TKA Annual Clergy Conference took place between the 12th and 14th October. The venue this year was the excellent Armada Hotel at Spanish Point in County Clare. As we pulled into the hotel car park we were greeted by a stunning view over Spanish Point Bay with it’s golden strand as the sun sparkled with autumnal gentleness on the diamond-chip waters.
The conference of 2016 was the first time that spouses had been invited to join the clerical gathering. This added a new dimension to every aspect of the conference: from chit-chat over excellent meals to insights during the more formal sessions.
Two speakers addressed us during the couple of days. Alison Rooke led our thoughts on ‘Rectory Life: Reality and Expectations’. Bishop Kenneth Kearon chose the subject of ‘The Anglican Communion ‘ as his topic and brought his wealth of experience of the Communion to the table.
Sandwiched between these sessions was the Clergy Book Club during which ‘ A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini ( a book chosen by Archdeacon Alan Synnott ) was discussed, debated, praised and piloried. The final opinion was that this book had certainly touched nerves and drawn reaction!
Conference was, of course, punctuated throughout by worship. This was organised and led by Revd Jennifer McWhirter. And we must thank Revd Bob Hanna for allowing us to use his stunning little church in Spanish Point for the Thursday morning celebration of the Eucharist.
Our get-together was not by any means all stodge, formality and seriousness. A trip was organised to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher by way of ‘The Rock Shop’ ( the latter insisited on by those who felt the need for retail therapy ). Again mother sun shone on us as we peered over the protective wall at the edge of vertigo-inducing vistas.
So Conference 2016 closed as a roaring success and we thanked Bishop Patrick for ‘shelling out the shillings’ to make it possible and Provost Stan for doing the planning and organisation.