HeartEdge conference returns to Edinburgh this autumn

The annual HeartEdge conference, ‘On earth as it is in heaven', returns to Edinburgh this October with a host of popular figures, including a prominent American theologian and church leaders from across Scotland and England, descending on St Cuthbert's Parish Church, St John's Episcopal Church and Greyfriars Kirk.

Winnie Varghese
Winnie Varghese, US theologian, priest, author and blogger for the Huffington Post, will be speaking at this year's HeartEdge conference

The conference, which is being held on Wednesday 2 October and Thursday 3 October, is a practical two-day intensive aimed at sharing ideas, discussing theology, making connections and connecting with communities.

Launched at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2017, HeartEdge is a membership-based organisation, an ecumenical network of partners and a movement for renewal.

The name HeartEdge reflects the group's purpose - for those working at the heart of commerce, culture and community, with those at the margins and on the edge.

Through joining the network, churches are supported in finding their stories, share resources and connect with others developing their church and community.

"How do we reach out with compassion to those on the edges of faith and life, and what do we learn from them when we get alongside them?" asks Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, who will be contributing during the two-day conference.

"What does our faith and our experience of life challenge us to explore and to share? How do we take our faith and put it into practice so that it might make a difference for good?

"HeartEdge asks all of these questions, and suggests, in context, some of the possible answers."

Within the event programme there will be practical workshops on topics including enterprise and commerce, launching cultural projects, developing congregations and sustaining community response, plus time to make connections and find encouragement.

Special guest speakers and contributors

During the conference, Sheena McDonald will be in conversation with Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Dr Sara Parvis, Senior Lecturer in Patristics, University of Edinburgh, on the theme of renewing the Church.

Alongside important discussions on renewal, a line-up of other special guests and contributors are already confirmed to take part, including:

Rev Fiona Smith, minister of Ness Bank Church in Inverness.
  • Winnie Varghese, US theologian, priest, author and blogger for the Huffington Post
  • Cormac Russell, asset-based community worker
  • Rev Rosie Addis, associate rector of St John's Episcopal
  • David Bradwell, co-ordinator for Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees
  • Very Rev Dr Derek Browning, minister of Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh
  • I.D. Campbell, artist-in-residence at St George's Tron Church of Scotland in Glasgow
  • Rev Jonathan Evens, associate vicar HeartEdge at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London
  • Sally Hitchiner, associate vicar ministry at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London
  • Simon Jay, community development worker for the Haven Community Project in Birmingham
  • Jonny Kinross, CEO of the Grassmarket Community Project
  • Tania Kovats, an artist focussing on works which explore our experience and understanding of landscape
  • Deborah Lewer, senior lecturer in history of art at the University of Glasgow
  • Suzanne Lofthus, artistic director of Cutting Edge Theatre Productions
  • Rev Maxwell Reay, minister for the Metropolitan Community Church
  • Rev Scott Rennie, minister of Queen's Cross Parish Church in Aberdeen
  • Rev Fiona Smith, minister of Ness Bank Church in Inverness
  • Rev Peter Sutton, minister of St Cuthbert's Parish Church in Edinburgh
  • Rev Bev Thomas, an ecumenical minister, freelance consultant, project manager and lecturer
  • Adrian Wiszniewski, a Scottish artist and member of the New Glasgow Boys group of artists

A particular highlight for this year is the chance to hear from Winnie Varghese, a renowned American theologian who brings her experience of tackling social injustice as part of her role as priest and chief justice and reconciliation officer at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City.

"We are thrilled that Winnie Varghese has accepted our invitation to speak at the 2019 HeartEdge conference," Rev Jonathan Evens, associate vicar HeartEdge of St Martin-in-the-Fields, said.

"Her experience in, and focus on, issues of social justice and reconciliation is now gaining an international dimension through her global initiatives role at Trinity Church Wall Street.

"Church meeting world and what the Church can become are just some of the themes she has explored which are of real contemporary relevance in relation to our theme this year of ‘On earth as it is in heaven'."

Chalmers Lectures: ‘A Future that's Bigger than the Past'

Rev Dr Sam Wells
Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London and inspirational founder of the HeartEdge movement.

This year, running alongside the HeartEdge conference are the free public Chalmers Lectures which will be delivered by Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

Entitled ‘A Future that's Bigger than the Past', the lectures at Greyfriars Kirk will investigate the theology and methods of HeartEdge as a movement for renewal in the Church.

The HeartEdge conference includes the opportunity to hear the final three lectures in the series; the first three in the series being held at Greyfriars Kirk between 17-19 September.

Book your place for this year's HeartEdge conference

To book your place at this year's HeartEdge conference, go to the bookings page.

One-day tickets start from £40 and two-day tickets start from £80.

All programmed events will take place across St Cuthbert's Parish Church, St John's Episcopal Church and Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.

Your ticket includes lunch and refreshments across the course of the day.

For more information, please get in touch with Rev Jonathan Evens, HeartEdge organiser and Associate Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, by email or by telephoning: 020 7766 1127.