First European Lay Carmelite Congress
The first European Lay Carmelite Congress took place at Aylesford Priory, England, 25-28 July 2014. This is an initiative organized by the British Province, in which some 50 delegates took part from Britain, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, and Portugal, and included members of the Third Order, The Leaven Secular Institute, the Discalced Secular Order, new expressions of Lay Carmel including Carmelite Spirituality Groups, as well as friars working with Lay Carmel.
The purpose of the gathering was to foster friendship and communication across the European area of the Order. Fr. John Keating, O.Carm., Councillor General for Europe, spoke on "Looking to the Future of Carmel in Europe with Hope". Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C., spoke on "The Variety of Lay Carmelite Life Across Europe". Bro. Patrick Mullins, O.Carm., spoke on "Titus Brandsma: Inspiration for Lay Carmel in Europe Today".
Each province and group gave presentations about their experience, as well as performing in a Cultural Evening. The Congress was interspersed with creative liturgies organised by Lay Carmelites. The Congress was deemed a great success, permeated with a spirit of deep prayer and fellowship that celebrated unity in diversity. The delegates resolved to hold the next Congress in Malta in 2016.