*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***
Important information: We are currently experiencing technical issues with the webiste and it is currently running with reduced functionality, some category pages may not contain a full list of articles and the search is not currently working. We apologise for the inconvenience and should have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

John Stott and The Hookses by David Cranston

by
23 February 2018

Toby Howarth is carried back to his memories of John Stott’s retreat

David Cranston

John Stott laying the foundations of the garage at the Hookses. From the book

John Stott laying the foundations of the garage at the Hookses. From the book

FOR those who know the Hookses, that hidden, hook-shaped valley cut out of the Pembrokeshire cliffs, the name has an almost mythical quality. It is intimately associated with John Stott, the author, evangelist, and church leader who bought its abandoned cottage and associated outhouses in 1954, restored them, and made them available as a place of writing, retreat, and renewal ever after.

David Cranston, consultant surgeon and long-time friend of both John Stott and Hookses, offers this appropriately reverent coffee-table hardback, full of stories and photographs, many of which are Stott’s own, inviting us to a spirited taste of salt, sea wind, and Anglican Evangelical history.

The text is a collection of articles and essays, including a previously unpublished autobiographical piece (given to the author’s son) about Stott’s love affair with Jesus, The Hookses, and its birds, and a moving description by Chris Wright of the burial of his ashes at the cemetery of St James the Great, Dale, in 2011. The main section is an adroit weaving together by Cranston of anecdotes and descriptions recalling the place, the man, and various people associated with both.

What stands out for me is the interplay, with incarnational echoes of Stott and his Master, between the specific, detailed humility of this remote corner of Pembrokeshire, for many years without electricity or telephone, and its global reach. Stott’s writings, now resourcing Christians the world over, were brought to birth in a tiny, triangular Welsh “hermitage”. Thousands of visitors, some of whom now lead the Church of the Global South, have found inspiration by its gaslight with a gale howling outside.

Still today, sometimes stuck in a grey, urban environment, but catching a glimpse of clouds racing and gulls crying out above, I remember similar days walking with Stott in London, when he would whip round with a twinkle in his eye and whisper: “Let’s go to the Hookses!”

Dr Toby Howarth is the Bishop of Bradford.

 

John Stott and The Hookses
David Cranston
Words by Design £15
(978-1-909075-54-2)
www.wordsbydesign.online/shop

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets

 

19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)