Continuing the journey conference is an open temporary community, creatively exploring continuity and tension between the world and church, nature and grace, psychology and theology
When I was a youngster, I had life mapped out in my head and I was taking active steps towards my career of choice. Then God and life transformed the map I thought I was following into something which has been very different and which would have been completely unimaginable at that time. If I had drawn a map then, my current career as a psychotherapist would have been right in the middle of the unknown and, for me, assumed to be a dangerous, ‘here be dragons’ area; and yet it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done (so far!) - a place, if you like, of treasure as well as fear at times.
Looking at the current climate, literally and figuratively, many things are not where we might have expected or hoped them to be. I wonder what your experience is and how you approach these uncharted times in life? As conference gets closer, my hope is that it will be a safe and rich place to explore as much or as little as you wish, to discover your own treasure and acknowledge - or maybe venture - into new areas.
If you haven’t booked yet, there are still a few spaces left, so do consider joining us. In this newsletter we’ll tempt you with a glimpse of how worship planning is shaping up, and we’ll share one of Rachel Mann’s poems.
I look forward to seeing you in May.
Chair of Planning Group
Date of next conference:
4th - 8th May 2020
There are still a few places left for latecomers to book for the conference. It will be a wonderful opportunity to hear exceptional speakers and meet others on their spiritual journeys. There will be so much to stimulate growth and enable you to receive God’s blessings. You will find the booking form on the Continuing the Journey webpage here!
Worship at Continuing the Journey
Just to give you a glimpse of our worship journey at conference Marie Calvert descibes the concept and ideas that the worship team have been working on over the year.
Worship will begin on the Monday by ‘arriving’ on our treasure island (as we arrive at conference), and considering how we have got here, what the journey has been like, and what kind of treasure/dragons we have been encountering. We will invite people to do this visually, with individual maps and also with different types of terrain they may meet on their island as they travel through conference. We are settling on 4 particular types of ‘landscape’, which will shape the rest of the week, and these are: Desert, Water, Cave, and City/dwelling.
As we mused on the Tuesday evening activitiy(which is a reflective space in which people can go deeper and more creatively into the theme if they wish), we decided to create spaces in which people can ‘walk with’ 4 Bible characters, each of whom would connect with one of those landscapes. Of course there are endless possibilities around this, but we settled on these:
Desert – Moses. Theological
Cave – Elijah. Psychological
City or dwelling. Mary (mother of Jesus). Social/pastoral
Water – Jonah. Spirituality
The idea was that when looking at treasure maps it is helpful to find a guide, someone who has travelled these lands before us. So the Tuesday evening will comprise 4 different ‘zones’ and each will contain some links/suggestions for reflection from the point of view of each of the 4 Bible characters.
These important characters will pop up throughtout the conference so if you want to and if you have time, read some of their stories in the bible before you arrive at conference!
An excusive interview with Jonah (the one with the big fish)
One of the planning group members, Karen (who has been known to sail on the high seas), has managed to track down one of the stars for conference for this excusive interview! Jonah No less!!
Karen: Jonah, just to say many thanks for agreeing to attend conference this year and for agreeing to this interview to introduce you as one of our main characters at conference, we are really looking forward to meeting you!
Jonah: Yeah, well actually I’m quite looking forward to it too. Mind you, I wouldn’t have said that a couple of years ago. I was quite happy, minding my own business in Israel. People got on my nerves, to be honest, what with their manifold dishonesty and corruption and that... But then God spoke to me, and I got chucked in the deep end. As it were. Had to go and talk to a lot of people, and I mean a lot of people, in Nineveh. So chances are you lot will be much nicer than them. Wouldn’t be hard, to be honest.
Karen: So our theme is ‘Here be dragons, searching for treasure’. I was wondering whether you have encountered any dragons on your travels?
Jonah: Well, not your actual dragon, per se... Not many dragons as such in Nineveh, nor in Israel neither. I could do you a whale, but not a dragon. Metaphorical dragons, now that’s another matter. I’ll tell you about those at conference, if there’s time...
Karen: I understand that you have experienced being thrown overboard, could you share some of that experience with our readers?
Jonah: Flipping terrifying, to be honest. And wet. Very wet, in fact – the wettest I’ve ever been. Mind you, I asked for it – quite literally, as it happens. But it was all my fault in the first place, trying to run away from God and that. Stupid idea. So I knew that storm was my fault, and those sailors had done me a favour, taking me on, and they didn’t deserve to die... So I had to face the consequences, didn’t I?
Karen: We will be thinking about treasure at conference: what would you say is the greatest thing you will treasure from your traveling experience?
Jonah: A set of dry clothes, and a quiet life, to be honest. But I’ve learnt a lot along the way, as well – about people, about myself, about marine biology, about God... Do you know – looking back, I wouldn’t have missed it, even though that’s not what I thought at the time.
Karen: And finally, you are new to conference as will be a few others reading this: I am wondering if you can share how you are feeling about joining us this year?
Jonah: Well, like I said, I think it might actually be fun. After Nineveh, you lot will be a refreshing change – it’ll be nice to go somewhere without having to call down fire and brimstone. I’m a bit nervous, if I’m honest, but in my experience that’s when God tends to show up. So long as there’s no big fish on the menu...
Thank you Jonah! We look forward to encourntering you again very soon!
A poem by one of our conference speakers:
I’ve lived for the feelings of others,
That’s a listening of sorts,
What have I learnt? That self
Is bitumen, black as tar,
Oh, how slowly we flow, oh
How slowly we flow, we crack with age.
I’ve lived for the feelings of others,
A philosophy of sorts. I’ve heard
Self give up its final word,
Coughs and whispers in
Hospitals and nursing homes.
Oh, how slowly we flow, oh.
Rachel Mann (From: ‘A Kingdom of Love’ (Manchester: Carcanet 2019)
A Prayer for when dragons seem all around
Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Selah
Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.
In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.
Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.