We Together is our diocesan biennial family reunion. It's an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and a time to make new ones. Together we learn about, pray about and share what God is up to in our lives, strengthening ourselves, as the diocese of islands and inlets, for the journey God is calling us to.
We are very excited about this year's conference, which will provide space to consider our role in building the peaceable kingdom imagined and longed for in scripture.
The conference will begin with a wine and cheese reception (cash bar), followed by a keynote address on Friday evening. On Saturday two keynote addresses will be complemented by two opportunities for attendees to take part in small group workshops exploring topics such as: peacemaking through art, peacemaking with children, finding inner peace, songs of protest & songs of peace, non-violent resistance and more.
Pádraig Ó Tuama is a poet, theologian and conflict mediator from Ireland. From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community. His published work incorporates poetry (Readings from the Book of Exile; Sorry for your Troubles), prose (In The Shelter) and theology.
A profoundly engaging public speaker, Ó Tuama has worked with groups to explore story, conflict, their relationship with religion and argument, and violence. His work is marked both by lyricism and pragmatism, with an ethic of evoking stories and participation from attendees at his always-popular lectures, retreats and events.
Ó Tuama has been a featured guest on On Being with Krista Tippett twice, and is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio on topics such as Religion in the public square, Loneliness, Conflict and Faith, LGBT inclusion, Reparative Therapy and the value of the Arts in public life.
Ó Tuama’s theological interests span his concerns with violence, language and poetics: using biblical texts, he explores the civic and artistic dynamics of language, narrative and impact. Most recently he has published a widely acclaimed essay on Celtic Spirituality in Lutterworth Press’ volume “Neither here nor there; the many voices of Liminality” (2019, Tim Carson ed., introduced by Barbara Brown Taylor)
He holds a BA Div validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an MTh from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently engaged in a PhD in Theology through Creative Practice exploring poetry and the bible. In addition to these qualifications, Ó Tuama has numerous professional accreditations in conflict and group mediation.
September 27, Friday Evening
6:00-6:45pm Registration, Wine and Cheese Reception
7:00-8:00pm Keynote—Peace Hurts: The practice of We and Together
September 28, Saturday
8:00-8:30am Coffee & registration
8:40-9:00am Opening prayer and welcome—Bishop
9:00-10:00am Keynote—Grief and the Gospel: People of pain in the presence of God
10:00-10:30am Coffee break
2:30-3:30pm Keynote—The Gospel of Encounter: Paying attention to the power of human engagement
Pádraig Ó Tuama—Borders and Belonging in the Book of Ruth (FULL)
This session will explore lessons for politics, borders, disputes and disagreements today. Taking the Hebrew book of Ruth, it will delve into the narrative exploring borders, kindness, individual human narratives and questions about “host” and “newcomer”. This workshop particularly builds on the “Brexit and the Book of Ruth” project that Pádraig directed while leading the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.”
Bishop Logan McMenamie—Do You Hear the People Sing
Music has always been a powerful motivator. From folk music to national anthems. In this workshop we will look at the music that has changed the course of history and faith. From reformation to revolution, songs that have called the best out in humanity. This workshop will be an opportunity to remember those songs that have shaped us and our world. We will also sing together and have fun. Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Christopher Page—The Wide Plains of My Peace
Etty Hillesum was only twenty-nine years old when she died in Auschwitz death camp. Yet, the witness of her diaries and letters, demonstrate that in the midst of turmoil and terror, Etty experienced deep and profound peace. How did this young woman come to such a place of peace within? What might we learn from her that could help us experience a similar inner peace?
People building Peace: Stories from frontline filmmaking - Brad Leitch
Filmmaker, Brad Leitch uses film to tell five short stories around five documentary projects he has directed and produced about the themes of conflict, reconcilation and peace.
Jasmin O’Brian—Everything Will Live Where the River Flows: Peacemaking with Children --CANCELLED
Jasmin O'Brian has a heart for children and her passion for the care and nurture of the spiritual lives of children is married beautifully with a Waldorf-based approach to play-centred engagement with imagination, gratitude and curiosity for God's creation. Come and learn about how this approach can help shape the formation of children in your context.
Tara Saracuse—Painting the Timbers White
In 2015, internationally renowned sculptor David Best erected a temple in Londonderry, Northern Ireland—the location of 1972’s “Bloody Sunday” and considered the starting point of the Northern Ireland Conflict. Best invited both the Catholic and Protestant communities to join in grief and worship in the same space. And when they were done, they burned it. This presentation will focus on the work of artist and temple-builder David Best. We’ll learn about how atheists, agnostics, spiritualists, and folks of all manner of organized religion have found solace and sacredness—together—in the unique spaces that Best has built. We’ll examine our own church buildings and explore the potential gifts of a multifaith worship space. And lastly, you’ll be challenged to look outside the walls of a traditional church building and explore how we might “paint the timbers white” in a new context.
Patrick Sibley—Dismantling Racism (FULL)
Dismantling Racism is a program designed by the Anglican Church of Canada to name and deal with racism, both historic and systemic. Through teaching, learning and discussing we attempt to break down walls and address the policies that have led to racism and racist behaviour both in the church and in society at large.
Cornelia van Voorst—Art and Empathy (FULL)
How might a simple artistic practice be a work of peace in our every day lives? Believing that compassion and connection are the foundations of peace, in this workshop Cornelia van Voorst will introduce us to the recent science about the value of visual art in our personal, communal and political lives. We will be introduced to simple and practical artistic techniques that aid our spiritual practice, refresh our souls and help cultivate a sense of compassion, joy and connection towards our world, ourselves and others.