Here are the workshops overviews for the 2018 conference (16-18 March 2018)
Workshop 1: Ministry of reconciliation Wendy Johnsen
This is the grand theme throughout Scripture – God works through people to bring them into relationship with him. People continually fail to understand this and strive rather to keep others out, putting ‘walls’ up, in the form of rules and notions of purity and exclusivity. God keeps reminding people in the OT that he’s more interested in how people take care of each other, ie social justice, than in the rituals of religion and, in the NT, Jesus radically teaches this through his altruism. How does the cultural context of those times contribute to our understanding of this topic? In the current context of inter-racial tensions worldwide, how is a ministry of reconciliation relevant? We will examine the scriptural teaching and discuss its relevance for us today.
Workshop 2: You’ve lost me Mike & Suzette Thompson
Is the church losing the next generation? Research by the Barna Group based in America reveals that more than half of all Christian teens and twenty-somethings leave active involvement in church and many more are disengaged. ‘You Lost Me’ exposes ways the Christian community has failed to equip young adults to live ‘in but not of’ the world – to follow Christ in the midst of profound cultural change. We will summarise the study and show how it is relevant to our community, looking at some of the implications and practical suggestions on how we can engage our young people. We would like delegates to come along and share their experiences in their church with the younger generation and be prepared to think openly and laterally!
Workshop 3: Spending time with Peter James Riley
Let’s spend some time with Peter – follow him a bit, experience some of his challenges and maybe transform ourselves just like he did. From the Gospels to his letters we see an amazing man who loved his Lord and wanted so much to do his best. Are we as eager to learn – as quick to act – as humble to say sorry? This workshop is for those who want an opportunity to look deeper into the life of Peter – ask lots of questions, and not always find the answers!
Workshop 4: Building the body Simon & Emma Palmer
The way in which our bones mend themselves, how our brain deals with addiction, how blood gives life; God designed the human body in an amazing way, right down to the very tiny microscopic details.
Our community, as the body of Christ, can learn a lot from our perfect creator in how we can work together to function as a healthy, purposeful being. This session gives insight into the wonders of the human body and how spiritually it makes perfect sense that God created us this way.
Workshop 5: Samaritans, Palestinians, Coincidence? Eric Lowe
When looking at the Samaritans and their role in scripture and then the role of Palestinians today a number of challenging questions arise. This workshop sets the scene for both peoples and then poses the questions. Topics that come out include racism, extremism, our own actions and the lessons of ancient and recent history for us all today. The style will be interactive with some group activities to get everyone involved.
Workshop 6: The flip side of the 10 commandments Mark Buckler
Eight of the 10 Commandments are negative and feed a perception of many that religion is negative and restrictive in life. Is this what God is really interested in? Paul talks about ‘let him that stole steal no more’ but he does not end there he goes on to say ‘but rather let him labour’ and he does not stop there but goes on ‘that he may have to give’.
Having thought about the negatives we want to look at all the commandments and examine what God really wants from us – the positive flip side. To emphasise that our discipleship is not about separation from but ‘separation to’ and is not to focus on the ‘not doing’ but much more on the ‘positive doing’.
There will be an opportunity for everyone to get involved in group activities.
Workshop 7: Faith evidence and evolution Pete Jeavons
Discussing the relationship between our faith and evolution sometimes raises strong emotions. In this workshop we’ll try to understand why that is. We’ll look at the range of different things that people mean when they talk about evolution, and how those relate to the scientific evidence and to faith in God. We’ll also try to find ways to foster more engaging and helpful conversations about creation and God with those who take different views.
Workshop 8: Jesus in context Merri Mansfield
The radical gospel message of Jesus did not just appear out of nowhere. There is a history and a context that we need to understand before we can really begin to appreciate both the man and his message.
By digging into six passages from the New Testament, we will start to unpick a number of threads: the religious and political context of the time; the explosive messianic fervour that threatened Christ’s whole mission; the gospel writers’ use of both oral and textual sources and how that shaped the final books we now read centuries later. The aim is a deeper understanding of the truths we hold so dear; but prepare to have some assumptions
challenged along the way!
