The three Cathedrals of the Anglican Diocese of Leeds are decamping to Manchester next week for the first ever national cathedrals conference.
This will be the first time that cathedral clergy, lay staff and chapter and council members will all gather under one roof to discuss and facilitate development of a strategic vision for the future direction of cathedrals through four days of keynote speakers, spiritual leaders and workshops.
Sacred Space: Common Ground will see the Mayor of Sheffield, Dan Jarvis, take the platform on the challenge of context for faith, community and cathedral; author, 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, will take place from Monday, September 17 to Thursday, September 20 and will be based in Manchester Cathedral.
Funding from Allchurches Trust is enabling the widest possible participation, with bursaries provided to those who are less resourced. Every English Cathedral - including our very own Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield cathedrals - is represented at the conference with 490 delegates, including clerical and senior lay staff together with representatives from the cathedrals’ governance structures.
The Sub Dean of Wakefield, Canon Tony Macpherson said: “It’s not often we get chance to take a pause and think afresh about who we are and the role of our cathedrals in this changing and challenging world in which we live.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together– lay and clergy and do just that.
“And I am confident we will return with renewed strength and confidence to continue to serve this city and beyond,” he added.
Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine added: "
"We at Bradford Cathedral are keen to be part of this exciting event and will listen and learn from other people’s experiences.
“We also have lots to tell about being a cathedral in a large, youthful multi-cultural city "
The main conference speakers have now been confirmed and include Sheffield Mayor, Dan Jarvis; Chine Macdonald, head of engagement for Christian Aid; Nick Spencer of think-tank, Theos; journalist and political economist, Will Hutton; First Estates Commissioner, Loretta Minghella; Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Dame Fiona Reynolds; Professor of Islamic and Interreligious studies, Mona Siddique; former director of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne; Labour life peer, Baroness Maeve Sherlock; Jimmy Dale who spearheads youth evangelism for the Church of England and newly appointed Third Estates Commissioner, Dr Eve Poole, who will also facilitate the conference.
Daily worship on Radio 4 will come from the conference – with a variety of speakers starting with worship on Sunday, September 16 from Lichfield Cathedral with Becky Clarke, the head of Church Buildings Division for the Church of England preaching and the Dean of Lichfield and Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber.
There will be a video message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, an address by the Archbishop of York, and a wide range of preachers and spiritual leaders from across the traditions, including preacher and writer, Fr Timothy Radcliffe; and Fr Michael Lapsley, the South African priest and social justice campaigner maimed in a letter bomb attack while living in exile in Zimbabwe.
Dean of Ripon, the Very Revd John Dobson said: “Clergy and staff of Ripon Cathedral are very much looking forward to taking part in what promises to be a full and stimulating conference for all cathedral departments from across the country.
“We live in an era when cathedrals do much to connect the church and its message of the transforming love of God with the wider community.
“This conference gives a wonderful opportunity to those who are at the heart of cathedral mission to learn from each other and to provide mutual encouragement,” he added.