A brand new series of selected dissertations emerging from Masters (MTh) students at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute (CITI) was launched at CITI on Wednesday 9 October 2013 by distinguished guest Canon Dr Christina Baxter.
Published by Church of Ireland Publishing (CIP), the ‘Braemor Studies Series’ is an exciting development and the first three titles from CITI students who graduated in 2012 are:
The titles each include a preface by the Director of CITI, the Revd Dr Maurice Elliott, who welcomed Dr Baxter, Dr Ray Refausse (on behalf of the Church of Ireland Literature Committee which had made the publications possible), the authors and their supporters and invited guests. Dr Elliott said that the new publications marked a tangible product of the integrated learning and contextually based theology now offered at the Institute. He also thanked Dr Susan Hood, publications officer of CIP, for all her hard work in engagement with the authors, editing, and bringing the books through the production process to publication.
Dr Ray Refausse said that the Literature Committee was glad to see the Church of Ireland publishing on theological themes and pleased to have been able to assist the Institute in a venture which would benefit CITI, ordinands and the Church at large. He also said that he would be pleased to see current students working on future dissertations in the RCB Library!
In launching the series formally, Dr Christina Baxter, former Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham, said that she had been delighted as CITI’s external examiner to have discovered three studies worthy of publication, ‘each with something to offer to the wider public of this land’. She said, ‘This series represents a significant moment for the Church of Ireland and something important for the Church more widely as products of contextual theology – it is important to undertake theology in one’s own place.’
Of Jonathan Campbell Smyth’s New Monasticism, Dr Baxter said, ‘The Church has a need in every age to deepen spirituality and I hope that people will open, read and think of the implications of this study.’
Dr Baxter said of The Place of Lament that the Church doesn’t always deal with the reality of people’s lives fully, from the atrocities seen regularly on our television screens to painful personal experiences. John Godfrey’s study would ‘repay reading and be of use in personal reflection, sermons and for study use in parishes’.
Alistair Morrison’s New Masculinity Movement is significant in addressing the gender imbalances in parish life, ‘provoking us to think how to help men to become involved in Church as well as children and women … it is important to reimage the Church for the future.’
Dr Baxter concluded by congratulating everyone involved, especially the authors, each now ministering in the Church of Ireland, and by saying that she hoped all would read the new publications, especially as ‘they would be very suitable Advent reading across every diocese, refining the Church’s ministry into the season of Epiphany.’