2021 Conference

2021 Conference

19-21st March, 2021

Never has the phrase “God willing” had more significance in our lives than now – whether as individuals, ecclesias or conferences such as Hoddesdon. 

With High Leigh closed until April 2021, we are now planning a full VIRTUAL programme of Hoddesdon activities over that weekend – our usual smorgasbord of interactive workshops, praise, study, fun and informal fellowship.  All based on the Bible and our common, shared values; and all building up to our Breaking of Bread service on the Sunday.  

Our Sunday speaker this year is Steve Ash (Oxford) who will be speaking on the subject “Life, the Universe and Everything”. Besides those exciting studies, we have our usual full programme of praise, thoughts and workshops.

Bookings are open – click here

The price for booking this year is £20 with a subsidised rate of £10. We don’t want finance to be a barrier for anyone to attend, please do contact us in confidence if you would like to discuss this.

What will the weekend look like? … like this:

Below are the briefs of the 2021 workshops that will be presented via Zoom.

[1] Ruth: 4 funerals and a wedding (Mick Roberts)

We know Ruth well. But maybe we haven’t fully appreciated the variety of special ingredients that the Lord has provided in this tiny book. Like fine dining, it serves up the most intense flavour of the gospel to delight our spiritual taste buds in just four tiny chapters.

Ruth’s story is our story and this workshop is about exploring the people, patterns and practical lessons for our discipleship today ensuring we leave with a deeper love for this ‘gospel in miniature’.

Mick is now semi-retired and with wife Mary loves being grandparents to Daisy and has a grandson on the way. Bible missionary work has taken them to Russia several times and helped them grow a deep affection for the brothers and sisters there.  Mick is a member of the Ashby Christadelphian Church.

[2] Revisiting the role of sisters (Sally Whitehorn)

The role of sisters can be a difficult and contentious issue for many sisters and brothers. The aim of this session is to help us understand why there is a desire to revisit Bible teaching on this topic and question the traditionally accepted roles.

We will discuss and examine legitimate alternative scriptural interpretations in context which will help us to move forward and embrace new attitudes whilst still acknowledging that God is changeless.

With a background in teaching, Sally has been interested in the role of women in the church for several years following challenges from her millennial family.  She has presented this workshop at a Bible school and several Christadelphian churches over the last couple of years and she continues to research the issues.  Sally is a member of the Maidenhead Christadelphian Church.

[3] The bonds and bounds of fellowship (Gordon Dawes)

The unique relationship we can share in our Lord should be a continuing source of inclusion, confidence, grace and joy to us all. We’ll spend some time looking at the true basis of the blessing of fellowship, particularly from 1st century principles, and what it should mean to each of us and our identity as followers of Christ.

We will share and discuss practical ideas to build on the gifts of fellowship in our churches and wider contacts, by thinking about our worship, communion and witness, exampling sharing, participating, caring and contributing to one another to bring all to God’s kingdom.

Gordon works with both the Christadelphian Support Network (CSN) and the Ware Charities, supporting poverty and need in his home community.  He was previously Chair of the Christadelphian Meal a Day Fund (2007-18).  Gordon is a member of the Ware Christadelphian Church.

[4] Self-esteem and the Bible (Tom Gaston)

Low self-esteem has been connected with depression and anxiety, as well as with other more serious psychological disorders. At the extreme, it can be quite literally a killer. There can be many factors involved in low self-esteem. Sometimes religion can be one of those factors. In this session, we will explore self-esteem from a biblical perspective. We will explore how some commonly held beliefs could exacerbate feelings of low self-esteem. We will then consider whether some of our assumptions need to be adjusted to avoid those implications. This should help us see how healthy self-esteem is compatible with the gospel message.

Tom works in publishing, but would prefer to be either an academic, the director of the next Star Wars movie or a stay-at-home dad.  He has a doctorate in theology and has written various books and articles on religious and ethical themes, but still hasn’t mastered spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  Tom is a member of the Oxford Christadelphian Church.

[5] Church! (Nic Willis)

We read in Ephesians that God’s plan is to display the rich variety of His wisdom and glory through the church (Eph 3:10 and 21). It’s a big thought, especially as we explore the impact that a global pandemic has had on our church life.

Here’s a simple mission statement: “God Honouring – Christ Centred – Spirit Led – Bible Based – People Focused – Mission Minded”.

How can we embody these principles, practically and spiritually, in the life of our church in a changing world, and what difference will it make? Through interactive discussion, biblical application and real-life case studies, we’ll find out! Be encouraged, Jesus is still building His church and it will prevail.

Nic was an active member of the Christadelphian community for most of his life before becoming the Pastor of the Tarporley Baptist & Methodist Church.  As a result, he brings with him an unusual perspective from both inside and outside the Christadelphian community, and practical experience of church-planting in a variety of different settings.

