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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

JO BAILEY WELLS, SAM WELLS, JUSTIN WELBY

THE REVD DR JO BAILEY WELLS

Jo is currently consultant to Continuing Indaba at the Anglican Communion Office in London. Until recently she was Director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, responsible for training some of the brightest and best young priests for Anglican and Episcopal church leadership across America. During her seven years there, the House developed a unique reputation for working across the fractured ecclesial divides in the wake of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson. Jo is also theological consultant to the Archbishop of Sudan, supporting the work of over a dozen theological colleges and bible schools in South Sudan and Sudan, and teaching there regularly herself. In the work of nurturing future leaders – whether in the USA or in the Sudans – Jo has worked to grow in individuals an ambitious vision to stretch them beyond their personal, political or tribal concerns.Jo’s academic interests focus on the Old Testament, seeking to enable its literature and theology to be enjoyed more fully within the church. Handling diversity and managing conflict turn out to be hot issues in ancient as well as modern times – and Jo looks forward to exploring such connections, challenges and opportunities at this conference.

Jo has taught and spoken widely on four continents, and published two books (God’s Holy People, and a commentary on Isaiah) as well as various articles. Previous appointments include Dean of Clare College, Cambridge as well as lecturer in Old Testament at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

THE REVD DR SAM WELLS

Sam is Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and Visiting Professor of Christian Ethics at King’s College, London. St Martin’s is a unique parish called to a three-dimensional congregational, commercial, and charitable vocation in the heart of London; it is equally well known for its work with the homeless, its role in the arts, its café, and its social advocacy, respectively. Sam studied at Oxford, Edinburgh, and Durham. His Ph.D. was entitled How the Church Performs Jesus’ Story. He was ordained in 1991 and has served parishes in Newcastle, Cambridge, and Norwich. Most of this time was spent in areas of significant urban deprivation. For several years he had a leadership role in the Norwich New Deal for Communities programme, which eventually became the first development trust in the East of England.

Sam was for seven years Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, North Carolina. During this time he was closely involved in the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham, which seeks reconciliation between victims, perpetrators and wider society, particularly in relation to violent crimes. The book Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence (IVP, 2011), which Sam wrote with Marcia A. Owen, arose out of this ministry.

Sam has also written sixteen other books, including studies of ethics as improvisation, how worship shapes character, and more popular works such as Power and Passion and What Anglicans Believe. His work often focuses on bringing people of different social locations into deeply enriching face-to-face relationships in the context of fear and faith. He is currently writing a book on good and less good ways of engaging with poverty.

THE MOST REVD JUSTIN WELBY, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

In 2002, Bishop Colin Bennetts offered Justin the role of co-directing the reconciliation ministry at Coventry Cathedral. Although he had already spent time involved in reconciliation work, this brought in a whole new level of activity, involving direct field work in areas of conflict, principally in sub Saharan Africa. During the course of the 10 years since then he has worked in Nigeria (throughout the country), Kenya (especially during the post election violence of early 2008), the DRC, Burundi and overseen work in South Africa and elsewhere. These vivid and direct experiences have taught him that of all the treasures in Christian faith, reconciliation is the most precious. What he has seen in numerous places is that when people find reconciliation with God it so far surpasses what they can contain that it overflows to those around. Reconcilers are reconciled first. So his own journey has been one of seeing reconciliation around him and thus growing in his own knowledge of what it means in practice.

He says, “This treasure is not only abundant but also virtually unique. No other world faith tradition has the concepts and ideas of reconciliation so centrally embedded in its theology. So that means that in Nigeria and Burundi, Kenya and the DRC, it has not only been a treasure to share but it has become generative of reconciliation as it has been deeply welcomed by those affected by conflict.

“My dream for this conference is for us to have the imagination to see reconciliation flow through us to the church and the world around. Conflict goes with diversity, but reconciled diversity is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our churches are in desperate need of finding ways of modelling love in diversity and diversity without enmity. I do hope you will join us.”

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