From the Church & Ministry: Theory & Resources section

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What Clergy Do

Especially When It Looks Like Nothing

by Emma percy


Price: £12.99
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published:April 2014


The old adage of 'six days invisible.....' when referring to clergy used to be regularly spoken of. Thankfully those days are long gone. Here in this rich and loaded text from Emma Percy is one of the most helpful theological works on the pattern of parish life taking the maternal metaphor as the dominant lens. This a beautiful and chewy work that deserves not to be read quickly.  

I loved the 'food is in the fridge' metaphor as it was well explored by Percy. There is challenge, realism and failure visited thoroughly in this rigorous work. Few pastoral ministry titles grapple with 'constant interruptablity' and the palpable realities of never being finished, for there is always more to do. 

Percy engages with the focus on church growth as the primary marker of success and the need to ‘keep the show on the road,’ nurturing a congregation in its faith and growing in community. Never defaulting to advocate church in club mentality, but recognising that much of the daily work is not measurable as an easy output or performance indicator. Percy's prevailing idea is the need for a change of language, quantifying comfort, engaging pastoral faithfulness and making peace with the reality of failure too.

Value is explored well. This is rich in analysis, complexity and care. This is a weighty brilliant vocational work of discovery. I trust the gender lens will not spoil the receptivity of this vital and important text. This is an anglican must-read, for ordinands, clergy and churchwardens. Rarely is the pivotal role of clergy and the nurture they can offer in Christ so well explored.

Because "we are owned by eternity" we are invited to serve realistically well in the light of this. This is top-class stuff. Thank-you Emma Percy. 


Reviewer: Johnny Douglas   (20/06/14)
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