Digital Conference – Climate Emergency: the search for hope beyond denial and despair


Diane Kutar


High Leigh Conference Centre

More Info


Modern Church on Twitter


Jul 13 - 15 2021


9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Digital Conference – Climate Emergency: the search for hope beyond denial and despair

All Delegates should now have received their welcome pack. If this is not the case, please email

The 2021 Modern Church Conference addresses the greater emergency that sits at present in the background of the coronavirus pandemic – the progressive impact of climate change. But it will not be two days of doom and gloom. Grave
as the emergency is, we shall be looking for positive directions in which to think, act, and pray.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 the conference will be held online via Zoom. The dates are 13-14th July 2021, and each day will run from about 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, with appropriate breaks, and beginning and ending each day with prayer. There will be presentations by distinguished speakers on different dimensions of the theme and also a chance for conference delegates to respond via the Chat mechanism in Zoom.

Conference Chair: Dr Christopher Southgate
Conference Secretary: Kenneth Wilkinson-Roberts
Conference Chaplain: Rev Helen Burnett

This is a full and high quality programme, and is very timely given the international UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) gathering in Glasgow in November.

The cost is £30.00 for the full or any part of the programme.
Please sign up for the conference using this link. Details on how to join the Zoom conference will be emailed to you closer to the date.

Click here to purchase a ticket.


Tuesday, 13th July

9:30 – 10:00 – Introductions and Opening prayer.

10:00 – 11:15 – Anna Harper (University of Exeter): ‘Climate Change: The Science and the Solutions’.

11:15 – 11:45 – break

11:45 – 12:45 – Mike Hulme (University of Cambridge): ‘Beyond Climate Solutionism’, video of Nobel 55 lecture, with comments by Christopher Southgate and Q&A.

12:45 – 13:30 – Lunch Break

13:30 – 14:15 – Workshop 1, choice of: 

Carla Grosch-Miller, ‘Climate change and the practice of lament’. Download the Lament for the Anthropocene

Helen Burnett, ‘From Denial and Despair to Action’.


Walter Wink

Joanna Macey

Jem Bendell



Jennifer Reznicek

Christians in Court

14:15 – 14:45 – break

14:45 – 15:45 – Michael Northcott (University of Edinburgh): ‘God, Gaia and the Failure of the UN Climate Regime’. 

15:45 – 16:15 – break 

16:15 – 17:15 – Celia Deane-Drummond (Laudato Si’ Institute, Campion Hall, Oxford): ‘Why Grace Matters: Mercy and Wisdom     in the Socio-Eco-Climate Emergency’. 

17:15 – 17:30 – Evening prayers

Wednesday, 14th July

09:30 – 10:15 – Conference Liturgy, led by Helen Burnett.

10:15 – 10:45 – ‘Marketplace’ – Short presentations by organisations in this debate.  

10:45 – 11:15 – break

11:15 – 12:15 – Gaia Vince: ‘The Courage for a Good Anthropocene’.

12:15 – 13:45 – Lunch Break

13:45 – 14:30 – Workshop 2, choice of:

  • Patrick Woodhouse, ‘Climate change and contemplative prayer’. 
  • Mark Powley, ‘Climate Change: A Toolkit for Churches’.

14:30 – 15:00 – break  

15:00 – 16:00 – Christopher Southgate (University of Exeter): ‘Seeing beyond the Obstacles to Hope’.

16:00 – 16:15 – break

16:15 – 17:15 – Conference response by Jeremy Law (Christchurch University, Canterbury) and Panel Discussion.

17:15 – 17:30 – Concluding prayers

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