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Church on Trial

Author: Jessica Rose
Published By: Darton Longman Todd (Londond)
Pages: 192
Price: £14.95
ISBN: 978 0 232 52768 1

Reviewed by Stephen Henwood.

This is a book of stories. They are stories about individuals and their relationship with the church. Whilst using “church” to mean those congregations that accept the belief in the Trinitarian God, the book predominantly tells the stories of individuals associated with the Anglican, Roman Catholic or the author’s Orthodox Church background.

Jessica Rose, a PK (Priest’s kid) brings together stories of those who have found church helpful and those who have had a distain for the organisation. She recognises the church as a complex organism - it is more than a building and people look for different experiences and hold quite different expectations about church.

As you read, you will be dismayed at some of the stories, as well as finding hope and encouragement in others. The church is full of imperfect people, who at time by their behaviour prove it. On other occasions, the same people can display the love of Christ in remarkable ways that mean so much to others.

The book does have a feel of the work of Alan Jamieson whose books Journeying in Faith and A Churchless Faith looks at similar stories and issues. There have always been people leaving and joining the church, finding faith or losing it and being helped and hindered by the behaviour and expectations they feel others impose on them.

We can learn a great deal from stories, and it is through knowing our weaknesses that we are able grow and make the Christian faith relevant and the Church attractive and relevant to the needs and expectations of 21st Century seeker.

Stephen Henwood

The Revd Stephen Henwood is a Baptist minister and Chaplaincy Team Leader at St Francis' Hospice, Romford Essex.

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You are reading Issue 48 of Ministry Today, published in March 2010.

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