Book of the Month: October 2016

9780281076215Advent for Everyone: A Journey Through Matthew by Tom Wright The Archbishop of York’s Advent Book 2016)

Tom Wright is a writer who needs no introduction, and this book is a brilliant addition to his long list of publications. For anyone who hasn’t picked up a book by this very popular author previously, now is the time to start.

The focus of this book is preparation, but not the preparations for Christmas that we are most familiar with: reading the Nativity story and the idea of giving (including shopping for presents.) For an advent book there is surprisingly little about the nativity story. The main focus of this book is preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ; making us into better Christians and creating a small glimpse of the Kingdom on Earth. ‘Time’ and ‘patience’ are other key themes in this book of preparation, but it is the concept of becoming a better follower of Christ that really concerns Tom Wright. ‘A journey though Matthew’ is the subtitle of this book, and it really is a journey through the key themes found throughout Matthew’s gospel; watching, repenting, healing and loving.

The book covers the four weeks of Advent starting each Sunday. Each day there is a bible passage, printed in full for convenience, a modern illustration of the main theme in the passage (usually an episode from Tom Wright’s life) and a more detailed explanation of the passage. In each section Wright discusses what the first readers of Matthew’s Gospel would have understood and what we can take away from it today. As ever Tom Wright’s depth and range of knowledge is clear in this book, but presented in an easily accessible way, making it an ideal read for both fans and newcomers alike.

This book is a pleasure to read and an ideal guide through the Advent season.

Reviewed by Lynette White, Sarum College

Buy Advent for Everyone: A Journey Through Matthew at the special price of £7.99 in the shop (posted out for free) or buy online for £5.99 + postage until 31 October 2016. RRP £8.99.

“If you do nothing else in your preparation for Christmas, read this book!…This is a highly accessible and imaginative Advent book that will be a great resource to individuals and parish groups…I am delighted to commend it to you as my Advent Book for 2016” – John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

Lectionary Reading Blog for 9 October: 20th Sunday after Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualityTen men are asked to act in faith and go, as if they are healed, to the priests for the ritual that will change their status in society from outcast and leper to full member and clean. All ten go.

Is it just worth a try? Or do they believe in God’s power in Jesus whom they call “master”? All ten are made clean (katharizo in v.14) and are healed (iaomai in v.15) but only one returns to praise God and say “thank you”.

For Jesus this “thank you” is very important it seems almost more important than the obedience (and faith?) of the going. As a complete surprise Jesus tells the one grateful one who is a ‘foreigner’ (literally: born elsewhere): “Rise up, go forth, your faith has preserved you”. He was already healed and now something else is added: sozo in Greek. It means to heal, to preserve, to save.

In this story it seems as if faith is not obedience to Jesus’ word but gratitude for his work. It seems as if healing is more than only physically getting well. As we journey in obedience we need to remember to also turn back in praise and thanksgiving. That is when the real miracle might happen.

9 October 2016
Luke 17:11-19

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Sarum College Bookshop Wins National Award

award-2-2016Sarum College Bookshop has been named as ‘Independent Large Retail Store of the Year Runner Up 2016’ in the recent national awards presented by Christian Resources Together.

The Bookshop is part of Sarum College, which runs specialist courses in theology and spirituality.

The judges said the awards “are testament of the passion and commitment of those who manage and work in the business.”

Jenny Monds, Sarum College Bookshop Manager said, “The bookshop has a wonderful, dedicated team of staff and volunteers and a loyal customer base. I see the award is a boost for all the team, and a thank you to our customers for supporting us.”

“This is a shop which is to be highly commended for having a vision and strategy to develop the business outside of its core market and… [is] well worth a visit,” said Clem Jackson, editor of Together Magazine.

The awards cover all aspects of the Christian book trade, and winning books from other award categories will be on display in the shop.

Sarum College Bookshop welcomes all book-lovers and has a wide range of stock, including novels and local interest titles, as well as cards and gifts. Staff are happy to order books on any subject, including out-of-print titles.

Portrait of a Bookshop – Sarum College Features in Bookselling Essentials Newsletter

NewBookshopIn the first of an occasional series in Bookselling Essentials Newsletter, Pippa Halpin meets Sarum College Bookshop manager Jenny Monds.

In the feature titled Portrait of a Bookshop, Jenny goes through some of her top tips for bookshops and explains how joining in with national bookshop campaigns, hosting author events and providing a personal service has helped the bookshop keep customers coming back.

Read the full feature as a PDF (with kind permission of Bookselling Essentials Newsletter).

Lectionary Reading Blog for 2 October: 19th Sunday after Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualityWhy would you want to plant a mulberry tree in the sea?

In Matthew (17:20; 21:21) and Mark (11:23) it is not a tree but a mountain that is moved or thrown in the sea. This I understand. There are lots of mountains in my life that need moving. But are there also trees that need uprooting and replanting in the sea? Does the illustration invite us to picture the sea (image of chaos and the abyss) as grounding for a tree? The mulberry tree has medicinal properties. In faith, healing can be rooted in chaos.

