What is freedom? Is it about maximising possibility and personal choice? An absence of outside interference? Our lived experience is usually far more complex, and we often find that what we choose does not truly satisfy us.

The London Encounter 2018 will explore the idea that true freedom is in fact found through belonging: particular relationships, paths and places which allow us to live life with openness, knowing that we will be helped to our feet whenever we fall. The day will consist of meetings, exhibitions and events, all of them considering the nature of freedom through the paradoxical means of belonging and following.


Even in a hateful life within a trench in World War I, Private David Jones became aware that his world was densely packed with what was good. Timed for the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, this exhibition opens up a window onto Jones’ experience of freedom through an analysis of his poem In Parenthesis, supported by reproductions of his paintings and extracts from the poem.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: For me to live is Christ

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom once said that ‘freedom happens in a true relationship of sonship,’ a relationship of which he is a remarkable example. Beyond the role played by Metropolitan Anthony in the Russian Orthodox Church of the 20th Century, and beyond what he was able to achieve as a preacher in the UK and around the world amongst Christians and non-Christians, this exhibition tells the life story of a man, whose experience of Christ is at the very heart of any of his actions and teachings.


11:00am – The Human Being: A paradox of freedom

What is freedom? Is it about maximizing possibility and personal choice? An absence of outside interference? Our lived experience is usually far more complex, and we often find that what we choose does not truly satisfy us.
A discussion on the nature of true freedom by

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and Patron of The London Encounter

George Corbett, Senior Lecturer in Theology and the Arts at the University of St Andrews

Aleksandr Filonenko, Professor of Cultural Theory, Philosophy of Science and Theologyat V.N. Karazin Kharkin National University

Heather Richardson, Joint Chief Executive St Christopher’s Hospice

03:00pm – Freedom and work: can they coexist?

This panel discussion will consider whether it is possible, despite ever-greater job insecurity and global competition, to experience fulfilment in the jungle of the modern work environment. Speakers include

Tom O’Connor, CEO of Providence Row, a London charity working with the homeless

Stefano Sala, Academy Manager of Company of Works, a project helping youngpeople with their professional growth

06:30pm – The Grand Inquisitor

This original one-act play is a dramatization of Dostoevsky’s tale of free will fromhis masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov. A long-awaited reunion between two brothers quickly turns to talk of the eternal questions, and the gift – or curse? – of human freedom.

The London Encounter

The London Encounter is a cultural event involving exhibitions, presentations and discussions which, each in their own way, are intended to provoke us to ask: what do we truly desire, what are we living for, and how can we best face the challenges of life?

It is a place of dialogue for people of all backgrounds and experiences.

Entrance is free. Children welcome.


The London Encounter is organised by a group of friends who met through the Catholic Movement, Communion and Liberation.

Our faith makes us want to engage in a dialogue with everyone, of whatever religion, background, political persuasion or tradition, about what it means to be human, what truly fulfils us and how best we can face the challenges of daily life. We believe that only by sharing our experience in a spirit of openness and mutual respect can we build the common good together

The London Encounter is organised through a charitable trust, Manalive, Charity number 1106302

Patron of 2018 Edition Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. Lord Rowan Williams.