Bookings Now Open for the 2022 FIEC Leaders' Conference
You can now book your tickets for this year's Leaders' Conference in Blackpool as we reflect on 100 years of FIEC.
Get ready. Get set. Go!
Bookings are now open for the 2022 FIEC Leaders’ Conference in Blackpool (from the 7th to the 9th of November). Hopefully, you’ve heard about this by now, but there still may be one or two questions to clear up for you.
Here I am to try to answer them! No automated bots at the FIEC (we can’t afford them); instead, straightforward answers.
By the time of the conference, it will be three years since we’ve been at Torquay - which for some may be a distant memory, but for others will be like yesterday.
Why move away from what appeared to be a winning formula? Simply put: they couldn’t accommodate us anymore. Some of the large rooms we used have been converted into a gym, and the thought of putting up marquees would have meant more cost, more work, and more thermals. It just wasn’t a goer.
But we’ve taken the same model and moved it to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Their brand-new conference centre is able to accommodate us at a reasonable price, including being able to sit down and eat together - something that is integral to our conference model.
Your ticket buys you conference access and main meals (not breakfast), just like at Torquay.
What will the experience be like?
The centre in Blackpool is significantly smarter and will work very well for us. We’re enjoying working with the team there planning out how things will operate. Overall the format will be very similar.
There’s no balcony, so we’ll all be on the one floor in the main venue. All the venues are linked so all the conference sessions are under one roof.
If you’ve never been to an FIEC Leaders’ Conference, you’re in for a treat. We have some all-together sessions, some focused seminars, time to pray, and wonderful corporate worship.
There’s plenty of space and time to meet others and we also build in time for meals together: we see these as a key component of the conference.
What’s the conference all about?
2022 is our centenary year. We don’t want to make a huge thing of 100 years, but it is a really good opportunity to think through what commitments underpin our fellowship.
We want to explore these: updating them for the 21st Century, and reflecting and praying through how these impact our mission.
So, we’ll think about doctrinal orthodoxy and what that means today; we will reflect on what sort of unity we enjoy and why it is so important to evangelical effectiveness, and supremely we’ll encourage one another in the work of reaching the lost of Britain.
How do I get there?
For many people, the journey will be as easy or easier than Torquay. Direct trains from London take about the same time (under three hours with a change, or direct for slightly longer journey times) and there’s no need for air travel when coming from Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Of course, if you live in the South West, that won’t be true. We hope, however, that the value of being together for 48 hours means travelling (however far you have to come) will be worth it.
Where is the conference centre exactly?
Blackpool’s Winter Gardens is right bang in the centre of Blackpool – and that opens up a huge number of possibilities for off-campus meetups and meals.
For example, you could easily stay through to Wednesday evening for a pre-arranged meet-up with mates. You’re also not far from The Big One - the UK's tallest rollercoaster, found on Pleasure Beach. We are reliably informed that donkey rides are unlikely to be available in November. There’s 5G phone coverage on some networks, with others coming soon.
One word of warning – there’s no on-site parking since this is a town centre location. But lots of the accommodation is within easy reach on foot and there are drop off points for those with mobility requirements. There is also a multi-storey nearby with flat access to the centre.
Don’t forget there are also trams!
Where do we stay?
Just like at Torquay, we want you to make your own accommodation arrangements. That is a great model. It allows you to sort accommodation of the type and budget that suits you.
Coming as a team? Why not look for a larger AirBnB venue? Looking for something cheaper? There are plenty of reasonably priced hotels or bed and breakfasts. There are even some luxury options.
Don’t forget, as before, sometimes it can be good for leadership teams to come together and book an extra night before or after to make the most of the time together.
In fact, Blackpool has a lot more accommodation than Torquay: for example, there are five Premier Inns, two Travelodges, and a Comfort Inn - plus numerous independents.
What is the conference cost?
The super-early bird conference cost including all meals is £195 (for bookings on or before July 1). We think that represents good value for money, though we realise it looks a lot. But, as you will know if you’ve been before, the time we are able to spend together is immensely valuable.
As before, we have help available for those working in hard places with bursaries available to help meet the cost of the conference and accommodation. There are more details on the main event page.
Isn’t that more expensive than Torquay? Not really! Torquay prices were set at £175, which according to online inflation calculators (March 2019 to March 2022) is exactly the same adjusted for the increases in inflation we’ve seen. We are pleased to have been able to keep the price flat.
Who can come?
The conference is for church leaders and their spouses if they are able to join us. We draw the definition of ‘church leaders’ reasonably broadly; so, if you have some leadership responsibility in the church we’d love to see you.
Pastors, elders, deacons, women’s workers, family workers, those leading children’s and youth ministries, seniors workers, musicians, administrators. It’s up to you – but the focus will be on equipping people to lead in the local church. We can fit in about 1,400, so there’s plenty of room.
However, we won’t be able to accommodate children at the centre. It’s simply not within our scope and ability to be able to cater for them, and they’re not quite ready for leadership yet.
Light it up!
One last word – if you’re coming expecting to see the famous illuminations, it’s probably worth knowing that in a normal year they’ve been taken down by early November.
But for this year only (nothing to do with us!) they’re running from September through to January 2023. So, come and enjoy the free show.
You are now. Open the booking page…