2017 Conference

Update: The 2017 Conference report was contained this edition of MODEM Matters.

Modem’s annual conference returns to Sarum College, set in the serene surroundings of Salisbury’s Cathedral Close. The conference brings together experts from the fields of leadership, management and ministry for stimulating conversations between church and business communities.
This conference aims to help all to understand more about what is the church for,
to help churches to mobilise and organize beyond Sunday morning.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Mike Higton on ‘The Church as Witness’.
Dr. Graham Adams on ‘The Church and the Solidarity of the Shaken’.

Both keynote speakers plan to be with us throughout the conference, so that the whole community can develop its thinking and development and make good use of the wisdom and ideas of the speakers, as well as of each other.


The programme will include talks from keynote speakers, contributions from members of the community, opportunities for discussion in groups, and the option of joining in the rhythm of worship at nearby Salisbury Cathedral.

The aim is to uncover different perspectives, to make new connections and to open up conversation which will continue beyond the life of the conference. It is anticipated that the title of the conference will trigger a far-ranging set of responses and we are looking to seeing what emerges as we explore the terrain together.
Thursday 7th

  • Arrival from 12 noon (coffee available).
  • Lunch at 1pm.
  • Sessions start at 2pm.
  • The programme will allow delegates to attend Evensong in Salisbury Cathedral at 5.30pm.
  • Dinner at 7pm.
  • Between Evensong and Dinner there will be a book launch for ‘ Leading by story: rethinking church leadership’ by Vaughan S Roberts and David Sims, recently published by SCM Press.
  • After dinner, participants will be free to develop their conversations in the College
    bar or at a nearby pub.

Friday 8th

  • Delegates will have an opportunity to attend Morning Prayer (and communion) in Salisbury Cathedral at 7.30am before breakfast at 8.15am.
  • Sessions start at 9.15 am.
  • Departure and the MODEM AGM after lunch.


Early Bird discount until 30 September: Residential £130; non-residential £80.

Residential fee includes ensuite accommodation and all meals.
Non-residential fee includes lunch and supper on first day, and lunch on second.

Fees after 1 October: Residential £140; non-residential £90.

In addition, there is a £10 discount on all fees for MODEM members, students
(including Sarum College postgraduate students), and ministers -in-training.


To reserve your place(s), please contact Alison Ogden at Sarum College,

courses@sarum.ac.uk , tel. +44 (0) 1722 424826.

The College address is: Sarum College, 19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EE.
Travel Directions are available here: http://www.sarum.ac.uk/collegecommunity/find-us

Invitation to Contribute

We invite contributions from those attending that relate to the theme of the conference: ‘What is the Church for? Mobilising and organizing beyond Sunday morning’. These may be based on research, reflection, a case study, a hope, or any combination of the above so long as they are clear about how they are based. We shall allow 20 minutes for presentation, including questions. Presenters will be encouraged to think of their presentations as ways of starting discussion on
their topics among and with the participants. Please send your proposals for
presentations to Sue Miller at Sue.Miller@roehampton.ac.uk by 31st October.

Speakers’ Biographies

Professor Mike Higton

Mike Higton is Professor of Theology and Ministry at Durham University, where he is the academic lead for the ‘Common Awards’ partnership, by which Durham validates most of the Church of England’s ordination training across the country, along with training for various other forms of ministry and for a number of ecumenical partners.

This means that he does quite a bit of his work sitting on trains. He is the author of several books, including A Theology of Higher Education (OUP, 2012), Christian Doctrine (SCM, 2008), Difficult Gospel: The Theology of Rowan Williams (SCM, 2004), and, with Rachel Muers, The Text in Play: Experiments in Reading Scripture (Wipf and Stock, 2012). He is working at present on a book on doctrine in the life of the church, asking where discussion of doctrine happens in the church today (especially in the Church of England) – and what difference it can make. He is a member of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission, and was coeditor (with Loveday Alexander) of their report Faithful Improvisation? Theological Reflections on Church Leadership (Church House, 2016), and is at present chairing a project on witness. He has previously worked in Cambridge (where he was Codirector of the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme) and in Exeter.

Dr Graham Adams

Graham Adams is Tutor in Mission Studies at Northern College (United Reformed and Congregational) within the theological partnership of Luther King House, in Manchester, and Programme Leader for its MA in Contextual Theology. He also teaches for the Congregational Institute in Practical Theology. Previously he was in ministry in inner Manchester. He is the author of Christ and the Other (Ashgate 2010), which views Jesus through his relationships with ‘others’, and has contributed chapters to The Spirit of Dissent (ITP 2016), Bible and Theology from the underside of Empire (SunMedia 2016), and Twenty-First Century Theologies of Religions (Brill 2016). All his published work, whether political theology or interreligious, engages
with the theology of Andrew Shanks who commends ‘the solidarity of the shaken’.
He is also a member of the CTBI’s Inter-Faith Theological Advisory Group.