convocation_yurts.jpgThe first Convocation of Interfaith Seminary Ministers and Spiritual Counsellors was held on 19 April 2008 in the grounds of Dalemain House near Penrith.  Over fifty of the 350+ ordained ministers were able to attend the one day gathering to celebrate together and share in the debate about some of the key issues facing the Seminary today.


The location had been chosen to provide ministers with a beautiful and nourishing setting amidst nature where we could enjoy the beauty of the spring landscape and enjoy some social time together as well.  Two yurts had been hired to provide an indoor/outdoor space for the services and rituals, whilst food and drinks were served in the medieval hall of the main house.


convocation_altar.jpgConvocation began and ended with a sacred ceremony.  The morning service was designed to help minister reconnect with their sense of community with each other, with nature and with all beings.  The closing service centred on the intentions and vows of each minister at their ordination, and provided an opportunity for those vows to be re-affirmed in the present moment.  Both ceremonies involved music, chanting, silence, guided meditation, various forms of prayer and blessings.


One part of the day's programme took the form of a fish-bowl debate affording everyone to share their views on such issues as professional standards, support for ministers, future gatherings, spiritual leadership, and faculty teaching arrangements and curriculum.  There were also several fringe events in which different groups could get together.