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Reading between the lines, you might well have picked up that the CRC is in the midst of some important changes. At the October meeting of the Executive Committee we will be saying a fond farewell to Bishop Robert who has been Chair of the CRC since 2009 and has been a constant source of encouragement and friendship to all in Reader ministry. We will miss him and we wish him and Pauline a long and happy retirement. At the same time we welcome the Right Reverend Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, as our new Chair, and look forward to working with him in the coming months and years. A longer introduction will be included in our next issue – but to be getting on with there is a photo of both Bishops taken at Follow 2016 on page 36.
Follow 2016 was a great event, and not only because it enabled many Readers to meet Bishop Martyn (little knowing he was going to be our new Chair). We are delighted to be able to publish shortened versions of the talks (all on aspects of discipleship) by Paula Gooder of the Bible Society, Mark Russell of the Church Army and Mark Greene of LICC.
The main theme of this issue reflects the significance of the Old Testament for the Christian faith. Obviously we can do no more than scratch the surface in five articles but they each raise important issues and show the relevance of the Hebrew scriptures, which were after all, Jesus’s Bible, for us today. Much of what the prophets had to say was about justice, including God’s response to those who ignore his demand for the right treatment of neighbour and the alien in our midst. Where do you and I stand on this challenge? Hospitality and compassion seem to be in short supply these days. Howard Peskett invites us to dig deep into the text of Isaiah, and Meg Warner encourages us to find lessons for today in the stories of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Jessica Mary Keady’s article addresses the challenging topic of gender-based violence while Andrew Pratt looks at the scriptures as a resource for hymn writers and Rona Orme explores how we might communicate the lessons of the Old Testament to children.
The other articles in this issue all involve leaving the comfort zone in one way or another. Carrie Myers shows how an overseas placement with USPG can challenge our preconceptions, while Chris Hudson finds that encouraging scoolchildren to walk in the footsteps of a local saint can be rewarding on many levels. Reader and pharmacist Alistair Bolt describes taking a break from his day job to work in Sierra Leone, in the middle of the Ebola outbreak. Even a peaceful village in rural Wales is willing to open its eyes to suffering by remembering the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 in acknowledgment of the responsibility we all share for maintaining peace. The importance of working for peace is further explored by Steve Chalke in his new book Radical, introduced by Peter Clough in an extended review.
We are delighted to have so many articles by Readers in this issue and hope to see many more throughout 2017. The themes for next year are Worship and Music (Spring), Pioneer Ministry (Summer), The Reformation (Autumn) and Spirituality (Winter). Please do contact Heather (on firstname.lastname@example.org) with your ideas for articles.
This issue has been put together largely by Richenda, our sub-editor, with support as always from Kevin Wild (see his profile in the CRC News section) and other members of the Editorial sub-group. Heather has been out of action partly due to ill health and partly due to preparations for moving house. All being well, we look forward to welcoming her back for our next issue.
Chair of the Editorial Committee
150 YEARS OF READER MINISTRY
Tribute to Bishop Robert - GERTRUD SOLLARS
A message from the Chair - BISHOP ROBERT PATERSON
Follow 2016: A view of the day - DEBBIE THROWER
Following Jesus: Being the disciples Jesus wanted - PAULA GOODER
Disciples who reach out - MARK RUSSELL
Fruitful disciples for the frontline - MARK GREENE
Theme - OLD TESTAMENT
Do the Patriarchs (and Matriarchs) have anything to say to us today? - MEG WARNER
Trusting God in troubled times: Digging into the text of Isaiah - HOWARD PESKETT
Rape culture and sexually violent biblical texts: Genesis 34 as a case study - JESSICA MARY KEADY
Hymns or chants? - ANDREW PRATT
Please don’t do Noah! Exploring the Old Testament with children - RONA ORME
A change in perspective - CARRIE MYERS
Brinkburn Lifepath: Another everyday miracle - CHRIS HUDSON
An experience of Ebola in Sierra Leone - ALISTAIR BOLT
From Conflict to Hope: Remembering Srebrenica - FRANCES WARD
Extended book review: Pathways to peace - PETER CLOUGH
Following through formation - Rosemary Walters
Tribute to Julie Batchelor
New Chair for CRC announced
Introducing: Kevin Wild
Last Word - ALAN WAKELY
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