Columbans are looking forward to the event. Our hope is that, following the Conference, we will all return to our communities with enthusiasm and increased commitment to work for a more just and peaceful world for all God’s creation. We will consider, how, as activists and people of faith, we might support those in most need and enable them to envisage a more hopeful future. Over the weekend we will be identifying hopeful possibilities in our world.
We will listen to inspiring keynote speakers, take part in interactive workshops and liturgical celebrations. There will be time to relax, enjoy meeting friends old and new. The peaceful atmosphere of the surroundings will provide a space for reflection and enjoyment.
Here is an outline of the programme.
Philip McDonagh will speak of a hope that requires courage – upright action for the sake of the future. Hope is rational – an escapist fantasy does not qualify as hope in action. Philip is co-author of the recently published work, ‘On the Significance of Religion for Global Diplomacy’ (Routledge 2021), Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at Dublin City University, and Director of the Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations.
As a serving Irish diplomat, as Political Counsellor in London, Philip played a part in the Northern Ireland peace process in the build-up to the Good Friday Agreement. He later served as Head of Mission in India, the Holy See, Finland, Russia, and the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe). Philip has published poetry and works for the theatre, including The Song the Oriole Sang (Dedalus Press, Dublin, 2010) and Gondla, or the Salvation of the Wolves (Arlen House 2016), a translation of Nikolai Gumilev’s Irish-themed play written during WWI”
Fr. Patrick Devine, SMA, Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, which works to mitigate conflict and poverty in Africa. Fr. Devine serves as the organisation’s executive director, leading an international team of conflict resolution experts from various religious backgrounds and disciplines who are based in Kenya and neighbouring countries. In 2013, he was honoured with the International Caring Award, whose previous recipients include the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, and Mother Teresa.
Workshops will include:
- Issues of domestic poverty and universal credit,
- Guardians of Creation,
- Restoring Dignity to Prisoners and their families,
- Interfaith working,
- Church Action for Tax Justice,
- Synodal listening,
- The work of Stella Maris Chaplains
Andy Flanagan is the Executive Director of Christians in Politics, which draws together Christians from across the political parties and beyond, and from across the breadth of the Church. Andy yearns to see a just rewiring of the global economic system. He juggles his political work with his career as a singer-songwriter and we hope to have the opportunity to listen to his music on Saturday evening. Andy is also author of ‘Those who show up’ (Muddy Pearl, 2015). In the forward Archbishop Justin Welby writes that, “Andy is reaching out, inspiring and equipping us to become engaged with a system that affects us deeply, and through which we in turn can effect radical and transformational change across our society”
Saturday late afternoon:
Rev Ruth Gee, Assistant Secretary of the Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain, and Patron of NJPN will lead an Ecumenical service
Signs of Hope will include four short presentations from representatives of organisations working for peace and non-violence, nuclear issues, peace education with young people and working for climate change.
In the final session we will consider progress following our important 2021 Environment Conference and look to move forward as we continue with our commitment to justice, peace, and care for all creation.
Conference Chair, Tim Livesey, is CEO of Embrace the Middle East, which works with Christian partners in Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria and Iraq serving marginalised and excluded communities including refugees, people living with disabilities, vulnerable women and girls, very poor rural and urban slum communities. Previously Tim has worked as Director of Public Affairs for Dr Rowan Williams when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, and was Chief of Staff for Ed Milliband, Leader of the Labour Party. He had 19 years in a variety of roles in the Foreign Office and Downing Street, including four years running the UK’s development programme in Nigeria.
A Just Fair will provide a marketplace for organisations wishing to share information and opportunity for action on a wide range of issues.