The View from Shepherd’s Knoll…
A "Reviewing" Community
From Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 42 (December 2000)
A major event in our church congregation is the biannual communion service. An extended Sunday morning worship service is dedicated to this occasion, which includes singing, Bible reading, meditations and sharing by members, a sermon, partaking of the symbolic bread and cup, as well as participating in a foot washing ceremony that highlights our common commitment to loving service.
In the Mennonite tradition, the seriousness of the occasion is heightened by a special pre-communion or review meeting, normally held one or two weeks prior to the scheduled communion service. Here each member is led in a process of self-examination through personal questions, such as "Am I at peace with God?" and "Are my relationships clear with my brothers and sisters in the congregation?" Among the questions that require individual response and commitment is the following ringer: "Are you willing to give and receive both correction and encouragement in the fellowship of the church?" The affirmative response to this question transforms us from a mere assembly of Christian persons into a Christian community. The willingness both to give and receive counsel acknowledges the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the words of my brother or sister as a valid corrective to my life. As we responsibly participate in a ministry of mutual admonition, the church is built and strengthened.
In a similar vein, we strive to produce a quality journal. The comments, critiques, and commendations of the reviewers to the manuscript author are indispensable. When the varied, but generally sympathetic, perspectives of the reviewers are anonymously shared with the author, the manuscript becomes honed with this interchange. Due to this review process most published articles in PSCF have undergone at least one revision following their initial submission and have been significantly improved.
In this issue, we are publishing the names of people who have reviewed one or more manuscripts from July 1, 1999 through August 31, 2000. As published authors, these men and women have experienced the value of the peer review process in the publication of their own manuscripts. For many of them, reviewing manuscripts is a reciprocating labor of love, a professional courtesy, and a contribution that improves the dialogue between science and Christian faith. We salute them!
Roman J. Miller, Editor