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Bishop Good praises ‘forward–looking and revitalising’ new book ‘Perspectives on Preaching’ at its launch

L–R: Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, Bishop Ken Good, Rev Dr Paddy McGlinchey and Archbishop Richard Clarke at the launch
L–R: Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, Bishop Ken Good, Rev Dr Paddy McGlinchey and Archbishop Richard Clarke at the launch

A new book Perspectives on Preaching: A Witness of the Irish Church, published by Church of Ireland Publishing (CIP) in conjunction with the Church of Ireland Theological Institute (CITI), was launched by the Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe, in the Music Room of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, yesterday evening (22nd January 2018). The publication, featuring contributions from a wide range of notable preachers and thinkers, has been edited by Canon Dr Maurice Elliott (Director of CITI) and the Revd Dr Patrick McGlinchey (Lecturer in Missiology and Pastoral Studies at CITI), and has been produced with, in the words of Dr Elliott, ‘the underlying conviction that biblically–grounded, Spirit–filled and culturally–relevant preaching is a sine qua non for the health of any local church’.

The Revd Abigail Sines, Dean’s Vicar at Christ Church Cathedral, welcomed everyone attending the launch to the cathedral before handing over to Dr Raymond Refausse, Hon Secretary of the Church’s Literature Committee, who acted as MC for the evening; on behalf of CIP, Dr Refausse commended the book as one which CIP was pleased to be able to support in advancing its mission. Dr Maurice Elliott spoke about the genesis of the book which argues that the place of preaching needs urgently to be re–established as a noble one within the life of every Christian congregation. Dr Elliott conveyed thanks, on behalf of himself and his co–editor, Dr Paddy McGlinchey, to all who had contributed to the creation, development and production of the book and to those involved in the launch itself.

Bishop Ken Good then formally launched the title. He praised Dr Elliott and Dr McGlinchey for taking the initiative and seeing the book through to fruition. He particularly praised the volume for being ‘homegrown’ – ‘drawing on experts from this island who are earthed and interested in contemporary Ireland’. Bishop Good went on to observe that the book is ‘both contemporary and local’ and is ‘free range’ – ‘not controlled, arguing for one point but offering twelve distinctive, separate contributions which show that there is not just one way to do preaching well.’ ‘Such a healthy diversity of approach,’ he said, ‘opens up questions rather than closing them down. However, all the contributors advocate preaching and promote a high view of preaching.’

Bishop Good said that he found the book both ‘heart–warming and revitalising’ in that ‘it captures what preaching can be like – the deep places of our lives can be reached and transformed by preaching and it can be awesome when God present.’ He drew on the various contributors by pointing out that Jesus’s primary medium was preaching and by saying that it is ‘a lofty privilege to be allowed to preach … preachers need to be impacted and moved by the Lord of the message, and to be people of credibility,  authenticity and character’. Finally, Bishop Good praised the book for being ‘forward–looking in a serious way’. Posing the question, ‘What is the Spirit saying to the church?’, he said, ‘traditional churches are in a serious state in reaching out to an increasingly de–churched Ireland but communicating the gospel in a way that is transformational can draw people to hear the message of Christ in dynamic ways’.

The new publication, which is an accessible and easy read, engages with the themes of preaching Scripture, denominational charisms and preaching to the culture, across twelve different chapters. In addition to the editors, the contributors are: Archbishop Richard Clarke; the Revd Canon Patrick Comerford; the Revd Dr Shane Crombie; the Revd Dr Brian Fletcher; the Revd Barry Forde; Bishop Ferran Glenfield; Dr Katie Heffelfinger; Bishop Harold Miller; the Rt Revd Dr Trevor Morrow and the Revd Dr Robin Stockitt.

The 242pp book is available from https://store.ireland.anglican.org/store/product/140/perspectives-on-preaching-a-witness-of . It is priced €11/£10.

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