Book of the Month: July 2013

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr (2012)

Who would have thought that the footballers would have it right after all? It is a game of two halves. And to help us make the most of both, Richard Rohr’s comparatively slim volume (167 pages) – together with a companion journal for use by individuals or groups – outlines what he calls “a spirituality for the two halves of life.”

This is no linear progression but a positive change from one way of being to another, which – he fears – not every individual or institution is able to make. Not even the church, which is a tragedy when you think that it was based on the life and ministry of a second half of life teacher. The church, he says, has somehow moved away from spiritual transformation to mere management of sin. In fact, Rohr argues, we should not get rid of our sin until we have learned what it has to teach us. “Salvation is not sin perfectly avoided… salvation is sin turned on its head and used in our favour. That is how transformative divine love is.”

This is not to say that the first half of life is somehow inherently sinful: it is the necessary process of establishing our identity, our home, our security, our sense of self, so we can get to a point where we understand that, to grow spiritually, we must leave it all behind. Having reached the top, we may find a place where we ask “is that all there is?” and we need the confidence to fall and find out. Like the composer who spends time on the theme before creating the variations, we need a strong structure from which to move forward even (perhaps especially) if we are going to start taking it apart and, in the words of the Arabian proverb, throw our hearts ahead and run after them.

Rohr’s book is a wise and compassionate companion on that journey: helping us to exchange knowledge for wisdom, sound for silence (“the only language spacious enough to include everything”), the self for the divine, and the unforgiving light of certainty for the inner brightness of love as, like the paralysed man by the pool at Bethesda, we dare to go down to find up, healing and wholeness.

Reviewed by Revd. Norma Fergusson, Assistant Curate, Rowde & Bromham  

Published by SPCK Publishing, ‘Falling Upward’ is normally priced at £10.99. Mention the Website to order a copy at the special price of £9.99 and POST FREE from Sarum College Bookshop until July 31st 2013

There is also a Companion Journal published this year priced at £9.99 or order both volumes for £19.98.

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Congratulations to Sarum College’s 2013 Graduates

Photographs by Ash Mills

Each year on Presentation Day students along with their family and friends celebrate achieving their postgraduate qualification from Sarum College.

This year’s Presentation Day was held on Saturday 15 June 2013.

Postgraduate certificates were awarded to: Pauline Main, Caroline Wilson, Gillian Dyer and Angelica Kennard.

Postgraduate diplomas were awarded to: Charlotte Sharkey, Margaret Godsland, Pamela Mather, Amanda Miles, Juliusz Wodzianski.

Master’s degrees were awarded to: Patrick McEune, Debra Harris, Damian Hursey, Janet MacNally, Michael Perrott, Susan Porter, Doreen Mills, Diana Townsend, Brenda Wallace, Ian Yemm, Hugh Bonsey and Allyson Davies.

Congratulations to all!

More information about postgraduate study at Sarum College

Talk and Book Signing with Paula Gooder

PaulaGooderWebAs part of the Sarum Theological Lectures, Dr Paula Gooder was at Sarum College in July.

She enthralled a group of 30 guests with a talk on her new book, The Bible: A Beginner’s Guide Dr. Gooder also took the time to sign copies of her latest book as well as her previous books, including Heaven and Everyday God.

The Bible: A Beginner’s Guide explores how to approach this multifaceted text and its enduring influence on Western culture, from Renaissance art to the controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Covering its history, translation, interpretation, and selection of the canon, Gooder’s infectious enthusiasm for the Bible offers an engaging and wide-ranging primer to those of any and no faith alike.


Book of the Month: June 2013

Creative Ways to tell a Bible Story: Techniques and Tools for exploring the Bible with Children and Families by Martin Payne (2013)Creative Ways to tell a Bible Story: Techniques and Tools for exploring the Bible with Children and Families by Martin Payne (2013)

Jesus chose storytelling as a way to share deep ideas with adults, children and young people; His stories prompted questions and lots of thinking. We read Bible stories to children to share the good news; this book will help you to be a better story teller.

Martin Payne, a member of the Barnabas Children’s Ministry Team, is a very experienced storyteller in both church and school settings with children and adults. His experience shows in this excellent book of ideas that bring 68 bible stories to life for all ages.

When we share a Bible story we want children to know the story, understand the message of the story and think about how it might apply to them, but most importantly we want them to engage with the story. Martin offers many ways to do this using all the senses and imagination.

The book is divided into three sections. In section one there are excellent ideas on how to engage with the story. For example: building bridges from the present back to the story to bring it out from the past and make it relevant today.

In section two Martin concentrates on making the stories from the bible as accessible as possible and whatever your personal style you will find something here that you will feel able to try.  You might have tried acting out the story, but how about walking through the story and telling it on the move?

The final section contains ways to reflect on the story, a crucial part of the process, and Martin makes it so much more than questions to check whether they listened.

This book is a fantastic tool for all storytellers whether you tell Bible stories in church, Sunday School, collective worship or messy church.

Reviewed by Barbara Meardon, Adviser for Work with Children and Families in Salisbury Diocese.

Published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF), ‘Creative Ways to tell a Bible Story’ is normally priced at £8.99.  Mention Sarum College website to order a copy at the special price of £7.99 and POST FREE until June 30th 2013.

New Era for Butterfield Wing at Sarum College

Butterfield Wing tour

An excerpt from Bishop Nicholas Holtam’s speech on May 22nd, 2013

“We can all enjoy the past and the traditions of this place, and there are great stories about it. There is also a really interesting present which creates something of significance and substance for the diocese, for the regional church ecumenically – not just the CoE – and there is a national significance of Sarum College now.

I am very struck by the mix of the organisations that belong here, and I think we know, we know deep down that it’s better together. That the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and therefore there’s energy here in a way that I think hasn’t been here for some time. Now we need to capitalise on that and use it. We’ve completed a phase, we’re thrilled – it’s a great achievement!

There’s a lot more still to do physically, and I think much more important in terms of the relationship of the organisations, in service of the wider church. So I’m deeply thankful for what’s been done; I’m really grateful to be a bishop with Sarum College and the other organisations that belong here contributing so strongly to the life of the church. But I do think there’s a prize to be won, which is for the sake of the future.

This place has a strong and considerable future that we look forward working for and with.
What an exciting future there is if we can grasp it and recognise how much better it is together.”