Clergy have returned back to their parishes after a four-day conference at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire.
The Clergy Gathering 2022 was the first time Bishop Mark Tanner had had the opportunity to draw clergy together in this way following a number of false starts due to the pandemic.
Ahead of the conference, Bishop Mark prayed that the time together would be a "deeply refreshing time of fellowship, learning, worship, and prayer".
The Revd Simon Drew and the Revd Ian Rumsey sum up the relaxed and collegial feel of the Gathering
Attendees were blessed with warm spring sunshine which helped people to make the most of the space and enjoy walks in the surrounding countryside.
- See some photographs from the Clergy Gathering on Facebook
- Watch all of the Clergy Gathering live stream recordings here
- Listen to all of the Clergy Gathering live streams on Spoitfy here
Bishop Mark opened the conference with a warm welcome and by commissioning two new Pastoral Chaplains, the Revd Georgina Watmore and the Revd Lynn Boyle. He also shared a memory of playing croquet on the lawn at a previous Clergy Gathering he attended as a curate whilst serving in the Diocese of Chester and urged clergy to enjoy their time together.
Bishops Mark, Sam, and Julie each took a turn in leading a Bible study focusing on teaching around Mark 1:14-1. Each of their Bible studies was live-streamed and can be viewed again here on YouTube.
Feedback following the conference from clergy who attended was positive with one commenting that they had welcomed the opportunity to see "the working relationship between our three bishops and the gifts that each of them bring."
The Incumbent at Thornton Hough, the Revd Vicky Barrett
Others commented that they left the Clergy Gathering with a feeling that clergy are "in this together", and with a sense of "hope for God's church". One commented that they had been reminded that "ordination is about prayer and rest, and not just about work."
This was a recurring theme among some of the Key Speakers. The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell spoke for over an hour about, amongst other things, his vision for a Church of England that is bolder, humbler, and simpler, but also urged clergy to find time for rest, saying: "In order to dream, you need to be asleep." You can watch his full address again on YouTube here.
The Revd Dr Sharon Prentis, Dean of Ministry at St Mellitus College, led a talk reflecting on What are we being called from? and the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, focused on Repentance: What do we need to leave behind? Both talks are available to view again on YouTube here.
On the final morning, the Church of England's Dave Male concluded with a talk on the theme So go! Recasting the net.
As well as talks and Bible studies, clergy enjoyed workshops on a range of topics, including youth work, Eco-Church, church planting, and healing.
Asked what was the single most valuable thing that they learned at the Clergy Gathering, one incumbent said: "It's hard to pin down a single thing, but the conference has helped me to dream bigger dreams for my parish, with more confidence and vision."
Another commented that the single most valuable thing they would take back with them is: "That our life and activity as a church should flow from thankfulness and joy. I knew it already, but it's always good to hear this."