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Posted on Monday, October 3, 2016

PAYNE MEMORIAL ESSAY COMPETITION, 2015-2016

Patterns of Ministry at Home and Abroad: Change and Continuity

Discussion of ministry is very much a contemporary concern but it has been at the heart of Baptist understanding of the church’s mission from the earliest confessions of the seventeenth century onwards, and it is there more recently as a vital part of the Faith and Order document – Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry – seeking consensus amongst the churches.

How do Baptists relate to a three-fold ministry of bishop, presbyter and deacon? The words may not come easily to Baptist lips, in this country at least, but the different functions are there – -the ministry of episcope or oversight, found in the role of messengers in the seventeenth century, later Association Secretaries,General Superintendents/Regional Ministers and the many who in subsequent years have exercised more informal patterns of episcope. Pastors have been highly esteemed, but what are their essential functions? Preaching, pastoral care, the ministry of sacrament/ordinance.? Churches have been anxious to serve those in need though without any precise definition of diaconal office, though the nearest to this is probably to be found in the history of the deaconess order. There may be debate today about the notion of bivocational ministry, but it might be argued that this has been part of a pattern of service over many years, with the pastor who also served as schoolmaster perhaps being the most common combination. The diversity of chaplaincy services also needs analysis, and the ministry of women both in this country and in the mission field is worthy of study. What too of the argument that ministers are not college-made but Spirit-formed: how are women and men best prepared for ministry? And how does the idea of the priesthood of all believers relate to all this? An evaluation of the work of a particular minister could be the subject of an appropriate entry.

Whilst the area of potential study has been deliberately set very wide, candidates are advised to limit their area of investigation to what can be properly encompassed within an essay of no more than 6,000 words for the main text. The essay should be original, unpublished, based on personal research, and not have been awarded another prize. The winning entry, and any other deemed worthy, will be published in the Baptist Quarterly. The Society reserves the right to make no award if no essay is of sufficient merit.

Submissions should be written with proper critical apparatus, for example professional footnotes, bibliography, and identification of appropriate archival material [preferably conforming to the style-guide for articles for the Baptist Quarterly]. They should be sent to the Secretary of the Baptist Historical Society no later than 31st December 2016

The Payne Memorial Essay commemorates the life and work of the Revd Dr E.A. Payne (1902-80), General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland, a President of the World Council of Churches and President of the Baptist Historical Society.