Sir Anthony Seldon, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Dr Larry Culliford and Georgina Noakes addressed a conference at Framlingham College on Spiritual Leadership for the Young.

The conference was organised by the College Chaplain, Rev Brynn Bayman, and it proved to be a successful occasion with 90 delegates gleaning valuable insights from such a distinguished list of guest speakers. As our generation of youngsters face ever increasing pressures from Social Media, Mental Health concerns and increasing economic pressure, the focus of the day was on Leadership.

Sir Anthony brilliantly illustrated the values of Mindfulness and ‘being present in the moment’ as the key tool required for the next generation to cope with such increasing pressures. Bishop Martin then reminded delegates that there was more to Spiritual Living than simple moral direction. To be ‘in community’ and engage in meaningful relationships with others and with God is the key message we should be sharing with the next generation. If we are to be ‘authentic’ leaders we are reminded to be both present with the young and to be real.

Dr Larry Culliford and Georgina Noakes also presented practical workshops that allowed delegates to embed their learning into their local East Anglia Community in ways that do not “preach to teenagers” but where we learn and listen as much as we offer pearls of wisdom and direction for the next generation.

Leadership was clearly presented not as “us and them” but as “living together” with mutual benefits. As Bishop Martin mentioned, we are very much part of our inheritance and the starting question for any leadership on matters of the Spirit is to ask: “how did you get to your present position of belief” and then work from this living platform, rather than superimpose any of the older generation’s ideas and ideals onto the next generation.

Headmaster Paul Taylor said, ‘The spiritual element of children’s education is too often ignored these days, yet it is so central to what makes us all human and it is so important that young men and women learn to engage with their spiritual side, wherever their own personal journeys may lead them. The College was therefore delighted to welcome so many delegates with such a variety of connections with young people to hear these outstanding speakers and to share their views and ideas with each other. It was a truly inspirational day’.

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