Sarum Bookshop Manager on National Panel

Te8AH6rz_300x200If you were asked for your list of the best Christian books of all time, which titles would you chose?

Jenny Monds, Manager of the award-winning Sarum College Bookshop in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close faced this difficult task when she was asked to contribute her list, and was part of the judging panel in the exciting project run by the Church Times newspaper to find the best 100 Christian books.

“It was great fun and a privilege to be part of this project,” said Jenny. “But also quite daunting given the academic credentials of the other judges, and what initially seemed to be an impossible task.”

Jenny joined a panel chaired by Martyn Percy, and which included Rupert Shortt, Jane Williams and David Winter, former head of Religious Broadcasting at the BBC.

“We were shut in a room for a day and not let out until we had agreed our list!” Jenny explained.

The 100 books were whittled down from an initial long list of 700, based on suggestions from a large number of contributors including The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam.

Jenny found her 12 years of working with theological books in both the library and bookshop at Sarum College invaluable.

“Different judges might well choose different titles,” she said, “but we have come up with a list of influential books which have stood the test of time, or which we think will survive and influence future books, and which includes fiction and poetry. The list is sure to be of interest and provoke debate.”

Interested in the results? Numbers 100 to 51 on the list will be published in the Church Times on the 26th September, 50 to 11 on the 3rd October and 1 to 10 in the 10th October edition.

But don’t try asking Jenny for the results ahead of those dates – she is sworn to secrecy!

Have your say. Tweet with hashtag #CT100, visit the dedicated website and the Facebook page.

The books are on sale through Sarum College Bookshop, and almost all the titles are in the library at Sarum College.

Where To From Here? The Christian Vision of Life After Death

Have you ever picked up a book unexpectedly and been blown away by it?

I have no memory of when or where I got this book, but looking for something to read among a stack of books I had put aside for study, my eyes fell on Where to From Here by Brian Grogan. I picked it up and began to read. I found that I could not just read it but noticed myself stopping and ruminating and then praying almost every paragraph. I have come to the end now, and I felt compelled to begin again at a even slower pace.

Reading about Eschatology has never been an exciting experience for me but this book has opened up exciting ideas and feelings about the End Times, personally and generally. In times of disaster, bad news and cynicism this is a book that deals with the reality of our world and fills me with hope. It is not about “pie in the sky” but deals with the here and now and the joyful “intimations ” of how that will be fulfilled. If you are fearful of death, or wonder how you can speak to others about the Last Things, here is a book that without being naive treats these matters seriously and answers them well grounded in Scripture and Tradition. Enjoy a good read.

Brian Grogan SJ (2011) Where To From Here? The Christian Vision of Life After Death. Veritas Publications

Review by Sr Mairead Quigley

Book Launch with Dan Cohn-Sherbok and Mary Grey

71xCFYYrMXL._SL1500_ (1)Mary Grey and Dan Cohn-Sherbok were in Sarum College to introduce their new book ‘Debating Palestine and Israel’. A crowd of 30 were treated to an engaging and thought provoking talk from the co-authors. The evening began with a brief introduction from Mary and Dan, the talk then evolving into a series of exchanges and discussions.

‘Debating Palestine and Israel’ is unusual in the sense that it is very well balanced and clearly puts across both sides of the argument. The book is fundamentally a series of exchanges between the two authors and although both have very different views, both are pro-reconciliation and peace.

“No matter how much you think you know about this tragic struggle, you’ll learn a lot more, and have a better ability to contribute to its resolution, after you read this book!”

Michael Lerner

‘Debating Palestine and Israel’ is available to order from Sarum College Bookshop for the special price of £11.50 until 31st October 2014. RRP £12.99.


Dan Cohn-Sherbok is Emeritus Professor of Judaism at the University of Wales and Honorary Professor at Aberystwyth University. Mary Grey is Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Wales.


Bookshop Bestsellers August 2014

Sarum College BookshopThe August bestsellers list shows some re-entries from previous months bestsellers.

The Beatitudes stage in the Pilgrim series is once again proving to be popular, as is Paul Vallely’s ‘Pope Francis: Untying the Knots’. Lectionaries and diaries for 2015 are continuing to sell well as people are getting organised and prepared for next year.

1. Common Worship Lectionary 2014-2015, Canterbury Press Norwich £4.99

2. Anglican Social Theology: Renewing the Vision Today by Malcolm Brown, Church House Publishing £19.99 

3. Being Christian by Rowan Williams, SPCK £7.99

4. Church Book and Desk Diary 2015, Canterbury Press Norwich £18.99

5. Pilgrim: The Beatitudes (Follow 4) by Stephen Cottrell et al, Church House Publishing £5.99

6. Ten: Why Christianity Makes Sense by John Pritchard, SPCK £9.99

7. Image of Christ in Modern Art by Richard Harries, Ashgate Publishing £19.99

8. In Season and Out of Season by Jeremy Davies, Canterbury Press Norwich £19.99

9. Pope Francis: Untying the Knots by Paul Vallely, Bloomsbury Publishing £12.99

10. Rules for Reverends by Jeremy Fletcher and Dave Walker, BRF £6.99

Book of the Month: September 2014

914KJYPN5dL._SL1500_Music at Midnight by John Drury

Like many people, my introduction to George Herbert was at school singing ‘Teach me my God and King in all things thee to see’ during assembly. Drury’s love of Herbert’s poetry and his analysis of its role and place in Herbert’s understanding of God, the nature of the church, and his vocation is both detailed and incisive. The introduction on ‘Herbert’s World’ provides the important contextual ground work for understanding and appreciating both the subject of the book, and the characters who occupy it.

Drury offers his work in three parts: The first provides us with an insight into George Herbert’s formative years, his struggles with vocation and his relationship to God. The second part begins with the beguiling chapter entitled ‘Lost in a humble way’, articulating Herbert’s ongoing questioning of the nature of God, and his seeking to understand ‘What does God want?’ This section continues with ‘Bring a Country Parson’, the account of his ministry at Bemerton. Here we are offered insights into his relationship with his wife; his self understanding of being a pastor, as well as his questioning of whether he is ‘A Priest to the Temple or a Country Parson.’ ‘Herbert’s Death’ after little more than three years at Bemerton, and just short of his fortieth year, provides a sobering reflection on mortality. He died having uttered the words, “Lord receive my soul”, and ‘expired without any apparent disturbance.’

Drury bids us reflect on the brevity of Herbert’s ‘Days and Years’ in the light of ‘Christ’s own redemptive dying for love (that) has changed the look of everything.’ Prayer, the liturgy and the observation of the church’s year are what sustained Herbert’s life and provide the substance of his legacy and continued place in Anglican polity. This final chapter of the second part leads to Drury’s third section reflecting on the content, nature and impact of Herbert’s poetry, perception and pastoral legacy. It is the comprehensive nature of Drury’s analysis and understanding of Herbert’s work and influence that ultimately reveals Herbert’s restlessness in his desire both to experience and comprehend the ‘conception of Christian love.’

This is a very modern biography, despite its subject. Here we face a human being, albeit a privileged and academically able one, struggling with many of the questions that beset us moderns. I recall that shortly after his stroke the presenter and journalist Andrew Marr spoke of the significance of Drury’s book in helping him to address the circumstances in which he now found himself. I suspect it will be a book that really will find an increasing point of reference as faculties fail, mortality is faced, and the wisp of unanswered questions increasingly demand attention.

Reviewd by the Rt. Rev Peter B.Price

Special price of £8.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or £6.99 + postage online from between 1st and 30th September 2014. RRP £9.99.