Friday, 17 October 2014

Take 350 vicars..

For most of this week you couldn't have found a vicar for love nor money in large tracts of south London.

350 of us had been transported by a specially chartered train to Derbyshire for the Southwark Diocesan Clergy Conference which comes round every 4-5years.

Here (left) is a selection of jolly conference-goers waiting for the Hogwarts Express at St Pancras.

The first 100 to arrive were promised first class accommodation and the rail company in a fit of generosity promised everyone a complimentary bacon butty once on board.

For the first two days it rained continuously but the Dean tweeted that the sun was shining in our hearts.
In the main conference hall

We had some great speakers, some inspiring times of worship, plus time to relax, to catch up with old friends and do justice to the famed catering of Swanwick.

In the evening there were various types of entertainment: films, a scratch Joseph & his Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat, line dancing, a Quiz Night (the Bermondsey team came 3rd), Strictly Come Southwark, and, just to raise the tone a bit, The Queen's Six, straight from St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle who gave a wonderful concert on the last night that ranged from Early Renaissance church music, through negro spirituals, to the Beach Boys.

The Queen's Six
They got a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. Hear them here

On the final day we gathered together for Holy Communion. Our Diocesan bishop, Christopher, presided.

In the Eucharistic Prayer he prayed for Justin, our Archbishop, and our area bishops Michael, Richard, and Jonathan,  and then for himself, 'your unworthy servant.'

That is one of many moments from Swanwick 2014 that will stay with me for a long time.

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