Strangers, sojourners and citizens
NCCL Summer School, Thursday 26 to Friday 27 July 2018, at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre
Thanks to all who contributed to NCCL's very successful first Summer School. Twenty of us gathered at Belsey Bridge conference centre to enjoy the lovely surroundings and delicious food!
Our sessions were all held in the Suffolk Hall, which was originally the All Hallows school gym. Five sessions over the twenty-four hours kept us very busy. Mark Bredin suggested some less familiar interpretations of Jesus' teaching, and led a guided meditation through the story of the Canaanite woman.
Arnold Browne returned to this story in our last session, as one of three passages which he encouraged us to consider through bible study and complementary modern texts.
Corin Child considered theological issues around engagement with and understanding of "strangers" and "aliens", encouraging a 'cosmopolitan theology' which is open to learning from all who are different.
Chris Joby took us back to 17th-century Norwich to consider the impact of the arrival of the "Strangers" - Dutch and Walloon settlers who at one point numbered some 40% of the total population of Norwich; he paralleled this experience with that of our contemporary situation.
Catherine Rowett introduced us to the concept of "anachoresis" - withdrawal or retreat, as practiced by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 2nd-5th centuries, considering how individuals understood Christian values, and how to manage faith in the face of opposing secular values.
As ever at Belsey Bridge we were treated to delicious food, and conversation flowed in breaks and over meals, stimulated by our teaching sessions, and the simple fact of sharing time together.