Book honour for Chris Ellis
A new collection of essays celebrates and takes inspiration from the work of Chris Ellis, ‘our key thinker’ on Baptist worship
Gathering Disciples: Essays in Honor of Christopher Ellis is a book shaped around a lesser known aspect of Chris’s ministry, namely his hymn-writing. It sees 14 British Baptists take a selection of his hymns as a starting point for reflection on areas of worship, discipleship, the sacraments and theology.
Neville Callam, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance contributes a foreword, stating the book ‘richly illustrates the rich tapestry of Ellis’s contribution as a scholar who understands the service theologians can offer to the life of the church to the glory of God.’
Chris received Gathering Disciples in a surprise presentation at Regent’s Park College, Oxford on Friday (3 March).
‘The presentation – in fact, the whole project – was a complete surprise, heart-warming and humbling at the same time,’ he said. ‘There’s no bigger compliment for a writer than for others to use your work as a platform for their own original writing!’
‘I am delighted that this wide group of friends and colleagues have ranged across those themes which have been closest to my heart – theological reflection on worship and spirituality, Baptist identity and ecumenical openness.
‘Thank you so much!’
Chris has variously been a pastor of five Baptist churches, a Baptist college principal, Baptist Union President and moderator of a number of committees. Perhaps his most ‘long-lasting legacy’ is Gathering for Worship, co-edited with Myra Blyth. This and other works have resulted in him becoming ‘our key thinker with regard to Baptist worship,’ says the book's introduction.
From left: Myra Blyth, Andy Goodliff, Chris Ellis and Craig Gardiner, one of the book's contributors
Gathering Disciples was co-edited by Myra alongside Andy Goodliff, minister of Belle Vue Baptist Church in Southend.
Its contributors include Rob Ellis, Principal of Regent's Park College and Chris’s brother, Regent's colleague Paul Fiddes, and Nigel Wright, Principal Emeritus Spurgeon's College, alongside newer voices such as Shona Shaw, co-minister of Moortown Baptist Church, Leeds; Ashley Lovett, minister at Socketts Heath Baptist Church, Grays; and Beth Allison-Glenny, minister of John Bunyan Baptist Church, Oxford.
Andy hopes other Baptists will read it – and start singing Chris’s hymns again.
‘I am really pleased with the book, not just because I hope its honouree will find the essays inside a sign of our appreciation and the regard in which we hold him,’ he said at the presentation on Friday, ‘but that it is, I think, just a really good book and example of Baptists doing theology.
‘It's a book that combines Chris’s contemporaries and also some younger newer voices, who have benefited in different ways from Chris’s example and work.
‘My one other wish that comes from hoping that many will buy the book is that we might start a revival of hymn singing of Chris’s hymns.’