Tuesday, 28 September 2010

As Summer slowly fades into Autumn . . . .

The surest sign that Summer is almost over is the arrival of hordes of new students into Aberystwyth. Well, they've arrived this week, and there are more of them and they seem younger looking than ever before! This week is a brief lull before teaching starts proper next week.

The research has gone well over the summer. I think I got done most of what I wanted. The John Elias and moderate Calvinism article is finished. It inevitably took longer than I'd anticipated, but the extra fresh research has been worthwhile, I think. I presented a version of it as the annual historical lecture of the Presbyterian Church of Wales at their annual assembly at the beginning of September, and it seemed to work well, and was well received, as far as one can tell with these things! Apart from that I've finished an essay on Jonathan Edwards' influence in Wales for the book of essays that's being published on the back of the Edwards and Scotland conference that I attended last year in Glasgow. And, even more importantly, my next book, a history of English and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism is on the verge of being submitted to the University of Wales Press. I've written it with two colleagues, Drs Boyd Schelnther and Eryn White and our title is: The Elect Methodists: Calvinistic Methodism in England and Wales, 1735-1811. It should be out fairly early next year.

So today I've started the next research project. This is my paper for the conference I've organised with Andrew Atherstone at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, in December on the life and legacy of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I'm giving a keynote paper on Lloyd-Jones, Wales and Welsh Evangelicalism, but there's a hefty amount of research and careful thought needed before I put pen to paper. Not least of which is how an Anglican ordinand begins to assess Lloyd-Jones influence, which became increasingly sectarian and marginalised in Wales towards the end of his life.

The ordination training has started proper as well. I'm not doing a formal qualification thankfully, but do have to do a range of modules over the next couple of years. At the moment its one called 'The Bible in the Contemporary World', basically a whistle-stop introduction to modern academic critical biblical studies. Its not great, and runs with a view of Scripture which is diametrically oppossed to my own, but I'm learning patience, and am trying to take what's good and useful from it. I also start my first training placement on Sunday, in Holy Trinity Church, Aberystwyth, a more traditional, in terms of worship style, evangelical Anglican church than the one I usually attend. I'm looking forward to it, there should be lots of further opportunities to preach and lead worship, so lots of chance to develop and refine those skills further in the coming months.

So plenty going on at the minute; just got to salvage a few more teaching-free days to get the new research up and running.

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