Face to Face:
Author Samuel Wells
Publisher Canterbury Press £12.99 2019
Subtitled ‘Meeting Christ in friend and stranger’, this is a candid book about ministry written, says the author, as an encouragement to clergy and to all who minister. The introduction is an essay about the development of pastoral skills, and this is followed by 21 encounters, some actual, some fictionalised, which draw out the roles undertaken during pastoral ministry. The reflective writing about these meetings makes the reader notice when the author is being judgemental, beating himself up needlessly or even performing to the gallery! It is an honest read which forces you to think about how you might respond in similar situations. However, the book assumes throughout that it is addressing only those ordained to the priesthood, and this may limit its appeal to Readers. I found it thought-provoking since the stance of being a lay minister would be side by side with the laity rather than face to face. It is therefore valuable in considering the differences in how laity minister to laity.