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Episkope: The theory and practice of translocal oversight 


A collection of essays which establish the common foundations that inform our conversations about translocal ministry and map present models and experience of ecclesial oversight

 

EpiskopeEpiskope: The theory and practice of translocal oversight
Edited by Roger Standing & Paul Goodliff
SCM
ISBN: 9780334059387
Reviewed by Paul Beasley-Murray 


Episkope: The theory and practice of translocal oversight will inevitably be of limited interest to most Baptist Times readers, but should be essential reading for regional ministers and their equivalents in other denominations. It is a collection of essays, the bulk of which are devoted to ‘trans-local’ ministers describing their experience of ‘oversight’ of churches. Dianne Tidball, for instance, writes on ‘The theory and practice of translocal oversight in a Baptist context.

For me the most interesting and challenging essay was by Stephen Cottrell, the new Archbishop of York, who in his essay ‘Church of England bishops as pastor and evangelist’ tells of how he tries "to see every opportunity to speak as an opportunity to say something about Christ and the Christian world view in such a way that those who listen will be intrigued, challenged and even delighted by the message of the Gospel".

There are a number of essays relating to the ‘foundations’ and ‘practice’ of translocal ministry which included contributions by a further four Baptist ministers, in which one of them wrote of “those deemed ‘successful’ enough to fulfil roles of responsibility in the churches”.

I found that a jarring description. In the first place, ministry – from a theological perspective – is not about ‘success’; and in practical terms, although regional ministers are paid more than most Baptist ministers, I have always believed that that there is no higher honour for a Baptist minister than to be pastor of a Baptist church. Although I was very grateful for the encouragement I received from my first ‘area superintendent’, Trevor Hubbard, the ministers who had the greatest impact on my life were pastors such as Frank Goodwin and Bill Channon - while beyond the Baptist denomination, I was greatly influenced by John Stott when he was Rector of All Soul’s Langham, Place.
 

Baptist minister Paul Beasley-Murray was ordained in 1970. His recent book Fifty Lessons in Ministry: Reflections after Fifty Years in Ministry was published by Darton, Longman and Todd.

Paul writes Church Matters, a weekly blog of resources for churches and ministers which has an international readership. 


 
Baptist Times, 29/04/2021
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