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Touching Cloth

Author Fergus Butler-Gallie
Publisher Bantam £16.99
Format hbk
ISBN 9781787635753

The author is young to have written an autobiography, but he has certainly provided an honest account of his priestly life to date in a book full of hilarity and pathos. The core narrative is his first year after ordination, spent as a curate in inner-city Liverpool. It would be wrong to focus on the disasters – for example, being caught by a huge wave while conducting a riverside Remembrance Day service; or the foibles and misunderstandings of his parishioners (their language is often fruity). We are taken through the liturgical calendar, noting especially how major festivals may be fraught with folk religion and misunderstood doctrine – told through brilliantly funny episodes. Nonetheless, readers will note the Christ-like humanity within this urban ministry as well as the endurance and dedication typifying priestly life. The author writes with exuberant prose and uses witty footnotes to explain the idiosyncrasies of life in the Church of England. Those who are familiar with parish ministry will probably laugh and cherish this book; those outside the church may stop and recognise there is more to Christianity than they realised.




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