Candles in the Dark by Rowan Williams (SPCK, £9.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £7.99); 978-0-281-08596-5).
“‘As we contemplate the coming months, not knowing when we can breathe again, it’s worth thinking about how already the foundations have been laid for whatever new opportunities God has for us on the far side of this crisis.’ Rowan Williams offers these words of wisdom and many more in Candles in the Dark. This powerful and timely book brings together the 26 weekly Christian meditations originally posted online from March to September 2020, during lockdown in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, for the congregation of his local parish church. Candles in the Dark is a lovely Christian book of comfort for anyone looking for the light in these dark times. Written with warmth and compassion, these meditations offer us hope and encouragement as we continue to endure the most devastating and disturbing world crisis for over a generation. They will leave you spiritually uplifted and with a strengthened faith to guide you through whatever may come.”
Encounters: Jesus, connection and story — past, present and future by Rachel Treweek (DLT, £12.99 (£11.69); 978-0-232-53466-5).
“Through reflections on encounters between Jesus and those he met, as described in the Gospels, and significant encounters with people and places in her personal journey with God, Bishop Rachel Treweek encourages us to make new connections in our own story and to contemplate the God of encounter. Each chapter of this carefully crafted book ends with a prayer and a space for you to journal your own reflections.”
After Whiteness: An education in belonging by Willie James Jennings (Eerdmans, £15.99 (£14.39); 978-0-8028-7844-1).
“Theological education has always been about formation: first of people, then of communities, then of the world. If we continue to promote whiteness and its related ideas of masculinity and individualism in our educational work, it will remain diseased and thwart our efforts to heal the church and the world. But if theological education aims to form people who can gather others together through border-crossing pluralism and God-drenched communion, we can begin to cultivate the radical belonging that is at the heart of God's transformative work. In this inaugural volume of the Theological Education between the Times series, Willie James Jennings shares the insights gained from his extensive experience in theological education, most notably as the dean of a major university's divinity school — where he remains one of the only African Americans to have ever served in that role. He reflects on the distortions hidden in plain sight within the world of education but holds onto abundant hope for what theological education can be and how it can position itself at the front of a massive cultural shift away from white, Western cultural hegemony. This must happen through the formation of what Jennings calls erotic souls within ourselves — erotic in the sense that denotes the power and energy of authentic connection with God and our fellow human beings. After Whiteness is for anyone who has ever questioned why theological education still matters. It is a call for Christian intellectuals to exchange isolation for intimacy and embrace their place in the crowd — just like the crowd that followed Jesus and experienced his miracles. It is part memoir, part decolonial analysis, and part poetry — a multimodal discourse that deliberately transgresses boundaries, as Jennings hopes theological education will do, too.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.