Book of the Month: September 2017

The Naked God: Wrestling for a Grace-ful Humanity by Vincent Strudwick

I ought to declare a historical interest in this wonderfully and creatively written book which is part autobiography, part history and part extremely good theology! I first met Vincent in 1987 as a newly appointed chaplain to Bishop Richard Harries and experienced it first-hand his presence as a teacher and educator in the Diocese of Oxford. He was a skilled and wise teacher with a heart for prayer and people. There was a warm humanity to his work; above all those who worked with him felt loved, encouraged and enriched.

All these qualities and more come into play in this refreshing narrative. Eight chapters, carefully crafted and organised tackle questions head-on about the Bible, our experience of God, the nature of spirituality and the Church. There is a faithful commitment to those of us who wish to be honest about the struggles present in how we make sense of life and especially living with paradox, ambiguity and contradiction. The text urges us on into a deeper questioning that we must ask of ourselves, the societies we shape and the religion we share. Vincent’s honesty, experience and refusal to take refuge in irrelevance or superficiality make this a hopeful but also demanding read.

I recommend it as an Autumn read and possibly to be read together with friends or in home groups. You will not be disappointed and your intellectual horizons broadened into why theology can be a tool for human flourishing enabling us to understand our present religious situation and live with compassion and imagination.

Vincent’s humanity, his outward looking perspective combined with a sense of depth, his sense of fun and his deep love shine through this very original book. We are indebted for his perseverance and for Jane Shaw and her encouraging support.

Reviewed by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College

The Naked God is just £11.50 until September 30th 2017 (RRP £12.99), available from our online shop + £2.50 postage, or mail order by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing

Sarum Graduate Takes Study to the Next Level

Congratulations to The Revd Steve Sheppard who completed his MA at Sarum in 2016, and will embark on a doctorate in practical theology (DTh) at Roehampton University.

The pastor of Waters Edge Elim Church in Poole plans to develop his Sarum dissertation on ideas formed from his 17 years as an iron worker.

His dissertation, ‘I’m an iron worker you can trust me’ explores a model of leadership and teamwork amongst ironworkers.

Steve smiles wryly as he recalls the collective gasp – ‘like “who’s this?”‘ – when he walked into that first module in cut-off jeans, the engine of his Harley Davidson cooling in the car park.

As there were no academic records of study in the area, Steve used photos and articles, historical narratives and says he is grateful for the College’s willingness to support his research without a scholarly back catalogue.

In his conclusion, Steve states: ‘Despite the lack of academic writing on this subject … mutual trust has always been an essential central component in the work ethic of many generations of ironworkers…. Their contribution to the advancement of ironwork mastery which resulted in the Industrial Revolution, not only provided the world with a trusted material to build with, but laid a foundation for the future development of mutual trust in leadership and teamwork. ‘

Steve plans to expand his dissertation into a book complete with some of those familiar and iconic images of ironworkers in high risk settings.

‘Not bad for a former iron worker who didn’t even get an O level,’ he says.

Not bad at all. Congratulations, Steve.

Learn more about our study programmes

An Evening of Fun and Stockingfillers

Meet authors Gary Alderson and Rich Wyld and cartoonist Dave Walker for an introduction to their idiosyncratic take on life as we explore Writes of the ChurchThe World according to Theologygrams and How to Avoid the Peace.

Monday 11 December at 6.30pm

The former is a collection of letters for the church magazine, where the locals write what they actually think. The writers are odd and aggressive and bicker and complain, the vicar is overworked, but the depth of their love for the church comes through the threats to boycott the church over a tea towel, the obsession over saving money and the complaints that children are allowed into the church during an act of worship. And all illustrated by Dave Walker, who many of you will know from his annual calendars, his own books and his cartoons in the ‘Church Times’.

Gary Alderson has quite a following as @Gerrarrdus on Twitter, and for his blog The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley, and has an alter ego Archdruid Eileen.  He also has a blog  Writes of the Church.

The World according to Theologygrams follows the very popular Theologygrams and is another look at the world around us and the Christian faith through Rich Wyld’s unique colour diagrams and commentary. Funny, cheeky and genuinely instructive, the books have wide appeal.

Dave Walker comes up with a cartoon for the Church Times every week, and is the author of a number of books on the church (and on cycling). His latest book is How to Avoid the Peace. Buy one of his books and you may get a doodle inside as well as a signature!

This evening is free and open to all, refreshments provided
To book telephone 01722 326899 or email

Resourcing a Good Advent

Enjoy a cup of tea and a chance to look at what resources are available to help us through Advent, with liturgical and spiritual reflections as well as lots of practical ideas.

Wednesday 1 November, 3pm to 5pm

Sarum College Bookshop will be joined by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, and authors Tessa Wilkinson and Jan Brind, who write for the popular Church House Publishing Creative Ideas  series.

Jan and Tessa will bring a selection of creative ideas that a parish church could use during Advent.

Come and be inspired for Advent!

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
To book telephone 01722 326899 or email

Salisbury’s Secret Libraries

To celebrate Libraries Week, Sarum College Library will be joining Salisbury Public Library, Salisbury Cathedral Library and the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Library for a programme of free talks, displays and tours.

Read the 5 October 2017 WordUp Column in the Salisbury Journal 

All Week
Display of maps, ephemera and photos from store at Salisbury Public Library

Saturday 7 October
Highlights of Salisbury Cathedral Library: Medieval to Modern, Music to Mice. 11am, Salisbury Public Library, Gallery 4. Free tickets available from Salisbury Public Library.

Monday 9 October
Libraries Yesterday, Today, and in the Future. 2pm, Salisbury Public Library. Free tickets available from Salisbury Public Library.

Tuesday 10 October
Salisbury Cathedral Library drop-in and display. 12pm to 4pm

Thursday 12 October
Salisbury Cathedral Library drop-in and display. 10am – 1pm

Friday 13 October
Displays in Sarum College Library all day with guided tours at 10am and 12pm. Display and talk by Dr John Henderson entitled: ‘The RSCM College Library Aged Four Score Years and Ten.’ 2.30pm, Sarum College Library. Tea at 3.15pm followed by a talk at 4pm by Dr John Elliott entitled: ‘It Began with a Bequest: Theological Education and Sarum College’. Free tickets for both of these talks are available from Sarum College Library, by telephoning 01722 424803 or by emailing

Saturday 14 October
Children’s fun and activities day in Salisbury Public Library

Bookshop Bestsellers: August 2017

Below is the list of the top ten bestsellers in Sarum College Bookshop in August.

1. Common Worship Lectionary 2017-2018, Church House Publishing £4.99
2. A Drink of Deadly Wine by Kate Charles, SPCK £9.99
3.  Church Book and Desk Diary 2018, Canterbury Press Norwich £19.99
4. SPCK & Common Worship Lectionary 2018, SPCK £4.99
5. Re-Imagining the Bible for Today by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, SCM Press £19.99
6. Church Pocket Book and Diary 2017 Blue Geo Cross , SPCK £9.99
7. Dethroning Mammon by Justin Welby, Bloomsbury Publishing £9.99
8. Handbook for Churchwardens & PCC 2011 by K. MacMorran and T. Briden, Bloomsbury Publishing £12.99
9. Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr, SPCK £10.99
10 Pilgrim: Leader’s Guide by Steven Croft, Church House Publishing £8.99