A different way of doing the Hope Seminar!

26th November 2021

Physically distanced attendees at the Hope Seminar 2021

“After a year of planning, I was not going to give up lightly!” Silvia Purdie shares. The ‘Cardboard Cathedral’ (the Christchurch Transitional Anglican Cathedral) very kindly agreed to host our big public event for the year. The Hope Seminar is an annual open-invite event for A Rocha in Christchurch. This year the theme was ‘Shalom’, looking at aspects of wellbeing and climate change, with an excellent line-up of speakers. The date was Sunday 19 September 2021. With a month to go till the event, on 18 August, NZ was in lockdown, so all the planning and publicity for the event were in limbo. It was a wait and see situation as we hoped for the alert levels to come down enough in time for the event. We finally moved into a stricter ‘Level 2+’ restrictions on 8 September. Should we go ahead? Would we cancel?

Thankfully the Cathedral offered to cancel their Evensong service, which we had planned to integrate into our evening, to reduce numbers in the building to a max of 50. After revising the programme and the logistics for the evening, the event went ahead.  It felt very odd, everyone standing and sitting distanced from each other and presenters not allowed to touch the lectern. It was disappointing to not share a cuppa, and connecting with others while wearing a mask was tricky. Our attendance was half what we had hoped for. But in the end – we did it!

Guest speakers at the Hope Seminar 2021

As part of revising the logistics for the evening, we were able to provide a livestream option, which meant that other people could share in the event from the safety and comfort of home, even those outside of Christchurch. And now, we are also able to share the recording of the livestream featuring:

Afterwards the A Rocha Christchurch team and speakers shared dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and the energy and joy of just sitting together and eating was hard to describe. We were all just ridiculously happy!

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