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in this section:
The Little Book of Lent
Life in the Psalms
The Joy of the Gospel
Abraham
Reflections for Lent 2016
Sensing God
I Am With You
Dust & Glory
In God's Hands
The Word In The Wilderness
Reflecting The Glory
Messy Easter
Sacred Space For Lent 2015
Meeting God In Mark
The Glory Of The Cross
Welcoming The Way Of The Cross
Scots Worship
The Living Gospel
Barefoot Prayers
Another Story Must Begin
The Way Of The Cross
The Long Road To Heaven
Uncovering Sin
The Resurrection of Peace
Lost Sons
Death of a Saviour
Abiding - The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2013
When You Pray
The Shape of Living
The Living Gospel
Lent Is For Loving
Friends, Foes and Families
Glimpses of God
Journeying With Jesus
The Day Jesus Died
Fast & Feast
Finding a Voice
On the Way To The Cross
Lent for Everyone: Mark, Year B
Love Unknown
Stations of the Nativity, Cross and Resurrection
Love Set Free
On Retreat: A Lenten Journey
The Naturalist and The Christ
The Heart’s Time
The Way of the Desert
Handing On the Torch
The Nail
You Will be My Witness
The Body of Christ
Hope for Easter
Praying At Easter
Beyond Crucifixion
Exploring God’s Mercy
Come and See


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Lent, Holy Week & Easter

For Lenten study alone or in groups, Holy Week reflection and Easter rejoicing.
Lent 2017 starts with Ash Wednesday 1st March - 16th April Easter Day, but many books continue into Easter Week.

The Little Book of Lent

- Daily Reflections by the World's Great Spiritual Writers

(ed) Arthur Howells


An inspirational source of encouragement for Lent.

The Little Book of Lent is a powerful anthology of readings from spiritual writers for each day of Lent, with accompanying scripture and prayers to help guide daily reflections.

With extracts from a range of inspirational writers and theologians, including Desmond Tutu, Sheila Cassidy and Rowan Williams, The Little Book of Lent guides you to deepen your prayer life in anticipation of Easter.

This book can be read on your own or with others, used either for self-reflection or to spark discussion and share insights on God's truths. This edition would be perfect for a Lent course or to use as a talking point for home groups.

Whether or not you choose to read the extracts multiple times or once straight through, Howells' latest work will lead you to new heights in your Christian journey and personal walk with God. It is the ideal gift for friends, family or anyone else preparing themselves for the sacrifices of Lent.



Review by x  (29/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 978-0-007-56116-2
Paperback

Life in the Psalms

- Contemporary Meaning in Ancient Texts

by Patrick Woodhouse


The Psalms lie at the heart of Jewish and Christian worship. For thousands of years people in despair and praise have cried to God through the words of these ancient poems. Fragments of them are still widely known and loved, but such is the gulf between their ancient culture and our contemporary world that much of the depth of their meaning is lost to us.

Life in the Psalms aims to bridge that gulf, enabling the modern reader to find hope in these ancient texts by re-imagining their meanings for our times. The Psalms include texts that illuminate issues including climate change and environmental degradation; the illusions of consumerism and 'celebrity culture'; our response to migrants and asylum seekers; conditions of depression, anxiety, and grief, and the question of 'attention' in a digital age. Many texts take us deeply into the experience of meditation and contemplation; and teach us how to wonder, and find happiness.

Three introductory chapters are followed by reflections on thirty Psalms (one for each weekday of Lent), which aim to illuminate the text and help those in search of a more contemplative spirituality to discover, in the midst of the hard realities of a secular twenty-first century world, a deep consciousness of the healing mystery of God.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: December 2015
ISBN: 978-1-472-92314-1
Paperback
Price: £12.99

The Joy of the Gospel

- A Six-Week Study on Sharing Faith

by Paula Gooder


This six-part course for parishes and Lent groups is based on Pope Francis' much acclaimed recent reflections on mission and evangelism, published as Evangelii Gaudium ('The Joy of the Gospel').

Widely recognised as offering wisdom and vision for all Christians in a culture that is often hostile to the church, Evangelii Gaudium offers a positive and realistic approach to sharing faith in the modern world.

Paula Gooder introduces its key themes to readers in all denominations and challenges them to consider its application in their own contexts.

The course comprises six sessions:
1. Joy and the Gospel
2. Going Forth
3. Saying Yes and Saying No
4. Proclaiming the Gospel
5. Making the Kingdom Present in Our World
6. Being Filled with the Spirit

The book contains everything needed to run the course including Bible readings and leader's notes. Each person in the group will need a copy.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 978-0-715-14731-3
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Abraham

- A journey through Lent

by Meg Warner


Everyone knows that Abraham is one of the most important characters in the Bible, but why should a man who lived nearly 4,000 years ago still matter to Christians today?
Abraham is a Lent book that takes the story of Abraham in Genesis as the basis for a series of six Lenten studies. Each chapter is followed by a set of questions arising from it, as well as suggested further reading.

Each chapter begins and ends with discussion addressed to the reader and his or her own experience of moving through Lent. This discussion is related to the chosen passage from the Abraham narratives for that week, and will not assume any previous or background knowledge of biblical scholarship.

In each chapter the reader is offered an interpretation of the chosen passage that is fresh and designed to resonate with their own personal experience. The book gently challenges some traditional ideas about Abraham and his presentation in the Bible.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 978-0-281-07489-1
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Reflections for Lent 2016



by Steven Croft, Paula Gooder, Andrew Davison, Very Revd Prof. Martyn Percy


Reflections for Lent is designed to enhance your spiritual journey through the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday (10 February - 26 March 2016). Covering Monday to Saturday each week, it offers reflections on readings from the Common Worship Lectionary, written by some of today's leading spiritual and theological writers.

Each day includes: Full lectionary details for Morning Prayer; A reflection on one of the Bible readings; A Collect for the day. This volume offers daily material for 10 February to 26 March 2016, taken from the Reflections for Daily Prayer 2015/16 annual edition.

It is ideal for individuals and groups seeking Lectionary-based reflections for use during Lent and Holy Week, or for anyone wishing to try Reflections for Daily Prayer before committing to a year's worth of material.

It also features a simple form of morning and night prayer and a guide to keeping a good Lent.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 978-0-715-14709-2
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Sensing God



by Laurence Freeman


A refreshing and practical introduction to Christian meditation by a renowned speaker, writer and retreat leader, with 46 daily Lenten reflections on relevant Gospel passages.
'Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it' (Matthew 16:25). We often associate Lent with 'giving something up', but it is also a good time to begin, or to deepen the practice of meditation. Through this ascetic discipline, we enter into the tradition of the Desert Fathers, and as we learn to sense God's presence and nurture the silence within, come to experience joy and well-being in every area of our lives.

