The first ever clergy and lay Diocesan conference will be held in Rotherhithe at Bacon’s College from Thursday 1 September – Saturday 3 September 2022.

Those engaged in licenced ministry, both lay and ordained, are invited to gather in person to reflect on how, as churches and individuals, we can be Christ centred and outward focused through mission, worship, the arts and the provision we make for children and young people.

This will be an opportunity for joint thanksgiving, worship, hospitality and learning as we meet together.

In addition, some of the conference will be streamed online in order to make the programme a resource to parishes and communities.

Keynote speakers

Here's a taster of what the keynote speakers will be focusing on.

Mark Greene: 'Everyday Faith, Everyday Fruitfulness'

In this video Mark Greene talks about what he will be speaking on at the Diocesan Conference, “What does it look like to be Christ Centred and Outward Focused in the places that we find ourselves day by day?”

Mark Russell: ‘Helping children thrive, not just survive’

Life is getting harder for too many children and Mark will draw on The Children’s Society’s 15 years of research into children’s well-being to show why we should be concerned. He will reflect on the challenges facing children and young people, and how Christ Centred and Outward Focused parishes across the Diocese can make a difference in children’s lives.


Francis Spufford: ‘Communicating forgiveness to a culture that’s forgotten it’

For many people now, the small wrongs of life are too trivial to need forgiving and the big ones are too serious to be forgiven. This makes forgiveness look like either a fuss about nothing or an excuse for being soft on evil. The result is an unhappy perfectionism and the Church needs to learn who to engage with.

The Revd Dr Melanie Marshall: ‘Making friends and wasting time: Can the Church learn anything from university?'

Mission to the Church’s missing generation starts with listening to today’s unchurched young people to discover what wisdom is already alive among them. There is nowhere better to find Jesus than on the margins and the Church might discover Christ already among those we seek to invite into the faith.

The Revd Azariah France-Williams: 'Missing pieces lead to missing peace'

All God’s people are precious; all are necessary for the Body of Christ to live fully. Drawing on his forthcoming book, Ghost Ship, Azariah observes that to be truly Christ Centred and Outward Focused none of God’s people can be left behind – as, unfortunately, some of Christ’s flock are at the moment.

Adjoa Andoh: ‘A lay, purpose-driven approach to the miracle of life in church’

My professional life is in the creative arts: it’s where my gifts lie. In my second year of training in Southwark to be a Reader with the Bishop’s licence – colloquially called Lay Reader training – the priest in charge where I was on placement told me that, frankly, he didn’t understand the point of Lay Readers. We got on very well nonetheless and I have reflected a lot on that perspective since then. As we each bring our different gifts in service to our faith – to God’s miraculous Kingdom Come and the abundance it offers – what is the point of Lay Readers?

How to get there

The conference will take place at Bacon’s College, Timber Pond Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6AT, a short walk from Canada Water Station on both the Jubilee Underground Line and London Overground.


How do I register for the Conference and who is invited?

Invitations to attend the Conference will be sent via email during May with details of how to register. In the first instance, those engaged in licensed ministry – both lay and ordained – will be invited to attend in person, as the venue is one of our SDBE schools and there is limited capacity. Lay leaders who do not hold the Bishop’s licence will be invited to participate in the Conference online but may be able to attend in person should space permit.

What is the theme of the Conference?

The theme of the Conference is Christ Centred, Outward Focused to reflect Bishop Christopher’s passion for seeing our Diocesan parishes, schools and communities share their faith widely. With this in mind, we are seeking to deepen discipleship and widen our focus for mission through this 3-day Conference. The Conference programme has been designed to offer content and resources for all, reflecting the diversity of ministries across the Diocese. It is very much hoped that you will find the experience informative, engaging and enriching.

What time does the Conference begin and end each day?

The official programme begins at 10.30am, with gathered worship, and will conclude by 5.00pm.  However, doors will open at 9am when refreshments will be available. This will also enable you to network with others, explore the Market Place and relax before the beginning of the official programme.

You can begin your Conference experience earlier in the day through morning prayer which will be available online each morning.  A special Conference liturgy will be available via the Conference website and we hope this will connect us through prayer either before or as we journey to the Conference.

Why is the Conference in Rotherhithe and non-residential?

We are delighted to be partnering with one of our SDBE schools to host this event. As this is a Conference for those involved in both lay and ordained ministry, we are sensitive to the fact that some have weekday commitments that may prevent them from attending on all 3 days.  As a key desire is to make the Conference as inclusive as possible, the Conference Team explored a range of non-residential venues across London and it was felt that Bacon’s College offered the best combination of facilities, accessible location and value.

The choice of venue does mean that the Conference can only take place outside of term-time but we hope that by hosting this at the end of the summer holidays and over 3 days that everyone will be able to attend in person for at least one of the days. For anyone who genuinely cannot attend in person, there is an opportunity to participate online.

How do I get to the venue?

Bacon’s College is located approximately  10 minutes’ walk from Canada Water Station which is well-served by public transport. The Jubilee Line provides fast links from Waterloo and London Bridge Stations; the Overground provides direct access to West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction; and there are also good bus services.  A map of the walking route from Canada Water Station to the venue is above. Bicycle racks are available (first come first served) should you choose to cycle to the venue.

How accessible is the location for anyone with mobility concerns?

Canada Water Station has step free access from platforms to street level. Parking in the school car park can be reserved for blue badge holders when booking your attendance and there is also some free street parking. The Conference venue is entirely accessible to wheelchair users. Please stipulate any other access needs on the online booking form.

What catering will be provided?

Welcome refreshments (tea, coffee, pastries or muffins and fruit) will be available between 9am and 10.30am each day. Lunch will be provided, and you should make your menu selection when booking your place at the Conference. Refreshments (tea, coffee and biscuits) will be available during the afternoon break.

Is there a dress code for the Conference?

There is no dress code for this event.

What else can I expect at the Conference?

In addition to some excellent speakers, a number of ministry partners will be participating in the Conference Market Place where they will share a variety of resources and ideas for delegates. The Market Place will be open each day from 9am – 5.30pm.

What filming and photography will take place during the Conference?

Some Conference sessions – both Keynote and Seminars – will be live-streamed.  You may wish to sit towards the back of the room if you prefer not to appear on camera. Official photographers will also be present throughout the Conference venue.

How else can I or others get involved?

We are looking for volunteers to help ensure the smooth and effective running of the Conference. If you – or anyone you know (aged 18 or over) – would be interested in volunteering, then please contact us at [email protected] .

Volunteers may also have the opportunity to attend one or more of the conference sessions on the days they are present.

To read more about how attendee data will be processed and for what purposes, read the Diocese of Southwark event attendee privacy notice.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2022. All rights reserved.
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