As many readers of the ATR already know, we have been engaged for nearly two years in self-examination, assessment, and strategic planning. We have taken a survey of our readers and learned a lot about who you are and what you value in the journal. A special task force has met and deliberated, its subcommittees have reported, and its recommendations, which were many and far-reaching, were accepted by the ATR board at its annual meeting in October 2003. Now comes the work of nourishing the seeds that have been planted, and finding ways to bring about what was recommended.
That will not happen all at once, nor will all the changes we envision affect readers directly. Many of them have to do with infrastructure and governance-what has to go on behind the scenes, to ensure that the ATR will maintain and, as we hope, enlarge its contribution to theological scholarship and the life of the church. But there are outward and visible signs of change too. At the same time that our new cover design appeared, we put into operation a muchimproved website, meant to serve a variety of purposes. In addition to providing information about the journal, the site allows subscribers, present and potential, to enter or renew a subscription. Visitors can contact members of the staff, make a donation, or participate in the Seminaries Abroad Gift Program; they can see the contents of each issue, find a precis of every major article, and even read the Editors Notes. Authors, book reviewers, and poets will have available on-line a full set of instructions and a detailed style sheet. If you have not looked in at www.AnglicanTheologicalReview.org, please do.
As for the contents of the journal itself, the task force report seconded the readers' survey in voicing a preference for articles that bear on contemporary issues and articles on topics germane to the Anglican Communion. At present, the issue of gravest concern to Anglicans is only too obvious. And it would be only too easy to settle for the idea that on sexuality everything there is to say has been said, and it is no use saying anything more. That is counsel of despair. As long as there can be conversation, there is hope, and it is with a view to that end that two of the articles in this issue are presented. Each of them brings to current debates a perspective that has not, perhaps, played as prominent a part as it deserves to play. Ellen Charry offers an ethical argument mounted from the standpoint of the common good, civic order, and the relevance of exemplary wholesomeness to society at large, while Willis Jenkins sets the situation in and beyond North America within the broader context of the recent history of missionary relationships.
Questions about the qualifications for receiving holy communion do not command as much media coverage as questions about the qualifications for being ordained a bishop, but they are no less important for that. In the article with which this issue opens, James Farwell lays out a position on the eucharist in relation to baptism that may, as he notes, be not quite politically correct. all the more reason to take seriously and weigh with care the reasoning that supports it. …