This refreshing book from a renowned speaker, writer and retreat leader is a practical introduction and guide to Christian meditation as taught by Fr John Main and continued through the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), a contemporary, ecumenical, contemplative community. Fr Laurence offers meditation instructions, guidance and support, as well as 46 enriching daily reflections on the Gospels, which highlight an aspect of their meaning and their continued relevance for modern living.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: December 2015
ISBN: 978-0-281-07546-1
Paperback
Price: £7.99

I Am With You

- The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2016

by Kathryn Greene-McCreight


In I Am With You, Episcopal priest and theologian Kathryn Greene-McCreight examines the biblical portrayal of God's presence among us as light in darkness. Close readings of Scripture are woven into a framework patterned on the seven monastic hours of prayer and the seven days of creation.

God's interaction with us in light comes as address, drawing us into relationship with the Creator. The resurrection of Easter morning bears the Light that both illumines our darkness, refines our dross in its flames, and draws us into the presence of God, that 'Light by which we see light'.

With an introduction by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, I Am With You is a reflective and thought-provoking guide to the solemn season of Lent.



Review by x  (01/02/16)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: December 2015
ISBN: 978-1-472-91523-8
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Dust & Glory

- Daily Bible Readings From Ash Wednesday to Easter Day

by David Rubcorn


Dust & Glory takes a wide ranging journey through the bible in these 40 Lenten contemplations, and on that journey we really look at a wide range of questions that life puts before us and yet sometimes we don't stop to ponder on.

The format of the book starts with a lovely short bible passage (short enough to be used as a lectio divina even for a busy person) and then a contemplation I'd call it rather than a commentary on the passage that looks at its context in our lives as much as its meaning then, and rounds out with either a one line prayer, a  for reflection , or both! My favourite 'for reflection' consisted of... 'Yes!'

There is enough thought in these daily readings to last a day, but they can take only a couple of minutes to read if your life is very pressing on the time front... A very handy lent book. 



Review by Melanie Carroll  (11/01/16)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: November 2015
ISBN: 978-0-857-46357-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

In God's Hands



by Desmond Tutu


In God's Hands is the 2015 Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book. In this little gem of a book, Archbishop Desmond Tutu distils the wisdom forged through a childhood of poverty and apartheid, an adulthood lived in the glare of the world's media, and the long and agonising struggle for truth and reconciliation in South Africa, into the childlike simplicity which Jesus tells us characterises the Kingdom of God.

Archbishop Tutu has produced a meditation on the infinite love of God and the infinite value of the human individual. Not only are we in God`s hands, he says, our names are engraved on his palms. Throughout an often turbulent life, Archbishop Tutu has fought for justice and against oppression and prejudice. As we learn in this book, what has driven him forward is an unshakeable belief that human beings are created in the image of God and are infinitely valuable. Each one of us is a God-carrier, a tabernacle, a sanctuary of the Divine Trinity. God loves us not because we are loveable but because he first loved us. And this turns our values upside down. In this sense the Gospel is the most radical thing imaginable.

It is extremely moving that in this book Archbishop Tutu returns to something so simple and so profound after a life in which he has been involved in political, social and ethical issues that have seemed to be so very complex.



Review by x  (11/06/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 01 December 2014
ISBN: 978-1-472-90837-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Word In The Wilderness

- A Poem A Day For Lent And Easter

by Malcolm Guite


A selection of poems chosen and commented upon by Malcolm Guite, one a day throughout the season of Lent and Holy Week (With a few extra to cover Saints Days that occur during the season too) and from a range of Poets spanning from Dante to Rowan Williams.
In each case the full text of the poem is obviously given and then followed with a commentary on the poem and it's reflection to the idea of the season and the theme being followed for that week - so we have Pilgrimage, Deepening Prayer, Companioned Journey, Know Thyself, Prayer that Pierces, and finally palm Sunday and Holy Week.

For anyone that has a love of poetry then this is a wonderful book to journey through lent with.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 24 December 2014
ISBN: 978-1-848-25678-1
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Reflecting The Glory

- Bible Readings And Reflections For Lent And Easter

by Tom Wright


BRF's Lent Book for 2015 is not a new book, but it is a welcome reprint of one of Tom Wright's books from 1997, with a new preface attached in which he comments on how the themes he reflected on in this early book so clearly are seen in his subsequent works, as such this will be a welcome read to all those who have enjoyed his recent works and may not have encountered this particular one before.

In style The first four weeks of material look at passages from the Epistles, though the last two days use material from Revelations. In the following two weeks he then reflects on the teachings in Johns gospel, before turning back on Easter Day and through the following week to Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians.

 



Review by Melanie Carroll  (17/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: November 2014
ISBN: 978-0-745-93556-0
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Messy Easter

- 3 Complete Sessions And A Treasure Trove Of Ideas For Lent, Holy Week And Easter

by Jane Leadbetter


Another great Messy Church adventure with some brilliant resources for creative worship and play, this time divided into three themed sections Lent Messy Church, Holy Week Messy Church, and Easter Messy Church and then finishing off with some Easter Allsorts and some Easter Games.
There is, as the subtitle claims enough material for 3 complete sessions with lots of extra material too - truthfully though you could easily make up more than 3 complete sessions out of the wealth of resouces here.
Even if you aren't a Messy Church then this book is going to be a brilliant resource for any church with a childrens group or sunday school, for school teachers, or even just for parents looking for some good easter activities etc as the material in it is just good active fun.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (17/01/15)
Jacket
Publisher: Messy Church imprint of BRF
Published: 21 November 2014
ISBN: 978-1-841-01717-4
Large paperback
Price: £6.99

Sacred Space For Lent 2015



by Irish Jesuits


The Sacred Space books are a small book that you can take with you wherever you go, based around material from the wonderful sacredspace.ie website they fit into any ten minutes you can make in your day, and can be used and made into a ‘sacred space’ - yes even your desk at lunchtime if needed.

The format is each week starts with a reflection, after this there is a short series of further thoughts under the headings, 'presence of God', 'Freedom' 'Conciousness', 'The Word', 'Conversation' and 'Conclusion'. then a series of bible readings for each day of the week that you can use the thoughts to frame. The readings are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

A great daily lenten tool.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (24/11/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: October 2014
ISBN: 978-1-594-71554-9
Paperback
Price: £2.99

Meeting God In Mark



by Rowan Williams


A fantastic little book that provides a brilliant introduction and overview to Marks Gospel in an intelligent, insightful and well articulated way, with an easy blend of academic insight with modern context as perhaps would be expected from this author and a book that started life as a series of lenten talks at Canterbury Cathedral.

One thing that needs to be made clear is that though this started life as lent material this is not just a book for lent. Yes, the addition of Group Discussion questions and a Lenten Reading Guide do make it eminently suitable for use at Lent, however it is instead just a very good introduction to Marks gospel that really could be used by any number of people, in any number of situations and at any time of the year.

