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Exploring the Glory of God Conferences

To initiate the Exploring the Glory of God Research Project, Dr Adesola Akala convened two conferences.

Exploring the Glory of God Conference 2016 ›

Exploring the Glory of God Conference 2016

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The Exploring the Glory of God Conference 2016 convened at St John’s College Durham University to explore past and present perspectives of biblical, theological, and aesthetic dimensions of glory.

The inspiration behind this conference was the conviction that God’s self-revelation leads to encounters that manifest in a rich variety of textual, ideological, social, and visual expressions.

With a view to initiating academic and ecclesial dialogue on the subject of divine self-revelation, the conference invited a multidisciplinary forum to foster a deeper understanding of how God interacts with humanity. This conference provided a rich range of resources that will encourage academic research and empower ordained and lay ministry. 

Over 45 speakers and presenters from 25 institutions in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia offered a wide array of multidisciplinary papers and multidenominational perspectives on divine glory in the following areas: Old and New Testaments, doctrinal, historical and practical theology, theologians of glory, liturgy, prayer, literary works, disability, cosmology and the physical sciences.

Keynote addresses were delivered by scholars at the cutting edge of academic and church dialogue.

Conference Keynote Speakers


Professor David Ford (OBE), Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, presented an in-depth theological exposition
entitled, “To See My Glory”: Jesus in John’s Gospel.


Anglican theologian Dr Paula Gooder delivered St John’s College’s annual Vasey Lecture entitled, Glory and Worship in Biblical Tradition, which offered a unique perspective on what it means to
glorify God.

Revd Professor David Brown (FBA, FRSE), Emeritus Wardlaw Professor of Theology, Aesthetics and Culture, University of St Andrews, gave an interactive presentaton entitled, The Glory of God’ in the Arts: Balthasar and Beyond.


The Glory of God in the People of God: Participating in the Intensity of the Spirit’s Life, was an outstanding systematic exposition given by Professor Tom Greggs, the Marischal Chair of Divinity at University of Aberdeen.


The final keynote lecture was delivered by Durham University’s Emeritus Professor James Dunn (FBA), who offered a Pauline overview of glory in his paper entitled, Paul and the Glory of God.

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More about the conference

The conference included the Visions of Glory art exhibition which showcased the works of Shaeron Caton-Rose, Paul Judson, Anja Percival, Revd Graham Piggott, as well as glory-inspired poetry from Revd David Grieve.


Conference delegates were also treated to a beautiful rendition of Handel’s Gloria by celebrated soprano Ms Awet Andemicael of Yale University.

The Exploring the Glory of God conference stimulated a rich dialogue that encouraged research and advanced the knowledge of God’s glory within academia and the Church.

The conference fulfilled its objective of fostering interdenominational unity around the enduring exhortation to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism #1).

Exploring the Glory of God Conference Reviews

Thanks for all your hard work in making the conference possible. I thought it worked a great deal, i.e. very effectively, I also learnt much.

Prof David Brown

Many congratulations again on the conference which I thought was an outstanding success. A huge tribute to your perseverance and organisation.

Dr Christopher Southgate

I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this conference. And I am thankful that you organized this conference on such an important topic. You have done a wonderful job! . . . Thank you for envisioning this conference. . . it was clearly very successful in lots of ways.

Dr Rebecca Idestrom

. . . a wonderful conference. Well done for your vision.

Dr Margaret Masson 

. . . I much enjoyed that part of the conference at which I was present.  There was a good ‘feel’ to the event (perhaps a gentle breeze from on high?).

Prof Walter Moberly

Congratulations on organising such an interesting and successful conference. I really enjoyed the bits I was able to go to.

Prof Karen Kilby

I enjoyed chairing the sessions and the parts of the conference I attended. It was extremely well organised, I was impressed.

Dr Dorothee Bertschmann

Thank you so much for hosting the conference, and for all the hard work you put in to make it flow smoothly. I learned a lot and am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate!  I would love to participate again in the future, and would love to hear what you are planning to do in moving forward.

Lindsey L. Croston

Thank you for organizing the Glory Conference. It must have been a big effort but I think you should have been very happy at its success. I certainly found it energizing and had some great discussions.

Jacqueline Clark

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to present some of my work . . . and to be part of a wonderful and inspiring academic and theological conversation . . . an amazing conference. A couple of the plenary papers, in particular, will be on my mind for some time to come, I'm sure.

Jon Bentall

I love that the arts were so much a part of the conference (there was also an exhibition of visual art and poetry throughout). I enjoyed . . . joining morning prayers at Durham Cathedral, and many and varied conversations with people from far and wide. . . After the conference, I am challenged to think of glory in more than just that one favourite metaphor of shining light.

Sarah Agnew

I wanted to thank you for organizing such an engaging conference. It truly was a blessing to take part.

Myka Lahaie

I was only able to be there for one day. I enjoyed being at the conference and listening to other presenters. . . . Congratulations on organising such a splendid conference!

Dr Richard Hubbard

Thank you, once again, for the wonderful conference on Glory this past week!  Now that I am back in the US, I am reflecting joyfully on the experience.

Awet Andemicael

Exploring the Glory of God Conference Website ›

Conference review webpage by Prof Christoper Southgate ›

Conference review webpage by Sarah Agnew ›

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Glory of God in the Church Conference 2017

Glory in Devotion, Formation, and Mission

The Glory of God in the Church Conference was a one-day event for Church leaders and laity based on the theme of “Glory in Devotion, Formation, and Mission.”

This multidenominational conference included delegates from Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, and Independent churches. 

The aim of the conference was to consider how God’s glory is manifested in local and global communities of Christian faith by engaging with the following questions:

How do believers apprehend and appropriate the divine presence in their Christian walk? 

How is God’s glory is manifested in communities of faith and why does it contribute to growth and development?


What are the different ways God’s glory is revealed through the church to the world and how has it impacted societies?


The Speakers


Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton and pioneer of the Alpha Course gave a presentation entitled, The Potential is Vast.


John Bell, of the Iona Community in Glasgow spoke on Bigger Than Me.


Kate Coleman, founding director of Next Leadership and former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, offered perspectives on The Glory of God in Leadership Formation

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Glory of God in the Church Conference Website

For information on how to you may be involved with the Glory Research Centre, contact Dr Adesola Akala at

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