Introducing 2022 Conference: Here be dragons…” – the words in the corner of the ancient map, signifying uncharted and unexplored territory and the dangers that might lurk there. In our 2022 conference, we offered time, space and the community within which to explore those areas of life where we suspect both dragons and treasure may be found, in the hope that the encounter will prove creative. Whilst we are human, there will always be uncharted areas of our ‘selves’ that have not had a chance of being aired, either by chance or by intention, as we naturally suppress what seems frightening. So the image of a map can help us explore our desire to seek transformation to a Christ-like expression of our humanity.
As is so often the case, the journey of exploration can be more important than the intended destination, as so much can be learned in the process of travelling. We might discover that even our intended destination can be wrongly marked on our supposed map, forcing us to change our plans, but perhaps allowing a new and more glorious outcome. The 2022 conference helped enable us to be prepared to look at some of the more difficult areas (the storms) that we face with courage and the conviction of God’s presence and guidance. The conference offered a safe opportunity for conversations with others, with our self and with God in a liminal place. It provided a chance to retreat from the busyness of life with a creative space for reflection, challenge, nourishment and fun. Our speakers tackled the theme from theological/biblical, spiritual, psychological/therapeutic and social/pastoral perspectives.
‘Here be Dragons’ included plenary sessions, workshops and small group work. In addition, each day had worship and opportunities for reflection, relaxation and sharing. As a special treat, we enjoyed an evening of magical entertainment with Steve Price on Thursday night!
Our Speakers for Here be Dragons
Canon Rachel Mann is an Anglican parish priest, poet and scholar. She writes across a wide field of subjects, including sexuality, gender, poetry and popular culture. Her books include ‘Fierce Imaginings’, a study of the myths and rituals embedded in the Great War, and Dazzling Darkness, a theological memoir of growing up trans. In 2019, her book on Christina Rossetti, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter,’ as well as a poetry collection with Carcanet, ‘A Kingdom of Love’ is due to be published. She is a member of the Church of England’s central theological advisory body, the Faith and Order Commission, as well as a member of General Synod
Paula Hall is a sexual and relationship psychotherapist who specialises in sex and pornography addiction. She is founder of the Laurel Centre who provide therapy and training around the UK and is also author of 4 books on sex and porn addiction, including Confronting Porn, A Guide for Christians. Her work in the field of sex and porn addiction has included working with clients from a wide variety of socio-cultural backgrounds including those from a variety of faith traditions.
Ian Adams is an Anglican priest, chaplain at Ridley Hall Cambridge and Spirituality Adviser at Church Mission Society. Ian and his co-chaplain Gail Adams lead Beloved Life retreats and give spiritual direction. Ian is a poet, photographer and writer published by Canterbury Press and Proost. He has particular interests in spiritual practice, the poems of St John of the Cross, and in theology and the arts.
Peter Madsen Gubi is Minister of Dukinfield Moravian Church, Professor of Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University of Chester, and Honorary Professor of Practical Theology at Teofilo Kisanji University in Tanzania. He has an interest in the spiritual dimension of counselling, and in the interface between counselling and theology. After 36 years as a counsellor, these days his practice is mostly in the pastoral supervision of clergy.