Public Worship with Communion by Extension

Public Worship with
Communion by Extension

Author Phillip Tovey
Publisher Grove £3.95
Format pbk
ISBN 9781788271998

‘Communion by Extension’ – in which the congregation receives pre-consecrated bread and wine at a service led by a lay person – was authorised by General Synod in 2001. The context is that, while in 1901 there were 25,000 priests in the Church of England, in 2019 there were more Readers/LLMs than stipendiary clergy. Seen by many therefore as an obvious way forward to enable congregations to receive the Eucharist in multi-parish benefices, this service has become established practice in rural communities in some dioceses, but is almost non-existent in others. Everything depends on the local Bishop’s whim, which makes this service unique in Common Worship. This revised edition Grove booklet includes a helpful, detailed commentary on the service and practical guidance in the form of FAQs. The final chapter is ‘Unresolved Issues’. There are plenty of them! Twenty years on, is it time for a review by Synod or the House of Bishops of the theology and pastoral practice behind the service? Dare we even mention lay presidency? Should Transforming Ministry magazine start the discussion?


Eucharist, Lay ministry


Bleeding for Jesus

Bleeding for Jesus

Author Andrew Graystone
Publisher DLT £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781913657123

To say this book is ‘disturbing’ is a gross understatement. It is a devastating analysis of the abuse by the late John Smyth, barrister and evangelist, who mercilessly caned the young men he was supposedly mentoring. He totally distorted the Christian gospel to persuade them that they needed to atone for sin through immense physical pain. His many victims were drawn from conservative evangelical ‘camps’ that attracted boys and young men from elite public schools, representing a traditional brand of ‘muscular’ Christianity. If Smyth’s crimes were horrific, so was the establishment cover-up. Graystone, a campaigning journalist, convincingly demonstrates that many senior Church of England clergymen knew all the details of Smyth’s illegal behaviour by 1982. They encouraged him to relocate to southern Africa, where the abuse continued. Further evidence emerged around 2013, but the Anglican establishment procrastinated again, and Smyth’s many victims have been largely ignored. Although this is a difficult book to read, it is theologically wise and represents an invaluable resource for safeguarding training.




Celtic Prayer

Celtic Prayer

Author David Cole (ed.)
Publisher BRF £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781800390539

This engaging book of essays has been written by members of the Community of Aidan and Hilda, a dispersed ecumenical body which gains inspiration from the ancient Celtic saints. The contributions are thoughtful, well-written and accessible, and collectively they explain and promote the benefits and strengths of Celtic spirituality, especially through prayer. The aim is simple: to seek God within everyday life, in the landscape and through the seasons, for we have a God who cares for both the cosmos and the ordinary. The great truths of the Christian gospel are woven together in practical and usable prayers, like the characteristic Celtic knotwork. Individual essay themes include contemporary cultural thoughts on unity, inclusion and disability as well as the ‘eternal’ issues so familiar to the early saints, including meditation, healing, justice, pilgrimage and the Holy Spirit. There are many new and relevant prayers within the text, as well as practical creative advice on liturgy and finding God in art and music. All readers should find new inspiration here to strengthen their prayer lives, so I warmly recommend this book.






Author Ernest Clark
Publisher BRF £6.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781800398215

This small book is part of the Really Useful Guides series published by BRF. It is not an introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Romans, nor is it a commentary – it is a guide. The author is Classics Consultant in the Department of New Testament at a theological college in India. It
is written in a very accessible format, and starts by placing the letter in its original context. The main part of the book gives a comprehensive guide to the contents of Paul’s letter as well as examining its relationship to other New Testament writings. The final section explores the continuing message of Romans. This guide would be a useful aid to sermon preparation, and the list of thirty questions for reflection and discussion ensures that it would also be appropriate for use in a Bible study group. At the time of writing this review, the range of titles available in this Really Useful Guides series seems rather limited, but, on the basis of this example, further additions to the series are to be anticipated and welcomed.


New Testament Analysis (Romans)


The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness

The Ignatian Guide
to Forgiveness

Author Marina McCoy
Publisher Messenger Publications €12.95
Format pbk
ISBN 9781788125192

The author takes us gently through ‘ten steps to healing’. She encourages us to find our desire, to embrace being a creature, and helps us to honour anger but to deepen compassion, for ourselves and others. We are encouraged to trust in abundant grace and to forgive ourselves (to ‘leave behind the locked room’). She uses her spiritual direction experience and compassion to show how to let go, to make friends with time, and to create new narratives. She teaches us to embrace the inner child, but also to become the parent; and towards the end of our journey she asks us to consider a ritual of closure. She suggests we cultivate haits of mercy, and to celebrate when we feel our spirits calmed, refreshed and free from anger and hatred. To anyone who listens to others, this handbook is invaluable; more importantly we can begin to understand our own pain so that we may reach a place of peace between God and ourselves. Thank
you, Marina.

Reviewed by SUE PIPER

Spiritual direction


Comfort in uncertain times

Comfort in
uncertain times

Author Rachel Turner 
Publisher BRF £8.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857466280

Subtitled ‘Helping children draw close to God through Biblical stories of anxiety, loss and transition’, never has a book been more needed in a post-Covid world where lockdown caused massive rises in mental health issues among young and old alike. The author rightly says it is the job of parents to help their children deal with the problems of change and bereavement. Her approach is to re-tell key biblical stories by putting the emphasis on our involvement in the narrative. There are sections on how to connect with God by prayer and by spiritual practices. As with many things designed to help children, this will also be a rich resource for churches tackling these issues with older members of the congregation. This is a book that enables us to see that being human will involve feelings of uncertainty and that although we have an unchangeable God, He is not immune to the pain and the confusion of His children. A valuable resource.

Reviewed by CAVAN WOOD

Biblical analysis, pastoral care


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