Others have already written about the Conference, so I’ll share a single thought.
There is sometimes great earnestness about what we do online, and there were plenty of examples of imaginative and helpful approaches to sharing the Good News at the Conference (which is one reason you should try to attend next year’s, if you can). But as I travelled back from London, going deeper and deeper into the darkness of the countryside, I reflected on my own reason for being online and that of the community to which I belong. It is quite simply that we want to invite people into the little world that is the monastery; to share what we have with others; to enable them to ‘be at home with us’, then return refreshed to their own world. It isn’t so much a case of telling a story, even God’s story, as of allowing others to tell their story and responding with love and respect.
Many people are searching but are unsure what they are searching for. They do not yet know they are searching for a Person. They need to get their own stories out, so to say, before they can accept another and greater story into their lives. If we who believe are really to listen, we need to pray; and that’s one of the reasons silence is so important. If we are all busy telling our own stories, no one CAN listen; and the searching becomes confused and sometimes fruitless.
That isn’t a model that would suit everyone, but maybe it is one that we should all give some thought to before we go online.