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.
The conference, entitled: 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 17 September to Thursday 20 and will be based in Manchester Cathedral.
Funding from Allchurches Trust is enabling the widest possible participation from cathedrals, with bursaries provided to those who are less resourced. Every English Cathedral is represented at the conference with over 420 delegates from clerical and senior lay staff together with representatives from the cathedrals’ governance structures.
The Dean of Manchester, The Very Reverend Rogers Govender said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to host the first National Cathedrals Conference at Manchester Cathedral. I look forward to extending a warm welcome to colleagues from cathedrals from all parts of the country and abroad. We hope to give all delegates a taste of Manchester’s hospitality, diversity, fun and sense of community. We pray for God’s blessing on our conversations as together, we see to serve God’s mission to this nation and beyond.”
The main conference speakers have now been confirmed and include Sheffield Mayor, Dan Jarvis; Chine McDonald, Head of Engagement for Christian Aid; Nick Spencer of Theos think-tank; 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 be broadcast every morning from the conference hearing from a variety of its speakers. It will start with worship on Sunday 16 September from Lichfield Cathedral with Becky Clark, the head of the Church Buildings Division for the Church of England preaching, and led by 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.