2012 Conference Report

Sunken Garden at Holland House

Twenty Five Pastoral care and Counselling Advisers and Associate APC members got together in the beautiful surroundings of Holland House in Worcestershire for the Biennial Conference entitled Breakdown or Breakthrough? Working with Conflict as Pastoral Care Advisers.

Two speakers addressed the conference:

Jeremy Young

Jeremy works as a Systemic Family Psychotherapist in Somerset. He is a former Director of Pastoral and Practical Theology in the Church of Ireland Theological College in Dublin, a past chairman of the Guild of Pastoral Psychology and a published poet. His books, The Cost of Certainty’ and ‘The Violence of God and the War on Terror’ explore the repressive and violent tendencies within the monotheistic religions.

Jeremy reflected as a pastoral theologian on the theme of conflict, bearing in mind the current painful schisms in the Church of England. He drew on his pastoral/theological and psychological insights to consider how we might work with individual and organisational defences to move from entrenched positions to a more co-operative stance.

Jeremy’s fascinating and challenging talk “Working with Conflict” is available in the Resources section, or click here to download directly.

Jackie Searle

Jackie is the vicar of St Peter’s, Littleover, Derby; Rural Dean of Derby South; and is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. She was on the staff at Trinity College, Bristol from 1996-2003 where she was Dean of Women and taught Pastoral Theology. Jackie has been Dean of Women’s Ministry in the Diocese of Derby for several years and has interests in conflict transformation, pastoral theology, leadership and spirituality. She also undertakes occasional work for Bridge Builders in helping churches to handle conflict.

Using case studies, Jackie gave a stimulating talk which drew from her experience to enable us to think about the different, often complex and difficult facets of working with conflict. Using Mark 4 v35 -41 Jackie reflected on the storms we face as a Church, and the repercussions of conflict and anxiety. Using a series of images she then reflected on how we handle interpersonal conflict and the influence of “personal hinterland” (our personal histories, transference and who we are with), our family of origin and the culture of the institution we are part of.

Another dimension of the conference was group work in a confidential setting to explore member’s experiences of working with conflict.

The conference also included the AGM in which the new Co-ordinating Group was elected, an amended constitution was adopted and the new web site was introduced to members.