The Programme, Events and Activities

Day 1 – Friday 18th September
The conference opened with a welcome to the Cathedral from the Dean of Coventry, the Very Revd John Witcombe, who then introduced the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation

The Bishop of Coventry, the Right Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth welcomed participants to the conference,

This was followed by a short address by Revd Margot Hodson using Colossians 1:15-20 as her text.

Then Sir Ghillean Prance gave the keynote speech, reflecting on the extent of the current crisis facing our world and his hopes for the lasting impact of this conference.              









Delegates then participated in one of a number of discussion streams

  • Community Engagement
  • Political Engagement
  • Health, Education & Well-Being
  • Natural Resources
  • Enhancing Biodiversity
  • Developing Technologies
 Within each stream, participants heard from three speakers who gave brief ‘stories of hope’, and then they divided into smaller groups to discuss each of those stories in turn.  Within these discussions, the group aimed to take forward principles, generating new ideas and vision and preparing to share these in a plenary with the rest of the conference at the end of the day.

Following a buffet dinner, prepared by the new Cathedral Cafe, Rising from the Rubble, we were delighted to host the Riding Lights Theatre Company who performed their new play, Baked Alaska, based on current environmental issues. This was commissioned by the Diocese of Lichfield with the intention of launching this play at our conference. We were suitably challenged by the performance in stunning surroundings of the new Cathedral and the play has contuinued on its progress round the country.

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Day 2 – Saturday 19th September
The day began with a theological reflection on Colossians 1:15-20, Psalm 148 and prophetic lament by Professor Richard Bauckham.     

This was followed by small group discussions responding to issues raised during the conference and statements arising from these were gathered on a display board. To read these comments, click here.    Before lunch, participants gathered together for two mini-plenaries, the first from Canon Kenyon Wright reflecting on the current conference in the light of the 1975 CCN Conference in Sewanee, Tenessee and the second from Jerry Marshall on the role of small businesses.

After lunch, there were opportunities for partnership meetings, enabling participants to meet others with similar topic-based interests and concerns and also with those from their own regions.

This was followed by a final keynote address given by Bishop James Jones, author of ‘Jesus and the World’, in which summarised the main outcomes of the conference and commissioned us to put into action our own stories of hope for the future. The conference concluded for most at 4.30pm following a short act of worship incorporating material from the Wild Goose Worship Group. 




For those who stayed on in Coventry, the 10.30am Eucharist on Sunday 20th September at the Cathedral continued to reflect the themes of the conference; our preacher was the Right Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley and a member of the Environmental Working Group of the Church of England. For the text of the sermon, click here. Professor Richard Bauckham read the epistle and Professor Sam Berry read the intercessions.

Visit the Coventry Cathedral website  to see the text of  Bishop Graham's sermon (20 September 2015)


Café Connect (see photos from Day 1)

Throughout the conference, the Cathedral was set up with a specially designed area called Café Connect, open for delegates to relax and network with each other and where we also enjoyed meals provided by Rising from the Rubble. The area was separated from the main part of the Nave by screens carrying pictures produced by schoolchildren, expressing their hopes as they imagined a future in 40 years time.


Chapel of Unity

The cathedral’s Chapel of Unity was set aside throughout the conference as a place of quiet reflection and prayer.


A number of organisations had exhibition stands in the Cathedral Nave, beside the Tablets of the Word, and these provided a very welcome addition to the conference. We are grateful to the various exhibitors for joining us.

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