The Catholic Spirituality Network will be holding its annual conference in March 2023. This is an opportunity to step back from the hectic schedule that life can often present us with, and consider the wider questions. In 2023, the conference will explore the importance of Christian Hope.
At a time in our world when much seems difficult, desperate, distressing and even hopeless, this Conference invites us to take time to rest in the great gift of hope that lies at the heart of our faith. For all that this is indeed such a great gift, it is often one of the most difficult for us to receive, to understand, and to shape our lives by.
Part of the reason for this might be that we look to the wrong places to receive such hope. The narratives of hopelessness confront us daily on the ‘big stage’ of world news: environmental crises, economic hardships and injustices, political strife and corruption. Perhaps Christian hope, as a counter to these stories, is rather to be found in the smaller, so-called ‘ordinary places’ of human living.
In this Conference we will explore this Christian ‘hope-in-ordinary’ – through Scripture, prayer and theological reflections, and through the discernment of ordinary lives of faith – our own and those of others whose stories we will discover. In this way we will encounter afresh that gift and living of hope which, in its very everydayness, can transform our often despairing and hopeless world.
About the Conference Leader
Dr Clare Watkins is Reader in Ecclesiology and Practical Theology at the University of Roehampton. A Roman Catholic, lay-woman theologian, committed to teaching and research in the areas of ecclesiology, sacramental and practical theology, Clare has a particular concern for working in ways that contribute to the integration of academic theology and faith practice, for the good of both. Her research brings together theological and spiritual traditions, with participative qualitative research of faith practices ‘on the ground’