88 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Elegant, homely guide to priesthood today,
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This review is from: The Life and Work of a Priest (Paperback)
This little book is full of wisdom about the life and work of a priest, (essentially one in the Church of England) in all sorts of areas. It has short, lucid chapters on a range of areas, including preaching, personal organisation, attentive listening, theological reflection, prayer etc..
What it doesn't do is come up with a 'silver bullet' answer, finding the core around which people can define priesthood.
Rather, what Pritchard does is balance an essentially ontological understanding of priesthood (i.e. a priest is something a person is, rather than a job that a person does) with a high view of all the functional things vicars in particular are asked to do.
For example, the paperwork on your desk is not mindless 'red tape' to be scorned: rather, it should be seen as "pastoral work", as invariably each bit of paper is a request/ a need from a particular person: "what you do to the least of these bits of paper, you do to me".
The consequence is that he never privileges one aspect of ministry over another on the basis that one of the two is actually far more important.
Priests should be able to read the signs of the times AND make the worship they lead accessible to newcomers AND go on retreat once a year AND be pastoral ministers who listen "not just to the bassline of the conversation but also the melody" AND collaborate ecumenically AND look for joined up projects with government AND work together with the laity AND keep up with theological developments AND prioritise their family life AND allow outside interests to flourish AND limit themselves to a 50 hour week.
Even just listing those necessary attributes can make a priest feel a bit overwhelmed. There is a weakness to the lack of prioritisation: the task remains endless.
this book doesn't feel overwhelming when you read it. There is a generosity at its heart, and a homeliness to his expressions (even when there's a depth of theology behind them) that makes it highly readable, and supportive.
It's made me reconsider my ministry, and it's the book I would now recommend for reading first, by anyone considering ordination as a priest in the Church of England (ahead of say, Michael Ramsey's "The Christian Priest Today" or Steve Croft's "Ministry in Three Dimensions").
It's realistic, but also wise. Above all, it rings true.
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Initial post: 4 Mar 2008 17:26:03 GMT
Sarah Clare says:
Having just finished reading this book myself (and currently undergoing selection for ordination) I would agree with this analysis. I've found it eminently more readable than the Christopher Cockwsorth book (Being a Priest today) that had brought me to a complete standstill. It has also been a good stepping stone to Steve Croft's Ministry in Three Dimensions, which I'm now able to enjoy - particularly for its analysis of some of the history of ordained ministry.
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