To restrict it to only lent or a group setting would be a shame as it is a great book and very easy and enjoyable to read.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (01/10/14)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: September 2014
ISBN: 978-0-281-07250-7
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Glory Of The Cross

- Exploring The Meaning Of The Death Of Christ

by James Philip


This booklet explains the meaning of the death of Christ by exploring the last days of Jesus. Beginning with the Last Supper and ending with the promise of the Lord's return, the author unfolds the wonder of the gospel.

He clearly shows how Christ died for the unjust to bring us to God.

The book has explanations of key words like justification and redemption, a two page further study guide and extensive footnotes. Although brief, the Glory of the Cross lives up to its title and is worth reading.



Review by Alan Hill  (04/04/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Hendrickson from Alban Books
Published: December 2013
ISBN: 978-1-899-46410-4
Paperback
Price: £2.99

Welcoming The Way Of The Cross

- A Journey From Ash Wednesday To Easter Day

by Barbara Mosse


Barbara Mosse has written this book to help us 'make space' for rest, reflection and renewal during the season of Lent.

She has chosen short readings from across the Bible and then grouped them into five sections, covering the five weeks of Lent, with extra material as an introduction and then at the end a slightly different format for Holy Week. Each daily reading is followed by a short meditation and a question which helps the reader to apply the teaching to his or her life. 

I had to read the book more quickly than is intended but I feel it is well worth returning to and reading more reflectively. Not every chapter spoke to me, but most of them did, and I can recommend it as a helpful aid as you journey through Lent.



Review by Jackie Rowe  (12/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-857-46180-3
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Scots Worship

- Lent, Holy Week And Easter

by David D Ogston


This rich collection of worship resources by the late David Ogston is compiled from a careful reading of all his papers and sensitive editing by his friend and fellow Church of Scotland minister Johnston McKay. The introduction states: "David Ogston was one of the most creative leaders of worship in the Church of Scotland" - this book well reflects his gifts and his deep love of liturgy. And his love of his native North East Doric is evident throughout, with a significant number of resources written in this dialect of Scots. (Where Scots is used a brief synopsis of the resource is provided for those who aren't familiar with the language.)

There are three reflections at the beginning of the book powerfully describing a breakdown experienced by the author and the road to recovery. These provide a deeply thought-provoking context for the resources in the rest of the book and would be valuable to anyone finding they are facing a similar journey. As he writes in a meditation for Passion Sunday (p79) "the Redeemer is drawing men and women into His stupendous secret: there are no spectators, there are only those who are prepared to enter into the pain, and face it, and by so doing make it lose its power to diminish us" and in an Easter Communion prayer (p138):
"Lord of Gethsemane,
any cross we carry already has your fingerprints upon it.
Lord of Calvary, risen Lord, you have gone before us.
Remind us always that we are children of the Resurrection."

The Communion prayers and liturgies, the reflections, poems, prayers and liturgies for Holy Week and Easter reflect a variety of styles (I rather liked the very different ‘Resurrection Rap' on page 69 which would be ideal for all-age worship) but every resource is crafted to bring us closer in worship to our risen Lord. This is a wonderful book to dip in and out of on your own Lenten journey, as well as a very useful resource for those leading worship in a variety of contexts.



Review by Margaret Brasier  (04/03/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Saint Andrew Press
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-0-861-53787-7
Paperback
Price: £14.99

The Living Gospel

- Daily Devotions For lent 2014

by Theresa Rickard


The Living Gospel is a lovely, well priced, little Lent guide. It is ideal for journeying throughout Lent 2014.

Its devotions are short, but insightful and written in a very down to earth and warm style. It would suit anyone from 18 upwards. The devotions aren't 'holy' but they are spiritually relevant, keen, and meaningful.

Each day follows the same formula; Begin—a thoughtful time for reflection and silence, Pray—a one line scripture verse prayer, and, Listen—a short scripture reading. Then the Devotion, followed by Act—an 'I Will' section that draws on all that's gone before and sets up the lesson for the day and our achievable aim (after all without intent what good is prayer?) and finally Pray—a wonderful short but meaningful prayer.

All in all this would easily fit within a 10 minute span if that's all you had to give it, but in honesty each short daily devotional could last you 24 hours of contemplation easily if you really let it. At £2.99 it's a real bargain for a Lent devotional.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (29/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: December 2013
ISBN: 978-1-594-71431-3
Paperback
Price: £2.99

Barefoot Prayers

- A meditation A Day For Lent And Easter

by Stephen Cherry


Eight weeks of daily poem-prayers, that are short but filling and would fit perfectly into anyone’s quiet time or day as they journey through lent and easter.

Add to this a great opening chapter that looks at what prayer is. Next, it looks further at what the author terms ‘barefoot prayer’—prayer in and after the silence, a place of humility where we meet our vulnerability before God. This makes this an excellent personal resource but also one which could be well used by a minister or small group leader looking for material to use during the season—or indeed after it.

For, as the author is keen to tell us these barefoot prayers were not originally meant as a lent/easter resource but were written honestly and openly at all times after his own time of barefoot prayer.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (15/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-281-07125-8
Paperback
Price: £8.99

Another Story Must Begin

- A Lent Course Based on Les Miserables

by Jonathan Meyer


A great little lent course that utilises the current passion for Les Miserables.

Each week is focused on looking at an individual character(s) and from them pulling and teasing out the idea’s that are incorporated into them. It concludes with week five, where we look at the issue of Redemption and Salvation as played out in the book and film.

What is good about this course is that it is designed to work with both the film, stage production and book, so there are suggestions for the film clip to be watched or alternatively for one of the songs from the stage production to be listened to or the lyrics read.

Each week there is a comprehensive overview in advance of the actual studies, and each study is very well designed with a good pull in of actual biblical references and reflection too.

A very good study that I would think would be very popular indeed.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (15/01/14)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-0-232-53027-8
Paperback
Price: £5.99

The Way Of The Cross

- The Path To New Life

by Joan Chittister


This is one of the most beautiful books on the Way of The Cross that I have seen in quite a while. Beautiful, deep and tranquil images by Janet McKenzie combined with Chittister's deeply insightful and quietly reverent words really move this into a must have category of Lent book for me.

Chittester uses four repeating headings for each individual Station - The Experience, The Call, The Model, The Rising - and each one is short but intent, and each one shows a different reflection and contemplation of the station being looked at as we journey into the heart of the story and action of the Crucifixion. What is so beautiful is the way she references to the images by McKenzie, asking us to look at them in detail, to consider them, to reflect upon them and use them as both a mirror to a deeper understanding of the Way of the Cross but also as importantly into the reality of that journey, of the resonances of that experience and moment in our own lives.

