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Oakham Conference 2022

on the theme ‘Where is Our Hope?’

Our Residential Conference will be held at Oakham School from Thu 7th April to Sat 9th April 2022.

In his journal entry of April 15, 1965, Thomas Merton asks the question: ‘Where is our hope?’ He argues that if our hope is in a temporal and secular humanism of technological and political progress, we will be participating in the stupidity and barbarism of the despoiling of God’s creation.

For Merton, ‘our hope must be in God.’ For us in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this answer can all too easily be equated with Christian optimism.

But for the many people who live precarious lives, not even knowing where the next meal will come from, this question is meaningless – There is no hope in this world. The very structures and support that we in the affluent West take for granted are absent. The only hope can be in heaven, in the riches of the world to come, further embedding the view that they are never for the here and now.

If, for Merton, ‘the real root of Christian hope is the presence of the Risen Lord among us’ (Merton’s circular letter of Lent, 1967), how might this be worked out in our lives, in our communities, in our world?

Sophfronia Scott. will deliver a workshop on Bearing Witness to Hope: Merton’s Reach for Simplicity