Chalice Group Conference at Henfield
Over fifty people attended the Conference, which was very well-received: those attending in general found it useful and encouraging, and hoped it could be repeated in future.
The day began with worship, arranged by a group of musicians who used music, songs and prayers to introduce a day of reflection and discussion.
The Keynote Speaker was the Rev’d Alyson Lamb, vicar of St John’s Meads, Eastbourne; in an address which combined interesting narrative, serious reflection, encouragement and humour, she told the story of her own practical and spiritual journey to priesthood and left her audience with much to inspire and to think about.
The Rev'd Alyson Lamb's keynote address
After a short time to share experiences, the conference members made a presentation to Bishop David Wilcox on his retirement, to thank him for many years of support for the women priests in the diocese, many of whom he had ordained; and we welcomed Bishop Laurie Green, his successor as Assistant Bishop looking after women clergy, whose contribution to the later discussion was greatly appreciated.
The rest of the day was spent in discussion groups based on people’s interests, on Women Priests in the Diocese, the Vacancy-in-See issues to be considered on Bishops John and Wallace’s retirements, Senior appointments in the Diocese and preparations for the Diocesan Synod Vote on the Women Bishops legislation on October 8th, some group meeting twice and others once, to accommodate numbers (see notes below).
The Eucharist was celebrated by Ann McNeil, who is a retired priest in Henfield parish, and o of the first women ordained as priest in the diocese in 1994. People joined in a sandwich lunch and a chance to talk and meet one another.
Groups continued in the afternoon, ending with a joint session on ‘The Way Forward?’, and the conference ended with a blessing at 3 o’clock.
Our thanks go to Alastair Cutting and Christina Bennett at Henfield Parish Church, to Alyson Lamb for an inspiring talk, to Stephen and Liz France for providing the lunch (for a small donation!) and to our musicians Lisa Barnett, Natalie Loveless and Jo Bourse.
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Below is a summary of the points made in the group sessions.
GROUP DISCUSSIONS – Summaries of points recorded:
Group 1: Women Priests in the Diocese
Women priests are not seen as equal to men or treated in the same way, in particular in terms of (more…)
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