This book is a perfect personal companion and devotional aid to our Lenten and holy week journey, but more than that it could also be a great  group study too, and would help provide the basis for an intensely moving Holy Week service.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (16/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Orbis Books from Alban Books
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-626-98044-0
Hardback
Price: £16.99

The Long Road To Heaven

- A Lent Course based on the film 'The Way'

by Tim Heaton


Another Lent course based around a film - and that's no bad thing at all - in fact in these days of media attraction it's a positive boon in encouraging some to attend. This time the film is one directed by Emilio Estevez, that stars Martin Sheen and is about a journey through bereavement and along the pilgrimage route of the Way of St James. It is a brilliant and emotional film and this book makes a good, well considered use of it to open up discussion on the issue of salvation. In many ways the book, though brilliantly set up and appropriate for Lent, would work at any time for an in-depth group study.

The course is set out with real weight to it, the sessions well timed, and containing intelligent discussion questions along with good endings in a series of reflections and contemplations that gently round off each one.

A very welcome addition to the Lent courses out there.



Review by Melanie Carroll  (04/11/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Circle Books imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-782-79274-1
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Uncovering Sin

- A gateway to healing and calling

by Rosy Fairhurst


This is a Lent book, so receiving it just before Lent began was good timing. It is divided into 7 weeks, each of which has a theme, with 2 chapters each week exploring this theme. The chapters begin with a passage or two of scripture. In the first week, Fairhurst makes the good point that the context of sin is our relationship with God and tells us, on the basis of the story of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21, to look at what harms us in order to be healed. In week 2, she talks about abuse within the Church and its cover up. Although not a women's book specifically, some of what is said is of more relevance to women. In week 3, she speaks of "...the constant human tendency… to make heroes and villains, but to keep from recognising that they belong within the same human being…", a point we would do well to bear in mind. I was a bit taken aback, however, to read that "even Jesus had to experience the joy of being wrong". Fairhurst also sees some connection between Jesus casting out a demon called Legion and massacres by Roman legions in that region, something which is certainly not explicit in the text itself. But that aside, there is certainly food for thought here.

Review by Brian Kerr  (02/04/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06879-1
Paperback
Price: £8.99

The Resurrection of Peace

- A Gospel journey to Easter and beyond

by Mary C Grey


Like any pilgrimage, this one into the land that is called holy by Christians, Jews and Muslims will lead the reader deeply into reflection, with extremely thoughtful "Questions for Reflection" at the end of each chapter, and into what Professor Grey calls "a new seeing". Her passion for justice is infectious, as is her pain over the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people. The Bible inspires her as she seeks answers for "peace and conflict resolution" in Israel / Palestine. That is certainly the main issue that Mary Grey tackles, though she does refer to some other questions including the situation of Christians in the "Arab Spring" since 2010. She believes that Jesus' message was "socially, politically and economically revolutionary" and that the "Jesus movement" sought the "transformation of the Roman regime of violence and oppression into an alternative society of justice, peace, forgiveness and love". Also, Resurrection hope underlies the pilgrimage. I especially appreciated the sections on "sumud" (a spirituality of "steadfastness, persistence and patient endurance"), the Via Dolorosa, and the Bedouins of the Negev desert. Further, Mary Grey names many inspiring campaigners for peace and justice, and refers the reader to Sabeel, a movement of liberation theology among Palestinian Christians, with which she is associated. Definitely a book to read if you care about the Holy Land today!

Related website:www.palestine-family.net/

Review by Barry Vendy  (23/03/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06637-7
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Lost Sons

- God’s long search for humanity

by Michael Sadgrove


This book stems from a series of Holy Week addresses on the "lost sons" of Genesis and Exodus, rewritten, enlarged and expanded to feature several more sons who were lost. I found it skilfully written and deeply insightful. The author approaches familiar stories in illuminating and often unusual ways, for example viewing the brother who stayed at home in the Prodigal Son parable as the one who was truly lost.

Murdered; cursed; abandoned; bound; supplanted; betrayed; exiled. Michael Sadgrove attempts to find the "golden thread" that weaves through the narrative and themes of these stories, connecting them to each other and to Christ. Whilst the explicit idea of the golden thread disappears after the first chapter, I believe he succeeds both in his attempt to find this thread and to link each story to ourselves, individually all also lost sons. Michael Sadgrove has written a book that is not only an interesting and enlightening discussion on the lost sons of Genesis and Exodus and of how knowledge of these stories can aid our understanding of Christ but also a book that applies these issues to us, provoking a personal as well as academic exploration. Well worth a read.

Review by Tim Hupfield  (23/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06214-0
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Death of a Saviour

- Reflections on Good Friday

by Michael Collins


What a powerful little book of reflections for Good Friday! One that is heavy on the political comparisons of Jesus' time and suffering and our own. It is intense, insightful and keen but not laboured or exclusionary to those not into political theology, rather anyone with a consideration for justice and peace would find it of interest, with a good balance between reflection and action.

There is some very strong material here that is totally biblically sound and insightful, and that is this book's real power. It is good for individual use but some of it really would be fantastic to use on Good Friday in services, and some of it could also be adapted and used as the basis of a group study, either at Lent or any other time. An excellent little book.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (08/02/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-782-18022-7
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Abiding - The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2013



by Ben Quash


This years 'Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book' (the last one to be chosen by Rowan Williams) is from King's College London's Professor of Christian Theology and the Arts and it shows through in the book. Ben Quash has written a book on a subject I think many of us don't really think about very often, if at all - that of abiding (indeed if used in these days). He puts over his ideas of abiding in a fresh and relevant way by using images of characters taken from film, literature and Christian history that can be used as exemplars of how abiding can be seen and understood within the context of life, church, etc.. These characters reflect back on each other as well as on the particular theme they are used to carry. With seven chapters covering the themes of body, mind, care, relationships, exile, wounds, peace and finally a lovely epilogue (Who may abide) that addresses how we can practically carry the idea of abiding forward into our lives and communities, this is an interesting Lenten read. Not short on theology but graced with a 'popular' feel that makes it more interesting than challenging to read - and this can only be a good thing - something that demonstrates well the author's talent in his field.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-1-441-15111-7
Paperback
Price: £10.00

When You Pray

- Daily Bible reflections for Lent and Easter on the Lord's Prayer

by Joanna Collicutt


This year's BRF Lent book by Joanna Collicutt is a daily Bible reflection based on the Lord's Prayer. Using the Lord's Prayer as the frame of reflection for each day's Bible reading certainly rounds out and deepens the Lord's Prayer, and our understanding of how we can see so much of the Bible reflected back in that one prayer. For each of the five weeks and Holy Week, Collicutt focuses on one line or refrain from the Lord's Prayer for her daily reflections, these break down as: Father, May Your Name be Holy; Your Kingdom Come; Give Us Each Day Our Daily Bread; And Forgive Us Our Sins For We Ourselves Forgive Each One Who Is In Debt to Us; and Do Not Put Us to the Test. At the end of these on Easter Day she then reflects us back to a previous reading from earlier that reflected on 'Your Kingdom Has Come' - an interesting move, and one I personally like because it reflects the nature of Easter and Lent, dying and restoring to new life, a return to things past but made new by where we are in the cycle. With each day's reading being no more than three pages in total - including the full Bible reading for that day's reflection and a one line prayer this is not an onerous task to undertake daily for your Lenten journey, and the meditative and reflective style of writing adds no burden to the experience.
At the very end of the book there is also a series of questions so that you could if wanted use this book as the basis for a weekly Lent course too. Of course though this book is aimed at the Lenten journey, with its emphasis on the Lord's Prayer it could be used at any time of the year and would make for quite a good group study on the Lord's Prayer itself.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 23 November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-857-46089-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Shape of Living



by David F Ford


A new edition of this excellent and classic book that was originally written as an Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 15 years ago, now with a new preface written by the author that catches us up with some changes since that time and a quick contextualisation for those new to the book.

