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Category: Blog

Made in the image of ….?

Made in the image of ….?

Global Images of Christ: Challenging Perceptions at Chester Cathedral The latest exhibition at Chester Cathedral due to end this month (October 2021) is a diverse, innovative and challenging invitation to the ways in which we represent Christ. In this black history month were taken into a deeper intentional examination of our limitations and prejudices as we see, make sense and come to a judgement. Lorna May Wadsworth is a figurative painter exploring male beauty from a feminine perspective, inverting the…

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Listening Differently ? On being agents of change by Nancy Kline

Listening Differently ? On being agents of change by Nancy Kline

I first encountered this book through a conversation with a colleague at Sarum College about pastoral supervision.I was aware of Nancy Kline and her transformative Book Time to Think. My first encounter with her thinking was through Christopher Spence with whom she produced A Hundred Principles of Love. Both Christopher and Andrew Henderson profoundly shaped my life through my encounter with the The London Light House in West London. I went onto Chair CARA which inspired my editing the volume…

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The price of life? Worth by Max Borenstein

The price of life? Worth by Max Borenstein

I wonder what were the things that got you through Covid and especially your lockdown evenings? I was glad of Netflix and their extraordinary range of (possibly eccentric) choices that seek to influence my viewing ! When this film was suggested I wasn’t immediately clear what it was about but complied and was not disappointed ! It is harrowing and illuminating and emotional in equal measure. Its essence might be captured here : in all dimensions of living – we…

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We See You: Slavery and Salvation by Alastair Redfern

We See You: Slavery and Salvation by Alastair Redfern

This is a short, readable, challenging and deeply transformative book. The author is Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, who chairs the Clewer Initiative, and the Sarum College Trustees, and is a theological educator of significant skill and generativity. Organised into four parts, the book explores the theme of slavery and salvation within our Scriptural and Christian tradition. Part two opens contemporary challenges as the reader is invited to consider the nature of choice in the formation of discipleship. The articulation…

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Terry Frost – his skill and artistic legacy

Terry Frost – his skill and artistic legacy

I cannot now remember when I first encountered a piece of art by Frost. I do remember the vibrancy of the colour and the freedom of the form. Here – I sensed – was energy and life. His pictures of the sea and boats inspired by Cornwall remain iconic images of British modern art. This deep attraction and inspiration was nurtured by an exhibition at the University of Warwick in the late nineties followed by a stunning curating of his…

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How to share the Story ? On reading Dear England by Stephen Cottrell

How to share the Story ? On reading Dear England by Stephen Cottrell

This is an appealing and fluent book with a story and a purpose. I read it in one siting on a train from Durham to London and as I passed through York (just under half way through the book) I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the 98th Archbishop of York and this book. Let me try to explain. I write as someone who has responsibility for the formation of women and men for lay and ordained leadership in…

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Rediscovering Barbara Pym – the transformation of the ordinary

Rediscovering Barbara Pym – the transformation of the ordinary

Most of us live ordinary lives making the best of time and circumstance. We do our best. We sometimes fail. We deal with whatever the days of work bring. We dream. We hope. We cry. We wonder about roads not taken. We (mostly) do our best. We look forward to holidays and try to keep in touch with friends. We wonder what this Autumn will have in store for us. These days and weeks of Covid have changed us all and…

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Naughty but never Wicked – Miriam Margolyes shares her life (in full)

Naughty but never Wicked – Miriam Margolyes shares her life (in full)

I have recently invested in a Kindle as part of an aspiration to travel a bit more lightly. The conversion will take some time but here is the first marker – this memoir is the first that I have read on the ‘neat’ and ‘light’ tablet. A great start helped by an amazing story vividly and honesty told. Margolyes is just wonderful and she takes her reader into her heart, her fragilities, her joys and burdens. It is a breathtaking…

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Late Summer Theological Reading- Dominic White, Ann Loades, Douglas Dales, Tim Gibson.

Late Summer Theological Reading- Dominic White, Ann Loades, Douglas Dales, Tim Gibson.

How do I Look? Theology in the Age of the Selfie Dominic White SCM 2021 £25  At the time of reading this book there is some measure of ongoing uncertainty about Covid and how far it will continue to impact on daily living as the summer draws to a close and autumn brings its colours and changes. At one level nothing changes as the machinery of modern life continues to move and sustain us. The mobile phone, our laptops, and the…

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A Grounded and Hopeful celebration of what matters in Pandemic times

A Grounded and Hopeful celebration of what matters in Pandemic times

I have had a busy week at Sarum College catching up with students, moderating assignments, a meeting of my body of Trustees as well as the usual range of unpredictable listening, mediating and resolving. Not all questions or difficulties move too quickly into the resolving zone ! I read for a small part of the day – it is a life line and sometimes sheer escape ! Anne Lamott has been my companion this week. And goodness what a gift….

