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New titles just published

25 March 2022

This week’s selection: the women around Jesus, a practical guide for family services, and a pilgrimage through icons.

Women Remembered: Jesus’ female disciples by Helen Bond and Joan Taylor (Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-1-529-37259-5).

“Do you think that Jesus only surrounded himself with men? Think again. Inspired by their popular Channel 4 documentary Jesus' Female Disciples, historians Helen Bond and Joan Taylor explore the way in which Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha, and a whole host of other women — named and unnamed — have been remembered by posterity, noting how many were silenced, tamed, or slurred by innuendo, though occasionally they get to slay dragons. Women Remembered looks at the representation of these women in art, and the way they have been remembered in inscriptions and archaeology. And of course they dig into the biblical texts, exposing misogyny and offering alternative and unexpected ways of appreciating these women as disciples, apostles, teachers, messengers, and church-founders. At a time when both the church and society more widely are still grappling with the full inclusion and equality of women, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical and cultural origins of Christianity.”

Creative Ideas for The Family Eucharist: A round-the-year resource by Sarah Lenton (Canterbury Press, £24.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £19.99); 978-1-84825-530-2).

“Drawing on her extensive work in the theatre and church, Sarah Lenton shares with infectious enthusiasm her tried and tested ideas for conducting eucharistic celebrations for all ages with confidence and joy. At the heart of the book is a series of ready-to-use sermons for the feasts and seasons of the Christian year. These include dialogue, props, jokes, and ideas for engaging every member of the congregation. There is also practical guidance for: creating a welcoming, worshipful space for all; developing rapport with children and holding their attention; channelling children’s natural energy into learning and worship; using music and props creatively; interacting with adults and children simultaneously; managing noise; making the most of the resources you have. Complete outlines for a children’s mass, a children’s liturgy for Good Friday and an illustrated Stations of the Cross are also included.”

A Very Byzantine Journey: Discovering the New Testament Story through icons and pilgrimage by J. Richard Smith (Sacristy Press, £14.99 (£13.49); 978-1-78959-216-0).

“From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have used icons, images of Christ, to engage with the story of their faith. However, icons are far more than ancient pictures of Jesus: they are windows on the holy and transcendental, and they tell the New Testament story in a way that makes it real even to those exploring it from a distance. Knowing that this is a story based in geographical fact, J. Richard Smith has visited many of the places where the New Testament story happened, and here he takes us along on his travels tracing the story of icons, to places like Jerusalem, Athens, Istanbul, and Cairo, and also to the final resting place of the Cloth of Edessa hidden in the hills in southern Italy. Combining spiritual writing, art history, and travelogue, J. Richard Smith invites us to discover that there is more to icons than meets the eye.​”

Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.

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