The Shape of Living is a book that still works today because even though many things change the things this book talks about really don't, and we still find ourselves standing and staring in the face many of the deeply intense things that we encounter in it. Work, relationships, desires, leisure are all forces that we encounter and must deal with and always have. Using strong Biblical references and reflection, David Ford shows us that we can deal with these in a creative, energising and spiritual way that help us journey well through our modern lives.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (28/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SCM imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-848-25247-9
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Living Gospel

- Daily Devotions for Lent 2013

by R Scott Hurd


The Living Gospel is a lovely little well priced Lent guide for journeying throughout Lent 2013. Its devotions are short but insightful and written in a very down to earth manner that would suit anyone from the age of 18 upwards because they aren't 'holy' but they are spiritually relevant, keen and meaningful. Each day follows the same formula, Begin - a thoughtful time for reflection and silence, Pray - a one line scripture verse prayer, and Listen - a short scripture reading. Then the Devotion, followed by Act - an 'I Will' section that draws on all that's gone before and sets up the lesson for the day and our achievable aim (after all without intent what good is prayer?) and finally Pray - a wonderful short but meaningful prayer. All in all this would easily fit within a 10 minute span if that's all you had to give it, but in honesty each short daily devotional could last you 24 hours of contemplation easily if you really let it. At £2.99 it's a real bargain for a Lent devotional.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (21/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-594-71363-7
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £2.99

Lent Is For Loving

- A Lent course about Love

by Sheila Cassidy


The Lent courses from DLT are most often very different, for the last few years they have used some great films like Chocolat as the basis of their courses. Though this one is not based on a film or an overriding experience such as Touching the Void was, it is still very different and excellent. After all it's not often you get an unashamed "lapsed" Catholic who doesn't attend regular church services anymore writing a Lent Course. It's also not often that you come across a Lent book that suggests picking up dog poo instead of giving up chocolate as a more fitting Lenten observance, as it's not often that you get a Lent course that talks about the Wheelchair God, unable to do things for himself and relying on his friends / family to do them instead, and it's not often you get discourses on priest abuse scandals and other aspects of zero-empathy either, but you do here. This book is incredibly powerful and socially relevant and certainly something that makes for real Lent reading and would make for an incredibly interesting group experience for that reason. This is the book to use if you want to reach out and consider what it means to be church in our society, what it means to be "Christian", what it means to embody love in the way God and Christ did. This is definitely a book you could use for outreaching a Lent course past the boundaries of your church door. It's also a book you can read outside of Lent, just because you want to read a good book looking at love as it should probably be considered within the church setting, i.e. from the inside looking and reaching out, and from the outside as others look in.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (22/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-232-52981-4
Stapled A5 Pbk.
Price: £5.99

Friends, Foes and Families

- Lenten meditations on Bible characters and relationships

by Judith Dimond


"This is a book about relationships," writes Judith Dimond. The short daily meditations for Lent, Holy Week and Easter Week all start with a Bible character. We meet Abraham, whose wanderings have "a touch of Wagnerian opera" about them; Ruth who startlingly decides to leave home and go to Judah with mother-in-law Naomi; Philemon, resisting Paul's request to receive back his runaway slave, Onesimus; Joseph of Arimathea straddling two worlds, the Jewish priestly hierarchy and the fresh radical community of Jesus. We encounter the alienation of Cain and Judas Iscariot, and celebrate the loyalty of Jonathan. These are just a few of the imaginative meditations that Judith Dimond offers, as she points us to "reflections of our own relationships in all their fragility" in the (often dysfunctional) lives of the Biblical characters. She devotes a week to each of six important areas of relationship, giving them the headings 'Fathers', 'Couples', 'Siblings', 'Mothering', 'Friends and strangers', and 'The powerful'. The meditations are designed to lead us from confusion towards reconciliation, with each day's meditation including prayers for wisdom in relationships, and with the readings for Easter Week appropriately headed 'Relationship Restored'. This is a delightful book, which you will find a helpful companion during Lent.

Review by Barry Vendy  (10/01/13)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06456-4
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Glimpses of God

- A Course in Five Sessions

by Course booklet written by Canon David Winter


Also available an audio tape £8.99, CD £10.99, transcript of the words spoken on the CD/tape £4.99 and a ‘taster pack’ with CD for £17.65. Post and Packing free in UK and subsidised overseas, and reduction in prices for quantities – see website. If you are a fan of York Courses you will be familiar with the concept. If you are new to the courses, or new to the leadership of one, all you need is in the booklet. Starting with suggestions to leaders of how to run the course, followed by each of five sessions. In Glimpses of God these are ‘The God Who hears Our Cry’, 'The Shepherd Who Guides and Guards His People’, ‘The Son Who Is The Way The Truth and The Life’, ‘The God Who Shares Our Pain’, and ‘The God Who Calms Our Fears’. These are subjects that touch the lives of all people, especially Christians, and the words in the booklet with its extra pieces in boxes at the side of each page and its discussion questions at the end of each session, are enhanced by the opportunity to hear similar discussions between well known figures on the accompanying CD. As a reviewer I must read through the booklet and listen to the CD on my own. This I have done with great interest, reading the booklet through and listening to the CD following word by word through the transcript or just listening. To share the thoughts in a group would be to get even more out of this course - I hope I shall have the opportunity to do so. Highly recommended.

