of Islamic and Interreligious studies, Mona Siddiqui; former director of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne; Labour life peer, Baroness Maeve Sherlock; and newly appointed Third Estates Commissioner, and pioneer of the leader-smithing movement, Dr Eve Poole, who will also facilitate the conference.
There will be an address by the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev’d Dr John Sentamu, and a wide range of preachers and spiritual leaders from across the traditions including preacher and writer, Fr Timothy Radcliffe; and Fr Michael Lapsley, south African priest and social justice campaigner maimed in a letter bomb attack while living in exile in Zimbabwe.
The Very Rev’d Adrian Dorber, chair of the AEC said: “We are proud to be able to offer such authentic and distinguished speakers and contributors from across the spectrum. We hope all contributors will be able to offer resource and new wisdom that all Cathedrals can benefit from.
“The conference also offers a splendid opportunity for us to work together and draw confidence and strength.”
The programme can be found in full on the website. It offers a series of speakers, workshops and space for networking and learning. It will be updated as details are finalised.