Reimagining Worship

Reimagining Worship

Authors Anna de Lange, Trevor Lloyd, Tim Stratford & Ian Tarrant (eds)
Publisher Canterbury Press £21.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781848259133  2017

‘What does the ever-present God…desire from us as we worship?’ Is our worship ‘dynamic, on the move, going somewhere’? Do people ‘grow in their faith more through preaching, Bible reading or home groups’? ‘Does our welcome demonstrate a God who cares?’ Put together by a group of twenty, experienced Church of England leaders from the Group for the Renewal of Worship, Reimagining Worship is a comprehensive, practical handbook that methodically examines how worship works (or does not work) in today’s evolving churches. Four main sections correspond to liturgical patterns of Gathering, Word, Responding and Sending. Further subdivisions break up the text into manageable chunks, with boxed examples and suggestions to discuss or think about. This is not a book to read through but to work with. Groups of church leaders, PCCs, ministry or music groups might select relevant parts to discuss together. Probing questions, quoted above, encourage examination of what worship should look like and how to be creative and transformative within the local context. Readers, particularly those in training, should find this material helpful and challenging.


Worship, Liturgy


The Song of Hild

The Song of Hild

Author Vibeke Vasbo
Publisher Sacristy Press £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781910519868

And now for something completely different. If you are looking for hagiography, you will be disappointed, equally if you are looking for something scholarly in church history. The Song of Hild is a historical novel built around the skeleton of Bede’s life of Hilda of Whitby; the flesh and blood have been invented (her words) by the author. Vasbo reconstructs the life of Hildeburh, married first to a Northumbrian nobleman, then to the pagan King Penda, finally to Christ as a nun and then abbess. There is significantly more action in the first half of Hild’s life, with a bewildering cast and series of battles – the map at the beginning of the book and the website detailing characters and locations help. Sex and violence seem commensurate with a tale set in Britain in the seventh century. Other reviewers remark how contemporary the themes of the book are; I can’t help thinking that there are at least a few instances where the author has read twenty-first century themes into a seventh century story: when the Abbess discovers two nuns in a lesbian relationship, I groaned. This book is not going to help you preach a sermon on Hilda of Whitby, but if you are looking for some light relief in your reading, I recommend it as a page-turner and a cracking good yarn.




Reimagining Britain

Reimagining Britain

Author Justin Welby
Publisher Bloomsbury £16.99
Format hbk
ISBN 9781472946072

This important book argues powerfully that the current political uncertainties, the economic divisions and the general prevalence of cynicism throughout Britain require fundamental and practical action. The time is ripe for reimagining our future on a scale not seen since 1945. We need to generate better shared values and create communities which give hope for generations as yet unborn. After chapters considering the building blocks of our national society – health, education, housing, economics and finance – Welby presents a radical case for virtue. He argues for more positive foreign policies, wise and humane action on immigration and integration, and better progress in mitigating climate change. He draws, unsurprisingly, on our historic Christian heritage, and some of his best passages are inspired interpretations of Jesus’ parables. The Good Samaritan personifies the need for ‘active love in pursuit of our common humanity’ – a concept that should determine our public policies. Our Archbishop has produced a fertile series of ideas to provide foundations of hope. Although sometimes complex and densely argued, this book is highly recommended for all who long for a stronger Christian influence in British society.


Social Policy


Love The World

Love The World

Author David Adam​
Publisher SPCK  £7.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281077762​

This is not a lengthy book, but it covers an immense amount of ground, from the beginning of our universe to the present day. The great mystery of creation is common to both science and religion but what is attractive in this book is that it uses straightforward language to point to the ways in which the one can learn from the other. It is packed with stimulating thoughts and information. ​ There are six main sections which deal with the Beginning, the Atmosphere, Water, Earth, Humankind and a Conclusion. Within each is a number of short commentaries, a poem, a personal exercise of a mental or physical nature, and a prayer. ​ However, in spite of the wonders of scientific discovery, the activities of humankind, if continued, could result in the demise of all living things. It is only by love of our world and love of each other which can save the human race from extinction. ​ This book should have great appeal for readers, clergy and everyone.


Creation, Ecology


A Pilgrimage Around Wales

A Pilgrimage
Around Wales

Author Anne Hayward
Publisher yLolfa £8.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781784615291

The author, a Reader living in the Brecon Beacons, embarked on a three-month pilgrimage, carrying all her necessities in her rucksack including her camping equipment. She was supported by her husband bringing weekly supplies. Three themes in the book are woven into the chapters which summarise her many conversations along her journey – responses to her questions, factual snippets which set the historical context, and spiritual issues which crop up. The author takes in four ancient places of pilgrimage: Holywell, Bardsey Island, St David’s, and Llantwit Major. The book is fascinating and unusual in its style. Much preparation and research were put into the pilgrimage before one step was taken from her home. Striking up conversations with people in her journeys was a key part of her experience. Prayer also played a vital part. If a Reader is thinking of making a pilgrimage it could be well worth reading this book.



Advent, Nativity


Following the Celtic Way

Following the Celtic Way

Author Ian Bradley
Publisher DLT £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780232533415

The 1990s saw a great revival of interest in Celtic Christianity. One of the most significant and popular books about it then was this author’s The Celtic Way. Twenty-five years on, after considerable research by himself and others based on original sources, he reassesses what we know about Celtic Christianity today. The core of the book is a clear and systematic summary of current knowledge of beliefs of the time, and how those beliefs conditioned the lives of those involved, (almost entirely monks; little is known about the beliefs of ordinary people outside the monasteries.) The author also documents some beliefs that seem to have been absent. He concludes with some thoughts for modern Christians wishing to learn from the Celtic Christian understanding. This is a very helpful updating of what we know about Celtic Christianity and a useful introduction for those meeting it for the first time.


Celtic Spirituality


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