Peter Butler retires as With Love to the World editor
After 16 years of working on With Love to the World, Dr Peter Butler is stepping down as editor. He spoke to Insights about what he enjoyed about the role, and what qualities his replacement will need.
Dr Peter Butler already retired from his “day job” at Charles Sturt University two years ago. Having stepped down from editing With Love to the World, he now looks forward to more time for reading, woodworking, cycling, and walking with his wife Lyn.
Dr Butler told Insights that editing With Loves to the World is a great responsibility. The collection of regular worship commentaries has been running since 1976 and has since played an important part in the life of the church.
“I regularly remind our writers that with more than 8,000 readers, what they write for With Love to the World each day may be read by someone whose life-partner has died, and several who are gravely ill or have lost their job—along with others excited about a forthcoming wedding, a new job, or the birth of a new bub,” he said.
“When, quite regularly, readers tell me that With Love to the World has addressed the hopes and hurts they’ve experienced on such a day, I know that it is all worthwhile.”
“I’ve greatly appreciated the time that readers have taken to let me know when our writers have challenged and inspired them to new ways of faithful living.”
Dr Butler said that the recent addition of an app had proven to be a “huge task” that should ultimately broaden the commentaries’ readership.
“We have always boasted that With Love to the World is ecumenical in its approach, and I am hoping that the app will be more widely used by members of other churches in Australia and overseas,” he said.
“A particular highlight has been that editing With Love to the World has given me a rare opportunity to integrate and focus my life’s work teaching in schools, Christian Education, and a university, along with my studies in theology, to shaping 200 helpful words to assist our readers each day.”
With Dr Butler’s retirement from the role, With Love to the World are hunting for a new editor. Dr Butler lists the essential criteria as including an interest in words and language, “[A]s our faith, and interpreting the Bible to each other, are inseparable from the words we use.”
“The language of With Love to the World needs to be open and invitational, drawing readers in—and sending them back to the Bible texts to check on whether the commentator has got it right,” he said.
“The new editor will need to be tuned in to all of this.”
“With Love to the World is an important part of the Uniting Church’s life, and it’s been a huge privilege to have been involved with it for so long,” Dr Butler said.
“I’m grateful to our founders, who put it on such a strong footing.”