About Chris

Chris Ellis small sizeHi! This is the website of Chris Ellis. Its focus is Christian spirituality, and its themes include art, poetry, prayer and theology, although the blog may well range more widely. The blog began in 2011 while I was on study leave in Italy, reflecting on art and spirituality. More recently, I have expanded the menu of resurces for prayer, refection and worship, as well as my gallery of paintings.

I am an ordained Baptist minister in the UK, though now retired from full-time pastoral leadership. I have published in the areas of worship, spirituality and theology and I’m working hard at becoming a better painter and poet. Unless otherwise stated, all the photos on this site have been taken by me and all the daubings are my own. (Of course, many of the images of other people’s art have come from elsewhere.) I am fascinated by the way that attempting to draw or paint something helps you see it in a new way and I want to explore how this can help us pray.

I have a degree in theology from Oxford University, a research degree in systematic theology from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the University of Leeds for my dissertation, Baptist Worship: Liturgical Theology from a Free Church Perspective.

I have pastored churches in various parts of England and Wales, including an ecumenical congregation, and have taught theology in a number of universities. From 2000 to 2006 I was principal of Bristol Baptist College and in 2014-15 I served as president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

I am married to Marilyn and we have four children, ten grandchildren and a lively Irish Golden Doodle called Ruby.

You can view a fairly full list of my publications on the Chris’ Publications page.

5 thoughts on “About Chris

  1. Hi Chris! Remember me – Fiona Lee?

    I hope all is going well with you.
    I love this website – very calming, as have I found your Minister’s handbook very useful many times! 🙂

    May I share something with you?

    We have a Worship Co-ordination Team (WCT) at church, who plan for worship and discuss various aspects; and one of the things that came up, from a member at church requesting we consider his issue, is regarding your hymn ‘Made in God’s image’ (here below) – so I thought I might ask for your input and response on it, please…

    BPW 633
    = ‘Made in God’s image: woman and man; here is the wholeness: God’s human plan.
    Brother and sister, daughter and son, here is a family made to be one.
    We need each other, old folk and young, sharing together life from the Son.
    This is the meaning, prize to be won, here is a family made to be one.
    Dappled creation, diverse its ways, colours and cultures offer their praise.
    Gathered together under the sun, here is a family made to be one.
    Praise to the Father, and to the Son, praise to the Spirit: our God is one.
    Here is our vision, new world begun, here is a family made to be one.’

    The person’s comments were:
    ‘Not to cause offence, and not personally offended, but… First verse issue: ‘In England today, the concept that ‘God’s image’ for the ‘human plan’ for the family is ‘woman and man’ may be difficult for some. Especially as we have several ‘single parent families’ and ‘fractured families’ within our congregation. I find it hard to believe that God loves those families less than ‘man/woman families’. I’m not bringing same-sex relationships into the discussion, although the committee might. I just want the committee to be agreed that everyone at ABC is happy to continue to use this hymn and all its verses.’

    My view in response was:
    ‘I don’t actually quite read it like that, but you do and perhaps other’s do too…
    I would more likely read it that God has made us in His image, both women and men, and that He has called us all – inclusively – to be in His family, His whole human plan – that we are brothers and sisters to each other, daughters and sons of God, and so therefore we together make up the Family of God on earth.’ ….

    Would you like to share what you think, as author, with me, Chris, and then I could go back to this person with a ‘direct response’!!

    Take care, and hope all is well.


    [PS – I’m still at ABC…. Your prediction was so true!! Remember?]

    1. Hi Fiona
      Good to hear om you. I’m arafuiad I’ve been away from this website for a LOOOOOOONG time – as you can see I am just in the process of relaunchig it.
      As to the particular reading of the hymn, I think you are right – but then you know the author and what I would and would not say! The hymn is about diversity not about pushing a particular view of gender roles. Based on Genesis 1.26 and aware that sojme historic readings of that verse have seen it as a stream into the dvesroty of trinitarian theology -so unity in diversity refects the mutual indwelling love of the triune God….

      I’m sorry that this reply is so late – but it’s good to catch up with you eventually 🙂

  2. Hi Chris,
    Dale Campbell here from Aotearoa-New Zealand, I’ve finished my Thesis on Baptist Worship in Aotearoa, and I’ve lost our email thread, and thus your email, but was keen to share my project with you. My email is dalewaynecampbell (at) gmail (dot) com

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