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The beginning of a new decade is an appropriate time for a relaunch and I am delighted to be welcoming you to the first issue of our new look magazine, renamed Transforming Ministry, and what a great issue this is.
The thinking behind the new name grows directly out of the discussions about where Reader ministry is going, and whether it should be viewed as a ministry for Sundays only or rather for the whole of our Sunday to Saturday lives. Good ministry can be transformative – and we too are transformed by the opportunities God gives us to minister to others.
This issue, taking as it does the theme of ‘Walking with the wounded’, focuses on pastoral ministry. As the articles all make clear however pastoral ministry is not confined to Sunday mornings or coffee time after the church service. It spills out into our messy world and disordered lives – and where better? It is outside the church walls that we make a real difference to lives.
As Christians we are called, are we not, to carry each other’s burdens. Helen Bent’s article recognises churches’ responsibility to remember those who are weeping while the rest of us are dancing, and to find appropriate ways of supporting them within the liturgy and services available to us. Readers Tina Cumberlege, Pete Sandford and Alan Stanley all offer examples of good, imaginative practice as they minister to those who are hurting during the whole of the week. Kate Austin’s piece speaks of truly transformative work with some of the most vulnerable and despised women in our society. This is work not many of us will be called to or equipped to do, but we can support similar initiatives and encourage others in our churches to do the same so the article includes practical suggestions for exactly this.
In the rest of the magazine, Reader Emeritus Ben Harvey looks back on a life of service, demonstrating how ministry changes with circumstance and opportunity. Giles Morrison and Richard Appleton find themselves on opposite sides of a debate about humour in the New Testament, and Peter Stiling and Clare Masters approach the challenge of preaching during the Easter season in very different ways. I hope this range of ideas will inspire you in your own preaching and other ministries.
The next issue of Transforming Ministry will focus on Prayer. Contributors to the theme will explore different ways of praying, and prayer in different contexts. A number of exciting articles are already promised but if you would like to join the conversation, please do get in touch with me before the end of January. Later in the year we will look at ‘Working with others’ (copy date mid-April), and preaching on apocalyptic texts (copy needed early August). Of course there is plenty of room for articles on other topics too. Email me at email@example.com with your ideas and suggestions.
With best wishes
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – WALKING WITH THE WOUNDED
Sensitive ministry: the challenge of hurt and grief - HELEN BENT
The power of listening - TINA CUMBERLEGE
Ministering to the bereaved - ALAN STANLEY
Enabling transformation – seeing hope emerge - KATE AUSTIN
Responding well – growing in confidence to reach out to people experiencing mental health issues - PETE SANDFORD
Serving a community - BEN HARVEY
Humour in the Bible: New Testament storytelling - GILES MORRISON
Humour in the Bible: it’s no laughing matter - RICHARD APPLETON
Preaching the Resurrection: a lifelong process - PETER STILING
Preaching the Resurrection: Peter’s story - CLARE MASTERS
Book extract: Seriously Messy - JOANNA COLLICUTT, LUCY MOORE, MARTYN PAYNE AND VICTORIA SLATER
Our new website is going live - RUTH HALDANE
Lay ministries: new opportunities and resources - RUTH HALDANE
Renewing the vision - ROSEMARY WALTERS
News and notices
Letters from Readers and others
Postscript - ALAN MITCHELL