The Reader - Spring 2019 (23/06/19)
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Unity in Diversity - National Reader’s Conference (12th –14th September 2008)
Key note speaker - Dr Christina Baxter.
Teaching, worship, community and time for you and God.
From time to time we all receive flyers trying to tempt us to attend conferences. Some of the conference organisers claim that life will be incomplete unless you attend. Others, that their conference will provide you with skills that will transform your life. Some have an obligation to attend conferences as a result of work related requirements. Whatever the background or type of conference being promoted there is always that key question will the sacrifice in terms of money and time be worth it? Such a question becomes even more relevant when looking at conferences such as the National Readers’ Conference. We are all busy people with significant commitments at weekends, juggling work, family and church life. What is in this type of conference for me? There are some sound biblical and faith based reasons why all of us should seriously consider attending a national conference every few years, even if it is not this one!
When was the last time you had some good quality, biblical teaching devised and aimed at you as a Reader? When was the last time you had chance to be challenged and spend some time learning and reflecting for yourself? For this national conference we are fortunate to have Dr Christina Baxter leading our key note talks which will be based on 1 Corinthians 12. Whatever your churchmanship or theological viewpoints this is an ideal opportunity to be challenged and hopefully inspired. In addition, reflecting our theme of unity in diversity, we are asking a number of Readers to lead workshops on their experience of ministry beyond Church. We will also have a resource exhibition running through the conference that might give you new ideas to ponder and use in your own ministry. There will also be plenty of time to share ideas with colleagues from a wide variety of dioceses.
As licensed Readers we spend a significant amount of our time leading worship and this can make it difficult for us to be free to worship ourselves. Embedded in the whole conference is worship both corporate and in small groups. The National Conference offers a chance to participate in some different styles and approaches to worship.
Community can be defined as a gathering of individuals who hold at least one thing in common with each other. The obvious community most of us would recognise is the one in which we live. However, we all belong to other communities, perhaps related to work or retirement, our status as married or single, parents or grandparents. Some communities are easily identifiable and are relatively robust; others are more vague and nebulous, often having a transient nature. Belonging and being actively involved in community is a vital element both of our faith and our life in general. A key feature of any successful community is one where there is communication, where people meet each other and exchange views and ideas and affirming their common interests. In this modern age where the need to meet and interact with others has become almost redundant, with online shopping, travel by private car and provision of information from the comfort of you armchair via the internet and phone it has become even more important as a church and as Christians that we make the effort to meet, talk and share ideas. To form a community, even for a couple of days is an important antidote to our multiple choice, individual orientated culture. It also helps us to recognise and value the national community of Readers we belong to.
Time for you and for God
Built into the conference is time for quiet, reflection and just to be. There will be an opportunity to come for a few days before the conference starts in order to enjoy the delights of this spectacular part of the world. Within the weekend there will be Saturday afternoon to use as you feel best suits you. Time away from routines help us to refocus and sharing that time with fellow Readers may help us to find a new balance to the demands we face.
Application forms are available in the current edition of The Reader magazine, and shortly on this website. If you are not convinced then why not let the Central Readers Council know what would help to refresh and resource you in your ministry.
For more information please contact:
Susan Salt (Conference Committee Chair)
Alan Wakely (CRC Secretary)