If you have not booked your place for the next 'Jesus in the City' Urban Mission Congress, Manchester from Friday 6th Sunday 8th September, then I have some good news for you! The early bird offer has been extended to the 1st June. Booking can be made on line by going to www.jitc2013.co.uk Right at the end of the email is a provisional programme ('subject to confirmation' ) and within the next month we will be sending out final details.
Our keynote speaker Dr Tony Campolo who makes a compelling argument to join us (watch his YouTube clip http://vimeo.com/61168868 or go to our website) will be joined by guests like Ann Morisy, Bishop Laurie Green, Rev Les Isaac, Marijke Hoek, Neill Cooper, Stuart Murray-Williams, and others. For several sessions we will be using a sharing and learning method called 'World Café'. This is a concept based on the observation that often the best parts of conferences are the interaction and swapping of stories and experiences that takes place at coffee-breaks and meal-times, and on the value that everyone has something to learn and to contribute.
To help you understand the focus of this coming Urban Congress, over the next few months we will present some of this year's organisers' viewpoints. The first voice you are going to hear is Niall Cooper, National Coordinator for Church Action on Poverty who came up with our title 'Making Sense of the Fragments'.
Niall writes: 'The urban context itself is fragmented, and possibly more so than ever, in both social and economic terms. Huge disparities in wealth, income, life experience and opportunity, with rich and poor within the city (and more generally) increasingly living in geographically separate communities and having totally different experiences of what it means to live in the city. Huge diversity in social, ethnic and religious terms... If we are to do anything in an urban context we need to not just see this fragmented reality, but work harder to make sense of it, in terms of mapping the various realities, understanding the connections between the fragments and working out what being seekers of justice (or life in all its fullness) means in this context.
We must take seriously the fragmentation of the churches in the urban context (not to say how the churches relate to other faith communities). In many ways the fragmentation of the churches mirror that of the city itself, with 'successful wealthy churches' for the relatively well off and 'poor struggling churches' for others. And this is not even to get into the fragmentation born out of theological, institutional or denominational difference.... So how do we make sense of these fragments, not by claiming that 'our' response is the 'right' one, but by engaging in dialogue, which affirms our diversity whilst at the same time creating space for us to come together... For the sake of the city and all who live in her.'
What part can the Church play in bringing the fragments together and creating a new Kingdom-inspired picture image, instead of the one that is often portrayed of our inner city and urban areas? The answer to that question is up to you! But we hope our three days together will be an encouragement and inspiration for you alongside others to continue to address that question.
You can find more information about the programme, hosting, bookings and costs on the website. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to seeing you in September.
Your servant in Christ Jesus
On behalf of Jesus in the City 2013
154 Church Lane, Moston, Manchester, M9 4HZ
T: 0161 205 7380 M:0790 610 2522
Provisional programme ('subject to confirmation')
Friday 6th September 2013
10.00am Arrival: Registration & Refreshments. Our main venue for Friday and Saturday is Coverdale Baptist, Coverdale Crescent, Ardwick, Manchester, M12 4FG.
11.00am Hello Session: Introduction of the themes, choices and guests.
11.30am Content Block: Setting the scene, key guests will present their outlook on 'Making sense of the Fragments' as a prelude to our 'Open Space' discussions
1.00pm Lunch: Provided for delegates.
2.00pm Open Space: Marijke Hoek will be hosting 'World Café' sessions, picking up aspects of the theme that have come up through input from urban activists.
2.00pm Site Visits: On arrival delegates will be given the choice to visit ministries around the city to see them in action and meet staff. There will be a limited number of places.
5.30pm Evening Meal: Provided for delegates
7.00pm Question Time: Moulded on the hard hitting BBC Question Time, with guest panellists Rev Les Isaac, founder and CEO of Street Pastors, Neill Cooper form Church Action on Poverty, Tony Lloyd Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner and others. Topics and questions will be set by you, the audience, chaired under the careful eyes of BCC Radio Manchester presenter Mike Shaft.
Saturday 7th September
10.30am: Arrival: Registration & Refreshments
11.30am Open Space: Marijke Hoek will be hosting 'World Café' sessions, picking up aspects of the theme that have come up through input from urban activists.
1.00pm Lunch: Provided for delegates.
2.00 Market Place: Key people in the field and local ministry providers to speak about their topic, answer questions and lead a join discussion around their table. After a given time slot, delegates will be asked to move to another table of their choice a type of informational 'speed dating'. If you would like to get involved please give us a short portfolio of yourself and your ministry/topic.
2.00pm Site Visits: On arrival delegates will be given the choose to visit ministries around the city to see them in action and meet staff. There will be limited number of places.
4.30pm Free time
6.00pm Campolo & Curry: We are hosting a three course buffet Indian meal at one of Manchester's finest Banqueting Halls Eastern Pearl, 250 Plymouth Grove, Manchester, M13 0BG. With music from Andy Flannagan and other guests, and keynote speaker Dr Tony Campolo.
Sunday 8th September
Morning Church Services: Delegates will be encouraged to join their host churches or other suggested urban churches. Dr Tony Campolo will be speaking at a local congregation.
Lunch: Delegates will joined by their hosts for a full Hog Roast using the Brunswick Parish Church grounds and/or indoor facilities (depending on the weather!)
Open Space: Marijke Hoek will be hosting our final time together, with our theme, 'commitment'. What am I going to do when I get home? How have I made sense of the fragments and how has this changed my outlook?
Saying Goodbye: Though our afternoon will be more fluid we want to ensure where possible that we all have a chance to say our goodbyes together.