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Elsie Chamberlain: The Independent Life of a Woman Minister (Gender, Theology & Spirituality) Hardcover – 1 Feb 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st ed. edition (1 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845539311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845539313
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 949,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'An impressively full life of an ebullient character. The book is scholarly and yet eminently readable.' – Church Times

'A detailed, well-written biography of the best-known Congregational woman minister in Britain during the second half of the 20th century.' – Reform Magazine

'To be reminded of the leap that has been made, in a comparatively short space of time – historically speaking – in the recognition of the vital and essential place of women at the heart of the Church’s life, is a welcome revelation.' – Methodist Recorder

'Alan Argent's book is a well-paced and clearly written narrative … he allows his readers to reach their own conclusions about an independent minister whom he regards, quite rightly, as a heroine.'– Congregational History Society Magazine

'I found I just couldn’t put it down and I was intrigued to read the story of such an extraordinary woman… a really good piece of history. I was struck by the very fluent and beautiful writing style.' – Principal Susan Durber, Westminster College, Cambridge

'In so short a space I cannot do justice to the scholarship that has gone into this biography, drawing from a wealth of primary material in a way that keeps the story of a life a real page turner. Forget period drama on the television - this is the real thing.' - Journal of the Islington Archaeology & History Society

About the Author

Alan Argent has a PhD in London history 1640-49, and has taught church history for Birkbeck College, University of London. He has edited the Congregational History Society Magazine since 1992. He is minister of Trinity Congregational Church, Brixton, having also served churches in Morden and Wimbledon.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Clarke on 11 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
Alan Argent's book is a very thorough account of the life of Elsie Chamberlain and of the many Congregational chuches that she was involved with.As someone who had never heard of her before it was a fascinating read.It tells how the Congregational Church was ahead of it's time by allowing women ministers as early as 1917 but also shows that Elsie faced opposition before becoming a chaplain to the RAF and before becoming a producer at the BBC. [ Her husband, who was an Anglican priest ,also suffered from prejudice from the establishment]The period of Elsie's life from university through World War 2 to the mid 1950's would make a good TV drama. Anyone interested? This book brings to life a very determined woman, full of energy , who did a lot for Congregationalism.
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Format: Hardcover
The life of Elsie Chamberlain has much to tell us about what it meant to be a woman in the 20th century. In this very readable and thoroughly researched book Alan Argent presents us with a unique individual who, despite many setbacks, was determined to follow her calling to be a Congregational minister and also to become involved in the wider society both at the BBC and as a forces' chaplain. The book is full of stories about Elsie's life but also paints a clear picture of her character. Whether you knew her or not, hers is a life that needs to be shared with a wider public.
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Format: Hardcover
So often church leaders are known for their great preaching or their academic credentials and are men. Alan Argent brings alive this woman who, instead of those characteristics, had the ability to cut to the essentials, whether with BBC scripts, at a church in danger of closing, or in an ecumenical discussion when she said: "We have got to go for a church without power and my idea of such a church is one based simply on faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour - we can all accept that." Sadly, most churches are run by men for whom earthly power can be a strong motivation. Argent's book describes someone who often found herself swimming against the tide, inspiring both men and women on the way.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a big read, but has much to commend it to Congregationalists and anyone interested in the struggle faced by many women in the 20th Century.
Whilst the story of Elsie is sufficient to keep one's attention, the historical links to other people and places make for good reading and provides a valuable insight into British Society and the way non conformists approached their church life.
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