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When we decided over a year ago to look at the Book of Revelation and other apocalyptic biblical texts in Transforming ministry, we had no idea that this issue would come out towards the end of this strangest of years, when we have been learning to live with lockdown and the fear of disease. The contributors to this magazine though are not telling us that the end is nigh – rather they are looking at these troubling texts with balanced, scholarly eyes. We are given practical advice on how to preach on apocalyptic scripture as well as reassurance that while humans have always faced struggle, fear and difficulty, God is both faithful and eternal. I am delighted that we have contributions from eminent theologians Ian Paul, Margaret Barker and Steve Moyise, as well as cultural historian Natasha O’Hear and our own Dr Peter Clough. I hope you will find their articles, and the related Postscript by Andrew Walker, both helpful and challenging.
Other articles include a comparison of the roles of Readers in the Western and Eastern Churches by Francis Young, advice on engaging with younger people by Stephen Laird, two responses to the Black Lives Matter movement (from Sian Nicholas and Funmi Makanju), an article about the influence of the Emperor Constantine on the development of the early Church by Nick Partridge, a celebration of the use of creativity in spiritual practice by April McIntyre and a discussion about the role of silence in our churches. Our popular book feature includes an extract from The Way Under Our Feet and an interview with the author, Bishop Graham Usher. If lockdown has given you more time for reading, I hope you find plenty to enjoy.
Our first issue in 2021 will focus on Caring for Creation, looking at the theological background as well as offering practical advice. This will be followed by issues themed on ‘Creativity and worship’ (copy needed mid-January), ‘Preaching on Wisdom literature’ (copy needed mid-April) and ‘Sunday to Saturday Faith’, for which I will need your articles by the end of July. Do let me know if there are other topics you would like to address as well.
With best wishes
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – APOCALYPTIC WRITING
Preaching the Book of Revelation - IAN PAUL
Picturing the Four Horsemen – then and now - NATASHA O’HEAR
The Son of man - MARGARET BARKER
Apocalyptic language in the Gospels - STEVE MOYISE
Ezekiel: a prophet for our times - PETER CLOUGH
Readers in the Eastern Churches - FRANCIS YOUNG
The changing face of Christian discipleship among young adults - STEPHEN LAIRD
Corporate good and the re-humanising of society - SIAN NICHOLAS
Unprecedented times - FUNMI MAKANJU
The conversion of Constantine and the mission of the Church - NICK PARTRIDGE
Nourishing the roots - APRIL McINTYRE
Silence in church? - RICHARD APPLETON
Book extract and author interview: The Way Under our Feet - GRAHAM USHER
Renewing the vision - ROSEMARY WALTERS
Practical advice for being Church at a distance - JAMES BEHRENS
News and notices
Letters from Readers and others
Postscript - ANDREW WALKER