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Where words meet The Word:\ud An exploration of a theopoetic paradigm\ud for ministry of word.

By Sally Buck


Reader ministry in the Church of England and in Wales accounts for a significant\ud percentage of licensed ministry being offered particularly in parishes and chaplaincies.\ud However, when working with Reader candidates and licensed ministers with responsibility\ud for formational education, it became apparent that very little has been written about this\ud ministry from a theological or vocational perspective. It has been the intention of this\ud research to overcome this gap in knowledge and understanding in a way that adds to the\ud small corpus of work about Reader ministry in general, explores a theology of ministry of\ud word in particular and improves my own practice and thus the quality of formational\ud education offered to the Readers among whom I work.\ud An inductive research project was designed incorporating a co-operative research group\ud and a conversational form of interviews to investigate the possibility of a theopoetic\ud paradigm for ministry of word which might then inform the practice of Reader education.\ud The research group’s phases of reflection and action resulted in the emergence of a\ud number of key topics. Interviews were transcribed and presented in the form of found\ud poems. Topics and poems were then examined, themes grouped and related to further\ud literature. The resulting theopoetic paradigm emerged from this interpretation of the data.\ud The conclusion is that it is possible to communicate theological and vocational\ud understanding of Reader ministry of word in terms of a theopoetic paradigm which is\ud trinitarian in nature; creative, embodied and transformative and expressed through the\ud lens of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ concepts of inscape, instress and selving. This paradigm\ud contributes to theological and practical understanding of lay ministry of word and to\ud research methods in pastoral theology and poetics

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