Countdown to Justice & Peace Conference

13th July 2013 - by Ellen Teague

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Members of the Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Team will be attending and running workshops at this year’s National Justice and Peace Network conference from 19-21 July. The focus will be on ‘Faith in action’.

The 2013 National Justice & Peace Network (NJPN) conference will take place Friday 19 – Sunday 21 July, with the theme ‘Breaking Open the Word – a call to faith in action’. The venue is The Hayes Centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire and it will involve around 300 justice and peace activists, largely from the Catholic dioceses of England and Wales. It is the 35th annual NJPN conference.

Keynote speaker is MEGAN McKENNA, an internationally known Catholic author, theologian, storyteller and dynamic lecturer. A native of New York City, she works with indigenous groups, in base Christian Communities and with justice and peace groups, parishes, dioceses and religious communities in the United States and elsewhere. In 2002 she was appointed an Ambassador of Peace for Pax Christi International. She will look at the Scriptures, how these both convert and transform us and bring meaning and hope to the world.

JOHN BATTLE, former MP, Minister of State and Director of Church Action on Poverty, will chair the conference. The event is organised by NJPN in conjunction with Hallam Justice & Peace Commission.

Through input from MEGAN McKENNA, and a range of workshops and creative spaces, the conference will seek to explore ways of integrating action and faith through prayer, art and lifestyle; critique current social, economic and political realities from the perspective of the poor, in the light of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching; and provide opportunities for concrete action.

Alison Gelder, Director of Housing Justice, is running a workshop on ‘Austerity Britain – what is happening and what can we do about it?’  Columban Father Peter Hughes has a workshop on ‘Global warming and rising sea levels’. Ellen Teague is running a workshop on ‘Using the media’. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi, will focus on how we can draw on scriptural and contemporary models of security that do not depend on war and violence.

Other workshops include: CAFOD Hungry for Change; Adult Formation; Progressio—Women and fragile states; Prayer and Action; Using the Media; Racism; Gender; Music as an expression of social justice; Working with allies in a secular society; Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Plus: An Eritrean Coffee Ceremony.

There will be a reflective space throughout the weekend facilitated by Inspirative Arts.

Young People A Y-KIDS Programme has been organised for 5 to 11 year olds. Based on Merseyside, Y-KIDS has led the children’s programme at the conference for a number of years. There will be messy games mixed with craft making, songs and drama put on by a qualified youth team.

Those aged 12 to 16/18 year olds will explore the conference theme in an active and thought-provoking weekend led by the InReality Youth Team from Hallam Diocese. The In Reality team works with young people to show them that their faith is very much real and relevant in their everyday lives. Working in parishes, schools and colleges in the Diocese of Hallam, they use music, drama, and discussion to encourage young people to explore and share, bringing their faith to life

It is not too late to book your place at the Conference.  Download a booking form

Visit Megan McKenna’s website and read an article about Megan McKenna by Ellen Teague.

Media contact: Ellen Teague  07956 317 338

The National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN), whose aims and efforts are accepted by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, exists to encourage work for Justice and Peace by promoting liaison and communication among diocesan groups and individuals. A network of diocesan members, fieldworkers agency representatives and individuals is maintained through regular communications, open networking meetings and the organisation of a national annual conference. www.justice-and-peace.org.uk