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Braemor Studies launch: Latest titles at the interface between theology and ethics

Dr Raymond Refausse, Dr Susan Hood, the Revd Nigel Cairns, the Revd Rebecca Guildea, Dr Bridget Nichols, Bryan Whelan and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott at the launch of Braemor 9 and 10.
Dr Raymond Refausse, Dr Susan Hood, the Revd Nigel Cairns, the Revd Rebecca Guildea, Dr Bridget Nichols, Bryan Whelan and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott at the launch of Braemor 9 and 10.

The latest titles in the Braemor Studies series were launched in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute on Tuesday evening (January 22). Infertility to IVF: Theological, Pastoral and Ethical Insights for Couples and Clergy by the Revd Nigel Cairns and Mind and Ministry: To What Extent is Secular Psychotherapy Compatible with Christian Pastoral Care? by the Revd Rebecca Guildea were launched by Dr Brigid Nichols.

These are the ninth and tenth titles in the series which is devoted to the best of the final year dissertations by MTh students in CITI. Introducing the evening, CITI director Canon Dr Maurice Elliott said the volumes formed an impressive array of material on a wide range of subjects. He said that the two new titles were engaging and relevant.

On behalf of the Church of Ireland Literature Committee, which funds the publication of the series, Dr Raymond Refausse congratulated the authors on their splendid work and all who assisted in their publication. He paid particular tribute to assistant librarian at the RCB Library, Bryan Whelan, for his work on developing a style guide for the series. The Braemor Series was instigated to address a rising concern at the absence of theological literature in the Church of Ireland and it has been very successful.

Performing the official launch, Dr Bridget Nichols, lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy at CITI, said that both dissertations took their place at the interface between theology and ethics. “Both titles turn the spotlight on matters which the Church and its people should be interested in. Both authors have found their framework in the treasury of old and new; in scriptural reflection and medical research,” she said adding that the spark that lights up a good dissertation was the author’s passion.

Authors the Revd Nigel Cairns and the Revd Rebecca Guildea with their supervisors, Dr Katie Heffelfinger and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott.
Authors the Revd Nigel Cairns and the Revd Rebecca Guildea with their supervisors, Dr Katie Heffelfinger and Canon Dr Maurice Elliott.


In writing his dissertation, the Revd Nigel Cairns said his purpose was to provide an overview of some of the main theological, ethical and pastoral considerations for couples who are coming to terms with infertility and/or who are considering pursuing IVF as a therapeutic treatment option. It was intended to assist clergy who may be called upon to minister within such a context, with the hope of moving their pastoral response from passive listening to having a baseline knowledge which will enable them to engage with the issues at hand and with questions couples may ask.

In her dissertation, the Revd Rebecca Guildea explored the potential for engagement with modern psychotherapy for those in Christian ministry. In the face of a deepening mental health crisis in Irish society, pastors were increasingly likely to encounter situations of mental illness in their ministry, yet may be hesitant to recommend secular psychotherapy to sufferers, she contended. Through her work she aimed to answer, theologically, certain basic questions that may surface when those in ministry encountered the field of psychotherapy.

The Revd Rebecca Guildea is a Curate in St Patrick’s Parish, Greystones (Diocese of Glendalough), while the Revd Nigel Cairns is a Curate in Glendermott (Diocese of Derry).

The Braemor Studies series is published by Church of Ireland Publishing and the latest titles along with the earlier volumes may be purchased via the Church of Ireland’s online bookstore.

Report and photos by Lynn Glanville, Diocesan Communications Officer for Dublin and Glendalough