Visit the publisher's website:www.yorkcourses.co.uk/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (12/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: York Courses
Published: Autumn 2012
ISBN: 978-0-955-74378-8
Booklet
Price: £3.90

Journeying With Jesus

- Personal Reflections On The Stations Of The Cross And Resurrection: The Mowbray Lent Book

by Ed. Lucy Russell


What an incredibly simple but moving Lent book, not focusing on the days of Lent but instead focusing on the passion and resurrection of Our Lord as represented through the iconographic images of the stations of the cross. There are beautiful and simple illustrations of each station done by James Edgar in the book. Each simple reflection in the book is by a different contributor and these contributors span all traditions of churchmanship and class. We have here a truly ecumenical book that looks at the cross and Christ and reflects on the most personal elements of the human psyche in an honest and moving way. For me this is the embodiment of Christ's incarnation, death and resurrection - the reflection of the most spiritual made the most human so that we can see ourselves with all our faults and glories - and as one of the contributors reflects, "it is safer to roll the stone into place, and walk away" (page 56) than face this. I think this is a beautiful personal guide to journey with through the season of Lent, and indeed it would also make for interesting service material should one consider doing an alternative stations of the cross during Holy Week.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (12/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Published: 08 November 2012
ISBN: 978-1-408-18207-9
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Day Jesus Died



by Dick Bradnum


Dick Bradnum traces the events of Good Friday from the point when Jesus was led to crucifixion to the moment of his death. He does so from the point of view of a bystander - imagining himself there in heart and mind. Chapters are short and episodic, concentrating on the people involved - Simon of Cyrene and the Scribes, High Priests and Leaders of the people, for example – or on situations – Darkness over the whole land and the Superscription. One suspects that the material presented in the book comes from sermons and meditations - it reads that way - and it is none the worse for that! But it does sound better "aloud" - as if it is to be heard by the ears rather than read by the eyes. I can see many people finding this little book a most helpful travelling companion in Holy Week: it is short enough even to be read just on Good Friday itself. Strongly commended.

Visit the publisher's website:www.fast-print.net

Review by Nick Horton  (12/11/12)
Jacket
Publisher: FastPrint
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-26770-5
Paperback
Price: £7.99(plus P&P)

Fast & Feast

- A Daily Reflective journey Through Lent

by John Cox


We are reminded that preparations to celebrate the events of Holy Week and Easter include repentance & confession alongside commitment & renewal; 'It is a journey we take in companionship with Christ...' (p. 5).
The forty-seven daily meditations revolve round passages from Scripture and from other authors' writings, and conclude with a prayer, either the author's own or one from a variety of sources. Reflections include 'Ambition', 'Darkness', 'Guilt', 'Idolatry', 'Quarrel' and 'Unique'. It would be useful to read the 'Postcript' (p. 239) at the same time as the 'Introduction'. Subject matter is not related to the daily Lenten Lectionary.
If one takes day 28, 'Neighbour' as a typical example, there is a history of the term in the Bible and a reference to Robert Frost. Reader are left to decide what needs to be done in their own lives to be a better neighbour; a simple prayer will lead to solid resolutions.
This is suitable for individual or for group meditation. The author is not demanding or hectoring in tone - and clearly is in sympathy with the ordinary Christian. It is best used by committed Christians and for those who have had some introduction to Faith; it is for the initiated rather than the total newcomer.
The topics are ones which can be referred to at all times in the year, but definitely a resource to be kept in view ready for next Lent.

Review by J.Nicholas Latham  (24/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Kevin Mayhew Publishers
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-848-67078-5
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Finding a Voice

- A Lent Course Based on The King’s Speech

by Hilary Brand


Hilary Brand’s book steps out of the usual mould for a Lent Course, being based on the very popular film The King’s Speech. It sets out to explore, from a Christian perspective, those personal fears and trepidations that dog our lives and can make us at least miserable, at worst withdrawn and uncommunicative. It is designed for groups. However members will need their own copy and at £5.99 it may be considered expensive. There would also need to be a showing of the film.
Each of the five sessions begins with a short ‘To start you thinking’ section that participants read prior to their meeting. The session follows. This is offered as a prescribed conversation of around 80 minutes. Within that a number of short statements are presented for discussion, each being allocated a few minutes. There is then a ‘To take it further’ as homework. The style is direct and personal; it is probably for a group who already trust each other. The aim is not just to gain confidence oneself but to be aware of and able to help those who are similarly hampered. There is a short act of commitment as a sixth session. The combination of the novelty of the subject and the direct style certainly make it worthy of consideration.

Review by Paul Scott  (17/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-232-52893-0
Paperback
Price: £5.99

On the Way To The Cross

- 40 Days With the Church Fathers

by Thomas C. Oden and Joel C. Elowsky


This book came into my hands too late for Lent this year, but I’m happy to recommend it as a devotional Lenten companion in the future, though you may, of course, use it at some other time. For each of 40 days, you will find: an opening Bible verse, in the BCP version (the same verse does each day for one week); a prayer of confession (with one exception, always the same one, familiar from the BCP); a passage from John’s Gospel (in the RSV); two Reflections from the Church Fathers; a closing prayer from one of the Fathers or from the Gelasian Sacramentary and a Psalm. As one of the editors puts it, ‘This pattern for prayer will allow you to reflect on your own personal relationship with God guided by scripture and the wisdom of those who knew their scripture so well.’ The wisdom of the past shines through these words, and will reward our reflection.

Related website:www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/

Review by Barry Vendy  (17/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: IVP(Inter Varsity Press)
Published: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-830-83567-6
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Lent for Everyone: Mark, Year B



by Tom Wright


This book is the third in the Big Read series that lead us through a Gospel in Lent, following the well-established ‘For Everyone’ format. The bible passage is given in full in Wright's own translation, with two or three pages of comment (nearly always using an anecdote from the author's experience as a springboard) and a very short prayer.
When I was on retreat preparing for my present ministry part of God's word to me was to speak from the heart to the heart about the heart of the matter. I wish I could do it as well as Tom Wright! Occasionally this means that his writing has a touch of déjà vu about it, but the main thing is still the main thing, and whether as a Lenten discipline or Bible study at another time, this book has the potential to help transform lives at many levels of readership.

Review by David Thomson  (08/03/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: January 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06222-5
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Love Unknown

- The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2012

by Ruth Burrows OCD


Sr Ruth talks of her own experiences as a young Carmelite nun, much of the time struggling with her emotions but is now able to say that she has no regrets, the experience gained however painful, has stood her in good stead in later life. She sets out to share with us the realisation that in Jesus Christ we can see God.
Jesus came to serve and Sr Ruth shows us that Mary realised that and sat at Jesus feet listening to him. Martha wanted to serve Him and was rebuked. Mary understood that Jesus is not an ordinary guest; we need to allow him to serve us. Thinking that something we can do will increase God’s love for us, is missing the point. We need to open our hearts to receive His gift of love.
In her introduction Ruth Burrows quotes a friends words, ‘there is a vast difference between being religious and being a true disciple of Jesus.’ If I quoted all the phrases that leapt out at me from this book, you would not have much more book to read! I found that having read a passage, I needed to go back and read it again and perhaps again, each time getting more of the authors meaning and getting a greater understanding of what she is saying.
A devotional book that deserves a much longer ‘life’ than just the forty days of Lent.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (04/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Burns & Oates imprint of Continuum
Published: 17 November 2011
ISBN: 978-1-441-10372-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

Stations of the Nativity, Cross and Resurrection



by Raymond Chapman


Canterbury Press have combined Raymond Chapman's Stations of the Nativity and Stations of the Resurrection in a new enlarged edition and included a new section based on the Stations of the Cross.
This is a useful resource for devotion on the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ. Its reflections by the author, who is Emeritus Professor of English Literature in the University of London and a non-stipendiary priest, are thoughtful and helpful.
Meditation and worship are also stimulated by the poetry and prose from other literary sources and the wonderful woodcuts by Eric Gill and David Jones that illustrate the themes so beautifully.
I recommend this book as one that gives insight into these major themes of the Christian life and makes them accessible at any time in the year.

