The Diaconate in Ecumenical Perspective
Author D. Michael Jackson (ed.)
Publisher Sacristy £19.99
This volume resulted from a 2011 ecumenical conference on the diaconate at the University of Regina, Canada, and includes chapters on the theology of the diaconate, the transitional diaconate, women deacons, ecumenical perspectives on the diaconate, the prophetic and liturgical roles of deacons and diaconal formation. The book’s broad ecumenical range makes it unusual, with contributions from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist traditions; in addition, authors address the diaconate in the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. The 19 chapters are succinct, but make a compelling case for ecumenical engagement on a ministry shared between the Churches but often interpreted in very different ways. Nevertheless, a common thread running through many chapters is the importance of John Collins’ theology of diakonia as more than just service. The chapter on the survival of women deacons in the eastern Churches, in particular, illuminates an often overlooked and forgotten history. A weakness of the book, which will undoubtedly diminish its academic impact, is the regrettable absence of detailed references for most chapters, a bibliography and an analytical index.
Authors Paul Farren & Robert Miller
Publisher Instant Apostle £6.99
This small book with forewords by Bishop Richard Chartres and the late Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, is packed with insights into the human heart in situations which require understanding and forgiveness. As Catholic and Anglican priests working on opposite sides of the road in Northern Ireland the authors set an example of what a desire for peace can achieve in a society wracked with conflict. The ‘spiralling up to the light of peace from the darkness of hatred’ is explored in many contexts. Illustrations are drawn from the lives of Christians from diverse backgrounds, St Thérèse of Lisieux and Fr Maximilian Kolbe being two examples alongside others less well-known. The authors offer us a challenge to work at forgiving others as well as ourselves, by facing up to the source of our pain, hence the title. This would be a good book to take to a quiet day or retreat and provides useful illustrations for sermons on the theme of reconciliation.