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From Advent to Harvest: Resources for worship in a complex world

Author: Mark Geldard
Published By: SPCK (London)
Pages: 220
Price: £12.99
ISBN: 978 0 281 07093 0

Reviewed by Richard Dormandy.

There is nothing really wrong with this book, but I didn’t find it very stimulating.  As a collection of resources, you can see how they might work and be do-able, but on the whole, they simply don’t go very deep; nor do they inspire the imagination.

For example, there is a drama called “Upside Down People”. In truth, it’s not a drama at all. It’s a fairly basic sermon split into two voices. There’s no sense of story, dramatic movement, nor even any humour to speak of. So it’s okay, but nothing more.

Palm Sunday Procession is standard fare - possibly useful if you want a ready-made dialogue description of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, with a brief reflection using palm crosses.

“One of Us” is a lengthy Christmas reflection. The thoughts are all good but the language is a bit prosaic. The same can be said of the Pentecost readings. 

The most stimulating piece is a reflection for Remembrance Sunday entitled, “Lord, are you tempted to intervene?” But what is the relevance to Remembrance exactly? Is the writer suggesting that we shouldn’t have intervened in the World Wars because God didn’t intervene? Maybe he is, but if so, there needs to be more material and more stimulus. In the prayers, he suggests that God did intervene (in Jesus) in his own way. So then I want more information on other means of non-military intervention today. What I get is some decent but ordinary prayers.

The most useful chapter is “The Problem of Suffering” in which three classic Christian viewpoints are offered, with a simple evaluation of each. Accompanying this chapter is a Powerpoint presentation (one of four), that can be freely downloaded from a website detailed in the book. This is a collection of pictures to accompany the talk.

One of the stated aims is to be “simple to use” - and if there are people who will usefully use it, who am I to stand in their way? The back cover quotes endorsements from two bishops after all! Maybe I am expecting too much. I’d give it a worthy 5 out of 10.

Richard Dormandy

Vicar, Holy Trinity, Tulse Hill, South London

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You are reading Issue 63 of Ministry Today, published in April 2015.

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