|Angela Shire-Jones, pictured on her last blogpost|
She described herself as
Methodist Minister, theological educator and author.However what she misses in this modest profile are the many ways she has enriched the life of the Methodist Church. She was an enthusiast, pedant, poker and stirrer. She was never afraid to ask 'why' or even to challenge the perceived status quo to ask 'is that right'. Her passion and interest in an active church, a passion so sorely tested at many times, helped invoke in me an understanding that I wasn't the only one that saw conferring as not just beracratic, but a key way to develop and understand our own theology. If we weren't talking how could we then move onto doing?
Sadly mad about Wesleyan theology and the doctrine of Christian Perfection - mainly because I am so far from being perfect.
Committed to any expression of Church, fresh or otherwise which will communicate the gospel in a way that engages and transforms a needy world. (taken from her google profile)
However, don't think being a pedant for history and rules means being stuck in the past. A key part of her life has been to encourage youth work and to engage with the Fresh Expressions movement - both in practice and in writing.
One of the greatest gifts she leaves the church is a mirriad of publications that really help explore what the Methodist Church was/is all about. Amazon lists 15 book titles when you view her 'author profile' and that (I'm sure) doesn't represent the full run of all her writing. Her books covered a wide range of topics and always came back to a simple 'and what does that lead the church to do' question.
She was a firm advocate of Weslyan Theology, and knowing it as such, and was a helpful prompt to a church that has (at times) thought better of it's past, wishing to ignore it and build to the future. Her time as editor of Epworth Press (Methodist Theological Quarterly) and commissioning editor of the publishing mark 'Epworth' were marked by challenging issues covering all manor of hot topics. While the ongoing future shape of Methodist publishing is unclear, I am sure her stewardship of both has shown the need for fine Methodist articles providing something of value and worth to the wider world.
|Angie in more relaxed mode, as featured on her own website|
What I've written today will not do her full justice, I've only known one aspect of her. My thoughts are a gut reaction to some very sad news. We'll no doubt have the authorised obituary in the Meth Recorder and stories will appear around the world of lives she has touched. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on many different issues, however I deeply respected her viewpoint, her love of methodism and shared her wish to share a life-enhancing open for all gospel. Methodism lost a preacher and an author today and I hope many churches give thanks for her life, think of her family as they grieve today and spare some prayers for Kingston Upon Thames circuit who were her final stations.
[EDIT - As memories of her pop up on the blogosphere I'll try and list them:]
- Pete Philips, Chair of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church, posts a strong message in memory of Angie
- Revd Richard Hall, Methodist Minister and blogger, notes her passing while leaving others to share memories in the comment box
- Muriel Snowdon posts a simple message and now reflects upon Kingfishers when praying about Angela
- Jenny Hillebrand, a Student Minister in the Methodist Church of South Africa finds inspiration through Angies loving anger
- Angela's personal Facebook page is overflowing with messages of tribute (not linking to it, but if you are friends you may wish to leave a message on it)
- Revd Paul Weary, a Methodist Minister from Holloway has posted his own reaction
- The Methodist Women in Britain blog remembers her passing - even though they claim 'she'd hate a mention on this (their) blog'
P.S - It appears that Angela set up her own blog to cover only her story regarding cancer - I think the posts were double posted (to the-kneeler) but still - Suffering Grace