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by Margaret Whipp
Publisher:SCM imprint of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd
This well written book aims to provide a broad introduction to the area of pastoral theology, and succeeds in its aim; I found it to be informative and engaging. It provides questions for discussion or reflection at the end of each chapter, which would potentially make the book even more effective in a group or course setting. It is a book in two parts:
The first part discusses humanity and what it means to be fully human and live life in all its fullness. I particularly liked the discussion of the relational and corporate nature of faith; ‘the pastoral ministry of the Church is sometimes mistakenly seen as dealing primarily with individuals in need. This is quite a dangerous misconception...pastoral care is always about growing together.'
The second part of the book is concerned with the practical aspects of pastoral care; the author discusses pastoral conversation, integrity, boundaries and abuse. She also looks at some key themes from historic approaches to pastoral care that have had profound influences on current thinking and practice.
If you are new to pastoral theology I would highly recommend this book. It is easy to read and to understand and gives an excellent introduction to the breadth of the theology behind pastoral care, with a wealth of further reading suggestions at the end of every chapter.
Reviewer: Tim Hupfield (14/01/15)