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Modern Church is 120!

Modern Church is celebrating 120 years with a social media campaign recording key moments in its history

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Modern Church General Secretary Jonathan Draper reflects on our partnership with this year's festival and sponsorship of three acts

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Our annual conference - A student's perspective

Trainee Methodist Pioneer Minister Dave Shaw thanks delegates who donated to enable student volunteers to attend this year

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Voluntary Childlessness and Christianity: Rejecting the Selfish Other

by Dawn Llewellyn
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

Abstract

Voluntary childlessness is the deliberate choice not to have children. In this paper, I draw on qualitative interviews, to discuss the experiences of electively childless women in contemporary Christianity. In particular, choosing not to have children is sometimes considered too individualistic and ‘selfish’, because it does not adhere to the presentation of motherhood as the realisation of women’s Christian identity. However, this paper suggests that some women understand that their calling and self-offering is to care, serve, teach, and minister, thus indicating that a life electively without children is a legitimate vocation.

Key words

CHRISTIANITY, NARRATIVE RESEARCH, PRONATALISM, RELIGIOUS INDIVIDUALISM, VOLUNTARY CHILDLESSNESS


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

 

Post Script: Liturgical Prayers

by Belinda Davies, Allison Fenton, Karen O’Donnell
from Modern Believing Vol 60:1 - Jan 2019

Abstract

In our post-script we offer prayers which the Church might use in acknowledging childlessness. These are intended as theologically informed acknowledgement of yearning or loss of choice and stepping into a new kind of vocation with God and in God. Such prayers may be used privately, as part of liturgy, with individuals or larger groups. They are offered to help begin to plug a liturgical gap, and to be used as they are or rewritten as appropriate to enable the pain of childlessness to be spoken about in our prayers and our assemblies.

Keywords

Pregnancy Loss, infertility, prayers, liturgy, Eucharistic preface, blessing, women of God.


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

 

Theology and Reproductive Loss

by Karen O'Donnell
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

Abstract

Reproductive loss is a common experience and yet it is one that is almost entirely neglected by theologians. There is a historical, cultural, and theological silence around reproductive loss. In this article, the reasons for this silence are examined before considering the nature of theological questions raised in the experience of reproductive loss. Having established that such experience is a rich site of theological discourse, brief consideration is given to what a constructive, embodied theology of reproductive loss might look like. Such theology would both witness to the experience and begin to resource the church in liturgical and ritual modes.

Keywords

BODY, CONSTRUCTIVE THEOLOGY, FEMINIST THEOLOGY, PREGNANCY, REPRODUCTIVE LOSS, RITUAL, SILENCE


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

 

Pregnancy Loss: A Disturbing Silence and Theological Wilderness

by Daniel Nuzum, Sarah Meaney, and Keelin O’Donoghue
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

Abstract

Pregnancy loss is a devastating reality that challenges the faith worldview of the presence of God in suffering. As a spiritual reality, pregnancy is a poignant eschatological expression as new life is contemporaneously experienced in the present and anticipated in the future. The lack of discourse and liturgical provision by faith communities to acknowledge and express the reality of pregnancy loss is explored against an historical, biblical and sociological history of patriarchy. Drawing on the experiences of bereaved parents voice is given to the pain of pregnancy loss offering a challenge for robust theological reflection, liturgical provision, sensitivity and pastoral care.

Keywords

Pregnancy Loss, Infertility, Theodicy, Theological Reflection, Hospital Chaplaincy


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

 

‘Sing, O barren one who did not bear’: Childlessness, Blessing, and Vocation in the Old Testament

by Meg Warner
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

Abstract

In the Old Testament, fertility is closely associated with divine blessing, and infertility with the absence of divine blessing. If I am an infertile woman, reading the Old Testament today, how am I to understand this pattern in my own life? Am I not blessed? This article considers issues of context, both of the Old Testament and of today, arguing that the Old Testament speaks about questions of fertility with multiple voices. Although the production of children is foregrounded, the Old Testament presents other vocations as paths to divine blessing. In particular, service of the earth is singled out in the article as a vocation that is foregrounded by the Old Testament, that is blessed and that has particular application to our own context.

Keywords

Bible, Old Testament, Infertility, Childlessness, vocation, blessing, creation, earth, women


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.