The current and most up to date version of Transforming Ministry magazine in electronic format. This could be especially useful if you have just taken out an annual subscription (as the printed option) but were too late to receive the current copy.
Preaching, for most of us who are Readers/LLMs, is a central part of our ministry. Many of us find the preparation rewarding, perhaps enjoyable. Even if that is true most of the time though, there will always be the occasional week when the set readings fill the preacher with dismay. That is certainly my experience anyway. Whatever can we do with readings that are bloodthirsty, over-judgemental, or simply too obscure? Or what about a reading that fits uncomfortably with a congregation’s recent experience? It is not always plain sailing.
With such potential problems in mind, this issue focuses on preaching on difficult texts. We have some great contributions. Imogen Clout encourages us to open up discussion about the real behaviour of some of the great patriarchs and Helen Paynter asks whether the Old Testament is irredeemably misogynistic. Alan Gostelow then takes on the challenge of preaching on Psalm 137, while Rona Orme considers how and when to talk to children about difficult texts and Amy-Jill Levine urges us not to be afraid to wrestle with scripture. Finally, Andy Angel focuses on the New Testament, in particular some difficult words of Jesus. I hope you will find these articles helpful when you are next faced with a particularly challenging sermon to write.
As usual we have a variety of other articles in this issue – including a search for a Lay Theology by Stephanie Hayton, a write up of the 2023 Bampton Lectures by Sarah Mortimer, an article on prayer by James Behrens, another on talking about death by Diana Lowry, a piece on ministering in vacancies in the Diocese in Europe by Anthony Cummings, and an engaging item from Julia Childerhouse about the opportunities to minister to young people as a Scout leader. I am delighted too that Bishop Sophie Jelley is introducing herself to us on the opening page.
Our book feature for this issue focuses on children’s author Patricia J Murphy. You are encouraged too to explore our website – https://transformingministry.co.uk – for additional book reviews and for information about our new learning resources.
The next issue of Transforming Ministry will look at how we minister now, after the enforced changes of pandemic and lockdowns. Then, the first issue of 2024 takes as its inspiration the command of the prophet Micah to ‘Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly’. Articles focusing on social action and showing responsibility towards others and the wider creation will be warmly received.
Meanwhile, as the summer comes to an end and we look ahead to autumn, may you all continue to be a blessing to others through your ministry.
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Sophie
THE RT REVD SOPHIE JELLEY
THEME – PREACHING ON DIFFICULT TEXTS
Women, violence and scripture
The ‘unpreachable psalm’
Difficult texts? With children? Really?
Wrestling with scripture
‘I never knew you …’: one of Jesus’ hardest sayings?
Living among you – towards a Lay Theology
Christian dwellings (the 2023 Bampton Lectures)
Who do you pray to?
Coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis
Vacancies in the Diocese in Europe
Beyond the building: reaching young people through the Scout movement
Book extract: God is Everywhere
PATRICIA J MURPHY
Meet the author of God is Everywhere
PATRICIA J MURPHY
News and notices
Letters from Readers