Artists, church leaders and frontline health workers are among those being invited to reflect on God’s perspective on the coronavirus pandemic and how they in turn are responding to the issues it has raised.
The unprecedented nature of the crisis, the scope of its impact and the significance of its implications for churches have led the Editorial Committee of Practical Theology, an international journal based in the UK, to dedicate an entire issue to the topic later in 2020.
The committee includes Darren Cronshaw, Head of Research at Australian College of Ministries (pictured below).
“COVID-19 is affecting us at a public health level, it’s changing the way we relate as communities, it’s transforming the way churches are operating, it’s raising huge needs in terms of suffering and grief, and it’s underlined huge global disparities in poverty,” Darren said.
“If we don’t think about this theologically – what this means from God’s point of view and how we respond – we’ve got our eyes closed and our ears stopped to a pressing global need, as well as to an opportunity for the Church to rise to the occasion and be the Church in our neighbourhoods and in the world.”
The committee’s hope is that the wisdom gained from a range of denominational and vocational perspectives might equip the Church’s response today and help prepare the Church to respond well to future health or natural disaster challenges.
“I would love to see reflections from theologians and other scholars as well as church leaders reflecting on how congregations are responding and public health officials, for example, reflecting on how their vocation is lived out in this most critical of times,” Darren said.
“Practical theology is at its best when it integrates the academic effort with practitioners’ insights and perspectives on what’s actually happening on the ground.”
Contributors might reflect on their experience with issues such as how the Church is engaging with God’s mission in the neighbourhood and world, how God is leading us in our own spirituality, what God is inviting us into in terms of environmental stewardship, and what God is highlighting in the space of community and family wellbeing.
“Reflections can be expressed through art, poetry and narrative as well as logical essays, articles or books. The latter can get us thinking at one level but there’s nothing like some really deep, thoughtful poetry or an insightful piece of art to get us thinking at another level about issues and themes in the world.
“This invitation is for all of God’s people who are struggling along like I am in this journey of working out who God is, how God is relating to the world, how we respond, and what we do as an implication of our faith in our everyday lives.”
Proposals of up to 500 words must be submitted by 31 May 2020, and submissions must be completed by 31 August 2020. Find out more here.