Review by Paddy Beresford  (03/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 31 October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-25113-7
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Love Set Free

- Meditations on Christ’s Passion

by Martin L. Smith


There are three ways of using the meditations in this book which are suggested in the introduction:
One each week of Lent, enabling the meditations to sweep in waves over our consciousness.
One each day of Holy Week – with a particularly appropriate meditation on the silence of the grave for Holy Saturday.
Using them all on Good Friday – perhaps especially helpful for someone who is unable to go to worship that day.
They are ‘invitations to allow the images that John has gathered together in his Gospel to resonate deeply in your imagination in a unique way’.
Originally published in 1998 and based on addresses at a 3-hour Good Friday service the previous year the meditations are:
Embodiment – Ecce Homo
Vulnerability – There they crucified him
Intimacy – When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved
Desire – I am thirsty
Union – One of the soldiers pierced his side
Silence – the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there
I quote from the back-cover reviews:
‘A rich stimulus to personal devotion’ – Robert Atwell, Bishop of Stockport
‘Time and again a forceful challenging phrase will make us pause, reflect, pray’ – Esther de Waal
Recommendation: I plan on using this book myself during Holy Week. Excellent!

Review by Nick Horton  (03/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
Published: 31 October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-25100-7
Paperback
Price: £7.99

On Retreat: A Lenten Journey

- Mowbray Lent Book

by Andrew Walker


The title may put some people off, because the term ‘retreat’ suggests going away somewhere, into some secluded place. However that is not what Andrew Walker means as his first paragraph makes clear. His is very much alongside the everyday. He offers a clear pattern but one that is certainly not rigid or prescriptive.
Each chapter covers one phase of the Lenten journey; ‘being human’, ‘healing’, ‘contemporary living’, ‘responsibility’, ’sexuality and spirituality’, ‘vocation and response’, ‘prayer’. They incorporate the author’s own experience which sometimes reflects his Franciscan background, continuing with a period of premeditated prayer, a couple of readings for consideration, and finally some thoughts for today encouraged by the session.
The book is clear and concise. The Bible readings for meditation are included in full in the appendix. The final parts of each session are thought provoking and sometimes risky. It is undoubtedly a good companion for any season but will particularly aid a personal re-examination this Lent. I strongly recommend it.

Review by Paul Scott  (02/02/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Mowbray imprint of Continuum
Published: 08 December 2011
ISBN: 978-0-826-43169-1
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Naturalist and The Christ

- A Lent Course based on the film Creation

by Tim Heaton


This is a fantastic Lent resource for those who want to be challenged and look deeper into the life of Darwin, a man of transitioning faith, great intellect and heartbreaking loss, because that is what this Lent course introduces us to, but also a course that addresses our current society views and values too.
Given that lent is a time of change, reflection and glimpse to sorrow then the subject matter fits perfectly to the season. This is not a creation vis á vis evolution debate, although the principles of evolution are well discussed and insightfully put forward against the backdrop of creationist theory, but rather it is a look at how faith and science meet, interact and can work together.
Given most think Darwin an Atheist (even though in fact he started a man of faith and ended as an agnostic due to loss and grief not science) it is a fantastic book for looking at how our modern world interprets faith and places it today, whilst also looking back to how at the beginning of our faith we needed apologists too.
As a Lent course for a questioning generation this is fantastic material. Well written, deeply challenging but not hard to read at all, covering many subjects that are topical, interesting and relevant with a clear insight but also a deep spirituality flowing throughout it. Certainly this is the Lent course I will want to be doing this year and will likely be thinking of it long after Lent has finished.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (19/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Circle Books imprint of John Hunt Publisjing Ltd
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-1-846-94762-9
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Heart’s Time



by Janet Morley


An anthology of poems, grouped into a succession of week-long themes for the seven weeks of Lent, and preceded by an introductory ‘engaging with Lent’ selection. Janet Morley provides a commentary for each poem, highlighting its imagery and explaining its relevance. Some are intentionally ‘Spiritual’ poems, others are not – the likes of Margaret Atwood, St Augustine, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Christina Rossetti all rub shoulders. Themes include expressing our longings, struggle, suffering, altered perspectives and finally, appropriately enough, resurrection. This would make a good gift for any poetry lover – I found several poems previously unknown to me and the commentaries provide depth and insight, not shying away from difficult matters and taboos, but ending on a positive and challenging note. Highly recommended.

Review by Diane Morrison  (19/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-281-06372-7
Paperback
Price: £9.99

The Way of the Desert

- Daily Bible Readings Through Lent to Easter

by Andrew Watson


This years BRF Lent book includes group study material as usual.
I have not attempted to read all through this book – I have kept that treat till Lent, but the first few chapters caught my attention and kept me reading. Not the way you are intended to approach this book. Reading each designated passage as a daily discipline throughout Lent, and there is a reading for Easter Day as well, would be infinitely more rewarding than rushing through as a reviewer.
The theme throughout is looking at Jesus’ life and ministry alongside Israel’s time in the desert until their entry into the promised land. Read the introduction to see how Andrew Watson has approached this subject and why. The result is a closer look at both stories than most of us have undertaken before. We are led into new thoughts and insights that will enrich our faith – but need time to ponder upon. This is where sharing in a group can be such a positive experience.
I have browsed through the prayers at the end of each chapter, and as I have thought before when looking at similar books, these could be usefully gathered together into a little book of prayers on their own. Nearly all are written by the author and based on particular verses in the Bible, they form an integral part of the daily offering.
This book is special and highly recommended.

