Conference 2022 (online)
Living with Courage:
clasping hands across a divided landscape
Book your place today!
27-29 June 2022
Live streamed from the chapel and beautiful surroundings of
Professor of the History of Religion, University of Oxford
Pádraig Ó Tuama
Poet and Theologian
Artist: Carol Marples
Poet: Rachel Mann
Patron: Graham Sparkes, President of Luther King House, Manchester
Our last conference -
'Sounding the Silence: exploring depths in stillness and speech'
Our conference was a wonderful celebration of everything that lies at the heart of our work as we explored the theme of silence through talks, discussion, reflection, worship and prayer.
Our thanks go to all contributors, facilitators and participants for making this such a memorable and inspiring event.
Our Chair of Trustees, Barry Preece, opened up the conference on behalf of the Retreat Association.
Executive Director Alison MacTier spoke about the value of the conference within the work of the Association.
Patron Graham Sparkes spoke about the significance of silence and what it can teach us.
Graham introduced the three main speakers who would be exploring the theme of silence further.
On the first morning, writer Sara Maitland spoke about silence in the desert, the Hebrew Scriptures and her own experiences of living in silence.
Peter Tyler, theologian, later explored the origins of mindfulness alongside the mystical Christian tradition of silence.
Malcolm Guite, poet and academic, spoke very movingly about how poetry can accompany us through the grief process.
Our worship was led by Frances Novillo throughout the conference.
Frances encouraged delegates to participate in weaving a net of blue cloth.
Our art space gave participants the opportunity to respond creatively and prayerfully to the theme.
Malcolm Guite entertained guests in the evening with poetry and song.
On the final morning three speakers spoke about different aspects of the Retreat Association icon.
The room was prepared for our final worship with artwork from the art room and a cloth woven with 1000 strips of blue cloth and 250 silver fish.
Our final worship included a ceremony to hallow the icon, which featured the anointing of the icon by Rev Barry Preece.
As participants left the worship they were invited to take one of the silver fish to remind them of the conference.
Recordings of the talks are available from Agape Ministries.
"This is undoubtedly one of the best conferences I have been to."
"...an amazing experience that has been very inspiring..."
"the whole experience was extraordinary."
"I felt the whole conference was so meaningful and relevant for today’s world.