16 November 2022

Guest speakers announced for annual youth and children's leaders conference

Austen Hardwick

A collage of headshots: Andrew Grinnell, Lee Ball and Selina Stone

Austen Hardwick previews a weekend of worship and learning for anyone working with young people.

The 2023 Youth and Children’s Leaders Conference will take place from 24 to 26 March 2023 at The Slate Conference Centre, University of Warwick. This year’s theme is Shalom and we invite anyone involved in working with young people to join us for a weekend of learning, discussion and challenge.

The word shalom is translated as ‘peace’ within the Christian tradition but this conference will explore shalom as a way of life. It is more than an absence of conflict and violence, which is only temporary. It is neither love at a distance nor in the abstract. It is an animated love intent on seeing every child and young person find wholeness, justice and salvation. Children and young people today desire community in many senses – a connectedness with others, with creation and with God.

Why this theme for this year? Where change is required, as we’ve seen in cases of environmental and racial justice, it is young people who lead the rest of us. In a rapidly changing world where war makes peace appear far off, young people are resilient in finding ways to care for one another.

As youth and children’s leaders enjoy the opportunity to share local stories, this event may well not be about bringing shalom to young people as much as receiving it from them and learning to share in it.

The conference will break the theme down into six main sessions, during which delegates will engage in worship and listen to conversations with visiting speakers. In addition to theological reflection upon wholeness, justice and salvation, there will be seminars addressing the questions that young people are asking and the release of new resources from the Youth and Children’s Ministries Unit.

Tickets and further details are available at salvationist.org.uk/shalom. To reduce the event’s carbon footprint, £1 from the sale of each ticket will go towards Salvation Army International Development projects working to support those on the front line of the climate crisis.

Guest speakers

A photo of Andrew Grinnell

Andrew Grinnell

Andrew has been involved with developing responses to poverty for more than 20 years.

After working nationally with The Salvation Army, he spent 10 years living in a low-income estate in Leeds seeking to develop places of hospitality with local people. He is a facilitator for the Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, co-director of the Poverty Truth Network and a core team member of Urban Life.

Andrew will lead an exploration of shalom in the Old and New Testaments.

A photo of Lee Ball

Lee Ball

Lee has worked for The Salvation Army for more than 20 years and is currently the Territorial Addictions Services Officer. He advises all expressions of Salvation Army mission, giving guidance on how to work with the causes and consequences of addictive behaviours.

Lee worked for 23 years as a residential social worker with young people with emotional and behavioural disorders, then with young people with autism and people leaving care with addictions.

Also a qualified Play therapist, Lee will deliver a keynote speech on trauma-informed practice.

A photo of Selina Stone

Dr Selina Stone

Selina learns and shares knowledge with others in classrooms, podcasts and talks. She now enjoys a research job at Durham University where she explores how teaching about God can embrace the perspectives of all kinds of people, especially those often overlooked.

She will lead Saturday evening’s theme of Shalom Wholeness and focus on resources for community sufficiency.

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Austen Hardwick profile

Austen Hardwick

Children's Specialist (Discipleship), Youth and Children's Ministries Unit

SHALOM: Youth and Children's Leaders Conference. Wholeness - Justice - Salvation

Buy tickets

24–26 March 2023 at The Slate Conference Centre, University of Warwick.

Shalom event page

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