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Chosen : Lost and Found between Christianity and Judaism Giles Fraser Allen Lane 2021

Chosen : Lost and Found between Christianity and Judaism Giles Fraser Allen Lane 2021

Some of you might be be familiar with the BBC series Who do you think you are? In the programme a number of celebrities uncover, one assumes with the BBC researchers assistance, a number of lost connections and unfamiliar parts of their histories. The thread running through the programme is the persons history revealed in their family tree. Connections are traced and with the help of family the viewer is drawn into the biography as it is revealed. These celebrities…

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In praise of Evensong

In praise of Evensong

This is an illuminating, thoughtful and carefully researched book that holds history, theology, spirituality and mission in skilful synergy ! Its focus is Choral Evensong – one of our national treasures – and these ten chapters celebrate its place in our Anglican ecology. It combines scholarship with nourishing insight. Although an easy read and short ( 128 pages) the book is littered with post -it markers indicating places that this reader will return to for further reflection. Simon Reynolds is…

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Outcome orientated chaplaincy – perceptive, intentional and effective caring

Outcome orientated chaplaincy – perceptive, intentional and effective caring

by Brent Peery, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2021, 121 pp., £18.99 (PBK), ISBN 9781785926822 This is a well-researched, grounded, and passionate text that makes a persuasive case for Outcome Oriented Chaplaincy (OOC). This process embraces a methodology of care that articulates the difference that a chaplain can make to patients, their families and the health care institution. It models generative practical theology that manages to hold theory and practice together. Written from an American perspective it has relevance for the…

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What shapes Faith ?

What shapes Faith ?

This is a gentle, modest and humane book by one of the leading theologians in the UK today. It absorbed a Sunday and stimulated, encouraged and challenged. The flow of the book is hugely helped by the careful fluency of the text and its skilled organisation of themes, ideas and influences. In particular the memoir deals with the intellectual relationship between science and religion. it maps the journey from Northern Ireland to Oxford and a conversion to faith. It is…

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Send my Roots Rain : A Poetry Retreat

Send my Roots Rain : A Poetry Retreat

Sarum College seeks to offer space and learning to nourish the human spirit. As we find our way out of lockdown we shall need time, refreshment, space and (perhaps) words to help us fathom the ambiguities and paradoxes of these days. We are glad to sponsor this event with a wonderful group of creative reflectors – including three of our visiting scholars ( Padraig O Tuama, Rachel Mann and Mark Oakley). Do carve out some time for yourself and join…

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A Writers Life ?

A Writers Life ?

Bird by Bird : Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott Google informs me that around 4,500 books are published each day across the world. This is daunting, by any account, for both reader and writer! How do we make what we write count, be read and make any kind of difference? For those with a limited budget where might our money be profitably spent? I stumbled across Anne Lamott and was offered this book and Almost Everything :…

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Theology for Pandemic Times

Theology for Pandemic Times

Honest Sadness Lament in a Pandemic Age John Holdsworth Sacristy Press 2021 Many of my friends have commented on their weariness with these weeks of lockdown. Government heralds progress with statistics about vaccinations delivered and the reducing infection numbers – and all that is all good – but these months have taken their toll. Uncertainty, anxiety, isolation, loss of community and many of the things that enrich our lives have all served to reinforce our vulnerability. We are bounded and…

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Understanding how decisions are Made?

Understanding how decisions are Made?

What Does Jeremy Think? Jeremy Heywood and the Making of Modern Britain, by Suzanne Heywood (Collins 2021) In these days of zoom TV interviews it is not unusual to see the learned and powerful sitting in front of (usually) tidy rows of books. It is impossible to not to notice what these shelves hold and intriguing to wonder what they represent for their owners. Which ones might be discarded if need be? Which are used regularly or even read more…

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Practices for the Soul : Finding Meaning in our strange new World ?

Practices for the Soul : Finding Meaning in our strange new World ?

The Power of Ritual : Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices Casper Ter Kuile William Collins 2020 I am indebted to my friend Jane Shaw for pointing me in the direction of this rather stimulating and wonderful book. It came out of a conversation about what learning might look ( and feel ) like at Sarum College as we move through these pandemic weeks. In particular, as a learning community, we need to explore the place of theology might be…

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Does Faith help us Age Well?

Does Faith help us Age Well?

Finishing Well – A God’s Eye view of Ageing by Ian Knox ( SPCK 2020) Ian Knox is an experienced, wise, creative priest and evangelist. His love of people, of life, of Scripture and learning are all present in the fourteen chapters of this book. His scope of reading and listening to a range of voices are also woven into each chapter. It is part autobiography, part testimony to the absolute necessity of faith in Jesus Christ and in part…

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