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NEWCASTLE CATHEDRAL
A BEACON OF LIGHT

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  • Saturdays and Sundays
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  • Café 16
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Opening times

  • Saturdays and Sundays
    8am-5pm
  • Mondays to Fridays
    8am-6pm
  • Café 16
    Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
  • FREE ENTRY

The National Cathedrals Conference

About the Conference

From Monday 16 May to Thursday 19 May 2022, we welcomed over 330 delegates who gathered under one roof to debate and consider the three key themes of social, racial and climate justice and ask how the Church can speak into these key challenges and opportunities.

Conference highlights

These video highlights from the conference have been made available via the Association of English Cathedrals YouTube channel.

Northumbria University students’ reflections

In these podcasts, Northumbria students Jordan Collard and Kate Nock reflect on each day of the National Cathedrals Conference.


BBC Radio 4 programme

On Sunday 15 May, BBC Radio 4 broadcast ‘Sunday Morning Worship’ live from Newcastle Cathedral, as the conference’s host venue. You can listen back via the BBC website.

Find out more

330 delegates, 18 speakers, 7 workshops

Via the Associaton of English Cathedrals

The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH will deliver the keynote speech on the opening day of the conference focusing on the role and responsibilities of the Church in our national life against the backdrop of Brexit and Covid and other current challenges.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell will close the conference with a final keynote address in which he will knit together the conference themes and ask: ‘How do we talk to England?’.

And the Labour peer, Lord Andrew Adonis, who currently chairs the European Movement and served in both the Blair and Brown administrations, will ask delegates to consider if there is space in our current political climate for ethical politics, and if so, what role the Church can play.

They are all part of a packed and varied programme of talks, workshops, learning and debate around the key themes for this four-day conference, entitled Different Country Different Church.

Speakers on climate justice include the lead bishop for the environment, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the Christian conservation charity, A Rocha, leading Christian environmentalist, Lorna Gold and Julian Allwood, Professor of Engineering and the Environment at Cambridge University.

Social justice will be explored by the papal biographer and writer, Austen Ivereigh, Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, Anne Richards, part of the Church of England’s Faith and Public Life department, and Selina Stone, speaker and consultant on theology and social justice.

And racial justice will be explored by scholar-activist, Prof Robert Beckford, Sharon Prentis, a Mary Seacole scholar for her interfaith work, and writer and broadcaster, Fr Azariah France-Williams, author of Ghost Ship.

There will be debate and action planning following each of these topics and an afternoon of workshops that will explore these strands further with insights on trauma theory, welcoming back visitors, and implementing racial inclusion.

The Church Commissioners will deliver a session on the new Cathedrals Measure before the conference is closed by the Archbishop of York, who following his keynote address, will lead delegates in the final Eucharist of the conference.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, the chair of the Association of English Cathedrals and National Cathedrals Conference lead, said:

“Our cathedrals have weathered difficult and turbulent times in the past. And we will again – but only through collaboration.

“This conference gives us the opportunity to gather together, take breath after these last two years, and work on a strategic vision which will steer the future direction of our cathedrals in the wake of the pandemic across these key narratives of social, racial and climate change.

“We will ask ourselves: how do we serve a world that has become increasingly isolated from religion and still plant the seeds of our mission,’ he added.

Why Newcastle Cathedral?

Newcastle Cathedral was chosen specifically to host the second National Cathedrals Conference because of its £6m Lottery funded development project, Common Ground in Sacred Space, which was undertaken to re-establish the Cathedral as a dynamic community hub and a key attraction in its city centre.

The project has put inclusivity and social justice at the heart of its mission and ministry and has woven it into the very fabric of its building – including Café 16 which is run by the Oswin Project and works with ex-offenders to help them find work, through mentoring training and other opportunities.