The Mindful Our Father

The Mindful Our Father

Author Thomas Casey
Publisher Messenger £11.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781788125796

Once it was widely expected that everyone could recite the Lord’s Prayer and mindfulness was not the buzz word it is now. Times have changed. We need to give back this prayer its priority and embrace it in a new way. The introduction of this highly readable book gives much food for thought about ways of praying mindfully and with love. We come to see that we need to move our petitions from head to heart. The rest of the text shows us how to do this with the Lord’s Prayer as our guide. A phrase from the prayer heads each of the ten chapters. That phrase is explored, allowing us to be drawn in by relevant stories from saints and ordinary mortals alike. Short prayers scattered throughout the text help guide us into our own deeper communication with our Lord. This book beautifully teaches us how to be open to God in prayer. If we allow ourselves to slow down and be open to the experience, we will be left with a new closeness to Our Father. A book to be savoured.

Reviewed by LIZ PACEY



For This I Came

For This I Came

Author Wyn Beynon
Publisher Canterbury £14.99
Format hbk
ISBN 9781786224668

This is a generous book as the Bishop John Inge points out in his foreword. Although promoted as ‘Spiritual Wisdom for Priesthood and Ministry’ it is clearly a book for all the baptized, and an ideal gift for those approaching ordination and Readers their licensing. Offering short poetic reflections, it is a rich source for ministry and personal insights, a baptismal grace which, as one reflection offers, ‘an habitual Grace we live inside as it lives inside us’. A bonus is its size, about A5, with some sixty-five plus pages which makes it easy and light to slip into a bag. The book can be dipped into, here and there, and there are brief footnotes giving sources where needed. Benyon is a priest in the Diocese of Worcester, a spiritual director and clergy monitor. Until recently he served on the General Synod and chairs the Diocesan Spirituality Steering Group. For This I Came is a generous offering indeed.


Poetry; Spiritual reflections


Bible in Ten

Bible in Ten

Author David Kitchen
Publisher BRF £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781800391512

I have many Biblical commentaries but nothing to compare with this! Kitchen has done a unique job in bringing the Bible to life in a fresh way, engaging our attention through his fun-filled approach. It is easy to read yet packed with good news in a nutshell, each book ending with a summary written in a challenging way. It will appeal to young and old, whether knowledgeable or engaging with the Bible for the first time. The author has made the whole Bible accessible, alive and full of insight as we weave through 66 snapshots – each book in turn, all given the importance they deserve. I recommend this wonderful book to congregations generally, but more specifically to young families who attend ‘Fresh Expressions’ of church. Many may have come recently into the Christian family and the Bible can be a daunting volume to take on board. Bible in Ten will change that by giving a beautiful glimpse into scripture and providing the desire to dig deeper. This book is an exciting innovation! Be sure to order your copy!

Reviewed by BETTY TAYLOR

Biblical commentaries


Here’s Hope

Here’s Hope

Author Roy Crowne
Publisher Hope Together £5.00
Format pbk
ISBN 9781739739447

This book is written in a ‘magazine-style’ format with photographs and poster-type quotes interspersed in the text. Crowne recounts his spiritual journey of Christian service, culminating in the foundation in 2006 and subsequent development of ‘Hope Together’, a mission agency to energise the church in her outreach through acts of service in local communities. The book’s 10 chapters cover the life of Hope Together through these initiatives prompted by the leading of the Holy Spirit. For Crowne, relationships are key – he rightly sees the need for church leaders to develop relationships of trust and fellowship with each other, both nationally and locally. This enables the growth of an entrepreneurial outreach in church communities and their environment. These are often in response to national celebrations in a rapidly changing and challenging post-Christian society. Each chapter ends with 10 brief sentences pointing the way forward. ‘The heartbeat of HOPE is the heartbeat of mission…seeing communities in churches and churches in communities…filled with joy, peace and trust in God’. All this expressed by acts of love and service. A book to inspire and challenge us.




The Rebel Christ

The Rebel Christ

Author Michael Coren
Publisher Canterbury £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781786224798

This is a very personal book. Coren is an Anglican priest in Canada, a journalist and former broadcaster. Once a Roman Catholic, he was a vocal advocate for the religious conservatism of the Christian right, particularly in North America. After a dramatic change of heart, he now opposes what he once supported, abhorring it as a distortion of Christianity. He portrays the ‘religious right’ as insular, intolerant, legalistic, triumphalist, fundamentalist, judgemental and nationalistic, arguing that the radical, inclusive, egalitarian, socially liberal, forgiving, inherently loving message of Jesus is by contrast revolutionary, hence the title. Fearing an emerging parallel between political and religious conservatism, his analyses of economic justice, marriage equality and abortion provide the main illustrations of his argument, but assisted dying, gun control and capital punishment are also discussed. Much of the background and context is North American, particularly the USA, so that some issues have less immediate relevance for the UK. Nonetheless, written with passion, wit and well-placed bluntness, this is a readable and stimulating contribution to the state of contemporary Christianity in the light of the gospel.

Reviewed by PETER WRIGHT

Political theology


Abbeys and Priories of Britain

Abbeys and Priories
of Britain

Author Stephen Platten
Publisher Pitkin £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781841659381

Bishop Stephen Platten has used his considerable academic strengths to make this ‘coffee table’ guide to the abbeys and priories of Britain much more than a mere travelogue. He has carefully woven together British history (from Celtic, Saxon and Medieval times) with a knowledge of monastic life to produce a pleasant tapestry of these precious surviving buildings. They are listed according to Britain’s ancient kingdoms – Northumbria, Mercia and so on. Scotland and Wales are not forgotten. Most of these buildings are of course roofless ruins or foundations, but all have retained a certain grandeur. The introduction covers the development of early church monastic communities and the monastic tradition from its Benedictine roots. It is brilliant, but too brief I felt; I was eager for more detail. The many pictures are stunning and often taken at unusual angles, so that well known and familiar buildings like Tintern, Lindesfarne and Rievaulx seem to take on new life. This is a recommended gift, a book for tourists, pilgrims and for all who are interested in British Christian history.


Historical guidebook


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