Was it worth it?
Yes, yes, yes.
Hindsight is wonderful...next time...and I do so hope that there are many "next times"...I'd fly to Newcastle, not Durham. That way I might avoid having to arrive via LONDON! Also, I'd pack less and check the suitcase zip before the last minute. This time I ended up with a huge case having had to repack in five minutes when the disaster happened. Well, "disaster" is perhaps a little too strong..."inconvenience" is more appropriate. Of course, if there'd been any opportunity to shop then I'd have had more than enough space to transport the goods home!
Yes, I'd be one of the first to book for another conference here. It was so well organised and everything began punctually. Ex-teachers know about these things! The food was both a delight to the eyes and a joy on the palette. And the quality of lecturing or workshop leading or paper presenting excellent. A few more handout/summary sheets would be useful - those who did provide bibliographies and information were helpful. Maybe the building is a bit too warm...next time I'd pack lighter clothes - problem easily solved! The whole place is so comfortable and in such a good location...you'd not really want to change anything.
One of the delights was the long morning sessions....speakers could deal with their topics in great depth and because there was participation and/or Q & A the two hour keynotes just flew past.
Yes, I'd stay on for the extra night or two and take in choral evensong again. And enjoy a good Indian meal again! Both Cathedral and Restaurant are close to Saint John's - a lovely way to end such a good week. This year I had to stay or miss a good section of the conference as the Durham-London flight is early morning.
Yes, I'd recommend it to others...and would encourage as many colleagues as possible to attend - always bearing in mind that I'd have to leave one of them in charge of Saint Nicholas' for the week!
There are many highlights - if that isn't a contradiction.
The worship together, especially the Eucharist.
John Bell on "Singing the Scriptures" and Tom Wright on "Bible, Worship and Mission in an Ecumenical Context" were my favourite sessions.
Conversations over coffee and meals...
The list could be longer....
I hope some of the Saint Nicholas' folk will be able to attend the John Bell workshop in Bangor Abbey...that should be another very useful and informative event.
In the morning...back to London and then Belfast...and an evening in the Ulster Hall!