Spring 2021

Editorial

THE PANDEMIC is still with us, affecting our everyday lives more than we could have imagined a year ago - and its effect on our worship is likely to continue indefinitely. Our first three articles reflect on current and future developments, styles and possibilities, some cautious, some adventurous - all thoughtful. Two C of I clergy, Stephen Farrell and Christopher West, consider how parish worship has adjusted and may continue to change while Soline Humbert looks at a radical online experiment in eucharistic worship. Clearly there is further work to be done in this area in all traditions.

But the pandemic overshadows more than our worship and extends world-wide. From the USA, Richard K Fenn reflects on its malign effect on public life there, exposing the pernicious inter-racial fault-line in the American psyche. And from the UK Paul Ballard offers observations on the relation of faith to work in our troubled society today.

Existential anxiety has become a feature of our everyday lives. Will we and our loved ones still be here this time next week? And if not, where will we be? Some of us are more confident than others about a future existence and its conditions. In this context Andrew Campbell comes out strongly against nihilist objections that Heaven, if it exists, can only boring; then Katie Brown of TCD looks at what the Bible (rather than the Church) has to say about the ultimate destiny of those who commit suicide. Is Judas Iscariot truly beyond redemption?

Looking to the future, we conclude with two articles which connect with the thinking behind the subject of our Colloquium, “Who is my Neighbour?”, planned for April. This lies in the WCC’s’ document “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity” with its call to an extension of pandemic neighbourliness to the outsider – those of all faiths, races and cultures. The first, by Paul Draper, challenges us to eschew all “othering” and to embrace all those in need; the second by Bishop Kenneth Kearon reflects on how ‘first world’ gifts are used in the receiving communities, whose priorities may be more immediate than those of the donors.

A lively Liturgica and a goodly crop of book reviews conclude the issue. Enjoy! Hoping to see many SEARCH people on my screen for our April 17th Colloquium. For details see p 64 and inside back cover.

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