At the beginning of October sixty clergy from parishes associated with Christ Church spent a fruitful three days here for the 2013 Christ Church Incumbents’ Conference, exploring reconciliation on the local, national and global scale. Speakers included Jonatahn Aitken, Oliver McTernan and Christ Church's own Professor Nigel Biggar. The conference participants were all priests from parishes of which Christ Church is the patron. Their participation was funded by the Dr South Trust, which has generously supported the education, housing and ministry of Christ Church's incumbents for almost three centuries.
Professor Biggar, the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology reports:
Is Reconciliation Possible?
The 2013 Christ Church Incumbents’ Conference
It’s a commonplace that forgiveness and reconciliation lie at the heart of Christian theology and practice. But exactly what it means to ‘forgive’, whether forgiveness is free to operate independently of repentance, whether it supplants or qualifies ‘retribution’, and how realistic are expectations of ‘reconciliation’ as distinct from ‘co-existence’, are all moot points.
These issues were the focus of a biennial conference at which Anglican priests holding Christ Church benefices listened to lectures by Nigel Biggar and Oliver McTernan; watched Terrence Malick’s film The Thin Red Line; made pilgrimage to Great Tew, the home of Lord Falkland’s circle of friends who strove to straddle the divides between Protestants and Catholics, king and parliament in the turbulent 1630s and ‘40s; and finally discussed a set of real-life cases of conflict and estrangement in the parish.