HALF-DAY WORKSHOPS (MORNING ONLY)
Workshop 9: The name above every name Don Graham
An interactive group activity ‘building’ a crossword containing names/titles/attributes of our lovely Lord. Clues will enable the filling in of blank grids which fit together to make the whole. This workshop is intended for all and sundry and not intended as an ‘egghead’ exercise. The real value will be in considering together spiritual lessons of how God in Christ has covered every eventuality of his creation, i.e. Jesus is the ‘prime meridian’ – the hinge/hub/pivot around which the whole
Workshop 10: Soundtrack to the Psalms Matt Mundey & Phil Ashcroft
What do you hear when you see the words, ‘Hey Jude’, or ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’? You hear the music that makes the song. But with the Psalms we only have half the story/song – lyrics without music. The Psalms are amazing stand-alone poems, but in this workshop we’ll explore the music of the Psalms, hopefully adding richness and depth to the words, emotions and thoughts of the Psalm writers.
We’ll think about how the Psalms might have been sung/performed when they were originally written and experience some modern interpretations of the Psalms and psalm-based songs.
There’ll be plenty of opportunity for singing, song writing, listening, and new psalm interpretations.
Workshop 11: Living in a multi-faith society Jim Bilton
The UK is often described as ‘post Christian’: a whirlpool of different faiths and world views. So, how do we relate to non- Christians? Do we keep them at arm’s length to keep our faith pure? Do we try to convert them? Or do we engage with them and try to find common ground, but with the danger that we compromise what is unique about the Christian revelation? This workshop will start by mapping the landscape – thumbnail sketches of the major faiths we are likely to meet – and will then move on to more practical issues about how we are to be a ‘good neighbour’ in a complex world.
Workshop 12: Living with God in a godless world Andy Avery
Atheism is increasing and becoming more…’evangelical’. It’s sometimes really hard to have a faith in the face of such ‘logical’ arguments. At tough times in life, a faith foundation can be really shaken. In this workshop we’ll discuss some of the arguments we often see or hear and come to a better understanding of where our faith is and what the arguments mean. The intention is not to learn how to ‘convert’ an atheist, it is how to be able to coexist with people without a belief, form a mutual respect and be able to keep strong. We will cover subjects such as suffering, evolution, time, chance and fairy-tales.
HALF-DAY WORKSHOPS (AFTERNOON ONLY)
Workshop 13: Flowers, a reflection of God’s glory Mary Barnes
The workshop will be in two parts: 1. Interactive discussion/reflection around flowers and gardens in the Bible and how we can use flowers (e.g. on the dinner/memorial table and when visiting friends’ homes etc). 2. Practical (with demonstration).
The workshop is not aimed at experienced flower arrangers (although they are welcome too!) but intended for people wanting to learn how to do an inexpensive, quick yet eye-catching hand tied arrangement to go in a jam jar; the type which can be done several at a time. I would also hope that the workshop could be replicated in our churches or in our home as a means of getting to know people
Workshop 14: Get out there Dan Parsons and Judith Norcross
We enjoy a wonderful hope, genuinely ‘Good News’ that we should share passionately with everyone we meet. Yet few of us find it easy to preach and witness. ‘Get out there’ aims to share practical ideas that have worked outside more traditional Christadelphian models of preaching, focusing on methods to engage with the public. We will consider what skills we have as an individual or as an ecclesia that can help us to ‘get out there’ in a way that works for us. Be prepared to share your own ideas and experiences so that every one of us can take something away that will help us grow in sharing our faith.
Workshop 15: Decision making from a Biblical perspective Stuart Walker
Every day we make decisions – some trivial, some important – at work, at home and in church. However, there are recognised strategies for improving decision-making using a framework and a structured systematic approach.
However, if you find decision-making difficult or challenging then this workshop will help by discussing the process that you can use, reviewing how we can make better life decisions by applying the ‘Seven Scriptural Principles of Good Decisionmaking’, and examine lessons from Biblical examples.
Together we can share decisions we have made or are currently facing in a safe environment and review how God will work with us if we follow these seven scriptural principles
Workshop 16: A walk in God’s garden Don Graham
This area is for those who would like to enjoy an afternoon of walking in the local countryside.
The walk will be led, about 4-5 miles in length and timed to fit in with the other Saturday afternoon sessions. Anyone able to maintain a moderate walking pace should be able to tackle this! – but the route would not be suitable for those with walking difficulties or unable to climb over stiles. If the weather is too wet to start a walk, then other arrangements will be made