Lay Conference 2017

On the face of it, it was an easy task - bring 250 people together from across the diocese and send them back home two days later with a new sense of purpose in the service of Christ … what could possibly go wrong?

The organising team assembled for the first time in October 2016 and gelled straight away — well that was a good start! The Renewal & Reform report, "Setting God’s People Free", was a gift: the idea that "Until laity and clergy are convinced, based on their baptismal mutuality, that they are equal in worth and status, complementary in gifting and vocation, mutually accountable in discipleship, and equal partners in mission, we will never form Christian communities that can evangelise the nation", became the catalyst for the event.

If we were to help "facilitate the growth of the church in numbers and depth of discipleship" the conference needed to be different: "let’s allow the delegates to ask questions about strategy of the senior staff in our diocese"; "let’s show people that worship can be different but still maintain its reverence and meaningfulness"; "let’s surprise people with random acts of kindness, Christian graffiti, painted fingernails(!?) and let’s ask a bishop to clean shoes"; "let’s have fun whilst we network [in the bar!]"; "let’s share what we are currently doing in our individual parishes"; "let’s provide information about how to use social media".

When the day arrived a disparate group of individuals from across the diocese gradually assembled and threw themselves into the whole weekend — body, mind and spirit. Speakers informed but didn’t overwhelm: workshops worked! The poster session was a roaring success. People shared their experiences on social media as they happened (#layconf17) and the networking lasted well into the evening.

And then, in the final act of worship, Bishops Libby and Keith and Archdeacons Mike and Ian anointed each of the delegates with oil and individually blessed them, sending them out as disciples to tell their own stories and speak of the risen Lord in their own communities..

Audio Recordings of the Lay Conference

Lay Conference Group Feedback

Lay Conference Posters

Lay Conference Booklet