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The themes for our magazine issues are planned a long way in advance. I couldn’t have anticipated when we decided to focus on ‘Working together’ in this issue that by the time it was published we would all have had to give up meeting face to face, learned to Zoom and discovered Social Distancing. So, although some of the articles draw upon initiatives that were started well before lockdown, the shadow of the past few months runs through the entire content. I had hoped this issue would be out of date by the time it hit your doormats, but as I write local hotspots are appearing and although lockdown is easing it is slow and fitful. We have just been told we may be able to hug our relatives by Christmas. This is a long process and one that will affect our lives and ministry for months to come.
The first article in this issue of Transforming Ministry expands the ideas that Bishop Chris Goldsmith shared with us at the Lay Ministries Networking day last March – just before lockdown was announced. A follow-up day was held over Zoom at the end of May. Much as we all miss face to face interactions, this did prove that we can still engage with each other and share ideas – and indeed Deb Henning-Vears’s article shows how technology can enable us to continue to minister even from our own homes.
Sadly, singing in our churches is still some way off, but it will return in time. Helen Bent’s article reminds us that making music in worship should involve working together to create something beautiful for God. Stephanie Hayton looks at how different personality types can affect how we react to lockdown and encourages us to play to our strengths, while Catherine Price’s account of her work with a rural Mission Area demonstrates collaboration in action, setting up a structure that is able to continue in virtual spaces.
Working together does not always go well though, and an unhappy case study from a former Reader is followed by a practical response from Archdeacon Simon Hill.
The remaining articles are also influenced by this time of pandemic. David Kibble finds that lockdown has given us a time to reflect on what we are doing to God’s creation; Emma Pennington looks at what we can learn from a fourteenth-century anchoress, and David Brattston considers whether we can learn from the practices of the Early Church as we find ourselves unable to share Holy Communion.
Lifelong learning during lockdown and beyond is encouraged by Alison Earey, who tells us about her podcast ‘Recovering God’, and Roger Payne, for whom teaching is an essential part of enabling discipleship in others. There is more to inspire in our regular Books pages, and on page 33 Ruth Haldane introduces the first of the new training modules available on the Moodle site – this one appropriately on providing online worship. Finally, there are reflections from three Readers inspired by this strange period through which we have been living.
The next issue of Transforming Ministry will focus on ‘Apocalyptic texts’ which present particular difficulties for us as preachers. Theme topics planned for 2021 are ‘Caring for the environment’ (copy needed mid-October), ‘Creativity and worship’ (copy needed mid January), ‘Preaching on Wisdom literature’ and ‘Sunday to Saturday faith’. There will be plenty of space to address other topics too – and just at the moment I would particularly welcome contributions on inclusivity or chaplaincy, as well as on engaging with scripture. Please do get in touch with me – Editor@TransformingMinistryMagazine.co.uk
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – WORKING WITH OTHERS
A vision for collaborative ministry - CHRIS GOLDSMITH
Together but apart - DEB HENNING-VEARS
Working together to inspire music in worship - HELEN BENT
Anywhere people and Somewhere people - STEPHANIE HAYTON
Working with others in a rural deanery - CATHERINE PRICE
What happens when it all goes wrong? - SARAH WALKER
Responding to hurt and conflict - SIMON HILL
God’s creation and our fragility within it - DAVID KIBBLE
Julian of Norwich: a medieval take on lockdown - EMMA PENNINGTON
Holy Communion in a time of isolation - DAVID BRATTSTON
Let the oppressed go free … using a podcast - ALISON EAREY
Filling the gap - ROGER PAYNE
Book extract: God in Fragments - ROBERT ATWELL, JOANNA COLLICUT, JULIA BURTON-JONES, DAVID RICHARDSON, SUE MOORE AND MATTHEW SALISBURY
Interview with: God in Fragments author - DAVID RICHARDSON
Lay ministries: Moodle launch - RUTH HALDANE
Introducing … IMOGEN CLOUT
Renewing the vision - ROSEMARY WALTERS
Letters from Readers
Reflections in a time of pandemic - JOHN HOARE, JOHN ERREY, RAYLIA CHADWICK