[6] Building faith out of doubt (Jim Bilton & Stuart Walker)

For some, the spiritual journey is a steady, progressive, upward path. This workshop is not for them! For many others, life holds challenges which can undermine our faith. These challenges will be specific to each one of us and can range from bereavement and loss through to ill-health and on to issues of doctrine and practical faith.

Yet this workshop is not about the challenges themselves, but the process of dealing with those challenges. So, come prepared to talk and share as we try to build a route to a deeper, more personal faith out of doubt and uncertainty.

Jim has spent his working life in the media business.  He is currently consulting for a number of companies on how to manage radical change in disruptive times.  He is a member of Guildford Christadelphian Church. 

Following ten years at University, Stuart has spent his working life advising the Pharmaceutical Industry and Ministries of Health on Medicines Regulations while also having a teaching role in academia. He has been involved in several charities including CRUSE & Meal A Day, has trained as a counsellor and is a member of Horley Christadelphian Church.

[7] The christian and work (Phil & Kate Lawrence)

The Christian is asked to balance personal ambition with a godly perspective, to see the difference between the food that perishes and that which endures to eternal life, to work as for the Lord.

How do we balance these perspectives? Is some work to be preferred? How can we serve our Lord at and through work? 

This group will explore biblical examples and allow an opportunity to explore our own particular challenges and successes. Time will be given for individual reflection, meditation and encouragement. 

This is a group which will benefit people in all stages of work life, especially after the challenges of 2020, we will look at our personal journey and analyse the points we would like to take forward and lessons we may have learnt. 

Phil and Kate Lawrence between them have worked in the private, public and charity sectors. Kate is an Art Therapist and now works part-time. Phil has spent his working life in business management and has recently transitioned to a portfolio career. Both are Trustees of the Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund travelling to Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Phil and Kate are members of the Nottingham (Jarvis Avenue) Christadelphian Church.

[8] The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (Tim Webborn)

There is no doubt that for most of us, Israel’s first king was a total enigma. He was God’s choice and yet, if we are honest, we struggle to know what to make of him. Was he a goodie, or was he a baddie? And how many of us, over the years, have given Saul the benefit of the doubt over most of the situations he found himself in? In this Old Testament study, we will review the evidence, make up our minds, and see how our discipleship today might be influenced for the better.

Tim loves exploring the life and times of great characters of the Old Testament, seeking to understand the lessons we can all learn from them.  With an upbringing in Mumbles and south London, Tim is a member of Newbury Christadelphian Church.

[9] How should we praise Him? (Julian Baseley)

The Bible gives us many examples of praising God. How should we offer the best to Him? How does this reflect in our commitment to our loving God? Praise and Worship should be a cornerstone of our faith, how much is this part of our lives? What is acceptable to Him? 

We will be looking at various ways to praise and looking at the success of these in helping our own walk to the Kingdom whilst also showing others what the joy of having found Jesus means in our lives. Part of this will review how successful some new forms of praise are being around the world 

Our recent experience of lockdown has called for dramatic changes to the way we can praise our Lord.

Julian’s love of music began with his family when young. He has played professionally in bands for many years.  He is also involved with Sunday School and youth work and initiated the church’s work with the homeless locally.  Julian is a member of the Guildford Christadelphian Church.

[10] ‘As it is written’: God’s unchanging word (Jan Smith)

Offered in the morning only…

The Bible is the source and foundation of our faith; we accept it as God’s message to us today, as relevant now as always. But how was this diverse and ancient collection of books brought together? What evidence do we have for the origin and age of the Bible texts? And what changes have they been through in order to reach us today? 

This will be a simple, broad brush overview of the history of Scripture: no academic knowledge is required! We will briefly look at methods of communication and ask what implications this has for traditional views on authorship, inspiration, and interpretation.

With a degree in Medieval and Modern History, Jan trained as an archivist at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, then worked for 35 years in county archives, curating and providing access to collections of manuscripts from 10th-20th centuries. Jan is a member of Newbury Christadelphian Church.

[11] ‘Be still and know’ (Anne Jeavons)

Offered in the afternoon only…

Our many words can be one of the obstacles we put up to God. This workshop is a quiet retreat to consider our response to the first chapters of Colossians, thinking about the benefits of silence, and of spiritual practices which can bring us closer to God.

Everything in our lives, and in our universe, is in God’s hands. We have needed to trust in this over the last year, perhaps more than ever. 

Colossians tells us of Christ’s part in creation, and creation’s reconciliation with God, through him. We too have a share in this, and a role to play; in this session we will spend time in God’s presence to explore this with him, and  “be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power”

Anne is an NHS psychologist and has used meditative techniques therapeutically.  She is interested in a variety of spiritual traditions, including that of the Quakers, and has benefitted from silent meditation and prayer on retreats as a powerful way of coming into the presence of God.  Anne is a member of the Oxford Christadelphian Church.

Bookings are open – click here