The 2011 Inclusive Church Church conference took place in November at the Hayes Conference Centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire. 70 delegates gathered to hear speakers address issues on tradition, gender and sexuality, the episcopacy and worship. Interweaving the main talks were as series of stories that spoke about peoples real experiences of the church living with mental illness and discrimination because of gender or sexuality.
The conference included time for inclusive worship - and of course lots of time for relaxation - including an amazing Magic Show with Mark Townsend
All of the main session talks, the stories and the liturgies used at the conference are all available on the conference page.
Pictures taken at the conference are also available
Here is one delegate's comments following the conference:
"I’ve just spent three days at the Inclusive Church Conference and come home invigorated, humbled, excited, filled with faith, and thankful.
I have spent my time amongst giants, giants who have renewed me.
You see, the people I met are courageous…. And I have heard stories of pain and faith. If you are a mentally ill priest in some dioceses then you are asked to resign, if you are a lesbian in a relationship then you are told you cannot explore your vocation, if you are a woman campaigning for Women in the Episcopate then you are told you are inferior to men, if you are gay and in a relationship then you are suspended for “conduct unbecoming of a priest”.
And yet, the people who told these stories simply know that they are called by God, they love Christ and the Church, and they keep on going… they faithfully keep watching and waiting and praying and forgiving.
They don’t leave.
Sometimes the tension between the rejection and their vocation causes a breakdown.
Sometimes they are very tempted to go.
But still they don’t leave."