*** DEBUG END ***

Candles in the Dark: Faith, hope and love in a time of pandemic, by Rowan Williams

19 February 2021

Peter McGeary values reflections offered in one Cambridge parish

AS SOON as the first lockdown started, I was dreading the moment when the usual suspects would go into print with an attempt at a “theology of Covid”. It is a widespread malaise of much (Western) theological reflection that it tries to make sense of everything, and there are times when all one can do is embrace the untidiness and try to live creatively in it.

And then along came Rowan Williams. Last September, the former Archbishop of Canterbury stepped down from his position of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. During that time, he assisted at St Clement’s Church. At the beginning of lockdown last March, the church seems to have set up a very organised online presence. Williams was invited to be part of it.

Candles in the Dark is the result. Each week from April to September 2020, the author was invited to contribute a short reflection, and this book collects them together. Each section is dated, and picks up on something in the news, or a liturgical feast, or a shared piece of experience, as a basis for some thoughts about how we might both cope in the present and imagine the future. As with all of Williams’s writing, there is a richness to the text which withstands repeated reading.

It would be easy to see this book as too time-specific and, therefore, out of date already. This would be wrong. For those who indulge in such language, this is “contextual theology” of the very highest quality, namely, the attempt to discern hope and meaning from a particular situation.

For everybody else: just buy this book and read it. You will be enriched.

The Revd Peter McGeary is the Vicar of St Mary’s, Cable Street, in east London, and a Priest-Vicar of Westminster Abbey.


Candles in the Dark: Faith, hope and love in a time of pandemic
Rowan Williams
SPCK £9.99
Church Times Bookshop £9

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

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.)