HOPE! A VERB WITH ITS SLEEVES ROLLED UP is the theme of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales 44th annual conference. 

The conference on 22-24 July aims to inspire several hundred Justice and Peace activists to look for signs of hope in their local communities and the wider world. It will help them to return to their own regions with enthusiasm and increased commitment to work for a more just and peaceful world. The conference will also consider how, as activists and people of faith, participants might support those in most need and enable them to envisage a more hopeful future.

The conference will be held at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire where there will be a mix of speakers, interactive workshops and liturgical celebrations. There will also be time to relax, with the peaceful surroundings providing a space for reflection and enjoyment.

The Conference Chair is Tim Livesey, CEO of Embrace the Middle East, which works with Christian partners in Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria and Iraq, serving marginalised and excluded communities.

On Friday evening, Philip McDonagh will speak of a hope that requires courage for the sake of the future. Philip is co-author of the recently published work On the Significance of Religion for Global Diplomacy. As a serving Irish diplomat, he played a part in the Northern Ireland peace process in the build-up to the Good Friday Agreement, and later served as Head of Mission in India, the Holy See, Finland, Russia, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is now Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at Dublin City University, and Director of the Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations. Additionally, he has published poetry and works for the theatre.

Saturday workshops will include:

  • issues of domestic poverty and universal credit
  • Guardians of Creation
  • Restoring Dignity to Prisoners and their families
  • Interfaith working
  • Church Action for Tax Justice
  • Synodal listening
  • The work of Stella Maris Chaplains

On Saturday morning there will be a talk from Fr Patrick Devine SMA, Executive Director of the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, which works to mitigate conflict and poverty in Africa, The cetnre is based in Kenya and in neighbouring countries.

On Saturday afternoon the speaker will be Andy Flanagan, Executive Director of Christians in Politics. He believes that decisions are made by “those who show up” and yearns to see a just rewiring of the global economic system. Andy combines his political work with his career as a singer-songwriter, and will perform some of his music on Saturday evening. In the foreword to Andy’s book Those who show up, Archbishop Justin Welby writes “Andy is reaching out, inspiring and equipping us to become engaged with a system that affects us deeply, and through which we in turn can effect radical and transformational change across our society.”

Also on Saturday, the Rev.Ruth Gee, Assistant Secretary of the Conference of the Methodist Church in Britain, and Patron of NJPN will lead an Ecumenical service.

On Sunday, Signs of Hope will include four short presentations from representatives of organisations working for peace and non-violence, on nuclear issues, peace education and climate change. In the final session, Moving Forward, NJPN will consider progress following the 2021 Environment Conference, and look to moving forward as members continue the commitment to justice, peace, and care for all creation.

Also on Sunday, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Chair of Westminster Justice and Peace, will preside at Mass.

A Just Fair will provide a marketplace for organisations wishing to share information and opportunities for action on a wide range of issues

Places at the conference are still available, with special programmes for children and teenagers. Some bursaries for young people are still available.

* More information and booking details here.


* Source: National Justice and Peace Network