Why would disciples say: “we are worthless slaves”? Achreios (worthless) is the Greek word for behaviour that “lacks usefulness”. It is in Greek used derogatory for slaves who do not work well. In the context of this parable it sounds exceedingly harsh: Jesus compares discipleship with severe slave labour. I wonder whether underneath the alienation that these images of Jesus provoke there is a deep comfort. The Kingdom of God might seem utterly strange (mulberry tree in sea) and impossible to attain (tough slave labour) but if we just do as we are told by God and act in faith the Kingdom of God naturally flourishes, so unobtrusive that we might be surprised: surprised by healing flowing from chaos and service coming from the master.

2 October 2016
Luke 17:5-10

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Lectionary Reading Blog for 25 September: 18th Sunday after Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualitySometimes I wonder whether Luke’s first readers ever tired of his endless attack on the rich.

In this reading the only reason Lazarus seems to ‘deserve’ to be carried by the angels to Abraham is that he was poor and suffered ‘evil things’ (v. 25).

The rich man’s situation seems to me to be more complex. Even in Hades where he was tormented he still seems to think of Lazarus only in terms of how he can be of use. He still does not seem to understand what equality with Lazarus might look like.

Also in the discussion between Abraham and the rich man it is implied that the rich man did not listen to ‘Moses and the prophets’. Clearly the rich man and Abraham (and Jesus of course as the teller of the story) all think that there is something very clear in ‘Moses and the prophets’ about this situation. I wonder if the rich man had listened to ‘Moses and the prophets’ what would have been different? What do Moses and the prophets teach us about sharing with the poor? What does that mean for us in our lives?

Clearly if we cannot hear the message of sharing with the poor from the Hebrew Bible we will not hear it even if someone rises from the dead. Now someone has risen from the dead – will we listen to Jesus’ plea?

25 September 2016
Luke 16: 19-end

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Faithful Improvisation: Theological Reflection on Church Leadership

faithfulimprovisionJoin Sarum College Bookshop on Tuesday 11 October from 5pm for the launch of Faithful Improvisation, co-edited by Loveday Alexander.

The production of the Green Report generated considerable debate in the Church of England about the applicability of practices from the business world to the development of leaders in the church. Amid the noise of those debates, the measured report of the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC), Senior Church Leadership: A Resource for Reflection, was widely welcomed for the depth of its biblical and theological perspective.

Faithful Improvisation includes the full text of the FAOC report, together with a series of accompanying essays. Their authors include Mike Higton, a member of the Commission, Rachel Treweek, the Bishop of Gloucester, and Tim Harle, Coordinator of Sarum’s Centre for Leadership Learning.

Loveday Alexander is a member of FAOC. She is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield and Canon Theologian of Chester Cathedral. She led a well- received Biblical Study Break on Luke at Sarum College last year.

This book launch offers an important opportunity to hear from an authoritative figure in current debates about church leadership. Don’t miss her talk, “Take me to your leader — Biblical Patterns of Leadership”.

Telephone 01722 326899 or email

Listening to Your Life: 30 Ways to Discern Direction For Your Future

listeningtoyourlifeJoin Sarum College Bookshop on Friday 7 October from 6.30pm for the launch of Listening to Your Life by Julia Mourant.

Julia Mourant is an Anglican priest and Scholar in Residence at Sarum College where she leads courses in Spiritual Direction. Julia has worked as a Diocesan Director of Ordinands and has held posts in Vocations and in clergy and lay training. She also holds an MA in coaching and mentoring and draws on many threads in accompanying others on their vocational and spiritual path.

“This book is for everyone considering the meaning, purpose and direction of life”

Tickets for this evening are £3 and include a glass of wine or soft drink
Telephone 01722 326899 or email

Bookshop Bestsellers: August 2016

Sarum College BookshopThe August bestsellers from Sarum College Bookshop.

  1. Short Stories by Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine, Harperone £14.50
  2. Being Disciples by Rowan Williams, SPCK £8.99
  3. Pilgrim: The Lord’s Prayer by Steve Croft, Church House Publishing £5.99
  4. Church Book and Desk Diary 2017, Canterbury Press Norwich £19.99
  5. Refuge Stories: Seven Personal Journeys Behind the Headlines by Dave Smith, Instant Apostle £9.99
  6. Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry by Mark Oakley, Canterbury Press Norwich £12.99
  7. Advent for Everyone: A Journey Through Matthew by Tom Wright, SPCK £8.99
  8. Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality by Tim Stead, SPCK £9.99
  9. Not in God’s Name by Jonathan Sacks, Hodder & Stoughton £9.99
  10. Our Last Awakening by Janet Morley, SPCK £9.99