The Glenstal Conference is in its 47th year. It will take place in Glenstal from 29th June until 1st July. It began at a time when it was not easy for church leaders to meet without attracting adverse comment; Glenstal was a ‘safe place’ where trust and friendship could grow and flourish. Forty seven years on, the inter-church climate has changed considerably and participants include theologically alert lay persons from all traditions alongside church leaders and academics and members of the monastic community.
This year’s theme is Bread for the World: Mission Imperative, reflecting the 100th anniversary of the Edinburgh Missionary Conference, regarded as the starting point of the modern ecumenical movement. . It will be explored through Bible reflection led by Dr Lavinia Byrne, known to many from her writing and her reflections on BBC 4’s Thought for the Day. The plenary sessions will be addressed by Dr Pete Ward of King’s College, London, and editor of Mass Culture: the interface of Eucharist and Mission. On Wednesday afternoon, a panel of ‘local’ speakers, Father John Anih, Dr Brian Callan and Mrs Helen Freeburn, will address specific aspects of the theme, ‘earthing’ it in the Irish situation. A significant amount of time for discussion among the participants is built into the programme. Brother Martin Browne, Headmaster of Glenstal School, will reflect on the process of the Conference.
The thinking behind the choice of this theme and those of last year, Change of Climate: breaking bread on a fragile earth, and the previous year, Love bade me welcome – the costly grace of hospitality, has been along the lines that Christians very often use inter-faith, inter-cultural and other issues to distance them from issues closer to home and among themselves. Relationships with each other and the faith-full practice of the Christian way of life have implications for the world in which we live. We will be reflecting on the Eucharist in the context of proclaiming the Gospel.
Those interested in attending the Conference should contact
Father Senan Furlong OSB