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10 September 2021

This week’s selection: sermons for the year based on those preached during lockdown, the importance of churches in the local community, and a biography of Edward King

The Spring of Hope: Sermons for the seasons of faith by Douglas Dales (Sacristy Press, £12.99 (£11.69); 978-1-78959-173-6).

The Spring of Hope is a collection of sermons and reflections for a variety of occasions throughout the Christian year. Douglas Dales invites readers to embark on their Christian journey in the company of saints and church fathers, and to find in the life of the Church visible and invisible new hope and courage for their lives as disciples of Christ in the 21st century. ​​These thoughtful and challenging reflections for many occasions throughout the Christian year have been written by an experienced preacher and Church historian. Originating from sermons preached during the national Covid-19 lockdown, they challenge readers to consider afresh the hope offered by the Christian faith.”

Imagining the Church: Keeping faith in a fragmented world by Tim Gibson (Sacristy Press, £9.99 (£8.99); 978-1-78959-182-8).

“The local church holds a special place in the imagination of many people, whether or not they attend it regularly. Drawing on theology, literature, art, philosophy, popular culture, and personal experience, Tim Gibson uncovers how churches play an important role in local communities and in the life of the nation, keeping faith alive for everyone. In a deeply personal essay, which is both faithful to tradition and optimistic about the future Gibson tells the story of the church through the lens of his experiences in a variety of places, including Westminster Abbey, Holy Trinity, Geneva, and his home parishes in Sussex and rural Somerset.”

Edward King: Teacher, pastor, bishop, saint by Michael Marshall (Gracewing, £35 (£31.50); 978-1-78182-970-7).

“Edward King, as teacher, pastor, bishop and acclaimed saint, through his personal influence and holiness of life, radically challenged and changed the character and face of the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion. Besides all other high qualifications, he had a gift of empathy and sympathy so extraordinary that it was said to amount to ‘nothing less than a form of genius’. Ordained in 1854, King was chaplain and then Principal of the newly created Theological College at Cuddesdon. He subsequently spent 12 years in Oxford as Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology, and the remainder of his life, from 1885, in Lincoln as the much-loved Bishop. Edward King virtually invented pastoral theology as a serious subject in the Anglican Church. He was concerned to train a clergy who were pastorally, theologically and professionally competent in a way seldom seen before. As a bishop he exercised his ministry among the needy and the vulnerable, through an apostolic witness to the ordinary laity of the diocese. In his teaching, his personal and pastoral ministry and most conspicuously his lengthy episcopate, he embodied and communicated that gospel, life-affirming, tradition which in turn speaks so powerfully to the needs of the world in any age.”

Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.

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