The Church of England's Inaugural Conference on Priesthood and Motherhood: Friday, 16 September 2011
‘Just as a nursing mother cherishes her children, so in our longing for you we were determined to share with you, not merely the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.’
1 Thessalonians 2:9, freshly translated by Nicholas King, 2004
This conference aims to bring together, for the first time, those who are studying or participating in both the work of the mother and the work of the priest. We believe there is significant overlap between these types of work and ways of living, and that each has something to say to the other. But it is clear that many find it difficult to combine the roles, and that, even when they do, they often struggle to articulate the relationship between them.
This one day conference will tease open issues that are becoming increasingly significant for the Church as more women, and men, who do the work of mothering, are priested.
The Conference will begin at 10.00am with coffee. The morning sessions will reflect theologically on the ways in which motherhood offers new models of priesthood to the whole Church, and will consider the practical implications based on a recent study of how clergy women manage to be both priests and mothers.
After lunch we will offer a series of ‘intentional conversations’ around a choice of topics opened up by short presentations. Sessions will finish at 5.00pm followed by Evensong and a gala dinner, at which Margaret Sentamu will speak, concluding at around 10.00pm. There will be the option of B&B, and of a crèche during the main sessions.
Costs for the Conference (including, teas, coffees, lunch and dinner): £65.00
Bed and Breakfast before and/or after the conference will be £30.00; crèche costs tbc. Conference without dinner: £45.00.
‘A mother engages in a discipline. That is she asks certain questions rather than others; she establishes criteria for truth, adequacy and relevance of proposed answers; and she cares about the findings she makes and can act on.’ Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking
Rev. Emma Percy: Emma is just completing a PhD through Nottingham University looking at using a maternal model for understanding parish ministry. Ordained deacon in 1990 and priest in 1994, Emma has worked in parish ministry and university chaplaincy whilst bringing up her two sons. Over the last 8 years she has been researching the parallels between priestly ministry and maternal practice and is looking forward to sharing this conversation more widely.
Dr. Sarah-Jane Page: Sarah-Jane is a Sociologist who has researched ways in which women combine motherhood and priesthood, and how non-ordained spouses of clergy women negotiate a traditionally ‘feminine’ role. Currently a Post-Doc Research Fellow at Durham University, she is now extending this research to encompass clergy fathers, in order to create a more comprehensive insight into how gender and priesthood operate in the context of the Church.
Revd Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes: Miranda is Chaplain at University College Durham, and an Honorary Fellow in the History Department.
Mrs Margaret Sentamu: Margaret is a Diversity Consultant, Social Issues Campaigner, long-time member of the Mother’s Union, and a keenly sought out public speaker.
Dr. Dawn Llewellyn: Dawn is a Researcher in Women and Christianity in Contemporary Britain, University of Chester; she is working on a project assessing the relationship between decisions women make about child-bearing, and their faith journeys.
Organising Committee: Dr. Karin Voth Harman, Revd Emma Percy, Revd Dr. Guli Francis Duquani
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