Quest Annual Conference ‘Walking Together’

We are delighted to announce that we are again taking bookings for the Annual Conference.


Click to jump straight to the Booking Form. If you need a paper copy of the form email the conferences team here telling us whether you are a Quest member or not.

More information about the packages and the costs (which range from £94 to £259 for members who book at the early bird rate) are available on the booking form.  To find out more before filling in any of your personal details:

  1. click the relevant option under Quest Membership
  2. the Accommodation Options and Package Prices relevant to your membership status will then appear.  Click the drop down box to see the options.

Member benefits (early Bird Rate) – The members’ rate is discounted until the 31st March 2022. To join Quest, visit the relevant section of our website here.

You can find out about previous and future conferences here.


Conference Dates: 15th – 17th July 2022 at the University of Bristol

This year’s conference ‘Walking Together’ will take place over the weekend from Friday evening 15/07/2022 to the afternoon of 17/07/2022 in Bristol.  A number of buy-in options are available.  Though the finer detail of the timetable isn’t yet fully finalised the main event sessions will be on Saturday morning, after lunch on Saturday, followed by afternoon activities or free time to explore Bristol, catch up with old friends or make some new ones.  The final session will be on Sunday morning followed by a panel discussion after lunch.

Bookings are not limited to Quest members or Catholics. Our inclusive liturgy is based around the morning and evening prayers of the Catholic faith and we finish the weekend (after lunch) with a Catholic Mass.

Read on to find out about

  • The theme of the conference
  • Information on the Guest Speakers / Contributors and Venue

Pope Francis has chosen ‘synodality’ as the theme for the October 2023 synod of bishops using the three sub-themes:  Communion, Participation and Mission. Synodality means ‘Walking Together’. In ‘Fratelli Tutti’ and ‘Let us Dream’ Pope Francis describes Synodality as being able to Walk Together with people who may hold ‘contra-positions’ to ourselves: holding, acknowledging and feeling the tensions that can result from holding different positions on a given subject.

Around the globe we have seen dioceses and laity led groups adopting this approach when considering church growth and evolution.

But what does it mean to ‘Walk Together’ as LGBT+ Catholics, to take our place at the Table, to share the Word, and to minister to our siblings? All too often we find ourselves feeling rejected, walking alone and separated from the Church by those who are called to bring us home and to welcome us.

And so, like other groups, we can feel as if we are at the margins: sometimes as the marginalised and sometimes ministering to our siblings.  It is here that we often find ourselves Walking Together with the Jesus of the Gospels, participating at the Table that is our baptismal right, and realising our unique place in God’s plan. But the Gospel challenges us to go further, to look beyond our own sense of exclusion and to consider:

  • What do we do about the marginalisation of other groups?
  • How does our experience offer us insight into supporting and standing with our global family?
  • Do we contribute to the marginalisation of others?

The conference, which will take place between the 1st and 2nd phases of the 3 phase synodal process,  will explore what ‘Walking Together’ means for Quest and for LGBT+ Catholics under the three synodal sub-themes:

Communion: What strengthens our sense of belonging to the Body of Christ? What hinders it?

Participation: What insights can we offer to the church’s discernment of God’s will?

Mission: What gifts do we offer to the church’s mission of proclaiming God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ to the world?


GUEST SPEAKERS / CONTRIBUTORS:
Professor Adriaan van Klinken  will be making his first visit to a Quest Conference as a speaker. Adriaan is Professor in Religion and African Studies at the University of Leeds. His work focuses on contemporary Christianity, LGBT activism, and queer theology in African contexts. He recently co-authored, with Ezra Chitando, the book Reimagining Christianity and Sexual Diversity in Africa (Hurst & Co, 2021).

Dr Nicolete Burbach is social and environmental justice lead at the London Jesuit Centre, and a trans woman. She did her PhD at Durham University on Pope Francis’ hermeneutics of uncertainty, and taught there for two years prior to coming to the LJC. Her research focuses on resourcing Pope Francis to navigate the difficulties facing trans people and the Church as they come into new forms of contact with one another.

Dr Anne-Marie Martindale is an experienced researcher, lecturer, knowledge exchange specialist and married mum of two (and a cat) and will be joining us again this year. In 2019 she completed a research report for GNRC exploring lay Catholic LGB discrimination in the 21st century and led an important workshop at the 2021 Conference.

Jay Hulme, currently Poet-in-Residence at ‘The Poet’s Church’, St Giles-in-the-Fields in Central London, will be joining us as the after Dinner Speaker this year. “Jay is an award winning transgender performance poet, speaker and educator. Alongside his writing and regular performances he teaches in schools, performs sensitivity reads, and consults and speaks at events and conferences on the importance of diversity in the media, and more specifically transgender inclusion and rights. In 2017 he gave a TED talk and was featured in Nationwide Building Society’s “Voices” advertising campaign, with him and his work appearing in both TV and radio adverts. 

Visit Jay’s website here and get hold of Jay’s 2019 poetry collection ‘Clouds Cannot Cover Ushere and ‘The Backwater Sermons‘, which includes the much circulated ‘Jesus At The Gay Bar‘, from most online retailers (or better your local independent book stockist).

Fr Richard McKay has been a priest of Clifton Diocese for 50 years, working for 45 years in impoverished Outer Estate and Inner City parishes in Bristol. For over 13 years he was RC Chaplain at HM Prison Bristol. Influenced by both Charismatic Renewal and Liberation Theology he finds the reality of oppression and poverty the source for theology and mission.

He has a passion for the unity of the Church and its mission to bring justice, equality and freedom to the oppressed both locally and globally. Passionate for the renewal and reform of the Church to become more inclusive (especially women’s ministry and the LBGTQ+ community) and promotes synodal governance at every level, he sees the two greatest crises facing our world today as being Global Warming and 73 million refugees world-wide and is inspired by Pope Francis’ s Encyclicals ‘Laudato Si’. and ‘Fratelli Tutti’.

His parish of St Nicholas of Tolentino has over 60 nationalities in the congregation and has been a ‘Church of Sanctuary’ for over 20 years with serving the refugee and asylum community as a core mission. He is the founding Chair of the Christian charity ‘Borderlands – from exclusion to belonging’, which operates from St Nicholas Church.

The Venue: University of Bristol: Wills Hall, Parry’s Lane, Bristol, BS9 1AE is located in beautiful grounds and within reasonable reach of Bristol city centre by either private or public transport. Free on-site parking is available – guests MUST register their car registration number when they sign up for the conference and advise us of any changes. The venue is not able to offer additional nights accommodation before or after the conference and we have no information or recommendations about other providers.

What will happen if the pandemic affects the running of the conference: It is our hope and expectation that come July 2022 the conference will run as planned in Bristol. We will continue to comply with any government guidance and the associated response of the venue. More information will be given as needed. Please note we may ask attendees to undertake a lateral flow test before attending in order to protect other attendees some of whom we know to be categorised as ‘vulnerable’.

If you have questions then please email conferences@questlgbti.uk.

To book a place visit the Booking Form.