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Clergy head to Swanwick for 'Imagining Faith'

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Monday, 14 April 2014. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

HARD-working clergy took a few days off from their busy schedules for Imagining Faith, the first Oxford Diocese clergy conference for 22 years.

Bishop Victoria celebrates the Eucharist.

The highlight for many was receiving communion in a service presided over by the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christ Church, New Zealand.

Another was stand-up comic, Paul Kerensa, who had the audience in stitches.

Workshops on everything from breadmaking to fundraising were held, and a resources hall featured Christian books, stands on social justice and vocations and even the chance to get creative with painting and other crafts. The Revd Rod Cosh, Area Dean of Burnham and Slough, said: "What a brilliant conference.

Bishop Victoria and the other keynote speakers have been thought provoking and the quality of the fellowship between everyone has been superb. "The Revd Ann Templeman, of Holy Trinity, Theale said: "It's been inspiring.

Graham Tomlin's Bible studies were amazing, calling us to go back to basics with a call to simplicity and a call to live.

It's just been lovely to put names to lots of faces.

It's been fun and there have been lots of people I have known from my university days and one of my predecessors. "

Breadmaking workshop The Revd Paul Eddy, Vicar of Stanford in the Vale with Goosey and Hatford said: "It's about being able to sit down and talk to colleagues with such a diverse range of experience during the informal times, you learn so much from each other and you have the chance to reflect with those with more experience of parish ministry.

During three or four days away you can look at what it means to minister in today's culture and how we are making sure our own relationship with God is going well. "The Revd Claire Alcock, a curate in the Langtree Team Ministry said: "The highlight was meeting Bishop Victoria.

It was amazing and I think she is one of those people where it doesn't matter what she says because she has a presence.

Graham Ward's talk felt like a brain gym. "The Revd Nick Jackson of St James, Southlake said: "I think it's been a good opportunity to talk to people across the spectrum and share experience with them.

Bishop Victoria was good, particularly the way she was prepared to look at things very differently when she was faced with obstacles, not rushing in with a solution but biding her time.

She was inspirational. "

Lots of laughter from the audience watching comedian Paul Karensa.

The Revd Canon Linda Green, Rector of St Mary's Banbury said: "It was very stimulating and refreshing.

The highlight for me were the Bible studies and the worship.

Bishop Victoria was really interesting and positive.

It's given me the chance to talk to people I wouldn't normally talk to and to see those I haven't seen for a while, including people I trained with and that's been great.

The comedian, Paul Kerensa, was brilliant - I haven't laughed so much for a while. "The Revd La Stacey, Curate in the Easthampstead Benefice said: "The Eucharist on the Wednesday morning absolutely blew me away.

I hadn't heard Bishop Alan preside before and I found it very moving."


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