27 February 2016

Us conference returns to Swanwick
with the theme ‘Just One World’

Patrick Comerford

The Anglican mission agency, Us (USPG), of which I am a trustee, has announced details of this year’s residential conference, which returns to The Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick in Derbyshire, for the first time since 2010. From 2011 until 2015, the conference has taken place each year at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

The conference theme this year is Just One World, and the conference takes place from Monday 6 June to Wednesday 8 June 2016.

This year’s conference is being challenged to look at issues of justice through the eyes of the world Church, inspired by Micah 6:8: ‘What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

The conference plans to explore issues such as climate change, migration, globalisation, the poverty gap and gender equality, and to ask how the Church can best respond. The programme includes talks, workshops, ideas to take back to parishes, and a chance to meet some of the world church partners Us/USPG is working with.

Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Senior Anglican Chaplain in Athens

The international speakers who have been invited to share insights from the world church include:

Father Malcolm Bradshaw MBE, Senior Anglican Chaplain in Greece, who will speak about the refugee crisis in Europe.

● Ruth De Barros, the Us-supported programme co-ordinator in the Diocese of the Amazon, Brazil, who will speak about human trafficking.

● Nadine Daniel, a co-ordinator of the ‘Hope+ Foodbank’ scheme run by the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

More speakers are expected to be added in the weeks to come.

The programme for the Day Conference on Tuesday also includes:

● Inspiring bible studies;

● Interactive workshops;

● An informal reception.

The Trustees may meet informally for a brief time on the Tuesday afternoon of Conference, and the formal meeting of the council will take place on the Tuesday evening.

There is much to look forward to and the conference booking forms are available on the Us/USPG website here. There is a discount for bookings made before 30 April, and the conference is free for students, ordinands, Us diocesan representatives, and volunteers on the Journey with Us placement programme.

The Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, the venue for this year’s Us/USPG conference (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

A journey through Lent 2016
with Samuel Johnson (18)

Johnson’s opinion of English pubs … a sign outside the Queen’s Head in Queen Street, Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent this year, I am taking time each morning to reflect on words from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Lichfield lexicographer and writer who compiled the first authoritative English-language dictionary.

Many of us may have given up drinking during Lent on many occasions. But, despite his regular observance of Lent, Johnson was known for his fondness of inns and taverns, and I recalled yesterday how ‘Ye Olde Talbot’ in Uttoxeter is one of many English pubs that claim he was a frequent visitor.

Perhaps you have given up drinking alcohol during Lent. But Johnson’s remarks about public houses are popular on notice boards and chalkboards in pubs in his home town, Lichfield, including the Hedgehog Vintage Inn and the the Queen’s Head in Queen Street.

This quotation outside the Queen’s Head dates back to a visit to a pub by Johnson and his biographer, James Boswell. In his biography, Boswell records a visit to Blenheim Palace with Johnson, after which they adjourned to “an excellent inn” at Chapel House, either the George or the White Horse.

Chapel House, in Over Norton, is 12 miles beyond Shipston, on the Oxford Road, close to its junction with the road from Worcester.

In this “excellent inn,” the conversation between Johnson and Boswell turned to a comparison of taverns in England and France. Johnson declared:

There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness has been produced as by a good tavern or inn.

Continued tomorrow.

Yesterday’s reflection.