Conclave 2019: Closing Thoughts and Thanks
Every year, the Apostolic Johannite Church endeavours to expand its collective and individual understanding, and its fellowship, in new directions.
In the last few years, part of this effort has been focusing our Conclave presentations and workshops around themes for exploration- to deepen and contextualize that which we know, and to embark on learnings and subjects we do not know.
This year, we selected the Divine Feminine, and it couldn’t have come at a better time- for the Apostolic Johannite Church as a communion and community and for many of us as individuals, of which I count myself one.
Her echoes and resonances ring forth in the figures lost to the distraction of the modern era, but kindled anew through the exploration of the Missing Witches with Amy Torok and Risa Dickens. We also had opportunity to see her at work in traditions adjacent to our own, through an exploration of Sophia as Goddess, with T. Scarlet Jory.
She comes as a lightning flash and a torrent, proclaiming her presence in the voice of thunder, which Dr. Celene Lillie showed us in an exploration of The Thunder Perfect Mind.
Her undercurrent- powerful, determined, and revitalizing, courses its way through our art and history, as noted by Nic Laccetti in his exploration of the work of Josephin Peladan, and turns up where you don’t always expect to see it, as demonstrated by Dr. David Goodin in the Divine Feminine in the Gospel of John.
Like the Temple tradition of which His Excellency, Mar Timotheos spoke in his talk on the Great Lady, the Divine Feminine remains, thrives even, in the consciousness and sanctuaries of the people.
Sometimes we meet her in places that we as human travellers fear to tread, in death, loss and the contemplation of our own mortality- in the darker places of our consciousness, as illustrated by His Grace, Mar Thomas
In places most closest to home, Fr. Joseph McCauslin gave ear to her voice in the person of Mary, Theotokos, Mary Magdalene by way of Clark Aitkins in the Gospel of Mary and Barbelo and Sophia in an exploration of Gnostic Ascent and the cosmology of the Apocryphon of John with Very Rev. Fr. Tony Silvia.
Fittingly, we capped off our run of excellent talks with How to interpret the Gospel of Thomas by Dr. Andre Gagne- a dive into Wisdom itself in the form of scripture.
From the start of Conclave until its end- I don’t think it is an understatement to say that every attendee came away with a powerful sojourn in the sanctuary of the Divine Feminine, individually and together with our community- with old friends, and new friends.
Our sincere thanks to our many excellent speakers and guests- Dr. Celene Lillie, Amy Torok, Risa Dickens, T. Scarlet Jory, Dr. David Goodin, Dr. Andre Gagne, Nic Laccetti, His Grace, Mar Thomas, His Excellency, Mar Timotheos, Very Rev. Tony Silvia, Fr. Joseph McCauslin, and Clark Aitkins.
Each has given our Church and the living stones from which it is built, a lifetime of exploration, meaning, practice and reflection- and the voice of thunder will echo and reach many corners of the Apostolic Johannite Church in the months and years, and dare I say- decades, to come.
With that, it remains to note the most powerful and inspiring presence of Divine Feminine during this week of communion, community and celebration- that of the women of the Apostolic Johannite Church themselves- and not just here in Conclave but in the sanctuaries of the Apostolic Johannite Church around the globe- our female clergy, seminarians and members will grow, challenge and inspire the Apostolic Johannite Church in ways that I cannot.
Speaking for myself, but I suspect not just for myself, it was moving, inspiring and humbling.
My special thanks especially to the Rev. Jonathan Stewart not only for selecting our theme, but for his ear to the ground of the Johannite Church, and his own inspiration in selection of topics and speakers. He also kept everything on time, everyone well fed and everything running smoothly. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was done by a team of people.
With that, there remains but one duty at the closing of this Conclave- which is the announcement of the next Conclave.
For its 21st Conclave, and to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Apostolic Johannite Church- Conclave comes home to the foothills and mountains of Alberta.
See you in Calgary, 2020.
+ IOHANNES IV
Sovereign Pontiff and Patriarch
The Apostolic Johannite Church