The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison, launched a new book on the death and resurrection of Jesus by Dean Gregory Dunstan on February 2 – in the parish where Dean Gregory ministered for 18 years.
Invited guests who attended the launch of Preaching the Passion: Interpreting the Evangelists in St Matthew’s, Shankill, heard Bishop George describe it as a book that was not simply ‘written for its own sake, but was written out of a vocation and faithfulness of one who is called to serve Christ as a minister and teacher.’
Guests were welcomed by the rector of St Matthew’s, the Rev Tracey McRoberts, who described the publication as ‘a little gem.’
“We are delighted to be hosting the launch of Dean Gregory’s book and honoured to have been the first audience for the series of sermons on which this thought-provoking and reflective book is based,” Tracey said.
“The people of this area, not just St Matthew’s, hold you in the highest esteem and it is a great privilege to see that this book is dedicated to this parish. It shows the love you have for the people in this part of the world.”
Dean Gregory, a former landscape architect who was ordained in 1990 for the curacy of Ballymena, was rector of St Matthew’s from 1993 until his appointment as Dean of Armagh in 2011, where he remained until his retirement in 2020.
Preaching the Passion: Interpreting the Evangelists consists of six series of Holy Week sermons on Jesus’ Passion, as told by each of the four evangelists. Dedicated to the people of St Matthew’s, the book is published by Sacristy Press.
Speaking at the launch, Bishop George said: “With characteristic thoughtfulness, Gregory Dunstan has shared with those who will read this book, many insights into the witness of scripture about the days leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“It will give food for thought and for the soul whenever you choose to read it, but I have no doubt that many will find it to be a helpful book to aid their Lent devotions.”
Dean Gregory described the book as an exploration of the events at the heart and foundation of Christian faith.
The accounts of Jesus’ death are the climax of the Gospels,” he said. “They are like portraits by four of the world’s greatest artists. Each works in his own way, in the tradition that he inherited. The subject is the same, but each shows him from a different angle, in a different context, and in a different light.
“Each portrait is complete. Nothing is missing, but we need all four of them if we are to even to begin to explore the mystery of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.”
Thanking Tracey and St Matthew’s Parish for hosting the event and Bishop George for launching his book, Dean Gregory drew attention to the front cover, the Crucifixion window in the south wing of St Matthew’s, and read two extracts from Preaching the Passion.
Preaching the Passion: Interpreting the Evangelists is available from Sacristy Press at £14.99.