News Release

Manchester members attend Religious Education Conference

Members of the Church from the Manchester area were invited to attend an event at The Manchester Monastery as an “exhibitor” to provide resource materials for teachers in the local area. The former Franciscan Monastery located in Gorton, East Manchester was the venue for the 2014 session of the annual Religious Education Conference organised by the Greater Manchester RE Hub held on Monday 30 June. The venue had been chosen by the teachers organising the event as a place to find inspiration. The event was attended by 130 teachers responsible for delivering RE lessons in their primary and secondary schools and by 40 faith representatives.

Manchester’s Monastery is Pugin’s architectural masterpiece. It sits alongside the Taj Mahal and the ancient ruins of Pompeii as having been listed in the 100 most endangered sites in the world, with a rich heritage that should never be lost.

Following a £6.5 million restoration scheme, this hidden treasure has taken its place as one of the UK’s most inspiring venues. Visitors remark that every space in The Monastery appears to be blessed with a feeling of well-being. “It’s so real, you think you can touch it. “ It is increasingly being used as well for local community purposes.

The opportunity to attend this event arose through attendance at the Trafford SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) where its current chair and primary school leader were instrumental in organising the event.

Church representatives Kate Fletcher, Bernard Sheridan, Bernard Austin and Cedric Knipe were drawn from members of the Public Affairs Committees of the Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester areas. They set out the Church’s stall with banners, copies of the Book of Mormon, leaflets including the ‘My Family’ booklet which proved very popular, pass along cards and an information hand-out explaining how the Church differs from other Christian church. Appointments were also made for classroom visits to a number of primary and secondary schools in the autumn term. Useful connections were strengthened with other faith representatives present, particularly Muslims, Humanists and members of the Baha’I faith, all of whose stalls were nearby and attended the next SACRE as representatives of their faiths.

One of the organisers Laura Daniels, head teacher at Woodheys Primary school in Sale, said 'I am very proud to have been asked to open the conference on behalf of the Greater Manchester RE Hub and present our vision to link with The Monastery as our 'spiritual home'.

 The inspirational speakers, including the key note speaker, editor of ‘RE Today magazine’, all emphasised how creative and engaging RE teaching can be and is the glue which holds education and communities together for a future peaceful and tolerant world, where children from all faiths, are Global citizens of the future with a strong moral compass.'

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