Why we believe in conferences and events

Posted on: October 25, 2018
Tim Davies

Because we believe in communidy (no typo – we just like saying it that way).

Here’s a story that helps explain why we believe in communidy…

About 250 years ago there was a man who began meeting up for coffee with his new friend to chat and share ideas. Both men were gifted writers within their own spheres of influence. One was a well-respected poet – a favourite of Emily Brontë no less, the other a successful thought-leading former businessman. The former businessman had made a fortune in overseas trading and recently changed vocation thereby allowing him a lot more time for meeting his friend for these regular hangouts. Before long these conversations led to the former businessman beginning to wonder if his previous vocation was, perhaps, unethical. The chats became more regular, as did the ever-deepening self-scrutiny about the previous years and the means by which his fortune was made.

You see, the former businessman built his entire career on the capture, transportation and sale of African slaves – and he was very, very good at it. He did it for several years before landing a cushy job at Liverpool Dock where he continued to make money from the management of slave trading. It was only after many years of this daily activity and wealth accumulation that he changed career and then took time to stop, engage with the opinions of another, to discuss, and to rethink.

That man was John Newton. During these years of drinking coffee with his friend he wrote a book of hymns, one of them is called Amazing Grace. His slave ship captaincy began when he was in his mid-twenties. By the time he wrote his first published pamphlet titled ‘Thoughts Upon The African Slave Trade’ he was in his sixties. By now he was also mentoring societal influencers such as William Wilberforce. The success of the first edition of his article paved the way to a second edition being distributed to MPs, oiling the wheels for Wilberforce and his supporters to push through the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 to take effect across the entire global British Empire, a mere nine months before Newton died aged 82.

For those of you who are reading this far and are interested in American history, it was to be another 54 years before the young experiment-of-a-country called the United States of America was to swear in its 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.

And what started the ball rolling? Two men meeting and having conversations over coffee in a little village in Buckinghamshire. That’s why we believe in communidy. Or meetings. Or conferences.

They can change the world.

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Tim Davies

Tim Davies

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