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Clergyman goes back to basics with book on catechism

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Clergyman goes back to basics with  book on catechism thumbnailRev Andrew Conway

HILLTOWN and Clonduff minister, Rev Andrew Conway is hopeful that his book entitled The Shorter Catechism Made Simple will have a positive impact and bring greater clarity for Christians living in the surrounding area.

Rev Conway moved to Hilltown in June 2015 and lives with his wife Sarah-Jayne and their two young children.

Speaking about the book, Rev Conway said: My aim was to make the Westminster Catechism, which was written in 1646 and 1647 by the Westminster Assembly, easier for Christians to understand and in turn gain a greater understanding of the essential Christian beliefs and living.

Rev Conway who has a Masters degree in Divinity from Union Theological College in Belfast commented: The Shorter Catechism originates from the 1640s. For a long time it has been the staple diet of Sunday Schools in the Presbyterian Church but obviously since it has been around for a long time the language in the book is increasingly difficult for readers today to make sense of.

Basically what I have done is put the book into modern English and added in some notes to help make clear what the meaning is.

When asked how the idea for the book originated, Rev Conway said: In the past folk would have memorised the catechism; there are 107 questions and answers so there is a great deal of information to digest.

When I was a Ministry student at College I decided I would memorise it and then I thought I ll try and put this into my own words and it spawned from there I guess.

A mentor of mine; John Dickson, who was in the Rathfriland area at the start of his ministry, gave the book a once-over, his feedback was very positive and he felt I should put it out there for others to read. That s how it moved from being a personal project to something for everyone to enjoy.

Rev Conway feels that the book published in 2015 aims not only to address the problem of understanding it better by putting the catechism into modern English, but it highlights the carefully arranged structure of the catechism.

A structure that in itself contains a great deal of wisdom, the catechism is divided into sections and notes are given to help explain it.

I hope that people who grew up with the catechism but never really knew what it was about will understand it better. That Christian folk will gain a deeper understanding of their faith as a result.

The first question of the catechism is: What is the chief end of man? the answer written in the catechism is: A man s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever and if the book helps anybody to glorify God and enjoy him then I have succeeded in my mission.

When asked if he has any plans for future publications, Rev Conway said: I find writing is something which comes naturally to me.

It is something which I would do in my study as part of my own growth and understanding of the Bible and the ability to communicate it and perhaps something may come out of that.

* Rev Conway s book is available in local Christian book shops and can be purchased on Amazon.

 

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