The theme of this year's conference is Marriage, Monasticism and the Single Life.
Recent years have seen dramatic changes both in the life of church and society:
- Many western societies have followed a path of re-defining their legal and social understanding of marriage, resulting in a range of reactions from the different Christian communities.
- Divorce is at an all-time high.
- Religious community life in the west is in a state of steep decline, whereas elsewhere in the world Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are experiencing a dramatic increase in numbers of those wishing to embrace the monastic life.
- With an ageing priests and fewer vocations, the question arise as to whether continued clerical celibacy is in the interests Roman Catholic Church.
- It continues to be a challenge for single people living in the world, who are neither married nor monks or nuns, to find a valid role and place in the life of many church communities.
The conference will address these and other issues and consider how the church is affected by them, and how it might respond to them with pastoral love, prophetic wisdom and honest courage.
In addition to lectures and discussion, there will be an excursion to the Orthodox monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex, as well as worship in Anglican and Orthodox traditions. As ever, there will be many opportunities for free time and fellowship, and the chance to renew old friendships and make new ones.
Booking is now open and early reservation is recommended as rooms are in limited supply. The conference is open to all, and is a good way to introduce our Fellowship to others, so please feel free to encourage friends who may be interested to come.
A provisional programme and application form are attached. I hope I will have the pleasure of seeing you at this years conference!