New Editors for Guidelines! Introducing Olivia Warburton & Rachel Tranter
When Helen Paynter stepped down as editor of BRF’s Guidelines Bible reading notes last year, bringing the editorship in-house seemed a natural transition. We were both already very familiar with Guidelines, and were excited by the opportunity to be more hands-on.
As editors, we’re able to have a closer relationship with contributors, commissioning their notes, liaising with them directly and editing the text at a much earlier stage than we would otherwise receive it. Being able to craft what goes into each issue has been hugely positive too. Guidelines offers Bible study that informs and hopefully stretches its readers, but we also want to see it applied to living out faith in daily life.
To this end, while we will continue with detailed explorations of specific biblical books, we also want to make best use of themed reflections to go alongside these, taking the opportunity to look across the wider Bible narrative and make connections between different parts of it. Unfortunately, long lead times make it difficult to respond quickly to world events such as Covid-19 or the conflict in Ukraine, but we are already commissioning engaging reflections that have relevance for today’s world as it emerges from the pandemic and faces new challenges. All our contributors are brilliant and bring something unique to the table. Going forward, however, one of our aims is to increase the number of writers on team, increasing diversity in terms of gender, church denomination and ethnicity. Biblical scholarship is the poorer if it excludes the voices of people from minority or marginalised groups and, while part of the problem is that academia is often missing these people in the first place, this is something we are determined to address to the best of our ability. Our aim is for a consistent 50-50 balance of male and female contributors and noticeably better diversity in other areas.
Rachel adds: I am currently studying for an MA in Mission at Cliff College in Derbyshire, and working with this series over my past five-and-a-half years at BRF, and more recently stepping into the Guidelines editor role, has been a huge blessing. Not only has it increased my own biblical knowledge, especially at an academic level, but it’s a huge privilege to be so closely plugged into modern excellent scholarship. I am an advocate of making academic-level study accessible to everyone – not just ‘academics’ – and I firmly believe that Guidelines is doing just that.
Olivia adds: I’m excited to be discovering new voices, but our current writers definitely have much to offer! I’ve just finished editing George Wieland’s excellent notes on reading the Bible interculturally. George is director of mission research and formation at Carey Baptist College, Auckland, and his notes are written out of a research project where people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds read and discuss the same Bible passage: groups of Māori, Samoan, Ni-Vanuatu, Fijian, Indian and Sri Lankan, Burmese, Chinese, Filipino and other readers. Invariably different groups noticed (or didn’t notice) different things about the text, and it was fascinating to be a fly on the wall through the medium of George’s notes, and to realise that so much of the way in which we approach and understand the Bible is conditioned by our own cultural setting, and that there are always new riches to explore in conversation with other believers.
This is what Guidelines is all about!
Olivia Warburton- Head of Content Creation and Living Faith Ministry Lead