The book has its own website:www.brfonline.org.uk/the-way-of-the-desert/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (16/01/12)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-1-841-01798-3
Paperback
Price: £7.99

Handing On the Torch

- Sacred Words for a Secular World – A Course in Five Sessions for Lent 2012

Written by John Young


‘A 5 session ecumenical course for groups or individual study, comprising booklet, CD/audiotape and transcript.’ For prices available, discounts and Taster Pack refer to the website. Free post and packing in the UK. Details of all York Courses are also on the centre pages of the booklet. The interviewer on the CD/audio tape is Simon Stanley Co-founder with John Young of York Courses. Contributions by Clifford Longley, Rachel Lampard, Archbishop Sentamu and Bishop Graham Gray

As a reviewer I have listened to the whole of the CD in one session – it is intended to be heard in five 14 minute pieces - following the words in the transcript booklet. I have sat and read through the course booklet with its guidance on how to conduct the course, boxes of quotes, subjects to talk about, questions for discussion by participants, now I want or rather need, to participate in a Lent group using this course, it raises so many issues I long to discuss with others.
That is the point of these courses, to provoke discussion within a framework of ideas, to make you think more deeply about a particular subject, to listen and learn from other peoples thoughts and beliefs.
Full marks to the team for tackling the subject of Christians facing the challenge of an increasingly multi-belief and secular society.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/12/11)
Jacket
Publisher: York Courses
Published: Autumn 2011
ISBN: 978-0-955-74376-4
Stapled booklet

The Nail

- Being Part of the Passion

by Stephen Cottrell


‘Who killed Christ?’ This short book (Stephen Cottrell is good at short books) poses this question and gives the main players in the drama of Good Friday the opportunity to justify themselves and their actions on that day, written as a series of monologues. The origins of the book go back to 1987 when the author was serving his first curacy and was challenged by his training incumbent to compose a meditation to precede the Liturgy for Good Friday. It has been re-worked and used in various ways since then but this is the first time it has been published. It is set out in such a way that the material can be used for either Lent group work, or as a drama in church. As I read through the book, I could see immediately in my mind's eye how we could use it in our church as the contents are very easy to use. Having said that, the idea of using real nails as physical reminders of our own part in the crucifixion is challenging and I could see the nails being used in a similar way to the palm crosses of Palm Sunday.

Review by Barbara Andrew  (19/12/11)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 978-0-281-06635-3
Paperback
Price: £6.99

You Will be My Witness

- Meditations for the Easter Season (Sundays and Weekdays)

by Bishop Michael Campbell


With marker ribbon The book is subtitled “Meditations for the Easter Season” and is the third in the series, the earlier ones having dealt with Advent and Lent. Bishop Michael takes us through the specified daily and Sunday readings for the period from Easter to Pentecost and points out the important things to consider and reflect upon. This is of great value for those who want to read and understand the daily Mass readings before they actually hear them in church. The book is actually a handbook, a guide, to be used in conjunction with the Missal or Bible. It would be a great companion for those who attend Mass daily and who want to examine and understand beforehand the scripture readings for that day. Bishop Campbell explains everything clearly and succinctly. It is a book to have at hand all during the Easter season.

Review by John Irvine  (13/12/11)
Jacket
Publisher: St Pauls Publishing from Redemptorist Publications
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-854-39810-2
Hardback
Price: £8.75

The Body of Christ

- The Shudder of Blissful Truth

by Sebastian Moore


The pieces that have been selected and put together, and have been built, as it were, into this book, were first distributed via computer. The editor assures the readers of this. The structure that draws them into a coherent whole is that of the Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, all have their part to play in prose and verse, to be finally focused in the resurrection. On the way Dom Sebastian has some startling and rewarding things to say. Not everyone will agree with him, but the book deserves its sub-title The Shudder of Blissful Truth

Review by Ian Gibbs  (10/10/11)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 20 May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-232-52857-2
Paperback
Price: £14.99

Hope for Easter

- Do More Together, in Word and Action

by Liza Hoeksma and Lawrence Singlehurst


Hope for Easter is an excellent Easter resource for individual or group study. It contains some good mission ideas too that can be modified for a number of situations in your local communities. It would also work in a much wider setting where a group of churches want to make an impact on a community.
A number of different well-known contributors have described what Easter means to them and have put together a total of 15 creative ideas for local mission. There are studies for both adult and youth groups that will encourage mission too.
I thoroughly recommend this resource to you and your church.

Review by Paddy Beresford  (08/10/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: 20 January 2011
ISBN: 978-1-860-24822-1
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Praying At Easter



by Donal Neary SJ


This small book covers the fifty days of the Easter cycle from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. For each day the author presents three things, first the Gospel reading for that day, then a prayer suggested by the reading, finally a reflection inspired by the reading. The whole deals with the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus and looks intimately at every aspect of the story, from Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the tomb, through John and Peter discovering it empty, to Jesus’s several live appearances and to his final confrontation with the disciples on the fiftieth day. The author in his reflections insists that we ourselves are “the ministers of the resurrection”. This is very much a practical book to be used privately or in groups or in assembly. Above all it is a book that is to be read daily for instruction and prayerful reflection.

Review by John Irvine  (26/05/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Columba Press
Published: 11 April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-856-07731-6
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Beyond Crucifixion

- Meditations on Surviving Sexual Abuse

by Beth Crisp


Beth Crisp has created a series of Lenten studies that reflect on the issues surrounding sexual abuse. As each study unfolds it becomes clear why identifying with the crucified Christ can be an important part of moving on after such abuse. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus also demonstrates why it is better to use the word ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’. There is a challenge for churches to consider whether they need to respond differently to those who have suffered such traumas.

Review by Paddy Beresford  (03/03/11)
Jacket
Publisher: DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published: 11 November 2010
ISBN: 978-0-232-52843-5
Paperback
Price: £10.99

Exploring God’s Mercy

- Five Images of Salvation

by Steven Croft


A short study guide focusing on five classic images of the Christian gospel.
Trapped and set free
Sick in soul and healed
In turmoil and being at peace
Barren and becoming fruitful
Each chapter explores one of these images through stories, popular culture, biblical material and Christian tradition. Discussion starters, questions, prayers, links to free online material and a leader's guide are included, making this ideal for Lent groups or as an introductory course to the Christian faith at any time of year.
There is a companion series of videos and podcasts: see publisher’s website


Review by publisher  (23/02/11)
Jacket
Publisher: Church House Publishing (CHP) part of Hymns Ancient & Modern
Published: Summer 2010
ISBN: 978-0-715-14224-0
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Come and See



by Stephen Cottrell


First published in as On This Rock – Bible Foundations for Christian Living 2003
Reading, reflection and prayer are helpfully visited in this revision of a former 2003 publication that is an effective first reader to the life of a struggling, true, first-follower of Jesus. This compact guide to Lenten weeks is an able accompaniment to life and learning from the life of Peter. There is a compelling reality to this discipleship journey in the breadth and searching in the New Testament sweep of scriptures offered here. These twenty-eight readings are accompanied by pithy, provoking and helpful resources for reflection. Clear and chewy!

Review by publisher  (23/02/11)
Jacket
Publisher: BRF (Bible Reading Fellowship)
Published: 18 February 2011
ISBN: 978-1-841-01843-0
Paperback
Price: £6.99